Trustless digital assets (NFTs)

Crypto games:

Today, we're asking "what's new about games given NFTs?"

Soon, we'll also ask "what's new about games given decentralization?"

— Tony Sheng (@tonysheng) March 11, 2018

The most exciting aspect of crypto as an investment is probably the money use case–the possibility that cryptocurrencies become a prominent form of money in the global financial system.

But the most exciting aspect of crypto for me is the trustless computation use case–the possibility that many of the world’s systems can be run without the control of a centralized authority1.

One emergent application of the trustless computation use case is non-fungible tokens (NFTs)–a trustless way to record ownership of digital assets. The most well known use of NFTs is in the game CryptoKitties, which raised $12M dollars this week. Another popular use is Decentraland’s digital land (LAND). A parcel of LAND sold for $170K this week.


— Decentraland (@decentraland) March 23, 2018

Today’s (non-crypto) games and apps have lots of popular digital assets (e.g. cosmetics in games, a verified badge on a social network), but the ability to issue, purchase, and transact digital assets in a completely trustless manner makes these blockchain enabled digital assets orders of magnitude more valuable than their non-crypto counterparts.

I published some thoughts on how NFTs can impact games on the Decentraland blog and I’m looking forward to contributing to the development of the space.

If you’re working on a crypto game or an application of NFTs, I’d love to hear from you.

  1. Smart contract protocols let you execute functions in a censorship resistant and transparent way. Today, if I want to send you a message on twitter, I have to send the message to twitter, they can do whatever they want with that message, and then they send it to you. A smart contract could relay that message instead and we could verify exactly what went into the contract, what happened in the contract, and what the output was that you received. All the web2 services we use today like Twitter, Venmo, Messenger, Google Maps, etc, could be run without a company at the center with complete authority over the underlying computation. It remains to be seen how useful it is to have trustless computation for these use cases. It’s possible they don’t need blockchain enough compared to stores of value (e.g. digital gold or digital property), which obviously benefit from censorship resistance and transparency