Today I commented in support of crypto in an article on MassivelyOP.com. My comment was deleted, and I now seem to be blocked from further participating in the one-sided hate and tomato-slinging.
I commented that the hate for NFT’s and crypto is not logical since blockchain is just another way to implement microtransactions, which are widely accepted.
Sure it’s a bit more complicated, but that’s what it boils down to.
I was dismayed a few years ago when Blizzard implemented the Hearthstone season pass, which made me 100% quit the game. I haven’t played since. Blizzard was pushing the cost of Hearthstone even higher, not lower for an aging game! No one seemed to care. And people today have even more microtransaction fight fatigue.
But now – since Ubisoft is exploring the boogie men of ‘crypto’ and ‘NFTs’ in their microtransaction programs, people are suddenly going batshit crazy!
The MOP article first heaps abuse on Ubisoft, framing the company in the worst light as a sordid reminder to the reader, before reaching a simple punchline. Nicolas Pouard, a VP at Ubisoft’s innovations lab, says (to summarize) he believes that gamers are clueless and a bit deluded about crypto.
(He is sugar-coating that the public is hysterical and ignorant.)
Puard is right, but this mob of Puritanical villagers are certain they know more than a gaming executive with a team of expert researchers. They agree with Hillary Clinton (who chimed in last year-ish) that crypto is a thing of the devil that needs to be stopped.
The public has been misled by negative press that has come as a consequence of both profit-seeking opportunists and scam artists, as well as fearmongering public figures, who have more nefarious agendas than legitimate crypto supporters such as Jack Dorsey and Anthony Scaramucci.
Guys and gamers. Blockchains are just software platforms. Software. This software runs “digitally distributed, decentralized, public ledgers that exist across a network.”
These ledgers track unique tokens, and can do quite a lot of things quickly, securely, and most importantly without reliance on the overlords that currently control our computerized ecosystems, such as Microsoft, Google, Visa, big banks, hedge funds, government entities, etc.
Your ownership of a token represents a stake in the network. Instead of Microsoft extracting all the fees for using their proprietary ecosystems, you get a share of the power and profits instead, in exchange for your collaboration and participation.
It is probably less misleading to call a crypto a “token” rather than a “currency”. I’m not sure which is more accurate since I’m far from a blockchain scholar, but it seems most clear to think of secure, fast distributed ledgers.
Maybe a lot of misperception comes from people trying to think of crypto in the same terms as fiat currencies. Blockchains can do a lot of things on their distributed, secure ledgers, but that isn’t the point of this blog post.
The important point is that it’s logical to think that blockchains could be useful to facilitate transactions in video game ecosystems. That’s a foundational premise of the Metaverse. I’m skeptical about making the Metaverse work, but I’m certain about the usefulness of blockchain.
When the internet was invented, did we see lots of memes making jokes about the useless pseudo-religion of the internet, warning people about the potential for ‘internet scams’? I’m sure there were plenty of scams.
It also seems logical that big banks, governments, and very powerful people would want to stop crypto by claiming it’s a scam and a fraud. Some of these naysayers are telling you it’s a scam, while at the same time investing in crypto secretly, like Jamie Dimon at Chase Bank. Many other companies, like Visa, are preparing to make the transition to a crypto economy so they won’t be left behind.
“Oh, no! You can’t fool us” cries a horde of gamers. “Cryptos are an even worse scam than microtransactions!” Unfortunately, crypto haters are falling right into the trap of being persuaded to hate what’s good for them.
Look at the Chinese government, which banned all cryptos just last year, but the PRC is looking to introduce an official government cryptocurrency. Russia may soon be taking the same steps.
Note that these are the world’s largest authoritarian governments. They don’t want crypto because it empowers the people and removes them from full control. They want full control.
The U.S. government has been extremely late and lazy to police the ‘cryptoverse’. Now they can hold up the chaos and fallout of the scams and hype disasters (aided by their own inaction), as proof that we need serious regulation.
Of course, the government will be there to protect us and to create a safe, secure, and legal government crypto. Wait. If crypto is so bad, why is it OK if governments and government banks are running it?
This is not the world you want, but it seems to the world we are heading towards. In my metaphor above of superstitious villagers vs. crypto, this is like letting the church scare you into positioning itself as your only safe and legal gatekeeper to all that is holy. Because demons.
Before my post on MassivelyOP was deleted, someone pushed back. They said it was inaccurate to say gamers had accepted microtransactions. They had ‘swallowed’ them (my words), but not accepted them. This is a very good point. It’s likely that gamers need targets to express their rage (i.e. Bobby Kotick). The negative perception of blockchain and NFT’s offered a good target.
I might not be 100% informed on some of these issues, and there may be a few inaccuracies. But believe me I share the suppressed rage at video games turning into a blood-sucking shopping mall. I’m just saying it’s wrong and ignorant to shoot the messenger in this case.