Hello, this is Conward with Crypto Loops and host of The Cardano Convo Podcast, available on YouTube, Spotify, Google, and wherever podcasts are available. Today, we will be summarizing a recent interview we conducted with Aidan Rankin-Williams, the community director of PlayerMint. For the full interview, follow the YouTube link below.
PlayerMint is a Cardano-based project that aims to bring cryptocurrency integration into gaming and has recently succeeded in receiving funding through Cardano’s Project Catalyst Fund4! Make sure to check out their links at the bottom of the page!
Conward: Hello Aidan, it’s nice to have you on the show, and thank you for taking the time to talk with us today and answer a few questions about the work you’re doing with PlayerMint.
Aidan: Of course, thanks for having me.
Conward: So, first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself – your background, what drew you to crypto in general?
Aidan: I have always loved gaming, even since I was a little one playing flash games on Miniclip or Star Wars Battlefront on the PS2. This love grew as I did and I always had the dream of making my living off of video games. My parents are big believers in the value of work so ever since graduating 8th grade I have had a job at least in the summer. Working at a grocery store definitely gave me a hunger to build an occupation of my own. I finally found blockchain in 2017 when my buddy and Co-Founder of PlayerMint introduced it to me. He was also a big gamer so the concept of valuable digital items was not foreign to us. From there, we tried to figure out how to get involved and it became obvious that gaming was the best option.
Conward: Can you give our audience a general or detailed explanation of what is PlayerMint and what niche this platform will fill?
Aidan: PlayerMint is a platform that works to make gaming a more rewarding experience through the use of crypto assets. At launch this will be done through two token systems, one fungible and one non-fungible. The fungible side of PlayerMint (the PMX token) will allow players to get paid to play video games based on their skill in Fortnite. The more skill, the more $PMX the player will earn. The non-fungible side of PlayerMint allows the player to mint and exchange NFTs through the use of PMX, effectively creating an NFT marketplace fueled by gameplay performance. As the product progresses more utility and features will be added to provide a richer gaming experience.
Conward: A lot of applications are being built on Ethereum and other blockchains. There are a lot of options out there, so what made you and your team decide to build on Cardano?
Aidan: The first blockchain video that made a strong impression on me was Charles Hoskinsons Tedx Talk. This led me down a rabbit hole of blockchain videos that ended with Cardano being a case study of what a quality blockchain is and should be. This made Cardano one of my favorite blockchains from my very introduction into the space. I got further interested in Cardano as I participated in things like the initial testnet (ITN), the Shelly Summit, Project Catalyst, and became an intern for EMURGO. These bits of participation and lots of research made me realize that the Cardano blockchain was an easy choice to build PlayerMint on. Cardano also provides a list of quality features like Babel fees, proof of stake (PoS), a formal smart contract language, on-chain governance tools, project funding mechanism that doesn’t require token or equity sales, and the eUTXO model.
Conward: Can you talk a little bit about how the PlayerMInt platform might be interoperable with other gaming platforms like Epic? That is, how would PlayerMint be able to track the earnings from a game, and how would particular game send over data to convert crypto tokens and/or NFTs?
Aidan: PlayerMint is able to be interoperable with Epic Games and Fortnite through a toolset Epic provides called Epic Online Services. This provides us all the API’s and account authentications we need in order to grab gameplay performance data from a specific account and then reward them with PMX based on it. Epic Games is also working to turn Fortnite into a metaverse platform through something called Creative 2.0. This will give all Fortnite players access to the Unreal Engine and a unique scripting language so they can create their own virtual creations and video games. We plan to create a Software Development Kit (SDK) for Unreal Engine so Creative 2.0 users can access the PlayerMint protocol inside of Fortnite. This means minting and exchanging NFTs inside of the game itself.
Conward: What were some procedural or legal hurdles that PlayerMint had to overcome?
Aidan: Our main legal hurdle was around the funding of PlayerMint. ICO/IDO’s are an intriguing option to raise funds but can raise problems depending on how the SEC views the token sale. We don’t want to run into an event similar to Ripples where you are going through a legal battle regarding if you held an unregistered security sale or not. That is a huge reason as to why we decided to look to Project Catalyst for funds. In regards to Epic authorizing PlayerMint we are actually able to get everything we need through Epic Online Services. This provides us access to account authentication and gameplay performance API’s meaning we have everything we need to build PlayerMint. We will definitely work to form a connection with Epic when possible.
