Blockchain in Asia is yet to be a smooth-sailing affair

The gaming industry has joined the innovation bandwagon with technology innovations be it artificial intelligence, augmented reality or virtual reality. Blockchain technology has been the greatest contributor to the cause of bringing more transparency and trust in the gaming space. As industry is shaping up with more protected content through blockchain, more and more investors are joining the bandwagon. As per IDC expectations, blockchain spending in Asia/Pacific is estimated to  grow rapidly with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 59.8 per cent that will amount to a total of $3 billion over the 2018 to 2023 forecast period. “Asia/Pacific  blockchain technology investments are estimated to be more than $3 billon by 2023.The financial services sector will dominate the blockchain spending for the overall forecast period, with major investments towards tracking, tracing, and managing cross-border/international payments and settlements. Providing a record of transactions in payments between parties involved in the transaction is another focus area for the financial enterprises in the region,” said IDC Asia/Pacific senior research manager Ashutosh Bisht . For example at 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani expressed that they are looking at the technology maze of the country  and plan on to spreading the  blockchain technology all over India as it is their top priority now. “Using blockchain we can deliver unprecedented security, trust, automation and efficiency to almost any type of transaction. This is a vital capability for India especially for modernizing our supply chains for agricultural produce and other goods which form the lifeblood of our economy,”  Ambani added. Realigning its position with the government of India, Ambani also said that data is wealth and Indian wealth must remain in India. “Over the next 12 months in time, Jio will install across India one of the largest blockchain networks in the world with tens of thousands of nodes, operational on day one,” Ambani revealed. As India is getting ready with blockchain technology let’s see what is take of other Asian countries on this technology : Japan , Japan is the leading the blockchain gaming market from the launch of My Crypto Heros (MCH), in Q4  of2018, MCH has become the largest blockchain game in the world with over 17,000+ users on the main net.  In addition to that, Inoue is the game maker behind CryptOink, a blockchain-based game with crypto piggies that recently attracted 20,000 gamers. It is similar to Cryptokitties, but with more racing options, ie. gamers race, bet, breed pigs and compete in challenges. Blockchain provider TomoChain  Japan CEO Tran Ngoc Son said one of the biggest challenge of blockchain in gaming is’ ownership and liquidity of the virtual item’. Although Japan is in the front row of incorporating blockchain in  gaming, but the game developers are still working to improve the in game experience.  Animoca Brands director of strategic partnerships Gen Kanai, addressed, “As Japan is one of the top gaming markets and is quickly adopting blockchain into gaming, we can see numerous games in development today which we hope to enjoy later this year. We are happy to see the interest in The Sandbox and look forward to expanding the blockchain gaming community with this and our future games in development.” The Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA), a self-regulatory organization, last month released guidance for cryptocurrency custody operators. The guidelines stipulated the various responsibilities of cryptocurrency custodians and also suggested a virtual currency ranking that would ensure the safe handling of cryptocurrencies based on their specific characteristics. Recently at theTokyo Blockchain Game Conference one of the premium blockchain conferences in Japan has traction more than 300 blockchain enthusiasts, blockchain technology providers, blockchain payment platform providers and others to showcase and share their projects /upcoming  projects and developments,  to make the blockchain  experience favourable  for all. According to Kazuhisa Inoue, the CEO of Good Luck 3, “gaming and gaming economies offer a perfect fit for the circulation of tokens.” South Korea, In terms of blockchain usage South Korea is a step ahead. With only 1 per cent of the global population, the country boasts of upwards of 30 per cent of the world’s cryptocurrency trading platforms. In 2018, the Korean government legitimized the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry with a move to draft industry classification standards that “recognises crypto exchanges as regulated financial institutions.” South Korean tech companies have established platforms such as ONEStore that offer users access to decentralized blockchain-based applications like BUSKON. However, despite last year’s move, the stance of the South Korean government on blockchain and cryptocurrencies is still unknown. Among the tech firms around the world that have hopped onto distributed ledger technology (DLT), commonly known as blockchain, is South Korean internet firm Kakao. The company, which operates the KakaoTalk messaging app and is also involved in businesses such as gaming, mobile banking and others has embraced blockchain through a unit named Ground X. Ground X aims to build a platform in Asia