Updated: Oct 17
Bitcoin, Nostr and Gaming
Could Gaming Platforms Be the Future Social Media Titans?
Desiree Dickerson, the co-founder and CEO of Thndr Games, has posited that "value transfer is intrinsically a social activity, woven into the very fabric of society. Given that gaming is also a social phenomenon, it's only natural for value transfer to find its way into the games we play." Dickerson predicts that gaming platforms could very well become the next Facebooks and Twitters. Is she onto something?
The Landscape: Gaming vs. Social Media
As we have discussed in earlier articles, the gaming industry is a behemoth, projected to be worth $256.97 billion by 2025. While Facebook remains a social media juggernaut with nearly 2.9 billion monthly active users, Discord—a platform favoured by gamers—is catching up, boasting 140 million monthly active users as of August 2023. That figure having doubled since 2021. With an estimated 2.9 billion gamers globally, the transition to a gaming-centric, Bitcoin-native ecosystem seems well within reach.
The Mobile Revolution
Smartphones have altered our interaction with games; a significant number of users now engage via mobile devices. Thndr Games, established in November 2019, is pioneering this shift by integrating Bitcoin and play-to-earn mechanisms into their offerings.
The company's core focus is not merely to develop games, but to utilise them as a conduit for introducing people to Bitcoin. By creating a fun, frictionless experience that doesn't necessitate the conversion of fiat money, Thndr enables users to earn Bitcoin while enjoying games they love.
Hands-On Experience: "Tetro Tiles"
I tested out "Tetro Tiles" one of Thndr's current offerings on both iOS and Android. The game is captivating and user-friendly and it was simple to transfer my earnings to a Zebedee wallet. Further enhancing the experience, a seamless Discord integration now links my Thndr and Discord profiles. Thndr also offers an array of other games and allows participation in tournaments for those who desire a more social experience.
Open-Source Integration: Nostr
Thndr recently integrated with Nostr, an open-source technology aiming to restore the internet's original, decentralised, and censorship-free ethos. This partnership will enable gamers to create interoperable badges across platforms, thereby breaking down the 'walled gardens' often created by proprietary gaming apps.
According to Crunchbase, Thndr has successfully secured funding in two rounds in 2021 and 2023, notably from Lightning Ventures. Additional funding details remain undisclosed.
What Lies Ahead?
Payments interoperability is undeniably beneficial for the gaming industry. With Nostr's growing user base—now at 23 million plus registered and an estimated 340,000 monthly active users—along with the rise of Nostr-enabled apps, the stage is set for an explosion in user engagement. Whether gaming platforms will indeed become the dominant social ecosystems is yet to be determined. However, given widespread dissatisfaction with existing social media services and their substandard user experience, the fusion of open-source technologies like Bitcoin and Nostr with gaming presents an intriguing alternative with ample room for expansion.
Let’s see what hatches in the coming months! 🥚