Regular readers will no doubt be aware of the high expectations currently being placed on the shoulders of blockchain gaming. For advocates of blockchain technology, there is the hope that tapping into the estimated 2.5 billion gamers worldwide will provide a huge leap toward mainstream adoption.
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology continue to make inroads into all kinds of industries as an increasing number of people discover and gain an understanding of the benefits that it can bring. From supply chain efficiencies through certification of authenticity and provenance to the immutable nature of information stored on a blockchain, the technology is already seeing ever-increasing interest.
In the last month alone, there have been announcements from firms associated with global brand names like Coca Cola, international shipping giants working with the Port of Rotterdam, and national governments such as the Philippines regarding blockchain technology implementations. However, this impressive growth is still somewhat organic in nature despite the promotion of the technology by industry leaders and political advocates such as Chinese President Xi Jinping. It also does little to increase blockchain and cryptocurrency awareness among the general public.
The theory is that getting blockchain in front of a potential third of the world’s population, many of whom are already comfortable with in-game payments and currencies, could be the push that finally takes the technology mainstream. This may well feed back into increased adoption of cryptocurrency from gamers who are exposed to the underlying technology through blockchain gaming.
What blockchain can do for gaming
Some believe that the integration of blockchain technology has the ability to revolutionize the gaming industry. Known for its progressive nature, the gaming industry has been fairly quick to get on board, as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a press release shared with Cointelegraph:
“The potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies reaches far beyond the financial sector. Given the readiness of the gaming industry in its continuous evolution, especially in new technologies. […] Blockchain is becoming an essential part of game development and is set to change the global gaming industry.”
Blockchain brings a number of benefits to gaming, some of which are inherent blockchain attributes that apply to many industries. The transparency of blockchain technology can bring provably fair gameplay. Its security, meanwhile, can guard against fraudulent play or hacking. But perhaps the biggest evolution that blockchain has brought to gaming came with the development of nonfungible tokens.
Essentially, NFTs allow players to own their in-game items, characters and abilities and then trade these items with other players. CryptoKitties was the first game to implement NFTs, but the link between cryptocurrency and trading in-game items goes back way further than that.
At one point, Mt. Gox became the biggest Bitcoin (BTC) exchange in the world, but it fell victim to one of the most infamous Bitcoin exchange hacks of all time. However, the website first started as a card-trading platform and got its name from “Magic: The Gathering Online” (eXchange). One could say that the path of gaming and blockchain technology has come full circle.
Time to roll up the sleeves
So far, Cointelegraph’s coverage of blockchain gaming has been focused on venture capital investments in gaming platforms, NFT pre-sales for forthcoming games, and technologies springing up to support the industry, such as decentralized exchanges for NFTs and platforms enabling developers to easily implement blockchain tech.
While there have been a few game reviews, these have generally been of sample games to show how the technology has been implemented. But if bringing gamers to blockchain technology can increase mass adoption, then Cointelegraph is ready to install the latest graphics drivers and start the grinding. This means expanding the gaming coverage to include the exciting developments in the space from the gamers’ perspective, with one eye firmly on the blockchain technology, of course.
As a little teaser, here are just a handful of the games that will be looked at.
Age of Rust
Age of Rust is a first-person, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi adventure developed by SpacePirate Games. Featuring drop-dead gorgeous graphics, it combines exploration, stealth, combat and puzzles galore, some of which form an in-game treasure hunt with a prize fund worth 20 BTC.
While some puzzles are of the standard “move-the-block-to-reach-hidden-switch” type, others will require specific crypto-items in combination with one’s cognitive powers to solve. These can be collected in-game, traded, bought and sold. As part of the EnjinVerse, an ever-growing collection of games that allows in-game items to be shared, some of the items can be discovered within other games using the platform.
The game is blockchain to its core, and SpacePirate Games founder and CEO Chris LoVerme told Cointelegraph that: “One the reasons why we decided to build the game is to start to break down the walls that exist between gamers and crypto-based platforms.” The early beta release of the game is scheduled for this fall.
Neon District is a cyberpunk-themed role-playing game and the flagship release from developer Blockade. As players battle through enemies in a sci-fi dystopian environment, they collect unique items and abilities, all of which are represented as NFTs that can be bought, sold and traded with other gamers.
As Cointelegraph reported, the game has gone through a number of unfortunate delays, the latest of which was last month when the company announced a move to Ethereum layer two solution Matic after its original platform went AWOL.
