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NFT Sales Drop 5.4% to $193M, Ethereum Dominates with $107M in Sales: Weekly Recap

NFT Sales Drop 5.4% to 3M, Ethereum Dominates with 7M in Sales: Weekly RecapOver the past week, statistics show non-fungible token (NFT) sales totaled $193.08 million, down 5.44% from the previous week. Ethereum dominated NFT sales with more than $107 million or 55% of all sales, while Solana-centric NFT sales recorded $26.3 million or 13% of sales in the same period. NFT Market Shows Signs of Slowdown With […]

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

French lawmakers propose ban on crypto influencer promotions

According to the proposal, individuals caught violating these prohibitions could face a two-year prison sentence and a 30,000 euro fine.

French lawmakers have proposed a ban on the promotion of certain financial products and services by electronic means, including crypto assets, in order to protect consumers from potential risks. 

The proposed amendment is to Bill no. 790 aimed at combating scams and excesses by influencers on social networks. The amendment also proposes placing a ban on advertising health products, gambling, and video games using similar mechanisms.

The proposal reviewed by the Economic Affairs Committee targets commercial influencers who promote financial products and services that present a risk to consumers, such as investments in digital assets or fungible and non-fungible intangible property. 

If passed into law, only operators with approval from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers’ (AMF) will be allowed to advertise crypto assets. The AMF is a regulatory body in charge of “the rules applicable to financial markets and market infrastructures, approves the corporate finance transactions of listed companies and authorizes financial services professionals and the collective investment products under its supervision.”

The proposed amendment seeks to place “a ban on advertising targeting financial products and services presenting a specific risk for the consumer, to deal with the abuses observed on social networks,” according to a translated version of the proposal. The new wording of the amendment will allow for exceptions to the prohibitions, which will be decided by regulatory power.

The proposal states violating these prohibitions could result in a two-year prison sentence and a 30,000 euro ($32,600) fine. The ban aims to protect consumers from potential risks associated with certain financial products and services while allowing for flexibility in certain exceptions to the prohibitions.

Related: EU MiCA crypto regulation is a ‘balancing act’: Paris Blockchain Week 2023

The proposal to ban crypto influencer promotions in France coincides with Paris Blockchain Week, a gathering of professionals within the crypto, Web3 and blockchain industry. Cointelegraph is currently at the event providing updates and conducting interviews with attendees, panelists and organizers.

In an exclusive interview with the founder and chairman of the Paris Blockchain Week, Michael Amar shared the belief that large Web2 companies entering the Web3 space could be a positive for the ecosystem as they bring with them resources capable of increasing mass adoption.

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

Tim Draper sings a Bitcoin song dedicated to SVB and world governments: PBW 2023

The American venture capital investor Tim Draper took the stage at Paris Blockchain Week 2023 to talk about the decentralization of the future of money.

American venture capital investor and entrepreneur Tim Draper took the master stage at Paris Blockchain Week 2023 to give his keynote speech on, “The Decentralization of Everything" which he ended with a self-composed Bitcoin song. 

The speech opened by touching on the general distrust of cryptocurrencies - primarily Bitcoin (BTC) - from centralized governments. “I think they are absolutely panicking right now,” he said.

Tim Draper giving his keynote speech "The Decentralization of Everything" at Paris Blockchain Week 2023. Source: Cointelegraph

Draper particularly angled his thoughts through the lens of the recent Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) crisis, which he called a “crisis of trust.”

“They have shaken our confidence in the banking system… What a really strong leader would do is build that trust back. Trust the banks that now remain and set them free.”

However, according to the investor, a smooth transition out of these latest bank failures will not be likely under the current leadership in the United States. He signaled to the recent remarks against cryptocurrencies stemming from the White House. 

His whole speech boiled down to his belief that an inevitable change is coming stemming from decentralized financial tools like Bitcoin, and called it a “drumbeat that keeps coming and coming.” 