powered by blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, by collaborating with companies with large user bases. The goal is to develop a “killer app” and make blockchain more accessible to regular and individual users. “We designed our blockchain platform, Klaytn, and optimized it for large-scale consumer service and enterprise use,” Han said, pointing out that at this stage the focus is on scalability and performance, in terms of processing speed and latency. Recently South Korean gaming industry representatives say that the government may have doomed blockchain gaming to oblivion – after a regulator banned Infinity Star, a game that makes use of Ethereum ERC 721 Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs). In addition the Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) expressed that the South Korean body tasked with policing the country’s gaming industry – denied a rating to Infinity Star, a game developed by domestic company NodeBrick. Games that do not receive a GRAC rating cannot be distributed in South Korea. Blockchain consultant Mira Kim told Cryptonews said “Many domestic gaming companies have already put a lot of money into gaming dapps (decentralized apps), anticipating that the government’s position on cryptocurrencies would actually be softening in the future. Honestly, I don’t know where this decision leaves them.” China , The  Chinese government  is holding the new law that restricts playtime and instils spending limits for the country’s 20 per cent of its online users aged between 8 and 16 years old. This comes at a time when Reality Gaming Group, a London-based blockchain, and AR gaming startup, plans to accelerate the development of its platform as well as other blockchain and AR games after signing a Memorandum of Understanding that gives it access to the Chinese market. Recently Tencent launched its long anticipated augmented reality (AR) game called Let’s Hunt Monsters, where users can cruise around streets and catch hundreds of virtual monsters, while rearing and trading millions of digital kittens stored on a blockchain. That essentially combines what Pokémon Go and CryptoKitties are known for. Although CryptoKitties, players essentially need to get ether – the world’s second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin – to trade those digital cats, and there is no easy way to do that in China after the government banned cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017. China’s Google Baidu unveiled a service where users can adopt, raise and trade digital pet dogs. The service, set to be unveiled ahead of the Year of Dog in China, is Baidu’s latest move in exploring the application of blockchain technology. In January, the company launched a blockchain platform to perform and trace transactions in applications such as insurance management and financial auditing. Baidu said in a statement that its digital dog product is currently under internal test. The company also reportedly has plans for a CryptoKitties-style game for China. CryptoKitties is live and they have about 250,000 players. Recently Chinese leader Xi Jinping declared blockchain “an important breakthrough,” and promised that China would “seize the opportunity.” He detailed the ways the Chinese government would support blockchain research, development, and standardization. Blockchain projects, from many of China’s most powerful companies, have already registered since last year with China’s Cyberspace Administration. HongKong Due to political unrest , HongKong’s Bitcoin volumes have seen an increase recently, specifically in Hong Kong on peer-to-peer trading site LocalBitcoins, The Block reports. LocalBitcoins users in Hong Kong seem to be turning to Bitcoin for its inherent censorship resistance, something they apparently need more than ever. The popularity of the blockchain-based card trading game spiked after revealing its stance on Chinese censorship when Blizzard (the company behind Hearthstone) expelled a gamer who showed support for the  Hong Kong protests in an interview. Although Blizzard later reduced its punishment on Chung Ng Wai (Blitzchung), Gods Unchained moved quickly to speak against Blizzard’s actions even promising to refund Blitzchung all his rescinded earning from Hearthstone. At the Blockchain Gamer Connects 2019 (BGC) , Cyberport chief corporate development officer Dr Stella Kwan, stated that Cyberport is actively fostering vibrant ecosystems for and promoting the growth of blockchain and esports. “Many companies are actively pursuing the creation of high-end gaming experiences based on a blockchain backbone. I have no doubt that all of the insightful talks, discussions, activities, and networking events at the BGC, and at the DESpark events that will take place during the next two weeks, will inspire more people to pay attention to blockchain, esports and digital entertainment, appreciate the possibilities and the prospects of these technologies, and take part in building this amazing industry,”  notes Kwan.  Blockchain technology enables publishers to embed rules into their tokenized assets that enforce a transaction fee upon each transfer of the asset, regardless of where that asset is being sold. Blockchain technology is solving the problem of scarcity of in-game items making gaming even more lucrative in the long run. However, there is still some time before blockchain  engulfs our continent.