Blending appeal to find success with gamified finance on Harmony
The rise of play-to-earn gaming and games intertwined with DeFi and NFT mechanics have become wildly popular of late, and DeFi Kingdoms is one of the rising stars. Not only attract these dapps record numbers of users, but they also knock on the door of mainstream customers looking for an on-ramp to crypto.
While it’s hugely accurate to point to stalwart Axie Infinity for driving the play-to-earn revolution, there are also unsung heroes in this space. Many of those dapps operate. Many unsung at a high level, scaling the DappRadar rankings that deserve mention and looking deeper at their specific path to success.
DeFi Kingdoms arrived on the Harmony blockchain on August 23, 2021, and describes itself as a game, a DEX, a liquidity pool opportunity, and a market of rare utility-driven NFTs. All played out seamlessly in the nostalgic form of fantasy pixel art and the timeless appeal of farming.
As mentioned, DeFi Kingdoms launched on the Harmony blockchain. As a blockchain solution, Harmony is in a perfect position to fit in with the multichain future of the blockchain industry. Harmony is fully EVM compatible, making it easy to move Ethereum dapps to their ecosystem. Ethereum dapps run on Harmony with 2-second transaction finality and fees that are 100 times lower. Users can smoothly move their assets using secure bridges from Harmony to other blockchains, for example, Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain.
Timing is everything
The team at DeFi Kingdoms has fundamentally built a decentralized exchange on Harmony that allows users to hold a monetary token and own a usable token with value, designed to give back to token holders in fun ways. Such as letting players build an operation, level it up to increase returns, and add daily quests to collect rare NFTs. Items that augment and impact the rewards and returns.
The game launched in late August 2021, just as DappRadar reported 1.54 million daily unique active wallets connecting to dapps during Q3. Furthermore, play-to-earn games continued to drive usage within the industry, with the number of unique wallets connecting to game dapps increasing by over 140% when comparing Q3 2021 with Q2 2021. Around that time Splinterlands became one of the most used dapps in the industry, increasing usage by a staggering 1,376% quarter-over-quarter. While Axie Infinity became the most traded NFT collection ever, surpassing $2 billion in historical trading volume.
The time was right for DeFi Kingdoms to make an impact.
The project’s early days saw impressive daily user numbers and trading volume as the platform found its feet. However, it wasn’t too long before DeFi Kingdoms started its marketing attack, and nailing roadmap goals. As a result, the JEWEL token, and DeFi Kingdoms caught the attention of those looking for the next big play-to-earn game.
The decentralized exchange at the heart of the platform allows players to swap tokens and become liquidity providers. These liquidity providers in turn earn fees when anyone trades those tokens. Alternatively, users can stake their LP tokens in the Gardens to earn more JEWEL.
Another feature is the Bank, where players can deposit JEWEL tokens to receive xJEWEL shares. The Bank will receive fees from the DeFi Kingdoms exchange and periodically do a market buy for more JEWEL tokens, meaning xJEWEL shares will always be worth more than a player put in. Plus, every in-game transaction made in JEWEL deposits a percentage into the Bank to further reward xJEWEL holders.
Putting JEWEL in the Garden to receive more JEWEL, providing liquidity to earn fees, the Bank and other DeFi mechanics were all working well, helping the platform grow to hold over $28 million in total value locked by the end of September. However, a game-changer came when the team wanted to add a bit of sword and sorcery to this DeFi fantasy kingdom.
Gen 0 Hero NFTs
The long-awaited Gen 0 Hero NFTs launched on September 30 with a total supply of 2,000. Heroes came with their stats and could be assigned to quests, earning them experience points and resources along the way. However, the real kicker, players could also use Heroes for yield farming and earning them JEWEL tokens. 11 minutes. That’s how long it took for the NFTs to sell out, as the Gen 0 Heroes brought more DeFi utility into DeFi Kingdoms.
Interestingly, The price of a Hero began at 1000 JEWEL, with the price increasing by 0.5 JEWEL for every Hero purchased. We can only speculate about stopping big spenders from trying to dominate the sale. JEWEL at that time was priced around $1.20, meaning a Hero cost around $1,200. If sold today for 1000 JEWEL, that Hero would be worth $16,360. There are many nuances to a Hero NFT, and they are not a simple avatar. They enable the holder to earn income and are therefore valuable.
They are summoned through a portal of dimensions, also known as minting. Each new Hero is unique, with virtually endless combinations of parts that make up each NFT. Players can also summon new heroes by combining genes from heroes already held to potentially end up with an extremely rare and valuable, tradeable NFT.