However, there are plans to release Neon District experiences on web and mobile later this year, with a full release of Season One on Steam slated for 2021. Rest assured, Cointelegraph will be there to beta test this one when it becomes available.
Infinite Fleet, the highly-touted, massively-multiplayer online space strategy game from Samson Mow’s Pixelmatic, has been making headlines recently through various successful funding rounds.
The game will see players take control of a fleet of large spaceships protected by multiple small AI-controlled fighters. Featuring collaborative gameplay mixed with crypto incentives, Infinite Fleet unites gamers to defend against an invading alien threat. Moreover, Mow has described the game as: “The first proper video game to truly bring together gaming and crypto assets.” While the alpha test is still some way off, Cointelegraph will be getting involved and reviewing the game as soon as possible.
Hash Rush is a real-time strategy game where players must collect resources, build bases and manage armies. It features classic RTS mechanics, such as fog of war and an increasingly challenging opponent.
While an open beta version is currently available for anyone to download, the developer has prioritized gameplay for now, so blockchain features are still in development. However, the first elements of blockchain integration are promised to come online soon, and the eventual aim is to offer a “play-to-earn” model for those who want it.
The Sandbox has been around in one form or another since May 2012 when it was released on iOS. The latest 3D blockchain-enabled iteration has already been making news with its pre-sales of LAND packages and its recent native SAND token sale on the Binance Launchpad. It’s billed as a community-driven platform where creators can monetize the gaming experiences they create in an open-world sandbox environment.
The public beta of the game is slated to launch later this year, but in the meantime, Cointelegraph has been given access to the Game Maker Closed Alpha, a review of which will be landing on screens rather soon. Cointelegraph-themed gaming experiences will become available when the full game launches.
Ethereum: Is the HODLing in yet?
When it comes to the altcoin market, the past few months have shown how important a cryptocurrency Ethereum is. With DeFi growing substantially in 2020, the gains have been felt by ETH in many ways. While ETH has miles to go before it can challenge the market cap and dominance of Bitcoin, its remarkable growth thanks to DeFi and the proposed ETH 2.0 shift cannot be overlooked. With Ethereum’s use cases diversifying, users and investors within the ecosystem are reaping its benefits too.
According to recent network data provided by Glassnode, Ethereum balances on centralized exchanges have fallen substantially over the past few weeks. In fact, the aforementioned data showed a drop from over 18,750K to around 16,750K, resulting in Etherum balances on exchanges falling to their lowest level for the year 2020, at the time of writing.
While this drop may seem alarming to some, it also illustrates a silver lining of sorts for the cryptocurrency. A fewer number of users are now holding their Ethereum on exchanges. Instead, they are moving them to cold storage or cold wallets – a sign commonly associated with increased hodling sentiment. As more users hold on to their Ethereum, the price of the cryptocurrency is also likely to be positively impacted.
One of the reasons why many users are feeling inclined to do so can be due to its recent performance, as well as its ability to derive growth from a booming DeFi ecosystem that is based on its platform.
In fact, it is also interesting to note that over the same timeframe, Ethereum addresses with greater than 10 ETH have also seen a significant rise. According to network data provider Glassnode, such addresses have risen from 275K to 283K in the last three months alone.
One of the key reasons behind the aforementioned drop in Ethereum stored on exchanges ties back to increased hodling sentiment within the Ethereum community, as highlighted above. This, coupled with a rise in Ethereum locked in smart contracts (Since investors are looking to generate greater returns at a time when Etherum’s price is consolidating on the charts), bodes well for the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem.
Brace for it – Bitcoin Futures may be nearing a tipping point
What’s the tipping point for Bitcoin Futures on top derivatives exchanges like the CME, an exchange that has recorded a daily trading volume of over $300M and Open Interest of over $400M, consistently, for the past 3 months.
Well, a small shift in Open Interest or trading volume can have a cascading effect on Bitcoin Futures’ performance in the next 180 days. Such a shift will be influenced by several factors, and it begins at the tipping point. Three factors, to be more specific.
In the current phase of Bitcoin’s market cycle, these factors are more relevant for traders on derivative exchanges. This becomes more evident when the Liquidations chart for BitMEX is observed. Over the past 3 months, sell liquidations have paid for buy liquidations. However, over the last few days, this trend has been reversed, and buy liquidations have covered for sell liquidations on BitMEX.
The point here is to detect the source of the domino effect before the dominoes start falling. In the case of Bitcoin Futures, the tipping point may be closer than anticipated.
