We used business intelligence analysis to understand how these decentralized apps (dapps) make money, and how they pay it out to their customers. Labeling each collectible’s full transaction history revealed some pretty astounding sums:
CryptoKitties made $6.9M in their first year and players earned $20M through auctions.
Crypto Kitties came out in November 2017. It allows players to purchase, collect, breed and sell virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain. It was the first digital assets game that really hit it big in crypto, so much so that in December 2017 it congested the Ethereum network, causing it to reach an all-time high in number of transactions and slowing the network down significantly.
You can’t play for free because you have to buy cats to breed them. Breeding new cats costs just the price of a transaction. You can then sell your cats for a small commission fee.
Gods Unchained made $4.2M their first year, and players have since earned $237k*.
Gods Unchained is a blockchain competitive card game that was built on Ethereum in July 2018, think Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone if you’re into deck-building card games.
By bringing traditional print card collectibles to the blockchain, Gods Unchained gives players true ownership of their digital assets, with the same property rights you can find in the real world. You can play the game with the basic free pack of cards, but if you really want to win you’ll want to spend money.
*Note that auctions were not held during the first year, so the 237K reflects how much players made since the first auction.
My Crypto Heroes made $1.5M their first year and players earned 118K through selling in-game assets.
My Crypto Heroes is a Japanese role-playing battle game that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. Users can play with historical inspired heroes, go on quests to find rare items, and battle against other players for rewards (and fame, according to the website). This game was released in September 2018.
You can get started for free but the game really gets interesting once you start acquiring new heroes and accessories for them. Like the other two games you can also auction the assets you own to earn money.
Why build a game on a blockchain platform?
Traditionally, items in games are owned outright by the companies that create them. When players buy in-game items, like a favorite skin for their character, or a cat, the player doesn’t own it – the game company licenses it to the player. By using blockchain technology, these games give players real ownership over the items they purchase or earn in games, which can later be sold for digital currency or traded with other players.
If blockchain data is public then why is this information hard to get?
First, because to access any blockchain’s raw data, you need to run a node, or server, which requires more storage space than a normal laptop can offer. So you need to set up a data-base to ingest the DApp’s entire history of data, which constitutes tens of millions of records.
Then, a certain amount of expertise is required to understand the raw data. For instance, you need to know how smart contracts work in order to decode why a transaction is happening. Once you’ve identified the game’s main function calls, i.e. “win auction”, “breed” or “give birth”, you can catch what’s happening and why.
Lastly you need to identify which addresses belong to users, and which belong to the DApp. Some of this is publicly shared, other times you have to track patterns to conclude who owns that wallet.