Interview with Phil Dhingra, Founder of Landemic
Digital collectibles that blur the boundaries between the real and virtual world
Can you give us a quick introduction to yourself and how you got into the blockchain space?
I was an early investor in Bitcoin and Ethereum, but it wasn’t until I co-founded Titan Seal that I became involved in building dapps [decentralized applications]. Titan Seal is currently the only blockchain startup that has US government agencies as paying customers.
What is Landemic and how does it work?
Landemic is a blockchain-powered, property collectibles game that blurs the boundaries between the real and virtual world. With Landemic, players can players can purchase, collect, transfer, and sell virtual real estate assets on the blockchain.
When you buy a Landemic token, you are buying a digital plot of land defined by an 8-character Open Location Code, a new open-source location standard originally created by Google, and now listed on every Google Maps search. Each tile covers approximately 275 square meters, which is about the size of Buckingham Palace. Consider these codes like domain names for location. Tiles are one-of-a-kind and 100% owned by you; they cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed. You can collect tiles that contain landmarks such as the White House, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, your favorite sports team arena, or your home!
For a more visual demo of the product, check out this video below.
Can you explain the economics behind the game?
Sure. Every single tile is automatically re-sellable for 10 times the price it was purchased at.
If you buy a tile for a penny, someone else can buy it for 10 cents. If you buy a tile for 10 dollars, someone can buy it for 100 dollars. 5% of the sale price for existing tiles goes to the developer, and 5% goes to each of the owners of the neighboring tiles, for a possible total of 25% in commissions!
You’ve described Landemic as a land rush Ethereum token. Can you tell us more about the token?
Each tile on Landemic is one ERC-721 token. The ID of the token is a 256-bit, unsigned integer, but we are only concerned with using the first 9 bytes (72 bits). The 9 bytes are used for the ASCII-representation of each of the base 20 digits, in upper case, in addition to the plus sign.
Why open location codes?
We’re riding on the coattails of the best-kept secret in navigation: Google Plus Codes. Plus Codes are a new location standard that Google is promoting on every Maps search. The codes are meant to be a human-friendly substitute for latitude and longitude.
They are 8-digit, alphanumeric codes, such as 87G8P2C2+, and they each represent a 275 x 275 m² patch of Earth. Consider them like IP addresses for location. Google has made Plus Codes standard on every Google Maps query as of 2018, and are fighting to get ahead of the upcoming standard war for grid systems.
How has your traction been so far? What tile locations have been most popular?
October has been quite an active month for us, with more than 10,000 tiles being purchased on Landemic. We were recently featured as one of the top 10 NFT dapps by transaction volume, alongside projects like 0xUniverse, CryptoKitties, Gods Unchained, and Axie Infinity. As far as most popular location, I’d have to say NYC. As you can see from the screenshot below, all of Manhattan has been snapped up!
Explain to us what exactly are the tiles that the users are buying and what they can do with them? What is the customer experience of your business?
The top tiles that are being traded are landmarks and iconic pieces of real estate. It is super fun to own the Empire State Building, Lady Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, or our top traded asset, Petronas Towers. Customers get to say “I bought Yankee stadium, or my hometown, or Buckingham Palace” and this sense of ownership makes the game truly unique.
What opportunities and challenges do you see for dapps that leverage digital collectibles, like CryptoKitties?
We see that the market for ephemeral digital assets has already approached the 100 billion dollar range, with Fortnite alone making more than a billion from selling in-game items. It stands to reason that a market for permanent digital assets should become a substantial fraction of that.
The barrier to entry for dapps, and for blockchain in general, has always been usability, and it’s not something that will get solved overnight. The innovations that companies like Dapper Labs (creator of CryptoKitties) and Landemic are introducing in 2019 are different than what startups were introducing in 2018. I’m sure in 2020 we’ll see significant improvements in usability across the board. The plan is simple — hide the cables, focus on the customers.
What are the top priorities for the company right now and what can we expect to see in the near future?
Now that we have a budding group of professional players on Landemic, we are going to make it easier for them to buy and sell tiles at volume. We will reduce friction anywhere we see it, until it’s as easy to buy tiles on Landemic as it is to color pixels in Microsoft Paint.
What do you think of the latest crypto bull run and what can we expect next year?
I think next year, we can expect to see continued focus on transaction speeds and governance. Also, we are super excited to add some new features to Landemic that continue to merge the virtual with the real world.