While there’s been much ado about blockchain assets and blockchain asset storage, it’s worthwhile to look at what we mean by ownership of those assets.

It’s certainly convenient to have a blockchain to store assets. There are many benefits. Some are:

  • 24/7 uptime
  • Transparency
  • Free, permissionless access with no gatekeepers
  • Strong encryption is practically unhackable
  • Easy to trade for crypto
  • Stronger or true ownership

Stronger vs. True Ownership

For ownership, it’s merely a stronger form of ownership and not necessarily true ownership. The difference is determined by the underlying host blockchain and the game implementation.

When integrating a blockchain solution into a game, there are many different ways that it can be implemented. A game can use a blockchain for decentralised asset storage, or it can go further and fully decentralise the game itself.

With provably-fair games, games are trustless. This effectively gives people perfect information with which to make decisions, such as whether or not to pursue obtaining those assets in a game, or whether to buy or sell or trade those assets. As a collective, people determine the value of assets in the same way that Adam Smith described “the invisible hand” of the market.

However, in contrast to centralised, closed source games, with provably-fair games there can be no asset inflation by developers “printing” items at will. Further, cheating is effectively a phantom of the past, whether that be cheating by players or developers.

While any given game asset has some value for use inside of a game (or perhaps for collectibles), provably-fair game items have those added benefits of perfect knowledge and being immune to debasement through cheating. These benefits increase the value of game items compared to centralised game items that require trust.

As an example, let us consider a centralised game that states a play-to-earn gaming experience where you can collect and fight for assets in the game. Although there may be a fixed quantity of these items, how do you know that the developer hasn’t just given the assets to themselves, or placed them on the map? You don’t.

If a game uses a blockchain for asset storage, but the game itself is centralised, then ownership is contingent upon the game actually running. Ownership is certainly stronger with a blockchain, but should the game be abandoned by the developers, ownership becomes meaningless and those game assets have no value. This is analogous to owning stock in a company that has gone bankrupt and ceased to run.

However, if a game is fully decentralised and running on a blockchain, then even if the game developers stop supporting the game, it can still run and someone else could even pick up the project and continue development (if the project is open source). In this case, everyone can still use their game assets, so they retain their value and ownership is still meaningful. That is, with a permissionless blockchain and fully decentralised, provably-fair games, people have true ownership of their game assets.

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