The Untapped Potential of Blockchain: Safeguarding P2E Game Rewards with Smart Contractsby@gabrielmanga
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The Untapped Potential of Blockchain: Safeguarding P2E Game Rewards with Smart Contracts

by Gabriel MangalindanOctober 2nd, 2023
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An interview with Hamid Fathalian on safeguarding P2E gaming rewards via blockchain technology.

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Today, I am speaking with Hamid Fathalian, the CEO and Founder of LandRocker and INFINITE8, to delve into the untapped potential of blockchain in safeguarding Play-to-Earn (P2E) game rewards.

In this interview, we will look into the challenges facing P2E games, how blockchain technology can address them, and the critical role of education in this transformative journey.

Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do.

Hi, I'm Hamid Fathalian, and I wear a couple of hats as the CEO and Founder of LandRocker and INFINITE8. I've been passionate about technology since I was a kid, and I actually coded my very first game when I was only 12 years old on a Commodore 64. Since then, my love for tech has only grown.

I have also had the incredible opportunity to work on various projects in more than 30 countries, spanning Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. It's been an amazing journey, and I'm excited to continue pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation with these ventures.

How did you get into the blockchain gaming space?

I got into the blockchain gaming space because I was instantly attracted to the utility of blockchain for the problems it solves in the tech world, especially around trust and transparency. I remember writing on my whiteboard one day my idea for a game that lets players earn money for playing and winning. Play to earn.

This was years ago, well before the success of projects like Axie Infinity brought blockchain gaming to the mainstream. I was fascinated by combining gaming and blockchain technology to create a new way for players to earn and interact with virtual assets.

Being at the forefront of this emerging industry was an exciting opportunity. So, I dove into blockchain gaming, and it's been an incredible journey ever since.

Why did you start LandRocker?

Across many of my past projects, I've given away thousands of prizes to users over the years, from gift cards to gaming consoles and even cars! But no matter how we randomly selected winners for the prizes, there were always skeptics out there questioning how fair the prize systems were.

That was my initial inspiration to create LandRocker. Basing the entire prize distribution system on immutable blockchain data so no one can question whether a giveaway was fair.

In LandRocker, players can travel to planets all across the universe and mine them for rewards hidden within, just like a modern-day version of the California gold rush of 1848.

We developed a system that saves all of the planet's data, including prizes and their positions, on the main net before any player goes to mine it. After mining, players' actions are validated against the data saved on the blockchain, and the rewards they fairly discover are transferred to them. No more room for skeptics!

What do you feel are the key challenges and risks associated with P2E games, particularly regarding safeguarding player rewards and assets?

The biggest risk for player assets is the players themselves and their internet browsing, downloading, and data storage habits. Since crypto and NFTs are so easily transferable if a hacker gains access to someone's wallet address, players must adjust their habits to protect themselves.

Having total control of your wallet is a little unfamiliar for many people. It's not like a bank account where you can call customer support if you forget your access code or if funds go missing. You are in total control of your wallet, keys, and assets.

How can blockchain technology and smart contracts address these challenges and enhance the security of P2E game rewards?

I think the biggest issue in the industry isn't about the security of blockchain technology itself; it's about educating users on proper data storage and how to avoid scams or phishing attacks.

If you're storing your access keys digitally, which many people do for convenience, you're putting yourself at a huge risk. Every day in the P2E and blockchain space, people fall victim to phishing attacks, where they click on a risky link and willingly but unknowingly hand over their access keys to bad actors.

Another issue with blockchain that helps these bad actors identify and target their victims is that blockchain data is public. Let's say you give someone your wallet address to make a small transfer to you; they can now use the various blockchain explorer tools to see EXACTLY what you hold in your wallet.

They can pinpoint their victims based on how many assets they can steal. This doesn't exist in the traditional world - no one can simply take your bank account IBAN and peek into it to see exactly how much money you have available for them to steal potentially.

