Minecraft on the Blockchain: A Look Into the World of Cryptovoxels
Cryptovoxels may look like just another Minecraft style game, but it is much more. Crytpovoxels is a game, creative space, social platform and e-commerce platform that is built using the Ethereum blockchain. Their website further explains,
“Cryptovoxels is a user-owned virtual world that is powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Users can buy land and build virtual stores, art galleries, music studios or anything else you can imagine. The editing tools are built into the world, and multi-user voice chat lets you spend time with friends exploring the city.”
Cryptovoxels allows users to truly own their digital items and assets through harnessing the power of a blockchain.
Cryptovoxels is a game with no direct objective. You can do almost anything such as exploring, building, and socializing with friends. This type of sandbox environment enables absolute creativity with how a user interacts with the world. Those that have played games like Minecraft will find the user interface very intuitive. While located on a user-owned parcel of land, selecting “tab” opens in-menu controls such as building blocks, 2D and 3D text, images, paragraphs, audio, scripting buttons, 3D modeling imports, and more. Building is as easy as clicking on which block you wish to use and then clicking where you want to place it. Users have an unlimited supply of black and white building blocks, but you can add color by purchasing COLR tokens. Even communicating with other users is extremely easy with a text chat and voice chat function.
There is also work being done to enable mini-games in Cryptovoxels. Mini-games could range from battle royal shooters to racing and sports games. There is no limit to the types of games that can be created in this open environment.
A Creative Space
While exploring Cryptovoxels and its community I have noticed a very curious, and potentially important, factor in the platform’s growth. In meatspace (the real world) there is a pattern of creatives moving into less expensive, dilapidated neighborhoods and creating artistic spaces, such as art studios and galleries. This process transforms the neighborhood from barren to hip, which leads to more businesses and people moving in and property value rising.
Cryptovoxels seems to be mimicking the real world as it has a noticeably high population of artists. Painters, graphic designers, 3D modeling experts, digital artists, and creators of all types call this virtual world home. Their creations range from mundane to amazing, but when users add features like URL web links, image links, audio clips and NFTs links (non-fungible tokens), the structures become much more immersive and engaging.
A Social Platform
Perhaps the most important ingredient in Cryptovoxels is its social aspect. Most great games have high levels of social interaction and Cryptovoxels is no different. Speaking with other users is exceptionally easy and can be done on the Cryptovoxels Discord channel or via the in-world text and voice chat. Social interactions are not limited to speaking with other users: other fun (and funny) activities you can partake in include dance parties, group photos, and assisting users with their builds. The community is highly engaged and supportive of new users which leads to better user experiences. As the platform continues to grow their openness may change, but for now, the community is strong, happy and growing.
Is Cryptovoxels a New Social Media Platform?
Cryptovoxels elevates social media because users have the ultimate freedom to create in a 3-dimensional space. Popular social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, allow the use of visual content like images and text, but is greatly limited beyond that. A platform like Cryptovoxels holds immense promise in the realm of social media because the parcel of land you own can be thought of a “physical manifestation” of your social media profile. You can create anything; a small house, a sculptural piece of art, photos or videos of yourself, or URL links to subjects you find interesting. By building these structures you are not only creating content for yourself but also curating an online physical representation of yourself for others to view. Combining these features with voice and text integration may be the perfect formula for a social media hit.
E-commerce is the old-school, NFT-commerce is the future of digital commerce. As previously mentioned, an NFT is a unique digital asset which is owned by the user and not the game in which it is made. With NFTs, users have the ability to buy, sell and trade digital items completely independently without any outside control of others. NFTs are in a nascent stage right now with what you buy being what you get. A Cryptovoxels land parcel can be used to build on but that is currently its only functionality. In the future users might be able to sell digital experiences: for example, NFT tokens can act as an entrance ticket to a virtual amusement park or act as an access token to an online education class. The ramifications of NFT enabled commerce are massive and truly endless. Right now we are just scratching the surface but we can expect Cryptovoxels to be on the cutting edge of this technology.
Minecraft allows you to build, create, and obtain items — but you do not truly own them. If Minecraft shuts down, the value and hard work you put into the game is lost. Additionally, since Minecraft is a centralized entity it has control over the types of in-game assets you can use. NFTs and Cryptovoxels specifically offer an alternative where you may own your own digital assets which sit on the Ethereum blockchain. Using the Ethereum blockchain offers the security that even if Cryptovoxels shuts down, your assets remain yours. Of course, if Cryptovoxels shuts down then your assets will probably drop massively in value and hosting costs must be considered, but the point stands that you still own the items you worked hard to obtain.
With true ownership, people will be able to work full-time in virtual worlds, earning assets with little fear of losing those assets if there were a shutdown. True ownership brings us one step closer to people working and living in virtual worlds.
Other Virtual Worlds Using Blockchain
Decentraland is also a user-owned virtual world and was the first with the idea to put a virtual world on a blockchain. But in contrast to Cryptovoxels, Decentraland is not yet live. In August 2017, Decentraland raised $24m through an ICO; Cryptovoxels has never done an ICO but funds itself through selling parcels of digital land whenever the developer needs more funds. The below chart shows that Decentraland, a project with no product, can have a higher perceived value than one with an actual working product. If Cryptovoxels reached a valuation parity to Decentraland, we would see the price of Cryptovoxels parcels increase more than 10x. This would be damaging to Cryptovoxels because current Decentraland land prices are quite possibly in a bubble.
To say Cryptovoxels presents an extremely unique investment opportunity is an understatement. An investment in Cryptovoxels is exceptionally activist in nature. Instead of investing in the company behind Cryptovoxels, you can directly invest in tokenized parcels of virtual land. Through being an active and productive member of the community (suggesting new features, building, helping newcomers, and discovering bugs) you are directly assisting in the growth of Cryptovoxels and thus your investment.
Owning parcels of land can be compared to owning Binance’s native BNB token when it was first released in 2017. Binance was a small cryptocurrency exchange that did not raise any venture capital but was able to bootstrap itself into the behemoth it is today. The only available method to invest in Binance was through investing directly into the BNB token, which gives users discounts on trading fees. Binance has regularly destroyed a specific amount of BNB tokens to decrease the supply and increase value. Since inception, the BNB token has returned roughly 30,000%.
Binance continues to add more functionality to its token which has helped to further increase its value. Cryptovoxels could replicate this pattern and add additional functionality to its land parcel tokens. Allowing token holders to rent out properties or creating additional token holders benefits could increase the value of land parcel tokens. However, since Cryptovoxels is a platform that depends on users to contribute to its success it will not happen as easily as Binance’s BNB token. This is why the term “activist” investor is so important. For a Cryptovoxels investment to achieve a Binance-level of success, it will have to attract thousands of players who are activist in nature and are willing to become valued members of the community.
The Road Ahead
I am incredibly excited about the future of Cryptovoxels. This next generation platform combines gaming, creativity, social, and commerce in one place. Their incredible community and exceptionally dedicated founder cannot go unnoticed. With all of these factors considered, the project has an extremely high likelihood of success and participating in its growth will be a rewarding endeavor.
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