What’s the next big blockchain craze? Forget the property market. One of the biggest booms in the last 18 months has been blockchain applications. From trading cryptocurrencies to purchasing art in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain assets have become household terms – and it’s not limited to just computer experts. Everyday people, investors, collectors and even celebrities have bought into the viral crazes, based around blockchain’s ability to store information electronically in a way that is virtually impossible to hack but also gives a public record of transactions.
Professor Salil Kanhere, from UNSW School of Computing Science and Engineering, says although the underlying technology of blockchain has been around for a while, it has only taken off in recent years. “The platform is much more well-established and trusted and even adopted by tech giants, such as IBM, who are using it for supply chain and traceability purposes,” he says.
“Everyday people who have little or no computer expertise can still access blockchain through trading tokens or crypto. And all the platforms now make it so easy to access,” he says. “We are seeing a rise in the popularity of blockchain and in particular, NFTs – and I believe it’s here to stay.”
So, what’s next for the world of blockchain? Here are Prof. Kanhere’s predictions on what may take off next.
On average, video gamers spend almost eight and a half hours each week playing games, according to a worldwide survey. Beyond the almost life-like cinematography, the use of live streaming and virtual reality has allowed developers to completely transform the entire gaming experience. And now blockchain is changing the rules of the games.
Prof. Kanhere describes it as a play-to-earn model where users can earn tokens by completing certain elements – with those tokens being so valuable to players they can be bought and sold for cash. Games such as ‘Axie Infinity’ are already leading the charge.
“Tokens are created on a blockchain, and we’re seeing a lot more cases where users either earn tokens for how much time they spend in the game, or if there are virtual battles or quests in the game users earn tokens if they win,” Prof. Kanhere says.
“They can then take those NFTs and trade them for actual real money.” People can also ‘buy’ into blockchain games by purchasing its NFTs just so they participate. “In these cases, the developer creates a certain number of tokens, called an Axie, to buy into their game. The price of the token is set by the market – the more people who want to play, the more this will push up the price,” Prof. Kanhere says.
“If you cannot afford a token, there are mechanisms where people borrow someone else’s token to join a game and the owner of the token receives a particular share of the earnings from the play.”
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