Now you can play Solitaire, Snake and even Counter-Strike to win Satoshis, small fractions of Bitcoin (BTC). Cointelegraph has spoken with executives from Thndr Games, a play-to-earn (P2E) company built around Bitcoin, and Zebedee, a gaming platform that will “transform gaming with the power of Bitcoin.”
Thanks to the Lightning Network (LN), a layer 2 payment solution built on top of Bitcoin, Sats instant microtransactions can pay players around the world quickly. “This really solves a need for gaming,” Ben Cousens, chief strategy officer at Zebedee, told Cointelegraph.
Zebedee offers Bitcoin and LN support for popular games like Counter-Strike: Go. They promote casual play and the creation of welcoming environments that could “get people into Bitcoin in a way that surprises them,” Cousens explained.
For THNDR, which launched a Solitaire-type mobile game on Monday, the rollout of popular and casual game types is also about getting people on board with Bitcoin. They actively target players from emerging markets and female audiences.
Desiree Dickerson, CEO and co-founder of Thndr Games, shared some statistics with Cointelegraph during a call: “60% of women around the world play games, and 60% of these women play mobile games every day.”
Furthermore, the gaming industry is bigger than the movie industry: Around “2.6 billion people worldwide play games”, and within that segment, mobile games are the most popular. “It accounts for 60% of the entire gaming market, and it’s only growing”Dickerson explained.
The release of Club Bitcoin: Solitaire specifically targets the growing female audience segment:
“The mission is to get people on board with Bitcoin, but we’re never going to make a game that’s not a good game. We don’t want to just target Bitcoiners non-stop. It’s about making a great game that has Bitcoin in it.”
Around 60% of Thndr Game users are located in the global South, a popular point of contact for Bitcoiner businesses. Emerging markets suffer from unstable regimes, volatile currencies, and weaker socioeconomic development.
In this environment, the Bitcoin asset can provide a financial lifeline to many, and thanks to near-instant payment lanes and Bitcoin-focused games, the Bitcoin protocol now offers a means of circumvention in addition to small financial rewards. At Zebedee, for example, the average transaction size is minuscule, just $0.02.
Cousens told Cointelegraph that “gambling, Bitcoin and Lighting are a great on-ramp for the [adopción] of Bitcoin,” and shared that Brazil is a major territory of its user base, followed by the Philippines, both countries with emerging cryptocurrency adoption that is thriving.
Additionally, both Dickerson and Cousens illustrated that gambling is a way to get people on Bitcoin without “ideology.” The Bitcoin and cryptocurrency spaces are riddled with infighting, hacking, and bickering, while games—particularly passive-idle ones—are a relaxed environment where users can start stacking Sats.
Thndr has successfully sent over 1.5 million rewards through the LN and has gained a growing following of devoted fans. All of their games on the Apple App Store have ratings of 4.5 stars or higher. “We think almost first and foremost about the sheer joy of playing,” Dickerson explained.
For Cousens, who is well aware of the risk of “overfunding” gaming products, he explains that it is hard to underestimate the role that casual games could play in Bitcoin adoption.. “A bad casual mobile game has like 10 million downloads […] If you get one or two games, you outshine El Salvador.”
El Salvador could incorporate a total population of 6.4 million people to earn, save and spend Bitcoin, thanks to the Bitcoin Law. Solitaire, by comparison, has 35 million monthly users, according to Microsoft. And that’s just a game.
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