How One Startup Is Leveraging the Power of the Blockchain to Disrupt the $90+ Billion-Dollar Gaming Industry 0 42

The nested potential of blockchain far exceeds what we see in today’s volatile cryptocurrencies.

If implemented effectively, this disruptive piece of technology represents a far greater opportunity to fundamentally change the way society organizes and secures its information.

At a high level, we can leverage the decentralized nature of blockchain in a variety of spaces to supplant the need for costly middlemen, eradicate fraudulent players, and instantly verify transactions – all of which are core benefits, inherent to blockchain, that can make industries radically more efficient. It is this exciting, not-so-distant future that is fueling entrepreneurs and investors from around the world to invest their time and funding in tackling real business problems with the power of the blockchain.

Gameflip, a vibrant digital goods marketplace with millions of users, recently announced their upcoming offering of FLIP, a crypto-token for peer-to-peer buying and selling of digital goods for games on all platforms. They are an example of an experienced team developing an innovative solution at the upslope of a hot market.

Perhaps most importantly, their solution is accelerating an inevitable shift in the marketplace that enhances the experience for all involved parties.

The digital goods opportunity is truly massive, and growing every year. Believe it or not, online gamers purchase nearly USD $100 billion in digital goods annually. The model works as follows: users play, invest, and compete in games to earn rare, digital collectibles, like weaponry and custom skins. While these items become illiquid (and practically valueless) once the game goes out of style or the user becomes disinterested, the digital marketplace has been booming as most casual and hardcore gamers obsess over earning collectible items.

Gamers spend immense amounts of time and money, building up their characters and harvesting special player upgrades…but if you cannot transfer the value of the assets after your hard work, then what is the true long term value?

The problem, however, is that the “gamer-earned goods” market is insanely underdeveloped, as there is no unified home for secure transactions of digital goods.

This is what initially inspired the launch of FLIP, as the Gameflip team had seen countless instances of passionate, dedicated gamers falling under the trap of losing their digital “investments.”

Other companies have identified and tried to work on this problem before. The popular Steam Community Marketplace attempted to address this problem by enabling the trading of digital goods on their platform. This, however, fell short – gamers want the ability to “cash out,” and not just earn market credits. So they turned to their only other option, which was random, unsecured forums such as Reddit, many of which were rampant with scammers and fraudsters.

The solution to this entire trust management problem is exactly what Gameflip is doing: using blockchains to create a secured, transparent mechanism for exchanging digital goods.

Already, Gameflip has a 2 million member-strong global digital goods marketplace for gamers. Of which, they have over 500,000 active monthly users who conduct millions of transactions each and every month.

FLIP, their tokenized product, leverages the Ethereum blockchain and ERC-20 Token interface to provide a decentralized ecosystem for transaction digital goods through smart contracts. Effectively, the contract will automatically confirm ownership of the digital goods, enabling gamers to transact safely without risk. More than that, for perhaps the first time ever, gamers can truly own their digital goods with real value. Meaning they finally have access to liquidity when and wherever they want it, as they can sell and trade digital items for cash without the threat of fraud.

The FLIP team, having been former publishers themselves, also plans to incentivize game publishers to adopt this new model by issuing FLIP network growth tokens, with a built-in commission for each transaction made through their games. Publishers are crucial to the network effect and, ultimately, will be the gatekeepers towards universal adoption.

While their strategy for growth is ambitious, the Gameflip executive team brings with them more than a century of combined business experience, including decades in the gaming industry. They have successfully built, managed and architected, global, free-to-play gaming businesses like Aeria Games, meaning they understand the mechanics of the industry from the ground floor.

They are also backed by world-class investors, like Lightbank, and already have strong interest and active discussions from a handful of top global publishers. It will be exciting to see FLIP, among others, develop as implementations of crypto gain mass appeal. They will have their FLIP ICO main sale on Dec. 4 (as their pre-sale ended at 112% of our goal with over 3k ETH raised).

As momentum around blockchain technology continues to develop, we will begin to see more and more of the potential get exposed. This is truly just the start, as more entrepreneurs see innovative applications just waiting to be built. The question in all of us, as consumers and professionals, is which implementations will most affect us? Which are most likely to disrupt the world?

This article was originally published in The Huffington Post on November 16, 2017.

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Starting her career on Wall Street at just 19 years old, Danielle went on to be one of the youngest equity traders in the industry. After a successful career in Financial Planning, she went on to found her media company What Vibes Your Tribe, which connects the worlds of digital marketing and public relations. Her experience in brand strategy along with successfully developing the thought leadership of C -level executives has played an integral part in her client's achieving prestigious awards such as Inc 500, Forbes Next Billion Dollar Startup, Entrepreneur 360 among other top level recognition.

