What has been the biggest NFT project so far? In terms of total trading volume, it isn't NBA Top Shot or CryptoPunks. No, it's Axie Infinity - a Pokémon-inspired, monster-fighting Ethereum game that gained enormous traction this summer.

Cryptocurrencies, in general, and non-fungible tokens in particular, have attracted a lot of interest, so many industries, including the gaming industry, are interested in the underlying blockchain technology. Axie Infinity, for instance, uses Ethereum-based cryptocurrency to facilitate the creation and use of its titular "Axies". 

Because the game is based on a blockchain network, many people have turned to it for income generation and to trade digital goods. If you know what you're doing, it's similar to playing online Pokemon, but you earn real-world cash from it.

What Is Axie Infinity?

The Axie Infinity whitepaper describes it as using Pokemon-like characters, known as Axies, in a growing universe of games and systems. The blockchain network is used to identify and trace the history of the trade history of a unique digital good, and since Axies are user-generated creations, they are also considered NFTs. In the game, each Axie has unique abilities based on card-based battle systems and turn-based combat. In the world of Axie Infinity, Axies can be categorized into many types, specifically 9 types.

In the game, the player gains SLP (Small Love Potion) based on his or her performance in matches. By breeding their Axies, players can create more axies, which they can use for future battles or sell for profit on the market, by using SLP tokens, ERC 20 tokens.

The unique abilities of Axies are inherited from their genes, and any offspring of two Axies will inherit some of their parents' characteristics. It is believed that approximately 50% of traits in the offspring are inherited from their parents, so users are able to blend and match different types of Axies to create the ones they feel will be of value. Axie can only be bred seven times, which prevents the platform from becoming overpopulated with digital creatures.

Axies can also be bred to create new ones with unique stats through their unique inheritance. Players will require at least three Axies to start a battle with another player or with an NPC at any given time. To get started playing the game, new players must purchase axes from the marketplace. Hopefully, you can now understand how the game's economy works and how its cryptocurrency foundations can be considered profitable.

Who Is Axie Infinity?

The company behind this fun and smart game is Sky Mavis. Due to its brilliance, millions of dollars have been earned by them because of the explosive popularity of the game. This year, it has collected $700 million from in-game purchases, of which 17% goes to the developer, and is projected to collect $1 billion by year's end. Founded three years ago in Vietnam, the startup claims to have more than 2 million active daily users today, up from 38,000 in April.

Recent funding from Andreessen Horowitz valued it at $3 billion with a $152 million Series B. Axie Infinity's valuation is lower than the market capitalization of its currency because it doesn't own all of the tokens. The fresh capital will be used by Sky Mavis to launch an enhanced battle system, a decentralized trading platform, and a brand new game.

Sky Mavis' journey is only just beginning. With recent price increases on AXS tokens, the firm has been able to boost the number of tokens in that fund to about $4 billion. In this play-to-earn push, Jeffrey Zirlin, the cofounder of Axie Infinity, calls it "a growth catalyst on a different level from Ronin," and AXS will be staked as a reward and token-based governance will be implemented.

It is estimated that Axie brings in around 1.8 million daily players, but the high upfront costs remain a significant barrier to entry. It's expensive to buy three Axie NFTs, but the scholarship agreement is like having a job, a serious commitment. 

But, can casual players get a taste of Axie Infinity by just experimenting?

New artwork and a more strategic battle system will be part of Axie's updated battle system.

In this case, free starter Axies will be useful. In addition to trial Axies with "zero or close to zero" earnings potential, Zirlin said, Sky Mavis plans to offer demos of the game prior to paying any money. As for Axie's play-to-earn benefits, they will still only be available to those who buy the NFTs, but there will be an easier on-ramp-basically, an evaluation version.

“It's solving a missing bridge between awareness and hard activation,” Zirlin said.

Moreover, Axie Infinity will have much richer and more comprehensive gameplay. There is a heavy focus on battles in the game, either against online foes or with computer-generated rivals, during which players use to attack and ability cards to try and out-perform the opposition. Despite the parallel turn-based structure, there is a poker-esque approach to making your moves before seeing what your opponents are doing. The process is "somewhat unintuitive" at this time, according to Zirlin.

Is Axie Infinity profitable?

Axie Infinity's success is determined by how many people use its resources, just like any platform built on top of the blockchain. As of now, over 13,000 ETH (16+ million USD) has been generated in revenue for the game, which is steadily growing in the player base. Players are rewarded for engaging with Axies' platform, which is based on the "play to earn" strategy. 