“Everything got wealthier as more liquidity was created for the world - every time there was a leap in currency. We're going through an anthropological change, which is hard for people. A lot of people resist it.”

He continued saying that weak leaders will be revealed by those who resist it. Whereas strong leaders embrace it and are looking for this change. He concluded his speech with a 3-minute song, which wrote and performed. 

According to Draper the song was written four years ago but more relevant than ever today. It touched on Satoshi, Bitcoin, banks, governments and the want for a new world order. 

Related: Paris Blockchain Week 2023: First day of the Summit kicks off

Before he began he dedicated the song to SVB and “all the banks that have failed and will fail.”

“And I dedicated to all those governments that if they don't trust their people and set them free, they will also fail, and their currencies will also fail.

The song got a round of applause from the audience, as well as the panelists who followed Draper on the master stage. 

He concluded his time by saying blockchain, Bitcoin and smart contracts are making up one of the “greatest transitions in the history of the world,” and it should be embraced.

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

Magic Eden Launches Bitcoin Ordinal Inscription Market, Partners With Hiro, Xverse to Bolster Support

Magic Eden Launches Bitcoin Ordinal Inscription Market, Partners With Hiro, Xverse to Bolster SupportOn Monday, the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Magic Eden announced the launch of Bitcoin Ordinal inscription support. Magic Eden said it has partnered with the wallets Hiro and Xverse to “bring a familiar wallet transaction experience to the marketplace.” Magic Eden’s Decision to Launch on Bitcoin Without Royalty Support and Compete With Emerging Markets Magic […]

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

Web2 giants coming into Web3 could benefit ecosystem — PBW founder

Paris Blockchain Week founder Michael Amar believes large Web2 companies entering the Web3 space bring resources capable of increasing mass adoption.

Paris Blockchain Week (PBW), an annual gathering of professionals within the blockchain industry, has kicked off its fourth edition, with industry leaders and entrepreneurs from across the world gathering to discuss the latest trends and developments impacting the digital asset space.

In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Michael Amar, the founder and chairman of Paris Blockchain Week, shared that the original vision for the conference was to put Europe on the map, as it was previously “nowhere on the map for blockchain.”

Cointelegraph's Joe Hall with Michael Amar.

Founded in 2019, PBW was created with the vision of bringing together professionals within the industry to advance blockchain awareness and adoption. According to Amar, the aim of the conference was to progress the industry as a whole, addressing topics like regulation and deep technology.

Fast forward to 2023, the topics have expanded to include Web3, nonfungible tokens, the metaverse, and decentralized autonomous organizations. Amar said that the growth of Web3 is beneficial for the blockchain industry, as it can promote wider adoption of digital assets, potentially opening the door to other industries. He told Cointelegraph: 

“Now that we’re opening up to brands, we’re talking IP, we’re talking innovation, we’re talking marketing. It opens up to luxury brands, to fashion brands, to art, to real estate, to so many industries. So, I think this Web3 movement is very good because it creates mass adoption for crypto and blockchain at the end of the day.”

Speaking on how the participation of tech giants impacts the ecosystem, Amar shared: 

“The Web2 players and tech giants are coming, so we’re very happy to have Google or Amazon or SAP part of the event. And actually, they’re bringing their resources and their projects to the space to make Web3 happen for the masses.” 

Amar addressed concerns about whether the entrance of Web2 companies, as well as retail and consumer brands, undermines Web3’s mission of decentralization. He believes that while the centralized power of these companies is a concern, their resources, tools, platforms and investments can be used to drive change and bring about more governance within Web3 systems. Although these companies may never be fully decentralized, Amar suggested that having something meaningful to decentralize is a step in the right direction.

Related: Paris Blockchain Week 2023: Latest updates by Cointelegraph

Paris Blockchain Week hosts over 10,000 attendees and sold out last year. Alongside the main event, it has a dedicated day for investors, a competition for startups, a hackathon and additional side events. The 2022 summit drew approximately 3,000 attendees and included talks with top personalities in the field, including Binance’s Changpeng Zhao and Tether’s Paolo Ardoino.

