The biggest crypto game is showing signs of life after the economic collapse and massive Ronin bridge hack. It will it last? The NFT sales of Axie Infinity jumped 198% in the past week, compared to the prior period.
The Ethereum-based game is currently transitioning to the Origin experience. This is described as having a more play-and-earn model than play-to earn.
Axie Infinity is the largest NFT project in terms trading volume. However, it has been struggling in recent months due to a failing play–to-earn economy as well as a $622million hack at its Ronin network bridge. There are signs that the top Ethereum NFT games might be making a comeback.
According to data from CryptoSlam, Axie Infinity NFTs sales increased nearly 198% in the week just ended. Although the $1.38million in NFTs Axie sold last summer , it is still a significant week-over-week increase.
Tweeted last Thursday by Jeff Zirlin (co-founder of Axie Infinity Developer Sky Mavis), that 22,000 Axies were sold within the past 24 hours. This is an increase from the 7,000 Axies sold in a 24-hour period a few weeks ago, he suggested.
He also stated that the new Origin Version of Axie Infinity was in high demand and that 90% of Axie landowners had staked their NFTs in order to receive AXS token rewards. As of this writing, the land staking feature was launched on June 30th.
Zirlin said, “Nature heals.”
An NFT, a blockchain token, is used to prove ownership of an item. In the case Axie Infinity NFTs are unique Axie monsters users can bring into battle. They also represent virtual land plots that players have the ability to customize and monetize in future.
Axie Infinity faced significant difficulties since the close of 2021 when its AXS token and SLP prices crashed amid a failing pay-to-earn system. The Ethereum-based game runs on the custom Ronin Sidechain and is making changes to ensure its token rewards model is more sustainable. Both token prices are however still significantly lower.
According to CoinMarketCap AXS currently trades at $14 per token. This is down 91% from the November peak of almost $165 and 22% in the past month. SLP token is now valued at almost $0.004 — a 99% drop from its July 2021 peak price of close to $0.40 and a nearly 20% decline over the past 30.
In addition to economic woes the bridge connecting Ronin and the Ethereum mainnet was hacked and used for $622 million in ETH and USDC stabilitycoin. The infamous North Korean state-sponsored hacking group Lazarus, was identified by the United States Treasury. It also sanctioned the wallet that was used in the attack.
Sky Mavis reopened its bridge in June. Users who had their crypto assets stolen were fully refunded. However, the value of ETH has declined significantly since the hack. To help fund refunds, the developer raised $150 million additional funding and is still working with law enforcement in order to recover stolen funds.
Yesterday Sky Mavis Game Product Leader Philip La stated that media reports regarding the game’s declining token price and NFT market prices are misleading. He pointed out the ongoing transition from the play to-earn Axie Infinity version to the new and to-earn Origin versions.
Origin is now available for play in a soft launch that does not offer token rewards. Sky Mavis plans to make Origin available on official mobile app marketplaces. Origin does not require NFTs due to its free-to-play starter monsters. Sky Mavis, he wrote, is still actively recruiting and building the Axie ecosystem through grants and other initiatives.
La stated that the game is still available with significant improvements being made on a regular basis. She also said that more games will be released to apply all of our learnings over time. “The narrative that we are currently in an existential situation and running out of time, is false.
It remains to be seen if Axie Infinity’s NFT sales growth becomes an ongoing trend, and if the game can recapture 2021’s immense buzz. Sky Mavis seems to be still working with this turnaround in mind.