The launch of the Gen 0 NFTs pushed unique active wallets on DeFi Kingdoms from a total of just over 60,000 from launch to the end of September to over 154,000 in October alone. The platform continued to build on this success as the JEWEL token gathered momentum. Active wallets in November totaled over 273,000, and JEWEL grew to around $8.50.
The introduction of NFTs propelled DeFi Kingdoms to new highs. By the end of October, the platform was flourishing. Transaction volume leaped from $76 million in September to over $618 by October, rising again to over $943 by the end of November.
The hype around play-to-earn and blockchain gaming was peaking as we headed toward the end of 2021. Meanwhile, DeFi Kingdoms announced they had built a community of 13,000+ members on Discord, 18,000+ followers on Twitter, and 5,000+ members on Telegram. Additionally, the platform had crossed the $200 million mark in total value locked, all in under two months.
Around the end of October, the team announced that its NFT marketplace, also known as the Tavern, was about to go live in beta. Unleashing the power of NFT trading and its accompanying trading volume into DeFi Kingdoms. This would bolster the DeFi Kingdoms ecosystem even more.
The Tavern had been re-designed along with some new Hero cards. Arguably, its details helped set the tone of DeFi Kingdoms and helped bring the platform to life. The players’ ability to summon powerful and rare, potentially valuable cards also adds a lot of value.
The DeFi Kingdoms platform is, by this stage, building out a dapp with a real utility on Harmony. Users could jump in, and DeFi Kingdoms offered token swaps, an in-game NFT marketplace, yield farming, and staking. All wrapped up in a user-friendly UX.
From the end of October to the beginning of December, DeFi Kingdoms more than doubled its active wallet count, pushing past a quarter of a million to over 273,000 active users. Transaction volume grew from $618 million at the end of October to $943 million by December. They maintained the performance throughout December and rose again as we headed into 2022.
The launch of the Tavern plays a crucial role in DeFi Kingdoms’ success. Players can primarily buy, sell, and rent out Heroes and transfer them to friends and others. Here players are renting, buying, selling, and trading NFTs, which genuinely represent DeFi tools to ‘forage’ with—sending activity and trading volume through the roof—pushing DeFi Kingdoms up the ranks, tapping on the door of leading blockchain games such as Axie Infinity.
Not yet content, the team took things further in mid-December 21’ by launching on another EVM compatible blockchain, Avalanche, to offer the DeFi Kingdoms platform and a new token to Avalanche network users.
Kingdoms & Land
The next big tick on the roadmap will be the arrival of Kingdoms and land. There will be a limited supply of plots of land available for purchase. With players investing in upgrades for their plots that can provide more resources, adding buildings will eventually create passive income through rent.
Not all land plots are created equal. Some will provide more of one resource than another, based on the nearby forests, stones, and other resources. Some will be closer to the center of the map, requiring less stamina to participate in certain quests. Others will be closer to various dungeons and quests, requiring less travel time to complete those. Kingdoms can also be bought and sold in the real estate office. Additionally, owning land also allows players to forage for resources every day.
The arrival of land and Kingdoms adds a metaverse layer and further earning and creative utility to the platform. The second major phase on the roadmap will see heroes come to the world of Defi Kingdoms. They can be assigned quests that will earn holders’ experience, NFTs and JEWEL drops.
DeFi Kingdoms Summary
DeFi Kingdom’s rise to success has several critical elements to thank for its success thus far. As mentioned, the timing was everything and arguably the team could not have unleashed the platform at a more relevant time. As gas prices soared and users started to look elsewhere for opportunities, DeFi Kingdoms was perfectly positioned.
The launch of the NFT marketplace was a massive catalyst in both the numbers of active users and transaction volume on the platform, helping to cement the game as a serious contender with a strong roadmap and ambitions. In early January 2022, the team announced reaching a landmark $1 billion in total value locked, further showing the popularity of the platform and the play-to-earn genre more generally.
Expansion to multiple chains feels inevitable, with steps already made into the Avalanche ecosystem. With expansion should come more active wallets and transaction volume as more people come to understand the opportunities presented by dapps like DeFi Kingdoms.
The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds ETH, BTC, AGIX, HEX, LINK, GRT, CRO, OMI, IMMUTABLE X, ENS, GALA, AVASTR, GMEE, CUBE, RADAR, FLOW, FTM, BNB, SPS, WRLD, ATOM, and ADA.