You can now play Solitaire, Snake, and even Counter-Strike to earn Satoshis, tiny fractions of Bitcoin (BTC). Cointelegraph spoke with executives from Thndr Games, a game-to-earn (P2E) company built around Bitcoin and Zebedee, a gaming platform that will “transform gaming with the power of Bitcoin.”
Thanks to the Lightning Network (LN), a layer 2 payment solution built on Bitcoin, Sats instant microtransactions can be paid quickly to players around the world. “It really fills a need in the game,” Ben Cousens, chief strategy officer at Zebedee, told Cointelegraph.
Zebedee offers Bitcoin and LN support for popular games such as Counter-Strike: Go. They promote casual gaming and creating inviting environments that could “bring people to Bitcoin in ways that surprise them,” explained Cousens.
For THNDR, which released a Solitaire-style mobile game on Monday, rolling out popular and casual game types is also about bringing people into Bitcoin. They actively target players from emerging markets as well as female audiences.
Desiree Dickerson, CEO and co-founder of Thndr Games, shared some statistics with Cointelegraph during a call: “Sixty percent of all women in the world play games, and 60% of those women play games. mobile every day.”
On top of that, the game industry is bigger than the movie industry: about “2.6 billion people worldwide play games”, and in this segment, mobile gaming is the most popular. “That’s 60% of the entire gaming market, and it’s only growing,” Dickerson explained.
The release of Club Bitcoin: Solitaire is specifically aimed at the growing segment of the female audience:
“The mission is to get people into Bitcoin, but we’re never going to make a game that’s not a good game. We don’t just want to target Bitcoiners all the time. It’s about making a great game that contains bitcoin.
About 60% of Thndr Game users are located in the global south, a popular touchpoint for Bitcoiner businesses. Emerging markets suffer from unstable regimes, volatile currencies and weaker socio-economic development.
In this environment, Bitcoin the asset can provide an economic lifeline to many and thanks to near-instant payment rails and Bitcoin-centric gaming, Bitcoin the protocol now offers a means of escape as well as small economic rewards. At Zebedee, for example, the average transaction size is tiny, just $0.02.
Cousens told Cointelegraph: “Gambling, Bitcoin and lighting is a huge on-ramp for Bitcoin [adoption]“, sharing that Brazil is an important territory for their user base, followed by the Philippines – the two countries with emerging crypto adoption that is booming.
Additionally, both Dickerson and Cousens illustrated that gambling is a way to integrate people into Bitcoin without “ideology”. The Bitcoin and crypto spaces are rife with infighting, dipping, and gossip, while gaming — especially idle gaming — is a casual environment in which users can start stacking Sats.
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Thndr has successfully sent over 1.5 million awards to the LN and attracted a growing following of dedicated fans. All of its games on the Apple App Store have ratings of 4.5 stars or higher. “We think almost first and foremost about the pure enjoyment of playing,” Dickerson explained.
For Cousens, well aware of the risk of “hyperfinancialization” of gaming products, he explains that it is difficult to underestimate the role that casual gaming could play in the adoption of Bitcoin. “A bad casual mobile game has about 10 million downloads […] You get one or two games, you eclipse El Salvador.
El Salvador could onboard a total population of 6.4 million people to earn, save, and spend Bitcoin, thanks to the Bitcoin Law. Solitaire, by comparison, has 35 million monthly users, according to Microsoft. And it’s just one game.