Zima Red ep 62: Gabby Dizon

The Future Of Gaming With Yield Guild Games

Primer: Gabby Dizon is one of the prominent figures in the blockchain gaming space. In this episode, we trace his history from his involvement in the Axie Infinity community to the founding of Yield Guild Games. Especially touching is his vision for a play-to-earn world where people own their digital assets and master their own financial destiny.

Origins

  • Been around computers all his life. Played a lot of PC games, RPGs, first person shooters

  • After graduating, he joined the team that went on to release the first game in the Philippines

  • Founded a studio called Altitude Games in 2014 with 4 other co-founders. Made casual games for Android and iOS phones

  • In 2017, they heard about Ethereum and smart contracts and wanted to see how blockchain could disrupt the game industry

What attracted him to crypto

  • The concept of programmable money of Ethereum

  • With his background of knowing how databases work, he found an immutable ledger interesting

  • Permanent ownership of game assets as NFTs

Applicability of blockchain to the Gaming world

  • Has been part of several shifts in technology

  • Was there when the concept of the Apple app store was launched. At launch, there were stupid apps on it, but knew it was revolutionary

"And we couldn't figure out then but we knew it would really change the game industry."

- Gabby Dizon

Technological Paradigms in Gaming

  • When he started, PC and console gaming were taken seriously, but not mobile games

  • Eventually, mobile games and social media started taking off. The rise of the free-to-play games

  • Industry began to take mobile games seriously and entered the space

  • Some games have characteristics that are suited for the blockchain (MMOs)

  • Games currently are in silos (e.g. Clash of Clans and Call of Duty each have their own ecosystems)

"I mean, there's several characteristics that you would want to use blockchain in game. I think for most is that having a sense of kind of a global economy, I think MMOs are the best example for this where you know, games like EVE Online or World of Warcraft, you have different currencies, you may have different resources. And if you want to, for them to have value, I think the best thing is to store them on chain and let players be able to trade them freely. And if you store them on blockchain, players have sovereign ownership over these assets and are able to cash them out. And yeah, that's just a game changer where it's never really been possible in the games before."

- Gabby Dizon

Yield Guild Games (YGG)

How he got started

  • Shipping a racing game built on Decentraland

  • Became close to the team and community at Axie Infinity

  • Axie Infinity invented play-to-earn. Players earn Smooth Love Potions (SLPs) when they play the game and win. They need SLPs to breed their axies. This reduces asset inflation

  • Rise of Uniswap and people can now swap SLP for Ether and then swap Ether for fiat in their home country

  • Really relevant to a lot of people in the Philippines. Unemployment rate was almost up to 40% as people got retrenched due to the pandemic. People were desperate and some people were playing Axie Infinity and turning their SLP winnings into Philippines pesos

  • Had around 800 axies at that time. Sold axies to people who were coming in and wanted to earn. Gave them axies and said that they could repay him once they have earned enough SLPs. They paid him back within a month

"And people in the rural Philippines in the city of Cabanatuan. They found some people there that were playing this game Axie and actually turning their winnings, their SLP winnings, into pesos, Philippine pesos. And that was really amazing. And the best part there was that they were actually earning more money, playing this game earning SLP and cashing out to pesos than they were from the jobs that they were laid off from."

- Gabby Dizon

Assembling the team behind YGG

  • Did yield farming with co-founders at that time

  • Started YGG with Beryl Li and Owl of Moistness

  • Beryl Li: Friend of his. From TradFi to Crypto

  • Owl of Moistness: Technical Co-Founder. Good friend from the Axie Community

  • Had to shift his thinking. YGG is a start-up/crypto network, which is very different from a company

  • Company is more structured; crypto network replaced that structure with incentive systems

  • Slow to grow the team, need to find people who fit

Platforms that YGG is active in

  • Main bulk of operations on lending NFT assets so that people can earn money. Predominantly through Axie Infinity

  • Started investing in assets in other games as well. E-sports team in F1 Delta Time

  • Two estates in the Sandbox game

  • Made some early-stage investments into games like Illuvium and Star Atlas

  • If they identify a good game, they will come in to invest and buy the assets and lend them out to players

YGG Operations

  • People can hop into the discord, see a list of games, choose to participate in the games of their choice, and contribute

  • For example, they have a 86 plot estate for League of Kingdoms. They created a token to fractionalize ownership of the estate. Instead of buying the plots directly, people can buy the tokens to own a fraction of the assets

  • Snapshot page set up for governance

Sustainability of the yield

  • Focus on play-to-earn tokenomics system that is not dependent on handing out governance tokens

  • Having a tradeable tokenized game resource with its own natural supply and demand (like SLP) is more powerful than incentivizing based on governance tokens alone

What they have done well

  • Axie Scholarship Program

  • Instead of the players working for the system, they are actually working for themselves

"So now we have I think, over 2500 Axies, and over 700 people around the world who are earning SLP. And these are, you know, from very diverse places, not just the Philippines, but Indonesia, India, Venezuela as well, where SLP is, I think, more stable than their local currency."

- Gabby Dizon

A YGG Token?

  • There's a token in the future, but no confirmed date yet

  • Token is an index of all assets that they have across all games

  • Currently, each game has its subtokens representing the value of the assets in the game

  • YGG itself will be the mother DAO - DAO of DAOs of each game

  • 45% of their token supply will be allocated to the community. Community will earn the token through community mining

  • Community Mining: Token launch —> Players claim Guild Badge NFT —> Play games and complete quests —> Receive YGG token

How does YGG receive the yield from Axie Infinity?

