Cover Image for Play To Earn Revolution

Play To Earn Revolution

A new era of online gaming is upon us through the synergy of RPG MMOs and Blockchain technology. These games will accommodate sustainable ecosystems where in-game commodities known as NFT’s can be used to trade, sell and transfer for real currency. In addition, blockchain technology allows the players to be rewarded for their engagement. Ultimately, this is a play to earn revolution giving players more control. 

‘Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are virtual tokens minted on the blockchain for digital scarcity, security, and authenticity. They are unique, indivisible, and non-interchangeable - allowing true digital ownership of in-game assets.’

Just imagine playing Fortnite but having the ability to buy, sell and trade all the skins you own. These skins are your collectable assets and you have the ability to make some serious returns on your investments. If you like the sound of this, let me introduce the Play to earn Revolution. 

Many of these titles are either new releases or still in early stages of development. However, there are promising examples which create a vision for the future of the genre. In this article we create a discussion of these titles with added insight into the Blockchain which powers them. 

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity creates a world where the aim of the game is to breed, battle and explore. Axie’s are fierce Pokemon like creatures owned by players. Each Axie has unique strengths and weaknesses based on its genes. With billions of possible genetic combinations, the possibilities are truly infinite! An interesting aspect of this game is its constantly developing meta. Each season has a release of new items and combos, however it's the players who do the testing. In some cases players find the strongest combinations through breeding. Top players often collaborate with the devs to seek out nerfs or buffs. Therefore, this is a good example of how the players have the control in the game, not the devs!

This title has 250,000+ active players with 90,000+ ETH traded on their in-house marketplace making it a heavyweight in the play to earn model. The ownership of in-game assets and the rewards earned for participation help players become active members of the in-game economy and help steer its development. This game has its limitations as the only thing to do is battle which can become rather repetitive.  


Decentraland is another virtual world driven by real estate, commodities and in-game experience. You start the game by creating your avatar which could be a digital representation of yourself or a totally wild alter ego. From here users build whatever they can imagine on plots of virtual land. As the name implies the content is completely decentralised and the developers do not control the content being created giving users complete freedom. 

Land is divided into squares 10m by 10m with the first city being divided into 90,000 of these squares. At auction these plots were collectively worth £22 million paid for by various users. Purchases are made using currency known as MANA which is powered by Ethereum blockchain. This MANA is then used to purchase NFT’s and experience within the world. This includes theme parks, art galleries, car races, casinos, arcades and battle zones and of course some sweet fashion cosmetic NFT’s. Let's not forget the draw of hanging out with friends and socialising online!


The Sandbox is a virtual world where players can play, build, own, and monetize their virtual experiences. This title has a Minecraft-esk aesthetic and empowers the players to build the platform they always envisioned, providing the means to unleash your creativity. 

The developers vision is to offer a deeply immersive metaverse in which virtual worlds and games will be created collaboratively and without central authority. As it stands this game has an impressive list of partnerships such as Atari, Square Enix and even The Smurfs. Effectively, players can dive into a Smurf World created by other players and not the devs.  

SAND is the main utility token that serves as the basis for transactions within the game. Like Decentraland this token is powered by the Ethereum blockchain. SAND can then be used to purchase in-game NFT’s to enhance players' individuality and customisation. In addition, the Sandbox introduces the VoxEdit NFT builder for building voxel game assets. This allows players to create their own NFT’s such as models and animations to share in the world!


The newest and most innovative title on the horizon goes by the name of Cornucopias. This title is a AAA free to play multiplayer world where players explore the lands and socialise within the virtual community. Furthermore, play to earn features are introduced in the form of mini games so players can build rewards which convert into real world value.

Players start their adventure by selecting their avatar and hit the ground running. However, the possibility of customisation is endless through the use of NFT’s. Cosmetic packs are provided in the form of baseball cards each with their own attributes and aesthetic. You can pose as a rugged cowboy or a badass street fighter character! You're limited only by your creativity! 

