If you are an investor, trying to pick which blockchain game to pour your money into, how do you tease apart the gold and the mud?
The answer has changed for Yan Liberman over the past few years.
Yan is a founder at Delphi Digital, an organisation which started out researching crypto, moved into consulting (actually building stuff) and then moved into full-on investment. Delphi have financed scores of projects, including Polemos. Eighty-five people say they work for Delphi on LinkedIn, double what is listed on the website. That speaks to explosive growth.
When I interviewed Yan for the Key Characters podcast, I got the sense of contacting a different culture: deep money. He speaks and thinks in flows of money, incentives and how people behave. He’s a gamer, long-time and omnivorous, and it seems to me that his investment is also a game, one with big risks and rewards. The transcript:
Hal: So Yan, you’ve been through some ups and downs because you were in crypto in 2017. So you experienced the fluctuations of the market a few times since then. I think two big downturns, and we’re still in the second of those. Is that exhausting?
Yan: I like to invest and something that helps me excel is just having a very large tolerance for risk. And so the swings up are euphoric and the swings down can be tough. I think what ends up happening is you just, you’re dead inside from the volatility.
I asked a couple of times about how he picks projects to invest in, and Yan said that had changed over the years. He began as a big believer in tokenomics. Now he is back to the basics: the experience of the team building the game, and whether the game is showing signs of life.
“The change in my thinking was I would’ve placed a larger weight on the token dynamics back then than I do now. Now I think, the most important thing is the team and the game itself. The game needs to be fun and needs to be playable.”
Having reviewed hundreds of games, and spoken to founders and developers, he has a refined sense of how the blockchain can work. You can pay for small or non-core advantages – like avoiding tens of hours of grind – but unfairness is a problem.
Yan: It is absolute kryptonite. What ends up happening is you attract a certain type of crowd and community as well. It just doesn’t really help in terms of longevity of the game. But there are elements where you can monetize the acceleration of certain processes that might be tedious.
I’ll be publishing my Key Characters podcast with Yan in coming days.
Countdown to Zero
The latest demo version of Illuvium’s city builder Zero was due out in February. It’s here now, released yesterday, so I can stop whining.
Our experts Caveman and Moggy have been playing and passing on their wisdom. Right now, there’s only a small group of people who could benefit from knowing exactly how to maximise resource production by the placement of footpaths, but we’ve got them covered. Read
My video conversation with Frank Cheng, co-founder of god game Apeiron, is the first time Key Characters has moved into the visual medium.
Editing this video, I discovered again what I already knew: every medium demands its own, different treatment, and cutting a video is completely different from cutting an audio-only podcast. On a purely practical level, you can’t cut out “ums” and repeated words, because the person’s head jiggles around. On a deeper level, the expectation on YouTube is that the picture changes every six seconds. That’s a lot of work!
In any case, Frank remains deeply interesting and you’ll get a great sense of him (and the toys behind him on the bookshelf) in this interview.
Shrapnel turns usernames into NFTs
Smartest play of the week goes to extraction shooter Shrapnel, which decided to let users register “callsign” usernames as NFTs. The callsigns are just strings of letters and numbers, and operate as elite usernames that cannot be copied or used by others. When the game is operational these callsigns will be tradeable on external markets just like any other NFT.
Early Shrapnel adopters who had received airdrops of the game’s token were able to register multiple callsigns, and no doubt hope to sell them like personalised license plates when the game is launched.
That should be some time next year. Given the experience of the team building Shrapnel, that might actually happen. Read
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