Mapping out Decentralized Gaming

It is no surprise that some of the most popular dApps built on blockchain platforms are games. In fact, for gamers, digital currencies are commonplace in the games they play.

A majority of games have native currencies that allow gamers to purchase items, acquire new skills, and upgrade their in-game characters. Take League of Legends for example: the multiplayer online battle arena game is free to play but generates revenue by getting its players to purchase “Riot Points” which can be converted to items in the game. This freemium model helped League of Legends generate $2.1B in 2017. Fortnite, the online shooter, is another example. In 2018, Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, generated a reported $3B in profits, all of which came from players buying its in-game currency, V-Bucks.

The market is no different with gaming dApps. While traditional users may shun at the multi-step process to use a dApps, gamers, who are typically more tech-savvy, appear to be willing to take the extra steps to play the games that appeal to them. This engaged user base is one of many reasons investors are pouring in millions of dollars into blockchain gaming studios and why TRON, the dApp development platform, has launched a $100M gaming fund.

Gamers are nerds and nerds are one of the first adopters of new technology — pushing fringe technology into the mainstream. Acquiring gamers is a gateway to acquiring mainstream users and dApp developers are taking notice, producing gaming dApps by the hundreds.

The Block has mapped out four branches of the decentralized gaming industry: (1) Betting & Gambling, (2) Games, (3) Collectibles, and (4) Platforms.¹

Betting & Gambling

Decentralized betting and gambling dApps enable users to play gambling games. These dApps typically offer games that mimic the games found in real-life/online casinos such as roulette, slot machines, card games, and dice games. Some dApps in this branch offer what are essentially pyramid schemes, enabling players to pool together funds with the goal of “exit scaming” other players to win the game.


Because of the scaling issues found in a majority of blockchain platforms, current games are simplistic. This typically means linear gameplay and storylines. Current games enable users to raise virtual monsters for battle and draw on blank canvases.


Collectibles are effectively virtual trading cards or Beanie Babies. These dApps are unique from physical trading cards or toys in that they are verifiably scarce. These collectibles are what people in the industry call “non-fungible,” in that, they are mathematically unique from other assets in the same game.


Platforms enable developers to build games for users. These platforms differentiate from blockchains, such as Ethereum, through the unique pre-determined tools they offer for their developers. For example, Decentraland offers its own software-development-kit for developers to quickly build virtual real estate on its platform. Funfair offers end-to-end support to enable developers to launch a game on its platform.


¹ dApps included in this map are based on their popularity ranked by DappRadar and The Block’s editorial judgment. While The Block acknowledges that rankings can be manipulated, this piece is  solely for visualizing the ecosystem.

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Mapping out Decentralized Gaming written by Steven Zheng @ December 28, 2018 Steven Zheng

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