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WTF is QF, The Evolution of Trust and The Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

Author’s Note: This article is cross-posted from the Game3.js Newsletter to coincide with Gitcoin Grants Round 7! Do check out Gitcoin Grants if you’re interested in supporting open-source Web 3 game development🤗

WTF is QF?

What is QF (Quadratic Fuding), and what makes it so exciting?

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wtfisqf.com has a great primer on what Quadratic Funding is

Quadratic funding is simply an equation for funding that “pushes power to the edges, away from whales & other central power brokers”

If there’s one thing the video game industry knows about, it’s whales. The industry practically invented the term.

We also know about central power brokers. Power in the game industry now revolves around discovery. In the past decade, games have moved from a simple, honest transaction to a nebulous free-to-play model: dominated by whales, and obscured by ad networks and platform in-app purchases.

We won’t be able to change platform economics overnight, but with tools such as Quadratic Funding, Harberger’s Tax, Fair Launches and other radical ideas from the Web 3.0 community, we’re optimistic that we’ll find a better way.

Today’s Open-Source Games: The Evolution of Trust +The Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

In the final KERNEL 🌱 Genesis Block Fireside chat, the last question posed to Vitalik was “What was a game that he’s ever played and why?”

Vivek wonderfully brings up Nicky Case’s The Evolution of Trust, and how Vitalik used to play World of Warcraft. Vitalik ends with:

“The cryptocurrency ecosystem, does that count as a game?”

The Evolution of Trust by Nicky Case

Nicky Case ‘s The Evolution of Trust has been one of the foundations of the KERNEL syllabus, and deservedly so.

Trust is something that us Web 3.0 builders don’t have an agreed definition for. Its meaning has been diluted by all the memes and buzzwords.

Nicky Case shows us a clear, principled interpretation of what Trust truly is — all through the powerful medium of video games.

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The Evolution of Trust should be played by everyone, but it’s exponentially more important that it be played by Web 3.0 builders, game developers and designers.

We are the architects of Trust in Web 3.0, and as creators building social systems, we need an immediate connection to what we’re creating.

The Cryptocurrency Ecosystem by You

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Vitalik: “The cryptocurrency ecosystem, does that count as a game?”

Vivek: “Most definitely.”

Throughout this series of newsletters we’ve mostly discussed games in the context of video games — games played using a controller with predefined goals and rules. We go a bit philosophical this week, as Nicky and Vitalik both challenge our definition of what games are.

In the context of Nicky Case’s Trust, games are played between two people every time they have an interaction.

In the context of Vitalik’s question, games can take on whole new meanings. Games can mean blockchain gaming via NFTs. It can mean game theory in token design. It can mean the money games we play on DeFi.

In most of these cryptocurrency games though, “Number go up” is the Schelling Point.

It’s a finite, zero-sum game.

As builders, developers and designers, I believe this isn’t the game that we should be playing. We’ve played this game before, and the attention economy has already determined the winners.

We should take a step back, and realize that there are ultimately two kinds of games: finite and infinite.

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Finite games, paradoxically, are played with the explicit purpose of ending them.

Infinite games are played to make sure the game continues on.

Vitalik sees himself as a player in the infinite game of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This game is a meta layer above and beyond the video games that we play and create, but nonetheless it is also an infinite game that we are all part of.

The cryptocurrency ecosystem game will transcend game universes, and 5 to 10 years from now it will change how trust and behavior works in our societies. If we don’t have a solid grasp of what trust is, what incentives we’re designing for, and what principles we stand for, we can break more than we build.

As builders, game developers and game designers, I believe it’s our responsibility to build scalable but principled games. Some of the greatest game design minds in the video game industry also believe this: we need to create prosocial systems that lift us up, rather than ones that make us tear each other down.

And this is precisely why I’m building Game3.js.

Web 3.0 will change how people play and pay for games, and game developers and designers need to be involved in the discussion.

Please do share this newsletter with them, participate in the Gitcoin Grant, and discuss with us online 🌱 🤗

Written by

CTO and Co-Founder at Outplay.games (Alto.io) | Into Game Design x New Technologies

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