After Minecraft’s announcement of banning NFTs from one of the world’s largest games in 2022, it dealt a significant blow to a specific blockchain project: NFT Worlds. Fast forward two years, and the rebranded Hytopia is now gearing up to make its mark independently, potentially challenging the dominance of Web2 gaming giants.

Originally, NFT Worlds operated within a customized Minecraft server, where they minted and sold rare pieces of in-game land as NFTs on the Ethereum scaling network Polygon. These digital parcels fetched prices reaching tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of ETH on secondary marketplaces, amassing a staggering trading volume of around $163 million before the ban came into effect.


While NFT Worlds faced skepticism from certain quarters, with critics questioning Minecraft’s stance on third-party creators monetizing in-game content, ArkDev, the pseudonymous co-founder of NFT Worlds, informed Decrypt’s GG that the game’s end-user licensing agreement (EULA) did not expressly forbid the use of crypto technologies on third-party servers at the time.

ArkDev asserted that they had engaged with Microsoft’s EULA team before the ban announcement, with Microsoft showing curiosity about their technology usage without raising any concerns. However, communication abruptly ceased, leaving NFT Worlds blindsided by the subsequent ban.

“We were left in the dark,” ArkDev remarked. “They just wouldn’t reply to us anymore. We were like: OK, cool. I guess we’re just getting a backhanded smack in the dark. We’re not even aware of what’s going on.”


Rather than succumbing to adversity, NFT Worlds opted for a strategic pivot.

Subsequently, the project embarked on developing its own game rather than relying on a centralized behemoth with a closed ecosystem. The revamped game, now known as Hytopia, is on the verge of release—and its creators are simultaneously launching their own blockchain platform, Hychain, to empower other game studios to create on it. Additionally, the project has introduced its own token.

Hytopia will take a significant stride in this direction by initiating a Hychain Guardian Node sale this weekend. This sale mirrors the model utilized by Xai, a layer-3 gaming chain operating on the Ethereum scaling network Arbitrum, which conducted a large-scale airdrop in January benefiting node key owners. Like Xai, Hychain is also based on Arbitrum technology.

Hychain will sell NFT-based Guardian Node keys starting Saturday at a price of 0.1 ETH (about $340), though the price will gradually increase over time as each tier of keys is sold.


A total of 50,000 keys will be made available, with users operating the network software qualifying for a share of 250 million TOPIA reward tokens over the next three years. Guardian Node operators will also benefit from a portion of 25% of all network transaction fees.

Similar to Xai’s Sentry Nodes, the Hychain Guardian Nodes monitor the network and must verify the state when challenged. ArkDev mentioned that while their current utility is relatively limited, an upcoming Arbitrum network upgrade anticipated within three to six months will enhance their importance, allowing users to actively support Hychain as it expands.

Xai’s Sentry Nodes key sale generated substantial revenue for the network, and Hychain’s sale has the potential to achieve similar success. For ArkDev, this approach enables users to invest in supporting the network while receiving rewards for their contributions, aligning all incentives around the network.

Following the node sale, Hytopia itself will soon become playable, with ArkDev estimating a beta launch in early April. Described as a blend of Minecraft and Roblox, Hytopia offers a familiar blocky, pixelated voxel vibe with increased flexibility for gameplay and creation within the world. Players can create and share their own games and worlds, similar to Roblox, with Hytopia being freely accessible to everyone after the beta period.

Virtual land purchased during the NFT Worlds era will retain value in Hytopia, albeit for different reasons. Instead of scarcity, NFT owners will enjoy various perks focused on developers and content creators. These perks include lower fees for selling in-game content, enhanced visibility for created games, and TOPIA staking rewards. While ownership of these NFTs is not mandatory for content creation in Hytopia, it offers a more advantageous deal for serious builders.

Although Hytopia may find it challenging to shake off its association with Minecraft, ArkDev is optimistic about its potential to establish a model for supporting in-game item trades, a practice often conducted in black markets within Web2 titles. Leveraging blockchain technology, these trades could be seamlessly integrated into the game, providing developers with a share of the sales. ArkDev believes that if this concept gains traction, it will pique the interest of Web2 developers in adopting the technology.

“We see this as the major opportunity,” stated ArkDev. “Once it’s validated, we anticipate many traditional Web2 games adopting and building upon this model.”