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The Reason Behind The Paper Blockchain Game



Richard Garfield is well-known in the tabletop gaming community, most notably as one of the developers of Magic: The Gathering, the most popular trading card game. However, Garfield is dabbling in the world of digital, specifically blockchain-adjacent games, and TechCrunch grabbed the opportunity to quiz the experienced game maker on the benefits and drawbacks of this and other innovative approaches to gaming.

It should be noted right away that, unlike the dubious profit-focused gameplay of your Axie Infinity and the like, Richard Garfield’s new game, technically a “mode” of Blockchain Brawlers, is not focused on speculation but is rather an experiment in the distribution of a complete card-based game outside of traditional publishing methods.

It should also be noted that the game platform is full of the usual NFT and monetization babble, but the main game, a 1v1 bluffing type match, may be played with regular playing cards or numbered pieces of paper. I played a few rounds with him this way, and it’s actually fairly enjoyable and simple (I would like to state for the record that I was in a fair way to win but we had to stop early). A separate release in 2023 is planned for a game unconnected to Richard Garfield’s idea that uses more rarity/stat/token-focused mechanics.

TC: Why is it worthwhile to incorporate blockchains, tokens, and other cryptocurrencies into game design? When consumers are concerned about items like FTX… I understand that they are diametrically opposed, but why is the asset worth the risk?

RG: There are certain advantages to not being tethered to paper, and some advantages to not being digital. The possibility to sell consumers digital yet ownable games have some attraction in the digital environment. In particular, especially compared to other digital arenas where there is so much free-to-play, which has a lot of negative baggage along with any value it brings to the table.

Of course, FTX can crash, which has nothing to do with a tracking mechanism for card ownership or whatever. However, in the perceptions of customers, they can be mixed together. Is that only for consumer education? Is that a branding issue?

All of the above and more. It’s also a popular choice among designers and publishers. I believe there is some natural caution in this space because so much of the design has been in an area that I don’t think is healthy for games, which is attempting to conflate it with speculation — an area with which I have a lot of experience because this was the environment in which Magic: The Gathering began. And it was highly harmful to gaming to have people buy only to see their money rise. Because it interfered with the game as a game.


Many designers and publishers are now embracing this and urging, “Join this game today, make a lot of money.” That is not good for game design, but it is no longer an inherent feature of players’ ownership of digital goods. The bad aspects of free-to-play, for example, are not inherent in the game. It’s only that some things are tough to avoid because of the way the income model operates. And players these days, with digital ownership, it’s natural for them to equate it with the speculating bubble, just as a player who engages in free-to-play is always at risk of thinking it’s pay-to-win or some type of hustle. However, there is some confusion, and there are some causes for that confusion.

I’m curious about what kind of backlash you received at the time over both the commercial strategy and the unanticipated hoarding of valuable cards, taking them out of play. Was there any doubt that this was a viable game and business model? And do you believe a similar reaction is occurring now?

“These days, a lot of designers and publishers are embracing that and saying, ‘Join this game today, make a lot of money. That is not good for game design, but it is no longer an inherent feature of players’ ownership of digital goods.”

Yes, some skepticism existed and it takes a lot of effort to overcome that. And that caused quite a stir within Wizards of the Coast. The problem was that as the prices rose due to speculation, everyone drew comparisons to the comic book market, Cabbage Patch Kids, or whatever people collected and became quite popular, only to crash and burn.

“I wasn’t well-versed in that field when I first started because I didn’t pay much attention to collectors. But I quickly came to believe that this supposition was simply bad for games, with no benefit to the players.”

We have to put in a lot of effort to break that pattern, such as purposefully overprinting to make it unappealing to collect. When we finally accomplished this, some people at the company believed we had sunk the product. And other gamers did so as the value of their collection fell. But the game had only just begun to take off at that point. And, in the end, that was all it was: a game. It became evident that those who were playing the game were doing so because they enjoyed the gameplay rather than because they had made an investment.

Do you believe anything similar will have to happen with digital ownership now? How do you put that model to the test? Because I know many will be dubious, asking, “How do I know I’m not going to have the rug pulled out from under me if I put a couple of hundred dollars in this game?”

You must have complete faith in your publisher. When it comes to tradable object games, the publisher may always screw it up.


