Thanks to a generous grant, play-to-earn gaming is coming to NEAR Protocol.
NEAR Protocol Awards Gaming Project
The ConsenSys-backed project Vorto Gaming will be awarded 25,000 NEAR tokens and $10,000 to build on NEAR Protocol, totaling around $132,000 at today’s prices.
Vorto Gaming is part of a growing list of projects developing play-to-earn games on the blockchain. Its ecosystem allows gamers to access an economy while they play, letting them earn and resell items to other players through its own marketplace. On the Vorto Network, gaming assets are represented as NFTs, which allows players to have ownership of the items for the first time. Previously, ownership in gaming was less tangible.
Play-to-earn has exploded in crypto as the technology has evolved. In the Philippines, some gamers have been able to earn more than the average national salary from playing the Ethereum-based game Axie Infinity.
The grant will form the start of a relationship between the two projects, with Vorto Gaming hoping to take advantage of NEAR’s scalability and sharding capacity. NEAR Protocol is a Proof-of-Stake platform for smart contracts. In that respect, it’s similar to Ethereum. However, according to NEAR’s website, it processes transactions for around 10,000x cheaper than Ethereum.
It’s currently developing what it’s calling a “Rainbow Bridge” that will provide functionality for ERC-20 tokens like DAI and UNI on Near. The Rainbow Bridge will also be a key hub of activity for gaming developers like Vorto in the future.
Kristaps Vaivods, the CEO of Vorto Gaming, stated that the partnership would help blockchain gaming adoption grow in the future. In a press release, he said:
“It’s undeniable that blockchain gaming, despite its promise and excitement, has seen slow adoption in recent years. We think there are two main reasons for that: bad UI and UX, and an unscalable blockchain infrastructure. We solve for the former, while NEAR for the latter.”
One of the focuses of the Vorto Network is making blockchain games accessible to crypto newcomers. There’s no need to connect a wallet or pay fees to play the game, which isn’t always the case with games on Ethereum. While various scaling solutions are hoping to tackle that issue, they often involve moving funds from Ethereum mainnet at a high cost.
Eventually, Ethereum will introduce shard chains like NEAR has today. Erik Trautman, the CEO at NEAR Foundation, pointed out that Near’s sharding technology allows blockchain games to flourish. He said:
“NEAR Protocol is made for developers just like Vorto Gaming. NEAR provides abstractions to hide as many of the underlying scalability solutions as possible, offering a high-performance sharded blockchain that preserves the build-test-deploy simplicity of a traditional development platform.”
NEAR Protocol has seen steady growth this year amid a surge across the cryptocurrency market. It has a market cap of about $1.94 billion today, up 277% year-to-date.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this feature owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. They also had exposure to UNI in a cryptocurrency index.