NFTs make it possible to transform digital objects into unique objects. The trend is reaching the game and facing many headwinds. However, MeinMMO author Maik Schneider sees the development positively and recognizes great potential in the technology behind NFTs: blockchain.
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have caused a stir in the gaming community. With this technique, unique items can be created from digital objects such as images, lines of code, or even in-game goods. This perspective does not sit well with many gamers.
There are criticisms on the environmental aspect because the creation of NFT consumes a lot of electricity. The close connection to cryptocurrencies also means that NFTs are seen only as an investment for the wealthy and gamblers who enjoy speculation.
Many gamers worry that progressive monetization will turn their favorite pastime into some kind of sideline where everything revolves around the most valuable profits and NFTs.
Overall, I think the currently very harsh criticism of new technology is overblown. Because NFTs are much more than just speculative objects with the prospect of quick profit. They are the game’s entry into blockchain technology.
Now I come out as a fan of NFTs and blockchain solutions in games. NFTs and blockchain have the potential to make gaming and the internet safer for all of us.
Prior to his career as an author, Maik completed a business apprenticeship and a degree in economics. He followed blockchain technology with great interest from the very beginning.
Added value of the blockchain: it’s a question of security
Let’s start with some information about the technology behind NFTs.
It is about giving digital objects an understandable signature that makes the object unique. These can be images or videos, but also purchasable cosmetics in video games, for example.
It’s not just about making a very specific object completely unique. There can also be many copies of an object, all of which are then NFTs. Or only the original is an NFT and copies are permitted.
The traceable signature is important. This allows the digital object to be assigned to an unequivocal owner. Blockchain technology is used for this.
With this special type of data storage, a hitherto unattainable level of security against manipulation on the Internet can be achieved.
Basically, the blocks in a blockchain check each other for errors and a large chain of data is created that builds on each other.
If a link in the chain is defective, the technology recognizes the error and does not authorize the new link. All data must match.
Blockchains are usually organized in a decentralized way. The data is not only on a server, but each authorized participant can download and view the blockchain or parts of it.
So if someone wants to manipulate the system, several blocks have to be changed at the same time. However, since the blocks are also located on countless computers and networks, these blocks would also need to be changed.
These simple principles – cross-chain verification and decentralized storage – make blockchain so innovative. High burglary resistance is the most advanced aspect of the technology.
At a time when hackers can even access our toasters, blockchains have the potential to prevent such digital attacks. The old systems reach their limits here.
Blockchain technology has become generally known thanks to cryptocurrencies. The system is so secure that entire currencies are based on it. The two biggest are “Bitcoin” and “Ether”. The blockchain acts as a kind of central bank of this currency.
And it is precisely this high level of security that makes blockchain technologies such as NFTs so valuable for gaming.
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Double speculation leads to understandable mistrust
NFTs have been criticized for being close to highly speculative cryptocurrencies. Many NFT transactions are currently processed through the Ethereum blockchain, which also runs the “Ether” cryptocurrency.
This has a double speculative character:
- The NFT itself can increase or decrease in value
- The Ether Tokens you get with a sale can also increase or decrease in value
The criticism of this construction is entirely justified. Who wants to have a highly speculative element in their game? This attracts investors who spend funds to profit from the system.
I have read a lot of NFT article comments on MeinMMO and this close connection between cryptocurrencies is what readers are worried about. It’s about how your gaming consumption might change – in a negative way.
BavEagle writes on MeinMMO: “Soon gaming will no longer be a hobby, but a part-time job including market analysis and hourly stock price checking of NFT items.”
QWLU is also concerned about what happens when there are more monetary values in a game: “Today you already see AFK bots that only join and reach farm skins and such. what will it be like if things have even a little bit of value…?”
And I agree with our readers. Games and systems are currently being developed, with a close intertwining of NFT and cryptocurrencies. In such games, this is exactly what would happen: risk-taking speculators influence the economy of a game.
