Cryptocurrencies have become a very popular means for performing transactions online. People appreciate the transparency and decentralized nature of blockchain technologies. In some cases, they prefer cryptocurrencies to more traditional methods.
Smart contracts and distributed ledgers allow us to see our payment trail. but the same cannot be said for many of the virtual world economies we’ve seen so far. When transacting with digital assets or currencies in a game or VR platform, users are offered very little protection.
Since the advent of online gaming, unregulated third-party markets for MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) assets, items, and even whole characters and skill sets have repeatedly proven to be problematic.
Blizzard, for example, has been waging a decade-long war within their game World of Warcraft against unsavory businesses. These include some that are fuelled by slave labor — people living in developing nations — who farm in-game currency and treasures and sell them real-world cash.
According to a 2009 study by the World Bank, these practices were worth $3 billion. Imagine how this industry has grown a decade later.
Not surprisingly, unregulated virtual economy practices directly impact the profitability of games developers. Many publishers have tried to address these problems post-launch to varying degrees of success.
For example, Jagex implemented a controversial ‘trade limit’ to their game Runescape, effectively halting all black market activity but at the cost of limiting legitimate and well-meaning players. This was not well received by players, resulting in riots and unhappy patrons until the ruleset was removed by a 91% community vote not much more than a year later.
Established MMOs usually have an extremely loyal fanbase. Yet a lack of protection, minimal support and otherwise mismanaged economies can bring new consequences. They will isolate new players and be disillusioning to veteran players who have invested large portions of time, energy and money into building the wealth and skills of their avatars.
Implementing blockchain technologies in VR worlds
The implementation of blockchain in a gaming economy can provide a far less confusing and risky means of trading with other players by proving ownership of digital assets.
The deployment of blockchain principals and smart contracts will facilitate the transparent and traceable exchange of value in virtual worlds. This will build the trust of users and enable an economy that is fair and far easier to regulate.
Yet this has to be strategized in the initial stages of game planning and designing a stable digital economy. This isn’t a consideration that can be made later or shoehorned in as a solution post-launch.
When creating VU, we knew that value would be assigned to in-game assets based on variables like how acquisition difficulty and total availability. For these reasons, we made sure to implement blockchain principles into the platform from square one, enabling a level of security and immutable proof of ownership of digital assets for our participants.
VU’s blockchain is unlike anything seen before in online games, simulators or VR experiences.