Games with Virtual Currency

The fantasy of every little boy (and many older men) of making a living by playing video games is becoming a reality. HunterCoin, which was recently released, and VoidSpace, which is still in production, both reward players in digital currency rather than virtual princesses or gold stars, point to a future when one’s score on a scoreboard might be rewarded in dollars, sterling, euros, and yen.


The billionaire (virtual) real estate agent’s story…

Digital currencies are slowly maturing in terms of functionality as well as the financial infrastructure that allows them to be utilized as a credible alternative to non-virtual fiat currency. Even though Bitcoin, the first and most well-known crypto-currency, was formed in 2009, virtual currencies have been employed in video games for more than 15 years. Ultima Online, released in 1997, was the first noteworthy game to feature a large-scale virtual economy. Players could earn gold coins by completing quests, fighting monsters, and discovering treasure, which they could then spend on armor, weapons, and real estate. Because of the game mechanics, which promised an unlimited supply of monsters to slay and hence gold coins to gather, the Ultima money faced inflation. The Ultima currency experienced inflation as a result of the game mechanics, which ensured that there was an endless supply of monsters to kill and thus gold coins to collect. It was an early incarnation of a virtual currency in that it existed solely within the game, though it did mirror real-world economics to the extent that the Ultima currency experienced inflation as a result of the game mechanics, which ensured that there was an endless supply of monsters to kill and thus gold coins to collect.

EverQuest, released in 1999, took virtual currency gaming a step further by enabling players to exchange virtual products in-game, though the game’s designer forbade users from selling virtual commodities to each other on eBay. In a real-world phenomena depicted in Neal Stephenson’s 2011 novel Reamde, Chinese gamers known as “gold farmers” were hired to play EverQuest and other similar games full-time in order to accumulate experience points and level up their characters, making them more powerful and sought after. These characters were then sold on eBay to Western players who were unwilling or unable to devote the time and effort required to level up their characters. Based on the determined exchange rate for EverQuest’s money as a result of actual transactions in the real world According to Edward Castronova, an expert in virtual currencies and professor of telecommunications at Indiana University, EverQuest was the 77th richest country in the world in 2002, halfway between Russia and Bulgaria, with a GDP per capita bigger than the People’s Republic of China and India.

Second Life, which was founded in 2003 and had 1 million regular users by 2014, is perhaps the most complete example of a virtual economy to date, with its virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, which can be used to buy and sell in-game goods and services and can be exchanged for real-world currencies through market-based exchanges. Second Life became a marketplace where users and businesses alike could design, advertise, and sell material that they created in the ten years between 2002 and 2013, with in-game virtual goods transactions totaling $3.2 billion. Real estate was a particularly lucrative item to trade; in 2006, Ailin Graef became the first Second Life billionaire, turning a $9.95 investment into over $1 million over the course of 2.5 years by buying, selling, and trading virtual real estate to other players. However, Ailin is the exception rather than the rule, with only 233 persons earning more than $5000 in 2009 from Second Life activities.


How to get paid in cash for asteroids mining…

To date, the capacity to make non-virtual wealth in video games has been secondary in design, with players either having to exchange their virtual treasure through unofficial routes or possessing a degree of real-world creative skill or business acumen that might be traded for cash. With the development of video games built from the bottom up around the ‘plumbing’ of recognized digital currency systems, this could alter. HunterCoin has taken the idea of ‘gamifying’ what is generally a pretty technical and mechanical process of manufacturing digital currency. Unlike real-world currencies, which are created when a central bank prints them, digital currencies are created when users mine them. The blockchain, an online decentralized public ledger that records all transactions and currency exchanges between individuals, is the fundamental source code that allows a digital currency to work. Because digital currency is nothing more than intangible data, it is more vulnerable to fraud than physical currency because it is possible to duplicate a unit of currency, producing inflation or changing the value of a transaction after it has occurred for personal advantage. To prevent this from happening, the blockchain is ‘policed’ by volunteers or miners,’ who use specialized technology and software to check the legitimacy of each transaction and guarantee that data has not been tampered with. This is an automated process for miner software, although one that takes a long time and requires a lot of computing power from the miner’s computer. The blockchain creates digital money to reward a miner for verifying a transaction by releasing a new unit of digital currency and rewarding them with it as an incentive to keep maintaining the network. Because it can take anything from days to years for an individual to successfully mine a currency, groups of users pool their resources into a mining ‘pool,’ allowing them to create coins more quickly by combining their computers’ processing power.

The game HunterCoin is built on top of a blockchain for a digital currency called HunterCoin. The act of playing the game replaces the automated process of mining digital currency with a manual one that does not require pricey technology for the first time. Players explore a map in search of coins, and once they find some and return safely to their base (other teams are attempting to stop them and steal their coins), they can cash out their coins by depositing them into their digital wallet, which is typically an app designed to make and receive digital payments. The miners that maintain HunterCoin’s blockchain receive 10% of the value of any coins placed by players, plus a tiny percentage of any coins lost when a player is slain and their coins are dropped. HunterCoin is an experiment that could be seen as the first video game with monetary reward built-in as a primary function. While the game graphics are basic and significant rewards take time to accumulate, HunterCoin is an experiment that could be seen as the first video game with monetary reward built-in as a primary function.


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