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Gaming Firm Wants to Pay Players to Mine Cryptocurrency

When the crypto chips are down companies often seek alternative methods of generating income. Gaming equipment giant Razer wants to pay gamers to mine crypto using their graphics cards.

The new crypto rewards program is called ‘Razer SoftMiner’, and it enables users to put their GPUs to work mining “Silver” which according to the firm is not actually a cryptocurrency. The catch for the miners is that they don’t get to keep what they mine but will get rewarded in the way of discounts or offers from the company. In a Tweet the firm stated;

“Have a gaming rig on idle at home? Here’s a new way to score Razer Silver: launch Razer SoftMiner on your PC and start racking up Silver—one step closer to the reward you want, for doing nothing at all.”

It does come with the caveat that running the software “uses a substantial amount of your GPU power,” according to PC Gamer. The FAQ goes on to explain;

“We work with crypto mining technology to harness your computer’s GPU. In turn, we award you with Silver, giving you access to Razer’s ecosystem and suite of rewards.”

In other words the San Francisco based company will be keeping the crypto that users mine and offering them other tokens to trade for ‘rewards’. It has not specified which cryptocurrency will be mined but it will have to be one that can be done using graphics cards and not higher powered hardware. There does not seem to be an advantage for users that can simply install their own software to mine crypto which they can at least keep themselves.

Razer has added that mining speed will be affected by the specifications of the GPU and obviously the amount of idle time that can be dedicated to it. “If you have the proper setup, you can earn approximately 500 Razer Silver or more within a day!,” it added without specifying the value of this ‘silver’.

Someone had crunched the numbers and came out with a value of around $0.44 per day mining at full power, or $0.0009 per token. Another pinch is that the silver mined expires after a year so it must be redeemed before then which prevents amassing a whole lot of it.

Considering the cost of electricity and the wear and tear on the hardware this does not sound very lucrative at all. A win for Razor it seems, especially if it can accumulate enough crypto at low prices and then sell the stash when the markets recover.

The post Gaming Firm Wants to Pay Players to Mine Cryptocurrency appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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A Crypto Card Game Is Testing Magic's Records – And It Hasn't Even Launched

In the world of nerdy trading card games, the Black Lotus is still on top.

An early version of the rare Magic: the Gathering card sold for over $87,000 in July. But less than a week later, that record received a challenge – though it wasn’t beaten – from an unlikely source: a crypto trading card for a new ethereum-based game, Gods Unchained, sold at auction for 146 ether, worth more than $60,000 at the time.

It’s a notable figure given that Magic is a quarter century-old institution, while Gods Unchained has yet to launch (it’s expected to go live on ethereum in the fourth quarter). Still, according to those behind the platform, such figures are due to the excitement for both the game itself, and for unique crypto assets broadly.

James Ferguson, CEO of Fuel Games, the Sydney-based startup behind the game, said of his company’s creation:

“It’s a really compelling game, which people would play regardless of it having anything to do with crypto.”

Ferguson compared Gods Unchained to Magic and Hearthstone, a digital trading card game with similar gameplay and fantasy aesthetics to Magic. “It’s sort of complexity-wise, and strategy-wise, a step up from Hearthstone and probably a step down from Magic: the Gathering,” he said.

There is a key difference, though. Magic’s cards are pieces of paper, meaning players have to be physically present and requiring them to lug heavy, valuable cards around. Hearthstone’s cards are digital, but the game is centralized.

In centralized games, Ferguson said, players “have so little security over what they’re given in game. Essentially it’s just a license to use a certain costume or a certain item on a server, and the game’s company can alter stats as they wish and do whatever they think is best.”

In Gods Unchained, by contrast, the cards are non-fungible ERC-721 tokens housed on the ethereum blockchain. That means they are fully owned and controlled by the holder of an account’s cryptographic key, with no risk that they will be altered or taken away. (There will, however, be a short “rebalancing period” after launch, during which Fuel Games can alter cards to make sure none are too powerful).

