Blockchain News

Crypto-Collectibles Marketplace OpenSea Partners with Blockchain Video Game Ember Sword

Ember Sword

OpenSea, a digital marketplace for non-fungible crypto collectibles, has partnered with blockchain game developer and publisher So Couch Studios to build an in-game marketplace in the studio’s fantasy massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) Ember Sword using the OpenSea infrastructure.

The partnership will see the two companies working together to utilize a custom version of the OpenSea backend to power a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace for tokenized cosmetic items inside the Ember Sword game. The marketplace will be designed with user-friendliness in mind to cater to mainstream gamers who have no knowledge about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Ember Sword is a MMORPG powered by the Ethereum blockchain where players acquire tokenized cosmetics through gameplay which they can trade and sell for PIXEL. Those who invest in land to become landowners evolve the world by placing resources, monsters, NPCs etc., and can turn a profit by creating services and experiences, like vendor marketplaces where other players buy in-game purchases, access auctions, and more.

Ember Sword

The new marketplace will allow players to freely trade their in-game landownership tokens and cosmetic items, like skins and emotes at ease using Ember Sword’s cryptocurrency the PIXEL token, a fungible ERC-20 token.

“Players trade game cosmetics, skins, and accounts for billions of dollars every year on illegal and insecure black markets already, but in Ember Sword, these items can be traded legally within the game’s secure ecosystem,” said Mark Laursen, CEO of So Couch Studios.

“OpenSea is poised to become the leading marketplace for the user-owned digital collectibles that are at the backbone of the next revolution in free to play monetization, and we’re thrilled to partner with their talented team to create the best possible experience for our players,” said Laursen. “With OpenSea, we avoid having to build a marketplace from the ground up, including testing and deploying the marketplace smart-contracts.”

Cosmetics in Ember Sword all have a unique item history, exist in a finite supply, and are rewarded to players through in-game activities and competitions, turning each item into a true digital collectible.

Y-Combinator backed OpenSea is a P2P marketplace for blockchain-based assets including collectibles and gaming items. It claims to be the largest general marketplace for user-owned digital items with the broadest set of categories and the most items. Since its beta launch in December 2017, OpenSea has had over 5,000 ETH worth of transactions.

Crypto collectibles and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) made their way into mainstream news when CryptoKitties went rival in 2017 and subsequently raised a US$12 million investment last year. NFT is a special type of cryptographic token which represents something unique. These tokens are used to create verifiable digital scarcity and in specific applications that require unique digital items like crypto-collectibles and crypto-gaming.

Popular blockchain games including CryptoKitties but also CryptoPunks and Decentraland uses the Ethereum ERC-721 protocol for their NFTs.

Next week, the NFT NYC event will bring together over 50 speakers that will explore the non-fungible blockchain ecosystem and how unique digital assets on the blockchain will transform gaming, licensing, art and finance.

Partners and sponsors of the event include EY, Perkins Coie, CryptoKitties and OpenSea.

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VC Fred Wilson Predicts “New Bullish Phase” in Crypto

Image: Fred Wilson, by JD Lasica, via Flickr

In his annual post about the new year ahead, prominent venture capitalist and Union Square Ventures (USV) co-founder Fred Wilson predicts cryptocurrencies will enter a “new bullish phase” fueled by the many projects set to come to fruition in 2019.

2018 was a catastrophic year for crypto investors who witnessed the so-called Great Crypto Crash, a massive year-long sell-off period that saw cryptocurrencies collapsed 80% by September 2018 from their peak in January 2018. 2019 should see the long period of difficulty come to an end.

“I think we are in the process of finding the bottom on the large, liquid, and lasting crypto-tokens. But I think that process could take much of 2019 to play out,” Wilson writes.

“I expect we will see some bullish runs, followed by selling pressures taking us back to retest the lows. I think this bottoming out process will end sometime in 2019 and we will slowly enter a new bullish phase in crypto.”

The catalyst for the next bullish phase in crypto will come as we see some big projects deliver on promises made in 2017. He cites some of USV’s portfolio companies including Protocol Labs, which is developing Filecoin, and Algorand, the company behind the Algorand project, which will likely release solutions in 2019. 

“I think we will see a number of ‘next gen’ smart contract platforms ship and challenge Ethereum for leadership in this super important area of the crypto sector,” Wilson predicts.

“I also expect the Ethereum open source community to ship a number of important improvements to its system in 2019 and defend their leadership in the smart contract space.”

Other areas where Wilson expects significant progress and consumer adoption happen this year are stablecoins, non-fungible tokens/cryptoassets/cryptogaming, and earn/spending opportunities, particularly in the developing world.

Stablecoins, which promise to solve cryptocurrencies’ volatility problem by being pegged to fiat currencies, were all the rage in the blockchain industry in 2018. A report by Bloomberg released in December 2018 suggests that Facebook is currently developing a stablecoin that will let users transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging app. The project will first focus on the remittances market in India, people familiar with the matter told the news outlet.

Echoing Wilson, Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro, forecasts that 2019 will be the year of tokenization. 

“As we move into 2019, we’re likely to see many more types of financial assets being tokenized,” Greenspan said in a statement.

“Most likely starting with stocks and ETFs, but just about anything that has a value can essentially be represented as a digital token on a blockchain, making it easier to transfer ownership directly from person to person instantly across the Internet.”

Greenspan also anticipates greater institutional interest in the crypto market.

“In 2018 we saw plenty of statements of intent from financial services incumbents, who are keen to provide crypto-related services for their clients… In 2019, the priorities for financial heavyweights include exchanges, ETFs and cryptoasset custody, more futures markets, and additional crypto related trading vehicles. As they enter the market, institutions will bring with them clients who want to access cryptoassets on their own terms, through a medium they are familiar with.”

Wilson expects regulatory pressure to continue this year and cites concerns over “actions brought by misguided regulators who will take aim at high quality projects and harm them.”

Like previous years, 2019 will continue to witness all sorts of failures, from scams, hacks, to failed projects.

“That is always the case with a new emerging technology that allows anyone to set up shop and get going. Permissionless innovation produces the greatest gains over time but also comes with the inevitable bad actors and actions,” he concludes.