The Blockchain Gaming Ecosystem on Various Public Chains



Over the past year, games brought the most active users and on-chain trading volume to the crypto industry. Even in the current bear market, the blockchain game remains one of the most dynamic segments among various Dapps. This article will deeply go through the current status and prospects of the blockchain gaming ecosystem in those mainstream chains.

Source: Industry Overview, DappRadar


Classifications of Chains from the Blockchain Game's Viewpoint

The chains are fundamental to all Dapps. According to the different relationships between blockchain games and the chains, we can roughly classify the chains as followings:

(1) General-Purpose Public Chains: Under this category, the public chains are rich in ecology, with various projects. The overall development is independent of a single sector.

Representatives: Ethereum, Polygon, BNB Chain

(2) Game-Oriented Public Chains: The overall development highly depends on blockchain gaming projects under this category. The ecology of the public chains is complete but needs more variety.

Representatives: WAX, Hive

(3) Exclusive Side Chain for Games: An exclusive side chain is customized to support a particular game.

Representatives: Ronin


1. Analysis of General-Purpose Public Chains

1.1 Overview

The general-purpose public chains have no specific tendency when building the ecology, and the development in various sectors is relatively balanced. Characteristics for the general-purpose public chains are as follows:

(1) Large on-chain volume.

(2) Strong support from the ecology.

(3) High ecological prosperity.

The following will analyze the representative chains under this category: Ethereum, Polygon and BNB Chain.


1.2 Ethereum

Since the Whitepaper release in 2013, Ethereum has grown into a considerable blockchain ecological network over the past years. The crypto giant took its leading role in 2017 when ICO was in vogue, and its leadership strengthened after the DeFi Summer in 2020. Although Ethereum is ruling the industry, the community constantly criticize it for its low scalability, slow transaction speed, and high Gas fee. In recent years, some layer2 solutions, such as Arbitrum and Optimism, have officially launched, and Ethereum has transferred to a POS mechanism after the Merger this year; its problems have greatly improved.


1.2.1 On-chain Data of Ethereum

Currently, the TPS of Ethereum ranges from 15 to 20, and the average gas fee falls between 2U and 3U after the Merger, experiencing a dramatic decrease over the year. There is still much room for Ethereum to improve its performance. When supporting DeFi and NFT projects, the current poor function is not a big deal. However, blockchain games require high-frequency transactions with small trading volumes, and slow transaction speed and high gas fees can badly affect user experience. Moreover, a large number of transactions at the same time may lead to lousy transaction congestion and unaffordable high gas fee.


As a public chain, Ethereum occupies a leading position in DeFi and NFT, but in the field of blockchain games, Ethereum has no superiority. Last 3 months, the TVL of DeFi and the trading volume of NFT on Ethereum occupied 75% and 91% of the entire networks, respectively. However, the monthly game-related active users account for less than 5% of the total number on Ethereum, and the proportion shows a downward trend.


Source: The Proportion of Game-related Active Users, Footprint


1.2.2 Overview of the Ecosystem on Ethereum

With the support of communities such as ETHGlobal, and the Ethereum Foundation, the ecosystem of Ethereum shows a scene of prosperity, and it is dominant in the market with innovation. As of August this year, the number of protocols on Ethereum has exceeded 50 million.

Source: Ethereum’s Ecosystem, Network


As for blockchain games, on Ethereum, gamers can find every facility a blockchain game requires. From wallets to NFT trading markets to data analysis tools, these facilities can meet gamers' basic needs and provide diversifying options.


1.2.3 Analysis of Blockchain Games on Ethereum

According to Footprint, there are 599 games on Ethereum at present, increasing by about 10.3% from the beginning of the year. It is worth mentioning that 78% of the games launched before 2021.


The characteristics of games on Ethereum can be summarized as follows:

(1) The quality of games varies from good to bad. There are high-quality AAA games and low-quality simple picture games.

(2) Gamers' interaction with the chain is as few as possible.

(3) Most games tend to move to other public chains or consider a multi-chain deployment.

According to Footprint, over the past 30 days, the top 5 blockchain games with the most average active users on Ethereum are Mirandus, Gala Games, Decentraland, Etherorcs, and Illuvium.


