Can NFT’s and Blockchain be trusted?
As blockchain’s popularity and usage grows in various industries around the world, some in the gaming industry consider NFTs and blockchain as “the future.” Without a question, blockchain has numerous futures, and it will all depend on how the technology is implemented. With new blockchain games seemingly appearing out of nowhere every week and news sources struggling to keep up with the latest trends, there is an increasing disconcerting aspect that needs to be addressed when it comes to how blockchain, and particularly games, are covered in the media. Who can you trust in the age of blockchain gaming when popular opinion may be directly related to personal wealth?
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the technology in this episode of MMONFT, and I’m not going to make any judgments on whether NFTs and blockchain are good or bad for the industry or players. Next month, I’ll be airing a massive show that will definitely cover the most popular points on both sides of the debate. Instead, this post and the most recent episode of MMONFT are more about a personal interest that hasn’t been addressed in relation to blockchain games and how creators, games media, influencers, and even our fellow gamers discuss them. My main beef is with the intrinsic nature of what play to earn games imply for those of us who cover video games.
To refresh your memory, an NFT (Non-fungible token) is a cryptographic token that is linked to a digital asset. Smart Contracts are used by the majority of NFTs, and when an NFT is sold, they essentially run a function. To put it simply, an NFT is a virtual item that players may sell to earn money, but the creators also receive a percentage of that transaction and subsequent sales. For a little over a year, I’ve been learning, interviewing industry executives, and investigating blockchain. During that time, we’ve seen a small number of games transform into a tremendous industry shake-up, where it’s now not just common, but practically expected for development companies of all sizes to participate.
As prominent publishers confirm their intentions to invest in blockchain technology, practically every traditional gaming publication is now covering it. As this type of coverage grows more popular, we fear conflicts of interest, where those who own crypto-assets in a game may form an opinion about it based on their desire to boost the value of the assets they own. What is the significance of this? Allow me to pose a question to you. Would it taint my perspective if I wrote an extraordinarily good post and later discovered that I have assets in an NFT game but suppressed that information?
For some of you, this may appear to be a frivolous concern. What difference does it make if I convey a positive opinion? The crypto market may swing drastically at the drop of a hat, as we’ve discovered over the last year. A single tweet from the right person may send a relatively worthless crypto token soaring to new heights or tumbling to the ground in the crypto market. While games journalists is unlikely to have the same clout as multibillionaire business moguls, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of gaming-crypto market manipulation, albeit on a lower scale.
That’s why, whether the slant of the article is positive or negative, I believe you should know whether the writers, or influencers, own assets of the games they’re writing about, even if it’s just a news article, if you’re browsing sites that cover games with crypto assets, you should know whether the writers, or influencers, own assets of the games they’re writing about. As little as it may appear to some, declaring a conflict of interest can at least provide some openness and perhaps some perspective. After all, considerable quantities of money can be wrapped up in NFTs, and not releasing that information isn’t exactly conveying the whole story, especially when cracker-dry news becomes editorialized.
To that end, I’ve decided to mention what relevant assets I own (if any) of the blockchain games that I continue to cover from now on. As blockchain games become more prevalent, the borders between a player and an earner will continue to blur, and I believe that there should be some transparency between those of us who cover these types of games and those who look to journalists for their perspectives on these developing trends.