Just when you thought the world of NFT gaming couldn’t get any weirder or more lucrative for the least possible effort, crypto’s latest trend is playing games before they’re even built.
Developers used to take sometimes years to build a game before releasing it, then cashed in by selling in-game items and raking in the profits. But crypto degens have flipped the script by selling the in-game items first and then hoping somebody else will build the game.
Yet even without guarantees of any future utility, these items and artifacts are selling for millions – US$211 million over the past seven days, in fact, according to data from NFT-Stats.
On August 27, Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann described the Loot project as “randomised adventurer gear”, stating there were only 8,000 bags of said gear. Of course, all 8,000 were snapped up within four hours after Hofmann provided a link to an Ethereum contract, which members of the crypto community used to create the bags and send them to themselves. It was free to claim the bags but they had to pay transaction fees.
Each bag contains eight items for a supposed adventurer, a few wearables and a weapon. They’re all named as in any mythological game, with descriptors such as “Dragonskin Armour” or “Platinum Ring of Anger”.
Not Real, Not Digital, Just White Text on a Black Background
But these are not real bags, nor are they even digital ones. They are simply white text on a black background, saved as images and minted as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. They look like the reversed panel in the tweet below:
How Loot Was ‘Created’
Back in March, Hofmann created Blitmap, which he described as a “community-created fantasy universe”, a blueprint for what Loot would become. Since Blitmap’s launch, Hofmann considered other ways to promote the creation of blockchain-based art and communities to surround them. One idea was to let people mint NFTs based on his random-item generator for free, just to see what would happen. He would not provide any artwork or any instructions on what to do with them. And he would give these “bags” of items away for free, minus the transaction fees required by the Ethereum network.
The 7,777 bags Hofmann offered up for minting were all snapped up more or less instantly. Over the next five days Loot bags were resold for US$46 million, and had a market cap of US$180 million. On September 1, the cheapest Loot bag could be had for about US$20,000. That price more than doubled overnight to US$46,000.
Game developers can build a game or multiple games around these collectibles, assigning items that match the attributes in the bags. So anyone who owns the bags may be able to access such items within these yet-to-be-created games.
No Secure Future But Plenty of Value
Despite the lack of any secure future, the bags continue to attract value. At time of writing the cheapest price for a Loot bag was 12.4 ETH (US$48,360), while the highest sale yet was for just shy of US$1 million – for a single bag.
With Loot now on the loose, the NFT gaming bonanza shows no signs of slowing. One of the other frontrunners in the space, Axie Infinity, saw its token, axie infinity (AXS), skyrocket over 50 percent in a single week last month.
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