As the world discovers more ways to implement blockchain technology, the billion-dollar gaming industry is leveraging the technology to bring transparency, trust and ownership of digital assets to players. A new vision for blockchain games is emerging — one that aims to bridge the gap between virtual worlds and reality through user commerce.
This notion is being demonstrated by blockchain game developer Uplandme. On May 21, Uplandme announced a partnership with Linden Lab’s Tilia division for leveraging Tilia Pay to enable fiat payments for virtual properties traded within the Upland game marketplace. Currently, the virtual San Francisco properties listed on Upland are traded and purchased by players using the in-game cryptocurrency UPX. Upland’s co-founder, Dirk Lueth, told Cointelegraph that when Upland was initially built, the goal was to create an ecosystem representing a real-world open economy. He said:
“Upland is a virtual version of Monopoly. It’s a trading game based on the EOS blockchain that features real-world addresses in San Francisco. These addresses are all tokenized as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which can be traded and bought using the in-game cryptocurrency, UPX.”
However, in order for Upland to flourish into a truly open economy, a monetization method that would allow players to earn real-world commerce was required. Upland was launched in January 2020 with the promise to exchange in-game tokens for fiat money, which has now become a reality.
According to Leuth, Upland’s vision of a functioning open economy is now achievable through the partnership with Tilia. Linden Lab initially created Tilia Pay to support commerce for its Second Life virtual world, which conducts 1.5 million transactions per day and has an annual GDP of over half a billion dollars. Upland represents the first third-party customer for Tilia, which serves as a registered money service provider and licensed money transmitter.
Upland’s co-founder, Idan Zuckerman, mentioned that the service from Linden Lab will finally allow players to obtain real-world value from digital goods earned through in-game purchases, adding:
“We strongly believe that the future of games and digital property is true ownership; giving players full control over the digital goods they spend time and money acquiring and allowing those goods to retain value in a fair and open marketplace. This partnership helps us fulfill that true ownership promise.”
Bridging the virtual world with reality
Tilia CEO, Aston Waldman, told Cointelegraph that allowing users to extract real-world value within virtual worlds greatly increases engagement, benefiting both players and game developers. Yet in order for this to be achieved, Waldam explained that regulations and licenses are required to move real-world value:
“Tilia has licenses in every state in the U.S., which gives us a unique advantage since no other company has this currently. This is what allows us to move real-world value, like…