People, on the other hand, don’t buy Settlers of Catan and worry about whether the publisher will muck it up by making the game weaker; they have the game, and they can play it. That, to me, is the potential attractiveness of digital ownership: consumers don’t have to rely on the publisher. When they are in command of a continuing environment, they simply have to rely on the publisher to be fair.

How do we get the ownership aspect to the point that individuals can say, “Hey, I paid my $50.” “I have a digital copy of that.” People will put their trust in Steam for a PC game. But if it gets sophisticated with NFT-based instances of cards and other such things…

Well, if you’re going to have your game engine given by someone, you have to trust them. That concludes the story. You have more options here. Whether or not those will evolve is dependent on the community and, you know, whether or not there are people who are enthusiastic enough to pursue it.

I should tell out that with the game I worked on here, I was very solidly in the board game category, in the sense that the game that’s been provided has no distinction between what players own — it’s a perfectly fair game. It was really the only reason I became interested in the idea because the publisher stated they would back me up on that.

[Note: While players can possess multiple “moves” and cosmetics, the gameplay elements, which are essentially the digits 1-8 and some other minor things, are functionally the same for all, even whether they are treated as NFTs or some other owned digital item. In other modes or games, these goods may serve different functions.]

That aspect of the game is always available to players, as they can play it themselves or someone can create a new framework for it. And it’s not difficult to accomplish. In the sense that you buy a box and play, this is fairly similar to a traditional game.

I’m sure my readers will wonder, “Why aren’t I just buying this game on Steam?” Or what is the true improvement over a free-to-play situation in which I pay $50 for 50 cards? And now I have all the cards. What are the true benefits of this method over traditional publishing or a free-to-play model?

To be honest, I believe that many people have exaggerated the benefits and, in reality, what has kept me away from it for so long is that I haven’t seen the benefit of a server-based system in a long time. The main thing that drew me in was how difficult it is to get certain games done in the digital environment due to the free-to-play expectation.


There are a number of games that, in principle, you could just publish on Steam or iOS and have people download and play. But you can’t do that because you can’t charge for it. And if you offer it for free, you must pay for it. And if you add any free-to-play monetization to it, you’ve got commercials or you’ve got to fill a bar, or do cosmetics, or whatever that may not be of interest to designers or players.

The main thing that drew me in was how difficult it is to get certain games done in the digital environment due to the free-to-play expectation.

So the game being developed here, for example, might be developed on Steam or on iOS. But the games I’ve done in the past that fit this criteria have been really difficult to get started because you have to make it free. Then you have to put in advertising or whatever. So I’m drawn to it in the same way that I’m drawn to working with paper publishers: I can say, “Here’s a card game,” and they can print it, put it in a box, and sell it to people. Nobody objects to that as a revenue model.

Tabletop gaming has clearly seen a renaissance. Everyone enjoys it; everyone is playing with paper, cardboard, and wood, and it’s fantastic. But there are also crossover successes, such as Gloomhaven, which has a terrific digital and paper version. I’m curious how you think it’ll play out in the coming years as both analog and digital gaming get more popular and continue to cross-pollinate.

That is a very exciting field. I could go on and on about it. That field has piqued my curiosity. I first considered it in the late 1990s, when I was struck by how much I enjoyed computer games and board games. Then I’d play whatever I wanted, TF [Team Fortress]. I’d play some kind of digital shooter or something, and then I’d play Scrabble.

And I’d wonder, how are these even in the same room? They’re just such distinct experiences, and why aren’t there more games that are similar to the board games I enjoy, but take advantage of all the stuff that must be available digitally?

So to see more and more examples of that, such as Slay the Spire, games that have this sensibility genuinely based in conventional gaming, but take full advantage of what the computer has to offer, rather than forcing you to play Twitch games or anything like that…

It’s an exciting field. I’m really thrilled to see where it goes and happy to help out in any way I can.


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Blockchain Events

DAVOS 2023: Blockchain’s Potential Beyond Cryptos



DAVOS 2023: Blockchain's Potential Beyond Cryptos

DAVOS 2023: At #WEF23, policymakers and business leaders were eager to distinguish between distributed ledgers and cryptocurrencies. Not crypto, but blockchain.

