Ishan Pandey: Hi Robbie, welcome to our series “Behind the Startup.” Please tell us about yourself and the story behind ChainGuardians?
Robbie Cochrane: Hi Ishan, thank you for inviting me to this interview. Mad respect to the Hacker Noon team and community. For myself: I’ve been in the crypto space since 2017 (pre-last bull run) and I’ve been here ever since. In the early days, I was heavily involved in building in Decentraland and partaking in consultancy work for a start-up focused on marketing/comms. In late 2018 I began working on ChainGuardians with Emma and Idon after falling in love with NFTs and blockchain gaming. My previous life was working in communications and education.
Concerning ChainGuardians: Idon and I first met when playing some very early (what we call Gen 0) blockchain games. We loved the potential but noted a massive issue with the immersive aspects of the gaming ecosystem as well as some fundamental tech challenges (note the resurfacing of one of the big ones this bull run: gas prices!). While these games had huge potential due to the traditional gaming challenges they tackled, there were still massive issues with the early games. Particularly concerning the ‘experience’ of the games; in other words, there were no high-quality collectible characters, there was no backstory/LORE and there was nothing beyond Simon minor game-play. We set out with the vision to bring more exciting gaming experiences to blockchain gaming and increase adoption.
Ishan Pandey: What was the driving force behind developing this ‘play to earn’ ecosystem? How will this model help diversify the use of blockchain beyond cryptocurrency?
Robbie Cochrane: We believe play2earn is the future of gaming. We need to look at the macrocosm of societal development over the back decade, and blockchain is a part of that. It recognizes that players, audiences and communities are becoming increasingly sophisticated in understanding how they’re valuable towards organizations’ and companies’ growth. People are becoming wise because their time, energy and financial injection into any company are vital for monetization – why should gaming be any different? Play2earn will enable gaming ecosystems to flourish and develop with their communities in a way that they want it to and minimize the risk of their asset purchases going to nought, as is the case with all traditional gaming titles to an end. This play2earn model lends itself to blockchain adoption since it’s much easier for users to be rewarded for their time and energy spent within the ecosystem and is a significant part of how the ecosystem develops.
Ishan Pandey: How will the traditional gaming industry be affected by introducing blockchain gaming and do you think this might lead to mass adoption of blockchain in the gaming industry?
Robbie Cochrane: There are a huge number of variables that can affect my responses to this question, so to keep it short and sweet, and more in line with my ‘hopes’ than necessarily saying ‘I guarantee’ how space will develop, my answer would be that I genuinely believe that it would be a travesty for the average gamer to be prevented from the opportunity to explore play2earn. As such, I feel that every blockchain game in the space currently has a moral obligation to drive awareness to mass gaming audiences. We’re certainly trying to do our part through blockchain education and constantly developing more user-friendly web3 tools. If blockchain, in general, continues to become more mainstream, then naturally, more gamers will become familiar with blockchain gaming. People understand games, so it seems natural for many people to start learning about blockchain and assist with these educational practices.
Ishan Pandey: What are the most significant issues with the gaming industry today and how can blockchain-based gaming combat them?
Robbie Cochrane: One of the main issues is that players can spend thousands and tens of thousands of dollars/GBP/FIAT on gaming assets that simply ‘die’ when a new game is released. NFTs provide the opportunity for these assets to be interoperable across different gaming platforms as they are truly owned by the users and stored on the blockchain. Moreover, it’s always noteworthy that in any ecosystem which is not transparent (think of any traditional games whereby there is some sort of fungible currency), it’s impossible for players to truly ever understand the value of their assets, as well as the value of the time they spend in a game. People literally give up time from their lives for the game; in any other time and place in the world, people are rewarded for their time – so why shouldn’t this be true of games as well? The blockchain and ERC20s offer transparent gaming economies – which are player-driven – meaning that they can reflect on where they choose to spend the time in their lives. And what game.
Ishan Pandey: ChainGuardians has managed to tap into breakthrough game economics by merging NFTs and DeFi. Please tell us how this has incentivized players/ desired customer base?
Robbie Cochrane: NFTs and Defi are two concepts that lend themselves to play2earn; through participating in our ecosystem, users can reflect on how and why they will be rewarded, and what’s more, they’re able to compound their rewards further through utilizing blockchain technology. For example, users can stake an NFT to our NFT Mining Platform to earn CGC (in-game currency), at which point they can then exchange this for CGG (ERC20), at which point they can choose several options: redeem for NFTs and continue to play2earn, stake the CGG to earn APY, stake, or exchange to ETH or other pairs. Either way, the users are being rewarded or compounding their rewards. There are several ways that most gamers are motivated: play2win, play2earn, play2show and play for social purposes. Our gaming ecosystem is tailored towards capturing as many of these motivational scopes as possible.
Ishan Pandey: ChainGuardians have been predicted to be one of the most significant NFT projects of 2021. Please tell us what more we can expect from the team moving forward and how the game will play out?
Robbie Cochrane: Well, we better be sure not to disappoint anyone xD! Our roadmap is massive and very ambitious, but the high level I think we can summarise with the following: continued development of the NFT Mining Platform; additional features for the RPG as well as seasonal tournaments; continued development of world-class UI/UX (web3) tools and continued collaborations with top blockchain projects. We also have quite a few surprises up our sleeve, but we’d like them to stay that way for now.
Ishan Pandey: According to you, what are the potential use-cases of gaming tokens and what is the best way to gamify the economic model?
Robbie Cochrane: Gaming tokens can be utilized for almost an infinite amount of use cases. For example, our tokens are going to be used for governance, staking, assets, payments and more. Frankly, the best answer to this question is that the more use-case you can give a token, which is rewarding your community, the better.
Ishan Pandey: I recently read that ChainGuardians has partnered with Covalent to scale its NFT Proof-of-Stake Mining Platform. Can you explain what an NFT PoS platform is and what it would be its application?
Robbie Cochrane: The NFT PoS Mining Platform is best described as an idle game. Users can stake their NFTs on our platform and earn both CGC and other tokens from our gaming ecosystem partners. This is all in our development pipeline for the additional token rewards, however, our community members are already trying to stack as much CGC as possible in anticipation of the CGC: CGG exchange. Concerning our partnership with Covalent: given the extent of IP/data they maintain, it’s a no-brainer that we work with them.
Ishan Pandey: Blockchain gaming is a relatively new concept in the industry. According to you, what major trends are we going to see in the gaming industry?
Robbie Cochrane: I think, for now, the two will co-exist (traditional gaming and blockchain gaming), but in time, we’ll see more and more sophisticated gamers move into the blockchain gaming space. It’s a matter of audiences; huge numbers of gamers are children and younger adults, who probably do not have the education or understanding of how to interact with web3 tools or the blockchain for the moment in time. And until our industry/blockchain gaming platforms are set-up for mass streamlining, it’s unlikely that we’ll see many of this customer base crossover for the moment in time. That said, gaming has been around since I was a kid now, and the ‘older’/OGs will definitely continue to move across into this space, in my opinion. Within the next few years, I suspect we’ll see more and more of a customer base make its way over into the blockchain gaming space.
The purpose of this article is to remove informational asymmetry existing today in our digital markets by performing due diligence by asking the right questions and equipping readers with better opinions to make informed decisions. The material does not constitute any investment, financial, or legal advice. Please do your research before investing in any digital assets or tokens, etc. The writer does not have any vested interest in the company.