Thoughts on Cryptocurrencies and Games

Game Design Blog — June 27, 2022

What is a cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is at its core basically just an ordinary spreadsheet. The only meaningful difference is that it’s a spreadsheet which can only be modified according to a predetermined set of rules. All the crazy cryptography and distributed systems engineering is just there to enforce those rules, so for our purposes the rules might as well be enforced by magic.[2]
For example, in the case of Bitcoin, the spreadsheet looks (approximately) like this:

  • She can’t, for example, just change her number to be 80.0.
  • She can’t change or decrease anyone else’s number of Bitcoins.
  • However, she can “transfer” Bitcoin by decreasing her own row by 5 and increasing Bob’s by 5
  • and so on…[3]


Okay, so we’ve established that cryptocurrencies are just spreadsheets, and spreadsheets are perhaps the most boring thing to have ever been invented.[5] So a reasonable question to ask is why do so many people care?

  1. Space starts running out on the spreadsheet
  2. People start offering money to buy other people’s space on the spreadsheet
  3. Some people make a lot of money selling their space on the spreadsheet
  4. People panic thinking that unless they buy space right now, they’re going to miss out on a chance to make a lot of money
  5. Fear spreads like a virus
  6. There’s a stampede to get on the spreadsheet
  • The people who are afraid of missing out feel terrible
  • The people who missed out feel terrible
  • Even the people who didn’t miss out feel terrible because they should have gotten more when they had the chance![6]

Cryptocurrency in Games

So why does everyone seem to think that NFTs and cryptocurrencies are related to games? I think the reason is that many games have always had a small element of FOMO. Consider collectible card games like Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering or game mechanics like randomized loot drops or rare single-run item events like party hats in Old School Runescape. These mechanics can be exciting for some players and to be fair a little bit of excitement is entertaining and fun. However, these examples are fun because they are just one small element of a much greater and more complex game. They’re not the whole game. Designing your game around FOMO as a core component is a bit like playing with fire. Designing your game around cryptocurrency, because of its direct connection to real money, is a bit like using gasoline to get that fire started. You’ve got to be very careful because FOMO is driven by a cascade of fear, rather than fun and it’s been my general understanding that games are supposed to be fun.

  1. Developer states that they’re going to sell crypto assets to fund development of a game
  2. Developer releases exclusive crypto in-game assets (land, cloths, creatures, energy, whatever)
  3. Crypto speculators buy up all of the in-game assets hoping to make money on them
  4. Crypto speculators aren’t interested in playing the game, because they prefer speculating
  5. Gamers are not interested in playing the game, and can’t afford to buy the in-game resources even if they were
  6. The game has no players
  7. Crypto speculators encourage the game developers to make more speculative assets, rather than make the game better


What does this all mean for BitCraft? Not a whole lot. Our decisions are not based on how much money other game companies are making right now, or how high the price of Bitcoin is. Our only goal is to make BitCraft the most fun and long lasting game we can. We are here to make a living game that lasts for 20 years. That is what will ultimately determine if we are successful.



Creating virtual worlds through precision engineering.

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