Blockchain is a term that existed for a while but has only recently started trending in gaming circles. Here is what it means and how it might impact gaming in the future.
What is blockchain?
In the simplest definition of the term, blockchain is a digital ledger that contains records and provides security for them. It was made for use in recording transactions between two parties while offering a way to verify the transaction in a way transparent to everyone involved.
Why is it called blockchain?
The records it keeps are called blocks and subsequent records are linked to the previous ones, like in a chain.
How does blockchain provide security?
Blockchain design inherently makes the records highly resistant to editing and one of the reasons is that editing a record means all the subsequent ones will be altered as a consequence.
Advanced math and the linked nature of blockchain ensure that software processes required to modify a transaction will require obscene amounts of computing power. In short, it would be too much time, resources and effort to be worth it.
Furthermore, transactions recorded by a blockchain are end to end encrypted, meaning only the involved parties have access to the communication. Anyone trying pull data from the communication will have a hard time attempting to do so.
What is usually traded in blockchain transactions?
Blockchain was literally invented to serve cryptocurrency trades. The latest cryptocurrency craze is owed to NFTs , which are most likely to become widespread in gaming. You will need to understand NFTs to see how blockchain has an impact on gaming in the future.
How do blockchain and NFTs translate to gaming?
Blockchain transactions use something called smart contracts, which are programs or transaction protocols that handle the fine print of the transaction, in order to ensure both parties get what they agreed upon.
Smart contracts essentially replace the middleman in a transaction and drop the associated fees you'd have to pay. All the aforementioned things considered, this means you could trade video game NFTs for currency in a transaction where only you and the other party can see communication while having the insurance that everyone gets what they want.
If video gaming evolves in that direction, this could mean we would be able to trade in-game assets in a widespread manner. We have already seen such things happening in games like Entropia Universe but the popularisation of blockchain and NFTs could potentially lead to developers making different game universes where we, the players, could sell and buy assets from each other.
Considering today's relative obscurity of the concept and the fact that developers would need to accept a business model where transactions could exclude them, it is safe to say we are still some years away from blockchain and NFTs becoming mainstream.
But hey, this means that, theoretically, someone could actually own the Sword of a Thousand Truths in the future.