Issue 21 🍵 Axie Infinity is on 🔥

A quick dive into Axie Infinity's insane growth, and more NFT news.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is not financial advice. Members of the Cup team also own Axies and the associated tokens. We buy what we like, and you should buy what you like.

While the general cryptocurrency market has fallen from its all-time high prices, the reverse has been happening for NFTs.

NFTs have been actually hitting all-time highs—there have been a lot of generative profile-picture, CryptoPunk derivatives that sold out over the past month. And the NFT game, Axie Infinity, has been especially setting record highs.

Yep, that’s right. That’s a game making $10M in revenue, beating every crypto business out there (including the Metamask wallet!

If you’re wondering how it got to this point, here’s a quick run-through:

  • Axie Infinity is best compared to Pokemon. Each Axie is a unique NFT, and you need three of them to start. Once you get a team, you can use it to play and battle. You earn the SLP token, Smooth Love Potions, for wins and achieving daily tasks.

  • Axies are exchanged within the Axie marketplace. There’s a 4.25% fee on every successful sale, that accrues to the treasury.

  • Before, the game was hampered by high Ethereum transaction fees. It cost gas to send 1 Axie, and you need 3 to play to the game. 😬 It also cost gas to list an item on the marketplace, it cost gas to breed—everything cost gas. When gas was at 200 gwei, it probably cost a few hundred dollars in transaction fees alone.

  • Then, in April 28th, the game migrated to its custom sidechain, Ronin. Each account got 100 free transactions a day, and this made transactions super smooth. It was free to help get a friend set up, move things around, or edit your mistake in your marketplace listing! It wasn’t painful to do things anymore.

  • At the beginning of May, the price of SLP, the loot token, 10xed. It was trading at a $0.04, then went on a crazy run, peaking at $0.39. Currently, the price has converged to approximately $0.11-0.13.

  • This made playing the game really, really viable for people in third-world countries. At the current rate, playing Axie already beats working minimum wage in the Philippines. Two hours playing a game everyday being equivalent to working 8 hours for minimum wage is a very, very powerful value proposition.

So, add a strong incentive to enter the ecosystem and a really smooth sidechain, unencumbered by fees, and you got a recipe for parabolic growth.

If you want to poke around some charts of Axie’s growth, look at Axie World. If you want to read more on the different mechanics and play-to-earn dynamics in Axie, one of our team members wrote a longer dive on that.

Other news

🌱 Last week, we mentioned the tension over the 1 millionth Axie. This week, the team came out with a resolution—using bots to play the game is not allowed, but leveraging tech on the blockchain is fair game. Pretty fair judgment, we think—why have a game on the blockchain if you can’t even leverage all of it, right?

🌱 The NFT marketplace Rarible raised $14M recently. Some goals for the new funding include creating a marketplace on Flow, which is where the popular collectibles project, NBA Top Shot, is hosted.

🌱 The famous artist Beeple announced the launch of WENEW, a NFT platform selling iconic moments in time. The first drop starts on 7/2 with Wimbledon. And if Beeple is a part-owner in this venture, then that’s really interesting: from figurehead NFT artist to an owner of a NFT platform.

🌱 There was an exploit with Hic et Nunc, the wildly popular Tezos art marketplace.

🌱 Instagram is testing NFT-style, in-app Collectibles. If it does go live, it’s going to be worth watching how it develops.

Reading list

Creative corner

This week, we are recommending Thailand’s 3landboy!

3landboy’s works are so detailed and colorful. It’s like a Where’s Wally artwork, but with doodle characters!

Check out more of 3landboy’s works on Foundation and Rarible, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram!

Try this: ENS Domains

As Ethereum transaction fees have settled to reasonable levels, think of getting an ENS domain!

ENS domains essentially allow people to find your long 0x Ethereum address with something as readable as yourname.eth.

You can register a domain for a year minimum, but you can also buy a few years’ worth in one transaction! If you wanna easily flex your NFTs, having an easily accessible ENS is definitely the way to go. 😎

If you thought today’s piece was a bit meatier than usual, then that’s brought to you by some personal experience in the ecosystem. Luckily, we got some early exposure to the game.

If you want more of these, consider funding us on Gitcoin! One plan was always to use those funds to try new platforms and get some more personal experience to relay back here.

🍵 See you again next Wednesday!