Bitcoin-Based Video Games and How They Differ from Other NFT Games

Research PaperTechnology
Nov 15, 2021

The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies has led to the popularity of cryptocurrency-based video games. Developers are creating games that utilize blockchains and award players with cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin is a popular cryptocurrency, many developers choose to associate their games with the currency. This led to the many Bitcoin-based video games that allow players to earn Bitcoin or BTC through playing. These types of games offer different player experiences as well as reward types. Some are fully free-to-play while others may require a small investment to increase rewards. Additionally, developers are also creating NFT games where they utilize NFTs in their gameplay and reward players with various crypto tokens. This paper will discuss some Bitcoin-based video games to establish a better understanding of the genre as well as differentiate them from NFT games.

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

Before discussing the different Bitcoin-based video games, it is integral to first consider the definition of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency . According to Investopedia, a cryptocurrency is a decentralized digital currency that operates under blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is a decentralized system where a public network of computers oversees a virtual ledger. The virtual ledger records transactions regarding cryptocurrencies and ensures that all information is legitimate. This makes cryptocurrency nearly impossible to fabricate as the computer network can easily identify discrepancies. Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital currencies, government bodies do not have authority over them. Government regulations regarding fiat money, online transactions, and taxes do not apply to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin is one type of cryptocurrency available in the crypto market. It is the most popular and most expensive cryptocurrency. According to Statista.com, Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and Bitcoin (BTC) had a value of more than 60,000 US dollars during November 2021. As of writing, Bitcoin has a value of 64,698.10 US dollars while Wrapped Bitcoin has a value of 65,978.39 US dollars. Bitcoin’s value is dependent on the crypto market which consists of the public. According to Anton Mozygovoy, CEO of Holyheld, Bitcoin’s worth is simply due to the people’s perceived value, similar to gold (as cited in Ashford & Curry, 2021). This means that Bitcoin can easily decrease in value if the public decides that it has a lower value. This is the reason for cryptocurrencies’ volatility as it can be difficult to predict the behavior of the market.

Bitcoin-Based Video Games

Bitcoin-based video games are games that utilize the Bitcoin cryptocurrency as in-game money and rewards. These types of games have different gameplays and attract different types of players. Most offer simple gameplays that are beginner-friendly which helps increase the player base. Additionally, having Bitcoin as a reward is the main feature of Bitcoin-based video games. Players can exchange these Bitcoin rewards for real-world money which makes Bitcoin-based video games play-to-earn. As Bitcoin increases its value, the rewards in these games become more enticing to the players.

Bitcoin Alien Run

Bitcoin Alien Run is one of the popular Bitcoin-based games in the market. The website Bitcoinafrica.io puts it at the top seven best Bitcoin games. Bitcoin Alien Run’s gameplay is similar to classic 2D platformer games like Super Mario. This makes the game easy to learn as 2D platformer is a familiar genre. Players that play the game can earn a minimum of 0.0002 Bitcoin which they receive as rewards after completing tasks within Bitcoin Alien Run. The game is fully free-to-play, which means that players do not need to purchase the game or crypto tokens to start playing. This is a different business model from NFT games, which often requires players to purchase a certain amount of cryptocurrencies as an investment before playing the game. This business model helps Bitcoin Alien Run to reach a wide variety of audiences that are looking to earn Bitcoin.

However, Bitcoin-based video games and other cryptocurrency-based games often set a specific day for players to withdraw their earnings. For Bitcoin Alien Run, players can only withdraw their Bitcoin earnings during Tuesdays. This withdrawal policy allows cryptocurrency games to regulate their reward pools and avoid losing the rewards due to mass withdrawal. An unregulated reward system can lead a cryptocurrency-based game to lose its stock of cryptocurrency rewards. This can further cause the game to become unplayable and unprofitable which will discourage existing and new players to play the game.

Spark Profit

Spark Profit is a unique cryptocurrency-based video game that allows players to simulate trading. The game’s gameplay includes the simulation of various financial markets and players can invest virtual currency in the simulated market. Spark Profit does not require its players to purchase tokens to play the game. Players receive free virtual currency in the game to use as their buying power in the simulated market. This gameplay allows players to learn about financial trading while disregarding the risk of financial loss. According to the website Bitcoinexchangeguide.com, Spark Profit aims to support players in discovering their talents in financial trading. This makes Spark Profit not just a play-to-earn game but also a medium where individuals can learn about trading in the cryptocurrency market.

Successfully trading in the simulated market of Spark Profit rewards players with cash prizes. With the game, players can exchange their cash rewards for Bitcoin (BTC) and withdraw the prize in cryptocurrency from (Bitcoinafrica.oi, 2021). This type of cryptocurrency game does not directly reward players with Bitcoin but only allows them to turn their rewards into cryptocurrency. However, cryptocurrency websites identify these types of games as Bitcoin games since they utilize the cryptocurrency as a reward option which becomes the primary reason for players to play. Players of Spark Profit can also compete against each other to earn more rewards. The competitions utilize the player’s portfolio to assess the score of the participants. Players with high-value portfolios will receive higher scores. This encourages players to extensively learn about the cryptocurrency market to better perform in the competition and earn more Bitcoin.

Altcoin Fantasy

Altcoin Fantasy is a trading simulation game like Spark Profit, however, the game is only available in the US and Canada. Similar to Spark Profit, Altcoin Fantasy does not require players to invest real-world money before playing. The game rewards its players with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies when they achieve a high portfolio value in a contest. A contest in Spark Profit is a 7 to 14-day campaign that simulates the real-world price movement of cryptocurrencies. Players receive virtual money equivalent to $10,000 which they will use to invest in the simulation. At the end of the campaign, the player with the highest portfolio value will receive a reward dependent on the contest (castlecrypto.gg, 2020). Altcoin Fantasy contests have sponsors who dictate the reward type. A contest can have Bitcoin, Surf Coin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies as rewards. 

