Play-to-Earn with Bitcoin is the future of gaming, here’s why and how to get on board

Play-to-Earn with Bitcoin is the future of gaming, here’s why and how to get on board


The last decade in the gaming industry saw a shift from buy-to-play to free-to-play games, driven by the rise of micropayments. The next decade will be about play-to-earn games driven by the rise of nanopayments.

Imagine playing Super Mario and picking up a coin, but that coin is worth real money that instantly gets transferred to you. Today, that’s not really hard to do. In fact, more and more games do something just like it. With ZEBEDEE tech, anything that happens in a game can trigger a payment as small as a fraction of a dollar cent. That’s powerful.

Gaming is growing faster than ever, but retaining players is not easy in this saturated market. By adding real-money rewards to a player’s actions in a game, we can create more meaningful experiences and more successful games.

There’s nothing like finishing a level in a mobile game, turning around and using the money you just earned to order something from Amazon. Of course, at that point you played a lot of levels.

Plenty of people do that today. Just not with traditional money. Fiat money can’t move between games and the real world easily enough. You can’t really make a credit card transaction under $0.6, because the banking system isn’t efficient enough. That’s why we use Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is becoming the native currency of the internet, because it can move very easily between all apps and games and into any country of the world. It’s the perfect tool for building play-to-earn games. And the numbers show that players love it.

For some game studios, it can be a game changer. Introducing Bitcoin rewards improves every single acquisition and retention metric. We’ve seen hypercasual mobile games increase ROAS 40-80% just by plugging in a bit of Bitcoin. In some cases, markets that were unprofitable for a game suddenly got unlocked.

How does Bitcoin in games work?

Bitcoin is programmable money. It can interact with other programmable environments. But on its own, the blockchain isn’t fast enough for payments in games and it comes with fees. That’s where the Lightning Network comes in. This is a second layer on top of Bitcoin that enables instant transactions as small as $0.0005 with near-zero fees.

The problem is, it’s not that easy to use the Bitcoin Lightning Network, it requires infrastructure of its own. That’s why we built ZEBEDEE, a payments platform built specifically for games. It’s like a third layer: Bitcoin -> Lightning Network -> ZEBEDEE.

All a game developer needs to do to integrate Bitcoin is:

  1. Sign up with ZEBEDEE
  2. Connect to our API
  3. Decide what in-game triggers to connect payments to

No additional infrastructure to run and no new languages or environments. Just one ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard where you manage all your wallets, API keys and analytics.

Bitcoin vs other approaches to play-to-earn

There are different approaches to play-to-earn gaming. Most of the models that work today are based on crypto or blockchain tech. But using any other cryptocurrency is different from using Bitcoin in a few key ways.

Bitcoin is money that anyone in the world can use. Maybe they never used a wallet before, but it’s no more complex than any other app. Get one on your phone and you can start using Bitcoin to pay for things online (and in more and more physical stores). No need to exchange it for a different currency and send it to your bank account. But if you want to, you can. It’s not hard to exchange Bitcoin.

It is much harder to spend and exchange other cryptocurrencies. The smaller the currency, the harder it gets. Smaller cryptocurrencies are also more prone to sudden price moves. All in all, Bitcoin is relatively stable - its price fluctuates, but consistently grows over longer time periods. There’s no real chance of what you earned in a game collapsing because the token lost its value.

On the other hand, no one is going to get rich quick from Bitcoin they earned in games. Its price is not going to go 100x and change the lives of people earning it in games. But that’s not a realistic expectation. As play-to-earn games become more popular, a massive amount of people will earn a little money, almost no one will earn a lot. And that’s OK, because it is sustainable. The player can’t earn more than the profit he’s generating for the game.

Bitcoin in games just works. Economically and technically. It is a network that has never gone down in 13 years. Bitcoin takes no time off. And the Lightning Network makes it capable of handling AAA-game types of traffic. There are few other global payments systems that can do that.

Which games can you play to earn Bitcoin?

The best way to understand play-to-earn gaming with Bitcoin is to try it. There’s a Bitcoin game out there for everyone.

Probably the easiest way to get started is with a hypercasual mobile game like SaruTobi or Wheel of Trivia.

If you’re looking for something a bit more advanced, you can try challenging your friends to a race in ZBD Kart on PC. It’s like Mario Kart, but with Bitcoin.

And if competitive gaming is your thing, try playing CS:GO for Bitcoin. But beware, people play very seriously when there’s actual money involved!

All of these and many more games will let you earn Bitcoin for free. You’ll just need the ZBD Wallet to collect your winnings.

It’s incredibly easy to get started with Bitcoin gaming. For players and for developers. And the rewards are just out there waiting for those that are ready to grab them.