From free to play to paid to play: How cryptocurrency will change the game
Previously, I wrote about how our mission is to make exercise a little more addicting (in right dosage) and I truly believe rewarding people with crypto can do this. Would I pay $5 to incentivize my mom if she hit her weekly exercise goal? Hell yea.
When I first heard about crypto currencies in 2017, I thought it was a scam and was very skeptical of the people involved with it.
Then I went to WWDC 2018 and everything changed. I fell into the blockchain rabbit hole and as Naval Ravikant once said “it’s like a brain virus. When you first discover it, it’s all you can think about”.
What was interesting about crypto wasn’t about making alot of money through an ICO. It’s how I noticed a paradigm shift in user behaviour with apps like sweatcoin and HQ live getting millions of downloads and retaining them at a super high rate and how crypto will unlock a whole new wave of apps/games.
In the early days of the app store, you had to pay to download an app. The idea of offering your app for FREE was crazy. Then, in-app purchasing came along and this unlocked a whole generation of freemium apps and games.
Now, I believe we’re entering paid to play. You earn money for using an app because user acquisitions costs have become so high, you need to pay users for their attention.
HQ trivia is one of the hottest apps right now. 3 times a day, you have to join a LIVE game with over 1 million players to answer some trivia questions. If you answer all 10 questions, you get to split a pot of cash ranging from USD$100 — $20,000. People are going crazy over this game, just do a quick youtube search.
Sweatcoin pays you to walk. You need to turn on your GPS and keep it open. It’s been the no.1 fitness app in the USA for multiple months and was no.1 overall in the US app store. It’s nuts.
In China, there’s a news aggregator app that pays you for reading each article. It’s doing really well and the retention numbers the developers shared with me are insanely high.
We also ran an internal company competition for 2 weeks using our own activity wallet app. The top 3 colleagues who walked the most would be rewarded with cash prizes at our annual christmas party. People were super motivated, with some colleagues getting off 1 bus stop early just to walk a little more.
According to a Stanford University study, Hong Kong people walk 6,880 steps a day on average and ranks no.1 out of 46 countries studied. During our competition, our colleagues averaged just over 8000 steps a day.
Assuming that paid to play is true, what does crypto have to do with it? Paying out money to players all over the world is a huge operation problem with lots of overhead. Plus, there are over 2 billion people around the world who do not have a bank account.
My believe is that cryptocurrency will reduce the friction to earn and spend rewards, just like how IAP made freemium frictionless. This will be the start of a new wave of paid to earn apps/games. Now, the question is will google and apple allow this? Ball’s in their court.