It looks easy because there's a cute Axie, an innocent-looking Axie. But when you're in the game, it's like playing chess. It's a strategic game.
-- Howard, Filipino Axie Infinity Player, Play-to Earn
From an internet cafe in Cabanatuan City, Philippines, a 22-year-old named Howard described the game he plays to make a living as innocent-looking but strategic. That game, Axie Infinity is a Pokémon-like game built on the Ethereum blockchain in which people buy digital pets, called Axies, as NFTs, and breed, battle, and trade them. It’s cute. It’s unassuming. This is what it looks like:
But Howard’s quote could just as easily describe Axie Infinity as a business and an economic force. It’s cute. It’s a game. There’s blockchain stuff. It’s fun! But there’s a lot going on under all that cuteness.
If you’ve spent much time on the internet recently you might have noticed something: it’s gotten really fast-paced and really fun. It just keeps getting faster and funner. Bitcoin, Clubhouse, NFTs, unicorn startups galore, the Creator Economy. Each feels simultaneously like a potential fad and a nascent revolution.
From the eye of the storm, it’s hard to tell exactly what it means. Will digital artists continue to mint millions from NFTs? Will Creator Economy startups continue to raise early stage rounds at dizzying valuations? Will consumer social apps need top-tier influencer founders to cut through the noise?
I have no idea, and instead of singling out any company or NFT, a thought exercise seems more appropriate, based on three ideas that keep coming to mind: