CryptoKitties took the blockchain world by storm, and few could have predicted the speed at which the crypto collectible movement would grow. Back in December one kitty sold for the astronomical price of $110,000. At that time the overall transactions on the digital felines totaled $19 million. That being said, the founders of the game expect a future in which there are much more entry-level purchases to be made. Co-Founder Benny Giang explains, “I look forward to the future where someone who wants to spend $3 can buy one.”
With such rapid growth, quite a few critics jumped on the “bubble” bandwagon, claiming that crypto collectibles were little more than a fad. Everyone who knows anything about cryptocurrency, however, understands that despite fads, new killer apps built on the blockchain tend to stick around, even if the earliest iterations don’t last.
This isn’t just true of the crypto collectible movement either. Part of CryptoKitties’ mainstream appeal was that it mirrored the collectible excitement of games like PokemonGo. You could even say that some of the kitties look like Pokemon.
That’s precisely why gaming industry veterans are starting to explore the various ways in which new franchises can be built on the crypto collectible format. Ilya Nikolayev is the CEO of Tapinator, a mobile gaming leader with over 300 titles and 450 million downloads. Nikolayev argues, “With the advent of internet technology and the digital age, previously inconceivable ways of collecting all kinds of items, from virtual pets to artwork, are now becoming a reality.”
New Arenas for Crypto Collectibles
Nikolayev and his team recently rolled out two new apps in the crypto collectibles space, both tackling new and interesting markets. The first, BitPainting, seeks to create a collectible experience for fine art lovers. With a public launch in May, Tapinator plans to enable art enthusiasts to own scarce digital versions of their favorite pieces, many of which are locked up in museums or private collections.
This effort seems true to the decentralized spirit of the blockchain revolution. Allowing forms of digital ownership, without centralized control of access and price. Nikolayev explains the vision behind the app, “Traditionally, fine art has been reserved solely for the wealthy and well connected. Artists have also struggled to monetize their work on a scalable level. But that’s all set to change as blockchain technology steps into the fray, allowing artists and collectors to exchange art digitally like never before.”
While the initial launch will include some of the greatest pieces of art from history, the potential for this kind of platform to give physical and digital artists a new way to sell their work is immense. For digital artists, it offers a clear path to keeping their work scarce, something that was near impossible in the past. For physical artists it offers the opportunity to create scarce digital copies of their art, much like they would a limited series of prints.
Another exciting space where crypto collectibles are making waves is in the card collecting space. As Nikolayev put it, “Trading card games, such as Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Hearthstone, have become massively successful in the real world, online, and on mobile devices.” One thing all these franchises lack, however, is any real guarantee of scarcity. A card that is rare today could be produced en masse by the creators tomorrow. With blockchain based solutions, players and collectors alike can have better visibility on the rarity of any given item.
The clear demand for increased levels of transparency is precisely why gaming companies are launching new collectible experiences on the blockchain. Tapinator recently announced in partnership with Mego Corp., the launch of a new card trading game called Darkwinds.
Darkwinds combines the benefits of a strong gaming narrative, with collectible cards from its pirate-themed universe that players can collect, trade, and use in-game.
The CEO of Mego Corp., Cristian Gonzalez, explained their reasons for entering the space, “Crypto collectibles and Cryptocurrencies represent a paradigm shift for games because players can now take an active part within games’ virtual economies. Since the advent of free to play, there has been very little business model innovation within the video game industry, and crypto gaming represents a much needed, giant leap forward.” While some people are familiar with virtual marketplaces from games like WoW, they simply haven’t been a part of mainstream gaming. Blockchain is poised to change that, giving players more options to control their gaming and collecting experience.
The Future of Crypto Collectibles
While nobody can predict exactly where the crypto collectibles movement is headed, the increasing popularity of dApps, along with the entry of gaming industry veterans, indicates a bright future for the technology. People love to play games, collect rare items, and share their interests with the world.
Blockchain can help them do that in ways never before thought possible. As Nikolayev put it, “The underlying blockchain can transform how we fundamentally view the relationship between digital and real-world value creation.”