This week, we continue our recap of Bittrex Exchange’s recent interview with Alien Worlds Co-Founder Saro McKenna. Read on for the highlights.
Games and the Metaverse are hot topics right now, with a wide range of offerings for players. Can you tell us what makes Alien Worlds unique from other gaming competitors? What made Alien Worlds the largest blockchain game by users?
At this point in the trajectory of blockchain gaming, all of the games are relatively unique, or at least all of the large ones. There are now a lot of new propositions. In fact, I have now seen other smaller games that have a concept of a planet DAO. It’s funny to see. All of the big games are relatively unique because we’re all trailblazing different elements of what we’re building out. I suppose nobody has yet put DAOs into competition with each other within a single economy. Putting teams into competition within a single economy hasn’t really been built into the core of their large blockchain games. That has been an emergent property of some of the other games like Axie, for example, as guilds that have been very successful, and that has taken off and then subsequently been built out by the project team as a proposition.
I think it started initially as something that users were doing because they needed to gain access to the right tools. I think the team element is something that we believe is a reason why people are interested in being a part of a Metaverse. There are different motivations. One is the play-to-earn element, but I think people coming together and being social within these gaming environments is also a key element to why people are spending time in these environments. That’s why we wanted to build team gaming into the core of what we’re building.
Another aspect is emphasizing competition within an economy. So other Metaverses and blockchain games have conceived of themselves very much as being like spatial environments. You go into them and you walk around and you might create a tool or a game using NFTs in one part of one’s district. Then you might go to another district and do something else there. This is why in the end, VR and AR become very important to those types of games and the Metaverse, because enriching the spatial experience is a big part of how they improve the gaming experience because it’s primarily spatial. Therefore building out more absorbing spatial experiences is a way of progressing the development of that product.
In our case, we don’t really conceive of the Metaverse primarily as a sort of environment in that sense, at least not a spatial or physical environment. If it is an environment, we conceive of it as being an economic environment, a place where people are competing for various things: NFTs, the token, their own DAO tokens, and competing, airdropping, and doing other mechanisms and dynamics with those tokens.
I think we really have the Metaverse as an abstraction of reality in some way. It’s a digital space where people do things but you don’t necessarily have to think of that space in such a literal sense as literally trying to build out the world digitally. It’s a heavy lift to do that. Also, whatever you build is likely to be obsolete fairly quickly or to look old quite quickly. Whereas, if you abstract into a Metaverse environment particular elements that are, for example, well suited to blockchain technology, like assets and tokens, and then you create mechanisms for people to compete for those, that creates a really nice boundary as well to the space.
So in our sense, the Metaverse is bound. With everything that Trilium is touching, everything you can use Trilium for, or compete in order to get Trilium. I think a fairly unique element to our game is that we’re not emphasizing a build-out of the spatial world. We’re emphasizing social relationships, competitive relationships within an economy. That is really what the game is about.
Then the final thing I mentioned is the blockchain construction. We’re built on three chains fully interoperable with those three chains and now looking at other gaming environments. There are many blockchain games built on two chains, for example, but I think we were the first to see the potential and the reason why you would want to go through all of the work of being interoperable between more chains than one.
Let’s talk about the NFTs in the Alien Worlds ecosystem. One of our audience members asked what exactly are landowner NFTs. How do these non-fungible tokens work and what role do they play in the Alien Worlds platform? How can both landowners and miners benefit from them?
This is such a really fun story. Maybe I’m a geek, but we proposed this concept of the landowner NFT in our white paper and it was conceived of as being a tool that we would provide for landowners. I mentioned that it’s quite easy for people to make NFTs on the WAX blockchain and with the Atomic Asset standard, which is how NFTs on WAX are built. We had a concept to create a way for landowners to offer their own NFTs which would produce variables on the mining rewards that miners get when they mine on landowners’ land. This, in theory, is still part of the roadmap, but what ended up happening was an enterprising member of the community read this in our blueprint and decided to offer it themselves straight away, and that’s what ended up happening.
There’s a company, Alien Worlds Butler, which is not part of Dacoco, that you can go to and if you’re a landowner, they’ll facilitate creating an NFT that then you can use as an extra promotional reward to entice people to mine on your land. This is a really active area of competition within the Metaverse right now as landowners try to undercut each other, or just to offer extra incentives or other reasons why miners might want to mine on their land. Within the Alien Worlds Metaverse, if you own a land NFT and somebody comes to mine on your land, then you can take a commission, a little cut of their mining reward and that’s configurable. You can make it 0%, you can make it up to 20%. Landowners are in competition with each other to try and get people onto their land. NFTs are already out there, and if you’re a landowner you can get them made and dropped on miners on your land according to specific parameters for time-limited campaigns.
We also have a land roadmap in which land mining rewards will be subjected to decay or some modification that then you have to top up. If you’re a landowner, you’ll have to keep topping up your land with various variables in order to stay fully competitive with other landowners on your planet or across the Metaverse. We are still building out a land roadmap but the landowner NFTs, in particular, are great examples of the community getting there first and offering something even quicker than we could.
