What is Worldwide Asset eXchange?
WAX, in a nutshell, is a decentralized exchange. More in depth, a blockchain capable of hosting different marketplaces, effortlessly run by users, as decentralized exchanges. Why decentralized? The lack of security, transparency, and efficiency that centralized exchanges have demonstrated has brought about a strong demand for decentralized exchanges. And these continue to evolve.
How is WAX different from other projects like Etherdelta or IDEX?
Where most other decentralized exchanges, if not all, are expensive, slow and limited to the blockchain upon which they are running, WAX facilitates cross-platform trades in almost real time at no cost.
WAX is an EOS variant that interlinks with other blockchains, so it doesn’t matter if the asset you want to trade exists on another blockchain (e.g., Ethereum, NEO or EOS) as long as the blockchain gets linked to WAX.
Wait, isn’t WAX just a gaming token?
No, the company behind WAX is OPSkins, so their platform is the first that will ultimately migrate to WAX. In the past months, they announced dozens of partnerships with blockchain-based games. Since people in crypto seem to have a short attention span, earlier partnerships get overlooked. Besides game partnerships, WAX has also partnered with Trust Wallet, Nexo, Decentraland, SALT, Robot Cache, Kyber Network, Xsolla, Bancor, Coinomi, ImToken, GIFTO and a lot more. So even right now there are more options besides buying items on OPSkins for WAX.
But WAX is an ERC20!?
Yes, that is right. Currently, WAX is an ERC20 token. And this token will remain in circulation even after the blockchain release later this year. With the release of the WAX Blockchain, every holder of WAX will receive the WAX protocol coin in addition to the Ethereum bridging token. Afterward, for every new Blockchain that gets linked to WAX, holders will receive a new airdrop of the specific bridging token.
So there will be one coin for the WAX platform, and several other bridging tokens respectively existing on their mother chain (like the WAX ERC20 on Ethereum) that can be used for payment and are needed to ‘transfer’ assets between Blockchains. These token will be airdropped to WAX holders with every blockchain that gets added to the network.
Is the video gaming market to be taken seriously?
Yes, definitely. Entertainment is a huge factor in the economy of our daily lives. Those sectors are what decides on success or failure of new technology. What porn was for storage mediums like DVD and Blu-Ray, video gaming has a high chance to become for crypto in terms of bringing about mass consumer adoption.
In 2017, just the skin trading market had a turnover of $50 billion, this market alone is gigantic compared to many markets targeted by other projects.
WAX enables developers to do far more than implementing item trading; for example, it can be used as the whole backbone of microtransactions in mobile games. WAX will not only allow developers to run their games on WAX but facilitate cross-border fiat transactions within a game through crypto without the gamer even realizing he is using cryptocurrencies.
But even if you don’t take the gaming market serious…
WAX has far more use cases than just being the backbone of a whole new entertainment industry. Being a decentralized exchange without transaction cost working in almost real time, trading on WAX is not limited to gaming assets. A tokenized asset is likely to gain added value compared to the same untokenized asset because of the improved security, increased speed, and reduced costs of the related transactions. Anything that is digital or can be tokenized can be traded on WAX… including the possibility of trading cryptocurrencies themselves and a whole lot more.
So how big is the future market WAX is aiming for?
The $50 billion video gaming sector is just the first step. We live in the era of digitalization; newspapers vanish, movies and series get streamed, more and more books get sold as e and audiobooks, music gets sold as stream or download. Ask yourself, when have you bought your last CD? How did you listen to the newest album of your favorite band for the first time?
This market right now grows exponentially, and blockchains offer the solution for a lot of problems in this regard. Every track, book, movie or whatever you can imagine would be a token on WAX. And with the platform itself being optimized to enable anyone to host a store it would eliminate a lot of intermediaries which saves all participants a lot of money.
What we see right now is just the beginning of where digitization will lead us. Upcoming and spreading technologies like AR, VR and 3D printing are reshaping our daily lives already and will form an entirely new market of assets that WAX is prepared to conquer.
What incentive do parties have to use WAX?
To developers, WAX offers an easy to use blockchain solution and removes the struggle of building a market or payment gateway of their own, saving a lot of development time and funds. Especially enabling cross-border transactions is no easy task to achieve without going through a big payment processor that would take a considerable cut of their revenue. For game developers specifically, WAX offers a number of unique benefits.
- WAX is intended as a secondary marketplace.
It will provides substantial liquidity to make item trading viable. For new blockchain-based games that seek a broader audience, WAX provides a crucial mechanism for them to reach the masses.
- Secondary asset marketplaces improve player retention.
Games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) have thrived for many years longer than similar offerings largely due to the effect of having a healthy secondary asset market, which gives players an incentive to keep playing a particular game for far longer than they might have otherwise. Direct evidence of this fact can be seen in a recent drop off in CSGO players following changes in the game that restricted the ability of players to instantly trade their in-game items. With the reintroduction of the 7 day trade hold the average player count plummeted over one third, hitting the lowest point in over three years.
- Game developers will have more opportunities to monetize with WAX.
By running their own secondary markets utilizing the WAX platform, game developers can open up an entirely new and potentially very lucrative revenue stream as players trade items from within their games.