While there are still more steps a scammer needs to take to access those blockchain assets, they can at least identify and qualify targets worth investing their time into attacking.

Why do you think many P2E games are not utilizing blockchain and smart contracts to protect rewards, especially when they are already developing on-chain gaming?

I would disagree here; not many projects in the P2E gaming space are developing on-chain gaming - blockchain is mainly used for tokenization and storage of assets, and the vast majority of game functions are happening off-chain, just like in the legacy gaming space.

The issue with players losing their rewards isn't so much about the security of blockchain; I think it's inherently much more secure than a bank account, for example.

But if someone gets their hands on your bank card or your information, that's where the issues start. They can start making online purchases with their money or even tapping debit cards in person without needing any PIN or verification.

It's the same issue with crypto - blockchain technology itself is very secure. Still, the real issue is how users or even big companies secure their data and manage their cybersecurity.

Can you provide some insights into the challenges and risks associated with the traditional methods of reward management in P2E games that LandRocker's approach aims to address?

Most P2E games only use blockchain technology to tokenize assets; how they distribute rewards in their game ecosystem is generally managed off-chain.

Let's say you're running an online casino that lets users play games with their crypto tokens; the calculations and rewards are handled off-chain, just like a traditional casino. This leaves it open for malicious companies to manipulate rewards and unfairly disadvantage players.

This is the major differentiator with LandRocker - all the rewards and their coordinates in the game are recorded on the blockchain on the main net. While a player mines a planet, all their actions and positioning are validated against this immutable data, leaving no room for manipulation.

We tell players exactly what's hidden inside a planet before they start playing the game, and whatever they find during mining is theirs to keep. Simple as that.

What kind of educational efforts are needed within the P2E gaming community to raise awareness about the benefits of blockchain and smart contract solutions for reward protection?

Education is crucial within the P2E gaming community, particularly in understanding the importance of safeguarding blockchain and smart contracts assets.

The most crucial area is education about how to keep your assets safe. A crypto wallet with valuable assets inside basically makes a user the owner and operator of their bank. They have total control over this financial instrument and must know best practices for keeping their assets safe.

If you cannot safeguard your access keys through proper data storage practices, your money is essentially there for the taking of any willing scammer. Unfortunately, many are looking day and night for opportunities to take other people's hard-earned money.

Educational efforts within the P2E gaming community should also prioritize simplicity and accessibility. Firstly, creating user-friendly content is crucial. This should explain blockchain and smart contracts in plain language and their practical benefits for reward protection in gaming. Engaging workshops and webinars featuring experts can provide a deeper dive for interested gamers.

Building a sense of community within the P2E space is equally vital. Establishing forums, social groups, or in-game spaces where gamers can share their experiences and knowledge will facilitate learning.

Collaboration with game developers, encouraging them to integrate blockchain, can accelerate adoption. Lastly, ongoing awareness campaigns with real success stories can illustrate how blockchain enhances security, asset ownership, and fair reward distribution in P2E gaming.

These multifaceted approaches can effectively educate the gaming community about the potential of blockchain technology.

What message or advice would you like to convey to game developers and players regarding the importance of using blockchain and smart contracts for reward protection in P2E games?

To game developers, my advice is simple: don't limit yourselves to merely tokenizing in-game assets. Be bold, be innovative, and explore the full potential of blockchain technology in safeguarding rewards for your players.

In the world of P2E games, ensuring the safety and confidence of players is paramount. You owe it to your gaming community to go above and beyond in protecting their hard-earned rewards. Blockchain and smart contracts offer a unique opportunity to do just that, providing unparalleled security and transparency.

By harnessing these technologies effectively, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with fraud, cheating, or loss of in-game assets.

Remember, your players deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing their achievements and investments are protected. By integrating blockchain and smart contracts into your game's ecosystem, you're enhancing the overall gaming experience and demonstrating your commitment to the well-being of your player base.

This commitment can foster trust and loyalty, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of your game.