Crypto games are moving away from play-to-earn to build robust digital economies

Episode 92 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block's Frank Chaparro and Sky Mavis Co-Founder and Growth Lead Jeff Zirlin.

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Last year, Sky Mavis’ Axie Infinity inspired an entire genre of ‘play-to-earn’ crypto games.

In recent months however, the volume of in-game NFT sales has been in decline as data from The Block shows: 

In this episode of The Scoop, Sky Mavis Co-Founder and Growth Lead Jeff Zirlin explains why he believes the core Axie community is stronger than ever, and how Axie Infinity’s in-game economy will become less reliant on speculative activity.

According to Zirlin, the key to developing Axie’s in-game economy “away from play-to-earn to something that's more play-and-own,” is to give people reasons to invest in the game for purposes other than pure speculation:

“We need to have emotional spending within these digital economies — people need to be spending for emotions that can be linked to the seven sins like wrath and greed, sloth… it can't it can't be everyone just coming in and expecting to get a free lunch.”

Although Axie’s NFT trading volume is down from last year’s highs, Zirlin points out that the current levels are still significantly higher than they were before the bull market mania of last year:

“People poured into Axie because it was the main thing that was working and the best product on the market. Now we're seeing a return to reality, but we're still at a much higher zone of adoption than we were prior to all the madness.”

During this episode, Chaparro and Zirlin also discuss:

  • How Axie Infinity is impacting the world of esports
  • Why Axie’s in-game economy is similar to emerging market countries
  • What new game mechanics are being introduced to develop user behavior

This episode is brought to you by our sponsors Tron, Chainalysis & IWC Schaffhausen

About Tron
TRON is dedicated to accelerating the decentralization of the internet via blockchain technology and decentralized applications (dApps). Founded in September 2017 by H.E. Justin Sun, the TRON network has continued to deliver impressive achievements since MainNet launch in May 2018. July 2018 also marked the ecosystem integration of BitTorrent, a pioneer in decentralized Web3 services boasting over 100 million monthly active users. The TRON network completed full decentralization in December 2021 and is now a community-governed DAO. | TRONDAO | Twitter | Discord |

About Chainalysis
Chainalysis is the leading blockchain data platform. We provide data, software, services, and research to government agencies, exchanges, financial institutions, and insurance and cybersecurity companies in over 60 countries. Backed by Accel, Addition, Benchmark, Coatue, Paradigm, Ribbit, and other leading firms in venture capital, Chainalysis builds trust in blockchains to promote more financial freedom with less risk. For more information, visit

About IWC Schaffhausen
IWC Schaffhausen is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Known for its unique engineering approach to watchmaking, IWC combines the best of human craftsmanship and creativity with cutting-edge technology and processes. With collections like the Portugieser and the Pilot’s Watches, the brand covers the whole spectrum from elegant timepieces to sports watches. For more information, visit

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