From climate solutions to humanitarian aid to moving on from FTX’s stunning collapse, the second day of the World Economic Forum’s 2023 annual conference saw discussions focused on the promise of the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, rather than the often speculative financial assets themselves.

The day opened with a panel of traditional banking professionals seeking to draw a line under the FTX issue, noting that, while the cryptocurrency industry is in crisis, other products founded on distributed ledger technology are not.

“It’s critical not to mix cryptocurrencies with CBDCs, stablecoins, and DLT… they’re all quite distinct,” PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman stated. Despite the bitcoin crisis, “the underlying tech has operated well,” according to Schulman.

“The promise of a distributed ledger is that it may be faster and cheaper to settle transactions concurrently with no middlemen. That is really significant.”

Importantly, unlike past waves of “blockchain, not bitcoin,” which generally referred to permissioned blockchains, the talks on Tuesday were OK with public ledgers such as Ethereum and the Stellar network. Lynn Martin, President of the New York Stock Exchange, seems to adopt a similar stance, citing the potential benefits of blockchain in making share issuance more efficient or allowing financial exchanges to be settled quickly rather than days later.

“Some of the technologies have now been embraced and used to truly make processes considerably more efficient,” Martin added.

Former Indian central bank governor Raghuram Rajan later repeated that promise of broader blockchain uses.


However, TradFi’s commitment to the industry may eventually be tested: When questioned, Schulman, Martin, and State Street’s Ronald O’Hanley all claimed artificial intelligence, not blockchain, was the most exciting technology.

Carmen Hutt, treasurer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, detailed such an application – a recently launched blockchain payment solution for distributing humanitarian aid in Ukraine – just across the street from the forum’s main congress center, in a historic church transformed into a neon hub for hosting discussions about the future.

Hutt revealed during a panel discussion hosted by CoinDesk chief content officer Michael Casey that the pilot project, which was launched in December using the blockchain platform Stellar network, is significantly more sophisticated than one might assume.

Donations via the blockchain promise “transparency and visibility,” and the Commission has a platform ready to send relief immediately, according to Hutt. “What an incredible offer… We can deploy $500 million today if we acquire $500 million. So this isn’t going to take weeks or months,” Hutt explained. (Later that day, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister praised the contribution of virtual money to the military effort.)

Further along the legendary “promenade,” industry heavyweights ranging from Solana and Ripple to the Global Blockchain Business Council teamed together to develop a climate project that would use blockchain’s transparent record-keeping to assist in improving carbon emissions and credit tracking.

Although authorities have mostly focused on the potential of crypto contagion to financial stability, a string of bankruptcies last year that wiped out billions of dollars in retail investments, most notably Sam Bankman-FTX, Fried’s may have underlined the need for a shift in their focus.

For the lone banker on the conventional finance panel, the events of 2022 must shift regulators’ focus away from the risk of lenders bringing down the whole financial system and toward the risk of individual customers being duped by crypto frauds. “It’s not that regulators have disregarded [financial innovations], but if it’s not going to generate systemic danger, I’m not sure why we should focus on it.”

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Blockchain Events

Blockchain to Revolutionize Supply Chain Management



Blockchain Technology to Revolutionize Supply Chain Management

Blockchain has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, with applications spanning from new cryptocurrencies to their potential uses in various sectors, making it important for business leaders, industries, and regulators to have a deeper understanding of the technology and its potential applications.

While blockchain has yet to achieve widespread acceptance, it has the potential to drive significant digital transformative changes and generate new possibilities throughout the corporate landscape, from banking and finance to infrastructure and healthcare.

Blockchain is defined as “a distributed ledger that records transactions chronologically and publicly,” according to one source. Its database is shared across a network rather than being held in a single location, which enables a high level of information control and transaction transparency.

However, there has been so much hype surrounding blockchain on all sides of the debate, that it has become increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction.

A study by Vorhaus Advisors, a Los Angeles-based digital media consulting firm, found that only 25% of people in the United States understand what blockchain is.

According to the same poll, 62% of people believe blockchain is the same as cryptocurrency, and 48% believe it is the same as bitcoin.

This lack of understanding of blockchain has caused confusion, skepticism, and fear about its use, which spreads across all sectors of industry and government, influencing not only business but also policy.


