Axie Infinity, a monster-battling NFT game, has been gaining a lot of traction with over $600 million Axies bought and sold in the past month. Each Axie is a nonfungible token, or NFT, minted on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. Similar in theme to Nintendo's Pokemon series, Axies come in different rarity types, with varying strengths and attributes, with the strongest fetching very high prices on the game's marketplace. Players earn Smooth Love Potions (SLPs) by completing daily quests, defeating monsters and battling other players in arenas with their Axies. SLPs can then be sold in exchange for various cryptocurrencies.
Due to the high initial cost of buying/borrowing/breeding Axies, in-game guilds have formed as of late to fund players' upfront expenses, or offer scholarships, in exchange for their SLP earnings as they play. One such in-game guild is Singapore-based Crypto Gaming United, or CGU, which has close to 100,000 Discord users and regularly looks for new scholars in the official Axie Infinity Discord.
In a statement sent to Cointelegraph, Sergei Sergienko, co-founder of CGU, explained that players are not required to pay anything to start playing. Instead, CGU funds all characters/NFTs costs via a scholarship, which can amount to $4,000 per player. What's more, CGU provides education and mentoring for its partnered players to enhance their cryptocurrency knowledge and gaming skills. In exchange, CGU takes a 50% commission on players' earnings, some of which are issued to investors of the CGU token; afterward, 5% of earnings go to local management in the countries in which CGU operates, with players keeping the remaining 45%. In addition, the company is currently trialing a "pension plan" of 3% to 5% for its players as a social security initiative.
According to Sergienko, top players earn up to 680 SLPs per day on a net basis (after CGU's cut). The game time for top players is around six hours daily. Meanwhile, players on the lower end of the earnings can make approximately $120 for 60 hours of play each month. Even this amount surpasses the minimum wage for full-time work in countries such as the Philippines and Russia on a pro-rated basis, where Axie Infinity is very popular. CGU claims to also attract many Axie players from Cuba, Venezuela, Turkmenistan, Myanmar and African nations.
In addition to focusing on play-to-earn gaming, CGU also operates the crypto-freelancing platform LaborX. A collection of stories and testimonies from players partnering with CGU can be found on its website. With regards to long-term development for the CGU guild and its players, Sergei had the following to say:
"We also realize that play-to-earn may well be a passing phase, and as such, we are looking at the greater opportunities for all our people. We are hiring scholars with a view of what may happen after the hype. Having a freelancing platform and a massive education experience helps us with that."