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

AI set to benefit from blockchain-based data infrastructure

Several data infrastructure and intelligence use cases take a decentralized approach to provide AI functionalities.

The rise of ChatGPT has been nothing short of spectacular. Within two months of launch, the artificial intelligence (AI)-based application reached 100 million unique users. In January 2023 alone, ChatGPT registered about 590 million visits.

In addition to AI, blockchain is another disruptive technology with increasing adoption. Decentralized protocols, applications and business models have matured and gained market traction since the Bitcoin (BTC) white paper was published in 2008. Much needs to be done to advance both of these technologies, but the zones of convergence between the two will be exciting to watch.

While the hype is around AI, a lot goes on behind the scenes to create a robust data infrastructure to enable meaningful AI. Low-quality data stored and shared inefficiently would lead to poor insights from the intelligence layer. As a result, it is critical to look at the data value chain holistically to determine what needs to be done to get high-quality data and AI applications using blockchain.

The key question is how Web3 technologies can tap into artificial intelligence in areas like data storage, data transfers and data intelligence. Each of these data capabilities may benefit from decentralized technologies, and firms are focusing on delivering them.

Data storage

It helps to understand why decentralized data storage is an essential building block for the future of decentralized AI. As blockchain projects scale, every vector of centralization could come to haunt them. A centralized blockchain project could suffer governance breakdown, regulatory clampdown or infrastructure issues.

For instance, the Ethereum network “Merge,” which moved the chain from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake in September 2022, could have added a vector of centralization to the chain. Some have argued that major platforms and exchanges like Lido and Coinbase, which have a large share of the Ethereum staking market, have made the network more centralized.

Another vector of centralization for Ethereum is its reliance on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud storage. Therefore, storage and processing power for blockchain projects must be decentralized over time to mitigate the risks of a single centralized point of failure. This presents an opportunity for decentralized storage solutions to contribute to the ecosystem, bringing scalability and stability.

But how does decentralized storage work?

The principle is to use multiple servers and computers worldwide to store a document. Simply, a document can be split, encrypted and stored on different servers. Only the document owner will have the private key to retrieve the data. On retrieval, the algorithm pulls these individual parts to present the document to the user.

Recent: Tokenized mortgages can prevent another housing bubble crisis, says Casper exec

From a security perspective, the private key is the first layer of protection, and the distributed storage is the second layer. If one node or a server on the network is hacked, it can only access part of the encrypted data file.

Major projects within the decentralized storage space include Filecoin, Arweave, Crust, Sia and StorJ.

Decentralized storage is still in a nascent state, however. Facebook generates 4 petabytes (4,096 terabytes) of data daily, yet Arweave has only handled about 122TB of data in total. It costs about $10 to store 1TB of data on AWS, while on Arweave, the cost is about $1,350 at the time of publication.

Undoubtedly, decentralized storage has a long way to go, but high-quality data storage can boost AI for real-world use cases.

Data transfer

Data transfer is the next key use case on the data stack that can benefit from decentralization. Data transfers using centralized application programming interfaces (APIs) can still enable AI applications. However, adding a vector of centralization at any point in the data stack would make it less effective.

Once decentralized, the next item on the data value chain is the transfer and sharing of data — primarily through oracles.

Oracles are entities that connect blockchains to external data sources so that smart contracts can plug into real-world data and make transaction decisions.

However, oracles are one of the most vulnerable parts of the data architecture, with hackers targeting them extensively and successfully over the years. In one recent example, the Bonq protocol suffered a $120 million loss due to an oracle hack.

Besides smart contracts and cross-chain bridge hacks, oracle vulnerabilities have been low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals. This is mainly due to a lack of decentralized data transfer infrastructure and protocols.

Decentralized oracle networks (DONs) are a potential solution for secure data transfer. DONs have multiple nodes that provide high-quality data and establish end-to-end decentralization.

