Yesterday, I bought my first Axie team for personal use (thanks, CryptoShanks!). I’ve had a handful of scholars for a few months now and also recently invested in a fledgling breeding farm, but this is the first time I’m actually participating as a player rather than as an investor. In a remarkable coincidence, the $AXS price immediately broke past its ATH and is now sitting at $72.50, an 88% gain from last week. This year, I’ve been pretty good at making investments just moments before the big pump, but this one was pure luck I think.
My team cost a little over 0.6 ETH, and I spent my first hour reading beginner guides while stuffing around in Adventure Mode. Why did I decide to jump in this week? Two reasons. On a personal level, my NFTart has been doing well recently, and I wanted to use some of that income to learn the game more directly. But from a more macro level, SkyMavis announced some major changes on Monday that made me feel good about the overall prospects of Axie Infinity as a competitive game.
Here’s the headline. SLP earnings will now be effectively halved, with additional rewards only available in the higher competitive tiers. Most of the Axie population resides within the “casual” tier (these are players with MMR points between 1100 and 1300), and at this rank, players will see reduced earnings from all modes of the game. Previous daily averages were around 200 SLP, but it’s looking like that average will now be closer to 100-120. A competitive player can still hit 200+ SLP daily however, and based on the current leaderboard, the top 100 players are now starting to make their way over 1800 MMR.
Why did these changes make me more interested in the game as a player? Primarily because it emphasizes player skill instead of just “time-spent”, which makes the competitive ladder far more meaningful. I was less interested before because the average player was making roughly the same amount of SLP as an above average one. As someone who tends to become really analytical about these things (my gamer resume includes a couple of small tournament wins in the past) that just didn’t make sense to me. Also, I’m not willing to grind 24 hours a day. Sorry, managers.
But let’s go back to the “big picture” impact of the SLP change. In my last newsletter, I talked about expecting $80M worth of new SLP to flood the market between August 9th and August 20th. This would’ve come from the 200,000 new players who came online two weeks before that. With the SLP change, it’s possible that our forecast overshot by about $20M. But what impact will that actually have? When you combine the SLP supply reduction with the fact that $AXS is now over $70, you can expect new team prices to go up in the coming week due to higher breeding costs. In the meantime, axie prices in the marketplace actually fell on Tuesday following the announcement. I believe that it may have scared off the more casual groups that were hoping to just farm the game brainlessly, but that theory is impossible to prove.
A handful of international crypto news that I didn’t have time to dig deeper into today before publishing: The US Senate has REJECTED any crypto tax exemptions in their $1T infrastructure bill, which means that there will be further debate as the bill now heads to the House of Representatives. PolyNetwork has lost $600 MILLION worth of crypto, in the single largest hack the industry has even seen. This one deserves a longer essay, but I’m reserving that for when more details have emerged about how it happened.
I thought that the Optical Media Board saga was over after they took their website down on Friday. On Monday night however, a hacker exploited a vulnerability in their web portal (https://online.omb.gov.ph) and replaced it with a photo of, uhm, a male body part. I’m not going to republish the screenshot here, but I posted about it on Facebook on Tuesday. As of this Wednesday morning, it appears that the web portal is back to “normal.” I hope that they did a security assessment afterwards, because a breach like this means there’s a possibility that the hacker also had access to their MySQL database. That database potentially holds the names and contact information of all the people who ordered Trezors and Ledgers in this country … and if that’s not a treasure trove for cyber-criminals, I don’t know what is.
Stay safe out there, cryptofam! See you all on Friday.