Ferguson said that decentralizing in-game aspects has appeal for gamers who might never have heard of cryptocurrency.

Gaming “is taking up so much of people’s lives and identity nowadays,” he said, “people are even using it as their jobs.” Professionals can’t risk their cards being weakened (“nerfed”).

There’s even speculation, Ferguson added, that the $60,000 “Hyperion” card was bought by a professional streamer.

Break into the mainstream?

Launch ahead, the “main goal” now according to Ferguson, is to attract 100,000 or a million players to “Gods Unchained” and, by extension to ethereum and the crypto asset ecosystem. “We want to offer them the chance to seamlessly […] get their first $5 or $10 worth of crypto through buying the cards,” he said.

He explained that Fuel Games could accomplish that goal by offering “top-of-the-line graphics” and “well-designed and fun and competitive and balanced gameplay” as well as the ability to fully control in-game assets.

Addressing blockchain tech’s potential to disrupt the gaming industry, he said:

“It’s essentially like every single games studio, or every single publisher, is a central bank.”

If blockchain’s ability to grant users full ownership over immutable assets is appealing, however, the quality of gameplay enabled by ethereum certainly isn’t. In fact, the slow processing times and high costs involved in playing a game based on ethereum smart contracts are constant sources of frustration in the decentralized gaming community.

For example, one of the more popular ethereum games, Etheremon, recently decided to move its gameplay to a soon-to-be-launched blockchain, Zilliqa, while keeping the Pokemon-like assets, called “mons,” on the ethereum chain as ERC-721 tokens.

In the case of Gods Unchained, the designers decided to take gameplay off-chain entirely. “There’s pretty much no way you could put anything this complex on-chain,” said Ferguson.

The team has experience with on-chain gaming. Fuel Game’s first title, Etherbots, is played entirely on ethereum, and the company is developing a scaling solution called “ansible channels” to help improve user experience in that game.

VC attention

Several crypto investment firms have taken equity stakes in Fuel Games, most notably Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange. Continue Capital and Nirvana Capital led the $2.4 million round, which closed in May. In addition to Coinbase, the fundraise also saw participation from Sora Ventures.

Explaining his fund’s rationale for investing in Fuel Games, Continue Capital founding partner Xiahong Lin told CoinDesk, “Gods Unchained is one of the very first blockchain games that combines high quality game experience with true ownership of game assets.”

He added that the game’s use of non-fungible crypto tokens (NFTs) was particularly intriguing.

Ethereum’s ERC-721 standard was popularized by CryptoKitties, which attracted funding from big name venture capital investors in March, including Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.

The dapp’s user base has fallen by nearly 98 percent since its peak late last year, however, potentially calling into question the notion that NFTs were an idea whose time has come.

Gods Unchained might be putting those doubts to bed. Fuel Games has sold over 4,600 ether worth of cards for the game, worth around $1.3 million at the time of writing. But while the Hyperion card’s $60,000 price tag is impressive in the context of trading card games, it’s a far cry from CryptoKitties’ record: one cat traded hands for $111,000 in December.

Down the line, some investors believe that NFTs enable use cases far more valuable and consequential than gaming: real estate, precious metals and other assets could be tokenized, enabling investors to buy smaller, more liquid stakes in these assets.

Then Coinbase Ventures, which has also invested in the non-fungible token marketplace OpenSea, published a blog post predicting that the use cases of NFTs would rapidly expand from cute digital cats to social media, digital identity, news and information platforms, and more.

That’s a lot of hype for ERC-721 to live up to, but Ferguson argued that investors find the gaming use case plenty compelling on its own.

Citing Hearthstone’s $400 million in 2016 revenues, he said:

“The benefits of having a hip game are obvious. It just makes a lot of money.”

Gods Unchained image via Fuel Games

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Non-Believable Tokens: The 7 Strangest Crypto Collectibles Explained

As they say, what’s weird in tech today just might be tomorrow’s next big thing.

If that’s the case, the world of digital, cryptographic collectibles may be high on the list of potential disruptive innovations. After all, where else can you “breed” digital items and come out with an ugly cat all your own?

