There was a time when the entire crypto and NFT spaces looked at Axie Infinity NFT as the single largest NFT project of all time in terms of trading volume. However, it has fallen on hard times during the past few months, no thanks to a declining play-to-earn economy and a $600+ million hack on Axie’s Ronin network bridge.
Over the past week, data from CryptoSlam showed that Axie Infinity NFT sales jumped 198% compared to the previous weeklong period. And although the $1.38 million worth of NFT sales is puny compared to the $100 million in weekly sales that Axie NFTs enjoyed last summer, the figure is a notable increase all the same.
Last Thursday, Jeff Zirlin, the co-founder of Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity’s developer, tweeted that approximately 22,000 Axie Infinity NFTs were sold during the previous 24 hours. According to Zirlin, that was a tremendous rise from the 7,000 Axies sold during the same period a few weeks earlier.
He added that downloads of Axie Infinity: Origin were on the rise and that 90% of Axie land owners had already staked their NFTs to earn AXS token rewards. Incidentally, the new Origin version puts a new battle system, visual upgrades, and other enhancements in place. In addition, the Axie land staking feature launched on June 30. And so far, as of this writing, the tally has gone up to 91%.
Zirlin capped off his Twitter post by saying, “Nature is healing.”
Axie Infinity NFT Transitions to ‘Play-and-Earn’
As implied, NFTs are used in Axie Infinity to represent game peripherals like unique Axie monsters that users can bring into battle and virtual land plots that players can customize and monetize in the future. Hence, the “play-to-earn” model.
However, towards the end of 2021, Axie Infinity came face-to-face with significant challenges, with its AXS and SLP token prices collapsing in light of the declining play-to-earn economy. And although both token prices are still dropping, the Ethereum-based game, which runs on the bespoke Ronin sidechain, is employing several changes to make its reward model more sustainable.
Philip La, Sky Mavis’ Game Product Lead, wrote in a blog post yesterday that recent media reports about Axie Infinity’s declining token and NFT prices were purely “misleading narratives” about the game. He clarified that the Axie Infinity NFT game is merely transitioning from its previous play-to-earn version to the new “play-and-earn” Origin version.
Currently, Axie Infinity: Origin can be played through a soft launch format where token rewards are not offered yet. There are talks that Sky Mavis plans to expand the game for availability in official mobile app marketplaces since Origin doesn’t require NFTs to play owing to its free-to-play starter monsters. According to La, the company is also in the process of hiring and building the Axie ecosystem through grants and other initiatives.
“The game still exists with major improvements rolling out regularly, and we will continue to come out with more games that apply all of the learnings we’ve had over time,” La wrote. “The narrative that we are in an existential state and running out of time is false.”
Everyone is paying rapt attention to whether Axie Infinity NFT’s short-term sales growth becomes an ongoing trend and if the game can rekindle the colossal 2021 fire it ignited. What is clear is that Sky Mavis seems to be still building with that shift in mind.
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