The anonymous forum, 4chan, has created waves in crypto gaming. Axie Infinity – an Ethereum-based arena game reminiscent of Pokemon and Tamagotchi – saw its in-game rewards token surge by more than 5000% off the back of a thread posted to the forum.
Citing the game’s sleek website, highly engaged community and partnerships with Samsung, Kakao and Ubisoft, the thread quickly turned into a speculative frenzy.
However, this pump was more than just a random one-off event. In this article, we’ll touch on the rippling effects of this sudden surge of interest and what you should know about the craziest event in Axie’s 2+ year history.
What Are Small Love Potions?
Small Love Potions (SLP) are ERC20 tokens that are used to breed Axies.
They can be earned as rewards for winning battles in Axie, completing daily quests, or purchased directly off DEXs like Uniswap.
Every Axie can be bred a maximum of 7 times. In order to breed, players pay 0.002 ETH in tandem with Small Love Potions. The more times an Axie has been bred, the more expensive (in SLP) it becomes.
Here’s a breakdown on how much it costs to breed an Axie of different breeding counts.
|Breed Count||Breed Number||SLP Cost|
Now please keep in mind that this is the cost per Axie and two Axies are needed to breed, meaning players have to account for the breeding count of each individual Axie. Here’s a couple examples:
- 1st breed (100 SLP) + 3rd breed (300 SLP) = 400 SLP
- 2nd breed (200 SLP) + 2nd breed (200 SLP) = 400 SLP
- 6th breed (1100 SLP) + 4th breed (500 SLP) = 1600 SLP
The important thing to note is that every time a breed occurs, the SLP is burned. Over the course of the past year SLP burn rates were seeing strong growth, a signal that the game’s fundamentals were surging. While these rates dropped in recent months due to high gas costs, the point to keep in mind is that SLP had a very healthy and natural ecosystem being established.
The Power of DEXs
As we mentioned above, SLP is tradable on secondary markets like Uniswap. This core premise of in-game rewards having real-world value through a trusted product like Uniswap is one of the biggest reasons why crypto gaming is so exciting.
However, the amount of liquidity in the SLP Unsiwap pool has historically been pretty low, causing high slippage for orders larger than 1 ETH. On average, the SLP/ETH Uniswap V2 pool had a couple thousand dollars worth of liquidity and about half of that in volume on any given day.
This is important to draw attention to as it shows that the vast majority of players were actually farming SLP to be used on breeding – the intended usage which completely disregards the speculatory nature of secondary market liquidity.
In fact, when traders did need to acquire large amounts of SLP, OTC deals were (and still are) brokered in trusted Discord DMs just as with legacy games like RuneScape.
Now, here’s where things get interesting.
SLP Price Moons
Starting on Monday, SLP volume began skyrocketing. Over the course of two days, the volume on Uniswap spiked from $219 to over $768,000 – a 35,000% increase.
As you could have guessed, the price quickly followed suit – jumping from it’s going rate of half a cent to roughly $0.20 at its peak.
Let’s break down what this means.
The 4chan pump gave SLP holders exponential returns for believing in the token’s value. This sharp increase in price made Axie’s “play to earn” mechanic quite enticing, with players who were grinding for upwards of 10+ hours a day able to earn ~1 ETH/day at peak prices.
Just as we saw with DeFi and the influx of capital when Compound and Balancer offered “liquidity mining”, in a similar way, Axie’s “play to earn” incentive and SLP surge had a similar effect of attracting new participants to the market.
Even Mystic Axies – the rarest NFTs in the game – saw a spike in demand as well.
However, this pump is not all sunshine and rainbows.
Remember how we said players need SLP to breed Axies? Well, with the price of SLP peaking at roughly $0.20, players would have to pay a minimum of $40 to acquire the 200 SLP necessary to breed two virgin Axies.
That same amount of SLP earned in-game would require anywhere for 10-20 hours of gameplay, depending on how skilled you were and how many matches you won.
Thankfully, the price has corrected heavily to just under $0.05 at the time of publication but even still, the underlying mechanisms of the game are currently in limbo.
Many Axie players are currently more incentivized to sell the SLP earned from playing rather than breeding a new Axie given an average market price of ~$5.
It appears that the community has agreed to wait the pump out, rather than making any hasty decisions about changing the underlying mechanics of breeding. If action were to be taken, the solution would be to change the amount of SLP required per breed, or simply to have the Axie team print more SLP and sell on the market to bring the price back to normal.
Either way, there’s not really a perfect solution to unexpected price surges. This is one of the stranger edge cases that is only possible with crypto games.
Axie Token Economy
What’s perhaps the most laughable aspect of this event is that SLP is not even the primary utility token of the Axie ecosystem. The project has long since alluded to the release of a native token which will be used for governance later this year.
This governance token comes in tandem with Axie Land – NFTs which will be owned on the wider Axie Map similar to projects like Decentraland, CryptoVoxels and Sandbox. To no surprise, Axie Land sold out out 2 months ago.
The Future of Crypto Gaming
WIth virtually all eyes on DeFi right now, it’s important to keep crypto gaming in mind. This pump may have been an isolated event but it’s one in which many are betting on.
MetaClan – a crypto-native esports clan – was created with the goal of creating a War Chest full of limited edition goods exactly for situations like this.
WhaleShark recently launched a social token, $WHALE, which represents a prorated claim on his endless NFT Vault, the vast majority of which is made up of crypto-gaming treasures.
Sites like Dapp Radar and OpenSea are great places to keep up with growing demand along with trading volumes of in-game assets.
Looking at meme-backed events like the recent DOGE TikTok pump, there’s really never a dull day in crypto.