Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn game, rewarding players for their efforts in the form of Smooth Love Potions (SLP) which can then be exchanged for cryptocurrency. However, there is a grand barrier to entry. In order to play Axie Infinity, you must hold an Axie, and they can be quite expensive. An Axie is basically an in-game creature much like a Pokémon that you would use to battle other monsters or players. These Axies however are NFTs, and as I mentioned, they can be very expensive.
So, who are CGU and what are these Scholarships?
CGU stands for Crypto Gaming United, it’s a Singapore-based in-game guild that boasts an impressive number of users on its Discord server, not far off 100,000 at time of writing.
The ‘scholarships’ it offers is basically CGU paying the initial expenses for ambitious players of the game, in exchange for this ‘scholarship’ the player forfeits 50% of their earnings to CGU as commission, and a further 5% of earnings are given to local management within their country of operation. The player is left with 45% of their earnings, which in some countries ends up being a pretty decent sum.
According to Sergei Sergienko, co-founder of CGU, top players of Axie Infinity earn up to 680 Smooth Love Potions each day after CGU have taken their cut. In countries like the Philippines or Russia, this amount surpasses the minimum wage for full-time work, and offers a different means of generating income so long as you obtain the CGU scholarship.
It’s an interesting system, and the play-to-earn nature of Axie Infinity with returns outpacing the minimum wage of a number of countries could have a major knock-on effect in the future when countries consider where to place their legal minimum wage.
Products or services are the backbone of any economy, and with a labour-force not technically ‘producing’ anything outside of in-game advancement, it’s a battle between internal wealth creation and an economy propped up by intangible goods.
Regardless of the effects on a large scale, the fact that CGU are giving people an option for work that was previously unobtainable is surely a good thing. Allowing people the opportunity to earn their livelihood even if it’s by playing an online game, is the most empowering thing you can do.