Sniper Spotlight with Michael Rubinelli from WAX Blockchain

Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) is a blockchain created in 2019 and was dubbed “The King of NFTs” by its developers. Since launch, it has become one of the most popular ways to buy video game assets, NFTs, and online digital collectibles.

In fact, with 23+ million daily transactions, it is one of the most used blockchains in the world. Currently, its ecosystem boasts over 30,000 dApps, and at the time of writing was ranked 9th on CryptoSlam for all-time NFT sales volume.

With a decentralized exchange that makes buying, selling, and exchanging in-game items from online games transparent, secure, and accessible, the purpose-built blockchain has earned a reputation as a top blockchain for Web3 games.

Last week, we caught up with Michael Rubinelli, the Chief Gaming Officer at WAX, to talk about a recent project called WUFFI, what makes the WAX blockchain ideal for Web3 games, and what we can expect from the blockchain in the future.

Here it is.

What is your role at the company and how did you get started in Web3?

I’m Michael Rubinelli, Chief Gaming Officer at WAX. When I think about my role at WAX and how I got into this whole Web3 and blockchain gaming space, it really comes down to one thing — a passion for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in gaming.

I’ve been lucky enough to work in this industry for 25 years now, collaborating with some truly incredible companies like Disney, EA, and THQ along the way. But there was something about the potential of Web3 gaming that really captured my imagination. And that’s what led me to WAX where I started off as Head of Studio before leveling up to Chief Gaming Officer.

At its core, my job is about helping to create games that give players a level of ownership and control that wasn’t possible before. That’s the beauty of blockchain gaming — it allows players to have true ownership over unique, digital items within the game.

These digital assets — whether they’re in-game characters, in-game currencies, weapons, skins, or other collectibles — are secured and verified on the blockchain. Meaning players can buy, sell, trade, give away and even take these assets outside of the game ecosystem.

I think this is the most exciting aspect of blockchain gaming. It’s not just about the gameplay itself but about broader economic implications. Where players are no longer just consumers but active participants and owners.

But of course, none of this would be possible without a few amazing partnerships. I’ve been fortunate to work with industry leaders — such as Amazon, Epic Games and Razer — to help bring our vision to life.

Can you tell us more about WUFFI and its community on WAX?

There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to WUFFI and its community on WAX. And the expansion to Solana is a big step forward for WUFFI.

WUFFI is meant to incentivize third-party game developers to create games with ready-made reach and utility. The response has been incredible. The initial $WUF airdrop saw a huge surge in participation and engagement across the board. It really showcased the appetite and enthusiasm for this kind of initiative.

At the end of the day, it’s all about incentivizing and supporting third-party game developers. By distributing tokens to a wide base of holders, WUFFI is able to create new audiences and ecosystems for games and in-game experiences.

WUFFI believes that by bringing together players and developers from different ecosystems, they can create something truly special and transformative. Our goal is to help WUFFI build this truly multi-chain ecosystem that empowers both developers and players alike.

So, if you’re passionate about Web3 gaming and want to be a part of something special, I highly encourage you to check out WUFFI.

Can you tell us about this airdrop and what the WUFFI team expects for it?

The WUFFI team is taking a snapshot of $BONK token holders on the Solana network and allocating a portion of the total $WUF supply to them. Specifically, WUFFI is earmarking 10% of the supply for this initiative.

To be eligible, Solana wallets will need to hold at least 25 million $BONK tokens that have been locked via the platform. This approach ensures a fair distribution while also rewarding those who have demonstrated a commitment to the Solana ecosystem.

We’re anticipating a significant influx of new participants and a lot of excitement around the WUFFI project as a result of this airdrop.

What does WAX bring to Web3 gaming? What is unique or special about the blockchain?

WAX is all about empowering businesses and entrepreneurs to tap into and capitalize on the massive potential of the global digital goods market. And let’s be clear — this market is absolutely booming.

As more people spend their time and attention on online entertainment, such as video games, social media, movies, books, and other pieces of content, demand for digital assets will only continue growing.

When we think about the potential impact of WAX on the Web3 gaming landscape, it’s important to consider the broader context of internet adoption and growth.

