Looking back at 2022: an unforgettable ride
This past year will be one for the books. We’ve seen the rise and fall of industry giants and the emergence of new trends alongside the maturing of the Merit Circle DAO, which has evolved from a small group with an idea into one of the largest web3 gaming organizations in the business.
Here, we want to look back at everything this year has thrown us and see what we have achieved together to set us up for 2023.
The tide changes
Two thousand and twenty-one propelled the entire web3 industry to new heights and the Merit Circle DAO burst onto the scene, all guns blazing. Thanks to our incredible team, we landed valuable investments and built a strong network of partners, ensuring we ended the year with a treasury worth over $115 million. While we started 2022 from a super place, with hindsight, it’s easy to see that such rapid growth within the industry was not sustainable.
What started with the collapse of one player in May, soon exploded into an industry-wide disaster whose effects are still being felt months on. Some of the biggest players lost their livelihoods in the blink of an eye, leaving everyone from market participants and observers to the media and regulators shaken and dumbfounded.
When the first cracks started to appear, however, the DAO’s contributors put their heads together. Having grown off the back of an emerging trend, the play-to-earn era, we knew the dangers of playing to hype. Thankfully, by timing our launch and various investments well, we were able to outperform many others but we also realized that the play-to-earn model we were reliant on was not long-term.
New era for the Merit Circle DAO
Here at Merit Circle DAO, our driving force is to help build for the future of the gaming industry. We know that to do this we need a strong foundation, which is why we built a house.
This house holds four verticals: investments, gaming, studios and a marketplace. While each has its own goals and objectives, the overarching ambition was always to create a resilient and future-proof DAO that can withstand the wildest of storms.
Entering a new era for Merit Circle
Since the emergence of the Merit Circle DAO, there has been a continued emphasis on diversification. Initially, we…
While 2022 was one of many lessons, it was also one of accomplishments. Diving deeper into each vertical of the Merit Circle DAO, we would like to take you on a trip down memory lane and share the progress we have made.
Investing: increasing our due diligence
Since the very beginning, we at the Merit Circle DAO have insisted on protecting our treasury at all costs. As such, we started downscaling our risk-bearing assets and removing any yield-generating positions prone to serious risk. In addition, the DAO’s contributors voted against several proposals to enter into more risk-bearing positions.
As can be seen in our monthly treasury reports, we’ve been able to constantly grow, profit and maintain our treasury. Nevertheless, we have been affected by the market’s downturn causing our treasury to reach below the 10 figure mark for the first time as of the end of November 2022.
The DAO is not immune to market conditions, which is why there hasn’t been much profit to realize in recent months, and the treasury value has been declining. Our verticals are cyclical, causing the DAO to realize significant profits in favorable conditions and draw down on its reserves in depressed markets. The hope and expectation is that web3 gaming will become less cyclical and, therefore, so will our DAO.
In 2022, we’ve invested in approximately 50 projects across the gaming industry including some detours in platforms and protocols. Throughout the year, we’ve seen our investment strategy develop and mature. When we started out we made more bets on crypto-native teams that understood the industry, sometimes lacking the personal experience of building games.
Our theory on what makes a successful web3 game has shifted somewhat since learning from both our mistakes and our wins. Over time, the team has, and will continue to, become more experienced and the web3 gaming landscape is giving us more data points that we can use.
We’ve increased our average ticket size and significantly increased our due diligence and we now have the luxury of time on our side again. Whereas before, heated projects would not give more than two weeks time for due diligence before closing their round, something that has changed in our favor.
We use a much more extensive approach in which we also use a lot of expertise from our partner network. We sourced the best analysts from both the web3 space and the gaming space. The quality over quantity approach also means we can give more resources to the projects we back, empowering and supporting them.
Overall, the DAO remains very well capitalized with the ability to withstand long periods of depressed markets without compromising on the quality of the products we are building or diluting the DAO’s token holders. This puts the DAO in the perfect place for when conditions become more favorable.
Gaming: bring it on
As we’ve mentioned before, our stance towards the gaming industry has shifted dramatically over the past year. We rode the initial bursts of GameFi and gathered as much from it as possible, especially knowledge. We started building our gaming platform with the goal of onboarding gamers but that changed too.
These days, we look way beyond the blockchain industry when it comes to gaming. We’re more geared towards the landscape of traditional game studios incorporating blockchain technology, than blockchain entrepreneurs building games now. This, and the overall shift towards games that focus on quality rather than quantity, made us shift gears.
