When looking back at 2023, those unversed in cryptocurrency likely saw it as confirmation that the future of decentralized finance is unstable at best. However, those who have experience in the industry saw things differently. For those invested (literally and figuratively) in the future of blockchain and crypto, 2023 was a time for two positive changes.
First, bringing bad players to the forefront and weeding them out of the industry. Second, scaling Ethereum beyond anyone’s imagination. Along the way, there have been plenty of surprises as some projects stalled and others took off.
For example, crypto casinos still haven’t taken off despite a global player base, while other concepts like music stars releasing their own NFTs still haven’t quite panned out. On the other hand, projects like NFT auction sites and blockchain gaming platforms, have hit the ground running. Let’s take a closer look at which sectors in crypto are pulling ahead in the entertainment industry, along with which ones have hit obstacles.
A Slow Start for Casinos & Creators
For the last few years, there’s been added attention on crypto-ready casinos. Globally, casino gaming is one of the most popular and ubiquitous ways to unwind—and the vast majority of players today stick to an online casino that suits their interests.
The idea of pairing together decentralized finance and casinos is certainly flashy, but it’s been very slow to pan out. First, because many players are loyal to their favorite provider and are uninterested in switching over. Second, most players (like most people in the world) have little understanding of how to buy and use cryptocurrency.
Global stars and artists have seen similar problems. When Bitcoin first took off, millions assumed blockchain technology would give creators the right to own and manage their own material. But this hasn’t panned out for the same reason that casinos haven’t overwhelmingly turned toward crypto: fans don’t have the interest or the ability to access these types of opportunities. At least, not yet.
NFT Collectibles: A Hit for Hobbyists
Though not all projects have stood the test of time (looking at you, Top Shot), NFTs have consistently performed well. Still, the concept of creating and selling NFTs as collectibles is a solid idea—one that’s deeply ingrained in the human experience. While most people think about fine arts companies like Sotheby’s when they think of collectibles, some of the very first museums in the world were simply private collections.
Currently, dozens of NFT platforms are looking to situate themselves as the latest blockchain Sotheby’s. Not only will these platforms, such as #Artemis (South Korea), function as digital fine art galleries and curators, but they can even work like an auction platform. Artemis is also able to help artists digitize their analog work, providing a tangible connection for artists new to digital media.
But not all NFT collections are focused on fine arts. As blockchain technology becomes more accessible, unique projects are coming out of the woodwork. For example, Taiwan-based Xtingles is an NFT platform that has one mission: connect ASMR fans to their favorite original sounds—all of which are packaged, sold, and traded as NFTs.
Crypto-First Gaming: For Players & Developers
Crypto and gaming has come a long way over the last few years—but blockchain tends to slow exchanges down, meaning it hasn’t been a great fit for the fast world of gaming. Still, there are multiple projects in the works that will address pain points for both players and developers.
For players, there’s been a rise in the number of play-to-earn platforms. Some, including Immutable, feature their own in-game currencies (IMX) that run on the ERC-20 standard. This means the platform runs quickly and reliably, allowing players to own and trade in-game assets meaningfully.
Other blockchain-based projects are seeking to improve the game development process. Gala Games, for example, is a blockchain protocol that allows creators and developers to work together as they create, trade assets, and test their games. Players are also allowed to join the fun, which allows for unique arrangements like player-driven governance and equitable monetization.