Blockchain technology is rapidly and creatively upending the world of online gaming. In a nutshell, a blockchain is a public database of cryptographically secured information.

All the information recorded on a blockchain are continuously shared and reconciled across all users through cryptography-based verification. This includes metadata on how and when any transaction changes any part of the blockchain. And instead of being stored in a single place, a blockchain exists as a public and verifiable ledger. In short, although it’s not impossible to hack blockchains, it’s very difficult to do.

The Blockchain Revolution

Furthermore, blockchain use isn’t currently bogged down by bureaucratic red tape like fiat currencies are with banks. This is how cryptocurrencies, which are blockchain technologies, are upending the world of finance.

In recent years, blockchain technology has been in the spotlight for products like Bitcoin and increasing use cases in the global food, pharmaceutical, fashion, and logistics industries. Today, the aforementioned benefits of blockchain are driving its nascent integration with the online gaming industry as well.

As an efficient and instant method of exchanging assets and information, the technology is enabling the creation and growth of the massive virtual economies found within web-based games. This is now happening in virtually every major online gaming market. From massively-multiplayer online (MMO) games and esports, to online casinos and poker rooms.

Non-Fungible Tokens

Currently, the main drivers of this blockchain gaming takeover are non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Fungible means replaceable by something identical. NFTs are non-replaceable or non-fungible because their existence can be verified through blockchain technology. This makes them similar to cryptocurrencies, except that they’re built with different protocols, and are applicable to any number of digital assets.

NFTs first gained the spotlight when NFT digital artworks started selling for millions of dollars. Today, many players use NFTs in the form of valuable in-game assets across a variety of platforms. In the game Infinite Fleet, owners take control of and maintain their own spaceships, all of which are NFTs. Meanwhile, in the card game Gods Unchained, players ‘play-to-earn’ collectible NFT trading cards that give them access to new in-game characters and abilities. These developments are happening alongside the growing use of in-game blockchain tokens and other digital currencies, which can also be used to trade NFTs.

Cryptocurrencies and Tokens

Elsewhere, blockchain applications are also fostering new virtual economies not just within but around online games as well. Here, in the U.S., a growing number of poker players use crypto to play for real money in virtual poker platforms like Americas Cardroom. Using existing cryptocurrencies, persistent poker players are finding ways around strict state regulations on online poker rooms, which are currently only legal in five states. This is happening alongside the rise of crypto casinos in North America and Europe.

Meanwhile, in esports, blockchain is giving new opportunities for fans to invest and engage in their favorite teams. The recent partnership between Evil Geniuses and Coinbase reveals how esports teams use crypto tokens to monetize their stake in the industry. Evil Geniuses is taking things further by using the collaboration to educate their esports fan base about the growing blockchain and crypto markets around the world.

This underscores a key and common element in all of these blockchain-gaming integrations: they give fans and players greater control over how they interact with games. As these emerging sectors enable each other’s rapid growth, we can expect more blockchain use cases in areas such as software development and cloud technology, which are also deeply integrated with online gaming. And if these integrated developments continue, more players and fans will look to blockchain technologies to enhance their gaming experiences.