The fact is that blockchain technology has the potential to fundamentally alter how organizations and individuals trade products and information, and part of that revolution is already underway.

Blockchain has the potential to improve any business in which transactions require a permanent record and the confidence of many parties. Furthermore, it has the potential to dramatically simplify paper-intensive enterprises that require an accounting ledger.

Here are three real-world blockchain use cases to illustrate how adaptive, widespread, and disruptive it can be:

  1. Banking and Finance: Finance and banking have received the most attention regarding blockchain and for good reason. It’s an entirely transactional industry. For example, blockchain can convert paper-based functions such as letters of guarantee (documents provided by a bank that assure suppliers be paid for the goods or services they supply in the event that the payor is unable to pay) into a totally paperless, digital, and transparent process, helping to eradicate fraud and forgeries.
  2. Rethinking Healthcare: The pandemic’s unexpected demand for remote healthcare and other medical-related activities has moved the emphasis on delivering clinical treatment in a virtual or data-driven manner. As a result, the various medical data silos across healthcare providers can be integrated into a single shared blockchain network for secure and efficient data sharing.
  3. Supply Chain: Blockchain can also be used to improve supply chain management. A blockchain network can provide a single source of truth for the entire supply chain, from the origin of raw materials to the final delivery of goods to the customer. This can help to improve transparency, traceability, and efficiency in the supply chain.

In conclusion, blockchain is a powerful technology that has the potential to transform many industries, but it is important to separate the hype from reality. It is essential for business leaders, industries, and regulators to have a deeper understanding of the technology and its potential applications to fully harness its potential.

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Blockchain Events

Blockchain Boom: 90% of Businesses Now Using the Technology



Blockchain Boom: 90% of Businesses Now Using the Technology

According to the findings of a recent survey that was carried out by CasperLabs, it is anticipated that business adoption of blockchain technology will increase over the course of the following year in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China.

This is the case even though there are knowledge gaps.

Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries have undergone significant change over the course of the past year, people and companies continue to display an interest in the area.

The results of a recent poll that was conducted by CasperLabs and Zogby Analytics revealed that businesses had a particularly upbeat outlook on the potential applications of blockchain technology.

The questionnaire was sent to a total of 603 “decision makers” employed by a variety of commercial firms in China, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, in that order.

Almost all of the businesses that were asked about their usage of blockchain technology responded that they did so in some form, and almost all of those businesses (87%) also stated that they intend to make financial investments in blockchain technology during the next 12 months.

This phenomenon is especially widespread in China, where more than half of the respondents want to put money into blockchain technology by the year 2023.


According to Ralf Kubli, a member of the board of directors for the Casper Association, businesses are continuing to look to blockchain technology for solutions despite the recent turbulence:

“It is incredibly heartening to see businesses recognize that blockchain technology is not a threat but rather a solution,”

Companies who are now implementing the technology are reaping the benefits of two of its primary characteristics, namely security (42%) and copy protection (42%), both of which are proving to be highly useful for these organizations.

Those who work in IT-based operations are using blockchain technology for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to improving the efficiency of internal processes (for which 40% of users employ it), improving the efficiency of supply chain operations (34% of users employ it), and improving the efficiency of software development (30% of users employ it).

According to Kubli’s projections, the year 2023 will mark a pivotal turning point for the widespread use of blockchain technology, particularly in terms of offering practical answers to real-world challenges and producing long-term value.

In spite of this, a significant study shed light on the flaws that are commonly seen in CEOs of corporations. The vast majority of respondents (73%) feel confident in their comprehension of blockchain technology.

Despite this, 54% of those who replied continue to regard the words “blockchain” and “crypto” as being identical. In spite of the fact that the vast majority of respondents feel positive about their comprehension of blockchain technology, this is the result.

In a similar vein, it has been argued that the most significant obstacles to adoption are a lack of developer talent, a lack of tools, a lack of interoperability, and pessimism regarding the industry as a whole.


All of these factors contribute to a general sense of pessimism.

In spite of this, practically all of the people who took part in the survey stated that they would be more receptive to embracing blockchain technology if they had a better grasp of how their coworkers are utilizing it.

Education, in addition to accessibility, has been a challenge and a barrier for a significant amount of time for those people outside the space who seek to interact with the technology and engage with customers. This has been the case for many different causes throughout history.

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