The rise of NFTs in gaming and the metaverse: From CryptoPunks to Axie Infinity
Ethereum introducing a set of token standards facilitated the steady movement of NFTs toward the blockchain. The token standard informs developers how to deploy new tokens.
The success of the Rare Pepes was followed by Larva Labs, a software development company that launched CryptoPunks, its own generative series of NFTs, created by John Watkinson and Matt Hall. Inspired by London punk culture, the project has 10,000 unique pieces, with no two characters resembling each other. CryptoPunks became a huge success and was the foundation of many other NFT projects, including the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the biggest NFT collections.
The next major launch was CryptoKitties, which came up during the ETHWaterloo hackathon, back in October 2017. The game enables players to buy, sell and create NFTs representing virtual cats with desirable traits on Ethereum. Post CryptoKitties, NFT gaming became increasingly popular.
NFT gaming combined with metaverse projects to formulate a new momentum. A major project of this era was Ethereum-based Decentraland, a virtual world that allows players to explore games and build and collect assets.
In October 2018, Axie Infinity, an NFT-based battle game, was released. It set the ball rolling for play-to-earn (P2E) games, which enabled gamers to earn in-game rewards while playing. It’s a pioneering video game on the Ethereum blockchain involving Axies, creatures that are rare NFTs with unique attributes. Gamers fight battles using Axies and build more attributes into them.