NFTY #45: open(ish) ecosystems

Coachella Airdrop, Snap's Bitmoji Party & Tencent's new blockchain game

The NFTY News tracks the ever-evolving narrative of how the mainstream will enter crypto through user applications. In each edition I explore non-fungible tokens, dApps, and the ecosystem affecting consumer crypto applications.

Andddd we’re back after a week’s hiatus. Tons of cool things happening this week outside of crypto, but it looks like we’re starting to see the convergence of closed & open ecosystems.

The event experience is changing

Coachella is starting to use airdrops to distribute collectibles... sort of? Childish Gambino was airdropping shoes at Coachella, using the iPhone AirDrop feature. Attendees who accepted his request of a photo for shoes received a free pair of his unreleased sneakers. Between digital swag being used at events and ephemeral crypto wallets being used to transact with points of interest, there’s some potential here to change the event-going experience drastically.

Snap & Tencent’s Open(ish) Ecosystem

Snap made a big pivot into gaming & entertainment with the launch of Bitmoji Party. It’s the birth of Snap progressing towards an open ecosystem - content creators create engaging, interactive content with games leveraging avatars as the main interoperable item. In Bitmoji Party, players play games to earn coins which unlock different dances in-game, and it’s likely these coins will be used to purchase exclusive clothing down the line.

The other big release last week was Let’s Hunt Monsters by Tencent in China, taking inspiration from both Pokémon Go and CryptoKitties. Players catch monsters in real-world locations, breed them together, and earn coins to be used as discounts in retail locations around China. It remains to be seen if this conflicts with Apple’s microtransactions guidelines, but it’s safe to say something is brewing.

Last year, Snapchat tested the waters of gaming with the launch of a global Easter-Egg Hunt. Users collected eggs in real-world locations racking up points against their friend. The most interesting thing here is that Tencent has a 17% stake in Snap. It’s clear Tencent sees potential in leveraging Bitmoji and Snap as a gaming platform to create a powerful moat, even with Snap’s growth slowing as Facebook continues to copy its features. Snap sees a way to escape the copycat phase by now moving to an open ecosystem to battle the behemoth.

The big question I’m thinking about: If Tencent’s private blockchain takes off with a host of blockchain games, does it make sense for Snap to become a major player in this open ecosystem, as far as a validator?

With Snap’s Bitmoji moat & Tencent’s arsenal of gaming publishers, it’s possible that Bitmoji can be the avatar across games within Tecent’s blockchain. Influencers, brands, and content creators can create digital clothing & dances for Bitmojis and be paid out royalties on every purchase. I wrote about this topic around this time last year.

The social platforms in Web2.0 are gearing up for their final season… and it looks like some of the big closed ecosystems might end up as open ecosystems.