  • People in Axie Scholarship Program earn 70% of the SLP that they produce

  • Community Manager in charge of recruitment/training earn 20%

  • 10% goes to guild which pays for gas fees and associated costs

Managing platform risk

  • Has many different games, so that insulates them from platform risk

  • Size their bets based on the growth of the game (more traction, more investment there)

5-10 years vision for YGG

  • Best collection of yield-bearing assets in the metaverse and want those same assets to be used by their player base

"We want our player base to basically own as much of the network as possible. We don't want the token holders mostly to be VCs. We want the wealth to be redistributed to the people who are actually playing these games. And honestly, like we want to improve a lot of lives around the world for people who have not been able to access these opportunities as an investment class before. So we want to be one of the greatest wealth levers that the world has ever seen."

- Gabby Dizon

If you could snap your fingers and instantly enable some cool functionality, what would it be?

  • Trustless NFT lending

  • Currently, we are using in-game lending functionality. What he would love to see is trustless lending at the protocol/ERC Standard level

"It might be that you want to borrow some wearable avatars that you would use for a party in Decentraland or in Somnium space and then return it after the party."

- Gabby Dizon

  • Easier to rent out NFTs once trustless lending can be done at the protocol layer

  • People want to earn a yield on their digital assets, especially land in those virtual worlds. Land is scarce in good projects and crypto funds and whales may buy these lands and make them out of reach of individuals

  • A brand could also be building a temporary installation and don't need to buy the underlying land. They will just be renting it for a month or two

On the Metaverse

Main Use case for Virtual Worlds

  • Last 15 years, we interact using social network websites

  • As tech and VR improves, we want to view other people inside virtual worlds

"So if I can hang around, if I can have a meeting, or you know, I just created this group called crypto science fiction book club, where we discuss the kind of latest mind blowing sci fi book, I want to be able to sit down on, on a conference room, maybe in Decentraland, or in Somnium Space, and discuss the latest book that we read. I think it would just be mind blowing, especially in the last year, due to COVID. Like, haven't been to many conferences, I've talked to a lot of people like you over, you know, over zoom over Hangouts. But this having a sense of presence is something that people naturally crave. And as we spend more and more of our time online with, you know, with people that we deal with from around the world, I think it's just going to happen more in the context of the virtual spaces rather than kind of websites."

- Gabby Dizon

What will he be doing?

  • He will be dedicating the next decade of his life to building an open metaverse that is interoperable and has open standards

  • Blockchain is the fundamental building block of the open metaverse

Effects of the Metaverse on Society

  • The Metaverse is a parallel economy to the physical one

  • A lot of jobs are moving online and to the metaverse

"And like part of the thesis with Yield Guild is that a lot of these jobs are just going to move online, they're going to move to the metaverse, and they're even going to move towards different game economies where you don't just need players, you need fashion designers. You need programmers, you need people who can like design, avatar fashion, for example. So there's just going to be a huge influx of new jobs in this new economy."

- Gabby Dizon

Will people stop consuming physical goods?

  • The shift has already started

  • People are not buying as many watches and cars ever since they are stuck at home, but are buying CryptoPunks and Mystic Axies

  • Increased automation and more people will lose their jobs. They will look for stuff to do online that makes them money

Cool things he has done

  • Has a very rare Axie called Almace. Fractionalized it on a protocol called Niftex. Listed it at 40 ETH as a token (ALMX), and it went up as high as 800 ETH at one point

  • Teamed up with friends to put up an 88 NFT collection of Hash Masks and fractionalized it on a protocol called Unicly. The token is called uMASK

Narra Gallery

  • Started collecting crypto art in 2019

  • Bought a Josie Bellini NFT and sold it for 10 times the amount a year later

  • Started collecting in a big way during the pandemic. Helping the careers of the artists by his purchases

  • Joined the 100x art district which is a group of crypto art collectors that decided to buy a huge estate in Decentraland and basically make a gallery district

  • Put up the Narra gallery, which is the National theme of the Philippines to show their heritage

Nifty Fund

  • Small fund put together with a couple of friends to do investing and experimentation with NFTs

  • Bought into b20 very early on

  • Participated in a Justin Blau (aka 3LAU) auction

News/Updates to share

  • Release of a documentary on NFTs. Recounts the story of the people of Philippines being saved by play-to-earn from playing Axie Infinity in the early days of the pandemic

Favourite NFT

  • Almace. It's sharded but still his favourite NFT. It's an Agamogenesis Axie and is more unique than a Mystic Axie. There are only 3 Agamogenesis Axies in the world

Most Controversial Thought

  • A lot of NFTs in his collection won't have value 10 years from now, which he is okay with

If you could improve one thing in the space

  • More people to collect with a long-term mindset. A lot are impatient about making money

World of NFTs in 3 years

  • Mainstream gaming industry taking NFTs seriously

"So at first people are gonna hate it [NFTs], they're gonna laugh at it. And they're gonna realize that they're actually late to the trend. And I expect NFT is to be not just a store of value, but also store of status for a lot of people."

- Gabby Dizon

All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Summaries are prepared by The Reading Ape. While reasonable efforts are made to provide accurate content, any errors in interpreting and summarizing the source material are ours alone. We disclaim any liability associated with the use of our content.