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What is Play to Earn?

Read 4 min
Grey background and computer with NFT text.
— The gaming industry is massive, with huge amounts of money pumped in annually. However, production studios profit the most from this wealth, while gamers have to pay to play.

— Decentralized gaming is set to flip the switch from pay-to-play to play-to-earn with games designed to reward gamers with tokens. The decentralized model encourages engagement and promotes participation.

— Games like Axie Infinity, Alien Worlds and Upland create metaverses that establish ecosystems within the game. Each ecosystem has its own economy that can be used in-game to better the chances of earning more tokens that can be used on the platform or converted to fiat.

Want to earn money playing games and wondering what the play to earn model is all about? we’ve got you covered.

Gaming is by far the biggest industry in the world of entertainment. In April, the industry reached a whopping $300 billion valuation across the globe – more than the film and music industry… combined

In parallel, immersive technologies like VR and AR will bring the game to a whole new level. 400 million new gamers are predicted to enter the gaming scene by the end of 2023. 

Gaming is undeniably popular. But the rise to popularity has been laced with expensive pay-to-play models and monopolization of production studios. With big budgets lording the industry, there hasn’t really been a solution to this. 

Until now.

Blockchain gaming – the future of play to earn

Decentralized games reward you not only with entertainment, but also for your time. By tokenizing the in-game currency, blockchain games create the opportunity for users to earn assets that can be used in-game – but also exchanged for fiat. 

It flips the script from a pay-to-play model to a play-to-earn. The ramifications of this are incredible. Beyond the fact that it enables users to earn while gaming, it creates an environment where active participation helps to establish a healthy, competitive community.

Play to Earn - 4 projets de crypto-gaming à surveiller de près - CryptoActu
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Hence, Decentralized gaming explores ways to create both an environment within the game, but also a micro-economy that empowers gamers and developers to earn while they play. 

What can you earn playing games?

Depending on the project, you can earn tokens or in-game assets that can be traded, used, or even sold. The assets can range from gaming tools, weapons, designs, skins, NFTs or in-game tokens. Gamers can earn the game-minted cryptocurrency and then sell it. 

It might sound surprising, but it takes the concept of professional gaming to a brand new level.

Press play: where to go to earn gaming

If this sounds like something up your alley, here are a couple of projects that might tickle your fancy:

Axie Infinity

Axie is a Pokémon-esque game centred around little creatures (Axies) which players can breed, train and battle with others online. Through battles and completing challenges, players are rewarded with Small Love Potions (SLPs). SLPs can be used to create new Axies but they also double up as the game’s native cryptocurrency. As an ERC-20 token, SLP can be traded and sold on cryptocurrency exchanges that support it. 

The game requires strategy and time; the more you play, the better you get, the higher your chances are of earning SLPs. There are more than 350,000 daily users on the platform, according to Axie and the community is poised to grow and expand.


Upland is prime real estate in blockchain gaming. Literally. The game is a metaverse that mints digital properties mapped to real-world addresses. Gamers can buy, sell and trade their virtual properties (and who knows, maybe their online avatars can live in them in the future). 

Each Upland property is minted as an NFT on EOS’ blockchain and valued in UPX, which can be traded for fiat or used to flip properties to make more profit.

Alien Worlds

The setting of Alien Worlds is evident by its name, but the fundamental concept is more sophisticated. The game is an NFT metaverse that uses its native cryptocurrency Trilium (TLM) as a reward for completing quests or winning battles. 

TLM can also be mined on the in-game planets and be used to gain more power in the game by staking and voting in Planet DAOs. With planet governance a key theme, collaboration meets competition in a game of high rewards. 

Zed Run

Horse racing in the world of NFTs. That’s Zed Run. The concept is simple: Race your horse against others. And win. 

In the game, players own digital horses against others and earn on their victories. Unlike other NFTs, Zed Run horses have an important characteristic of a living creature. That is, they can breed. With genetics playing a strong role in the game, horses that are sold can fetch some pretty tidy sums making breeding strategic and ripe for profitability. 

What’s next for blockchain-based gaming?

The mix of NFTs, cryptocurrencies and gaming is exciting. Decentralized gaming opens up a new industry and the work for the reward is rich with entertainment. 

At the moment, the blockchain gaming industry is still nascent and the quality doesn’t compare to what the corporate production studios can produce with their massive budgets. 


As more games are developed and as more gamers make the switch from pay-to-play to play-to-earn, we’ll see real world purchases made possible by a video game victory. Imagine a world where you can buy a house in the real world based on the money you earn selling virtual houses in Upland. Or where you can design real-world clothing based on your game’s avatar and pay for it using your avatar’s career. 

It’s a mark of how revolutionary play-to-earn can be. And what an exciting revolution it is. The future is now.

Knowledge is power.

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