Source: Footprint

Data as of November 24, 2022


Etherorcs is a small, pixel-style game with only a clumsy game design and simple vision. Mirandus and Illuvium are AAA masterpieces in blockchain gaming with excellent graphics and attractive gameplay mechanisms. When playing these games, most of the time, only access to these games and initiating on-chain assets-related transactions require interactions with the chain and payments of gas fees.


Before May 2021, Axie Infinity was dominant in the field of blockchain games on Ethereum and the entire crypto world. Axie Infinity hit over 2 million daily active users and over $40 million in single-day revenue at its peak in 2021. However, to provide a better user experience and broaden its business plan, Axie Infinity launched its own side chain Ronin. After the launch of Ronin, Axie Infinity left Ethereum and took away a large wave of traffic on Ethereum. (The article will discuss more details later.)


Immutable X is another example that takes gamers away from Ethereum. Starting from the blockchain game Gods Unchained, the company developed Immutable X, a layer2 solution designed explicitly for NFTs. Immutable X officially launched in 2021, and Gods Unchained has brought over 14,000 active users to Immutable X over the past 30 days. Unlike Ronin, which only serves one game, Immutable X welcomes all games to deploy. In addition to Gods Unchained and Guild of Guardians, which are developed by Immutable, Illuvium deployed on Immutable X.


1.2.4 Prospects for Blockchain Games on Ethereum

Previously, due to the innovation of smart contracts, Ethereum has established its position as the "king of Dapps" and has occupied the leading role in almost all sectors. However, more and more public chains launched in the market with solutions to solve the problems of low scalability and high gas fees, all of which threaten Ethereum's role as the industry leader. Since most DeFi and NFT activities contain a high volume of funds, users care more about the security than the chains' performance. Ethereum still rules the DeFi and NFT industry, but the situation is different in the blockchain gaming sector, as users care more about the chain's transaction speed and gas fees. Ethereum lost its leadership in blockchain gaming.


However, the large user base and TVL accumulated by Ethereum over the years still make it advantageous when developing the blockchain gaming ecosystem. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, publicly stated at the Ethereum Community Conference (ETHCC) that after completing five upgrades of Ethereum, the TPS will reach 100,000. Currently, Ethereum completes the first step of the upgrade only. In the future, when the performance of Ethereum has been dramatically improved, blockchain games may rejuvenate on Ethereum.


1.3 Polygon

Polygon, known initially as Matic Network, was founded by a group of blockchain engineers from India in 2017. It first appeared as a Layer 2 solution for Ethereum to solve the severe congestion problem of the Ethereum network at that time. The core component of Polygon is the Polygon SDK. This modular, flexible framework supports building and connecting secure chains, such as Plasma, Optimistic Rollups, zkRollups, Validium, etc., and independent chains, such as the Matic POS chain, designed to achieve flexibility and independence. Developers can painlessly transfer existing Ethereum projects to Polygon and add new functions to expand the product application ecosystem. In February 2021, Matic Network officially changed its name and upgraded to Polygon. Rather than a layer2 solution for Ethereum, Polygon's current market position is an independent public chain.


1.3.1 On-chain Data of Polygon

Adopting a variety of scaling solutions, the performance of Polygon is significantly better than that of Ethereum. Currently, Polygon's TPS lies between 30 and 40, and the theoretical maximum TPS can reach 65,000. The daily average gas fee maintains around 0.02U, but the stability is poor. When the network is congested, the average Gas fee can be more than 0.2U for a single transaction, with a difference of up to 10 times.


Since it was initially designed to improve Ethereum's scalability, Polygon is among the best choices for Ethereum projects seeking a transferring or multi-chain deployment, especially for gaming projects. According to Footprint, Polygon's game-related volume and transactions in the entire network can maintain its ranking in the top five. Moreover, over the last three months, the monthly game-related active users occupied more than 80% of the total number on Polygon. This trend also shows an upward trend over the past year.


1.3.2 Overview of the Ecosystem on Polygon
Although the depth and breadth of Polygon's ecology are less than that of Ethereum, after years of development, users can also see high ecological prosperity on Polygon.

