Can you make money playing blockchain games? There’s plenty of money in the blockchain industry and gaming is one of the best and most accessible use cases for blockchain technology, but does that mean ordinary gamers can make good money by simply playing a game? It’s the million-dollar question.

There’s no denying that certain gamers have made up to hundreds of thousands of dollars playing decentralized games (DGames). In September last year, someone paid around 600 ETH ($170,000 at the time) for Dragon, a CryptoKitty with no seemingly special attributes. It seems unlikely that the buyer will ever be able to sell Dragon for a profit, but the world is a strange place, and there’s always a bigger fool.

Meet Dragon, the most expensive CryptoKitty ever

However, it’s not because a few players have made money playing DGames that everyone can make money playing DGames. The claim that “blockchain technology enables players to earn money playing games” is unfortunately somewhat deceiving and exaggerated. It’s not impossible to make money, but it’s no walk in the park either.

This article will talk about why it’s at all possible to making money playing DGames, as well as discuss some key factors you need to take into account if you want to make money playing DGames. However, keep in mind that this isn’t financial advice and that most DGames aren’t meant to make you any money (something that CryptoKitties explicitly mentions on their website).

It’s a risky investment and there’s a high chance you won’t make a profit. This being said, it’s unlikely you’ll lose all your money either. It’s not difficult at all to sell some of the collectibles you’ve bought. You’re quite likely to recoup some of the investment you’ve made. But making a profit? That requires upfront capital, hard work, luck, and clever thinking.

Why Can You Make Money Playing DGames?

Before we dive into the key factors you need to take into account to make money playing DGames, it’s good to understand why players can make money playing games in the first place. After all, except for a few fringe cases (e.g. gaming pros and game testers), players weren’t ever able to earn money playing traditional games. In fact, many game developers strictly prohibit the sale of in-game assets for real money.

But blockchain technology has a few unique features that allow players to earn money. Firstly, a blockchain seriously reduces the risk of someone double-spending, i.e. spending the same digital token more than once. This used to be a problem with digital cash, because a single digital token could technically be copied and spent multiple times.

An example of a successful double-spend

With blockchain technology, and depending on which consensus protocol we’re talking about, this can only happen if someone (or a group of people working together) controls 51% of a blockchain’s mining hashrate or computing power. For a blockchain as large as Bitcoin, for example, that’s nigh impossible.

Secondly, a blockchain gives its users full ownership over the assets they own. No longer do your digital assets sit with a middleman, such as a bank, whose function it is (supposedly) to store and protect these assets. With blockchain technology, players are entirely in control over their own assets.

Thirdly, the development of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) gave value to digital collectibles. An NFT is a unique blockchain token, in the sense that there is no other token that’s exactly the same. You’d be fine exchanging one dollar for another dollar, because they’re the same value, but you wouldn’t be fine exchanging your Lambo for a Toyota. Even though they’re both cars, they don’t have the same value.

It’s the same in the blockchain world. In Ethereum, for example, ERC-20 tokens are fungible tokens, i.e. tokens that don’t differentiate between themselves and that have the same value. ERC-721 tokens, however, are unique from one another and have a different value attached to them. These are the so-called NFTs: digital collectibles with real value behind them.

How to Make Money Playing DGames

Now that we’ve covered why it’s at all possible for gamers to earn money with decentralized games, it’s time to delve into the key factors you need to take into account if you want to make a profit playing DGames.

  • Choose the right game

Not all DGames are good candidates for making money. Firstly, people need to be playing the game. Think in terms of supply and demand. If no one’s playing the DGame you’ve bought collectibles in, who’s going to buy those collectibles? That’s right, no one. You want a relatively popular DGame, which you can easily find by looking at the DGaming Store.

Today’s most-played DGames

It’s also worth looking at the player trends. Does the game seem to be growing more popular over time? That’s a good sign, because it’ll drive up the price of any collectibles you buy now. If it’s declining, you’ll want to be extra careful.

Dig beyond the DGaming insights too. Not every game is in our store (yet) and the number of daily players sometimes isn’t a good indication of how profitable a game can be. Decentraland, for example, one of the best DGames for making money, isn’t in our store yet. And a game like MegaCryptoPolis might have a low number of daily active players, but that’s more because of the nature of the game instead of its popularity.

As such, it’s always a good idea to look into a game’s Discord and Telegram channels, to see how active the community is. Additionally, it’s useful to read through some of the long-form reviews we post on DGaming Media, to get an insight into the pros and cons of a DGame. No one likes playing a poorly made DGame.

  • Get a Feel for the Market

Just like in real life, if you want to make a profit, you’ll need to know the prices that collectibles are going for. You can only accomplish this by deeply immersing yourself into the game and understanding everything there is to know about it.

Only after I’d played Steem Monsters for hours on end, I started to understand the inherent value of particular cards. I realized why some cards in the marketplace were cheap and why some were expensive, and I started to see opportunities to buy cards for less than they were worth.

Some expensive Steem Monsters cards

In playing the game, you’ll also quickly realize how much money you’ll be able to make. DGames where you purchase items such as land, buildings, or planets (Decentraland, MegaCryptoPolis, and 0xUniverse, respectively) will cost more money upfront, but will also allow you to make more money. DCL Blogger is a good example of this: he’s a Decentraland investor who made thousands of dollars flipping digital land.

Other games, such as Blockchain Cuties, Axie Infinity, and even CryptoKitties, will cost less money upfront, but won’t allow you to earn lots of money, unless you stumble on an extremely rare item. These games allow you to earn back your investment, and perhaps make a small profit, but it quite likely won’t be hundreds of dollars.

  • Bargain for a deal

If you have enough money to buy a high-value item, such as a piece of land in Decentraland or a valuable CryptoKitty, it’s always worth reaching out to the seller for a better deal. With this, I don’t mean simply asking for a discount. Offer something in return. Do they have a few CryptoKitties for sale and can you take them all off their hands for a 20% discount? Can you offer collectibles from other games in exchange for a discount? Try to strike a deal.

It’s important to remember that you don’t want to sell the asset you’re looking to buy for too high a price either. Don’t expect to buy a piece of land in MegaCryptoPolis for 2 ETH to then immediately sell it for 10 ETH, if the surrounding pieces of land are worth between 1.5 to 2 ETH.

What you want to do instead is to strike a deal with the seller, buy a few pieces of their land for 1.3 ETH each and put them for sale at 1.5 ETH each. When you buy below market price and sell at market price (or below, too) you almost guarantee a quick profit. Otherwise, you risk sitting on your assets for a long period of time.

Tying it All Together

It’s not easy making a profit playing DGames, but it’s certainly not impossible. Many players have recouped much of their investment playing DGames and a few have made a profit doing so. Ideally, you should play DGames because they’re fun to play, but if you want to make some money too, make sure you pick the right DGame to play, get a feel for the market, and try as best you can to bargain for a good deal.

It’s still the Wild West in decentralized gaming. There are thousands of ways to lose money and a few strategies to win money. We hope this article has increased your chances of picking a winning strategy.

Visit The DGaming Store to explore games that give you a chance to employ some of the strategies we've outlined above.