This Week in Crypto 9-25-23

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Welcome to This Week in Crypto, your source for the latest developments in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. In this week’s edition, we dive into the groundbreaking achievements and innovations that have taken the crypto space by storm. Discover how Proof of Play, a blockchain game studio, secured a staggering $33 million in seed funding to redefine on-chain gaming. Explore the emergence of Alpha, a Bitcoin-based social token platform. And don’t miss the historic moment when Major League Baseball (MLB) ventured into the metaverse, allowing fans to experience real-world games in a whole new dimension.

Blockchain Gaming Studio Proof of Play Raises $33M in Funding

Blockchain game studio Proof of Play, the creator of blockchain-based social role-playing game Pirate Nation, has successfully secured $33 million in seed funding in a funding round co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and Greenoaks Capital. 

The studio, co-founded by CEO Amitt Mahajan, who was previously involved in the creation of the popular casual game FarmVille at Zynga, intends to utilize the funding to expand its operations and scale its technology, which allows for fully on-chain games that can exist indefinitely. Mahajan explained that witnessing Zynga shut down FarmVille in 2020 served as the inspiration to explore the use of blockchain technology for creating “forever games.” He recounted the loss of over a billion hours of gameplay, creativity, and investment and expressed a desire to develop games that last forever and are owned by the communities that engage with them.

Pirate Nation, initially launched on Polygon, transitioned to Ethereum scaling network Arbitrum Nova earlier this year to reduce network fees. Additionally, the studio announced the introduction of free-to-play access to the game, enabling players to create a free character without requiring ownership of an NFT. However, NFT owners will enjoy various advantages over free players, and the free-to-play version is designed to cater to a broader audience. The funding of blockchain-based games that are developed by people with experience in mass-adopted games is an exciting development in the blockchain industry.

Alpha Emerges as a Bitcoin-Based Social Token Platform

Alpha, a decentralized social token platform reminiscent of Friend.tech, has emerged on the Bitcoin blockchain after a whirlwind 48-hour coding sprint. The platform allows users to tokenize and monetize their online presence and content through tokens, much like its Ethereum-based counterpart, Friend.tech. Users can purchase tokens linked to individual creators, with their values subject to fluctuations and the ability to grant access to exclusive content, aligning with the concept of “social tokens.”

On X, the crypto community described the platform as the “next big leap in the world of social finance” following the recent surge in interest in Friend.tech. Despite Alpha’s rapid development over a single weekend, members envision it as a platform offering a luxurious and exclusive social interaction experience. The platform has already attracted new users, many of whom have amassed significant Twitter followings. Only time will tell if Alpha will suffer the same fate as Friend.tech, which experienced a massive decline in users in just a couple weeks after launch.

MLB Debuts First-Ever Metaverse Simulcast of Real-World Game

Major League Baseball (MLB) made history last week with the simulcast of a real-world MLB game in the metaverse for the first time, made possible by a partnership with Improbable, a metaverse technology company. The exciting game took place during a regular-season matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels, hosted at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Fans from any location had the opportunity to watch the game in an entirely new medium. 

The virtual broadcast was powered by Improbable’s utilization of MLB’s Gameday 3D technology, which uses Sony’s Hawk-Eye camera-tracking system, which is installed in every one of the 30 MLB stadiums. Unlike the conventional live broadcasts that viewers were accustomed to, the virtual ballpark within the metaverse did not simply stream flat video footage of the real-world game. Instead, it provided a dynamic 3D representation that almost perfectly simulated the actual baseball match.

Complementing the 3D representation, the virtual ballpark also featured a digital video board showcasing the traditional broadcast of the game. What set this apart was the viewer’s ability to select their preferred camera angles and engage with fellow viewers through spatial audio within the digital environment. Furthermore, the immersive metaverse experience extended to include interactive elements such as trivia games and a digital scavenger hunt, all aimed at enhancing the overall fan experience and fostering engagement. Overall, MLB’s collaboration with Improbable signified a transformative shift in the way fans could engage with and experience baseball.

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