The underserved Filipino community in Cabanatuan City has been finding ways to make ends meet due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Last August, a group of them found an opportunity on Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn NFT game, and have managed to cash out from the game to pay the bills and support their families. Seeing their success with a short documentary to boot, more Filipinos have flocked the marketplace hoping to earn a living. As a result, Axie Infinity saw a sudden spike in value with more than 250,000 daily active players towards the end of June, most of them coming from the Philippines.
What is Axie Infinity?
Axie Infinity is a digital pet universe where players breed, battle and trade fantasy creatures called Axies. Players earn in-game tokens called Small Love Potion (SLP) and they may trade their assets for digital currencies like BTC or ETH.
Axie is a type of Non-Fungible Token (NFT), which possesses a unique value. No two Axies are the same unlike a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin.
To play the game, a player needs to purchase 3 Axie NFTs. It used to cost around USD 4 but now, due to increasing demand and rising transaction fees, the cost has increased. At the time of writing, the cheapest Axies can cost somewhere between USD 200 and USD 250.
How Filipinos Overcome High Entry Barrier
While the early adopters in Cabanatuan City bought Axie NFTs with a single-digit dollar price, it’s difficult now for newcomers to start playing the game due to the high cost.
To help their fellow Filipinos to play-to-earn on Axie Infinity, the early adopters took the initiative to provide Axie scholarships to those who can’t afford to invest Axie NFTs upfront. This is done through a profit-sharing model whereby Axie owners rent their many Axie NFTs to those who are willing to commit and earn tokens.
This model is beneficial to owners as they can’t possibly battle all the Axies themselves. Rather than leaving the Axies unused, they get other players to help them gain greater utility without any upfront cost. The earnings are split among the player, the NFT owner, and the community manager.
Unlike other decentralized apps, Axie Infinity separates a player’s username and password from their crypto wallet. Because the private key is not shared, Axie owners feel safe enough to rent their Axies to new players as the latter won’t be able to steal the owner’s cryptos.
However, this model is not trustless – a fraudster Axie owner may decide to keep all SLP earnings delivered to their wallet and refuse to pay the player. The player could also operate under multiple pseudonym accounts to reap rewards across multiple scholarship programs.
How Axie Infinity Helps Filipinos Earn Money
Despite the few setbacks, this profit-sharing model has helped the marginalized Filipino community in Cabanatuan City to earn more income than they would have otherwise.
The SLPs earned are converted to a cryptocurrency and then to pesos.
For example, some players can earn 15,000 pesos (USD 300) a month, which is slightly higher than the average jobs that offer 10,000 pesos (USD 200) a month.
Such an income, though seemingly little, is enough to support the daily needs of a family in the Philippines. With the income earned from playing Axie Infinity, Filipinos have used it to buy or pay for:
- Baby nappies and milk
- Shirt and shoes to wear for job interviews
- Children’s school fees and digital devices
- Mobile phones
- Home renovations
While this isn’t a solution to end poverty, Axie Infinity has been an example of how NFT technology can be used to help marginalized people improve their lives.
Start Playing and Earning on Axie Infinity
If you’re keen to try out this play-to-earn game, here are the steps to get started:
- Install Metamask to create a wallet
- Create Axie Infinity account
- Create a Ronin wallet for Axie transactions
- Purchase Axies on the marketplace
The rising popularity in Axie Infinity shows how NFTs are not merely art collectibles for the mega-rich but can also be an opportunity for the underserved or marginalized community to earn a living amidst a brutal economic crisis. The interest in the play-to-earn game in Cabanatuan City has given rise to the idea that NFTs may hold the key to unlock crypto adoption at a larger scale.
Diyana helps you to make sense of the complicated stuff. Follow the author on Twitter @diyana_eco