It’s user experiences like this, which began with Axiom Zen’s collectible CryptoKitties, that have technology enthusiasts talking excitedly about the future that could be enabled by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or unique digital items tradable on a blockchain.

The first project to use ethereum’s ERC-721 standard, CryptoKitties has since been rolled out into a standalone company with backing from some of the industry’s top investors, while NFTs themselves have become one of tech’s hottest buzzwords. (Coinbase Ventures’ very first investment was in a sort of eBay for NFTs, after all.)

In other words, CryptoKitties has been seen as a harbinger of things to come for blockchain believers, one that opens up new possibilities in the world of video games, real estate and precious metals, among other things.

For those keeping score at home, though, these things are still just super weird. Comparing the state of play to social media, we might very well be in the Six Degrees and Makeout Club days (i.e. way before people got it and Facebook became one of the biggest companies in the world).

With that in mind, we decided to go out looking for some of the stranger, most creative NFTs.

Here’s seven that looked like they could be ones for the history books, if not always for the right reasons:

CryptoCrystals

CryptoKitties introduced the idea tokens could breed and create totally new tokens, and lots of the new projects are now coming up with different ways to play around with that idea.

CryptoCrystals, for instance, breeds “sentient metals” into new cartoon characters that evoke geological imagery. With CryptoCrystals, “breeding” is called “melting” – as in the crystals are melted together.

The way to get fresh crystals is to go “mining,” but it’s not mining like on bitcoin or ethereum (where your computer does work to secure the network). Instead, users just buy a sort of token called a “pickaxe” from the company and use it. This generates a variable amount of crystals. (It’s like opening a pack of cards.)

The company behind the game makes its money from selling the pickaxes (sharing a portion with the Ethereum Foundation, voluntarily, to support the network’s growth). The rest of the operations in the game cost no more than their gas price.

There are 100 kinds of crystals out there and a finite supply. Further, pickaxes will produce half as much crystals with each passing year.

CryptoVoxels

This one is for folks that grew up on “Sim City.”

Indie game developer Ben Nolan was trying to create virtual worlds people could own and explore, when he realized that the blockchain made it possible to improve the user experience of that very task. From that inspiration came CryptoVoxels, a three-dimensional space visible with virtual reality goggles.

“We have about 100 parcels sold (average price 0.16 ETH) in the origin city, about 100,000 square feet of development,” Nolan told CoinDesk in an email.

The business model is selling these original pieces of land, as well as some other digital objects that add character to the users experience, such as special hats for their avatars.

Users can also build on their land, adding buildings and structures. Someday, there could also be color. (Right now, everything is black and white.)

Nolan says the community has showed good activity in its Discord channel, and that they are starting to see person-to-person sales of parcels on the secondary market.

Like many of these projects, its working with one of the Ebays-for-NFTs, OpenSea.

HyperDragons

Lots of the early NFT projects are on some level or another imitations of Pokemon (cute creatures that can also battle each other to get tougher and cooler).

HyperDragons takes advantage of decentralization, though, by interacting with another team’s project. In this way, HyperDragons can “eat” CryptoKitties, absorbing the attributes of cats that share a wallet with the dragon and boosting the dragons powers.

Gameplay takes three forms so far: collecting, breeding and consuming, battling warrior dragons one on one (like the original Pokemon) and castle defense, where you protect your resources from invading players.

The projects white paper acknowledges, like most projects in this space do, that real gaming interactions on ethereum are a problem, and it notes particular concern about the protocol’s ability to handle the castle game.

However, it hints that workarounds are under consideration, like we have seen in other projects.

Its emphasizes the team’s background in digital gaming, but it also addresses the business model presented by collectible NFTs. The white paper says, “We believe that there is a sustainable revenue-based model instead of an ICO, and we appreciate the innovation that digital collectibles portray.”

‘Bird in the Shell’

So, this one is really just one, specific NFT, by a nameless artist playing around with the form.

