Enjin is the largest gaming community creation platform online, and one of the longer-running blockchain companies. It already has an active user base of 18.7 million registered gamers, and millions of dollars in transactions. But what does Enjin actually do and why are so many gamers using their products? Find out in this article.
What is Enjin?
Enjin is a blockchain company based in Singapore. They were founded in 2009 and focus on the gaming industry, which they believe is increasingly littered with poor game design choices and corporate greed. They see a trend of microtransactions for gear, “limited time” offers, costly expansions and many other techniques to take as much money as possible from gamers. What used to be an innocent way to immerse yourself into a new world has now become something fraught with cheaters, hackers, and scammers that are out to make a profit, not to have fun.
Enjin wants to change that. It wants to reinvent gaming by making it fairer and more transparent. The items you gather should truly be yours and not owned by someone else. They should have intrinsic value and you should be able to trade them for other items in other games. Cheating, hacking, or scamming should become impossible, and game developers should be incentivized for making the right game design choices.
Enjin’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) started on 3 October and ended 31 October of 2017. ENJ was designed to be the lifeblood of Enjin’s blockchain game development platform. They raised a total of 75,041 ETH, around $35 million at the time, with 18,506 contributions. ENJ can now be bought on popular exchanges such as Binance, HitBTC, Cryptopia, and Kucoin.
ENJ hovered around $0.02 and $0.03 for its first few weeks, before skyrocketing to an eyewatering $0.49 early January. Afterwards a steady decline back down to what’s $0.022 at the time of writing. A trajectory not dissimilar to what nearly all cryptocurrencies have seen in 2018.
The Enjin Cycle
To bring about their ambitious vision, Enjin has come up with a cycle around which they’re building their products. It portrays the flow of ENJ coins from beginning to end, from developer to gamer.
The first step into the Enjin Cycle is called Acquisition. Game developers need ENJ to use Enjin’s products. They can either buy ENJ from an exchange or apply for an official partnership with Enjin. In fact, the team has set apart 100 million ENJ just for gaming partnerships. They understand as much as any other gaming platform that its success will be based on the quality of the games on their platform.
After the developers have acquired ENJ, the second step is minting their coins into the virtual assets of their game. Minting items means you create them on the blockchain. They become real assets, and have real ENJ-backed value. This minting can be done through Enjin’s own minting service or through SDKs with popular software development programs such as Unity, Unreal, Godot and Lumberyard.
Minted tokens can be fungible (which means identical, interchangeable, and divisible, e.g. the sword every newbie gets in the tutorial) or non-fungible (which means unique, e.g. the ribboned eye patch given out to the winner of the pirate boat race during the Halloween 2018 event, or a CryptoKitty).
Developers can choose between the following six supply models for minting their virtual assets:
- Fixed max supply
- Annual supply % increase
- Annual supply % decrease
- Periodic increment/decrement by fixed amount
- Settable by token minter
- Smart contract or Oracle
Each supply model will give a different dynamic to the value of the items in your game. These six supply models give developers enough flexibility to create the game they want, while also sticking to a game design choice that makes sense.
Next, it’s the gamers’ turn. The third step in the cycle is for gamers to play and gather or purchase the virtual assets created by the developers. These items will be held in their wallets (more on that later) and are owned solely by the gamers, not the developers.
The fourth step is trading. Gamers can now trade the assets they’ve gathered amongst themselves in peer-to-peer marketplaces. This trading can occur not only between items of a single game, but between items from different games too. Enjin-backed tokens become part of a gaming ecosystem, or a gaming multiverse.
The final step in the cycle is minting. This allows gamers to melt the virtual items they’ve bought or gathered back into ENJ, although only at a percentage of its actual value. A percentage, because Enjin wants to encourage gamers to trade and be an active part of the gaming community, instead of destroying their in-game assets for money.
This being said, a percentage is better than nothing at all, which is what you get right now if you buy loot, downloadable content (DLC) or any other form of in-game assets through a game not on the blockchain.
Enjin already released a good number of products that all work together to serve their vision. The first one, and their oldest one, is the Enjin Network.
- Enjin Network
Gamers around the world use Enjin Network to build gaming communities. It’s a content management system that allows you to create websites for Minecraft servers, guilds, clans, fansites, eSports teams, or for non-gaming purposes too.
Although Minecraft is the most popular game on the Enjin Network, other popular games are World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, League of Legends, and Garry’s Mod. If you actively play one of those games and are looking for a cool group of people to play together with, check out these Enjin-based communities to find a community that’s right for you.
The Enjin Network has three plans: Free, Advanced ($8.qt99 pcm), and Ultimate ($29.99 pcm). The free plan will do for most people, whereas the advanced plan is designed for large guilds, clans, and gaming communities. The Enjin Network also has exhaustive API documentation you can use to set up your website exactly as you want it.
