Blockchain games as technology showcase? Good or Evil for Ethereum?

The strong point of blockchain is trust and public control, and therefore the strength of Ethereum smart contracts is that they can be applied in areas where strong trust is necessary: voting, trading, and so on. This definitely should work, but is not getting a lot of traction at least so far, especially for the general public.

Then there are games. On the one hand, games does not equal gambling. On the other hand, since blockchain allows convenient transfer of value, and any transaction has a cost, blockchain games that don't involve transfer of value just make no sense. Why do people play CryptoKitties? Because they like playing breeding cats and paying for that? Hell no, that's because they want to get an expensive cat and likely sell it. Playing for money? That's the definition of gambling. Investment gaming? Investment gambling? But that was what got people to use Ethereum more, it got MetaMask more popular, that's a real application and that's generally good. So is it Good or Evil at the bottom line?

Here's another example I ran into: etherjack.io. They made an intricate penny auction on Ethereum. Looks like a casino, but if you read the rules, it's actually a trustless penny auction. They are collecting ether for the prize fund, and are going to launch as soon as it's collected. Gambling? Kind of, like everything else.

They used blockchain to solve the problem of non-transparent and rigged penny auctions. I'm sure when they finally get that prize collected and actually start the game they will make some hype and attract new people to use Ethereum and actually perform some transactions and see how it works. Good or Evil?

Projects like this highlight the power of smart contract: when coded right, people can trust value to a piece of software, and be sure it delivers on the promise, and nothing can be rigged. This never was the case in real life where it's easy to use power and influence to obscure anything no matter how big it is. On the blockchain it's the opposite, every small detail is public.

Is games (involving playing for value) what will make Ethereum mainstream (Good)? Or will all those projects create a bad public image to it (Evil)?

Submitted February 06, 2018 at 07:46AM }
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