SuperRare is an app that lets artists create new digital works and offer them for sale on ethereum, something that could become more important in the art world given enough time.

In fact, one of last year’s super ICOs, Status, sees a lot of promise in SuperRare, too. It announced Thursday that it was inducting its parent company, Pixura, into Status Incubate, its accelerator for promising crypto startups.

That said, this one work of art on the SuperRare platform – it just hit a little too close to home. By “@hackatao,” it’s an animated gif in its native habitat. For anyone on Crypto Twitter, check this one out. It will feel way too real.

CryptoJingles

A digital object doesn’t have to be an image. It can also be sound (and probably other things people haven’t thought of yet).

Created as a side project by two staff members at Serbian blockchain company Decenter, CryptoJingles was started at the end of 2017.

“Coming out after the CryptoKitty boom, I noticed they are all variations of you owning some sort of an avatar (an image). I was looking what else could we tokenized,” Nenad Palinkasevic, one of the co-founders, told CoinDesk via email.

CryptoJingles are snippets of music that can be mixed together to make new pieces of music. There are 100 snippets of music that people can use to make jingles. Once a new combination has been made and recorded on the blockchain, it’s unique and no one else can make that combination. The creator owns it and can sell it on to others, as an NFT.

The project is not in active development but there have been a few super fans making lots of jingles. “There were 45 jingles created in total on our platform,” Palinkasevic said, without any marketing or promotion.

Panda Earth

Panda Earth

For this project, it’s important to start with zoological facts first: Pandas are the best mammal.

On the surface, Panda Earth might just look like CryptoKitties-but-pandas, except for one important difference: Some of the crypto pandas represent real world pandas tracked by the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas.

A spokesperson says it is a project that is “authorized” by the center, but the company didn’t respond to questions from CoinDesk about whether purchasing any of the pandas benefits their conservation at all.

Like CryptoKitties, these digital pandas breed. They breed more and more slowly over time, but that will reset every four years.

CryptoTitties

This post started when we discovered the CryptoTitties NFT (not to be confused with SpankChain’s side hustle of the same name, which is a way to directly pay women for posting their topless photos).

CryptoTitties, on the other hand, are cartoon boobs made by a development firm called 7th Wave.

“It was a spoof of CryptoKitties for fun,” Hami Gilbert, one of its founders, told CoinDesk in a Discord chat. Later, Gilbert’s mother got breast cancer and they decided to find a way to supply cannabis products to women with the disease.

Like CryptoKitties, these are cartoon avatars, but of breasts rather than cats. Fear not: there are both female-identifying and male-identifying boobs available. In fact, while the real-world variety tend to come in pairs, CryptoTitties are available in singleton to sextuplet sets.

Also, they come in as many colors as there are in a bag of Haribo gummy bears.

CryptoTitties has not caught the world on fire, though. Selling each one for as little as 0.05 ETH, the full set of available items totals 144. Only 32 have sold thus far, according to Gilbert.

Previously, 7th Wave tried to launch an ICO project called Wardz, but it didn’t succeed. CryptoTitties has gotten more traction, with a small community built around it. To spread the word about the project, they tried to run a “Motorboat Contest” where people would win an actual boat.

The idea is that CryptoTitty holders would pay 0.003 ETH to vote for their faves. The set that got the most votes would win a boat, but 70 percent of the proceeds would go to the charity (though they never established a specific partnership).

Sales were too low to justify the boat purchase, however, and it didn’t happen.

“I thought people would share to their friends to vote and that it would snowball,” Gilbert said. “But I think people are a bit more prude than that.”

Image via CryptoTitties.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Gaming Marketplace for Unique In-Game Items Partners With Esports Team Tempo Storm

The marketplace GamerToken has announced its partnership with Tempo Storm, a large American esports team and media company. This partnership follows the joining of the founder of Tempo Storm, Andrey “reynad” Yanyuk, to their advisory board in June.

As one of the major esports media companies in the world, Tempo Storm expanded from its initial Hearthstone team and now encompasses Fortnite, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and more titles. This will be the platform’s first esports partner, and Yanyuk believes that it might have a big impact on the entire esports scene.

