— Nikola Tesla
One hundred and forty years ago, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla waged a decade-long battle that would later be inscribed into the pages of history as the “War of the Currents.”
Edison played dirty when promoting his direct current, spreading constant FUD regarding Tesla’s alternating current and going as far as electrocuting an elephant in order to spread fear and doubt about Tesla’s invention. The Serbian-American inventor ultimately won, as alternating current gained mass adoption due to its superior technical characteristics.
One can’t help but draw an analogy between this and what’s been going on in the blockchain industry for a while now—an all-out conflict between Ethereum and other projects attempting to replace it as the dominant smart contract platform.
While spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt and boasting about solving Ethereum scalability problems may help their competitors damage Ethereum in the short run, I believe that superior technology always prevails.
It’s a tale as old as the dawn of the blockchain era: to achieve scalability, you must sacrifice decentralization and security. But if you do, then sorry—you are no longer to be trusted.
That’s the whole point of this new venture undertaken by a tiny percentage of our species—to create a trustless system. Replacing my bank that runs their data on a single server with a tiny number of plutocrats that can wipe out my assets at a whim is not an optimal solution—or one that I (or anyone else) would opt-in for.
Governance, Part 2: Plutocracy Is Still Bad
Coin holder voting, both for governance of technical features, and for more extensive use cases like deciding who runs validator nodes and who receives money from development bounty funds, is unfortunately continuing to be popular...
The Smart Contract War will rage on for a while—and Enjin picked a side a long, long time ago.
Our reasoning is simple: in much the same way AC is superior to DC, Ethereum is superior to everything else. The colossal number of Ethereum projects, developers, and miners is a symptom of its technological and philosophical superiority.
The technology is better—numbers reflect it.
We are strong believers in the ETH ecosystem.
Decentralization and security cannot be sacrificed—they are the last line of defense and are at the very core of what blockchain technology is.
We’ve also launched a blockchain-powered ICBM in the form of the Enjin SDK for Unity.
Now, let me tell you all about our plan to help Ethereum win the Smart Contract War.
Our Plan to Help Ethereum Win the Smart Contract War
Step 1: Find a Use Case
While Warcraft I wasn’t the first video game I ever played, it’s the first one I vividly remember.
Twenty-two years ago, my dad’s best friend brought us that game on a floppy disk. Our long-obsolete CRT monitor showed us the pixelated continent of Azeroth and its two races locked in a seemingly eternal war.
Video games have come a long way since 1996.
I’m not going to bore you with numbers and talk about the gaming industry—you’re likely aware that it’s bigger than the movie and music industries combined. Instead, I want to talk about the people that are the part of the gaming world: developers and gamers.
The architects of the worlds that never were and the adventurers who explore them.
There’s a really good argument to be made that blockchain will see its first mainstream adoption in the gaming industry.
Problems facing both gamers and game developers are many—and in this particular case, blockchain technology is perfectly suited to address those problems for both groups.
There is a real need for smart contract-powered digital gaming assets, both to solve difficult problems and open new ways to create and experience video games.
Tokenizing potatoes, sand, and carrots doesn’t really accomplish much, if anything at all—those assets are real, not virtual and programmable.
Know what stuff is made of ones and zeros?
Gaming stuff. Stuff like in-game characters, items, and other digital assets.
Ethereum is a programmable asset, but it can and should be used for way, way more than a simple exchange of value.
So why not for gaming?
But… where do you start?
How do you get Ethereum-powered assets into the hands of billions of gamers across the world?
Turns out, you’ve gotta add a lil’ something to the Ethereum ecosystem first.
Step 2: Contribute to the Ethereum Ecosystem
Typically, video games have two distinct types of assets: fungible and non-fungible.
Gold coins, mana gems, and resources like iron, stone, wood, and wheat are fungible—they are mutually interchangeable. One gold coin is equally good as another gold coin; one piece of iron is the same as another piece of iron.
One doge = One doge.
A unique sword, a spaceship you named “Rocinante,” and your in-game lvl 57 cyborg-wizard are non-fungible—they are unique. These assets can’t be interchanged; you can’t trade a Mona Lisa for a Mona Lisa.
