The Big Interview

Q&A: Jared Psigoda, Co-founder, BitGuild

Six months on from the CryptoKitties craze, momentum continues to build behind blockchain-based games and non-fungible crypto collectibles. Coin Rivet caught up with one of the companies looking to be at the forefront of this movement.

Coin Rivet: Tell us about yourself and how BitGuild came into being.

Jared Psigoda: I am a lifelong gamer who has been working in the gaming industry for over a decade. Originally starting off running a “gold farming” business for online games such as Ultima Online, Everquest and World of Warcraft, I later co-founded Reality Squared Games in 2010. R2 was a developer and publisher of free-to-play browser and mobile games, which we later took public in China in 2016.

I became involved in blockchain and cryptocurrencies in 2017 as an investor before realising the potential for combining blockchain technology with gaming after playing CryptoKitties. The most interesting aspect of blockchain technology for our industry is the ability for players to be able to own any and all of their digital assets. This includes any item that can be found in an online game, such as armour, weapons, characters, and more. This drastically changes the relationship between players and developers and allows for real ownership inside of virtual worlds.

It was with this in mind that we started putting together a team of top gaming and blockchain experts from around the world to form BitGuild. BitGuild aims to be a key player in pushing the blockchain gaming movement forward and has already taken significant first steps in doing so.

Coin Rivet: What have been the highlights and biggest challenges thus far?

JP: While we have had a number of highlights, including finishing our ICO in under a month and launching our platform four weeks later, I would say meeting our community and connecting with other thought leaders in the blockchain gaming space stand out the most. Over the last several months BitGuild has spoken at over 10 conferences and thrown several small meetups. During these events we spent a great deal of time talking with and getting to know our community, and in the process received valuable feedback and much appreciated support for our long-term vision of building a blockchain game distribution platform.

Through these events we also met with other blockchain gaming thought leaders and shared ideas on how best to implement blockchain solutions in gaming. These relationships and the learning gained through them have been integral in helping us improve our services, focus our vision, and create efficiencies to better achieve our goal of becoming the leading blockchain game platform.

With opportunities, however, come challenges, and the largest one facing BitGuild and the larger blockchain gaming community is adoption. Slow adoption has primarily been due to transaction per second (TPS) throughput issues and high blockchain transaction costs, making it difficult for traditional gamers to access the blockchain and providing lacklustre gaming experiences. The good news is that large portions of the blockchain community are diligently working toward improving underlying blockchain technology, so we believe these adoption blockers will be less of an issue going forward.

Coin Rivet: You’re aiming to disrupt the $100 billion+ a year gaming industry. But crypto-based games only really became popular at the end of last year with CryptoKitties. You say that the blockchain game market is poised to become a serious player in the next few months. What are you basing this on?

JP: We base this belief on the recent explosion of game developers wanting to implement blockchain technology in their games and the significant number of next gen blockchain technology companies that will be opening their solutions to the larger public.

On the developer side we have been contacted by almost 30 blockchain game developers over the last two months, and for each company that is making a game, there are two to three other companies that have expressed interest. On the next gen blockchain technology side, there are between five and ten Nextgen blockchain solutions that should come to maturity in the next 6 to 12 months. We believe these solutions will be instrumental in lowering the barrier to blockchain gaming adoption and making blockchain gaming a serious player in the larger games industry.

Coin Rivet: Critics of blockchain argue that it is nebulous technology, there is no real substance to the solutions etc being produced, and that cryptocurrencies are simply get rich quick schemes with extra math. What’s your response and would you say that blockchain is finally living up to the hype?

JP: The potential of blockchain has only just begun to be tapped, and as such the ways with which innovation will be built on it are often described vaguely as blockchain products and solutions are just now beginning to take shape. One thing, however, is for certain, the potential for blockchain technology to create transparent, trustless systems is anything but nebulous, and they will fundamentally change/simplify the ways people and companies interact in the digital space.

Regarding schemes we have to remember that blockchain is just a technology, and that it can be used for both good (e.g. game design innovation) and bad (get rich quick schemes). That being said, we believe that blockchain’s potential for good greatly outweighs its negative use cases and are committed to pushing adoption through games while educating our community about blockchain technology.

Coin Rivet: What can we next expect from BitGuild and where would you like the company to be 12 months from now?

JP: You can expect to see more quality games on the BitGuild platform (we hope to have 20+ games in over eight languages) and a large, vibrant community composed of both blockchain enthusiasts and traditional gamers (we anticipate 15K+ monthly active users).

We personally hope to implement several next gen blockchain solutions in the next 12 months with the goal of providing a superior gaming experiences to our players. At the same time, we hope to start creating industry standards with partners that will unlock blockchain’s true potential – the ability to make items and characters truly interoperable across multiple game experiences.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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