Recently I've happily stumbled into covering this emerging combination of gaming and blockchain technology. From Crypto Kitties to digital game platforms letting you mine and purchase games with alt coins, or developers adjusting the difficulty of their game by the fluctuating price of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency is invading gaming in a big way. A newcomer has the potential to be quite a phenomenon -- imagine if a mobile augmented reality game like Pokemon GO rewarded you in crypto coins. That's the basic premise behind Crypto Hunt.
"This is a bridge into cryptocurrencies that crypto has yet to see," said Joe Blackburn, CEO and Co-founder of Crypto Coin Trader, in an interview with Cheddar.
That bridge looks an awful lot like Pokemon GO, but it's easy to see why the developers are inspired by the model. That game got people outside, congregating, socializing and exploring. Parks were packed day and night. Facebook was littered with posts about it; a welcome respite from the usual politics and toxicity. People of all ages who'd never played a mobile game in their life turned into avid Pokemon GO hunters overnight.
For a brief flicker in the history of video games, it was a cultural shift.
Augmented Reality, Real Currency
Based on the documentation and initial trailer, Crypto Hunt resembles more of a treasure hunt than a monster hunt driven by pings and GPS. Players will visit in-game characters (like Professor Crypto) and be given clues on where to go next. Once players successfully arrive, they'll encounter a variety of chests and safes guarded by dragons and ghosts and traps that appear in the real world via augmented reality. Apparently we also need to be on guard for thieves.
Since Crypto Hunt will be driven in part by your location, it doesn't hurt that the current list of supported locations is plentiful. From America to Croatia to Lithuania. I'm sure the list will grown as the game grows -- especially given the lure of an explosive business model. It's probably no coincidence that my most popular article here at Forbes centered around businesses creating new marketing opportunities to cater to Pokemon GO players. In his interview with Cheddar, Blackburn revealed that they're already thinking about similar opportunities with local businesses around the world.
The developers clearly want Crypto Hunt to be the "gateway drug" into cryptocurrency, so the advantage of brazenly inviting visual comparisons of Nintendo and Niantic's mobile hit is obvious. A game with similar gameplay mechanics doesn't need much explaining, and lowers the barrier to entry even further. The lure of in-game tokens that can actually be converted to fiat money doesn't hurt its appeal.
I checked out the Crypto Hunt roadmap and it's certainly ambitious. First it's important to know that the "CH Token" in the game is an ERC20 Ethereum-based token. They aim to have it on all major exchanges by June 2018 when the game officially launches out of its current limited demo form. In July 2018 users can apply for a CH Token debit card which the company says is usable at 99% of the world's ATMs when it's ultimately issued later in October 2018.
There will also be an ICO (initial coin offering) on March 1, 2018 with a $15m hard cap, which the developers will use to further fund the game and its surrounding ecosystem.
It's worth noting the company's approach to the ICO in order to preserve the value of the token: "In the process of the ICO, all tokens will be distributed immediately, but they will be locked for 30 days after the ICO, and will be gradually freed up at a rate of 12.5% per week after that, to be 100% released on launch day (June 1st). This mechanic is in place to prevent a massive sell-off immediately after the ICO, thus dropping the token value dramatically."
In theory, this means the tokens you earn in this free-to-play mobile game by exploring your neighborhood or neighboring state could appreciate in value over time. It means you'd be able to trade CH Tokens for Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum. Suddenly millions of people new to cryptocurrency will be asking "what the hell does HODL mean!?"
[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]
Something I'm happy to see is the game already has an active Discord and Telegram, and they're fostering a strong sense of community by offering bounties to players who find bugs. Even rewarding them with tokens for coming up with clever marketing materials and promotional tactics for the game.
Crypto Hunt hasn't seen much mainstream news coverage yet, but I think this is one to keep an eye on.