A blockchain game that finally makes sense

Massimo Lomuscio
5 min readOct 20, 2019

When Internet started the first consumer applications were around gaming, gambling and pornography.

Still, in the new Crypto World we have seen very few applications with innovative concepts, while most of them have just replicated old functionalities on the blockchain, or leveraged a Greater Fool strategy.

I am very excited to introduce a new generation game.
It involves game theory, psychological skills, luck and social gaming while being simple and straightforward. And it’s a perfect match for the blockchain technology.

CryptoDogs, you might think? Even better.

Are you smarter than the average?
Ready to gain Ether with that?

Then welcome to the Block Sheep, where the minority wins.

Let’s play.

The Block Sheep will ask you a question and with 2 (or more) options. For example:

“Will Donald Trump be reelected?” — Yes, No
“Who will win the 2018 World Cup?” — Germany, Brasil, Italy, Other

You are free to choose the option you want, and so will do all the other players that participate without knowing the others’ vote. When you do that, you send ether.

After a predetermined deadline, the survey is closed, and no more votes are allowed. The game discloses the results:

40% of people said Trump will be reelected.
60% of people he won’t.

And…The minority group always wins.

So, you have to be smarter than the majority, and place your answer where less people will do so. Be the Black Sheep! (Because it’s a blockchain-based game… Block Sheep).

What you win: double your coins!

Be the Black Sheep. If you are A, you get your ETH (A’s) + B’s.

Every time you win, you double your coins, if there were only 2 options. If there were 4, you make a 4X and so on.

No other game will let you to double your money with 2 options. They will always either give you a smaller reward, or present a 3rd option (the 0 for example in the roulette). Otherwise, how will they make money?

With BlackSheep, you win Ether for being smarter! How good are you at predicting others’ behaviour?

Blockchain is love.

Players cannot cheat. The house cannot cheat.

As all players are competing with each other, we need an incorruptible system to store all the immutable votes, and transparently show them at the moment of counting the results. There tally is completed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine, so you don’t have to trust anybody for it to be fair.
It mathematically has to be.

The blockchain is a perfect match for a fair game.

Back to basics: no Oracles

A fundamental issue that any blockchain app needs to face is the source of truth. If this was a sport betting platform, it would have to rely on an external source to say “this team won”. But then all the players would have to trust this source, partially mining the trust-less principle of the blockchain. With Black Sheep, because all the data (questions, # of players and answers) is already in the smart contract, there is no need to access external sources that can be manipulated.

A decentralized business model?

As in the internet giants (Google, Facebook) in the early days, blockchain dapps have a fundamental problem. They don’t know how to make money.

Can a dapp sustain itself just by the increasing value of its tokens (if it created its own tokens)? Hardly on the long term.

Can it take a cut every time there is a transaction? It can, but then what is the difference between all the middlemen in the “normal” internet.

Decentralized Apps will have to invent their own business models, and this will make the difference between their success or their failure.

This isn’t a universal solution, but definitely something that works for this game.

The game doesn’t take a commission when you answer a question; the game doesn’t take a cut when you win.

It makes money by recollecting the left coins after the winning minority has double theirs.

It wouldn’t be possible otherwise. If we distributed also those coins to the winners, we would create an incentive to bet on both sides to try to always win. This would level both sides and the game would lose its sense and the drive to be “smarter that the average”.

How it works.

The Game runs on the Ethereum Network.

  • The smart contract contains all the questions and the options to answer with the amount of coins that you need to vote on that question
  • The questions are presented to the player that can decide to place a vote or skip the question.
  • A smart contract is used to collect the coins and the encrypted votes of the users — they are submitted without disclosing them to other players.
  • When the submitting phase is over, every player has a limited time to commit his/her answer, this time in a public format. The browser remembers the user’s game-specific-keys to facilitate the second round, or allows the user to use the previously saved keys on his/her computer.
    The contract checks that the answer corresponds to the one previously submitted in an encrypted format.
  • The Virtual Machine then tallies the votes and distribute the accumulated coins to the minority (the Black Sheeps), guaranteeing fairness and transparency to all players, who can verify the number of votes each option has received.

Future improvements:

Avoid the 2 round system. While it’s definitely an obstacle to a smooth gameplay, it’s also the only available solution at the moment. I will keep monitoring the development of Enigma and other secret smart contract platforms that will improve dapp workflows.

Fees necessary to submit an answer. This does reduce the winning budget; Ethereum today is the best decentralized+mainstream platform on the market. Other options (FunFair? IOTA with smart contracts?) will be considered for future versions.

Fully decentralized business model: a token could be generated to split the game profits among all the token holders.

Suggestions? Critics? Let me know: Twitter / Linkedin / Email

PLAY NOW: https://blocksheep.sexatnoon.com/

Massimo (Max) Lomuscio