Project Review: Cantina Royale

Action-Packed Blockchain Game Bridging The World Of Web2 And Web3

Morningstar Ventures
11 min readFeb 22



Play-to-Earn (P2E) games are an exciting development in the crypto space and the gaming world. Though the concept has existed for longer, blockchain games gained popularity in 2020 during the global pandemic. As many people struggled to make ends meet and faced the financial repercussions of local lockdowns, the concept of earning extra income through a game attracted many. Consequently, Play-to-Earn games like Axie Infinity, CryptoBlades, and Decentraland filled industry headlines, with many describing the new gaming phenomenon as the future of mass blockchain adoption.

According to industry reports, the global blockchain gaming market shows strong growth potential as it is projected to grow $4.6 billion in 2022 to $65.7 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 70.3%. The industry’s growth is driven by consumers’ demand for decentralization, interoperability, ownership, and monetary incentives — all pillars of P2E games.

Much like the name “Play-to-Earn,” the allure to play is rooted around blockchain technology, namely creating digital value through implementing NFTs and cryptocurrencies within games. Blockchain games allow players to reap their rewards and get paid in usable currency for the hours they dedicated to the game. Nevertheless, despite its benefits and appeal, P2E games’ success faced criticism after the 2022 hype died down. Players and investors questioned the entertainment factor of the games, as many projects focused more on the blockchain aspect and monetary rewards than fun gameplay. Storylines became repetitive, and fewer players came back to continue playing for the actual fun factor. Multiple games saw negative repercussions to their native token prices, and less interested investors, particularly during the bear market. Ever since, P2E blockchain games have shifted focus away from “Web3” characteristics and instead put their efforts into improving gameplay — honing in on a player-first mindset.

A game putting the player and the game at the forefront is Cantina Royale — a free-to-play play-and-earn action-packed blockchain game. Cantina Royale is a top-down tactical arcade shooter featuring intense online multiplayer battles. With a mission to onboard the next billion gamers onto blockchain games, the team brings together the best of both Web2 and Web3 gaming elements to make adoption and accessibility as seamless as possible.

As the global gaming industry is reportedly larger than any other form of entertainment, coupled with the growing adoption of blockchain games, we saw it only fitting to feature Cantina Royale in this month’s project review. We’ll cover more about the project, and its founding team, dive deep into the project’s Tokenomics and end with our analysis of what we like and where we see growth potential for Cantina Royale.

What is Cantina Royale? More about the Team and How the Project Began

Cantina Royale is on a mission to deliver a unique gaming experience with different in-game assets, dynamic gameplay, and opportunities to earn through entering the world of galactic battles. To achieve this, the team has streamlined many blockchains and NFT onboarding features focusing on user-friendliness that would have otherwise been a blocker for Web2 and beginner Web3 users. Through features such as SSO sign-up, in-game tutorials, and an in-game marketplace for borrowing NFTs, the team can bring down common user barriers such as — downloading a wallet and buying crypto to buy NFTs. It has created a game that is just as easy to use as any other mobile game.

The game is built on the MultiversX (previously Elrond) blockchain and powered by Verko — a Layer 2 gaming protocol introducing the first Metaverse Experience Framework (MEF). Since its launch in November 2022, the game has had over 27,000 total downloads and strong adoption among non-crypto natives and the existing MultiversX user base. The mobile app has over 21,500 downloads since the launch of the game and an average of 2,300 daily active players. Through Web3 education programs, including hands-on tutorials, explanatory excerpts, and other in-game educational content after the game download, the team has made it an imperative mission of theirs to create as seamless of an onboarding experience as possible for all players.

Alexandru Palade, Cantina Royale’s Executive Producer, leads a team of 25 developers. The project is backed by a strong pool of advisors who work closely with the Cantina Royale team on the game development roadmap plans. Within months after fundraising, the team released their first alpha mobile application and the first Space Apes in-game NFT character.

Fundraising and $CRT Tokenomics

In May 2022, Cantina Royale completed its $4.5M funding round led by MultiversX and Mechanism Capital. Other institutional investors included — Capital, Animoca Brands, Morningstar Ventures, Good Games Guild (GGG),, and more.

