Enjinstarter founder Prakash Somosundram delves into GameFi’s Past, Present, and Future
The CEO of Enjinstarter touches on the meteoric rise of GameFi and how games will continue to build beyond the current downturn.
Community, community, and community — that is the key to building a successful GameFi ecosystem in Singapore and beyond according to the CEO and founder of ENJINSTARTER Prakash Somosundram.
A combination of the term ‘Gaming’ and ‘Finance’, GameFi exploded in popularity with the success of blockchain games like Axie Infinity after non-fungible tokens (NFTs) became a new asset class in the Web3 space. Its Play-to-Earn (P2E) model is seen as the next step to current game economy models such as pay-to-play or freemiums, and it envision players having ownership over their in-game assets in the form of NFTs while earning by contributing their skills and creativity to the game economy.
All game economies need games to function, and Enjinstarter is taking the lead by launching Web3 games. The platform is a blockchain gaming launchpad that aims to accelerate the development of gaming, metaverse & P2E projects on the Enjin blockchain, and they have successfully nurtured over 50 projects to date with more in the works.
As the CEO of Enjinstarter, Prakash is no stranger to blockchain gaming. Having immersed himself in Singapore’s growing tech and Web3 space, he has been providing marketing and strategic consultancy to different crypto projects and organisations after building up Yolk PR, a digital advertising business.
We speak to Prakash to find out how Enjinstarter fosters upcoming games in the local & regional ecosystem, and on the future of GameFi as a whole.
As an entrepreneur you are experienced in setting up new initiatives in the crypto & non-crypto industry. What attracted you to the GameFi space?
It all started when I was given an opportunity to invest in Efinity, which is a new blockchain that Enjin1 is building on the Polkadot network. They are an early pioneer in the blockchain gaming space which wrote the ERC-1155 standard used by many NFT projects to mint non-fungible tokens. To be given an opportunity to work with Enjin was exciting for us, and being early pioneers in the blockchain gaming space we felt that they needed a dedicated launchpad.
I come from a lot of experience in ecosystem building, and we preach about building an ecosystem that is not focused on one chain, but a multi-chain approach. We started with blockchain gaming which was very hot during the bull market, but as early as November 2021 we started going into entertainment. That’s primarily because a lot of the early GameFi and blockchain gaming projects could build and raise capital, but they struggle to get people on board.
And that’s where we built our investment thesis around fandoms. What we’ve been doing is to look for music and entertainment because regardless of the market conditions, people will continue to support their idols. We believe that Web3 will be built a lot around entertainment. While we saw Web2 being focused around e-commerce which became an integral part of our lives, we feel that entertainment is going to be the main driver for Web3.
And what are some Web2 communities that Enjinstarter is working with to migrate to Web3?
Music is a great example. We’re working with companies who has upcoming artistes looking for a big break. Some of them may need to raise capital, some of them may need to grow their community and fanbase; and this is where we come in and develop a strategy for them.
We’re also working with brands that sell physical products to communities, and we are creating new revenue opportunities. One interesting project we recently launched is an incubator projects called Swallow, and they are bringing tools into the metaverse to help tattoo artists create new revenue opportunities. They are bringing this into the metaverse where your avatar can have a tattoo; you can wear a brand as a tattoo; and you can interact with a range of brands by displaying your tattoos. That’s one of the key projects we are currently focusing on.
We drew inspiration from millennials who spend money on skins to flex the designs they own. The more desirable it is, the more expensive it is to purchase. So that’s where we saw the opportunity to work with tattoo artists to create a range of skins which could also be a limited edition, or customised one-on-one. And it could be something that you flex in a digital environment like the metaverse.
Enjinstarter has successfully launched several blockchain games, metaverse, and marketplaces since its inception a year ago. How has the GameFi ecosystem changed since then?
The journey has been a rollercoaster ride. We started the company in April during the pandemic, and we were quite fortunate to raise $5.5 million via our token sale with $5 million more from private investors. Everything was done virtually, and we couldn’t even meet them in a lot of these meetings. We built a platform where we hosted our public sale in October where we raised an additional half a million from the community.
Regarding the challenges, we actually were hacked a day before the actual IDO2 and our corporate site was under a DDOS3 attack. The hacker wanted me to pay half an ETH4, but I refused to pay as it is our principle that we do not pay bribes.
We moved on and continued building the company and conducting the sale despite not having a corporate website. A part of the community did come after us saying we were doing a rug pull5, but we showed them we could deliver on the promises made and we grew the company pretty quickly. Within the month of December we did about 20 IDOs on our platform, and that itself was a record in terms of number of IDOs initiated on any launchpad.
The current bear market is the biggest challenge for us to deal with as the token price has dropped quite a lot. But this is where we have to show the community we are in this for the long term, and we have to show that we will lead the front in terms of ecosystem building.
Since March 2022, I have been traveling extensively. We started out at NFT LA where I went alone to understand what the opportunities are and how some of these events are operating, and subsequently we started bringing projects on our own as a collective.
We did that in New York, where we had an event called NFT NYC which we showcased a few projects from Southeast Asia as a collective. We did the same recently in Bali, where we were title sponsors for Coinfest and we brought five of our projects in. Most recently we fronted Web3 Matters as well.
In the past when it came to a bear market, a lot of projects cut their efforts and teams while going into hibernation to survive. But we see the bear market as an opportunity to build, and it’s a lot easier now because the cost is lower and it’s easier to get the attention of people. That’s why we are going to continue building regardless of how long this bear market is going to be. But as an ecosystem we need to bring more partners together to achieve a collective success.
Read the full interview on our website here.