Introducing: Sphere

Over the past couple of months, we have been busy developing a new product that will tie the entire ecosystem of the Merit Circle DAO together; Sphere. This marketplace for gaming assets will be the driving force behind our DAO, cementing our key position within the gaming industry. Incorporating improved design, usability, efficiency and security, we know that this marketplace will set a precedent for the industry.

Join us now as we relive Sphere’s development process and share what we see as the future of this marketplace and the role it will play in the Merit Circle DAO.

What is Sphere?

Sphere is a marketplace for gaming assets in the broadest sense of the word. The term ‘gaming assets’ has been completely transformed over the decades. Once, these only meant physical items like dice or cards. With the digitalization of gaming, these started to include cartridges, CDs and consoles, and today they encompass so much more.

Today, thanks to the introduction of NFT technology, everything and anything within a game can become an asset, from your very account to the land where battles take place and the weapons your character uses to slay the ultimate boss. All of these assets can be freely transferred and exchanged from person-to-person on a marketplace like Sphere.

Sphere will open its doors to all gaming assets utilizing NFT technology that the gaming industry has to offer. As we’ve shared previously, with Sphere we are taking the wishes and needs of all parties into consideration from the creator and the collector to the gamer.

Focus on what’s important

Drawing inspiration, and staying close to the Merit Circle DAO, we took the circle of Merit and turned it into a Sphere. Sphere creates an additional layer of interaction. An extra dimension to what we’re doing at Merit Circle. Through opening this platform we allow anyone to exchange gaming assets peer-to-peer without an intermediary. The shape of a sphere fits perfectly as a symbol for us to carry forward.

Navigating through the marketplace you will notice the conscious use of color. On the NFT detail pages, color is used sparingly, in an effort to bring attention to the artwork and the things that matter (i.e price, rarity, and the sales status of the NFT).

We have paid special attention to areas which are usually boring (e.g waiting for a transaction to complete) and turn these into what they should be — moments of joy.

How has Sphere been built?

Preview of the Sphere homepage

After operating in this industry as a DAO for a little more than half a year, we realized that there were some giant gaps in the market that drastically needed to be filled. Existing NFT marketplaces were geared towards PFP projects, (generative) art, celebrity NFTs and, somewhere amongst all of this, the actual gaming asset players wanted to find. Watching from the sidelines, we realized that someone had to step up and take the lead; it was time for a change.

In collaboration with an external development agency, we pulled together a team of superstars from all fields to get the very first version of Sphere to market as quickly as possible without compromising on quality. After deciding on the initial scope, we entered the design phase, something that plays a dominant role in the entire product. After all, we know a gamer cannot get excited about a chromed out, ruby-studded mace without being indulged in the game’s ambiance.

Following that, numerous people helped with the development of Sphere, all contributing in their own way, from deploying smart contracts, auditing, running tests and design sprints to business development and overall project management; it has been an exciting journey so far.

Optimal efficiency

Acquiring and exchanging gaming assets should occur in the blink of an eye. Imagine spending hours on-end grinding in your favorite game to defeat a boss, but you realize you’re missing just one potion before you can go to battle. Instead of grinding even longer, you decide to simply purchase this potion on Sphere, quick and easy.

Acknowledging Ethereum’s dominance over other chains in seniority, decentralization and reliability, many games currently operate on the Ethereum mainnet. Its fees, however, make it inaccessible for the masses, especially for smaller transactions. Therefore, we have optimized our smart contracts in a way that is at least 50% more efficient than current solutions, and we’re striving to increase that number.

To cover the smaller transactions and a larger audience within the gamefi industry, we will initially launch on Polygon too. Obviously, there are dozens of promising games launching on chains like Solana, Avalanche and Arbitrium, so as Sphere expands, it’s important we include these games as well.

Security remains key

As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The handling of precious assets that can hold significant value should be treated as such. When building Sphere, we chose to focus on four core pillars: design, user experience, gas efficiency and, crucially, security. Having witnessed various marketplaces leave their doors wide open to vulnerabilities, we were convinced that we had to raise the industry standard from the very beginning.

Initially, we approached Quantstamp for a run-through of the solidity codebase as we did previously with our staking contracts and the Edenhorde smart contracts. Going through this first audit and reiterating on found vulnerabilities, Quantstamp will do a re-audit paving the way for the second layer of security. That’s where Sherlock comes in. Sherlock describes itself as follows:

“Sherlock provides security reviews (from top security experts), reimburses protocols when they get hacked (from the Sherlock protection fund) and also helps protocols stay secure with bug bounties. There are many organizations that provide security reviews but almost no one is willing to back up their reviews with real money. Sherlock is the first protocol that puts skin-in-the-game and pays millions of dollars to protocols if they get hacked”

In short, Sherlock will perform another audit after the Quantstamp audit and provide insurance up to $5,000,000 TVL towards any breach that may have slipped through Quantstamp’s audit. On top of that, we are offering a $500,000 bug bounty that will be live on Immunefi. We will release in-depth coverage of Sphere’s entire security set-up from Sphere’s official accounts in due course.

Core of the ecosystem

Preview of a collection page

The addition of Sphere to the Merit Circle DAO is a milestone in the on-going creation of an indestructible system. We developed Sphere after recognising the demand for something new from within our community and our partners. Now, realizing its potential through recent conversations with these partners, our beloved community and other external parties, we are more excited than ever about Sphere. The potential value this can add to the entire DAO is enormous.

For the first version of the marketplace, we will launch with a dedicated set of partners and a few external teams. These partners mainly consist of projects the DAO has invested in and being able to add them to our marketplace is something else our investment arm can also offer our portfolio of companies. The added value is what sets the Merit Circle DAO apart.

Value accrual

Sphere could, potentially, have a massively positive financial impact on the Merit Circle DAO. With a marketplace like OpenSea handling multiple billions of dollars in volume every single month, we are tapping into an immense market. Combining this with the growing gaming industry brings potential like never before; the fees alone will directly flow back into the DAO.

The DAO’s native token, $MC, will play an important role in the marketplace, especially in the fees. We’ve been brainstorming a sustainable way to incorporate the token into the marketplace and believe we found just the right balance. Each sale installs a 2.5% fee to the seller that will be charged in ETH. The collected ETH will be used to buyback $MC tokens from the secondary market that will then be reimbursed to the seller. This mechanism lowers the fees for the seller, as 50% of the total fees paid will be reimbursed to the seller in liquid $MC.

Essentially, this model creates a constant flow of purchases for the $MC token while giving an incentive for anyone to utilize the Sphere marketplace over others. Thereby, the $MC token will be further distributed among gaming enthusiasts, attributing increased governance.

Right around the corner

The very first version of Sphere is just around the corner. Without pinning ourselves to a specific date, we can share that there’s a team of experts working around the clock to launch in the near future. Please note that this first version is far from how we envision a gaming asset-marketplace in the future but it’s a start, the foundation is solid.

There are plenty more ways we can further improve the marketplace and many plans are already in the works. However, the best way to improve is by getting feet wet and receiving real feedback from users. As with other products, an official governance proposal must pass that will entail various details, mainly about future development.

Are you ready to move markets? We are ready to have you!

Want to be the first to learn about Sphere?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GetOnSphere

To stay up to date with our journey, follow Merit Circle on these channels:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeritCircle_IO
Medium: https://medium.com/@meritcircle
Discord: https://discord.gg/meritcircle
Website: https://www.meritcircle.io

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Merit Circle

Merit circle is creating a DAO that develops opportunities to earn through play for people who want to help build the metaverse