From Gaming to Music: Crypto’s Multimedia Reach into Entertainment
As online communities become echo-chambers reverberating with HODL and lambo memes, discussion of blockchain’s use in everyday life can be drowned-out in an investment atmosphere of moonshot aspirations. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that cryptocurrency’s underlying technology, blockchain, has the potential to completely revamp how we interact with data. It has real-world use, a future in enterprise solution, and the capability to streamline business practices the world over.
To go even further, both cryptocurrencies and blockchain have multimedia relevance that extends well beyond their original financial and technological roots. As they’ve grown in popularity, innovators have looked to capture community interest in crypto, integrating it into various entertainment mediums. Its more off-beat manifestations include games, such as the infamous CryptoKitties, and perhaps more surprisingly, a cryptocurrency inspired music group.
Gaming on the Blockchain
By the tail-end of 2017, developers found a way to monetize the cryptocurrency craze into gaming platforms. And this gambit paid off, but it didn’t come without its sacrifices for network health.
The first installment in this field came in the form of digitized felines known as CryptoKitties. The brainchild of Axiom Zen, a Canadian product development company, CryptoKitties was one of the world’s first blockchain based game. Built as a dApp on Ethereum’s blockchain, the application allows users to buy, sell, and breed virtual cats on the game’s online platform, using ETH as a payment method.
And people went nuts over the idea. Within days of its release, CryptoKitty-related transactions made up the bulk of the Ethereum network’s traffic. By December 4th, $3mln had been spent on the furry avatars, and at the time of writing, more than $18.8mln in ETH has been sunk into their trading. Some go for upwards of $100k, and the most expensive comes with an asking price of 300 ETH (~$390,000).
Adorable as they may be, CryptoKitties caused a headache for the Ethereum community. At the peak of the frenzy, transaction fees and times spiked as the tokenized furballs clogged the network. One ICO, SophiaTX, even had to delay its token sale because of the network congestion.
The fiasco raised scalability concerns, as community members began to question the stability of Ethereum’s blockchain. If it can’t sustain an invasion of trading from an army of digital cats, how can Ethereum scale to real-world, mainstream use? At the time, Ukrainian software engineer Boris Kozak tweeted that the problem would, hopefully, open more doors for development.
Well, at least there's a plan to scale out. @CryptoKitties might just force the Eth devs to accelerate that. State channels (Raiden, etc), Sharding, Casper/PoS.
— Boris Kozak (@boriskozak) December 4, 2017
These issues, however, didn’t stop others from building their own games on the Ethereum blockchain. On December 19th, Ethermon entered the Ethereum ecosystem, and yes, it’s exactly as it sounds. Like CryptoKitties, Ethermon are tradable and collectible digital avatars on the Ethereum blockchain in the inspired by the world of Pokemon. Unlike CryptoKitties, however, the Ethermon’s meta extends beyond mere collecting, as you can train your Ethermon and battle against other trainers on the network.
There are still others, as well. Soon, members of the TRON community will be able to use their TRX tokens to purchase Tron Dogs–that’s right, CryptoKitties will soon have canine rivals.
There’s even an online RPG in the works that will run on Ethereum’s Blockchain. Dubbed Ethercraft, the game will mimic the popular sandbox game Minecraft. Using ETH as a payment method, players will be able to buy, sell, trade, and craft equipment in-game, as well as raid dungeons and collect loot in a completely playable, open world environment. Oh, and the game will include its own native currency, an ERC20 token tentatively named Gold Pieces (XGP).
That makes one gaming platform on TRON’s blockchain and three on Ethereum. Given the difficulties that CryptoKitties presented to Ethereum’s network, we likely haven’t seen the end of such congestion if Ethermon and Ethercraft take off, as well.
Cryptocurrency Hits the Music Scene
Until recently, a crypto-inspired music group was probably far off in the imagination of many community members, but in a year where people are willing to drop $100k on the digital equivalent of a beanie baby, crypto-pop seems less absurd.
Indeed, anything is possible in 2018, and a Japanese pop collective is bringing cryptocurrency music to the mainstream. The Virtual Currency Girls made their concert debut on January 12th in Tokyo, Japan, a week after their first song, “The Moon, Virtual Currency, and Me,” hit Youtube.
The group took to the stage sporting maid outfits and wrestling masks branded with popular cryptocurrency logos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. As you might expect, they only accept Bitcoin and Ethereum for concert tickets and merchandise, and they receive their own paychecks in these currencies, as well.
— Zackey Ahmed (@ZackeyAhmed) January 15, 2018
On their website, the group indicates that they “intend to promote [through] entertainment that virtual currency is not a tool of speculation but a technology that creates a wonderful future.” Instead of focusing solely on crypto’s investment potential, their song lyrics encourage safe investing practices, urging traders to avoid scam ICO and to keep their assets secure.
From Obscurity to Mainstream Industries
2018 will be a defining year for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. In the near future, proven tech will begin integrating with legacy industries, and the real winners of this boom will separate themselves as unfortunate losers will be weeded out.
As adoption grows, expect crypto’s impact on multimedia to continue. Building on CryptoKitties’ success, Ethermon, Tron Dogs, and Ethercraft were not the first to the blockchain gaming table, and they certainly won’t be the last.
Additionally, the Virtual Currency Girls are the first to merge cryptocurrency into music, and we’ll likely see blockchain link itself into other forms of media going forward. Question is, which forms of entertainment will innovators look to next to capitalize on crypto’s explosive growth?
We have no way of knowing, but we’ll certainly be waiting around to find out.
Lin Dai is a self-described nerd. He started his professional career in the first dot com boom…
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colin is a freelance writer and crypto-enthusiast based in Nashville, TN. When he’s not speculating crypto futures, he’s probably letting his hair down and/or heading to a music festival–because stereotypes exist for a reason.