Here is where our team ran into a bit of a problem. Token standards like ERC-20 and ERC-721 require a separate contract to be deployed for each fungible or non-fungible token/collection, making it extremely expensive and inefficient to deploy large databases of items used in mainstream video games.
Using ERC-20/ERC-721 for even the simplest multiplayer games is impractical. It would result in placing insane amounts of redundant bytecode on the Ethereum blockchain and would limit functionality due to the nature of separating each token contract into its own permissioned address.
The ERC-1155 Multi Token Standard allows for infinite numbers of fungible and non-fungible items in a single deployed contract.
The gaming industry alone will require tens of millions of new items—but the application of this standard is by no means limited to the games market.
ERC-1155 tokens can be used to certify all forms of ownership, tangible or digital.
ERC-1155 is our humble contribution to the Ethereum ecosystem, and we believe its power will be harnessed across a wide range of industries, from automotive and industrial design to finance and artificial intelligence.
Our primary mission, however, is to utilize ERC-1155 to disrupt the gaming industry—so the next step in our plan has to do with actually getting a critical mass of developers to integrate it with their virtual worlds.
Want billions of gamers using crypto?
You’ve gotta get millions of game developers on board first.
Step 3: Build a Gateway & Partner with Giants
Technology adoption happens in waves—and the speed at which those waves travel has drastically increased as the pages of history have unfolded.
It took us 2.5 million years to go from building our tools with stone to the point where some of us started using metal roughly 6,000 years ago. Tools made from metal slowly spread across the Old World, but not the New—South American civilizations were still using stone weapons when the conquistadors invaded in the 16th century.
Fast forward to the late 19th and early 20th century, and it took only a couple of decades for us to go from riding horses to driving cars.
Nowadays, we have the World Wide Web at our fingertips and in our pockets.
Spreading new software-based tech around the globe should be fast in 2018, right?
Unfortunately, the Internet is both a blessing and a curse. We’re well-connected, but we’re also drowning in a sea of information, constantly bombarded with emails, ads, and messages from all directions.
Three great ideas stand out when it comes to breaking through the spam-wall and ensuring that new software is massively adopted:
- Find an audience that can benefit from using it, and make sure they can use it out-of-the-box.
- Complement an existing, widely used product.
- Make sure you have a Titan at your side—one that can shake continents, cause earthquakes, and ensure that you’re heard.
Our team did just that.
We started working on a software development kit for a game development engine used by millions of developers and partnered up with the company who made it, Unity Technologies.
The Enjin SDK for Unity is super-simple to use, works straight out of the box, and was built by game industry veterans with centuries of combined experience who are making sure the user interface and experience is seamless for Unity game developers.
By the way, Unity is the most widely used game engine on the planet.
Know what’s pretty cool?
Our SDK doesn’t even require devs to code in Solidity.
To integrate blockchain with their game, all they have to do is punch in some numbers, upload a token image, pick a few variables, spend a couple hours writing Unity-related scripts—and bam, they’ve got ERC-1155 tokens inside their virtual world.
Integrating blockchain in a couple of hours sure beats months or even years of development time, right?
Step 4: Figure Out Scaling & User Experience
All roads lead to Rome—but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It took seven centuries for the city of seven hills to become a monolithic empire that turned the Mediterranean Sea into a lake.
The empire’s 113 provinces, containing a fifth of the world’s population, were connected with a colossal network of roads—400,000 kilometers of stone, gravel, and concrete.
Our approach to scaling Ethereum, Efinity, can be likened to building a network of roads intended to connect an empire—but we don't expect to build that empire in a day.
Our plan is to build it in several distinct, practical stages.
We first need Efinity to work for a small kingdom, a dozen or so games that can enjoy the benefits of a scaling solution that makes high throughput transactions possible, with zero gas fees and low block confirmation times.
Our ERC-1155 token standard already enables developers to cut gas fees by up to 90% when minting new tokens.
Development stages that follow will turn the kingdom into a multiverse-spanning empire, with the final version of Efinity capable of supporting a virtually endless number of video games and performing nearly infinite volumes of transactions between millions of players and the game server—at high speeds and minuscule costs.
Solving the Ethereum scaling problem is a good start, but it’s not enough to bring it to the masses.
