Playing Axie helped Tirado pay off debts from years ago and pay for food for both himself and his daughter.
As in the Philippines, some players make enough money to buy food for their families, just like they did there.
Juan Tirado, 32, doesn’t have a job and lives with his family at his in-laws’ small house in Maturn, the capital of the state of Monagas. When he plays Axie Infinity, a cryptocurrency-powered video game that he plays every day from his phone, he earns money.
Seven years into a recession, Venezuela has the world’s highest inflation rate and a minimum wage of $2.40 a month. The country is also in its seventh year of recession. That’s why people like Tirado have to develop other ways to feed their families and pay the bills so they don’t starve.
That also explains why Axie, a metaverse game where you play to earn coins and train animated pets, has become so popular over the last year in the South American country.
The game’s ability to make money for individual users has made headlines because it has become so popular in the Philippines, where some of the world’s poorest people have found a supplemental or primary source of income from their daily gameplay. Officials there have even talked about taxing people because of the game’s popularity.
So, the rise in popularity of this game by Venezuelans might show how quickly these crypto-powered games could find new fans among people struggling with high prices, shrinking economies, and the daily struggle to make ends meet.
Venezuela has the second-highest number of Axie players globally, after the Philippines, but before the US, Argentina, and Brazil. Sky Mavis, the owner of Axe Infinity, claims that Axie has over 2.5 million daily players worldwide.
Axie Infinity is popular in Venezuela because it is comparable to Pokemon, according to Angelica Valle, ecosystem lead for Celo in Mexico. In Venezuela, Valle hasn’t worked with Axie, but she’s acquainted with it due to her work on programs to assist Latin Americans in accepting cryptocurrencies.
Valle told CoinDesk that Venezuelans don’t think about bitcoin. They perceive it as a game and a way to get money.
Given Venezuela’s complex economic condition, Axie Infinity’s way of earning money through playing provides an appealing alternative to low-wage occupations to combat hyperinflation.
The World Bank says Venezuela has the highest annual inflation rate. According to TradingEconomics, inflation fell from 1.946% in September to 1.575% in October. It makes the current US inflation rate of 6.2 percent, the fastest in three decades, appear mild.
Venezuelan Axie Scholarships
Playing Axie is expensive in Venezuela because the minimum monthly payment is minimal.
Axie Infinity takes three Axies to get started. DappRadar estimates the current average Axie pricing at $355. Creating a squad of three players costs roughly $1,065 at that price.
For this reason, the Axie community launched scholarships – not in the usual sense of educational funding, but to help new players who can’t afford the initial charges. Owners of Axies lease their Axies for a percentage of the tokens earned.
Join Axie scholarship Discord or Telegram channels to apply for a scholarship. Others go to Axie University 101.
Celo’s Valle thinks that more Latin Americans will play Axie as its popularity grows beyond students and gamers.
He adds that soon we’ll be playing with physicians, economists, and engineers!
It’s a big forecast, but many people are working on it.
Block Esports, a Venezuelan business, claims to be the first Spanish-speaking Axie Infinity squad in Latin America. Block Esports gives a 60-70 percent share depending on the player’s skill. Or, Block Esports gets a percentage of players’ revenue in return for lending their teams to players who do well in the game.
Smooth love potions (SLP) and Axie Infinity shards (AXS) are two utility tokens that may be exchanged for cash. Most players acquire SLP through cultivating Axies.
Block Esports’ scholarship program requires players to have internet connectivity. This is a major issue in Venezuela. In Monagas, just 14% of individuals have an internet connection.
Risks of Play-to-earn
Play-to-win games can be risky because prices can change quickly. To make new Axies, you can use SLP, but you can also sell SLP for money on the secondary market. So, gamers might not be able to make as much money.
There was a high point in the price of SLP in July. It has since dropped 83% to about 7 cents.
Betancourt claims that hazards in Venezuela are greater than in the US.
Axie Infinity is a major source of revenue for individuals in developing nations like Brazil and Vietnam.
Larsen, the co-founder of Axie, said the game’s early players were largely Westerners familiar with crypto.
Larsen said that the game has since spread to parts of the world that aren’t rich.
Axie Infinity has 2.8 million gamers worldwide, demonstrating how rapidly bitcoins might revolutionize gaming.
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