Reading Time: 3 minutes
You’re not alone, wondering what the blockchain is and how all of this virtual mumbo jumbo is connected to gaming. Whether we like it or not, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are already becoming a key part of casino games, online marketplaces, and online tournaments. In this article, we’ll try to explain what it all means and how it’s all connected.
What is a blockchain?
The blockchain is a sort of database that is shared between users, who all do their bit to help maintain it. Blockchains differ from your average database because they don’t work in the same kind of way – they reinvent the way we can process and store data. Blockchains store data together in, you might have guessed, blocks and are linked together and then verified to help ensure that the data entry is authentic. This ensures that no fraud can take place.
New data enters the blockchain in the form of a shiny new block. These blocks are then filled with data and then attached to the block that preceded it, forever then being linked to it. These blocks of data are chained together in the blockchain in a chronological order that is verifiable. You can test it to see whether it has been accessed and data cannot be stolen because its existence depends on the preceding and subsequent blocks.
In theory, the blockchain can store almost any kind of information, but most of us instantly connect the blockchain to crypto-currency. This connection is made by many because the primary purpose of the blockchain, at the moment at least, is to serve as a ledger that records all of the various cryptocurrency transactions. The blockchain was chosen because it cannot be controlled or abused by an individual. It is owned by all of those who contribute.
How are cryptocurrencies connecting to gaming?
Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are inextricably linked, and so it would be very silly to ignore the growing significance of the blockchain and virtual coins in the current gaming scene. Gamers are now able to purchase microtransactions with their virtual coins, while many online gaming-related marketplaces accept payment via virtual coins, something that was almost unheard of just a few years ago. This change has happened so fast.
Online gamers can make use of cryptocurrencies when making online purchases, in-app purchases, as well as when making trades directly with other players. This method is preferred by many because it provides the user with enhanced anonymity without the need to disclose who you are or any information that could easily identify you. This peace of mind also means that you don’t need to worry about payments bouncing or not being processed.
Because cryptocurrencies are decentralized, they can be sent directly across borders without being exchanged. These payments, or transactions as they are increasingly known, are done almost instantly, a testament to how quickly blockchain technology has progressed in such a short period of time. It also means that players can purchase items wherever they are without worrying about exchange rates.
What is a blockchain based game?
Are you wondering what the next step will be for the gaming and virtual currency industries? Look no further than blockchain-based games. CryptoKitties was the first hugely popular video game that was able to make use of the blockchain but enjoyed a short life, not lasting for too long after being launched back in 2017. You thought that this popular release would have heralded a blockchain game gold rush, but that wasn’t the case, not for a while at least.
These blockchain-based video games include a mixture of different elements but are all based on existing blockchain technology. These elements are often centered around the buying, selling, and trading of NFTs, and this allows players to interact with other players and exchange these tokens. The rise of NFTs in the latter stages of 2021 meant that these games enjoyed a second wind, a second wind that looks set to last longer than the first.
While these new games are seen by many as a new way of gaming, they do have their fair share of critics. Phil Spencer, one of Xbox’s top guys, said that he sees these blockchain-based games as being more exploitative than entertaining. He might have a point, too, with others pointing out that games focused on trading virtual items without any clear narrative are more of a fad because they have no real basis. Whether that is true remains to be seen.