The amount of time people spend in front of a screen is rising globally in a previous couple of weeks. This is the reflection of the numerous global lockdowns that are affecting countries from South Korea to the US, all of them instigated in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak, currently in its pandemic state.
While this is an issue for so many industries across the world, some domains have been able to prosper from it. Notably, now even notoriously, the crypto community hopes that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will serve as digital gold in times of crisis. Instead of offering uncorrelated behavior to the rest of the stock market, bitcoin, as well as other big digital currencies, perfectly aligned to it.
However, in spite of that, like in the rest of the global economy, there are some parts of the crypto field that are profiting from the shutdown. These are presently, among others, blockchain applications or dapps that are providing specific services. These are not, interestingly enough, only monetary or financial services, but dapps from the domains of communication and gaming, which is essentially the rarely-mentioned entertainment part of the blockchain app landscape.
There is a bit of historical irony to the entire story of dapps in the present moment. The world saw the birth of the bitcoin network, the one that began the whole cryptocurrency revolution, in the midst of a 2008/9 economic crisis. Because of that, many had high hopes that a new downturn, which the world is in without any dilemma, would also be a big moment for bitcoin to shine.
Yet, as a global financial asset, bitcoin price, just like other top cryptocurrencies did not perform well in the previous weeks by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, as many experts point out, crypto appears to have reverted across the board into a trumped-up version of stablecoin. This means that it basically directly reflects the state of one or more global fiat currencies. Presently, the crypto market is emulating the traditional markets very closely as well. However, fortunately for the crypto domain, this is not the whole story for the entire cryptocurrency playing field.
As the shutdown began, many psychology experts pointed out that people should use the time inside to connect with their loved ones using digital means. While the situation might have robbed them of direct contact, at least the state of technology of 2020 allows for a range of means of getting in touch with almost anyone, no matter where they are and at practically no cost.
This is why a range of communication platforms saw a huge increase in activity and the same is true for blockchain-based ones. Status is one of those. In 2017 its ICO raised about 107 million USD to create a crypto version of WhatsApp that uses the ethereum network and its embedded digital wallet. 2018 and its Crypto Winter hit the same startup hard and forced it to fire about a quarter of its staff by the end of the year.
Now, however, things appear to be looking up for the same company. Their representative recently explained that with the rise of government surveillance across the globe because of the spread of COVID-19, people are more conscious of the fact that their communication is possibly being examined. This is making some turn to alternatives that have a strong cryptographic set of measures that stops the same happening to their applications. Status is definitely among them and it released its 1.0 version in the middle of February.
Previously, one of the biggest synonyms for dapps games was the crypto gambling scene. This included everything from open and decentralized betting marketplaces like Augur to classic cryptocurrency casinos and betting applications. Now, other games as well are making headway into the world of gaming which is not only focusing on cryptocurrency betting.
One of them is War Riders, a vehicle arena title which, puts the players in a Mad Max-type scenario. Here, the game uses its own non-fungible tokens for game access, while an in-game currency by the name of benzene is also employed. The game noted a 70 percent increase in new users, but also the same increase in the time spent in the game. Here, a new marketplace is opening up with people buying and selling their battle vehicles. The cheapest ones are around 5 USD in ETH but there are many more that go for much higher prices.
The company behind it wanted to make the game appealing without playing too much on the crypto element. It also had a lot of success in using non-fungible token tech for titles in the Star Trek universe as well as Major League Baseball. All of them have their own items users can buy and sell, which is great news for the owners and operators, while the users basically have the same experience they would otherwise have in any free-to-play title that involves microtransactions.
Lastly, another part of the crypto domain that is seeing expansions is the virtual worlds. Crypto Voxels is a title from this selection that tries to blend the SimCity experience with that of a social network. It is an indie project but it still managed to attract attention.
Before the lockdown, there were only about 5 to 10 daily logins into the game. After the lockdown began, there were about 40 to 50 of them. The game is especially profiting on the quarantine emotions by offering an ability to hang out with other people.
The game is planning to scale but other titles and virtual worlds are doing the same. Like esports, these are projects that are generally pretty nimble and able to adapt fast. This allows them to attract users when the traditional offer might be getting a bit worn-out for most individuals. The same applies to many other entertainment dapps and it is surely the core reason why they are all seeing a big chance for a breakthrough these days and weeks.