Source: Polygon’s Ecosystem, The Block


Knowing its advantages clearly, Polygon heavily focuses on developing its gaming ecology. In July 2021, Polygon launched Polygon Studios, including Polygon Gaming Studio and Polygon NFT Studio, concentrating on developing its game and NFT ecology, respectively. Knowing its advantages clearly, Polygon heavily focuses on developing its gaming ecology. In July 2021, Polygon launched Polygon Studios, including Polygon Gaming Studio and Polygon NFT Studio, concentrating on developing its game and NFT ecology, respectively. Polygon Studios is also very active in investing in blockchain gaming.


1.3.3 Analysis of Blockchain Games on Polygon

Currently, Polygon has 305 blockchain games, which experienced an increase of about 94% from the beginning of the year. The characteristics of games on Polygon can be summarized as follows:

(1) The game mechanism is simple but has relatively high playability.

(2) Many games are transitioned from web 2.0 to web 3.0.

(3) Multi-chain deployment is preferred. 

According to Footprint, over the past 30 days, the top 5 blockchain games with the most average active users on Polygon are Benji Bananas, Arc8 by GAMEE, Planet IX, Ultimate Champions and Sunflower Land.

Source: Footprint

Data as of November 24, 2022


Benji Bananas and Arc8 by GAMEE, which ranked the top two monthly active users, were transformed from traditional to blockchain games. Ultimate Champions has recently received a strategic investment from Binance Labs and will be deployed on BNB Chain soon.


Benji Bananas leads the ranking with the most average active users in the past 30 days, three times more than the second-ranked Arc8 by GAMEE. Benji Bananas is originally a free-to-play mobile game from Animoca Brands available for download on the App Store and Google Play. It is a popular action game (over 50 million downloads) in which players make Benji the monkey and his friends leap from vine to vine through the jungle. Benji Bananas is transitioning to a play-to-earn model first half of this year, starting with the introduction of the Benji Bananas Membership Pass (‘Benji Pass’), an NFT that will enable its owners to earn sin-game tokens when playing Benji Bananas and that will also allow those tokens to be swapped for ApeCoin. Benji Bananas is deployed on both Ethereum and Polygon. However, the total monthly active users on Polygon is 756 times more than on Ethereum. According to DappRadar, in the past 30 days, Benji Bananas gained 421,500 users on Polygon and 557 on Ethereum.


As a reference, the following characteristics make Benji Bananas the most popular blockchain game on Polygon:

(1) Simple but enjoyable gaming mechanisms

(2) Transformed from a traditional game with a more extensive user base

(3) Backed by star companies like Animoca Brands, strong brand effect

(4) Solid economic sustainability with the integration of ApeCoin instead of its own token only.


1.3.4 Prospects for Blockchain Games on Polygon

Polygon is one of the best choices for blockchain games to deploy in terms of high scalability, low transaction cost, and high ecological support. In addition, Polygon can benefit from providing multi-chain deployment solutions for Ethereum projects and make these projects glow with new vitality.


Moreover, transitioning traditional games to blockchain games is an excellent strategy for public chains to develop the blockchain gaming ecology, for it will bring new users from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, and Polygon will have better future development in blockchain gaming.


1.4 BNB Chain

On September 1, 2020, Binance, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, officially launched its public chain Binance Smart Chain. By adopting the POS mechanism, Binance Smart Chain can achieve low gas fees and high transaction speed while sacrificing a certain level of security and decentralization. Binance Smart Chain is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine, and projects on Ethereum can be easily transplanted on Binance Smart Chain. Because of its easy use, high transaction speed, low gas fee and strong support by the top exchange, Binance Smart Chain has been favoured by developers and users since its launch. In February 2022, Binance Smart Chain was officially renamed BNB Chain.


1.4.1 On-chain Data of BNB Chain

Currently, BNB Chain's TPS concentrates between 60 and 70, and the average Gas fee over the three months has been between 0.2-0.3, showing a downward trend since the beginning of this year.


Over the last three months, the monthly game-related active users account for less than 20% of the total active users on BNB Chain. The proportion was 36% at the beginning of the year, which fell by almost 50%. However, with the most active users in the entire Network, BNB Chain still ranks Top 3 in the whole network regarding transaction volume and number of transactions in blockchain gaming.


