There’s something appealing about the combination of high tech and history. Think of steampunk, which incorporates technology with 19th-century aesthetic designs. Think of the Westworld series, where characters live in a Western world that’s a hyper realistic simulation. The combination of high tech with history satisfies our eagerness for the novelty of the future, as well as our nostalgic, romanticized desire for the past.
In a way, Skullys is such a combination. It’s a collectible game that combines pirates (and, in particular, the skulls of pirates) with the Ethereum blockchain. The past with the future. More than most other blockchain projects, Skullys stays within the boundaries of their theme too. Whereas most blockchain projects stay within their theme visually, there’s no indication of their theme in the copy of their website.
Not so with Skullys. The developers behind Skullys call themselves the Scallywag Crew and they have an entire page dedicated to Pirate Talk, which explains the pirate lingo. I learned, for example, that I’m a landlubber: someone unfamiliar with the sea or with sailing. Their entire website is in Pirate English. They’re small details, but they make it seem like the Scallywag Crew knows what they’re doing.
Buying a Skully
In order to play Skullys, you’ll need to buy a pirate skull; a Skully. Each Skully has the same empty eye sockets, the same thin nose ring, and the same wicked grin. They differ, however, in the bandanas they wear. It’s a nice way to differentiate a collectible, because you can design a bandana to accommodate for real-world events. For example, for pancake day (Feb 25), the Scallywag Crew can design a bandana with pancakes on it and encourage people to buy their newly-designed pancake skull through social media.
That’s exactly what Skullys is doing too. Currently, the vast majority of pirate bandanas have country flags on them. It’s a smart choice, because people looking to buy their first Skully are likely to buy one that has their flag on them. Even though I don’t feel particularly Belgian (considering I’ve hardly lived there for the last ten years) my first Skully would be one with the Belgian flag on it.
The Scallywag Crew promote their flag-themed Skullys during certain sporting events on their Instagram page. Most recently, they promoted their US-themed skull during the victory of the US women’s national soccer team in the Women’s World Cup. The opportunities to visually market a Skully on the basis of its bandana are endless.
You can buy Skullys from the marketplace on the website, from OpenSea, and from Rare Bits. The website’s marketplace seems to be the best place to buy a Skully. There, you can sort Skullys according to their rank, their badges, and their category (which is their type of bandana). All Skullys on the marketplace currently cost 0.05 ETH (around $10). OpenSea Skullys are more expensive (considering it’s a secondary market and players likely want some return on their investment) and it doesn’t seem like Rare Bits has any Skullys for sale right now.
What’s interesting about the Skullys marketplace is that you can swap one of your other Ethereum blockchain assets for a Skully. I’d never seen this before and I still don’t quite understand what the reasoning behind this is, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to exchange a Blockchain Cutie, which I didn’t think was worth 0.05 ETH, for my very first Skully. All you need to do is pay the Ethereum gas fees.
This isn’t possible with all Skullys. You’ll need to sort from “low to high” on the Skullys marketplace, which I think sorts for price, except that all Skullys are priced at 0.05 ETH and seem to have no other distinctions, so I’m unsure on what variables the Skullys are sorted. Regardless, there are well over fifty Skullys that you can currently swap for some of your other Ethereum ERC-721 assets.
Additionally, if you tweet out your recent swap with the #walktheplank hashtag and a screenshot, you’ll enter a contest where your Skully can earn $50 worth of PO8, the game’s internal cryptocurrency (more on PO8 later), which is another nice way for the Scallywag Crew to promote their game.
Exploring the World With a Skully
But Skullys is more than a pure collectible game. In true pirate fashion, Skullys rewards those who roam the planet. Once you have your first Skully, you can pin it to your current location. This will earn you a few PO8 tokens. You can pin a Skully in a new location up to three times a day, but you need to be at least 800 meters removed from your previous pin.
You can earn badges by geo-flagging a certain number of times or by geo-flagging a particular location. For example, there’s a badge for geo-flagging 100 different locations. There’s another badge for geo-flagging in the Middle East, in APEC, in Canada, and so on. Most badges encourage you to explore the planet.
A badge can make your Skully a lot more valuable. For example, geo-flagging at the North Pole will give you a badge that’s worth 500,000 PO8. Considering you can buy 21,200 PO8 for 1 ETH on the Skully website, this theoretically makes that particular Skully worth at least 23 ETH. Of course, you’ll need to find someone willing to buy it for that price, but you can argue that it’s worth that kind of money on the basis of its North Pole badge.
PO8 isn’t an entirely internal cryptocurrency, because it’s also listed on the DOBI exchange. There, you can currently trade a million PO8 for 0.09 BTC or for 4.28 ETH. You can earn PO8 by geo-flagging your Skullys, which you can decide to cash out on DOBI or use to buy boosters that will give your Skully a PO8 reward multiplier. You have every reason to buy boosters with PO8 instead of Ethereum, as buying a booster with PO8 will give you a 50% discount.
