Covalent Exec: GameFi Is “Going To Change How People Perceive Work”

Everyone is looking for the next Axie Infinity.

Which makes sense. Who doesn’t want to get paid to play video games? But how does one find the next unicorn? It’s not easy — especially when every project out there these days is promising that they are “the next Axie.”

As with anything crypto-related, there are no easy answers. If anyone is telling you they’ve got the next so and so, you’re probably buying a bridge. Your best bet is always to use DYOR. The problem with that is there is a lot of noise to sift through.

I got a chance to speak to Erik Ashdown, head of ecosystem growth for Covalent, a blockchain data aggregation company. We discussed Covalent’s recently released e-book “Infinite Games”, as well as the future of the entire of the play-to-earn industry.

Q. The work Covalent does isn’t exactly the easiest elevator pitch. How do you break down exactly what you do?

That’s a great question. Everyone knows how a blockchain works at this point: you have a node, you write something, you post it to the blockchain, the blockchain is the ledger, covalent is your reading glasses.

You can have all the data in there, but it doesn’t matter what’s on a public blockchain if no one is looking at the data or organizing the information.

The problem is all these blockchains produce a limitless amount of data. Ethereum will go until the end of time. What happens when you need to see what happened in the past? That’s what we’ve done. We’ve figured out a way to ingest all on-chain data into a database. That’s every wallet, every transaction, every NFT, every NFT mint — everything.

Q. What exactly inspired Covalent to put together an 80-page e-book on GameFi?

Let’s stop arguing with opinions and start arguing with data.

We have an API, so you see developers signing up, and you start to see what they are pulling data from. At the same time, you go on Twitter, social media, and you hear people rah-rah-ing that play-to-earn is bad, play-to-earn is good, play-to-earn is this and that. I said, “Let’s stop arguing with opinions and start arguing with data.”

And I think also selfishly if we look at this from a product perspective and say, “Okay, well, is there really a market here?” In crypto, you see this with many types of booms, people think there really is something happening, but there is nothing. But this is one of those situations where there is traction, and it’s meaningful.

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Q. Speaking of traction, major game developers are finding their way into the space. One of the games you talk a lot about in your book Axie Infinity is the current top dog. How do you see it fitting into this new landscape?

I think the quality of the games is going to get better… Axie is brilliant. I’m a big Axie fan. I played it a bit. I’m not going to say I’m a huge gamer. But I think what they’ve done is brilliant. I think they’ve changed the way we see the world. I think they’ve presented what’s possible.

They really opened the doors. Will they be around forever? I don’t know. I’m curious to see what happens when the triple-a game studios and larger projects and everybody really gets into this space, but I think they’ve built a cult following, regardless.

Q. What do you think of play-to-earn or GameFi’s potential moving forward as a career? Do you see it being viable outside of the small pockets we’ve seen so far?

…people will realize why would I go to work at a factory job when I could stay at home and play Axie all day?

On a small level, the question is, can you live in Canada, in the US, can you live in north America? I don’t know. But can you live in someplace like Angola, Haiti, someplace cheaper? That’s where its more viable. You see it in Vietnam, Southeast Asia, where the cost of living is much lower.

I think what that might do, is it might disrupt other aspects. We have lots of stuff manufactured and produced there [Southeast Asia] and people will realize why would I go to work at a factory job when I could stay at home and play Axie all day?

It’s gonna change how people perceive work. And then if we can’t produce things there, where are they gonna go when everyone is at home playing Axie or play to earn games? It’s going to affect things at a different level.


You can find Covalent’s Infinite Games here. It’s free to download.

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