Oracles have been used extensively within the blockchain industry, with different types of oracles contributing to the data transfer mechanism.

There are input, output, cross-chain and compute-enabled oracles. Each of them has a purpose in the data landscape. 

Input oracles carry and validate data from off-chain data sources to a blockchain for use by a smart contract. Output oracles allow smart contracts to carry data off-chain activity and trigger certain actions. Cross-chain oracles carry data between two blockchains — which could be fundamental as blockchain interoperability improves — while compute-enabled oracles use off-chain computation to offer decentralized services.

While Chainlink has been a pioneer in developing oracle technologies for blockchain data transfer, protocols like Nest and Band also provide decentralized oracles. Apart from pure blockchain-based protocols, platforms like Chain API and CryptoAPI provide APIs for DONs to consume off-chain data securely.

Data intelligence

The data intelligence layer is where all the infrastructure efforts of storing, sharing and processing data come to fruition. A blockchain-based application using AI can still source data from traditional APIs. However, that would add a degree of centralization and could affect the robustness of the final solution.

However, several applications are tapping into machine learning and artificial intelligence in crypto and blockchain.

Trading and investments

For several years, machine learning and artificial intelligence have been used within fintech to deliver robo-advisory functionalities to investors. Web3 has taken inspiration from these applications of AI. Platforms source data on market prices, macroeconomic data and alternate data like social media, generating user-specific insights.

The user typically sets their risk and returns expectations, with the recommendations from the AI platform falling within these parameters. The data required to deliver these insights is sourced by the AI platform using oracles.

Bitcoin Loophole and Numerai are examples of this AI use case. Bitcoin Loophole is a trading application that employs artificial intelligence to provide trading signals to platform users. It claims to have over 85% success rate in doing so.

Numerai claims it is on a mission to build “the world’s last hedge fund” using blockchain and AI. It uses AI to collect data from different sources to manage a portfolio of investments like a hedge fund would.

AI marketplace

A decentralized AI marketplace thrives on the network effect between developers building AI solutions at one end, and users and organizations employing these solutions at the other end. Due to the application’s decentralized nature, most commercial relationships and transactions between these stakeholders are automated using smart contracts.

Developers can configure the pricing strategy through inputs to smart contracts. Payment to them for using their solution could happen per data transaction, data insight or just a flat retainer fee for the period of use. There could also be hybrid approaches to the price plan, with the usage tracked on-chain as the AI solution is used. The on-chain activities would trigger smart contract-based payments for using the solution.

SingularityNET and Fetch.ai are two examples of such applications. SingularityNET is a decentralized marketplace for AI tools. Developers create and publish solutions that organizations and other platform participants can use through APIs.

Fetch.ai, similarly, offers decentralized machine learning solutions to build modular and reusable solutions. Agents build peer-to-peer solutions on this infrastructure. The economic layer across the entire data platform is on a blockchain, enabling usage tracking and smart contract transaction management.

NFT and metaverse intelligence

Another promising use case is around nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverses. Since 2021, NFTs have been viewed as social identities by many Web3 users using their NFTs as Twitter profile pictures. Organizations like Yuga Labs have gone one step further, allowing users to log in to a metaverse experience using their Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT avatars.

As the metaverse narrative ramps up, so will the use of NFTs as digital avatars. However, digital avatars on metaverses today are neither intelligent nor do they bear any resemblance to the personality that the user expects. This is where AI can add value. Intelligent NFTs are being developed to allow NFT avatars to learn from their users.

Recent: University students reveal new Web3 solutions at ETHDenver 2023

Matrix AI and Althea AI are two firms developing AI tools to bring intelligence to metaverse avatars. Matrix AI aims to create “avatar intelligence,” or AvI. Its technology allows users to create metaverse avatars as close to themselves as possible.