Cantina Royale is powered by its native token, $CRT. The token’s purpose is for functional utility in the game’s ecosystem, providing a convenient and secure mode for NFT-related transactions. The project’s single token system enables governance and in-game utility. It powers the play-and-earn elements of the game by rewarding players and is also used to purchase NFTs. Token utilities include trading NFT characters, tokens, and NFT staking rewards, rewards in Special Events, and recruiting new characters. These utilities are critical for the metagame, and with the addition of NFT weapons, it will play a major role in the crafting aspect of the gameplay. $CRT has a total supply of 1,000,000,000 $CRT, and token holders can influence the on-chain governance proposals of Cantina Royale.

Total utilities include:

  • Purchasing and Selling of NFT Characters
  • Token Staking Reward
  • NFT Staking Reward

Over the past months, Cantina Royale has rewarded almost 3 million $CRT tokens within the game, and players have spent 3.2 million $CRT tokens. Since the game's launch, players have earned around $200K in Cantina Royale. Furthermore, the team has kept its token economy stable and non-inflationary through a controlled and regulated supply of $CRT in circulation.

Gameplay and Lending Platform

The intergalactic adventure of the Cantina is the perfect place for your Apes to gather, drink, and conduct unsavory deals and schemes. Players who choose to enter the Cantina in the free-to-play version of the game can create an account for free using their social and email existing usernames. Players will gain access to certain game modes and can play against other free-to-play users. NFT holders, or Play-to-earn users, can earn rewards and $CRT throughout the game. Depending on the character’s progression through the game modes, they can upgrade to level 100.

Many NFT games on the market attract investors and seasoned gamers in the blockchain community, making it difficult for newcomers to enter the space because of skill gaps and high barriers to entry due to expensive NFTs. Blockchain games attract seasoned gamers more often because the gameplay is not up to their standards. In the past, blockchain games tend to attract people for the money; Cantina Royale is trying to change that. One of the ways they are doing so is to remove this player pain point via its Lending Platform. The platform streamlines NFT lending, making the game more accessible to everyone — specifically first-time blockchain gamers. Furthermore, the platform allows for both public and direct lending of NFTs from players who own multiple NFTs, allowing them to make passive income while allowing borrowers to play and earn tokens without spending their capital.

Through the Lending Platform, NFT holders can purchase in-game NFTs and lend them to players for a lower price. The lender determines a revenue percentage split with the borrower (player). Lenders can also stake their NFTs in the public pool and get a proportion of the generated revenue. Profits are gained ​​by earning tokens from the staking pool weekly. The platform aims to benefit not only the lenders and NFT holders but also the borrowers (players) who do not have the means nor want to spend more money on playing the game. Through the Lending Platform, Cantina Royale proves its loyalty to its mission of onboarding the next players to blockchain and making the transition as easy as possible. By removing the barrier of cost, more people are likely to join the game with the addition of earning passive income.

NFT Interoperability & Genesis Space Apes

The original NFT collection native to Cantina Royale is the Genesis Space Apes collection. These first 15.000 NFTs earn additional rewards from all future NFT characters generated through recruiting. They earn 1.2% of in-game earnings from all future generations of descendants of the original Genesis Space Ape, including NFTs sold on the marketplace after recruitment.

Stats and perks are essential to the NFT. At the time of purchase, each Space Ape is assigned three base stats and two random perks to help players progress through the game. Throughout the game, players also need to upgrade their NFT to progress through the game and earn more in-game rewards. There are a total of 100 levels. To reach the next level, characters must earn XP by playing the game or staking their NFT on the lending platform. In the future, the game also plans to allow you to generate new NFT characters, and the feature is unlocked while progressing through the game.

Since the release, 6.64K trades have occurred, and there are currently 2.98K Genesis Space Apes holders. The Space Apes can be purchased on the secondary market via XOXNO and Deadrare.

Additional to the Genesis Space Apes, Cantina Royale offers a DeFi-driven gaming experience, allowing players to use characters that are both from the original Cantina Royale collection or integrate other NFT collections. Cantina Royale has already partnered with Elrond Apes to create Cantina Elrond Apes usable for all in-game modes.

