Axie Infinity is an NFT-based online game, which uses Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies. The main purpose of Axie Infinity is to collect, breed, trade, and battle creatures called Axies with other gamers’ sets of Axies. The game allows players to own their virtual assets, and rewards players who are able to reach an advanced level of skill.
Axie Infinity uses a play-to-earn model, combined with the Ethereum blockchain technology. The players are rewarded with cryptocurrency for their investments and time spent in the game. To start playing, users need to work through a setup process to connect digital wallets with their Axie Infinity account. Once the accounts are successfully connected, the players have access to the digital marketplace. To play, every user needs 3 Axies.
Axies can only be bought with real-life money. Their prices can range from $2 to more than $1B. Once the player has 3 Axies, they can download the application and start playing.
Axie Infinity has two gaming modes - Adventure Mode and Arena Mode. Adventure Mode is based on players gaining skills and experience on different levels. In this mode, players fight against controlled mobs to complete a level, while Arena Mode is player-versus-player based and consists of different matches.
After players have completed the tutorial of Axie Infinity, they can choose a DApp-compatible wallet in order to send ETH. If users are playing on a PC, it is recommended that they use MetaMask. However, if they are playing using a mobile device, Coinbase is the most suggested one.
- Development history
Axie Infinity started off as a way to introduce the world to blockchain technology, but since then has attracted investors all over the world. The game was created by game studio based in Vietnam, Sky Mavis. Many members of the original Sky Mavis team met playing CryptoKitties, one of the first NFT games.
Playing Axie Infinity was the first experience with crypto for thousands of users. As of July 2021, the Axie counts 568K Discord Users and 450K Daily Average Users (DAUs) of the game itself. Axie Infinity collects revenues comparable to those of other DeFi Protocols. Axie has generated a venerable internal economy, especially relative to other blockchain virtual worlds like Decentraland, SomniumSpace, Cryptovoxels, and Sandbox.
According to PlayerCounter, Axie Infinity’s main market is the Philippines, with 40% of players based in that country. Google Trends also identifies this as a key market, discovering that most of the searches for ‘what is Axie Infinity’ come from the Philippines.
Axie’s gameplay is simple and resembles the mechanics of the Pokémon Go game. When the wallet and Ethereum are set up, players can start buying Axies. They need to go to the Marketplace on the official Axie Infinity website to buy Axies from other players. Another option is to check if the Axie Lab is selling Axie eggs. However, it is recommended that players do thorough research before deciding which Axies they want to buy.
After purchasing Axies, players should form their Axie team. Axies battle happens in a three-versus-three format against each other. It is recommended to players to create teams with different but complementary skills and abilities of Axies in one team.
- Adventure Mode
Adventure Mode is recommended for new players. In this mode, players fight against computer-controlled mobs to gain experience and goal levels. The mode features 36 different levels, with difficulty increasing with each level. Adventure Mode also has two different bosses, which appear on level 21 and level 36, respectively.
- Arena Mode
Once players have adjusted to the game, and have maximum level Axies, they can participate in Arena Mode. In this mode, players use their Axies to fight against another player’s Axies. Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn game, which rewards players with crypto tokens when their Axies win a battle.
For each battle, players have the opportunity to arrange or rearrange the formation of the Axie team for the three-by-three battle. It is important that players consider each Axies’ weaknesses and strengths in order to win the match.
- Ways to earn
The most popular way to earn money in Axie Infinity is by collecting Smooth Love Potions (SLPs). Players can earn SLPs by completing daily quests and by winning battles in both gaming modes. The potions can be sold on a secondary market, depending on their current price. Once the player has obtained enough SLPs, they can sync them to their wallet before trading them to Ethereum. Then ETH can be sold in order to obtain real-life money. Players can also trade their Axies on the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace using the game’s own cryptocurrency, Axie Infinity Shards (AXS).
Axie Infinity Shards (AXS)
Axie Infinity has its own cryptocurrency called Axie Infinity Shards, which is a token created and hosted on the Ethereum blockchain. There is a total token supply of 270m AXS and there are currently 60m in circulating supply.
Sky Mavis has already stated how it will distribute the Axie Infinity crypto. 49% will be given to users through playing the game and staking the currency. 21% is dedicated just for the Sky Mavis core team, while 15% will be sold through public and private sales. The rest is given to advisors and an Ecosystem fund.
There are several ways this token can be used. The most simple option is in-game purchases. The marketplace accepts AXS as a currency to buy Axies, equipment, and a tokenized plot of land in the Axie universe. There are also exclusive sales, conducted by the Sky Mavis team, that are auctioned using the Axie Infinity crypto.
However, the game is not designed to be centralized. The primary use of the AXS token is for governance. Stakers of the Axie Infinity crypto can vote on the future direction of the game. There is also a community treasury for AXS stakers, which receives funding from transactions and fees. As well as receiving rewards from the treasury, AXS stakers govern it.
Issues and perspective
According to analytics firm Naavik, the gaming consultancy firm, Axie Infinity has an inflation problem because of its players cashing out rather than putting their money back into the game. Most of the game’s players come from low-wage economies, according to the COO and co-founder of Sky Mavis Aleksander Larsen.
One of the main ways that Axie Infinity players make money is by lending out their Axies to other players. As a ‘scholar’ they normally ask for 60% to 70% of the cut from earnings. However, this also means that the underlying objective is monetary. According to Naavik, since most players cash out their earnings as a daily wage, the tokens aren’t being used productively within the game. That is, most scholars aren’t using their gains to breed new pets. Just as inflation can creep into a normal economy when cash is hoarded and there isn’t enough economic activity, Axie Infinity is facing a similar threat. Moreover, as the population of Axies increases over time with more players joining in, the need to breed new Axies is also in for a dip adding to the inflationary concerns.
Since old players are either cashing out and don’t have the need to breed new pets, it’s only the addition of new users that’s generating revenue for Axie Infinity. And, as things stand, the addition of users per day is decelerating.
2022 Crypto hack
In March 2022, Axie Infinity was attacked. Hackers have stolen cryptocurrency worth almost $615 million from Ronin, the blockchain underlying the crypto game. Ronin’s products include a digital wallet for storing crypto, and a “bridge” that allows users to move funds in and out of the game. The crypto was stolen from that. The Ronin hacker used stolen private keys, the passwords needed to access crypto funds. Ronin discovered that the hack happened on Wednesday, March 23th, but was not detected until next Tuesday, March 29th, almost a week later. The identity of the hackers is still unclear at the moment of writing this article.
The incident is already named “one of the bigger hacks in history”, as Jeffrey Zirlin, one of Axie Infinity’s founders, said. Sky Mavis stated that their team is working with law enforcement to recover 173,600 Ethereum (currently worth around $600 million) and 25.5 million USDC (a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar) from the culprit, who withdrew it from the network. Users could deposit Ethereum or USDC to Ronin, then purchase non-fungible token items or in-game currency, or they could sell their in-game assets and withdraw the money. Sky Mavis also said that it will increase the required number of nodes to eight for transactions, and it will reopen the Ronin bridge later once it is certain no more funds can be drained.