A Gaming Metaverse with Earning Potential
Developed by Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based gaming metaverse in which players collect and breed digital pets called Axies that can be used to compete in a turn-based card game. Axies are ERC-721 or non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which means that each pet is a one-of-a-kind digital asset with unique traits. The Axie Infinity game notably incorporates play-to-earn opportunities, and Sky Maven claims this structure has attracted a global cohort of users who earn significant income from the metaverse.
Sky Mavis released the alpha version of Axie Infinity in 2019. In 2020, it conducted a token sale on Binance Launchpad for Axie Infinity’s native ERC-20 governance token: Axie Infinity Shards (AXS). This was preceded by a private token sale for strategic investors in mid 2020. Sky Mavis intends to use AXS as a progressive decentralization mechanism that will eventually allow the Axie Infinity community to govern the metaverse, with access to governance participation dictated by an individual or organization’s AXS token holdings.
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To participate in the Axie Infinity metaverse, you must have an ether wallet, such as Metamask, with some ETH. You must also set up a Ronin wallet (see the Ronin section of this article for more details) and then deposit ETH there via Sky Mavis’ Ronin bridge. Finally, to start playing, you must acquire at least 3 Axie NFTs from the Axie Infinity Marketplace.
Axie Infinity Game Features and the Axie Marketplace
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Axie Infinity has four primary features: battle, breeding, land, and the marketplace. Battle is a turn-based card game in which players aim to defeat their adversaries, with each side always made up of 3 Axies. Each Axie NFT has different traits which make them suitable for various roles in the game. They also have stats — health, morale, skill, and speed — that impact an Axie’s success in the game and how it participates. Additionally, each Axie belongs to a class: beast, aquatic, plant, moon, star, reptile, bug, bird, or nut.
You can breed your Axies to create offspring that can be sold, bred, or deployed in battle. Axies have three genes that determine the characteristics of their offspring. Axie Infinity controls the population of Axies to manage price inflation, so each Axie NFT can only be bred a maximum of 7 times. You will incur a fee of .002 ETH each time you breed your Axie, and you must also acquire Small Love Potions (SLPs), which are ERC-20 tokens that can be earned within the metaverse or traded on decentralized exchanges (DEXs) such as Uniswap.
The “homeland” of the Axies is called Lunacia and is divided into 90,601 plots of land, each of which is an ERC-721 token. Land plots act as homes for your Axies, and can be upgraded with items sold on the Axie marketplace. Likewise, land owners can discover AXS tokens on their plots. If you wish to purchase or sell an Axie, you can do so on the Axie marketplace, though Axies can also be sold on other NFT marketplaces. You can also purchase plots of land and items such as objects and decorations for your land.
Axie Infinity’s AXS Token
AXS is an ERC-20 token that is intended to reward users for participating in the Axie Infinity metaverse while also incentivizing users to hold tokens long term so that ownership and governance of the platform can be decentralized. The total supply of AXS will not exceed 270 million tokens, and is set to be unlocked according to a 65-month schedule that commenced with the Binance Launchpad public sale in 2020.
You can earn AXS by playing games within the Axie Infinity metaverse and by participating in user-generated content initiatives. You can claim additional awards if you participate in governance votes or stake your AXS, though staking rewards are escrowed for one year from the date on which they are claimed.
Ronin Sidechain: Axie Infinity’s Ethereum Connection
Axie Infinity is built on the Ronin sidechain, which is an Ethereum sidechain developed by Sky Mavis itself. Sidechains are scaling solutions that are designed to address network usability issues that occur when public blockchain networks are in high demand. For example, these issues can include high transaction fees and slow transaction confirmation times. Since the Axie Infinity game is situated on its own Ethereum sidechain, it can leverage many of the benefits of the Ethereum blockchain, while relying on a customized network more suited for its own transactional needs.
Sky Mavis started developing the Ronin sidechain in June 2020 after Ethereum network congestion slowed Axie Infinity’s operations, undermining its usability. The company claims that Ronin offers speedy transaction confirmation, simplified onboarding for new users, and reduced gas fees. The sidechain also has its own block explorer.
Ethereum-based gaming has been a growing sector since 2017, and has expanded to include NFT collectibles and metaverses in an increasingly immersive array of platforms. Axie Infinity’s landmark success in 2021 is largely due to its elegant incorporation of crypto and blockchain-based elements into a gameplay experience that builds upon the legacy of turn-based battle games like Magic: The Gathering, while incorporating the breeding and trading elements of CryptoKitties.
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