“With GamerToken, the esports genre is taking the next step toward other professional leagues, in which collecting or trading memorabilia items like basketball jerseys with fellow fans is already commonplace,” Andrey Yanyuk said, according to the GamerToken’s announcement.

Additionally, GamerToken is set to integrate with Tempo Storm’s upcoming trading card game ‘The Bazaar’, a deckbuilding game set in an “intergalactic marketplace” and built on a free-to-play model in which several classes can be played using all available published cards. The game is planned to be available to players for early access in March 2019.

The Bazaar is set to offer unique hero “skins” — the appearance of characters, weapons, or any object a gamer is playing with — and game board items through the GamerToken marketplace by using Ethereum’s ERC-721 non-fungible token protocol.

“Non-fungible tokens allow for true digital scarcity and transparency within a game’s economy, unlocking new ways to engage players and deepen their experience,” CEO of GamerToken Jens Knauber told Cointelegraph.

Fairness for gamers

The GamerToken team has identified key ways to utilize tokens: buying verifiable ‘celebrity’ skins of gaming legends and esports professionals, connecting to the gaming legacy through collecting rare skins, building status by completing skin-sets and displaying rare designs, or taking advantage of the ‘Item rental feature’ to loan items temporarily to fellow players.

Their team’s white paper outlines how this marketplace will incentivize gamers who can receive digital asset rewards for their efforts in their favorite games. The user-generated content would also empower creators to produce high-quality content — such as skins and maps — and actually receive compensation for their designs.

Gaming industry veterans

In their own words, GamerToken defines their competitive advantage by helping established game companies “move into the blockchain world, not the other way around.” They describe themselves as being made up of gaming industry veterans and that games are “part of their DNA.”

Jens Knauber is the CEO and founder of The Laurel Foundry Ltd. — GamerToken’s parent company — based in Malta and has over a decade of experience in the gaming industry. The rest of the team boasts a diverse range of skills and expertise in both gaming and cryptocurrency.

The GamerToken roadmap sets out multiple developmental milestones for Q3, 2018, including a proof-of-concept for their scaling solution and deployment of their production sidechain. The team intends to bring in new developers, publishers and game integrations for the Q4 period.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Kik Messaging App Reveals Its First Beta Product, Kinit

Canadian messaging application Kik has launched its first beta product called Kinit, which is related to the company’s Kin token, TechCrunch reported July 18. The release follows Kik’s successful initial coin offering (ICO) which raised $100 million.

The ICO for the Kin token concluded in September 2017, having raised almost $100 million from more than 10,000 participants in 117 countries. Initially, the company expected to secure $125 million.

Kinit is a wallet app designed for active user experience, in which users able to earn Kin by completing quizzes surveys, and watching interactive videos. Users can exchange Kin for gift cards from leading brands and retailers, as well as transfer tokens to each other within Kinit. Rod McLeod, Kik’s vice-president of communications commented on the release:

“Kinit is the first publicly available app dedicated to Kin. Our goal with Kinit is to get Kin into more consumers’ hands. It’s a major step towards making crypto truly consumer-friendly through fun and engaging experiences, and we plan to learn and iterate based on real-world user behavior…”

Kin is an ERC20 token based on the Ethereum blockchain for liquidity assurance and is deployed on the Stellar network to increase transaction speeds. According to TechCrunch, the company is spending around $3 million on the development of the token via its KinEcosystem site. The Kinit app is reportedly the first effort to get common users to adopt the tool.

In March, Kik revealed plans to partner with Unity Technologies video gaming company in a move towards mainstream adoption of Kin token through the gaming industry. As a Kik spokesperson told Cointelegraph, the upcoming partnership with Unity will “bring cryptocurrency to millions of gaming developers,” enabling token integration into games with the help of a customized gaming-specific software development kit (SDK) developed by Kik.

At press time, Kin token is trading at $0.000170, with a market capitalization of $128 million, according to Coinmarketcap.