1.4.2 Overview of the Ecosystem on BNB Chain

Backed by Binance, the ecological prosperity is incredibly high. In the early stage, most projects on BNB Chain just copied from that on Ethereum, and then the chain gradually developed its own ecology. Binance plays an essential role in BNB Chain's development, bringing significant liquidity to the chain and the projects. Attracted by the potential opportunity of listing on Binance, many projects will choose BNB Chain for deployment.

Source: BNB Chain’s Ecosystem, BSCDaily

Earlier this year, the explosion of StepN, a creative move-to-earn Dapp, set the sector of X-to-Earn on fire. Under the category of X-to-Earn, the development of projects heavily rely on the users' growth rate and the overall user base. As a result, deploying on BNB Chain is one of their best choices, for the chain has a vast user base in Web 3.0. On the one hand, BNB Chain can bring the projects many users from Web 3.0; on the other hand, its deep relationship with Binance can provide an easy and smooth user experience to Web 2.0 users brought by the X-to-Earn projects.


BNB Chian also attaches great importance to the development of blockchain games. At the end of last year, Binance and Animoca Brands jointly established a US$200 million investment fund to incubate early blockchain game startups built on BNB Chain. At the same time, Binance's MVB project has also supported the success of many chain game projects.


1.4.3 Analysis of Blockchain Games on BNB Chain

BNB Chain has 747 blockchain games, which experienced an increase of about 65.2% from the beginning of the year. The characteristics of games on the BNB Chain can be summarized as follows:

(1) The quality of games varies from good to bad.

(2) Many platform-based projects.

(3) Rug pull or security issues occur frequently.


According to Footprint, over the past 30 days, the top 5 blockchain games with the most average active users on BNB Chain are Era7:Game of Truth, X World Games, Tiny World, Mobox and Secondlive.

Source: Footprint

Data as of November 24, 2022

X World Games and Mobox are both platform-based blockchain games. These projects will launch multiple games, sharing the same tokenomics and community. The platform-based projects can continuously release new games by providing blockchain technology services to traditional games or developing mini-games through their own gaming studios. Compared to those single-game projects, there are always new games to take over the value and the users who are tired of the existing ones, platform-based games have a lower run-off rate. Even though the games on such platforms are elementary with low-quality gameplay, the continuous release of such new games can strengthen the sustainability of platform-based projects.


However, more and more high-quality blockchain games are launched in the market, and those platform-based projects with only elementary games will eventually lose their competitiveness in the long term.


1.4.4 Prospects for Blockchain Games on BNB Chain

On the whole, BNB Chain is a good choice for developers to deploy blockchain games and users to seek great games. But the security of the BNB Chain is another problem. As mentioned above, many developers create copies of Ethereum protocols on BNB Chains, and that forked code can contain vulnerabilities. According to the latest Immunefi report, in the third quarter of this year, BNB Chain had the most attacks from hackers, 16 attacks in total, accounting for 28.6% of the total loss. In October of this year, BNB Chain was exploited by an attack again, and the amount that the attack made away with was more than $500 million. After that, BNB Chain temporarily suspended withdrawal activities, raising another problem of centralization among the community.


Security is necessary but not essential for users with high-frequency and low-volume transactions in blockchain gaming. Although many people describe BNB Chain as the "heaven of quick money" for it has many speculators, it is still one of the most popular chains with the support of Binance. With the further reduction of gas fees, BNB Chain will continuously expand its ecology in blockchain gaming.


1.4 Conclusion for General-Purpose Public Chains

Source: Footprint

Data as of November 24, 2022


Compared with the three general-purpose public chains mentioned above, Ethereum is undoubtedly the most innovative, with the largest TVL. It developed its blockchain gaming ecology even before the other two's establishment. However, due to performance constraints, Polygon and BNB Chain turn into Ethereum's significant competitors in blockchain gaming. One of the reasons behind BNB Chain's higher gas fee is the higher price of BNB than Matic. The former powers BNB Chain and Binance with liquidity premium, while the latter only powers the chain of Polygon.


