It has been a big week for unlisted digital entertainment company Animoca Brands, with a string of business developments ensuring the company stays at the forefront of the non-fungible token (NFT) digital trend.
NFTs are digital assets which can be truly owned, unlike other forms of digital content which are just licenced for use.
Having traded since 2017, the tokens have exploded in popularity this year alongside cryptocurrencies but unlike crypto, they are “non fungible” meaning they cannot be exchanged for an identical item.
The market for NFTs shows little sign of slowing down, with some reports showing the combined market capitalisation of renowned NFT products having escalated by around 1,785% in one three-month period this year.
As an emerging force in NFT integration, Animoca announced this week it would embark on the development of an NFT-based football game as part of an agreement with cryptocurrency platform Hedera Hashgraph to develop two distributed ledger-based gaming projects.
The deal occurred through Animoca’s acquisition of Helix Accelerator and will see the companies use the intellectual properties of famous football clubs under licence as the foundation for the game.
It will feature tradable NFTs which will be backed by HBAR – the native cryptocurrency of the Hedera public network.
The NFTs will be redeemable for HBAR after a cooldown period. This represents the first time that an NFT can be exchanged for a fixed and guaranteed amount of an underlying crypto asset.
Hedera is the world’s most used enterprise-grade public network, and is governed by a council of the global organisations including Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, eftpos, Google, IBM, LG Electronics, and Standard Bank Group.
Animoca, Helix and Hedera will also collaborate to develop and launch the independent, distributed online gaming platform Helix Warp with in-built anti-cheating features.
The companies aim to create a “fair and decentralised ecosystem” of products and services to combat the chronic problem of cheating in online multiplayer games.
Helix Warp will create a server-side simulation environment and leverage the Hedera Consensus Service – essentially a “trust layer” for any application or permissioned network – to record results, while game developers will be able to plug into Helix Warp and deploy hack-resistant leaderboards in their games.
The new platform will initially target HTML5 games and utilise the Helix Warp token to underpin the ecosystem, through the Hedera Token Service technology.
Animoca co-founder Yat Siu said he was looking forward to working with Hedera Hashgraph to leverage blockchain and distribute ledger technology.
“Hedera offers some highly appealing uses for gaming, particularly in the area of high-transaction scenarios,” he said.
“We believe this partnership will result in a more efficient validation of play-to-earn activities, including addressing issues such as the multi-billion dollar problem of cheating in games.”
This week, Animoca’s REVV Token – the main utility token and in-game currency of its branded motorsports games – made its debut on Singapore’s DigiFinex trading platform.
As one of the world’s top 10 crypto exchanges by trading volume and liquidity, DigiFinex offers spot, leverage, perpetual swap trading and fiat to crypto trading to more than 4 million users.
REVV is designed to enable true digital ownership of game assets, giving players freedom and control over their NFT in-game items.
The token was listed on Uniswap in September, and subsequently on various other alternative platforms including Chiliz Exchange, Hotbit, SushiSwap, Bilaxy and Bittrex Global.
Sandbox NFT deal
Today, Animoca subsidiary The Sandbox announced an NFT partnership with Canadian electronic artists Richie Hawtin and Joel Zimmerman (known professionally as deadmau5).
The partnership was brokered by Pixelynx – a new gaming venture launched by the two artists as a “portal into the metaverse” for a range of musicians and brands to develop digital collectibles and virtual worlds.
Hawtin and Zimmerman are known for pushing boundaries with new technology and have been experimenting with virtual worlds, NFTs and blockchain for the past two years.
Pixelynx has acquired a virtual space in The Sandbox and will be launching gaming experiences and NFTs to bring players a unique vision of “music in the metaverse”.
The Sandbox is a unique virtual world where players can build, own and monetise their gaming experiences using NFTs in the form of SAND (currency), ASSETs (creation elements) and LAND (digital real estate).
It has secured partnerships with over 65 brands including Avenged Sevenfold, The Smurfs, Care Bears and Atari and aims to build a fun, creative “play-to-earn” platform offering virtual worlds and game experiences owned and created by players.
Finally, in a move which is bound to excite sports gaming fans, Animoca subsidiary Lympo this week entered into a strategic partnership with Russian esports organisation Virtus.pro to launch NFTs using licensed images of players from the Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive club rosters.
The Virtus.pro club players’ NFTs will be launched on Lympo’s NFT minting platform, which has an esports pool.
Owners will be able to sell or trade the NFTs without restriction to anyone interested in esports collectibles, with the authenticity, scarcity, and provenance of each one being verified and secured on blockchain.