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How Play-to-Earn (P2E) games connect real money with in-game currencies

How Play-to-Earn (P2E) games connect real money with in-game currencies
Jordan Major

The gaming industry has become a major section of the world’s entertainment industry, with billions of people connected to it in one way or another. In fact, data suggests that 35% of the world’s total population are gamers. With video games being a massive part of today’s culture, their popularity continues to draw people in daily. As the gaming industry started to look for new technological horizons, it started combining with the blockchain.

Blockchain technology has touched multiple industries, and games have a particularly large amount of potential in this sector. Blockchain’s speed, security, unique products, and the fact that it can connect money with games are quite revolutionary, as it offers gamers to earn while playing. This led to the development of the Play-To-Earn (P2E) model, which is a part of the majority of blockchain games today.

Money in the gaming industry: From “Loot Boxes” to P2E

Games and money have had a long and sometimes controversial history with one another. Of course, it all starts with the fact that games cost money in the first place, but then game developers started coming up with additional things that gamers can buy. At first, they thought of creating a DLC (downloadable content), which adds more to the game, usually new quests, areas, and additional content.

Then, developers started offering new items gamers could purchase individually, such as gear and weapons. This first appeared with online multiplayer games, but as time went on, developers started making massive games that forced players to grind to achieve something while also providing the alternative — advancing through levels by purchasing things. The so-called loot boxes — bundles of weapons, gear, and other content — were quite controversial, as they offered those with money to buy more advanced weapons and armor.

Many felt like this was an unfair advantage, especially in competitive games. Even today, video games allow players to purchase new in-game items, although many are only for cosmetic purposes.

This is why the blockchain-based P2E games— or Web3 games, as they are now called — became an instant hit in a short period of time. Blockchain games allow players to earn by playing. In other words, they are not asking for money but giving it to you, the player. This instantly started attracting people to blockchain games, and the gaming sector blew up. 

In-game currencies and how do they compare to cryptocurrency and CBDC

Of course, every game has its own currency: points, bottle caps, gold coins, credits, silver, or something completely different. In-game currencies are acquired by looting in-game areas, selling items to in-game merchants, and alike. Once you collect enough of the currency, you can purchase new gear, upgrade your existing one, pay NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) to teach you skills, and so on.

The problem with in-game currencies is that they have no use outside the game. You cannot transfer them to a different game, withdraw them to some kind of wallet, or convert them into real-world cash. They are simply there to be used within the game, and once you finish the game or get bored with it, that money is forgotten.

The crypto industry changed that with its own games by allowing you to earn actual money in the form of the game’s cryptocurrency. Once you collect some of it, you can still use it to purchase in-game items, but you can also withdraw it from the game and use it in another game, or exchange it for another crypto, or even for traditional currencies. Imagine playing a game, earning some amount of its currency, and then withdrawing that and converting it into dollars, euros, pounds, and alike.

Well, with blockchain technology, this is not only possible — it is doable.

How does the P2E model allow you to earn cryptocurrency while playing games?

Earning money in crypto games is fairly easy, and all you need to do is complete certain daily tasks, play the game, reach milestones, defeat opponents and other players, and so on. It all depends on the game and differs on a case-to-case basis. 

However, the idea is the same — you interact with the game, and you get a monetary reward for doing so. Some games may even let you find and sell certain in-game items in order to earn money. These items are typically sold to other players, who are willing to pay in order to own them. 

At first glance, this might not seem to be different from loot boxes, but the fact is that you are not paying a major gaming company to obtain these items, but another player, instead. 

Essentially, community members support other community members and receive something in return. Perhaps the item that one player purchases from another might help them more efficiently complete tasks that will help them earn even more money. Or, it might simply be for aesthetic purposes. No matter what the item is, if one player has it and wishes to sell it, they can do so, provided that they find a buyer.

Earning NFTs by playing blockchain games

The crypto gaming industry has become quite close to the non-fungible token (NFT) sector. While NFTs emerged as a way to tokenize digital and physical items and make collections or sell works of art and other items of value, it quickly became apparent that one can use NFTs to claim ownership of in-game items. 

For example, in some Web3 games, you can purchase an NFT, which would then grant you a character, a weapon, or some other in-game item. Assuming you purchased an animal/creature companion, you can breed different creatures and create new NFTs. Of course, this would only work in games where such mechanics exist, but there is no shortage of those.

You can also find or win NFTs that grant you ownership of items, which can then be taken from the game to specific NFT marketplaces, where you can sell the item for crypto or fiat currencies. In other words, there are many different ways to profit from Web3 games, simply by interacting with them and doing some buying and selling or completing tasks that the game rewards you for performing.

What can you actually do with NFTs and cryptos earned in games?

For the most part, cryptocurrencies earned within any P2E game can be used within the game, withdrawn and exchanged for a different crypto, or used as an investment if you believe that their price will go up with the game’s popularity. The same is true for NFTs, which can be withdrawn to specific NFT marketplaces where you can exchange them or just sell them directly to others.

However, there are also marketplaces for different in-game items, such as — a marketplace that allows users to buy and sell video game goods. For example, you can buy OSRS GP, or Old School RuneScape Gold, as it is also called, which is the virtual currency used in the Old School RuneScape Game.

 Buy Old School RuneScape Gold. Source:

Notably, Eldorado is a marketplace that doesn’t own or sell the items that are listed on its platform. It simply facilitates transactions and resolves potential disputes between buyers and sellers while focusing on the safety of transactions and users receiving goods, as advertised.

With platforms like that out there, you can easily buy and sell anything from Web3 games, be they cryptos, NFTs, or other kinds of in-game items. The ease of use of such platforms means that players have a reason to play beyond simply a great experience.


There is no doubt that P2E is becoming a huge aspect of the gaming industry, to the point where it started attracting even some of the larger traditional gaming corporations. Names like Square Enix and other gaming companies have already revealed their interest in launching games on the blockchain or using NFTs and P2E models in their future releases. Meanwhile, for the gamers themselves, this represents an opportunity.

The point of bringing real-world money into games is to improve your experience and give something back for your support instead of just asking for more and more money from you. Web3 games wish to give something back to the gaming community and make the experience better than ever before. 

With different marketplaces and the possibility of earning coins directly — and all that while you are having fun with your favorite game — it is clear why the P2E sector has grown to become extremely popular and is developing rapidly.

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