First introduced in 2018, Axie Infinity was inspired by the model of NFT-based blockchain games made popular by CryptoKitties. Players can collect Axies, the game's creature characters, buy and sell them on the marketplace, breed them to produce new ones, and—perhaps most excitingly—battle them against other players’ Axies around the world.
While the character breeding concept is similar to CryptoKitties, the battle gameplay is more reminiscent of Nintendo’s popular role-playing Pokémon series. Axie Infinity is one of the early projects that popularized play-to-earn (P2E) gaming, where players are compensated with cryptocurrency for their in-game actions.
The game uses two distinct tokens in its ecosystem: Axie Infinity Shards (AXS), the governance tokens that give holders a say in the future development of the game, and Smooth Love Potions (SLP), which are used in-game to breed creatures. Together, these have created a versatile gaming economy that has flourished worldwide.
Additionally, players can buy tokenized plots of land, called Terra, in Axie Infinity’s Lunacia metaverse, further enriching gameplay with the functionality of land management similar to that found in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing.
AXIE INFINITY ESSENTIALS
- Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based play-to-earn game where players battle Axies, represented by NFTs on Ethereum, with each other. The game combines aspects of popular games like CryptoKitties, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing.
- Axie was developed by the Vietnam-based company Sky Mavis, who created the Ronin Ethereum sidechain to ensure a streamlined player experience with fast transactions and low fees.
- The primary tokens of the game are AXS and SLP. Players are rewarded with AXS for playing the game. AXS is also used for staking and governance of the network.
How was Axie Infinity developed?
The game was developed by Sky Mavis, a Vietnam-based game studio headed by CEO Trung Thanh Nguyen. Nguyen first dipped his toes into the blockchain gaming space with CryptoKitties. He was taken with the cat-themed game’s bright artwork and novel breeding mechanism. These inspired him to use his skills as a developer and passion for gaming to build Axie from the ground up.
Conceptualization and development of the game began in 2017, and Sky Mavis was officially founded in 2018. The same year, breeding and battle gameplay were first introduced. Although it was originally hosted on Loom, an Ethereum layer-2 solution, the project moved to its dedicated sidechain—Ronin—in early 2021.
The first Axies were sold in February 2018 as part of the Origin presale, generating 900 ETH (approximately $650,000 at the time) for the project. Further, the team sold Terra digital land between 2019 and 2020 and raised over 4,600 ETH (approximately $600,000 at the time).
Apart from sales of NFTs, the team has received support from multiple venture capital sources. In May 2021, Mark Cuban and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian participated in a $7.5 million funding round.
How does Axie Infinity work?
Setting up to play
In order to play Axie Infinity, users must first download the Ronin Wallet, which is used to store NFTs (like Axies) and crypto (like ETH, AXS, and SLP.) Users can then purchase ETH from an exchange like Bitstamp and transfer it to their Ronin wallet to purchase Axies from the Marketplace.
A minimum of three Axies are needed to begin playing and battling other players. The gameplay can be divided into three distinct parts:
- Breeding: Players can breed two of their Axies to create offspring, generating new NFTs that can battle or breed again. Breeding creatures costs a combination of AXS and SLP tokens and players must consider the genetics of their Axies before pairing them, as this can determine the traits of their offspring.
- Battling: Players can battle a team of three Axies in both a player vs. player (PVP) and player vs. environment (PVE) setting. Although the gameplay is familiar to anyone who has played Pokémon or Final Fantasy, there is a lot “under the hood.” The creatures have attributes such as health and speed that are based on their classes (ex: aquatic, beast, plant, etc.) In battle, they are equipped with Ability Cards that represent actions and attack moves that players can use strategically. Winning battles allows users to collect SLP based on their in-game ranking, similar to earning points in traditional video games.
- Land: There are over 90,000 plots of Terra land in Lunacia. Owners can gather resources on their land, battle against PVE enemies called Chimera, and dictate how their digital land NFTs are used as the game further develops.
Axie Infinity Marketplace
The marketplace was first released in 2018 and provides a place where players can buy and sell their Axies and other NFT items, allowing them to monetize their breeding practices or simply diversify their gameplay experience. In April 2022, the marketplace boasted more than $21 million in volume traded.
CryptoKitties famously rendered the Ethereum blockchain unusable at its peak of popularity in 2017 due to the sheer number of transactions necessary for buying, selling, and breeding the cat NFTs. In order to streamline the player experience and alleviate congestion, Sky Mavis helped develop the Proof of Stake (PoS) Ronin sidechain on Ethereum to host the game.
How is the AXS token used?
Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) are the network’s governance tokens. Sky Mavis aims to decentralize the ownership of Axie by enabling its players to participate in governing the game’s structure and future direction, based on the amount of AXS they stake on its platform. In return, users can earn a portion of AXS rewards.
Players can win AXS by making it into the leaderboard for participating in the game. Additionally, a portion of all marketplace transactions and breeding fees is sent in the form of AXS to a Community Treasury, whose funds are directed by holders of AXS.
Note: AXS tokens are different than Smooth Love Potion (SLP) tokens, which are awarded to players for winning battles and can be used to breed Axies alongside AXS.
There is a maximum supply of 270 million AXS tokens. Eleven percent of tokens were offered in a public sale in November 2020, raising nearly $3 million, and another 4% were sold in a private sale.
The Sky Mavis team and project advisors were incentivized with 28% of the total supply, unlocking over the course of 4-4.5 years. Additionally, 20% of AXS are allocated to play-and-earn rewards, 29% to staking rewards, and 8% to the ecosystem fund.
How to buy AXS
You can buy the Axie Infinity coin on Bitstamp. Sign up for a Bitstamp account and start trading AXS today!
Disclosure: Bitstamp is licensed to engage in virtual currency business activity by the New York State Department of Financial Services.