How much do crypto gamers make?

A look into player earnings from three popular crypto games on Ethereum

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Dear Crypto Natives,

Once upon a time this little kitty sold for $170k.

You can buy her for $138k today.

We’ve written about how to make money on crypto gaming before.

But how much do crypto gamers make?

Here’s what’s cool. Ethereum has the answers. We just need to crunch the data.

For instance—did you know?

  • The median CryptoKitty was worth $25 in late 2017 and now it’s worth $2.71?

  • 46% of Gods Unchained players have profited on their purchases?

  • The top crypto gamer made over $700k? 🤯

When I saw this data from FlipSide I knew we had to find out more—so I asked them, how much does the typical crypto gamer make?

They came back with with this article to help us.

Open digital economies are a wild new frontier…

- RSA


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THURSDAY THOUGHT

How much do crypto gamers make?

Guest Post: Rochelle Guillou & Angela Minster from Flipside Crypto

Before cryptocurrencies, it was impossible for us to prove a digital asset’s scarcity in a trustless way. While many online games attempted to offer an in-house currency, the supply and control of these digital assets were at the whim of the company issuing them. Your ownership of these coins could also be revoked or modified at any point in time. 

Crypto collectibles are the perfect illustration of how blockchain brings value, scarcity and self-sovereign ownership to digital games.

Crypto collectibles are non-fungible tokens. This means they are unique and cannot be interchanged like cryptocurrencies. Just like how all new tennis balls are fungible (effectively interchangeable), until one is signed by Roger Federer, and becomes a unique collectible. At which point you can make money by selling it. 

How much do people earn playing crypto collectible games? 

Last week we looked at gross earnings for three of the most popular Ethereum collectible games: CryptoKitties, Gods Unchained and My Crypto Heros. This week, we’re looking at individual player revenues.

Let’s count do a countdown of top earnings made by individual players…

The sums will make you want to reconsider your career choice.


#3...a GU player made $5k! 😯

One player made $5K by trading cards on Gods Unchained. 

Gods Unchained is a blockchain competitive card game. Players bought the cards they needed to play the game during the beta phase of the game. As of last October they can also buy and sell cards on an open marketplace. Unlike other online card games, selling cards on the blockchain gives the player full ownership of the cards they’ve purchased, that’s the beauty of bringing a traditional card game to the blockchain. 

You can play the game with the basic free pack of cards, but if you really want to win you’ll want to spend money. 

Game launched September 2018

  • Maximum net earnings: $4,580

  • Median net earnings: $5

  • Average net earnings: $45


#2…a My Crypto Heros player made $57k! 😲

One player made $57K playing My Crypto Heroes. 

My Crypto Heroes is a Japanese role-playing battle game that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. Users can play with historical inspired heroes, go on quests to find rare items, and battle against other players for rewards. 

You can get started for free but the game really gets interesting once you start acquiring new heroes and accessories for them. Like the other two games you can also auction the assets you own to earn money. Unlike the other two games, players also earn referral fees. 

Game launched July 2018

  • Maximum net earnings: $57,189

  • Median net earnings: $2

  • Average net earnings: $950


#1…a CryptoKitties player made $700k! 🤯

One player made $700K breeding CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties allows players to purchase, collect, breed and sell virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain. Each resulting cat is unique and rivalrous, which means they can only be owned by a single user at a time. 

You can’t play for free because you have to buy cats to breed them. Breeding new cats cost just the price of a transaction. You can then sell your cats for a small commission fee.

Game launched November 2017

  • Maximum net earnings: $698,887. 

  • Median net earnings: $53

  • Average net earnings: $1,307


Three Insights

Studying open gaming economies is a new science, but here are the top three things we learned from this data.

1) Not much overlap between games

We found only 105 players who had earned money in two different games, and none earned money in all three. The most common combination is players who earn money from CryptoKitties and Gods Unchained. 

We expected to see more overlap between the three games. 

2) Most players lost money (but a few gained big)

In each game most players spent more than they earned—they lost money. 

Here’s a breakdown of how many players made $$ per game: 

While a handful of players have made lucrative earnings from buying and selling web3 gaming assets, the majority don’t necessarily profit all the time. We may consider this fairly normal as it shouldn’t be expected for a majority of players to take the time to understand the nuances behind each game’s economy. They simply want to play the game and maybe make their money back at the end of the day. 

3) Game selection & timing matter most

Gods Unchained players were the most likely to make money—with 46.0% of all players profiting off trading cards; followed by My Crypto Heros at 41.7%. While GU and MCH players have a good chance of earning some extra ETH by reselling their in-game assets, players holding CryptoKitties have had a tougher time as only 22.3% of players are currently profiting. 

There’s a good reason behind this too. In 2017, the median price of a CryptoKitty skyrocketed to over $25 each. Fast forward to today and the median price per kitty has tumbled down to $2.71. With CryptoKitties surging into popularity amid the ICO bubble, many holders who flooded into the market were left in the dust as the value of their novel digital cats plummeted (along with the broader crypto market).

However, the massive inflow of capital in 2017 allowed CryptoKitties to become the most lucrative web3 game to date. According to our data, the average CryptoKitties player earned $1,307, compared to $950 from My Crypto Heroes and only $45 from Gods Unchained. 

The Broader Trend

Crypto collectibles and the notion of verifiable digital scarcity provides a new paradigm for the world of gaming and eSports. 

Dedicated players who take the time to understand the nuances behind the game’s respective economy can usually turn a profit (while having fun!). But the best players can make a living. 

And this trend is only beginning. Web3 games are starting to become fun. It’s no longer executing Ethereum transactions to breed cats (only to hold them and resell them). Games like Gods Unchained, My Crypto Heros, Axie Infinity are looking closer and closer to releases from professional gaming studios. 

The best part? It’ll only take one game to hit mainstream for Ethereum and DeFi to turn the industry on its head. Once there’s one, the rest of the dominos will fall. 

It’s only a matter of time. 


Action steps


Guest Author Blub

Flipside Crypto enables blockchains to live up to their full potential, by decoding and explaining blockchain behaviors. Our proprietary process extracts all of the data from blockchains and applies labels to transactions in order to identify and understand on-chain behaviors. The data is then streamed into our Business Intelligence Dashboards, to provide a clear view of real-time stakeholder behaviors and all asset flows.


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