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The Block Talk Awards 0 104

The first inaugural Block Talk Award nominations are open now. The 2018 Awards will recognize the influencers that are pushing the industry forward through innovation and analysis. Nominations will be accepted from August 13, 2018 to September 1, 2018 at 10pm PT. To qualify, influencers should have at least a cumulative following of 10,000 across social media platforms, or similar readership across relevant blogs and web properties.

Winners in each category will receive a $1500 media credit on The Block Talk, access to a network of TBT Award honorees, and VIP access to TBT events in 2019.

Nominate yourself or your favorite influencers in the following categories:

  • Best ICO Analysis & Commentary
  • Most Engaged Community
  • Favorite Blockchain Blogger
  • Best Crypto Journalist
  • Innovative Female Founder
  • Best Podcast Host(s)
  • Favorite Blockchain Event Host
  • Top Crypto Speaker
  • Most Innovative Blockchain CEO
  • Top Social Entrepreneur

Submit Your Nomination

VEZT Wants You to be Able to Own Shares of Your Favorite Songs 0 66

Mr. Cheeks has been producing music since the early 90s, under the mentorship of his late uncle, the legendary Gil Scott-Heron. He started with the Lost Boyz, won a Grammy for his work with Stephen Marley, and has released a handful of solo albums since.

Now, royalties for his singles will be available to his fans, thanks to the blockchain. Mr. Cheeks’ songs will be available on a platform that allows fans and investors to claim a slice of the rights to pop music they believe in. When the song is licensed for use, in advertising or film for example, you, the investor, get a cut.

It’s made possible through an app called VEZT, which is positioning itself to revolutionize the way music relates to money as the world’s “first music rights marketplace.” VEZT partnered with a long time Mr. Cheeks producer, Bink, to offer shares of the song “Lights, Camera, Action” which is currently available on the company’s website.

The Problem of Selling Music

Mixing music and markets is an old problem. How should musicians get paid? Who pays them? What about their support teams? How do we keep track of the flow of money and make sure everyone’s fairly compensated? Among the music world’s financial obstacles, one of the biggest issues is navigating licensing and royalties.

In Austin, for example, one of America’s most proficient music hubs, almost a third of musicians make less than minimum wage, and 70 percent are earning less than $10k per year on their work. That’s below the poverty line even for a household of one. It’s been like pulling teeth trying to get royalties from companies like Spotify, who generate income off their songs. Meanwhile even more expensive lawsuits pile up, or go completely unpursued from lack of funds, as marketers continue to ape good music with copyright infringing fakes. It’s a constant headache for musicians, producers and labels, and it makes it prohibitive to eke out a living in the music world.

Under VEZT’s model, royalties are simple. Music is intellectual property owned by the artist. The artist can sell a portion of those rights to fans, who become investors when they purchase a percentage of shares. Fans and musicians make an agreement to co-own the songs they both care so much about. If you love a song and want to see it do well, you invest. If it does well, you have a share in the artist’s success. Royalties are split based on percentage of ownership.

The concept comes from cofounders Robert Menendez, a former Wall St. financial trader/analyst, and Steve Stewart, an industry regular with entrepreneurial tendencies, whose accomplishments include ushering Stone Temple Pilots to fame in the early ‘90s and managing the band for a decade. They say they founded VEZT as part of a vision to “detangle a lot of the financial problems in the music industry, and connect fans more directly with the music they love.”

And now, they’ve expanded across the Pacific from VEZT’s headquarters in Los Angeles, and opened an office in South Korea.

‘The Perfect Environment’

“The fans of music in Korea are quite possibly the most enthusiastic and active fans on the planet,” says Stewart. “Combine this with a robust tech community and a government leading the way in adopting blockchain technologies and you have a perfect environment for VEZT.”

The ROK’s new legislation legitimizing crypto exchange, Dapps, and blockchain systems will take the peninsula farther into a brave new technological world, where many others have so far feared to tread. Combined with their now-world-famous maximalist pop industry, and it’s not hard to see why VEZT moved in.

Construction recently finished on their new 2500 square foot office in the Gangnam district of Seoul. VEZT has enlisted a host of professionals to their C-Suite, including veterans of major Korean record labels, Kpop producers, marketing and PR executives and, of course, tech experts.

Fixing Music With Blockchain

If their model works in Seoul and LA, VEZT could bring a more harmonious rhythm to an industry still trying to find its groove in the digital age. The world needs music, and musicians need to get paid. As with anything blockchain, cutting out some of the middlemen could be the Occam’s razor with the solution. When fans are directly invested in their music, everyone will want to see it succeed.

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