Over the past few months, social media platforms have been populated with content showing Pokemon-like creatures with captions: “Looking for isko/manager, “Earn money while gaming” or “Axie Infinity”. If you are just a casual web user, you won’t have any idea what the trend is all about.

What is Axie Infinity? Axie Infinity is a cryptocurrency-based game that connects the blockchain technology into a play-to-earn experience. It is created by a Vietnam-based company called Skymavis.

Blockchain technology itself is a complex system but think of it simply as a data storage in a public network that cannot be controlled by just one person, and constantly grows on its own. This concept is what underpins today’s cryptocurrencies.

The players can own, raise, breed and battle cute digital pets called Axies. Axies are categorized as non-fungible tokens or NFT, while the cryptocurrency bitcoin is described as “fungible”— trade one bitcoin for another will get you the same thing, NFT, on the other hand, is totally unique and can’t be replaced with something else.

Moreover, it is built under Ethereum (ETH) network. Ethereum is an open source blockchain-based platform used to create and share business, financial services and other applications.

On Axie Infinity, players can gain digital in-game tokens; Smooth Love Potion (SLP) can be earned by battling and progressing throughout the game that can be used for trading and breeding Axies.

The other in-game token is the Axie Infinity (AXS); AXS is the governance currency which determines the future direction of the game.

Axies are not cheap!
In order to play the game, the player must own a team of three Axies that can be purchased on the official marketplace. Back then you can play the game with at least $10-15 for a starting team, but over the months due to rising demand and increasing transaction fees, the price to purchase them has increased significantly. In June 2021, a single mystic type Axie was sold for $550,000 (Php27.5 million).

The cheapest single Axie is currently priced at around $200. This makes the game unaffordable for a lot of people. But this is also where the profit-sharing platform locally labeled as “scholarship” has emerged, an opportunity for those who can’t purchase a team of Axie.

Bagong scholars ng bayan
The “scholarship” system is where the player plays as a “scholar” for a “manager” who is the owner. The manager can be a single individual or a group that invests to buy and breed axis to be played out by the “scholars”. The players play to earn, without spending any capital.

With just a mobile phone and a Wi-Fi or data connection, scholars can just play the game.

On gameplay, similar to a strategic turn-based game Pokemon battle, the mechanics of the game can be easily learned while progressing. There are two game modes which a player can gain SLP – the arena and adventure mode. In the SLP you can earn by leveling up Axies.

The SLPs gained by the scholars will be then divided between the manager depending on an agreed upon sharing of profit. A scholar can earn 100 to 250 SLP per day depending on the playing time. As of now, 1 SLP is valued at around P 10.

The earning potential is what makes the game so popular in the country, especially during the lockdowns caused by the pandemic. It gives a player the opportunity to earn a modest income enjoying the game.

Axie Infinity takes Philippines by a storm
According to the Axie Infinity official player counter, there are around 70,000 players all over the world. The Philippines is the leading country with more than 40% player participation.

A lot of Filipinos are aware on cryptocurrency but only a few actually invest in it due to the risks involved. There are a lot of NFT games like Axie Infinity that has become a significant key that unlocks a door of knowledge on blockchain technology for people.

Always to follow the business values of “invest what you can afford to lose”, since the danger of swindling and rackets are still out there. There’s also the possibility of addiction on putting a lot of capital on a desire to have a bigger return.

The coexistence of the managers and the scholars, meeting each other ends is what makes Axie Infinity more than just a game. It becomes a job, a community, a platform where you can monetize your skills, and for some, a financial lifeline for the less fortunate.

Cryptocurrency-based games might not be a total solution to pandemic-challenged deprivation of society once and for all, but makes a point that the development of technology can improve people’s lives.