Polygon is the best of the three in terms of growth in blockchain gaming. The number of gaming protocols rose 94% on Polygon this year, and the growth rate on BNB Chain and Ethereum was 65.2% and 10.3%, respectively. 


In terms of users, BNB Chain has the most average daily active gamers in the past 30 days, which is 150 times that of Ethereum. BNB Chain does attract more gaming projects and gamers, but Polygon is slightly advantageous regarding the project quality.


Even though Ethereum is the most innovative, it has only advantages in blockchain gaming after completing all five upgrades. With solid support from the ecology and continuous improvements in chain performance, blockchain games can have a promising prospect on Polygon and BNB Chain.


Other general-purpose public chains with better performance are also suitable for deploying blockchain games. The benefits of blockchain games deploying on these general-purpose public chains include interoperability, ecological support, and an existing user base.


2. Analysis of Game-Oriented Public Chains

2.1 Overview

With the rise of blockchain gaming in 2021, game-oriented public chains with a dedication to games gained a lot of awareness from the market. Some dedicated public chains position themselves as gaming chains at their inception, while others gradually change their ecological pattern in the development process and make games the core.


Characteristics for the game-oriented public chains are as follows:

(1) Basic ecological integrity.

(2) Low transaction fees, or even zero gas fees.

(3) A large number of active gamers and transactions but a low average transaction volume.



WAX is one of the best game-oriented public chains. Calling itself the "King of NFT", WAX is the most used and transacted blockchain ecosystem in the world for NFTs, dApps and video games.


2.2 WAX

WAX is a purpose-built blockchain transforming e-Commerce through its dApps, NFTs, and unique collectibles. Established in 2017, WAX is short for Worldwide Asset eXchange. In the beginning, WAX helped developers create and trade digital assets and positioned itself as a digital asset trading platform. In 2019, the EOS-based public chain officially launched in the market. Using a Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism, the token holders vote on delegates that act as validators for new blocks. As a purpose-built blockchain, WAX is focusing on the blockchain gaming industry and NFT market. In 2021, due to the explosion of blockchain gaming, games on WAX, such as Alien Worlds and Farmers World, also received much attention from the market and became popular, making WAX one of the leading public chains in blockchain gaming.


2.2.1 On-chain Data of WAX

According to, WAX's TPS concentrates between 100 and 500, with the highest of 2952. The overall performance of WAX is much better than most L1 public chains, which is advantageous when attracting gaming projects requiring high-frequency transactions.


According to DappRadar, WAX transactions have been far ahead of all L1 public chains in the past year. The number of active addresses on WAX is second only to the BNB chain, and it even surpassed the BNB chain several times from May to August this year. However, the transaction volume of WAX Chain continues to rank low among all public chains.

Source: Transactions per Protocol, DappRadar

Source: UAW per Protocol, DappRadar


As for the gas fees, unlike other public chains that charge tokens for each transaction, transactions on WAX only consume computing resources such as CPU, NET, and RAM. Users can obtain a small number of computing resources corresponding to a certain amount of free on-chain transactions after paying 5 WAX to complete wallet creation. In addition, staking WAXP, the utility token of the WAX chain, in the Wax Cloud Wallet can also obtain more computing resources. As a result, transactions on the WAX chain are free theoretically.


2.2.2 Overview of the Ecosystem on WAX

Over the years, WAX has been inseparable from the label of a "game-oriented public chain" and formed fundamental ecological integrity focusing on blockchain games and NFT. Among the projects on WAX, games have brought substantial users and transactions to the chain; wallets provide users with selective solutions to store digital assets and initiate transactions; NFT markets serve as the best venue for trading NFT collections and game props. In addition, coupled with access to crypto payment processors such as Moonpay and Simplex in wallets, users' demand for game-related activities can be best fulfilled.


The ecosystem on WAX is complete but imbalanced. Users will choose only a few projects from each sector, but these projects will cooperate more and have tighter relations with the chain. For example, WAX Cloud Wallet is the only way for users to join Alien Worlds. Purchasing a high-level NFT from AtomicHub is necessary to acquire higher rewards in Alien Worlds, and AtomicHub has a clear introduction for WAX Cloud Wallet and Anchor Wallet. Additionally, users need to spend 5 WAXP, to activate the WAX Cloud Wallet, strengthening the demand for WAXP.