Another question is around your choice of blockchain. This one was curious to me as well. I’m familiar with WAX, the Worldwide Asset eXchange, but one of our community members said “I don’t really know much about the WAX blockchain. Can you tell us more about this blockchain and why you decided to work with it, particularly some of the advantages that WAX provides and how it fits in with the Alien Worlds plans?” Then, I personally would like to talk about which ecosystems you are considering expanding into? Are you thinking about going to four or five, etc.?
We really appreciate the code base that WAX runs. It’s EOSIO, which powers a number of delegated proof of stake chains. It’s the way you can configure multi-sigs at the protocol level which is really useful when you’re building something like DAOs. Because what DAOs are is a way of giving permissions to an account, and you can set thresholds. When we build a DAO we build custodians who get elected to sign transactions on that account, and you can set the thresholds so you might need a majority of custodians to sign particular types of transactions, but you might even need a supermajority or even 100% of custodians to approve other types of transactions. It’s useful for being able to build DAOs when you can design them in quite a fine way, and also design the election mechanic in a very dynamic way.
One of the really important things to consider around DAOs is security. Especially if you want them to grow to a meaningful size where they have treasuries that are worth taking over or that are worth gaming or worth exploiting or hacking. Once they’re autonomous, the DAO is autonomous. That means that they’ve been fully released into their own native governance and the creators don’t control them anymore. When you’re building something that could eventually have significant value tied up in it and the intention is that it would be fully autonomous, it has to have security mechanisms built right into the data itself.
In our case, we give a lot and already have given a lot of thought to how you create really secure DAOs. One of the ways of doing that is to have these multi-sig permissions with various thresholds for different types of actions and transactions on the smart contracts. Another is this election mechanism that’s very dynamic where the counselors get elected in our case every week, but you can configure that to be every day, for example. The reason why we landed on a week, having battle-tested and worked within DAOs that had different periodicities of the elections is we think that a week is a good middle ground. To many people that seems quite short, right? We’re used to year-long terms for people who are governing things. The reason why you want a short election period is that our custodianship period is the same. Because during that week those counselors do have control over the DAO and could, for example, drain funds and so on, if there aren’t other safeguards in place. So you want the voters to be able to vote those people out in a timely way. So that when proposals go into the DAO, then there’s also the opportunity for the token holders to then vote those custodians out before they can do too much damage.
These are the types of things that you can actually build into/write into the code of the DAOs, which is a clean way of using the codebase that we work with on WAX.
Additionally, WAX was a good chain for NFTs. It’s like an EOSIO chain that was very well positioned for NFTs. Because we knew that NFTs were going to be a big part of the Metaverse that we were building, that was a good place to be. Also, a lot of our pre-existing community had followed us there. We knew lots of people, and that ended up being really significant. The traction that we were able to build was that we had a core group of a few thousand people who could see exactly where we were going with this. That really helps to build a community, which thankfully did happen in our case.
Regarding the other blockchains, we’re on, it is really important for the token to be on Ethereum (ETH). By the way, I would say that WAX is also a very secure chain for a token to be on, but it probably is less known for that. So if what you’re trying to do is to give people easy confidence in this sort of security and immutability of their assets, ETH is a nice place to be, although expensive and difficult to actually run gaming logic on. Which was what many of the other games that were trying to run their game on Ethereum found and of course then they had to build secondary chains to actually run their gaming logic on. We were lucky that we came to the party at the point at which it was already clear that you couldn’t really build anything that you needed to transact regularly on Ethereum. We had already built our gaming logic on WAX, and then BSC because you can reach a different base of users. They are primarily useful chains to be on if you’re trying to show a different part of the world and a different base of users, all about NFTs and blockchain gaming.
We have our Missions functionality on BSC, and we are actively looking at other chains. There are many considerations around that. The development time is long. Also, there are security considerations. With the token being interoperable on two different chains, it is important to build in a thoughtful way so that we don’t start down a path that ends up by the time it’s coming to market, being the wrong choice. We are looking at two or three other chains to build further logic onto. I think also the other gaming environments are probably just as important as that and also a little bit lighter in some ways to build on. For example, Minecraft and other server-based environments. Importantly also, we run exclusively on public blockchains at the moment. It’s advantageous in many ways to have a proprietary chain that you run certain actions on. That is also part of our roadmap and something that we are implementing is moving some of our transactions and actions onto our own chain, which then allows for scalability in a different way than when you’re only running on public blockchains like WAX.
Stay tuned for the final highlights from the interview, coming soon!
Alien Worlds Offers the Social Metaverse to Play, Create, Share and Thrive!
With more than 5 million players ever and more than 10 million plays per day, Alien Worlds is consistently one of the top blockchain games on DappRadar ranking charts. Alien Worlds has inspired creators to create, share and thrive in the Social Metaverse. The Federation would like to thank all Explorers for making this possible.
About the Alien Worlds Social Metaverse
What would you do, if you could create anything in the world? Join the Alien Worlds simulation of Earth’s economy using the Trilium (TLM) game token. Seek your fortune and thrive in the Trilium and NFT Social Metaverse. Get started by traveling through the Wormhole at alienworlds.io and start Mining at https://play.alienworlds.io/ Welcome to Alien Worlds!
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