Security is an important aspect of any kind of service that deals with objects of real value. In places like museums, security can take on the form of alarm systems, in banks, it can be provided by safes and strong online security of customers’ accounts, and in both instances, security guards patrolling the premises can permit or refuse access and watch out for any suspicious behavior. In the virtual world, while online security is definitely a must to protect against online threats like malware and hackers, blockchain technology can provide a level of transparency that goes beyond anything available until now. Online gambling and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) are examples of two industries blockchain could transform drastically.
Let’s start with online gambling. The activity itself is inherently divisive, with advocates saying people should be able to spend their money however they please, and that going after the dopamine rush is in human nature. Opponents of gambling, on the other hand, cite incidents of addiction gambling, and lack of fairness towards the player. Regardless, putting to rest worries that odds are manipulated to casinos’ favor is an issue that needs to be addressed to give the industry a better reputation.
Blockchain could be the one online gambling technology, which, in a very real way solves the most important issue for the industry – trust. This is because blockchain will store records of all games and bets, all the results, all the winnings and the amounts that were paid out by the casino. Not only this, but it will also possible to access the transaction history, verify that all due winnings were paid out and that the odds were not rigged.
The issue in MMORPGs is a little different. Players usually get the chance to earn virtual currency, which they can then exchange for goods such as weapons or skills that can be used to enhance gameplay or advance in the game. But there are also games like Team Fortress 2 and DOTA, where in-game items have real-life value. In those games, you can sell your goods to other players for real dollars. Yet a really interesting example is Entropia Universe; a game in which you buy the game-currency with real money, acquire and sell new items as you play, and when you leave the game you exchange your in-game currency for real dollars at a rate of 10:1.
As a gamer, you would obviously not want anything to happen to your Entropia items because they have a real monetary value. So what do you do if your account and all the items disappear? You can hardly report such an incident to the police, yet the feeling of having been robbed is completely justified – you’ve lost items worth real dollars after all. With blockchain, you might not have to do it at all because encrypted blockchain ledgers are not easy to break into. In fact, the process is extremely and time-consuming, and the price, no matter how many items for sale you’ve acquired, is most definitely not worth it. As long as your virtual items are in blockchain nobody will get to them.
Despite being inherently different industries with distinct needs, the application of blockchain to both online gambling and MMORPGs would solve some of the most important issues for both.