- Enjin Wallet
The Enjin Wallet is where gamers can store their crypto coins and collectibles. It’s a mobile wallet made for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155 tokens (which encompasses all the virtual assets of any game). Of course, you can store ENJ on it too, given that it’s an ERC-20 token.
The Enjin Wallet focuses on security and claims to be the most secure mobile crypto wallet. The wallet itself has no access to your private keys. It also has its own proprietary keyboard, and two independent layers of security (256 AES encryption and software encryption). All important data is deleted after it’s been processed. You can import your cryptocurrencies and collectibles from all major blockchain wallets, such as Exodus, Jaxx, MetaMask, and Trezor.
The Wallet is free and has no ads, is translated into multiple languages, supports multiple fiat currencies, and works best on non-rooted mobile devices. It also gives you access to Enjin Beam, which is a QR airdrop system that allows you to receive and send cryptocurrencies and blockchain items by scanning a QR code.
EnjinX is a web-based blockchain explorer where gamers can explore blockchain games and the items in those games. They can see the history of an item and get an understanding of how it got its value. EnjinX isn’t live yet, but the development is done and it should be up for release in the near future.
Blockchains are slow by design. This makes them difficult to scale. Efinity is Enjin’s solution to Ethereum’s scaling problem (because the Enjin ecosystem is built on Ethereum). It allows for near infinite volumes of transactions between gamers and servers, instantaneously and at very low transaction costs.
This is possible because networks of payment channels will allow virtual transactions to securely happen off-chain, without the need for a global consensus. It’s a layer on top of the blockchain. Efinity will work for escrow trades, token bundles, melting, bound tokens, trading fees, and more. The platform should be released over the next few weeks.
What Does This Mean for Gaming?
Although a huge number of gamers already use the Enjin Network to build and play in communities, Enjin’s impact on gaming as a whole could be much larger. However, this needn’t be noticed much, as evidenced by the small “Gamers” box in the screenshot below.
Enjin ultimately wants gamers to play and have fun. They want to make everything as frictionless as possible. Let gamers play first. Let them gather some cool items. Afterwards, they can think about trading those items, storing them into their wallet, and so on…
Gamers shouldn’t know they’re playing a blockchain game until they realize they can trade their in-game assets with players even from other games, or until they realize these assets have real-world value, or until they realize that the hours they spent grinding actually amount to something significant that other people might want.
Eventually, they’ll want every game to have these features.
But in order to get there, you need good games first. The benefits of a blockchain are of themselves not enough to convince gamers to switch over. That’s why Enjin is actively partnering up with game developers to help them create the best Decentralized Game (DGame) they can.
Already, there are more than a dozen DGames in development that support ENJ , with many aiming for a beta release end 2018 / early 2019. One such game is 9Lives Arena, which is a cross-platform competitive online RPG that I think looks very cool.
The animations and graphics already look very good, and features such as permadeath and consistent skill progression would make anyone who enjoyed Dark Souls drool. Although built on Enjin’s platform, the team behind 9Lives seems to focus on building a great game first, which is exactly how a DGame should be approached.
Another example is Born to the Sky, a VR wingsuit racing game where costumes, skins, items, and season passes will all be on the blockchain. By combining blockchain with VR, developer Vrainiac positions itself on the frontier of exciting new technology. Imagine searing through the sky in your customized suit, chased by others, dodging obstacles along the way, while in reality you're just standing in your living room with your VR goggles on. How's that for a different gaming experience?
The Future of Decentralized Gaming (DGaming)
Ever since World of Warcraft, trading items has always been a big part of any online game. And ever since EVE Online and Steam, trading items for fiat cash has also been made possible. In fact, one of the biggest battles in EVE’s history (the Bloodbath of B-R5RB) cost a total of $300,000.
But even with EVE Online, the items you buy are not your own. They’re located on the developer’s servers, who can decide to do anything they want with them. Imagine CCP (the developer behind EVE) going bankrupt. Players would lose everything.
This wouldn’t happen with DGames. Each in-game asset lives on the blockchain and is entirely your own. It cannot be destroyed or modified by others. It also cannot be stolen or taken away. Trades are transparent and secure.
Additionally, because each in-game asset is ENJ-backed, items can be traded between games. Your fire sword from this game is worth 10 ENJ. You have your eye on that pistol from the other game, which costs 10 ENJ as well. If the pistol is for sale, you can trade your fire sword for it.
Enjin’s CMO Elija Rolovic wants Enjin to become the “Ethereum of Gaming”. Whereas competitors such as WAX only tokenize in-game assets, Enjin has built an entire ecosystem that encompasses developers, gamers, and traders.
Much of what Enjin is building will go unnoticed for the majority of gamers. Almost by its definition, fundamental changes fly underneath the radar. Gamers will become part of the Enjin ecosystem and gradually understand what that means. They'll game because it's fun, and then realize blockchain allows them to connect with a much larger, intra-game community than they're used to. Eventually, they’ll want nothing else.