What a year! When the historians write the history of Axie, 2020 will stick out as a key turning point for our digital nation. People are now building businesses, working for real income, socializing with friends, all while competing and having fun in the Axie universe.
2020 set us up for massive expansion with major breakthroughs across all aspects of the ecosystem. It’s mind blowing to think back on the days when all we could do was look at our Axies and chat with each other on Discord. This has truly been the adventure of a lifetime.
2020 taught us that steady, compounding growth eventually goes exponential. Community building is like chemistry. There is a certain critical mass (or activation energy for the chemists) that’s needed for an explosion to happen. When you start building, you may not know where exactly that number is. Many give up on good products, believing that slow, steady growth will always remain slow. This space however, is all about network effects. This means that each user adds value to the network and that the value added to the network actually increases with each subsequent entrant.
NFTs are still a very small market. However, it’s now become undeniable that this technology is helping people in new and profound ways. The future will be about making Axie more fun, more accessible so our vision finds the next generation.
Let’s dive into the data that defined 2020:
Axie holders jumped 743% from 3,284 to 27,716. It was a joy to watch this go exponential with the rise of play to earn and positive media attention around Axie.
Monthly active on-chain users, skyrocketed 3063% from 594 to 18,790. This also demonstrates that the percentage of active Axie holders improved dramatically.
The number of weekly active Alpha testers rose 4,340% from 523 to 23,224. We know that this is being significantly held back by the lack of a free to try option, so this growth foreshadows massive potential.
Yearly marketplace volume shot up 608% from 2,944 ETH to 20,850 ETH.
2020 ushered in a new era of collaboration between Axie and some very critical allies. We were proud to welcome Ubisoft, Binance, Nonfungibles.com, Animoca Brands, and Sparq as validators for Ronin, our Ethereum Sidechain.
We also launched special NFT quests with Kyber Network and Aave, two of the leading DeFi protocols. One of our missions is to educate you about Blockchain, decentralized finance (DeFi) has the potential to change our relationship with money for the better, forever by reducing the role of financial middlemen (banks) and centralized decision makers (typically governments).
Chainlink joined the Axie cause as well, after we integrated their decentralized price feeds for our marketplace.
We also announced a successful strategic sale for AXS, our native token. Through this, we garnered new Allies that have already started working hard on our behalf.
Axie Infinity Shards: AXS
In the famous novel and now film, Ready Player One, players embark on a quest to win The Oasis. In 2020, we took steps to create our own quest to earn the Axie universe. However, we’ve broken up ownership into 270 Million parts or “Shards” and will release these to you, our player-base over the next five years. Rather than bequeathing the game to one person, winner takes all, we will broaden access through diverse distribution to competitive players, farmers, land holders, and content creators.
At Sky Mavis we would rather own a reasonable slice of a huge ecosystem than a huge slice of something that cannot scale due to misaligned incentives.
We were proud to craft the token with our friends at Delphi Digital and team up with the largest international Crypto exchange Binance for the launch!
2020 saw development resources and attention ramp up on Axie land gameplay. This progress culminated with a 7 day demo, Project K, which wrapped up earlier this month. It was a joy to see you interact with your land plots for the first time and come up with truly outstanding plot designs.
Through the demo you could:
Populate your land plots with your favorite Axies
Gather resources to craft tools and furniture
Place your land items on plots for decoration
Battle Chimera for resources
Missed the fun? Checkout this great overview from Cagyjan, a blockchain gaming Youtuber that exploded on the scene this year!
We’re always looking to iterate and advance our battle system. Just as most franchises modernize and update their battle systems over time, we are taking a similar approach.
Axie battles have come a long way since the auto-battle days of 2018 and 2019. However, we believe that crafting a fun game is crucial to the health and growth of the ecosystem. With this in mind we are revamping the battle system to be more skill based, faster paced, and to allow for a greater diversity of Axie and team compositions.
The revamped battle system is currently going through internal testing. The first step will be to make it available to some of our top players for further feedback before a public release.
Our players are currently competing for gas with sophisticated traders, financial organizations, and arbitrage bots. This is causing tens of thousands of dollar a month in deadweight loss that could be retained within the ecosystem. In essence, the Axie community is overpaying for security by competing with an increasingly large number of sophisticated financial transactions for block space. The majority of Axie related transactions would be better off on a sidechain. This is why we’ve built Ronin, our customized scaling solution for Axie Infinity.
This year’s work on Ronin culminated with the launch of a public Testnet. The Testnet will run until all bugs are squashed and we are confident in a successful rollout. Ronin deployment will also be an opportunity for upgrades to our genetics and breeding system which should allow for better opportunities for our players.
There’s currently a bug bounty with 15,000 AXS in rewards. If you’re a community developer looking to prove your talents, this is a perfect opportunity!
The Themes of 2020
2020 saw the rise of a few crucial narratives that will help push Axie into the spotlight for years to come.
Play to Earn
We see our players as citizens and owners of Axie, not just customers or players. In 2020, we saw the rise of play to earn in Axie as a liquid market around Small Love Potion, developed. The only source of these potions is by playing Axie, we do not own any. This means that Axie breeders and collectors must either play the game or buy the potions from other players. This player-owned market has created a healthy market around these potions which caught major media attention.
In August, an article around players in the Phillipines emerged which opened the eyes of many to the incredible potential of this new model. We expect play to earn to drive massive growth of Blockchain games, especially through systems where players can earn pieces of the games they are playing. The way we’ve structured AXS sets up play to earn for a massive experiment in the years to come.
Game Items as an Asset Class
It wasn’t just potion farmers that have been empowered this year. Some of our long time supporters and collectors saw the value of their rare and supply-capped Axies skyrocket as word of the Axie revolution spread like wildfire. We even saw institutions start to acquire Axies.
In an increasingly digital world, who cares if you have a nice watch or car? Increasingly, showing off your rare game items will be the way to show off and network.
A Digital Nation
Axie is more than a game. It used to be hard for many to see this. It’s becoming more obvious by the day. We now have the building blocks in place for the genesis of a new digital nation complete with property rights, sports (competitive play), land, and a system of government.
Axie is place for friendship, fun, and economic opportunity. You are not players, you are owners and citizens of this nation. Community led initiatives such as Axie.zone, AxieWorld, and Axiechat and so many more, are proving that you are taking this responsibility seriously.
The focus of 2021 will be product launches that further increase the growth potential of our budding ecosystem. These product launches will make Axie more fun, more rewarding, and increasingly accessible to the 7+ billion people that have no idea what an Axie is.
In 2021, let’s stay hungry. We cannot grow complacent in our success. The larger our nation becomes, the greater the stakes and the potential. Please remember that as a member of the Axie community, anything you do reflects upon the rest of us. We must stand strong, united, and remember that the pursuit of wealth is not a worthy goal. We are here to provide a new model for games and society while bringing blockchain to all corners of the Earth.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,
The Axie Infinity Team