A Million Dollar Crypto & Gaming Venture Promised Riches and Delivered Nothing

Alejo Lopez de Armenia has played video games all his life and for many reasons. The thrill of competition, the desire for camaraderie, and basically the need to pass the time. In his twenties, he felt lonely working for a solar panel company in Florida and grew up using video games at night. , I interacted with some Argentinian friends who grew up there.

But ten months ago, the 39-year-old Armenia discovered a new game and a new reason to play. Axis Infinity was very simple compared to the massively multiplayer games he usually played. Players control a team of three digital creatures that fight each other. The character is a cartoonish blob that features a unique combination of interchangeable body parts, unlike Mr. Potato's head. During a "battle" they happily hop on the spot and wait for their turn to cast spells against their opponents. When a character is defeated, he becomes a ghost.

A team of three loses when all its members are gone.

The game lasts less than 5 minutes. Even a lot of Axis regulars say it's not very fun, but people still follow Axis-themed Discord channels and Reddit forums, as well as special rewards that help build stronger teams. He spends hours researching strategies, paying for software. Valencia, who has poured about $40,000 into his habits since last August, admits he likes the game, but he also makes it clear that recovery wasn't his goal. <span class="gc-replacement" data-orignal="" i"="" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Poppins, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 2px solid yellow !important;">" I actually wanted it to be my full-time <span class="gc-replacement" data-orignal="job," "="" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Poppins, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 2px solid yellow !important;">job, " he says.

The reason this is possible, or at least the reason it seemed possible for the odd couple of months last year, is Axis's ties to the cryptocurrency market. Players will receive some Smooth Love Potion (SLP) tokens every time they win a game, and can earn another cryptocurrency, his Axe Infinity Shards (AS), in big tournaments. These characters, known as Axis, are non-fungible tokens (NUTs) whose ownership is tracked on the blockchain and can also be traded like cryptocurrencies.

There are several ways to make money with Axis. Armenia saw breeding as more of a business than playing games, but preparing them to play. Players who own Axis can create other Axis by parenting two they already own and paying with SLP and AS. Then wait for the obligatory gestation period, and a new character will appear that combines the characteristics of both parents. All new Axe players require their Axe to play, hence the higher price. Armenia began breeding last August, when normal economic conditions didn't seem to apply.

"In five days, you'll be guaranteed to make 300%, 400% of your money, " he says. " It was stupid .

" A startup called Sky Mavis Inc., the creator of Axis, heralded all this as a new kind of economic phenomenon. A video game that you earn by playing." We believe in a future where work and leisure come together, " says the company's website mission statement. " We believe in empowering our players and giving them economic opportunities.

The company, which was founded four years ago by House Group, has raised more than $160 million from investors including venture capital firm Andreessen. Horowitz and crypto firm Firm Paradigm have a peak market capitalization of around $3 billion. In the same month, Axis Infinity surpassed its two million daily users, according to Sky Mavis.

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