But, how do players make money from Axie Infinity? 

The game's whitepaper explains that players can utilize and profit from the platform in a variety of ways, including:

  • Winning prize money through PVP battles.
  • Breeding Axies and selling them on the market.
  • Exchanging and collecting rare axies, such as Origins and Mystics.
  • Uniswap and Binance are cryptocurrency exchanges where users can sell love potions.
  • Buy digital goods and assets with AXS (Axie Infinity Shards) tokens within the game.
  • This platform allows players to buy and sell Axies using Ethereum (ETH).

In addition to selling axes for ETH, players can also convert those ethers to fiat currency on exchanges like Binance, CoinDCX, etc.

Challenges Of Axie Infinity

Today, Axie Infinity is the best-known and most successful crypto game on the market, but there are still many others on the horizon that can challenge its early dominance in the play-to-earn market.

A new open-world, 3D metaverse game from Animoca Brands has already garnered millions of dollars worth of LAND plot NFT sales and partnered with Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, and Atari. Among upcoming titles are Guild of Guardians, a play-to-earn mobile battler, and the fantasy role-playing adventure Big Time from veterans of the AAA gaming industry.

These are all Ethereum-based games, but the sci-fi game Star Atlas is also generating buzz lately with its in-demand NFT spaceships. As part of Aurory, Sallana is planning to spin off three existing profile picture NFTs into monster-battling role-playing adventures, and also backing Star Atlas, Aurory-- also an early Axie Infinity investor. There's even Bitcoin gaming coming soon, thanks to Moonray, an upcoming play-to-earn fantasy game.

Despite the unique features each game has, Axie Infinity has a growing target on its back as rivals compete to win the attention, money, and time of crypto-savvy gamers. 

Game developers know that user-owned assets and crypto rewards are an effective way of demonstrating their value, so it should come as no surprise to see a wide array of projects in this space launching soon.

“We've always believed that games with player-owned economies would be some of the largest applications of all time,” Zirlin explained. “I think it’s a really amazing way to introduce people to the blockchain. One of the problems with blockchain is that it hasn't been able to capture the attention and imagination of everyday users.”

According to him, Axie Infinity was meant to be an engagement and retention machine. Is there anything you would build that would ensure people are always thinking about blockchain? It would probably be a mass-appeal game.

People Are Quitting Their Jobs To Play Axie Infinity

It is estimated that the average player can earn 4,500 SLP per month from the Cryptoday newsletter on Substack. This equates to about $1,500 at today's prices.

Thousands of players are active every day, according to Axie. This game is highly strategic as well as time-consuming. Axies must not only be carefully bred for the purpose of developing new skills but they must also be completed quests to earn energy for further participation.

As a result, many people are giving up their day jobs to devote themselves full time to Axie in countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Despite its success in helping many people through pandemic-related economic challenges, it is more of a side business than a day job.

How to Play Axie Infinity?

There are some steps to taking advantage of Axie Infinity, but if you are familiar with cryptocurrency platforms, the process should be easy enough.

Here is a step-by-step guide: 

  • Buying ETH starts with creating an Ethereum wallet or using an existing wallet (e.g. Binance, Metamask).
  • On the Axie Infinity marketplace, create an account.
  • Axie Infinity can be accessed directly if your Ethereum wallet was created through Metamask.
  • You can download the Ronin wallet browser extension, which is built on the Ronin sidechain created by Sky Mavis of Axie. This extension can be downloaded for Google Chrome and Firefox.
  • In the middle of the dashboard, you will find the option "Attach Ronin to Account".
  • By using Ronin bridge, you can transfer ETH from your primary wallet to Ronin.
  • The Axies Infinity marketplace will now allow you to purchase Axies.

As soon as you have acquired three Axies, you can begin playing the game by downloading the following app:

  • iOS. Axie Infinity beta testing is available at https://axieinfinity.com/community-alpha. If you would like to join the beta test, visit this link.
  • Android
  • macOS
  • Windows

Axie Infinity is now available for play. Get familiar with the rules of the game by reading the Axie Infinity handbook. The mobile app for this game can't be found in the stores of mobile platforms. iOS users have the option to join a beta test group by downloading the game's APK via the provided link, while Android users will have to download the APK from the provided link and side-load it on their phones.