The Asian Fintech Podcast: Bridging the Gap Between Play-to-Earn and Esports With Beryl Li
YGG Co-founder Beryl Li spoke to Asian Fintech Podcast about how YGG helps anyone get access to play-to-earn games by renting out the in-game assets for players.
The Asian FinTech Podcast explains how technology is reshaping the financial sector through its discussions with rising entrepreneurs like Earl Valencia, co-founder of Plentina, Chia Jeng Yang, co-founder of Fintech Angel Operators, and people at the forefront of developing technologies related to investing, digital currencies, financial literacy and inclusion, and peer-to-peer finance in Asia.
The podcast is hosted by Nattariya “Nat” Wittayatanaseth and Michael Waitze. Nat is an Investment Associate at Monk’s Hill Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in early-stage tech companies, primarily Series A, in Southeast Asia. Michael Waitze also has his own podcast, Asia Tech, and has a podcast production company Michael Waitze Media.
This episode of the Asian FinTech Podcast features Beryl Li, Co-founder of Yield Guild Games (YGG).
Beryl and Nat talk about what has made the play-to-earn model successful and how games are starting to incorporate it within their infrastructure. They also speak about how YGG is exploring the esports scene with BITKRAFT, the world’s first gaming, esports, and interactive media-specific investment fund. They also discuss what the post-pandemic job market will look like as more play-to-earn games enter the space.
The following is an excerpt from the discussion. Listen to the full podcast here.
Nat (6:49): If we go back to the business model between the old generation of gaming, which is usually “free-to-play,” where anyone can just go on the game and can start playing Candy Crush or Fortnite, but how these games are actually monetized is by having the users pay for extra items or accessories that they want. And critics usually say that it’s a “pay-to-win” model, meaning that people actually have to pay for items, so they can get advantages over other players. But now with NFTs and gaming, there is this new world of “play-to-earn.” So what is it and how does YGG fit into that?
Beryl (7:48): The concept is that you spend time playing a game and you start earning in-game rewards in the form of cryptocurrency, which can be converted into fiat cash. A good example of a play-to-earn game is Axie Infinity. Last year, each NFT or Axie would cost you $50, so $150 for a full Axie team. But right now, because of a surge of demand for playing these games, these NFTs have gone up to $1500 for a team of Axies. But with these three Axies, you get to enter a game and spend time to collect in-game rewards called SLP or Smooth Love Potion. Through exchanges that list SLP in the Philippines like BloomX, you can also start converting it into ETH, and cash out through Coins.ph. Our players normally cash out once a month by earning SLP. They normally cash out between 40,000-60,000 pesos, so that is about $800-$1000 a month.
Nat (9:04): That is a sizeable amount for people in the Philippines, right?
Beryl (9:08): Yes, especially during this pandemic, where a lot of people are unemployed or underemployed.
Nat (9:13): What are the key components of YGG that make this concept happen? What are the main components that have to come together for this ecosystem to work?
Beryl (9:24): Last year, we raised $1.3 million from a seed round. With that funding, we started buying in-game assets from various games, including Axie Infinity, and we also started investing in nine other games that will follow suit. It just so happened that Axie Infinity became really popular, and there is an entire phenomenon of players cashing out rewards because of Axie Infinity. Axie is the first successful game on the blockchain, and it is proving that the play-to-earn phenomenon and tokenomics really work. Because the play-to-earn economy is new, we are really seeing new development in the play-to-earn ecosystem. We are seeing a number of games flourishing as well that will be releasing early next year, and there will be more games following Axie Infinity’s tokenomics. It is really important for us to diversify and invest in these games that have the same economics as Axie Infinity because we have a community of players and we get to see the responses of our players of which games they spend more time playing, and we double down on these NFT assets that we believe our players really like, so it is important to us to invest in these games.
Nat (11:04): So in esports there is usually an agency that signs exclusive rights with particular players to play for them and form teams together. Do you see yourself doing something like that, but for NFTs?
Beryl (11:19): Absolutely, yes. So after our seed round, we raised our Series A round where the lead investor was BITKRAFT. And BITKRAFT will be helping us build the esports component within YGG, which we are really excited about.
Nat (11:42): Nice, so when is it going to launch?
Beryl (11:45): I am not sure yet, but it is something we have been planning and mapping out hopefully, really soon because we are seeing a number of players that are turning really competitive. It is a great way to earn more SLP rewards when you actually turn these players into even better players.
You can check out the full podcast on Spotify.