Althea AI is building a decentralized protocol to create intelligent NFTs (iNFTs). These NFTs can learn to respond to simple user cues through machine learning. The iNFTs would become avatars on its metaverse named “Noah’s Ark.” Developers can use the iNFT protocol to create, train and earn from their iNFTs.

Several of these AI projects have seen an increase in token prices alongside the rise of ChatGPT. Yet, user adoption is the true litmus test, and only then can we be sure that these platforms solve a real problem for the user. These are still early days for AI and decentralized data projects, but the green shoots have emerged and look promising.

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

Signum Digital scores approval to offer security tokens in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Security and Futures Commission greenlights Signum Digital to offer security tokens in the city after inviting applications for virtual asset trading licenses.

Signum Digital, a joint venture of Coinstreet and Somerley, has announced that it has received an approval-in-principle from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) for its security token offering (STO) and subscription platform.

Security tokens are a new category of digital assets built on blockchain technology representing ownership of tangible assets, such as private equities, real estate, art and collectibles. By being linked to real-world assets, the tokens may lower risks for potential investors, facilitate research processes and provide a foundation for the market value of the investment opportunity.

Signum Digital has claimed that, following the receipt of final authorization from Hong Kong’s SFC, it will manage the STO platform using the brand name “CS-Pro.“ This platform will be a pioneering development in Hong Kong, according to Signum.

Last month, the Hong Kong SFC released preliminary regulations for virtual asset trading platforms and urged the general public to provide their input. Under the upcoming licensing system scheduled to begin in June, the SFC mandated that digital currency exchanges submit license applications that would let everyday investors trade specific high-capitalization tokens.

Hong Kong has been proposing new initiatives for the city’s cryptocurrency and digital asset sector since last year when it invited firms interested in providing STO services to pitch proposals.

Related: Hong Kong’s losses to crypto scams doubled to $217M last year: Report

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global also announced last month that it is applying for a license to operate in Hong Kong, possibly moving headquarters from Singapore to the special administrative region.

Recently, Hong Kong has displayed much interest in becoming a crypto hub, investing heavily in supporting the potential of technologies like Web3.

In mid-December 2022, Hong Kong launched its first two exchange-traded funds for cryptocurrency futures, which raised over $70 million ahead of its debut. The event came soon after the head of Hong Kong’s SFC announced in October that Hong Kong is willing to distinguish its crypto regulation approach from the Chinese crypto ban enforced in 2021.

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

Ethereum Upgrade to Implement Beacon Chain Withdrawals Scheduled for April 12

Ethereum Upgrade to Implement Beacon Chain Withdrawals Scheduled for April 12During the Execution Layer Meeting streamed on March 16, 2023, Ethereum developers announced that the blockchain is scheduled to upgrade on April 12, in 27 days. The upgrade, known as the Shanghai-Capella upgrade or Shapella, will include the implementation of Beacon chain push withdrawals. This will enable Ethereum network validators to support withdrawal operations following […]

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

Uniswap launches on BNB Chain ecosystem to drive growth and liquidity

After receiving the support of a significant majority of 66% of voters in February, the deployment of Uniswap Protocol v3 is now operational on BNB Chain.

Decentralized exchange Uniswap is officially live on BNB Chain, the smart contract blockchain built by Binance.

More than 55 million UniSwap (UNI) token holders voted in favor of a governance proposal by 0x Plasma Labs to deploy Uniswap v3 on BNB Chain in February, which passed successfully.

The proposal was brought up due to the need for Uniswap to expand its reach and potentially drive further growth and adoption of DeFi.

Prior to this, Wormhole was chosen as the Protocol’s designated bridge to BNB Chain in a Temperature Check vote. The temperature check is a process to determine whether there is sufficient will to make changes to the status quo.

According to the announcement, the expansion to BNB Chain offers several advantages, including user growth, lower fees and tapping into new geographical markets.

The announcement also stated that the move to BNB Chain will enhance the Uniswap Protocol’s ability to serve all users within the Web3 space and marks a step towards increasing accessibility and liquidity for its users.

