Talk to pretty much any random person you meet about cryptocurrency and they’ll give you a look like “I have no idea what you’re talking about” despite the fact that cryptocurrencies and blockchain are the world’s hottest buzzwords at the moment. A few companies have attempted to combine cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and gaming but so far we’ve had little by way of tangible results. That’s where My Dream Interactive comes in with All Mine. Now, All Mine has its own cryptocurrency called Jewelz, but right now there are no plans for players to cash out the currency into a more traditional type of cash. It exists just to pay for in-game purchases. The game itself is mostly just something fun to do while the All Mine mining client runs in the background. The two aren’t connected, meaning you can absolutely run one without the other. The game is just something to do while you’re mining, and something to use the currency with.
If anything, its more of a demonstration tool than anything else.
After speaking with My Dream Interactive’s COO Andrew Leker, it became obvious that it isn’t the game or the currency that the company is really hoping takes off. While Leker is proud of All Mine and its Bejeweled-style match three mechanics and Adoraboos, what he was most excited about was their patented “Serial Proof-of-Work” system. What makes All Mine fascinating is that it limits players to one single CPU core for mining. And that’s not an artificial restriction either. There’s no forced lockdown, its just that, with Serial Proof-of-Work, you can’t run the mining process in parallel.
Which is pretty much where my GDC addled brain melted slowly out of my ears. As Leker told me, “I’m going to tell you the thing about Proof-of-Work that even people who think they know cryptocurrencies don’t actually understand. The only way we have to get a real random number is to use radiation and a Geiger counter,” so a blockchain hash function is just a way to try and mimic that process. It isn’t perfect, but it works pretty well. Now that means no number you get from it is perfectly random, but it is close.
Which essentially breaks down to this: blockchain is just a way to get yourself a randomized “number” sequence by plugging data into an equation called a hash function. The basic point of cryptocurrency mining is to get yourself a number with as many 0s as possible at the start of it (the current target is, I believe, somewhere about 24 for Bitcoin). So for Serial Proof-of-Work, Leker says, “you take the garbage number” spit out by the first hash equation and “plug it back into the block to get a new garbage number” and keep going using your answer to solve the next step. So you can’t mine in parallel, because you need the answer from the first attempt to get the number you plug in for the second attempt, and so on and so forth. Like an algebra equation with twenty different variable numbers. You’ve basically got to solve for one, then use that answer to solve for the next, and keep going. Its a multi-step process so you can’t just try a hundred different numbers at once like you would for a regular Proof-of-Work or even Proof-of-Effort system.
Using the Jewelz Miner, all miners will share some of their profits with the developer, allowing the developer to turn some of the mined coins into in-game currency to give out to less-lucky players. Making it a more fair system all around, since there’s a decent amount of luck involved in the mining process.
Which is pretty fascinating when it comes to cryptocurrency mining in general, because with only one CPU dedicated to mining, you can’t actually take up all that much of an energy requirement. Which is one of Leker and CEO Allison Hyunh‘s major goals with All Mine and Jewelz.
Leker did imply that he hopes for other game developers to pick up their Jewelz Miner and Serial Proof-of-Work system to use in their own games. And because you use Jewelz to buy in-game items, which would mostly be cosmetics, at least the mining client represents a way to get around the tricky problem of micro-transactions and unauthorized player Real Money Transactions. Which voids the player blackmarket.
However, it does mean that All Mine is nothing more than a game client made to show off a cryptocurrency mining system, and therefore isn’t really a collaboration between games and cryptocurrency. It is more of an alternative to the typical gaming micro-transactions, but like anything Blockchain, there is a decent degree of skepticism you have to apply to that process. because cryptocurrency mining, the Hash, and Blockchain itself are so very opaque to the average person, there’s quite a deal of resistance to adopting any kind of cryptocurrency model.
And that will be its biggest hurdle, despite the fact that pretty much all gamers and game devs hate the current loot box and season pass DLC models of gaming.
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