Blockchain Studios was created on the premise that blockchain technologies were set to break through into consumer use cases and technologies. First movers, such as CryptoKitties and Etheremon, have crossed into popular culture as new forms of collectibles. They are digital assets that can be owned and traded in the same way that comic books or artwork can be bought and sold in the physical world. Digital collectibles have paved the way for new applications of blockchain technologies. We now refer to these assets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – pieces of digital content that are unique, exist as a fixed number and can be bought and traded. In this context, a blockchain can also serve as a ledger that maintains ownership of NFTs. The most widely used NFT is the ERC721 standard, developed on the Ethereum blockchain. The novelty that ERC721 presents for blockchain-based games implementing non-fungible assets as part of the game dynamics is the minting mechanism, which is not controlled by smart contract code, but is instead under the control of the game developer. The first wave of collectibles, including Rare Pepe or CryptoPunks, received broad interest despite the poor user experience. What has pushed digital tokens into the cultural mainstream has been the digital collectible token standard, ERC721. This standard allows users to own individually identified digital assets in the same manner as physical ones in the real world. Users can identify, own, modify or manipulate a digital asset as they might do a piece of art or car, creating the category of digital collectibles. Human nature draws individuals to collect or value rare or unique items, from shells in the Stone Age, to paintings, coins or stamps in the modern era. It is not surprising that, even considering the short lifetime of the Ethereum ERC721, the number of NFT-based projects has already mushroomed to over 100. The ERC721 standard means that developers can harness this human desire and open up a new category of ownership. We anticipate that many cultural and artistic endeavours will make this leap through digital verification – from unique art created and owned digitally, to the ownership of creative assets, such as films and images. Blockchain Studios was set up in anticipation of this move towards digital assets, but also in the understanding that gaming would be one of the first creative industries to make this transition.
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