Tag: crypto (page 1 of 3)

The economics of blockchain-based gaming don’t add up

Blake Robbins, who used to work on game design at Roblox, has written an in-depth post on why blockchain-based gaming will never take off.

TL;DR: not only is it likely to be a Ponzi scheme, it’s just a really bad idea for basic economic reasons.

The policy trilemma

Narratives can be moulded, but unfortunately crypto gaming evangelists will not be able to change basic economics. The fact that the problem with the Mundell-Fleming trilemma and how crypto games fall on the wrong side of them from a pure game design perspective which ultimately prevent large developers from creating AAA games with open economies as well as ruining user experience is totally ignored by VCs who are funnelling absurd amounts of money into these projects makes me question if they actually believe in the narrative they’re pushing, or if they’re simply investing in token pre-sales and planning on dumping on unwitting retail bagholders.

For the record, I’m not a crypto hater or anything… [h]owever, I just don’t see the application of decentralised blockchains in gaming, there isn’t a need. Putting games on the blockchain will just result in really slow servers as everything would constantly have to be verified by a decentralised database. No one gamer has ever said: “I don’t trust Rockstar to store my data correctly which is why I won’t buy GTA V”. Building games for the sole purpose of “play to earn” or “play to own” means that players are no longer playing games for enjoyment, but rather the hope that they can monetise their holdings. Inevitably, this means that the quality of game experience will drop, as developers focus solely on how to turn every single aspect of a game into an NFT which can be traded. Collectible trading should be complementary, like in Roblox or Counter-Strike , it should not be the whole purpose of a game. You might as well scrap the game altogether, and just focus on making NFT collections like Bored Apes or Cryptopunks. Recreating games to have a similiar culture will not work out.

Source: Why crypto gaming is not the future | blakeir

NFTs, financialisation, and crypto grifters

At over two hours long, I’m still only half-way through this video but I can already highly recommend it. There’s some technical language, as befits the nature of what’s discussed, but I really appreciate it going right back to the financial crisis to explain what’s going on.

Source: The Problem With NFTs | YouTube

Tether and crypto price manipulation

You’d expect Jacobin to be against crypto, but this is the first level-headed explanation of the ‘Tether controversy’ I’ve seen.

There is no conceivable universe in which cryptocurrency exchanges should need an exponentially expanding supply of stablecoins to facilitate daily trading. The explosion in stablecoins and the suspicious timing of market buys outlined in the 2017 paper suggest — as a 2019 class-action lawsuit alleges — that iFinex, the parent company of Tether and Bitfinex, is printing tethers from thin air and using them to buy up Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in order to create artificial scarcity and drive prices higher.

Tether has effectively become the central bank of crypto. Like central banks, they ensure liquidity in the market and even engage in quantitative easing — the practice of central banks buying up financial assets in order to stimulate the economy and stabilize financial markets. The difference is that central banks, at least in theory, operate in the public good and try to maintain healthy levels of inflation that encourage capital investment. By comparison, private companies issuing stablecoins are indiscriminately inflating cryptocurrency prices so that they can be dumped on unsuspecting investors.

This renders cryptocurrency not merely a bad investment or speculative bubble but something more akin to a decentralized Ponzi scheme. New investors are being lured in under the pretense that speculation is driving prices when market manipulation is doing the heavy lifting.

This can’t go on forever. Unbacked stablecoins can and are being used to inflate the “spot price” — the latest trading price — of cryptocurrencies to levels totally disconnected from reality. But the electricity costs of running and securing blockchains is very real. If cryptocurrency markets cannot keep luring in enough new money to cover the growing costs of mining, the scheme will become unworkable and financially insolvent.

No one knows exactly how this would shake out, but we know that investors will never be able to realize the gains they have made on paper. The cryptocurrency market’s oft-touted $2 trillion market cap, calculated by multiplying existing coins by the latest spot price, is a meaningless figure. Nowhere near that much has actually been invested into cryptocurrencies, and nowhere near that much will ever come out of them.

Source: Cryptocurrency Is a Giant Ponzi Scheme | Jacobin