Conward: What determines the value of PMX in terms of what a player needs to achieve in a game? For example, if PMX faces big fluctuations in its market price, will the player have to put in more or less effort to obtain PMX with a comparable amount of monetary value?
Aidan: PlayerMint’s PMX distribution model stays consistent regardless of the price of PMX. So if a player was set to be distributed 75 PMX and then the price dropped they would still receive their 75 PMX. The amount of effort needed to earn PMX fluctuates based on two variables. The total number of players earning PMX and the skill of those players.
Conward: Would the rules of PMX payout from different games vary based on the popularity and/or difficulty level of each game? In other words, what policies or approaches are behind the distribution and economics or tokenomics of PMX?
Aidan: The PMX distribution model is based on the representative skill needed to play a video game. When we add a second game to PlayerMint we will need to create a new skill model for it and then determine how much PMX will be paid out to its players. This will be based on how many players are getting paid in each game. For example if 65% of the user base plays Fortnite and 35% plays League of Legends we will distribute PlayerMint according to percentage.
Conward: Next I’ve got a question about NFTs, which we all know are hot right now. What kind of NFTs can we expect from PlayerMint? With a huge variety of games hosted on Epic, the player demographics and interests will also be very diverse, in the sense that everyone may value different kinds of NFTs: trading cards, in-game skins, pets, and so on.
Aidan: At PlayerMint’s launch you can mint standard NFTs that have a visual focus similar to what we are seeing across the market. As PlayerMint progresses so will the utility capacity of the NFTs. We want PlayerMint NFTs to be able to offer off-chain value post launch. Imagine your NFT from your favorite content creator could act as an access key to their exclusive content. Later on we have plans to build out an SDK. This SDK would enable game developers to mint and integrate NFTs into the games they are building. This means the players could truly own their in-game items and then sell them in a secondary market for PMX. The game dev benefits from this because they can attach a royalty to the NFTs, meaning they profit from secondary market activity.
Conward: Is there a beta version that early investors can test out? If so, how can the audience access that? Otherwise, when can we look forward to seeing it in the future?
Aidan: The team has considered launching an incentivized testnet (ITN) before and it’s something we could still do. However at the moment we are just planning to launch PlayerMint once the codebase is ready and audited. This would be right around when smart contracts for Cardano turn on. This is expected to be in September. Something our early adopters can use pre-launch will be the PlayerMint prototype. This will be a front-end only experience where users can click through the website and see what it’s like to earn PMX, mint/trade NFTs, utilize the wallet, browse the leaderboard among the other PlayerMint features.
Conward: Now I’m going to ask you some more fun, game-related questions, so that our audience can get to know a bit more about you now that we have heard a bit about PlayerMint. What was the first video game that you ever played?
Aidan: My first console game was Star Wars Battlefront, but my first game ever was probably a flash game on miniclip.
Conward: What was the first console you ever owned?
Aidan: PS2, that was a gift from my uncle.
Conward: What is your favorite video game genre?
Aidan: Role-Playing Game (RPG)
Conward: What is your least favorite video game genre?
Aidan: Puzzle games (specifically mobile puzzle games)
Conward: What is your favorite video game?
Aidan: The Witcher 3.
Conward: What is your favorite multi-player game?
Aidan: Warzone, as long as you have buddies to play with.
Conward: Are you more of a PC player or Console player?
Aidan: Console Player.
Conward: Do you prefer PvP so player-vs-player games or aspect, or do you prefer PvE or player-vs-everyone?
Aidan: My favorites are the ones that do a good balance of both, like what Destiny managed to do.
Conward: What is your favorite board game?
Aidan: Settlers of CATAN.
Conward: What is your least favorite board game?
Conward: Do you have any other gaming hobbies that the audience might not know about?
Aidan: I like to find free-to-play gems.
Conward: Are you more of a Digimon or Pokemon type of person?
Conward: What is your favorite Pokemon Version
Aidan: Diamond Version.
Conward: What is your favorite Pokemon?
Conward: This has been super informative, and I really appreciate you taking the time to chat today. Before we go, how can listeners get involved with what you’re doing, or how can people best support you and your team?
Aidan: The best thing you can do to support us is by getting engaged with our community! We have a Discord server where you’re welcome to have all of your questions answered or help provide feedback on what we’re up to.
— The Cardano Convo Podcast —
Listen Notes: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/the-cardano-convo-crypto-loops-If9A2-EHaKb/