Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn (P2E) crypto game, reached new heights in 2021, with massive increases in transaction volumes and income, as well as millions of new community members. But, as we approach the midway point of 2022, the question remains: Is Axie living up to the hype?

Sky Mavis, Axie’s parent business, introduced the app in May 2018, but it didn’t gain traction until the second part of 2018.

“2021 was a year of growth and growing,” its co-founder Jeff “Jiho” Zirlin told TechCrunch, “while 2022 is a year of developing, deploying goods, and offering better and more accessible gameplay experiences.”

Zirlin said that he used to travel to conferences and talk about Axie until he couldn’t speak anymore. It now goes without saying that it is one of the largest and most well-known play-to-earn games in the crypto world, according to him.

“We had this incredible development cycle that placed us on the map and provided us all the resources we needed to convert this into a decades-long adventure,” Zirlin explained. “I believe we’re currently in the process of putting up the items that will propel us into the next growth cycle.”

Axie Infinity is a crypto-focused game world and platform containing animals, or Axies, that players can purchase or acquire as pets and then use to combat, breed, and nurture for cryptocurrency rewards.

According to statistics from Token Terminal, Axie’s completely diluted market value was over $16.7 billion at its peak, and its total income from in-game purchases and market fees paid was $364.4 million in August 2021. The market cap has declined 19.76 percent to $13.4 billion since its peak, while total income has dropped 99 percent to $2.5 million in April 2022, according to the statistics.

“Crypto is highly cyclical, and there are periods when you have to build and times when you have to expand,” Zirlin explained. “You can’t have constant exponential development; there has to be a refractory phase.”

According to REKT Database, Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network experienced a vulnerability worth at around $625 million earlier this year, making it the greatest crypto theft to history. Sky Mavis collected roughly $150 million in a financing funded by crypto exchange Binance shortly after the theft to reimburse victims.

“We made errors because we were pushing for greater adoption,” Zirlin said. “I believe the entire event from last month will be remembered as a badge of pride for those who went through it.” “It’s difficult to consider counterfactuals, but the obvious solution here is to invest more in Ronin’s security and make that a priority [going forward].”

Despite the fact that its market cap and revenue have dropped significantly from their peaks, Axie is still flying much higher than it was a year ago — according to Token Terminal data, Axie’s market cap is up 228.3 percent and total revenue is up a whopping 50,950.8 percent from the same time last year.

The game is also attracting new players. Axie Infinity: Origin, a free-to-play version of the game, was released last month in an effort to appeal to more people who might want to try it out first, according to Zirlin.

“Having free beginning Axies is a significant moment for NFTs,” Zirlin said, “because people may fall in love with the IP and world and test it out to see whether it’s for them before making major financial commitments.”

Over 700,000 Axies are for sale in the game’s marketplace, with some going for as little as $8 (0.003 ether) and others for hundreds of thousands of ether (billions of dollars) (though that doesn’t imply they’re being bought at that price; someone out there is pushing their luck).

On April 24, 2021, the community had roughly 45,000 Axie holders, and by April 24 this year, that number had risen to 2.55 million, according to Zirlin. He also mentioned that the game’s daily active users (DAUs) increased by 2,926 percent from 38,000 to 1.15 million in the same time period.

In general, play-to-earn games need an initial bitcoin investment of anywhere from $1 to hundreds of dollars, while others are free to begin with. Through in-game actions and prizes like as more bitcoin, an NFT, or the value of their initial investment growing, the play-to-earn ecosystem allows gamers to create more value for their investments. P2E encourages users to earn incentives and exchange objects for value in addition to having fun, unlike traditional games.

The crypto gaming sector has seen a slew of funds debut in the last year, ranging from GameStop and Immutable’s $100 million joint fund for gaming NFTs in February 2022 to decentralized blockchain TRON’s $300 million fund to invest in GameFi in August 2021. Framework Ventures has announced the launch of a $400 million blockchain gaming fund in April 2022.

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