Regardless of the benefits above, it is also worth noting that WAX does not actually need the cooperation of game developers for secondary markets on WAX to exist. If an item from a game is tradeable, then that item can be tradeable on WAX without any involvement from the game developer.
For customers, the most significant advantage is safety. Right now peer-to-peer transactions that are still a necessity for many markets require credit of trust. One party has to either deliver or pay upfront.
WAX supersedes the requirement and risk of expensive middlemen services while at the same time speeding up the whole process. Plenty of transactions happen across borders and currencies. WAX makes these transactions effortless for the user and saves both transfer and conversion fees.
How does one participate?
If you own WAX, you will be eligible to pledge to a guild. A guild is like a stake on other blockchains. In essence, each guild is a market, and the revenue is distributed among the stakeholders of each guild. Since the amount of WAX is finite, but the demand for different markets pretty much isn’t, it’s hard to make any long-term price predictions.
Will WAX be limited to hosting exchanges?
If WAX is an EOS blockchain, is it ripping off EOS?
No, WAX partnered up with Block.One and is building a variant of EOS. Assuming this would be bad for EOS would be as if one would think the existence of Ubuntu is bad for Linux. WAX is optimized to fit a specific purpose. WAX might be the first EOS variant, but there will be many more. And all those optimizations could, if they are contributing to a better EOS, be taken into EOS base code. So these projects add to a better EOS in general.
What is the current state of the project?
Unlike other projects, the team is pretty careful with what they release to the public, not creating much hype, instead announcing new developments when they are done and not before. What we know is that the project is ahead of schedule. They finished the testnet in Q1, the MVP beta is scheduled for next month, and as it seems, the new ExpressTrade feature of OPSkins is already running on the WAX Alpha network. WAX partnered with other projects that are eager to go live and/or are in the process of migrating from Ethereum. In combination with the go-live of EOS, I’m very much expecting an updated timeline sooner rather than later.
What is to be expected over the next couple of weeks to months?
Short term, the market development will mainly be focused on the video gaming sector. As soon as the WAX blockchain goes live for first projects, we will see a lot of non-fungible token (NFT) gaming projects that are currently hosted on Ethereum migrating to WAX. This has several reasons with the most obvious being that on Ethereum the execution of gaming related smart contracts is far too slow and costly to make a pleasant gaming experience possible. Beyond that, the integrated payment gateway and trading market facilitate a whole new revenue stream for those game studios.
We should see plugins for at least Unity and Unreal shortly afterward, allowing WAX to become the backbone of a whole new video gaming segment and enabling especially small and indie game developers to generate revenue without having to pay exorbitant amounts of fees for their in-game microtransactions to Google and Apple. In this light, WAX partnering up with a publisher, more significant developer or especially engine studio is highly likely.
Robot Cache will be one of the first offspring in this new market segment of decentralized gaming. Right now the highly regulated and centralized Steam platform we all know and mostly love to hate is one of the few viable options for game developers that are not signed by a huge publisher. Here WAX might level the playing field a little. This is one of the reasons why the current push against OPSkins was to be expected but doesn’t change the outlook in the long run.
So what can we expect in the long run?
As mentioned earlier, WAX is a fully functional decentralized exchange that will be used way beyond just video gaming and entertainment. One of the first apparent developments beyond gaming would be crypto trading. The market is in dire need of a genuinely decentralized exchange that is fast, reliable, cheap to use and enables trading of more than just one token class. This is one of the things WAX could facilitate due to its cross blockchain transaction capabilities.
With the first true third generation blockchains reaching release state, we will see a lot of activity in the digital asset sector and thus likely see a new wave of entertainment providers taking advantage of decentralization. We are bound to see a decentralized version of almost any big project that impacted society in the past years. Be it Steam, Spotify, Netflix, Audible or Amazon. And a whole lot of entirely new developments. I expect quite a few of these to run or interact with WAX.
Is the team behind WAX legit and capable?
I highly recommend having a look at the impressive track record of the minds behind WAX. I would almost go as far as calling everyone on its own a guarantor for success. But together this is pretty much an all-star team.
- William Quigley — Early investor in PayPal, Ethereum, Founder of Tether, CTO of Disney licensing
- Jonathan Yantis — Mastercoin and the father of virtual item trading
- John Brechisci, Jr. —CTO and Founder of OPSkins
- Malcolm CasSelle — MediaPass, Xfire, and others; early investor in Facebook and Zynga
OPSkins is the market leader in game asset trading already. With more than 100 people working on the project! I deem the possibility of them not achieving their goal pretty slim.
Is the recent move of Valve against OPSkins a risk for the project?
Valve trying to hinder OPSkins was to be expected, so the move is not that much of a surprise for most. WAX, albeit founded by the heads of OPSkins, is not OPSkins. OPSkins is not going out of business due to this and, even if they were, WAX would persist. As long as developers want their customers to be able to trade items there is only so much Valve can do. With WAX trades will happen as they do now with ExpressTrade, peer to peer. And as you should have realized by now, video gaming assets are just a tiny fraction of what can be traded on a decentralized exchange.