But NFTs are much more than speculative microtransactions and the financial backbone of large bot farms.
However, if you separate the thoughts behind NFTs and blockchain from volatile cryptocurrencies, you have an innovative storage technology that could bring more security and individualism to the game.
Blockchains and NFTs can do so much more
Blockchain technology has been around for a few years and more and more businesses are relying on this storage format – without any cryptocurrency in tow.
Technology company IBM offers its own blockchain solutions that businesses can use to make their accounting more secure and efficient (via IBM.com). It’s not about digging for the next token and making a quick buck.
It is a question of security, transparency and efficiency. Of course, IBM wants to make money out of it. But this is not speculation, but a modern offer of a secure and manipulation-free data organization.
Companies build and organize their own blockchain, which then stores and clearly displays supply chains, for example. Depending on their needs, users can view a specific part of the blockchain.
For example, as consumers, we obtain information about the production facilities and the route taken by a good. The access key is an NFT that we get with the product.
Such blockchains are also not created according to the principle of “proof of work”, which drives up the energy consumption of the currently most important blockchains (token mining).
These secure systems can be transferred to many applications on the Internet. Then, as blockchain technology becomes more standardized over time, “cross-chain” applications, in which data from one blockchain interacts with another, are more likely to emerge.
However, the real breakthrough of the technology has yet to be achieved. NFTs are the vehicle that could drive this breakthrough in gaming and beyond.
History repeats itself – comparison with the Internet
Payment flows generally seek the path of the greatest profit, and if blockchains also bring financial benefits outside of cryptocurrencies, then it is more attractive to rely on the technology.
Today’s speculative excesses are attracting more attention – in almost every sector. Entrepreneurs are dealing with blockchain technology and, in addition to fast NFT money, are also discovering the benefits of security.
It was very similar to the start of the big internet hype. Companies invested heavily in the new market, built server capacity that no one needed, and created the so-called “dotcom bubble”.
The price bubble burst, many values were lost. In Germany, the bitter loss of many private investors through the purchase of “T-Share” was particularly memorable. This “people’s share” peaked at just over €100 and fell to just under €8.
But the server capabilities created by the “dotcom bubble” were still there and made free internet service offerings such as MeinMMO possible in the first place. Before that, you actually had to pay for the traffic that visitors brought to a website.
Blockchain is at a similar point with NFTs. The limits of markets are explored, the possibilities of technology are tested. New blockchains emerge and disappear, others prevail or even work together.
Whether or not a crypto bubble bursts, knowledge of blockchain technology has spread and the advantages over older systems in terms of security, efficiency and adaptability are compelling.
Conclusion: Profit is important for new technologies, but so is revaluation
I think the harsh criticism of NFTs is unfair. The technology isn’t to blame for the overblown speculation, it’s the people behind it.
There are already countless games that are funded through pay-2-win mechanisms – keyword “freemium”. A few well-heeled customers are pumping big bucks into a game that many others are enjoying for free – but with less success or at least less brilliance.
There are already games in which “Play-2-Earn” plays a major role, i.e. earning money with grinds. In the poorest countries, entire families are equipped with such systems.
That’s why I think criticism is important. Your opinions have given pay-2-win mechanisms a bad name. Your opinions point the way forward for developers.
However, it is also important to be open to new technologies.
The Java “Log4j” vulnerability has shown once again how vulnerable our current systems are and that it is time to find new security solutions.
Hackers can use this vulnerability to execute faulty program code – and sometimes it’s child’s play. For some applications, a simple message in a chat is enough to execute the code.
The spread of blockchain technology would be a big step in the right direction, and NFTs help make the technology available to the public and fund implementation.
Although blockchains have also been affected by the vulnerability due to Java-based tools, the chain simply cannot be completely manipulated through access.
Therefore: Remain opinionated, but also fair. NFTs and blockchain are not just about profit greed and micro-transactions. It is also a safe and secure Internet.
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