Spells of Genesis

Spells of Genesis is a unique Bitcoin game that combines the trading card genre with arcade-style gameplay. This form of gameplay makes the game different from most cryptocurrency games. Early cryptocurrency-based games utilize simple gameplay such as market simulations, quizzes, and 2D platforming which are common and simplistic game genres. Spells of Genesis’ gameplay allows players to engage more in the game. Players will need to manually aim their attacks against other player cards and create strategies to win battles. Additionally, the game establishes a simple story which makes it more similar to traditional video games that contain lore.

Spells of Genesis awards its players with BitCrystals which are crypto tokens under the Bitcoin Blockchain. BitCrystals possess dollar values which means that players can exchange them for Bitcoin and eventually for real-world money. Unlike the previous Bitcoin game examples, Spells of Genesis allows players to own the trading cards in the game. The trading cards are NFTs or non-fungible tokens that players can purchase using cryptocurrencies to create better teams and win more fights. Players may need to use real-world money to purchase additional cards,. This feature makes Spells of Genesis an NFT video game aside from being a Bitcoin-based game.

Satoshi Quiz

Satoshi Quiz is a free Bitcoin-based video game that rewards players with Bitcoin after successfully answering questions. The questions in the game can come from any topic which requires the players to possess a wide range of knowledge to be successful in the game. Satoshi Quiz rewards players with Satoshis  Satoshis are the smallest unit of a Bitcoin which makes the cryptocurrency easier to use in smaller transactions (Frankenfield, 2020). Players who accumulate 11,000 Satoshis can withdraw their earnings and turn them into Bitcoin. However, in a Satoshi Quiz game, only the first three players who provide the correct answer will receive rewards. This leads to a competitive environment where players must aim to outsmart other players and quickly provide the correct answers. Similar to other Bitcoin-based video games, Satoshi Quiz is a free-to-play game that does not require its players to purchase anything before they can start playing.

Bitcoin-Based Casino Games

Aside from Bitcoin-based games that resemble traditional video games, some casinos have also begun to utilize cryptocurrencies. The website Pokernews.com enumerated more than 40 casino games that offer Bitcoin as rewards and betting currency. These casino games tend to be online-based which allows players to bet using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Casino games like roulette, blackjack, and slots are some popular games that allow for Bitcoin transactions. Additionally, the casinos have implemented promotions on their websites and facilities to encourage players to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their games. Bitcoin’s popularity and volatile value have made it a preferable payment since the cryptocurrency can suddenly increase its value, thus, increasing the profitability of its owners.

Difference Between Bitcoin-Based Games and Othe NFT Games

Individuals new to the cryptocurrency market may be unfamiliar with the concept of Bitcoin and NFTs. This can lead to confusion regarding Bitcoin-based video games and NFT video games. The main difference between the two concepts is that Bitcoin-based video games tend to be under the Bitcoin blockchain while other NFT games do not. Other NFT games, like Axie Infinity and Splinterlands, may be under the Ethereum or Binance blockchain. It is important to understand that different cryptocurrencies utilize different blockchains for their transactions and operations. NFT games like Axie Infinity cannot reward their players with Bitcoin since they utilize the Ether (ETH) currency in the Ethereum blockchain.

However, some games like Altcoin Fantasy and Casino games can reward players with different cryptocurrencies and not just Bitcoin. The games can reward Ethereum, XRP, Litecoins, and other cryptocurrencies. These games have this reward versatility due to their business model. These games may not be under the Bitcoin blockchain and simply transfer the currency to the player’s crypto wallet when they receive their rewards. On the other hand, NFT video games are always operating under a blockchain as it is a requirement for the players to earn crypto tokens through playing the game. NFT games do not reward players directly through their crypto wallets but in their in-game inventories. This requires a direct connection between the game and the blockchain. Casino games do not require this connection as players and the business use the currency as a payment method and do not generate tokens through playing.

Lastly, NFT video games allow their players to own NFTs or non-fungible tokens. These types of games tend to require players to purchase a certain amount of cryptocurrency and use it to buy the NFTs. In NFT video games, NFTs are mostly the in-game avatars that players use to play the game and generate cryptocurrencies. Purchasing the NFTs is similar to investing in the game as high amounts of investment can lead to increased cryptocurrency generation. Most of the Bitcoin-based video games discussed in this paper do not utilize the concept of NFTs. They are free-to-play games that reward Bitcoin to players for playing. However, Bitcoin-based games like Spells of Genesis are starting to utilize NFTs which can lead to more NFT Bitcoin games. The distinction between Bitcoin games and NFT games regarding NFTs may change as blockchain technology improves and more Bitcoin games utilize NFTs.

Conclusion

The popularity of Bitcoin has made it a preferable commodity for online transactions. This led to its frequent use as a reward token for various video games. Video game developers began creating Bitcoin-based games that utilize cryptocurrency to encourage players to play. Games like Bitcoin Alien Run and Spells of Genesis provide interactive gameplay and reward players with Bitcoin after performing in-game tasks. Games like Spark Profit and Altcoin Fantasy provide players with a learning tool that simulates cryptocurrency trading. These simulation games allow players to experience financial trading without the risk of losing money. Additionally, the games reward successful predictions and investments with Bitcoin which encourages players to perform well in the game. Games like Satoshi Quiz and Casino games use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as primary rewards to entice compliance and increase their profitability. Some of these games also utilize the concepts of NFTs which allow players to possess digital items. As these types of games continue to grow popular, Bitcoin may continue to increase its value and become the best digital commodity.

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