Over the last few months, OPSkins has announced the integration of tradable items for 21 non-fungible token (NFT) games.
Unfamiliar with NFTs? Read on for details about what they are, how they work, and why they’re safer and easier to trade than items that you’re used to trading.
What are NFTs?
NFTs are blockchain-based tradable items, usually for use in online games (but not always). CryptoKitties are perhaps the most well-known NFTs since the game went viral in late 2017, but there are hundreds of different types. Each NFT is completely unique – there are certain characteristics of each individual token that make it different from other similar tokens (think Battle-Scarred vs. Factory New, or a regular basketball vs. a basketball signed by LeBron James).
Since each NFT can be distinguished from each other, this creates scarcity and therefore the value of each token can change considerably from one token to another.
Why is owning NFTs better than owning other tradable items?
NFTs can never be subjected to trade holds, banned, destroyed, or duped.
Let’s use a familiar example. Say tradable items for your favorite FPS game are created by a single entity, such as a game publisher. This game publisher creates all of the items, and doesn’t publish the circulating supply of each item, so you have no idea how many of each item there are out there.
This game publisher also gets to decide who you trade the item to. If they don’t like who you’re trading with, they can ban your account, and all of your items on your account are gone because this centralized entity decided that they don’t want you to have access to them anymore.
This game publisher also decides that they don’t want you to be able to trade your items as often as you like, so they hypothetically implement a trade hold, let’s use a 7 day trade hold in our example. So now you have to be careful who you trade with, and even when you are you have to wait 7 days.
It doesn’t seem fair, right? It’s not. You bought or earned these items. They are yours. Why does a centralized entity get to decide what you do with it?
With NFTs, ownership is decentralized, so your items can never be banned, destroyed, replicated, or subjected to trade holds. Owners of NFTs truly own their items since they are blockchain-based, and there is no centralized entity controlling the existence of your item.
How are NFTs created?
NFTs are created through smart contracts and blockchain technology. When a specific set of criteria is met, a smart contract is created.
For example, say you are playing a blockchain-based game that allows you to “breed” two characters to produce a third character. You would select your two breeding characters, and then pay the associated fee. This information is then entered into a smart contract. The smart contract has been coded so that once the terms are met – breeders selected, fee paid – a third character is created.
There is no central party that determines which character is produced – just the smart contract. And since it was created using blockchain technology, everyone has access to see the history of the item creation for all NFTs. The scarcity of a particular NFT can be proved by viewing the transaction history on the blockchain.
How are NFTs traded?
NFTs typically are traded on the Ethereum blockchain. However WAX and OPSkins strongly believe the future of NFTs will change how digital items are traded and to whom, and so we’re dedicated to making NFT trading easier, cheaper, and faster than its current format.
The first way we’re doing this is through WAX ExpressTrade. Rather than wait for Ethereum blockchain delays (2+ minutes depending on the traffic volume), and pay transaction fees of up to $5 per transaction, ExpressTrade allows OPSkins customers to trade NFTs instantly and for free to other users.
Another advantage is that ExpressTrade users can trade any NFT for any other NFT. For example, an OPSkins customer can trade their CryptoKitties to another ExpressTrade user in exchange for VGO items and vice versa.
The next phase of NFT trading on ExpressTrade is the use of the WAX Blockchain. Once this blockchain, a variant of EOS, has been completed, ExpressTrade will migrate from OPSkins’ servers to the WAX Blockchain. In addition to transactions remaining instant and free, this move to the WAX Blockchain offers all the advantages of blockchain technology, such as transparency.
Additionally, the WAX Blockchain enables NFTs to have access to the WAX Blockchain Bridge Service, which allows owners of NFTs to transfer items to and from other blockchains. You can read more about the WAX Blockchain Bridge Service here.
Since both WAX and ExpressTrade are open source, there will be tens of thousands of sites that operate using the service. This not only encourages the trading community to thrive, most importantly it means that your items cannot be lost because they’re built on top of a blockchain.
NFT developers will have access to the open source WAX ExpressTrade API, enabling game developers to integrate the service into games and applications. The API allows real-time trading with its millisecond delays – making games a reality, now.
Why buy and sell NFTs from OPSkins instead of directly from the game?
Right now it’s approximately a 10-step process to purchase Crypto Collectibles from the game, and Ethereum is the only acceptable form of payment. For example, see the process below for purchasing a CryptoKitty:
It’s cumbersome, time-consuming, and not user-friendly to players unfamiliar with purchasing Ethereum. But on OPSkins, a simple four-step process gets you your CryptoKitty.
And — perhaps most importantly — you can pay with WAX, bitcoin, dozens of fiat currencies, and several other payment methods offered on OPSkins. This is compared to most NFT games, where the only payment method accepted is Ethereum, and where a third party wallet like MetaMask must be used.
Trading NFT items is faster, easier, cheaper, and safer than trading digital items that are controlled by a centralized third party. The future of OPSkins is based on buying, selling, and trading NFTs through ExpressTrade, and eventually the WAX Blockchain.
More than 20 NFTs will be integrated to OPSkins in the near future, and we are working with many others to become the go-to marketplace for NFT traders.
We look forward to an NFT-driven future with you. If you have any questions, reach out to us on twitter.