The earth is on sale! But soft, it is not your physical land being placed on the market but rather the virtual earth. And it is happening right inside the metaverse in the form of online gaming.
Welcome to the future. The present. Here comes blockchain-based gaming, where a virtual copy of our planet is the playing field with players trading various sections of the earth for tokens that can be redeemed into local currency.
The new game, Planet IX, is gradually changing gaming and asset ownership as you know it, since it focuses on virtual real estate business, where players can buy and sell packs of what they call PIX (virtual representations of real-world sites) and build the value of their collections.
Think of a futuristic way to own a part of a copy of the earth inside a virtual world where real-world geolocations on any country correspond to user generated digital virtual environments. Now imagine being able to buy, sell and customize these digital collections. Imagine no more because it is now real.
When Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg began mooting with the idea of a metaverse, many futurists had already envisioned online gaming as a money generating opportunity, further advancing the value of the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) business which was pioneered in Kenya by long distance world record breaking marathoner Eliud Kipchoge last April.
And just last month, the first airdrops of Planet IX were released to Africa, with a number of Kenyans grabbing the opportunity and buying virtual land in various countries across the world.
An airdrop involves sending digital coins or tokens to wallet addresses in order to promote awareness of a new virtual currency, NFT idea or token.
Small amounts are sent to the wallets of active members of the blockchain community for free or in return for a small service, such as retweeting a post sent by the company issuing the currency.
Planet IX says that every week, a collection of PIX is released in the form of airdrops, the contents of which players use to build up their game and inventory, which have recorded popularity among users.
“The first release sold out in an hour-and-a-half, with the next release going faster - a mind-boggling 35 minutes,” it says.
The game, first introduced to the world at its Dubai live event last May, capitalizes on the affiliate and influencer marketing prowess of UAE-based company Crowd1, to mould the future of blockchain gaming and help tech savvy people learn how to play-to-earn.
First envisioned in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-2020, Planet IX aims to introduce an entirely new kind of virtual land gaming experience with one of the driving forces of the game being to highlight real climate change challenges facing the earth.
Nibiru, the team of developers who created the gaming platform, has been building a community of players through the game chat app Discord, and as at the time this article was published, over 400,000 users were active players.
Players can also purchase NFTs that in the game are representations of world-famous landmarks and monuments, and trade them among themselves in the platform’s marketplace.
The trade is done using the IX token (IXT), whose value by press time was Sh210 but the platform has enabled a multi wallet feature that allows users to cash in and out using their local currencies.
There are over 800 landmark relics in the marketplace, representing places or monuments of cultural and historical value according to the Planet IX whitepaper seen by Nation.Africa.
Each landmark is collectively owned by a group of stakeholders and the total number of stakes per landmark NFT follows a set schedule based on tier and star rating.
It has divided the world into five different tiers of PIX, different in sizes depending on what tier they belong to. In addition to the tiers, there are nine different classifications that separate the PIX properties apart from each other. The properties are now being unlocked bit-by bit, as the game evolves.
“The rewards and incentives given back to territory owners are fueled by PIX pack sales. They can be claimed by developing your PIX collection into larger territories,” states the whitepaper.
On the gaming platform which was launched on November 25, players are asked to buy, trade and collect as many PIX in close proximity to one another as possible.
When they have traded or collaborated their way to a larger area of PIX, they get the opportunity to exchange the collective land into an NFT with true ownership.
On November 22, the platform deployed smart contracts that allow users to mint their PIX into NFTs. ‘Minting’ is when you turn a digital file, in this case your PIX, into a digital asset recorded on the blockchain.
A smart contract is a self-executing digital transaction protocol with the terms of the agreement between a buyer and a seller being directly written into lines of code.
“In order to play you must connect Planet IX with a Web3 wallet. In this section you will find guides from some wallets that we recommend. As Planet IX is operating on the Ethereum-based Polygon Network, you will need to add that to your wallet in order to trade and store your tokens and NFT assets.”
The platform says its core mission is to support creators, artists, developers and active community members that continuously show leadership and generate value for Planet IX.
It will also support initiatives which test untested theses, to learn and improve the game knowledge as well as acquire NFTs created outside Planet IX and convert them into fractionalized NTFs so that they can be plugged into emerging Decentralised Finance (DeFi) solutions.
As the number of NFT in circulation grows, the price of issuing the next NFT increases at an exponential rate. These NFTs are based on the Ethereum standard with lower fees and more configuration options.
That means instead of committing funds to the physical real estate business which is hectic, people are fast changing to trade inside the metaverse, where they enjoy convenience and playing a role in building the future.
Early adopters of blockchain gaming have already made the metaverse and NFTs an almost analogous duo, with real-life identities tied to digital avatars becoming the entry point for many users into the metaverse.
This could be the beginning of the next wave of internet revolution, where the emergence of virtual reality offers more collectibles and marketing opportunities that will stimulate more growth.
NFT use-cases are expected to grow in future, and developers may eventually be able to tie them to everyday activities like regular tweets, DNA tests, sports records, ticket sales, proof of attendance, digital identity, confidentiality of health data and securing title deeds.
And that is the power of the metaverse.