The house for our gamers
Initially, we set out to build something for the masses; tracking payments, educating gamers on how to earn more and so on. However, as the year progressed so too did our vision. In July, we introduced the first iteration of the gaming platform, mainly focused on enabling people to discover our partner games and sign up to become scholars (using Merit Circle NFTs to play games and earn rewards).
As we continue to shift away from our scholarship operations, we’ve launched a second iteration of the platform that’s the gateway into the wonderful world of web3 gaming. Gamers can come in, register and learn everything that they need to know to get started with the most amazing games in the industry. Using the platform, they gain additional benefits and get access to exclusives that we are able to offer thanks to our relationships with different game studios.
The platform will form the base layer for our gaming activities ranging from tournaments to Esports and more. We’ve had the privilege of testing many games in development and granting our community access to the private betas of promising games. In the process, we collected valuable feedback from, and for, the developers of these games.
Merit Circle Studios
As we rolled into the new year, ambition flowed through the DAO. Having succeeded as investors and after a lot of networking, we felt that incubating would be the next logical step. Instead of simply investing, however, we wanted to truly work together with the studio from the very first day of development, advising strategically, financially and operationally.
In early April, we introduced the Merit Circle Studios and revealed our first creation, Edenhorde. We also announced that we were working on Project Loki, an undisclosed project that would be a fun addition to the Merit Circle DAO. Where Edenhorde was in our own control and we managed to deliver on our promises, Project Loki turned out to be something different.
We realized that running a studio is something more than having a place where we can incorporate our own projects. The ability to market a game is something that requires a diligent approach and, at that point in time, we weren’t able to deliver on that in the way we had imagined. To succeed with marketing this game, we required something we couldn’t provide.
Therefore, we decided to part ways with Project Loki and only work on projects close to our heart.
In June, MIP-15 passed, which saw the development of an NFT aggregator that the DAO holds 50% ownership of. After its acceptance, the aggregator was crowned Xeric. The DAO has been passionately involved in the creation of the brand, its communications so far, development decisions and fundraising. We truly believe that this will be an exciting addition to the DAO, especially in combination with Sphere.
Merit Circle Tactile
The Merit Circle DAO may be digital but its contributors are physical and based around the globe. We got together during our 4/20 event earlier this year but we want to do more. We want to give our contributors the opportunity to represent the DAO through high-quality merchandise that goes beyond a logo on a hoodie. What to expect will be made clear in the near future.
Development: perfection takes time
We began 2022 building our gaming platform and saw an opportunity to expand our development activities even further with the addition of Sphere, an NFT marketplace for gaming assets. We wanted to act fast and, therefore, we needed extra capacity so we teamed up with an external agency (DEPT) to scale quickly.
This initial phase allowed us to build a really solid foundation for both the gaming platform and Sphere, but it has also taught us that true quality remains in-house. The passion our in-house development team has to launch high-quality products like the staking platform or the Edenhorde smart contracts, is something that can’t be replicated by any external party.
We learned that there’s only a limited amount of topics you can focus on and only so much you can build. In the coming year, we will focus on founding a product market fit for the announced suite of products, instead of adding additional points of focus.
Early June saw us introduce the idea of Sphere. This marketplace for gaming assets is now coming to a point where we’re proud to show it off. There have been dozens of people who have contributed their blood, sweat and tears into making this rock-solid both front- and back-end.
Hand-in-hand with the market turning, we saw the demand for gaming assets and NFTs in general decline. It got to a point where we felt that introducing Sphere wouldn’t have the desired effect. Therefore, we doubled-down on its development and built additional features, smoothing its design and ironing out any flaws.
Early next year, we’re looking to let the DAO’s community have a first glimpse of Sphere as we slowly move towards a functional product we can continue to expand upon.
After the Merit Circle token launched, the DAO gave its contributors the chance to express their support through staking. We launched a bright looking portal with robust smart contracts that worked well. However, it was always meant to be a first, basic, version of what we wanted to offer.
In early November, a year after the initial version, we launched the second version of the staking platform. The ultimate parameters were determined by the DAO community. In this new version, with its brand new design, users can lock their tokens for a maximum of four years, allowing long-time supporters to show their commitment. We’re proud of this new portal and feel that it’s truly raising the industry standard.
This past year has been filled with challenges and opportunities but we have persevered and continued to move forward. While we may not be perfect, we have learned and adapted and we remain determined to continue to grow and improve. None of this could have been accomplished without the support of our lovely community.
As we prepare to enter a new year, we keep our eyes on the prize and continue on our journey towards building the future of gaming. We are in this for the long haul and we are committed to making the Merit Circle DAO the synonym for web3 gaming.
In the next quarter, we will be diving into what 2023 has in store for each vertical and what you can expect from the Merit Circle DAO.