Boosters come in the form of ships, weapons, ales, extras, and loot, and their PO8 reward multiplier varies from 0.0000001 to 1. Once again, boosters attached to a particular Skully will make that Skully more valuable, as it’ll generate more PO8.
You can also purchase a pirate rank with Ethereum for an instant PO8 reward, more daily PO8 rewards for logging in, and the ability to pin your Skully more than three times a day. The top three ranks aren’t available for purchase, as you’ll need to earn' yer stripes for those ranks with geo-flagging achievements first.
All these boosters and ranks can make your Skully a PO8-generating machine, particularly if you’re a big traveler. If you do really well, you’ll eventually end up on the Skullys leaderboard, where Captain Skullys currently ranks number one with 25,000 flag pins. That skull is worth 200 ETH.
That’s most of what there is to Skullys. At first, I thought it was a nicely designed, well-crafted, but ultimately an unassuming collectible DGame. However, a few very small hints made me realize there was more to the story. At the footer of the Skullys website, it said “Powered by PO8”. Additionally, the Skullys Twitter had retweeted many PO8 tweets.
It seemed overkill to mention PO8 so overtly if it were only a cryptocurrency listed on a relatively small crypto-exchange. As it turns out, Skullys is part of PO8, which is an ambitious, interesting blockchain project in its own right.
Not Just a Cryptocurrency
PO8 isn’t part of Skullys, Skullys is part of PO8. PO8 is a blockchain project that intends to build a platform that democratizes access to artifact investments. What does that mean specifically? Through blockchain technology, AI, and robotics, PO8 wants to tokenize all the valuable pieces of history resting on the bottom of the oceans, from shipwrecks to treasure chests to anything else that sunk throughout human history.
The CEO of PO8, Matthew Arnett, is seen here on CNBC Africa saying that there’s an estimated $100 billion worth of treasury in the seas around the Bahamas alone, mostly accumulated during the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth century. Tokenizing some of these treasuries, which mostly come in the form of shipwrecks, will detach the treasury from its location underwater and allow people to trade them for real money. It will create value from a piece of history that would otherwise be lost.
PO8 was founded in the Bahamas and has already secured a license for underwater salvage work in the Bahamas. This isn’t too far of a stretch for PO8, as a few people on their team have helped recover pieces of the Titanic and the Apollo F-1 engines. PO8 is also making a $10 million investment in the future with plans to establish the first Bahamas Archeological Treasure & Maritime Museum and Interactive Marine park.
Additionally, considering PO8’s tight link to the Bahamas, they’re currently donating all the proceeds of Skully sales to the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund, under the #bahamasstrong and #cryptototherescue hashtags. They’ve also pledged 1 billion PO8 tokens to hurricane relief efforts and will match every dollar worth of crypto donations.
If that’s not enough, PO8 was named one of the most innovative blockchain companies in the Americas by the International Development Bank, as well as one of the top 20 blockchain projects by the Smart Dubai Blockchain Challenge.
All this to say that PO8 is a legitimate, ambitious project with a unique and valuable proposition. They have many ideas to monetize their work: they intend to lease their big data to gaming companies, mapping companies, and R&D teams. They will contract their visual content out to production companies such as Netflix and the Discovery channel. And they’ll take a fee on the artifact NFTs and the Skullys sold to businesses and consumers alike. Additionally, they’ll earn money through entrance tickets, tours, and educational products for companies. All this through their scavenging work and by tokenizing what they find underwater on the Ethereum blockchain.
Additionally, if you’re an investor and you like what PO8 is doing, you also have the opportunity to invest into the company through what’s called a Security Token Offering (STO). Their STO is called SPO8. Regulated by The Securities Commission of The Bahamas, one SPO8 is $5 and is equal to one PO8 common stock.
They’re aiming at a target price of $15 and you need to invest at least $10,000. There’s a form on their website that you need to fill out, which I’m assuming is to make sure you’re a legitimate investor. It’s an interesting, less formal way to raise capital than having to pitch investors in the US.
A Game and a Project Tied Together
I like how Skullys and PO8 are tied together thematically. Artifact conversation and tokenization together with a pirate-themed collectible game that encourages DGamers to travel and create valuable assets while doing so.
This being said, Skullys pales in comparison to what PO8 is trying to do. As such, I’m curious as to Skullys’ purpose. What’s the future of Skullys when you’re looking to excavate and tokenize shipwrecks around the Bahamas? Surely the proceeds from Skullys won’t match any possible proceeds you’d get from selling big data or selling content to large companies?
But perhaps it will. The Scallywag Crew seem to know what they’re doing, judging from how polished and nicely marketed Skullys is. I’m curious to see where they’ll take their game and how it will fit into the broader story of PO8.