Related: Uniswap wants to launch mobile wallet, but Apple won’t greenlight its launch

The move means that Uniswap Protocol users will be able to leverage BNB Chain’s ecosystem to trade and swap tokens across the network. The integration also allows Uniswap to tap into a pool of liquidity with BNB Chain’s decentralized finance (DeFi) developer community and increase awareness and adoption among retail and institutional investors.

According to the announcement, the launch aligns with the DeFi industry's requirement for greater accessibility and cross-blockchain compatibility. The launch is expected further to fuel the growth of both Uniswap and BNB Chain.

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court

Former Age of Empires producer talks blockchain game adoption and GameFi

Web3 gaming is the future, and mainstream veteran Peter Bergstrom reveals how the ecosystem can expedite the inevitable.

The crypto ecosystem has spent over a decade proving it can disrupt the status quo as crypto and blockchain technologies like cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and blockchain-based games go head-to-head against their mainstream counterparts.

While Bitcoin (BTC) has managed to shoulder its way closer to mainstream adoption, the same cannot be said for other crypto subsectors. In the gaming world, blockchain games were afforded hype and passion similar to their mainstream competitors over the years.

However, challenging the status quo of an established industry is no easy feat. As a result, the blockchain gaming industry is tasked with delivering everything mainstream games offer, exceeding gamers’ expectations with new features and experiences.

Considering the potential of crypto innovations to disrupt the mainstream, the crypto community has not given up on GameFi — the fusion of gaming and finance. Building on the foundation laid by crypto entrepreneurs, mainstream gaming veterans have taken up the challenge to deliver a highly-anticipated comeback for the blockchain gaming industry.

For over 25 years, Peter Bergstrom worked at mainstream gaming publishers, including Microsoft Game Studios and Sony Interactive Entertainment. As a producer of Age of Empires, he saw what it takes for a game to make an impact across generations. Bergstrom has now stepped into the Web3 world to help bring blockchain gaming up to par with traditional video games.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Bergstrom dives into the factors that make or break a game title. He shares his take on why blockchain games haven’t taken off, and what needs to be done to change that.

Cointelegraph: Despite evident setbacks over the years, both gamers and capital investors continue to bet big on the success of blockchain gaming and the GameFi ecosystem. Looking back and comparing it to the traditional gaming industry, what do you think is missing? Is there a need for rebuilding the ecosystem from scratch, or can we build on the existing winning formula known to the gaming industry for decades?

Peter Bergstrom: The traditional game business has had decades to invent and fine-tune what players find exciting:

  1. A compelling challenge and conflict 
  2. The balance between player strategy and how to deal with chance events 
  3. Aesthetics 
  4. Compelling themes and story 
  5. Rewards that are not just money based 

The GameFi ecosystem has not had time to come close to making items 1–4 compelling or competitive with traditional games. In regard to rewards, it seems GameFi has primarily relied on earning money/crypto and little else — very complex systems and not compelling to many players.

Besides, there are no GameFi publishers that can come close to competing with the online (or retail) distribution systems of iOS, Android, Steam, Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo. Additionally, too little effort has been made to make onboarding to a GameFi game user-friendly or to play the game easy. Ease of use has largely been ignored.

CT: Will mainstream titles eventually make their way into blockchain/Web3 gaming?

PB: Eventually, AAA game developers will integrate Web3 [...] and make hit titles. By using non-traditional forms of distribution, perhaps through evolved social media, a new artificial intelligence (AI)-driven distribution platform, or an acquisition of an established Web2 publisher — Web3 gaming will eventually find a solid audience

CT: In your experience working for one of the most iconic titles — Age of Empires (AOE) — what was the most crucial factor that helped the AOE franchise develop a relationship with fans and gamers that spans generations?

PB: Age of Empires was and is great because you were allowed to choose your own pace of gameplay. The games begin with you expanding a civilian populace; then, you build a military force to protect them, expand the civilian populace to support the military, and gradually build your empire over the course of a match. Some Age of Empires skirmishes can last for hours because the series places more control in your hands by giving you more options, which results in a slower, more considered and strategic play style.

