Vitalik Buterin is one of the most-mentioned names in the crypto sphere, as he is the creator of Ethereum, a decentralized platform enabling the use of smart contracts. Not only that, Ethereum also allows for the building of decentralized apps (dApps). However successful, the scope of Ethereum is still being explored, and it’s often referred to as the savior of the gaming industry. Let’s see how.
Buterin and World of Warcraft: A Sad Story
Before Ethereum came into being, Vitalik had been an avid player of a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) called World of Warcraft (WoW). Buterin had a successful in-game warlock character with some pretty powerful spells.
However, a Blizzard update downgraded one of the spells, the company behind WoW. Vitalik was heartbroken at how a single line of code could affect dozens, if not hundreds, of hours he put into that game. According to his bio, it’s the first time he wished decentralized servers existed.
The Problem of Centralized Gaming Servers
Games like WoW have a developed in-game ecosystem, with thousands of items actively crafted, looted, and traded among players. The main issue is that moderators can alter those items as they see fit. Of course, mods cannot really meddle with the ecosystem, but they still have the capacity to make the most powerful player on the server a level-one beginner by just deleting all of their equipment and spells. Nobody wants to witness anyone having so much power — not even in games.
Therefore, the ecosystem in WoW needs to be fairer for both in-game items and coins. If only there were a technology that could assist humankind with this kind of issue. Well, there is, and it’s called blockchain.
Blockchain’s Role in Online Gaming
Have you ever wondered how Bitcoin has value? On the surface, it’s rather simple: people agree that BTC has some value that changes based on supply and demand, and several other factors, much like any other asset. However, what made Bitcoin different from all other attempts at creating a digital currency is that BTC used the blockchain, a decentralized ledger that shifted the power from a single organization to many people who were part of the chain. Such a decentralized server also revolutionized how information about BTC is stored, making it secure and virtually impenetrable.
But let’s not get all technical. What matters is that Bitcoin works as a cryptocurrency, has value because of that, and, most importantly, nobody can alter the information on the chain, meaning nobody can change your BTC amount.
Now, such a system can be applied to World of Warcraft as well. At the moment, mods can manipulate in-game gold as they want. If blockchain were to be introduced to WoW, coins would become just like cryptocurrencies, and it would be impossible to manipulate them, further strengthening the in-game ecosystem.
Of course, it’s not just the cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is widely used for NFTs. At the moment, the most popular way to use NFTs is via digital art. However, anything digital can be NFTized and turned into a unique virtual item with only one owner and without the possibility of tampering with them. That way, in-game items can get real value and be, in a way, protected from being affected by moderators, hackers, or any third party.
Once you combine all of that, you get a fascinating world. The good news is that some companies are already working on this, and one such company is called REALM. It’s a cross-chain, community-driven, and open-source project that enables creating virtual realms using the power of blockchain. In other words, REALM users can create their own unique digital worlds with original avatars, items, pets, and more.
It’s All About Ethereum
After Vitalik Buterin got disappointed and created Ethereum, he had a clear vision about its platform — making the world decentralized. Moreover, games are becoming an increasingly important part of the world around us.
Ethereum has already standardized token creation via its ERC-20 standard. Moreover, it’s the most popular network used for creating NFTs, thanks to other standards, such as ERC-721. They are used already for creating many games, and it’s only a matter of time before the big developers take blockchain into account and create a truly immersive experience with a real-life ecosystem.