Due to the unique setting, the "zero gas fee" attracts more users to the chain, and the high demand for transactions generated by the games motivates users to stake more WAXP, leading to a more sustainable token economy on WAX.


Analysis of Blockchain Games on WAX

WAX has 134 blockchain games, which experienced an increase of about 152% from the beginning of the year. The characteristics of games on the WAX can be summarized as follows:

(1) Rough art design.

(2) The clicker game is the majority.

(3) Simple game mechanics with the function of staking to earn.

(4) Users care more about the rewards than the playability.

Most games on WAX can be seen as DeFi projects with a background and visual pictures. The gaming mechanics are simple enough to acquire many users quickly, but the user value will decrease accordingly.


Source: Footprint

Data as of November 24, 2022


According to Footprint, over the past 30 days, the top 5 blockchain games with the most average active users on WAX are Alien Worlds, Farmers World, Wombat Dungeon Master, Castle the NFT Game, and Prospects. Among these, Alien Worlds and Farmers World accounted for more than 85% of WAX gamers. Although the number of gamers on WAX is multiple of that on other public chains, only a few games are favoured by gamers.


The number of active users and transactions on WAX is vast. However, "click farming" is frequent behind those large numbers. Taking Alien World as an example, the game mechanics requires users to mine and claim rewards frequently, from minutes to hours, depending on the level of NFTs. Each action equals one transaction on the chain. Keeping mining in Alien Worlds is boring and time-consuming, so automatic bots are developed. The bots allow users to create multiple accounts and automatically mine and claim rewards in the game. Because of the simple gaming mechanics, developing and deploying the bots in Alien Worlds is very easy and can even be found on Youtube. In other words, as long as enough WAXP is staked and free transactions are obtained, one real user can create many wallets and initiate a large number of on-chain transactions. Since the number of active users is calculated by the number of wallets interacting with the protocol, the actual number of active users and its related transactions on WAX is doubtful.


2.2.4 Prospects for Blockchain Games on WAX

WAX and its blockchain gaming ecology can achieve mutual success in the short term. As mentioned above, the simple gamification and the use of bots can generate a large number of transactions, leading to a high demand for WAXP, as staking WAXP is the only way to obtain free transactions on WAX. However, such a mechanism cannot be sustainable in the long term. On the one hand, due to the lack of playability and the actual token utility, the economic incentives will continue to decline (TLM, the utility token for Alien Worlds, dropped dramatically two weeks after its launch). Once the financial incentives go to zero, users will leave immediately.

On the other hand, although games like Alien Worlds have brought many active gamers to WAX, the value of such users is minimal. The proportion of actual users needs to be improved. If things continue this way, WAX cannot attract high-quality games and projects to deploy, badly affecting the chain's long-term development.


When the major public chains try their best to attract high-quality blockchain games to deploy, WAX must make changes to maintain its market competitiveness in blockchain gaming.


​​​​​​​Conclusion for Game-oriented Public Chains

To pursue a higher performance, game-oriented public chains such as WAX always have their own operating mechanism. The overall ecosystem is complete, unprosperous and closed. In addition, the user experience is not as good as general-purpose public chains.


Meanwhile, under this category, the development of public chains is highly dependent on specific blockchain games, and the users attracted by those games are primarily utilitarian. With the purpose of rewards earning, the users are difficult to retain for a long time, which can affect the long-term sustainability of the chains.


Focusing on a specific sector is an excellent idea, and a precise market positioning can quickly leave a deep impression on the public. Additionally, it is easier to focus on the development in a specific sector rather than pursue a comprehensive development. However, to make achievements in a single industry, the chains must build strong competitiveness in multiple aspects, such as user experience, project quality, etc. Although some of the existing game-oriented public chains, such as WAX and HIVE, are far ahead in the data, they need to be more competitive in many ways. In the future, other strong competitors will likely seize the leading position in game-oriented public chains.


3. Analysis of Exclusive Side Chain for Games

3.1 Overview

Exclusive side chains for games are chains developed explicitly for games. When blockchain games have achieved particular development, the subsequent growth will be limited by the public chains' performance. As a result, to achieve further growth and provide a better user experience, developing an exclusive side chain is an inevitable choice. 