There’s one crucial piece missing: user experience.
Gamers might be tech-savvy, but they won’t jump through hoops just to start playing a game. That’s why we’re building Efinity in a way that allows new users to join the network without any costs, if all the items they send and receive are already on Efinity.
This will allow game developers to onboard new players without any existing knowledge of cryptocurrency.
When and if they do decide to play around with blockchain-powered gaming assets, gamers will be able to interact with them via the Enjin Wallet.
Enjin Wallet Update: Security Audit & ERC-1155 Asset Melting
The latest Enjin Wallet update brings ERC-1155 blockchain asset melting and sending features, two new games, and a detailed security audit report..
We determined that user experience and utility are of paramount importance for the Enjin Wallet. When gamers decide to interact with blockchain items, the goal is for the entire process to be as streamlined and intuitive as possible.
The Enjin Wallet already has a darn decent UX , but don’t take my word for it—see for yourself.
Gamers (or should I say, everyday consumers) won’t go through dozens of super-complicated steps in order to cash-in and cash-out blockchain assets.
That is simply not going to happen. Ever.
Fiat-to-crypto conversion (and vice versa), paying the Ethereum gas fees to move items from Efinity to the main chain—it all needs to be “hidden” in the background, veiled behind an intuitive user interface.
You need to merge all the complexities of blockchain into the single tap of a button.
The steps need to be dead-simple and as few as possible.
And that’s something Enjin is super busy working on.
Step 5: Attack on All Fronts & Have an Ace in Your Pocket
We’re building a myriad of tools on top of Ethereum.
We need them so we can transform the gaming industry, but we’re also contributing to the Ethereum ecosystem in the process, with everything from the ERC-1155 token standard to our sleek, ultra-fast universal blockchain explorer EnjinX.
Gamers can use EnjinX to check out blockchain gaming assets; game developers can use it to power marketplaces.
I’m obviously biased, but the user interface is bloody darn gorgeous.
And the user experience is just… pure joy.
Oh, and it’s absolutely ad-free.
We’ve also built EnjinX for traders who are sick of annoying advertisements and terrible user interfaces when searching for transactions, and for blockchain developers that want a powerful REST API.
We’re attacking on all fronts—building SDKs for Unreal, Godot, and Lumberyard game development engines and spreading the gospel of blockchain at massive game industry events, from GDC and E3 to Unity Unite conferences in Berlin, Seoul, Beijing, and Los Angeles.
We’ve been in the gaming industry for 10 years now, with our first product, the Enjin Network, boasting over 20 million users.
That is the ace up our sleeve—unrestricted access to a massive community of gamers.
Most of them use our platform to power their Minecraft servers. More than 121 million users own Minecraft, making it the second best-selling game in the history of mankind—right after Tetris.
So… we’re also building a Minecraft plugin. (I’m a hard-core Minecraft player so I’m super-excited about that one.)
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking around.
I know it’s a long read, but I (and our entire team) wanted to let the world know what we’re up to—and why it should matter to Ethereum developers and enthusiasts.
If you’re still wondering how exactly ENJ will help Ethereum win the Smart Contract War, allow me to summarize:
We’re building a usable ecosystem of frictionless development platforms, powerful APIs, robust smart contracts, and a transformative scaling solution, and we’re using our resources to bring a critical mass of developers and users on board.
Some of our products are specific to our blockchain game development platform; others are general-use for both consumers and businesses.
Most can be used by anyone, from cryptocurrency traders to blockchain developers building products for any industry that can benefit from blockchain technology.
In our “framework,” the actual utility of ENJ at the very least is as a certificate of authenticity—proof that a game uses our platform to power its blockchain functionalities—and at the very best, as a way to back the value of a gaming item with real-world value.
The actual utility of Ethereum with respect to ENJ is twofold, ensuring both decentralization and security.
Developers that want to mint items with ENJ need Ethereum, as do gamers that want to move their assets between Efinity and the Ethereum main chain.
Ethereum is the foundation of ENJ—a fertile, lush grassland upon which we’re planting seeds that will, hopefully, transform the gaming industry and facilitate the first encounter with cryptocurrency for millions of users around the globe.