Age of Empires games come in three basic modes: single-player campaign, single-player skirmish and multiplayer. The campaign and skirmish modes are all about playing against the computer and trying to win a scenario. Multiplayer is a more frantic affair because players are craftier and focused more on total military domination than the computer.

Screenshot of Age of Empires Definitive Edition. Source: PCGamer

In Age of Empires, you can win peacefully by building and defending a wonder, like the Great Pyramid or the Colosseum, keeping it standing for 5–10 minutes, or by capturing relics, artifacts, and ruins and holding them for a set period of time. These win conditions have a lot in common with games like Civilization, emphasizing more than just military dominance.

CT: What’s more important for mass adoption — a good gaming experience or more rewards?

PB: Both — There are no black-and-white answers in game design. What makes the game business so successful is that brilliant game designers continually design new and different ways of gameplay and incorporate this into the rest of what’s already there seamlessly. This will surely happen with GameFi Web3 games as well. Not everything will happen at once but a little at a time by different game designers and developers.

CT: Many believe that gameplay, not payments, attracts gamers. Who is the primary target audience for the GameFi industry — crypto investors, gamers, or both?

PB: Obviously, gamers are the primary target — GameFi is about adding a new dimension of compelling gameplay to Web2 games. Crypto investors are the new Web3 financiers of games, venture capitalists (VC) and individual investors alike — as opposed to the traditional Web2 publishing funding model that is primarily controlled and monopolized by large tech companies.

CT: What are your thoughts on the claim that, unlike NFTs, the GameFi ecosystem has lower dependence on the price of cryptocurrencies?

PB: Because the GameFi tokens and its ecosystem is part of a proven business model that has experienced growth for 35 years, there are 3.09 billion gamers globally, generating $185 billion as of 2022. Some of these gamers will likely become early adopters of Web3 gaming (as we already have seen in the Philippines with Axie Infinity). Even a 1% slice of the game business amounts to 31 million players. Most business analysts look at the huge consumer installed base and likely incorporate that in their investment recommendations — thus incentivizing investors where they should put their investments.

CT: In your experience, what can blockchain games do to mend their reputation and come up to par with mainstream publishers?

PB: Players don’t care about the technology behind a good game. Drop the blockchain/NFT/play-to-earn (P2E)/metaverse/Web3 talk. Make a good game and invisibly incorporate blockchain, NFTs, play and earn, AI, G5, or whatever to make a better game, and gamers will buy. They don’t care if it’s a Unity or Unreal engine in the game — as long it’s a good game. They just want to have an entertaining playing experience — not a science lesson.

CT: What is the fastest way to GameFi adoption — Mobile, PC, consoles, virtual reality (VR)? And what does the full potential of GameFi look like to you?

PB: When it comes to expedited GameFi adoption, PC takes the cake because it is the least monopolized by tech giants that oppose Web3 gaming. It is also not hardware sales-dependent like VR. However, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to predicting the future. That is for our brilliant game designers and developers out there to create.

CT: Finally, what is your advice for the GameFi ecosystem entrepreneurs and developers?

PB: After the investment boom in 2021 and 2022, 2023 is about cutting costs and lengthening your financial runway, then building your game and inventing new, more attractive solutions to the gameplay while you wait for the VC money to reappear. Also, network for connections, alliances and partnerships with companies that are synergistic for you in your space. Exchanges, Tier 0,1,2,3 blockchains, metaverse builders, avatar plugins, Web3 game publishers, middleware providers etc., and, of course, never stop looking, and make friendly contacts with VCs and other investors.

Bergstrom ended the discussion by highlighting that gaming will be the single biggest consumer application of blockchain in 2023, bar none — given the size of the total gaming market and current momentum.

Voyager’s $1B sale to Binance.US put on hold by US court