Characteristics for the exclusive side chain are as follows:

(1) Mature blockchain games with a strong market influence, sometimes the games are more popular than the chain itself.

(2) Fast transaction speed and low fees.

(3) High centralization and inadequate security.

(4) No ecological prosperity.


Ronin, the exclusive side chain for Axie Infinity, is a great representative under this category.


3.2 Ronin

Axie Infinity is an NFT-based online video game developed by the Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis, initially launched on Ethereum. At the beginning of 2021, the explosion of Axie Infinity even set the blockchain gaming sector on fire. With the large user base, the problem of slow transaction speed and high transaction fees on Ethereum became even worse. Sky Mavis, the team behind Axie Infinity, developed an exclusive side chain for the game to solve the issues and achieve further growth. The side chain Ronin officially launched in May 2021. Currently, Ronin employs a Proof of Authority (PoA) consensus model, a reputation-based system that allows for fast transactions due to its limited number of validators and relatively centralized nature. Axie Infinity has experienced rapid growth in daily active users since migrating to the Ronin network.


3.2.1 On-chain Data of Ronin

Ronin has a good performance at transaction speed and transaction fees. In the peak period of November 2021, the transactions that Ronin processed were 560% more than that processed by Ethereum, and the block generation time was about 3 seconds. In the past 30 days,  Axie Infinity has brought Ronin more than 141,000 active users and a transaction volume of 487 million US dollars, exceeding the sum of that on Polygon.


One of Ronin's main tasks is solving the problem of high gas fees. At first,  Ronin provided each wallet with 100 daily free transactions. Later, Ronin reduced the free transactions to improve the utility of RON, the utility token of the side chain. Currently, in addition to the one-time 20 free transactions that new users receive, the number of daily free transactions is based on the average amount of Axie assets a player owns and the number of days they have been held. Otherwise, the users need to pay RON to process the transaction. The average gas fee for a single transaction is about 0.0001U recently.


However, the security issue of the side chain remains a problem. In March this year, Ronin was hacked, and about $615 million worth of ETH  and USDC on the platform were withdrawn. The limited number of validators and relatively centralized nature of the side chain improve transaction speed but sacrifice most of the security. After this security incident, Ronin announced its plan to introduce at least 21 validators to protect network security. Until now, there are 18 validators, including DappRadar, Animoca Brands, Nansen and Google Cloud from many well-known traditional and encrypted companies.


3.2.2 Overview of the Ecosystem on Ronin

The ecosystem on Ronin is simple, but the core projects can fully meet users' needs generated from Axie Infinity.


Core Projects on Ronin:

Ronin Bridge: Transfer digital assets between Ethereum and Ronin.

Ronin Wallet: Store and trade all crypto assets on Ronin, including fungible and non-fungible tokens. Users can also purchase crypto assets in fiat currency through the wallet.

Katana: Decentralized exchange on Ronin, where users can convert tokens and obtain corresponding rewards by staking liquidity.

Axie Infinity: The only game and absolute centre of Ronin.

Source: Ronin’s Ecosystem, Coin98


3.2.3 Prospects for Ronin

As mentioned above, the Ronin ecosystem revolves around Axie Infinity, and the development of Axie Infinity determines the future of the side chain. The future of Ronin is set, and making a breakthrough is a challenging thing.


3.3 Conclusion of Side Chain for Games

Sometimes, the side chain is the first step for the developers' ambitions of developing the blockchain gaming empire. More games are on the waiting list. However, the original game highly restricts the development of the side chain. Deploying a new game on it may also affect the whole economic balance.


For games that have already succeeded, the exclusive side chain act as the best assistance, which can break the bottleneck of user growth caused by chains' performance and other factors. With the side chain, the developer can maximize the value captured, and the gain can compensate for the security loss. But because it is designed for a specific game, it might be unsuitable for deploying other games. However, developing an exclusive side chain is not a good choice for games that have yet to gain enough market influence. On the one hand, games on the side chain cannot benefit from the user base and ecological support accumulated by the public chains. On the other hand, the loss of security is unbearable for most project parties.



Data retrieved from the followings: