In 2017, the game CryptoKitties made waves throughout niche gaming communities online. Axion Zen, the developer of the game, introduced the concept of unhackable assets. Players are able to purchase, sell, and breed kittens that are virtually uncompromisable.

CryptoKitties was built on Ethereum, the most popular decentralized platform for storing bitcoins and completing transactions. At one point, the game was so popular a single virtual kitten was sold for more than $100,000 and Ethereum experienced regular slowdowns.

Blockchain may just transform the gaming industry as we know it. 

For one, blockchain allows developers to create truly “closed ecosystem” gaming environments, which reduces the influence of so-called “gray trading,” thereby fostering a higher level of trust in the gaming space.

Moreover, gamers can buy assets in the game using their cryptocurrency directly, which makes the process of handling actual money more rapid and secure. In-game items can be immutably owned by users, which solves the untenable problem of digital theft and hacking.

Even more interestingly, blockchain could blur the lines between separate digital worlds. Due to the distributed nature of blockchain, developers could enable the ability to transfer items between distinct game universes, in essence enabling a sort of digital multiverse. The potential for game world fluidity could completely shift the insular way that game studios operate.

Though CryptoKitties is recognized as the world’s first blockchain-based game, developers have gone on to develop specialized frameworks exclusive to gaming. Many games use the dGoods protocol, which is a token-based platform similar to Ethereum.

In many ways, the blockchain and gaming partnership is critical, not necessarily for the future of gaming, but more so for the future of blockchain. Put simply, gaming is the first actual use case for widespread blockchain adoption.

“Gaming does not need blockchain. Blockchain needs gaming,” Josh Chapman, partner at the esports firm Konvey Ventures, stated. “Blockchain will only (see widespread) adoption and application once it provides significant value to the gaming ecosystem.”

From 2017 to 2018, blockchain investments saw a 280 percent increase. By 2019, companies were already actively investing gaming enterprises employing blockchain methods: A company dubbed Tron invested $100 million towards a special gaming fund for games producers interested in utilizing blockchain technology.

Widespread adoption in the gaming industry may just signal that the blockchain is here to stay, and play.