What is it?
WAX – or the Worldwide Asset eXchange – is designed to provide a decentralised platform to put the possibility of operating a virtual marketplace within anyone’s reach, not dissimilar to both eBay and Amazon marketplaces. WAX tokens use blockchain technology and allow virtual goods of all kinds – not just game goods – to be turned into tokens and exchanged for cryptocurrency.
In terms of the pool of available gamers and potential revenue, that’s 400 million plus players, both casual and more regular, and with a spend of something like $50 billion on virtual game items.
What is it for?
Connecting those users in a single decentralised marketplace to carry out peer-to-peer transactions is the current WAX aim. At present, transactions tend to rely on trust, and intermittent communications on game forums that might not necessarily be particularly busy. WAX will enable those gamers to come together in such a way that every item listed for sale has a value in WAX tokens, and exchanges can be made with smart contracts.
Use of the platform isn’t free – users are charged small amounts of the cryptocurrency for both messages and transactions, and as a fee for usage in general.
Neither is it completely automated; trusted users act as ‘Transfer Agents’, who facilitate the acceptance and transfer of virtual goods. To reinforce the safety and anti-fraud element, they themselves have to put up a bond of WAX tokens.
What is the background?
Developed by the same management team as OPSkins, WAX could potentially be seen as a natural evolution and development. The WAX ICO took place towards the end of 2017, and almost 65 million WAX were sold, with contributors receiving ten times the quantity of tokens they had purchased – a move to facilitate future micropayments. However, it should be noted that the token price took a significant dip almost immediately.
The management team are:
- William Quigley, CEO – educated at Harvard Business School, and formerly of Idealab
- John Brechisci Jr., Lead Designer – self-taught programmer, and lifelong gamer
- Jonathan Yantis, COO – a military technologies and applied sciences graduate from Idaho State University, and a former nurse
- Malcolm Casselle, President – educated at MIT and Stanford, both bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science
Further system development is currently ongoing, and beta testing is due to take place in the autumn, with a launch planned late in the year.
What will it bring to the gaming industry?
A platform to provide this kind of service is very much needed within the gaming industry, and it’s a very interesting combination of smart contract transaction technology alongside trust-based human escrow agents. For some, the introduction of that human element might be a minus, but the addition of a real rather than an automated communication point is an increasingly rare element in the gaming industry, and to base this element of the platform on trust is therefore something of an innovation in itself.