Where Does Play-to-Earn Go from Here?
Last night, PayMaya officially rebranded itself to Maya in an extravagant launch event in Rockwell. The new tagline “It’s Everything and a Bank” refers to a renewed commitment to becoming the country’s dominant universal financial app. It’s an interesting approach, particularly when all the bleeding-edge energy in the crypto space is working as hard as they can to unbundle banking services and reduce them down to discrete protocols. (As an example, think about how focused Compound.finance feels when compared with say, Coinbase.) But I suppose that’s always been how the corporate side of crypto has positioned itself. Apart from the aforementioned Coinbase, Binance and Crypto.com are sporting these monolithic apps that attempt to offer everything that the average user could ever think of. I guess you could call this the Alipay school of wallet design, where the idea is to keep the user inside your app for as long as possible.
All that being said, the new Maya app feels fresh and unintimidating. The frustrated designer in me probably wouldn’t have used pure black for the icons (didn’t we collectively decide that the darkest black you should ever use for screens was in the #222 range?) but other than that it seemed like a massive improvement. Of course, I’ll be monitoring their crypto product very closely to see what they end up adding to their initial 10 supported coins. (I’m still wondering why Dogecoin and Avalanche aren’t there, but I guess they made these decisions sometime ago and didn’t realize how far the industry had shifted in the last 12 months.)
At the Maya launch, I was given 15 minutes on stage to talk about new economic opportunities enabled by cryptocurrencies, and of course, I digressed on play-to-earn and its roots in the Philippines. I talked about Cabanatuan city, Axie Infinity, and the YGG scholarship program. And then I talked about what was coming up next for this part of the industry. Play-to-earn was a gateway into cryptocurrencies for 1.5 million Filipinos, but there are so many more projects and ideas out there beyond just the gaming angle. The hype train has already started: just last week, we saw the Stepn move-to-earn project break into the top 5 most traded tokens globally. Stepn rewards users with crypto whenever they run, and in order to participate you have to buy NFT shoes in the open marketplace. The current floor price is over $1,000 so it’s not exactly a cheap buy-in, but I suppose you could argue that there’s infinite ROI when one of the key benefits is incentivized fitness. (At my last crypto meetup in BGC, someone joked that he had walked all the way from Quezon City because he wanted to rack up more rewards on the Stepn app. I think he was only half-joking.)
On May 17th, YGG is supporting the Manila launch event of an interesting new project called Metacrafters.io. It’s one of the first examples of a Learn-to-earn platform, where students are paid while taking online courses, with the ultimate goal of connecting them with direct employment. In this case, the students are developers who want to upgrade their skills for Web3. The Metacrafters economic model is a bit easier to wrap your head around: the biggest crypto projects all have grant programs where they teach developers how to interact with their specific blockchains, so that’s where the rewards would likely come from. In this manner, it becomes a lot like an actual academic scholarship program, where developers need to apply to take the courses, and the quality of the curriculum is judged based on how many students pass the courses. If you want to learn more about Metacrafters and meet some of the YGG team, just RSVP here and hang out with us at Green Sun on May 17th!
Speaking of learning: My Nas Academy Cryptocurrencies class is open for student signups now. It’s a 3-day course where I go through some important crypto basics and introduce concepts like trading, DeFi, and NFTs. You can sign up for the class here at https://nasacademy.ph/luis, and you can apply for a 100% FREE pass by filling out this scholarship application form. Our friends at PDAX have kindly agreed to sponsor the first batch of students who sign up!
The Philippine crypto scene is on fire right now, and we’re fanning the flames as hard as we can 🔥🔥🔥 See you all next week, cryptofam!