After realizing that pet ownership doesn’t gel well with a career that calls for constant travel, Emfarsis Director Leah Callon-Butler found a giant hole in her life where her pets used to be. This was when she started becoming extremely obsessed with her Crypto Unicorns. She first became fond of the project as a player and later became an investor and adviser. Now, every chance she gets, she whips out her phone to show off her Crypto Unicorns collection.
In her opinion piece “2023 Predictions: The Year of Web3 Pets,” Leah compared her experience with her Unicorns with pet games from the 1990s such as Petz and Tamagotchi. This virtual pet trend evolved to allow customization and socializing with other virtual pets and owners in online communities. Owners felt a sense of ownership over their digital pets, but the ownership was limited to the confines of the platform.
Web3 pet owners tick all the boxes: They care about property rights, they put more value in than they extract, and they aren’t abandoning their beloved NFTs just because of a dip in the market. For these reasons, they will also place significantly higher expectations on the projects that they back and won’t hesitate to air their pet peeves over the current lack of true ownership, security, transparency, good governance, interoperability and composability in this sector.
— Leah Callon-Butler
Blockchain-based software, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs, allows for the decentralization of internet-based platforms, enabling digital pet owners to have greater control over their pets. This is in contrast to web2, where virtual pets are confined within the platform they were built on and can be lost if the platform is shut down. The concept of ownership is critical to our relationship with pets, and this is where web3 provides a better solution.
The co-founder of Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity, Jeffrey “Jihoz” Zirlin, was also an early advocate for NFT pets and envisioned Axies to be virtual pets. In August 2020, Jihoz talked about the potential for the virtual pet market to capture a portion of the real-world global pet-care market, which is projected to grow to US$326 billion in 2028.
However, at the time, few people knew what an NFT was, and most who got into Axie from 2020 onwards thought of Axies less like pet ponies and more like workhorses meant for hard labor. It was play-to-earn that ended up catapulting Axie into the mainstream, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions were left desperate for income. However, as the web3 space matures and grows, pioneers like Jihoz remain optimistic about the future of a web3 digital pet economy.
Read the full article here:
“2023 Predictions: The Year of Web3 Pets” by Leah Callon-Butler
Published January 5, 2023 on CoinDesk
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