One of the most striking facts about the current state of the internet is that there are still billions of people around the world who are not yet online. In fact, it’s estimated that over the next five years, an additional 3 billion people will come online.

This presents an enormous opportunity for platforms like WAX that are focused on making blockchain and digital assets accessible to mainstream audiences.

As these new users come online, they’ll be looking for engaging and accessible experiences, both as Web3 users and entrepreneurs who are looking to engage with new audiences.

Gaming and entertainment are likely to be among the most popular and in-demand categories. And this is where WAX is particularly well-positioned to make an impact, as a blockchain gaming specialist.

What is WAX’s vision for the future of play-to-own gaming?

Some of the biggest projects on our platform come from the play-to-own sector. And we’re seeing new and innovative games emerge all the time pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

We believe that play-to-own gaming has the potential to unlock new economic opportunities for millions of people around the world.

And to make this vision a reality, we have to put players first and give them the right tools and resources to succeed. But we are also responsible for creating in-game value and scarcity so these assets have universal and long-lasting appeal. This means creating games that are not only fun and engaging to play but also offer real economic opportunities through features like in-game item trading, achievement unlocking and more.

We’re also exploring new and innovative ways to broaden access to the play-to-earn economy — such as through NFT renting and other mechanisms — to lower the barriers to entry and allow more players to participate.

Did WAX have a strategy during the bear market? What was it and were there any lessons learned?

No doubt, the crypto winter of 2022 and 2023 was a challenging time for the entire blockchain industry. But despite setbacks, we saw a strong comeback — a 12% increase in the number of wallets and over $600 million in VC funding across the sector.

At WAX, we saw this as an opportunity to refine our strategy and focus on what really matters — building great games that players love.

One of the biggest lessons we learned during that time was the importance of putting players first. So, we doubled down on our efforts to create games that put players at the center. We worked closely with our partners and developers, ensuring that every game on our platform was designed with the player experience in mind — from the user interface to the in-game economy.

As we look towards 2024, I’m excited to see AAA studios entering the arena. Games like Shrapnel have the potential to be real game-changers attracting traditional gamers with top-tier gameplay.

What are some of the top games on the WAX blockchain and what do you think makes them successful?

Brawlers, for sure! It launched on Epic Games Store, which was such a pivotal moment for our team because that was a big step forward towards mass adoption of Web3 gaming.

It’s a pro-wrestling card battle game that was co-designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering. Not only was the game fun, but it also had a few big names attached to it, which marked the beginning of a new era in Web3 gaming.

Alien Worlds is one of our top games too and my personal favorite. It’s a fun interplanetary metaverse game where players can compete to earn the in-game currency, TLM. I’m particularly fond of Alien Worlds because they also provide grants to players who are involved in activities that will improve the game, such as world-building.

This aligns with our core values as a Web3 gaming company to always put our players first and create an environment where they can also have a hand in contributing to the game. For instance, they offer grants to those who build the game’s lore that influences the game’s design and plot.

What role do NFTs play in blockchain-based gaming? What role do NFTs play within the WAX ecosystem?

NFTs revolutionize blockchain-based gaming by granting players true ownership, enabling buying, selling, and trading, and fostering interoperability between assets across various games.

All of these elements contribute to the player’s overall gaming experience. They empower players with irrefutable digital ownership of in-game items, creating a decentralized marketplace where users can freely transact.

Within the WAX ecosystem, NFTs serve as the backbone, providing players with the opportunity to transact with each other. We also prioritize interoperability, ensuring NFTs can be used across diverse games and platforms, amplifying their utility and value.

Overall, NFTs play a pivotal role in democratizing ownership, enhancing liquidity, and fostering a vibrant ecosystem within both blockchain-based gaming and the WAX platform.

What can we look forward to from WAX in 2024?

Looking ahead this year, we can expect continued innovation and growth within the blockchain gaming sector. I think we can expect to see several triple-A games being developed within the Web3 space. This is going to bring in new players from all around the world who may not be crypto-savvy.

Here at WAX, we may unveil new features or partnerships aimed at enhancing player experience and expanding our reach. We may also introduce exciting integrations with major gaming platforms or collaborations with renowned game developers. Our priority will always be to put our players first, so any big moves we make in the next few months will be guided by this motto.

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