NFTs are everywhere - you have heard about them, of course. Based on blockchain technology, these assets are taking over the crypto world. From social media to NFT games, they are popping up everywhere. But what exactly are they?
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are non-interchangeable units of data that are unique, verified digital assets. Verification of NFTs allows users to own assets and prove their ownership as all information about it is stored on the blockchain and can not be falsified. In the digital world, where it is hard to claim ownership, NFTs serve as tools for artists and content creators to sell their artwork and assets.
The first NFT
The first NFT dates back to 2014 when artist Kevin McCoy minted “Quantum", a pulsating picture of an octagon. The hypnotic piece of art was created with an aim to assert authorship in digital art so the ownership would be easily transferable. Although Kevin McCoy did not coin the term NFT to describe his creation, it was minted using blockchain technology, thus making it the first NFT.
You probably still remember the time NFTs became a widely talked about topic. While there were many projects between 2014 and 2021, only around early 2021 did the sales of NFTs skyrocket.
One of the first popular NFT projects is CryptoPunks. Created in 2017 these algorithmically generated characters cost less than $100 back in the day. For example, you could have bought Punk number 5822 for 0.05Ξ ($14) back in 2017. Now it is the most expensive Punk ever sold so far, as it was purchased for 8,000Ξ ($23.7M) in February 2022.
Many NFT projects have emerged since then. At first glance, NFTs just seem like digital pictures you can collect, but more use cases are emerging as they become more popular. For example, Twitter introduced NFTs to their platform: you can now connect your wallet to confirm the ownership of an NFT and set it as your profile picture. This is not the only use case for NFTs.
CryptoKitties: the beginning of play-to-earn games
CryptoKitties, released in 2017 on Ethereum, is the first ever blockchain game. The game became so popular that it clogged up the Ethereum network, raising gas fees during the peak of its fame. But what is that game about and how can players earn from it?
CryptoKitties is quite a simple game: you purchase NFT kitties and breed them to generate new NFTs. After that, you can put your newborn kittens on the NFT marketplace, hopefully earning money from your investment. It does not sound too exciting and virtual pet games with similar premises have been available for a long time, so why the fuss about CryptoKitties?
The biggest attraction to CryptoKitties can be explained by explaining NFTs. When you have an NFT, you are a verified owner of it and no one can take it from you - not even the game developers. That makes these assets special and creates play-to-earn platforms like nothing we have seen before.
Play-to-earn games: the future of gaming
Play-to-earn elements have been around for a long time. In some games, you can get items for free and sell them in the marketplace afterwards. Most of the time the return rate is not very high as you have to spend quite a lot of time playing the game only to earn pennies. Also, even when you do obtain various in-game assets, they do not belong to you as a NFT does. For example, you can get banned from the game, losing all of your items. When you earn or buy an NFT, you have full ownership of the asset and no one can take it from you.
Most NFT games also integrate cryptocurrency created for that particular game. For example, Axie Infinity, one of the most popular NFT games out there, employs double tokenomics: Axies (NFTs) and Smooth Love Potion, or simply SLP (cryptocurrency). The gameplay is similar to CriptoKitties: you can breed your virtual pets, Axies, using SLP. You can also earn SLP from winning battles against other Axies, so it is more advanced than CryptoKitties as there are more things you can do in the game.
These in-game cryptocurrencies are just like any regular cryptocurrencies out there as you can buy and trade them, their value fluctuates, and sometimes you can even stake them to get rewards. That way when you earn in-game cryptocurrency, you are earning currency that can be used outside the game.
CryptoKitties and Axie Infinity receive fair criticism: they are bland. There are indeed many crypto games out there that can not compete with regular games because they lack the fun element that makes people come back to the game. The main reason why these games attract people is the play-to-earn mechanism integrated into them. It would be fair to say that we are still in the early NFT gaming stages and that more advancements will be made in the future to create better experiences for users.
Mars4: Bringing excitement to play-to-earn games
The most distinct characteristic of the Mars4 project is that the team behind it aims to release a fun and exciting game. While it is an NFT play-to-earn game, the goal is to create a full 3D Mars metaverse where players can experience the Red Planet first-hand. It will be a survival game where players will struggle against the harsh reality of Mars, gather resources, and group up into full-fledged habitats.
The project has double tokenomics: Mars land plot NFTs and MARS4 dollars. Other items such as vehicles, colonists and such will also be NFTs. How will MARS4 integrate them into the game?
Mars land plot NFTs are pieces of virtual Mars that were made using NASA data. You can already purchase your spot on Mars, even before the game is released. These Mars NFTs will be incorporated into the game as individual playable zones and landowners will be able to explore and terraform their land. Mountains, craters and other topographical elements will also be rendered into the game making the Mars metaverse experience more accurate and unique.
The Mars4 dollar is a cryptocurrency that will be used in the game. You will be able to purchase various items, ranging from vehicles used to improve your productivity to cosmetic items making you stand out from the crowd. All players will be able to earn Mars4 dollars, although the revenue generated by Mars land plot NFT holders will be higher.
As it was mentioned before, other in-game assets will also be NFTs. Their prices will vary in range: more valuable items will give you a bigger productivity score that will help you earn more from the game. Because these items are NFTs, you will have full ownership of them just as you do with Mars land NFTs. Although they are not for purchase yet, the market should open up in Spring 2022 with the release of the Mars Control Centre. Soon after that, the full 3D game will be launched and you will be able to use your NFT items in the game.
The play-to-earn mechanism of the upcoming Mars4 game will allow players to earn simply by playing the game but Mars aims to be more than just another dull NFT game. Players will be able to explore their Mars land NFT, gather resources from it, trade and earn money. It will give players an immersive experience of thevirtual Mars Metaverse and by integrating NFTs and cryptocurrency, players will be able to obtain assets that truly belong to them and create a unique economy.