The Worldwide Asset eXchange Token Main Sale is opening today. Many experts agree that this could well be the last big sale of 2017. What makes WAX so special in today’s cluttered and noisy token sale market? A number of things, but most importantly -- the industry in which it operates. WAX is ready to disrupt one of the most lucrative markets in the world. Over 400 mln gamers worldwide currently trade “skins,” making up an industry that is currently worth over $50 bln dollars. These “skins” are virtual goods which customize the way certain in-game objects, such as characters and weapons, look. Although skins have been part of the gaming community for a long time, trading them has gained massive traction only in recent years, but many problems remained -- that is, until WAX came along.
Skin trading: a background
In-game skins have been around for a long time. In essence, a skin serves a single purpose: it makes items and characters within the world look unique. The value of an extensive collection of skins is very similar to the value of a collection of shoes or baseball cards in the offline world. They are a source of pride for the owner and a source of respect and envy for others within the community.
Up until 2011, gaming skins could not be traded -- they were only available through a random drop in the game. Steam changed everything that year by giving people the ability to trade skins with each other when they announced the Steam Trading Beta for Team Fortress 2 (then the game with one of the highest player bases on the platform). Once the popularity of the beta became apparent, the Steam market opened in 2012, associating skins with particular monetary values for the first time.
However, there was a significant limitation: any money earned in the Steam market was confined to the Steam market, meaning that you could not use this money anywhere else. This became a noticeable issue once various skins became highly sought-after items. Although a wide variety of skins are traded for a few cents or a couple of dollars a piece, a significant minority of them can trade for hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Many online gamers saw this lock-up as a significant hindrance and took trading out of the Steam Marketplace and into the realm of peer-to-peer trading, only to be faced with a much bigger problem: fraud.
Gamers today rely on centralized online marketplaces to trade their items. This means that gamers rely on third-party service providers for these transactions. They consign their goods to a marketplace where the goods are kept safe until the transaction is processed. OPSkins is the largest of these virtual asset marketplaces in operation today and is growing at a rate of 200,000 new users register on it every month. OPSkins provides a space where gamers can trade items with the knowledge that sellers and buyers aren’t going to get scammed.
Ripe for Blockchain disruption
OPSkins has eliminated user risk through careful management of its platform, but some significant challenges to company and industry growth remain. The virtual asset trading industry, as constituted today, cannot unleash its true potential for growth. While platforms like OPSkins allow users to trade with incredible efficiency within a single platform, the centralized nature of the service does not allow virtual goods traders and gamers to transact outside the platform with the same level of efficiency and security.
There are several major reasons for this, including a lack of liquidity within smaller virtual goods trading sites, the lack of a common trading method for different games that prevents assets being traded on a directly exchangeable basis and the lack of sufficient variety within buyers and sellers to ensure a market for every potential virtual good. While centralized marketplaces work well, they only work to a point.
Decentralized marketplaces seem to be the solution to OPSkins’ scalability challenges. However, decentralization comes with its own set of obstacles. Decentralized marketplaces are difficult to launch. Without an Application Programming Interface (API), there’s no standardized way of trading between games, which makes things confusing and complicated. Additionally, setting up a trading interface is not a cheap venture, and high costs discourage many would-be entrepreneurs from selling their virtual items independently. Because of these barriers to creating a cohesive decentralized marketplace, it’s proved basically impossible to generate a large enough base of buyers and sellers which could ensure the level of supply and demand needed to have a functioning market.
WAX: the next big thing
To unleash this market’s full global potential, the team behind OPSkins is launching WAX – the Worldwide Asset eXchange. WAX is a peer-to-peer trading protocol for the virtual assets market. It innovates on a foundation of Blockchain technologies and smart contract tokens to allow buyers and sellers to trade efficiently without the need for middlemen. Importantly, it draws on its founding team’s experience to cater precisely to the market’s needs, resolving some of the industry’s most pressing problems.
WAX enables anyone to operate a fully functioning virtual marketplace, with zero investment in security, infrastructure or settlement. With the inclusion of WAX’s simple marketplace widget, video gamers will have access to a worldwide market, with Blockchain trust and transaction verification. The WAX widget can be integrated into any website so buyers and sellers won’t have to navigate away to a centralized marketplace. This opens up an opportunity for a wide array of websites to reap the benefits of an already exciting market. This means that users are brought out of silos and become free to reap the benefits of a global market.
What really sets WAX apart from other tokens is practically guaranteed large-scale adoption. Not only will WAX leverage the existing OPSkins user base, but they also announced their partnership with payment giant Xsolla, who will accept WAX as a form of payment. Xsolla is a global distributor and publisher of video games, providing clients including Twitch, Steam and Ubisoft advanced technical tools to optimize user acquisition and monetization efforts. By accepting WAX, Xsolla will help further advance cryptocurrency adoption by the 400+ mln strong gaming community.
The demand for WAX Token is apparent: the project has already raised over 139,000 ETH in its public Pre-Sale and Gamer Exclusive sale. Pantera Capital, HyperChain Capital, Galaxy Investment Partners, Fenbushi Capital, Kinetic Capital and Kyber Network, to name but a few, have all expressed interest in this project. Industry thought leaders, such as Ethereum Co-Founder Anthony Di Iorio and legendary game developers Dave Anthony and Brian Fargo are active supporters of this project.
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