Our Analysis

What we like about Cantina Royale:

  • Blockchain gaming is gaining investor popularity. Over the past year, the total capital raised in the blockchain gaming space grew exponentially. Web3 gaming and metaverse projects raised $7.6 billion in 2022, 59% more than in 2021 total capital raised in the space, heightening investor and project confidence. With the ever-growing capital raised in the blockchain gaming space, Cantina Royale is in a market with many investors looking for new and exciting projects to fund. Cantina Royale is in a good position if they continue on the trajectory of product updates with a strong focus on gameplay.
    Nevertheless, blockchain gaming is a massive space with high competition, and many projects are trying to compete for market share. Additionally, during the existing market conditions, general traction around the GameFi industry decreased, leading to some games and NFTs losing up to 90% of their value. Cantina Royale continued building a strong foundation, community, and loyal Web3 gamers, giving them initial traction and popularity even during these difficult market conditions.
  • Cantina Royale’s Lending and Borrowing platform is aligned with the team’s mission to appeal to all mass market gamers and allow everyone to play in Cantina regardless of their economic situation or gaming background. The game is revolutionizing Zero Crypto-knowledge prerequisites by making it easy for people to borrow NFTs without any prior knowledge of crypto or NFTs. Additionally, Cantina Royale has a strong in-game economy foundation and a lean approach to integrating new features to keep the game engaging and accessible for new players. The game also focuses on play-and-earn rather a play-to-win gameplay, making it more enjoyable and better for game progression.

Where we see growth potential:

  • Given the size of the gaming industry, differentiation and setting oneself apart will be a challenge for Cantina Royale. Additionally, the nature of the game and the fact that Cantina Royal bridges the best of both Web2 and Web3 technology, they don’t just compete against blockchain games but also other traditional games, which also makes the landscape for capturing market share and mass market attention more challenging.
  • Although the team is already looking into NFT interoperability, the game is built on the MultiversX blockchain. It will be interesting to see if the game decides to go cross-chain in the future as it continues to grow. Going cross-chain allows the project to facilitate interoperability between other blockchains, improving the user experience by allowing them to flow more freely across multiple blockchains and aiding the team in reaching a bigger market. Furthermore, it can increase the project’s liquidity, allowing assets to flow between chains without affecting price. On the other hand, cross-chain will make it more difficult for communication and increase the risk of keeping security in one central place.
  • The game mechanics must be well-balanced so that — guns, movement, and overall skill-related elements are fair for new and existing players. With the updates coming in the next year, the team should make sure the purchasing items and upgrading of NFTs do not result in a pay-to-win dynamic, which might throw existing players off as they might be losing for economic reasons rather than actual skill.

What’s next? Major Updates

The team just announced “Major Updates” will be coming to the mobile app. In two intermediate releases in the following months, Cantina Royale will introduce some major updates to the game. These include:

  • A change in-game pacing to attract a larger audience
  • New playable character races and roles
  • Character Talent System
  • New weapon types and weapon NFTs
  • Team-based modes
  • Consumables
  • Events and tournaments
  • Weapon forging (crafting)

To stay updated with their progress, follow the team’s Discord and Telegram groups. In the meantime, below is a sneak peek of the new UI we can all expect in the series of new releases.

We look forward to seeing all the new development in the Cantina and thank the team for their excellent work so far! To try the game yourself, go to and sign up for free.

For more information, follow Cantina Royale in their designated channels below:

🌐 Official website:
📡 Official Global Telegram Community:
🐦 Official Twitter:
📜 Medium:
📚 Whitepaper:
🕹️ Discord channel:

About Morningstar Ventures

Morningstar Ventures is an investment firm backing ambitious ideas by early-stage founders. Based in Dubai, Morningstar Ventures focuses primarily on the blockchain and digital assets space and is led by CEO Danilo S. Carlucci. The firm is active in token and equity investments and has a particularly strong focus on the MultiversX ecosystem.

Website ️| Community | Twitter | Telegram | LinkedIn | Instagram