NFT games promise easy money, but are as dangerous as day trading; understand – 2022/02/18 – Tec

As NFTs expanded, games that used cryptocurrencies became more common in their virtual economies. Play-to-earn games attract attention for their promise of easy money, but in the end they look like a kind of low-paying job, according to experts.

To access many of these games, the user has to face an initial hurdle, which is having a digital wallet and buying an NFT. The difference is that cryptocurrencies will not wait for a buyer on OpenSea, a platform dedicated to the non-fungible token market.

Digital certificates of authenticity, within the so-called NFT games or so-called cryptocurrencies, have a practical function. They represent the characters, equipment, or skills that allow the user to actually play the game.

But while in conventional games the player is rewarded with virtual coins that are only available in the ecosystem in which he or she came, in play games it is a signal that the user receives when performing certain activities.

The term is used to refer to assets that operate in a blockchain, such as bitcoin and ethereum. The difference between a token and an ordinary virtual game currency is that it can be converted into a common currency, such as real and dollar, at a daily rate.

This means that the first prizes for personalization and improvement, as in popular games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft, serve as assets in the cryptocurrency market.

In the case of Axie Infinity, an NFT game with 2.8 million active players a day, the token is SLP (Smooth Love Potion), which hit mid-2021. According to the official website, the original Vietnamese game was created by the USA. $ 3.6 billion (R $ 18.5 billion) since its launch.

It consists of using the NFTs purchased at the beginning of Axie Infinity’s gameplay, now depicting pretty pets with their own characteristics, to take turns fighting the computer or other players, as in the Pokémon franchise.

By winning these battles and completing the daily challenges of choice, the player achieves the SLPs, not only to improve the Axies team and facilitate future fights, but also to become real ones.

But what pays the user with tokens is not Sky Mavis, a developer based in Ho Chi Mihn, Vietnam. As with apps like Uber, the game functions as a mediation platform between its users and the market, with its own quotas and rules. The market, in the case of Axie Infinity, is cryptographic assets.

The economics of NFT games are often designed by experts to make sense. Based on this trust, which is also supported by blockchain cryptography, SLP has value just like bitcoin itself.

“This blockchain and cryptocurrency dimension is about sustaining these virtual economies, ensuring investors the structure, functioning and balance of that context,” explained Thiago Falcão, professor of Digital Media at UFPB (Federal University of Paraíba).

While the promise of earning extra income by playing mobile or desktop attracts users of many profiles, from teenagers to financial experts, tokens are highly volatile assets that need to be settled in the market. It’s as if an employee is receiving their shares instead of their actual salary.

“The most appropriate consumption of these games requires players to enter the cryptocurrency culture in order to understand, buy and sell fluctuating prices. It is an entry point for day trading, on the stock market,” says Falcão. “You can play without thinking, but you won’t get anywhere.”

The initial cost barrier to play-win games created working relationships. In “scholarships” (or “escolinhas”, as they are called in Brazil), account holders informally hire users to play for them, thus distributing profits, ranging from 30% to 50%.

Entrepreneur Jean Maia met Axie Infinity in November 2021 through Instagram profiles dedicated to finance and cryptocurrency. He started playing after getting a place in a small school without having to invest out of his own pocket.

“We earned between $ 150 (R $ 770) and $ 200 (R $ 1,000) a month, but when I stopped, in January, we earned $ 30 (R $ 154),” he says. he spent two hours a day playing.

“Today I have two NFTs, one worth $ 120 (R $ 616) and another worth $ 150, stopped, trying to sell because of the low game,” he lamented.

Heloísa Passos, CEO of the Brazilian cryptocurrency company Sp4ce, estimates that about 80,000 Brazilians were playing Axie Infinity by the end of 2021.

In his view, the success of the game is due to its structure, which should be the rule in an environment that may last a short time, and when those involved are subjected to coup attempts.

According to the UFPB professor, NFT games have more to do with precarious work than video games, as people feel compelled to spend as much time on their devices as possible, looking for a profit that may not come.

“It’s not fun. It’s not about entertainment mechanisms, it’s about gamified work structures. In NFT games, there’s very little left of a game that makes a game. The pleasure of the game, the subjective and social experience, none. That’s what cryptography is all about. in these games, ”he says.

Psychology student Vanessa de Barros was not as lucky as Jean. After spending a few weeks playing at Axie Infinity School, he earned R $ 70 a week, borrowing R $ 5,000 to invest in a personal account with a friend.

Vanessa used the money to buy the initial NFTs and build a group of Axies, sure to get a quick return. But with the devaluation of the SLP and the dollar in recent months, the account is now worth R $ 2,000, with cryptocurrencies that will only be able to be settled by lowering the price even further.

“I know I will not go into another [jogo NFT]. I’m looking forward to the SLP going up, at least trying to recoup what I’ve invested in, and I don’t think it’s worth the stress, ”he said. “I’d rather play to get paid than play to get paid. “

For Passos, the main reason for the devaluation of SLP in recent months was the oversupply and lack of consumption of the gaming ecosystem, which was the fault of the developer himself. This means that more SLPs ended up in user wallets than those stored in the game.

In his view, players who intend to take risks in any crypto game should be aware of some red alerts, such as high return on investment (ROI) promises, lack of public documentation about the project (white paper) and addiction. from the introduction of new players to the valuation of tokens.

“It’s important that people, before they enter this market, have a good understanding of how it works, to invest money better. Research needs to be done before they enter the game,” he said.

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