Blockchain games become force to be reckoned with

January 09, 2022 | 10:00
This year has seen the rise of Vietnamese-based blockchain games in the global market. Lynn Hoang, country director of Binance Vietnam, talked with VIR’s Thanh Van about the bright future of homegrown blockchain games.

What is the potential of blockchain games that are developed by Vietnamese firms in terms of attracting funds?

Blockchain games become force to be reckoned with
Lynn Hoang, country director of Binance Vietnam

The success of products like Axie Infinity has opened up a huge opportunity for Vietnamese startups that want to go global. Many foreign investment funds have been interested in startups from Vietnamese founders.

For example, Whydah, a company specialising in blockchain games founded by businessman Tri Pham with IronSail architecture, attracted an investment of $25 million from large investment funds only 10 days after announcing the IronSail project. Sipher also just raised $6.8 million in the seed round to build World of Sipheria, a pre-context PC game ecosystem developed on blockchain technology. Nguyen Trung Tin of Trung Thuy Group is the founder of this startup project.

How do you see blockchain and non-fungible token (NFT) games contributing to elevating the position of Vietnam’s industry in the international market?

Blockchain is being strongly applied in the gaming industry. Vietnam is one of the leading countries in NFT/GameFi and Axie Infinity is a vivid example. Axie completed the token sale on Binance Launchpad in October 2020. At that time, its value was only 10 US cents per token but now it is more than $100 per token.

Axie has recently raised $152 million in a series-B funding round. Currently, and it boasts about 2 million users per day. Its NFT market crypto trading volume is also worth around $2.2 billion.

According to Newszoo statistics, in 2021 there will be nearly three billion people playing games globally. This number increased by 5.3 per cent compared to 2020. Meanwhile, according to App Annie Intelligence, Vietnam ranks second in Southeast Asia in terms of market share of downloading games on mobile applications, accounting for 22 per cent. In 2020, the Vietnamese game market has grown by 10 per cent in terms of downloads. Gaming user spending has increased by 50 per cent.

In the top 10 mobile game publishers between Southeast Asian countries and Australia and New Zealand, Vietnam has five game publishers on the: Amanotes, OneSoft, Gamejam, VNG, and Arrasol. Recently, Vietnam also has a lot of game projects born and funded by individual investors and funds around the world.

These types of games have opened up new business models, but there have been short-term projects that seem to scam investors. Could you shed some light on the pros and cons of this business model?

NFT-based play-to-earn videogames provide an opportunity for individuals to understand how blockchains and cryptocurrencies work, particularly the workings of the blockchain economy. Players do not earn traditional fiat money directly. They can earn tokens, which can be converted into major cryptocurrencies and then converted further into fiat or use them directly.

For example, in several rural regions in the Philippines, numerous success stories have been published by the media. These range from a player who was able to sustain the basic needs of his family during the pandemic to another player who was able to buy a house via playing Axie Infinity. On the other hand, cryptocurrencies are very volatile. Individuals should evaluate their risk appetite when investing real money in the game. For example, it is a play-to-earn game and it is not free. One of the biggest disadvantages is the initial cost, and it can be expensive. For example, there was a time when a player would need to invest at least $500 to purchase at least three Axie to join the game.

What is the company’s plan to support and invest in Vietnamese blockchain games in 2022?

Binance has recently launched a $1 billion growth fund in support of the Binance Smart Chain blockchain, with the goal of helping to accelerate the adoption of digital assets and blockchain technology. About half of the funds will be directed toward investments in areas such as gaming, VR, and blockchain-based financial services. The remainder will go to a builder programme, liquidity incentives, and talent development.

For example, some projects from Vietnam are winners of our Most Valuable Builder programme: Faraland, My DeFi Pet, and Theta Arena. Vietnam is always one of the major markets and in 2022 we will continue leveraging our resources and networks to support more and more blockchain projects that are coming from Vietnam.

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