- J McGlynn and M Bacina
Blockchain for Social Good: Axie Infinity game supports a Philippines community during COVID chaos
Updated: May 21, 2021
Myths continue to circulate about blockchain, that the technology is environmentally destructive, that it’s only for money launderers and criminals or that it’s just for tech savvy traders. It is wonderful to see counterpoint real examples of the social good blockchain facilitates around the world.
The 'Play to Earn' Movement
A recent documentary by Emfarsis Consulting, and funded by Yield Guild Games, shines the limelight a blockchain game, Axie Infinity, which (beyond being a fun game to play with cute little critters battling each other) is also helping to improve the lives of residents of rural Philippines. During the COVID-19 lockdown, whole villages turned to the game to earn an income amidst the chaos.
Axie is described as" a video game that [is] putting on food on the table", giving players "more than they would expect to earn" from work which they couldn't go to during the pandemic
"When the Philippines went into community quarantine the economy came to a grinding halt" Leah Callon-Butler says "[a]mong the hardest hit were those who live work and earn day-to-day - they represented more than half the Philippines total workforce".
Early players seized the opportunity to supplement their income despite the complexity of earning in a digital currency, and before long "there were more than a hundred people playing Axie on [their] street alone".
What is Axie Infinity?
Axie Infinity is an leading game in the 'Play to Earn' movement in blockchain. As noted above is a kind of 'digital pet universe' where players get to battle, raise, and trade fantasy creatures called Axies.
According to the site:-
Axie Infinity is a Pokémon-inspired universe where anyone can earn tokens through skilled gameplay and contributions to the ecosystem. Players can battle, collect, raise, and build a land-based kingdom for their pets.
It's heartening that blockchain games with NFTs emerged through COVID as a source of support for the poor. The narrator of the documentary reported that the Axie game not only "offered a way to supplement [the players] income but it also offered a chance to escape reality and explore a virtual world instead." The ambitions for the video, the producer of the documentary added, was to "show how the "play-to-earn" gaming phenomenon is creating new opportunities."
Axie Infinity is not the only blockchain project with the means for social good. Big names like the Red Cross and Moore Foundation and World Wildlife Fund also see the benefits of using blockchain to better deliver on their philanthropic missions. Here is a further list of 73 businesses who claim blockchain technology is "an integral part of their missions to save the world."
Will these social justice applications mean blockchain will stop being painted with the same broad brush that questions it's energy consumption or legality? Unfortunately good news is often get lost in the white noise of the media.
But it's beneficial to be across the facts.