One of the top factors influencing the tipping point is the Law of the Few.
The Law of the Few states that “the success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”
In the case of Bitcoin, institutional investors, derivatives traders, and whales fit the bill. The success of Bitcoin Futures in the global trading community heavily relies on institutional investors trading on CME. In fact, the daily trade volume and Open Interest on CME influence the trading sentiment across spot exchanges as well.
The last time a cascading effect was witnessed was when BTC Futures’ Daily Trading Volume hit $445M on CME and there was a rally all the way up to $614M. At the time of writing, the Daily Trading Volume was up 63.3%, when compared to the figures 6 months ago, and it has the potential to hit $614M with one move in the right direction.
This effect heavily relies on another key factor – The Stickiness Factor.
Back in 2017, when Google search results for “Bitcoin” and “Crypto” broke the record, the trading community witnessed a historic Bitcoin bull run and altcoin rally. Institutional interest and growth of Bitcoin derivative products ensued. A similar event transpired when Bitcoin Futures’ aggregated daily volume hit $184B on 27 July 2020. This event was a unique occurrence, and it made Bitcoin Futures stick in the portfolio of the average institutional investor and the derivatives trader.
The aggregate trade volume hasn’t dropped to pre-July 2020 levels since then. Despite drops in Bitcoin’s price on spot exchanges, Futures contracts continue to trade at a premium and there is more optimism. Volume is not directly impacted by Bitcoin’s price and when the spot market is riddled with bearish sentiment, long contracts continue feeding shorts on BitMEX. This stickiness is a driver of the aforementioned tipping point.
Inching closer to the tipping point, the powerful context is the rise of stablecoins and their instrumental role in lowering the barrier to entry on spot and fiat-crypto exchanges.
Over the past three months, stablecoins like USDT have added $100M in volume every day and their market capitalization and dominance have risen tremendously. In fact, Tether has also crossed a market capitalization of $15B.
This directly influences the tipping point for Bitcoin Futures as it makes Futures trading more accessible to traders. Bitcoin held on exchanges has nearly doubled over the past month, corresponding to an increase in Tether’s market capitalization and circulation. This resonates with derivatives traders who opt for physically-settled Bitcoin Futures contracts on exchanges like Bakkt. In fact, on Bakkt, the daily trade volume was upwards of $80M for the past week, while the Open Interest has been consistently above $10M.
All of these factors are highlighting a shift in derivatives traders’ strategy, while also underlining increased activity on derivatives exchanges. The race to the tipping point has begun – An increase in aggregate trading volume on physically-settled Futures contracts or CME may trigger the much-awaited domino effect.
Tron, Synthetix, VeChain Price Analysis: 19 September
Tron was observed to have hit a strong zone of resistance, before being rejected and pushed to the downside, at the time of writing. In fact, such bearish momentum appeared likely to continue for TRX. At a time when Ethereum was increasingly being criticized for high Gas fees and a congested network, it could have been Tron’s moment to shine, but things didn’t pan out that way at all.
TRX was seeing oversold conditions a few days ago when its RSI hit a low of 23, before ascending just past 50. However, the RSI was unable to remain above 50, and its drop beneath the level highlighted the fact that TRX’s recent 12% surge from $0.263 to $0.296 was merely a bounce.
TRX found a zone of strong resistance at $0.3 and looked likely to drop towards the support at $0.265.
Interestingly, a recent Reddit post has raised questions about JustSwap’s vetting process, claiming that the Tron Foundation has whitelisted a DeFi project that has since pulled a $2 million exit scam. This, despite DappRadar listing the project as “high-risk.”
Synthetix underlined the possibility of dropping lower on the charts. The Directional Movement Index did not yet show a strong trend, but ADX (yellow) was inching towards 20 and could move further north. Also, the rising -DMI (pink) denoted a bearish trend.
Over the past week, every SNX bounce off the level of support has been overwhelmed by selling pressure. This can be expected to continue. With the price registering lower highs, the way down remained the path of least resistance for SNX.
The next level of support after $4.23 lay at $3.36, representing a 20% depreciation.
VeChain showed bullishness in the market after a period of consolidation. The Bollinger Bands expanded to indicate heightened volatility, while the price broke out towards the upper band. At the time of writing, the price was staying above the 20-period moving average, a moving average that could be tested as support as VET steadily climbs toward its resistance around the $0.158 zone.
The breakout was also accompanied by high trading volumes, legitimizing the breakout.
Ethereum: Is the HODLing in yet?
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