How Toniq Labs Is Shaping GameFi on the Internet Computer

GameFi, a concept that combines DeFi and non-fungible tokens with gaming, could have a revolutionary effect on the industry. Play-to-earn gaming and NFTs have already created a booming business, with such platforms as Axie Infinity and Sorare amassing billion-dollar valuations. 

For most people, online gaming is nothing more than a pastime that provides entertainment. Unfortunately, players are limited in what they can do in these games, as none of the in-game assets are theirs to control or sell. GameFi changes this concept by combining the best of DeFi and NFTs through a new breed of blockchain games that remove the play-to-win model in favor of play-to-earn. 

Players receive a financial incentive to play the game and progress further, whether in player-versus-environment or player-versus-player settings. Users collect awards and NFTs in the course of gameplay, driving engagement and the growth of a loyal microeconomic community — that’s the GameFi opportunity in a nutshell.

Players can collect, exchange, trade, or sell in-game items they acquire. Those items can include characters, accessories, cryptocurrency, upgrades, or anything tokenized through NFT technology. By accruing these items through gameplay and progression, players can exchange them for cryptocurrencies through native or external marketplaces.

Players can increase their earnings by dedicating more time to playing. There is also potential for various monetization options, although not all play-to-earn games are free to play. Most will require an upfront investment that players will need to recuperate somehow. But the benefit is how everything is recorded on a blockchain or public ledger, providing absolute ownership of items. 

Toniq Labs Unveils Cronics

The world of GameFi is beginning to explode. Unfortunately, these games often reside on blockchains that cannot scale well, such as Ethereum. Speed, efficiency, and low costs are essential for developers to create optimal gaming experiences. The Internet Computer, a scalable blockchain that delivers interactive web content through smart contracts, checks all of these boxes. 

Perhaps most importantly, NFTs on the Internet Computer are running on-chain. A little-known fact about NFTs is that the assets they control are typically hosted off-chain by some sort of cloud service, while only the token associated with the asset is on the blockchain. Having NFTs natively on-chain makes them resilient and capable of powerful integrations.

“NFTs on the Internet Computer have unique advantages over other NFTs because they are 100% on chain,” Bob Bodily, chief product officer at Toniq Labs, explained to Cryptomode. “This means we can do generative image NFTs (only host layers and compile together when viewed), create interactive games completely included in an NFT, mint a website as an NFT, or even accrue business revenue in an NFT. These are only possible because the NFTs are 100% on-chain.”

Developed by Toniq Labs, Cronics is a play-to-earn gaming platform featuring Cronics NFTs, which have breeding mechanics and can be upgraded by incorporating wearable NFTs (all 100% on chain as well). Toniq Labs unveiled the Cronics NFTs, which were developed with Toniq’s own EXT standard, earlier this year, and has recently begun deploying the Cronics minigame ecosystem. 

The Cronics NFTs have the distinction of being the first to be launched on Internet Computer. A total of 5,000 Gen-0 Cronics were sold for a mint price of 0.2 ICP — or roughly $8 — and the team reserved 1,000 for collaborations and giveaways. The remaining 5,000 Gen-0 Cronics were sold during a Dutch Auction in October 2021 and a final sale in November 2021. 

Cronics have seen substantial trading volume, as Internet Computer users eagerly explore this play-to-earn opportunity. The Entrepot NFT marketplace (also developed by Toniq) shows a total volume of roughly 30,000 ICP, with a floor price of 4.97 ICP.

After an extensive testing period, Toniq Labs was able to finetune the game’s breeding mechanics and other aspects. Testers will receive real CRN proportional to the number of Cronics they bred during the testing period, and the team made several changes to breeding parameters to better control supply. Traditionally, developers would wipe data without compensation in most games, yet Toniq Labs purposefully opted for a different approach to compensate users for providing live test data. 

Rise of the Magni

Toniq Labs has played a significant role in the broader Internet Computer ecosystem. 

In addition to Entrepot and Cronics, Toniq has developed the Stoic Wallet; Wrapped Trillion Cycles, or WTC, a stablecoin that wraps units of computation on the Internet Computer called “cycles”; and the blockchain game Rise of the Magni.

Rise of the Magni is an impressive “tactical unit deployment” game project that leverages canister smart contracts for all aspects, with everything processed on-chain. “Each Magni is a unique NFT owned by the player,” Toniq Labs explained in a blog post. “All game calculations and verifications are completed on-chain — the browser game is effectively a visual representation of a current game’s on-chain state.”

Code in the canister smart contracts handles all of the verifications, as well as processes AI moves and calculates the scoring for games, while managing all of the networking tasks and updating the various game states. 

“The Internet Computer is a powerhouse,” Toniq Labs wrote, “and building Rise of the Magni on top of it just makes sense — blockchain gaming is growing, and we need a fast, secure, and scalable blockchain.”

Future features will include transferable and upgradeable Magni, a huge assortment of new generations and special items, an immersive adventure mode, and an array of maps and battle terrains. 

The truth is that blockchain-based games need to be fun first and foremost, so that players are fulfilled by the experience of participating in them. The GameFi aspects can reinforce this by giving players control and ownership, making gameplay even more rewarding and fulfilling. Toniq Labs recognizes the importance of these dynamics, as well as the possibilities that emerge from building play-to-earn gaming platforms end to end on a scalable blockchain.

The growth of on-chain GameFi projects like Cronics and Rise of the Magni opens up tremendous opportunities for refining and innovating the play-to-earn space.

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