The game is divided into diverse island zones each with their own unique theme. At the center lies a vast New York City style area which operates as the central hub and living space for the players. The surrounding area provides versatile landscapes from lush Samurai Gardens, Medieval Castles to the Wild West and Pirate Towns. Like Decentraland users have the opportunity to purchase digital land and build valuable real estate. This land can be used to showcase their creativity and build themed structures of their own. Some players may choose to create in-game casinos and racetracks giving the opportunity for passive income. Businesses can also buy this land to showcase new incentives and it's an exciting new platform to hold digital events. For instance, Ticketmaster can hold an event to display the lists of gigs they have for sale. Users can engage with the environment and watch content to get a feel for the tickets they're buying.  

Like the previous games Cornucopias is built upon NFT technology allowing players to buy, trade and sell in-game collectables. All of which has the potential for significant real world value. What makes this title unique is the fact it's powered by Cardano ADA. What makes Cardano ADA unique is its governance model. This ensures true democracy in which individuals are incentivized to play a role and votes are immutably recorded. It is a way to redistribute control and for token holders to decide the future of a platform.

This model is put into effect through schemes such as Voltaire, Cardona Improvement Proposals (CIPs) and Funding Proposals (FPs). Here, the Cardano treasury fund is made available to the community. The community then has the opportunity to propose their projects to a decentralized committee of community members for approval. These proposals will take place in September 2021 with one of them being Cornucopias. This will be the wind under the sails of Cornucopias and will launch the game into the world!

The decentralised nature of Blockchain ecosystems ensures the players have the control and enforces true ownership. The folks at Cornucopias naturally inherit a similar governance model as Cardano ADA and aim to use this to ensure community engagement and give the players the ability to steer the evolution of the game. 

Cardano or ETH

The endorsement of blockchain technology allows its players to access the game platform, buy and sell ASSETs, partake in governance, staking and liquidity mining for passive income, and much more. 

An interesting aspect of this revolution is Blockchain itself and how they are powered. Ethereum is known as a second generation crypto due to its introduction of smart contracts. Smart contracts are a type of current account. This means they have a balance and they can send transactions over the network. However they're not controlled by a user, instead they are deployed to the network and run as programmed. User accounts can then interact with a smart contract by submitting transactions that execute a function defined on the smart contract. Smart contracts can define rules, like a regular contract, and automatically enforce them via the code. This automated system enhances communication and workflow because of its accuracy and transparency.

As seen above Axie Infinity, Sandbox and Decentraland are all powered on the Ethereum Blockchain.  On the other hand, Cornucopias is supported by the third generation crypto in the form of Cardano ADA, which develops these smart contracts further by learning from the flaws and capitalising on the benefits of the previous generation.

High demand in Ethereum means an increase in transaction fees and an increase in the disk space needed to run this network. Furthermore, Ethereum's cryptography is known as gas. The more complicated computations become the more gas a program will need. Effectively this overload in the required resources creates environmental impacts.

In addition, Ethereum can only process roughly 15 transactions per second, causing network congestion. In contrast, Cardano has been engineered to be more scalable and can support 257 transactions per second to make contract interactions cheaper and faster. 

Cardano uses a system known as DID or Decentralised Identity Documents. This significantly limits the amount of personal information required from users to interact on the network. For instance, Ethereum would request to know a name, address and contact info from clients. On the other hand, Cardano will only request for your Country and confirmation that you are over 18. This increases security and user confidence.  

To conclude, we can see Ethereum is a powerful force in the blockchain space and supports the early stages of the play to earn revolution. This includes the fun titles such Axie Infinity, Decentraland and Sandbox. On the other hand, Cardano ADA is one of the most environmentally friendly cryptocurrencies which creates a more sustainable future. This is promising for Cornucopias but in any case play to earn is still in its early stages of development and it's clear that this new rising tide will raise all ships