Many builders have come up in the crypto space since its inception. As it expands, so does the innovation around it. Today we get Ari Meilich, founder of Decentraland, talking about his startup in crypto, as well as exciting projects he continues to build.
Question: Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in crypt?
Ari Melich: I started learning about crypto in 2015. It wasn’t until 2015 that crypto-based e-commerce had its moment, though it was around 2013. Then, in 2016, I met a group of friends who were blockchain engineers and started learning more. Due to my interest in VR, I joined this group of friends in building the first decentralized “metaverse” Decentraland.
Question: You are the co-founder of Decentraland, the most popular metaverse in the crypto space. How did this happen?
Ari Melich: Decentraland was a weekend project of a group of friends. It was a hobby for about two years until we turned it into a venture. Around that time, VR headsets were gaining adoption, and the appearance of user-owned virtual worlds seemed inevitable.
Q: Your latest venture is called Big Time, which spawned Open Loot, which is basically a blockchain gaming startup. Can you tell us how it started?
Ari Melich: When we launched Big Time Studios in early 2020, we recognized the misunderstanding between players and web3 games and wanted to fix that. We started by recruiting a team of gaming veterans and built a platform for our first game Big Time. We know that players need to be able to participate in the game’s economy (wallet management, self-management, signing transactions, etc.). The goal of building a platform was always on the horizon; However, we need a game alongside it as a showcase to inspire players and developers. After using Open Loot’s technology to generate over $100 million in sales to 100,000 unique buyers, we’re confident that Open Loot is ready for external studios to launch its products.
Question: Is there any overlap between Open Loot and Decentraland?
Ari Melich: No. Decentralized land and open lot are built very differently. Decentraland relies on a distributed network of nodes to serve virtual world content, while communication between users is in a p2p fashion. The DCL Marketplace is only available on the chain. On open hack and partner games, we are supporting, we rely on traditional game server infrastructure to achieve superior performance for massive games. Similarly, the open piracy marketplace is geared toward end users who have never heard of crypto, allowing credit card payments and bank deposits.
Having said that, we will announce the collaboration in the near future. Follow it.
Related Reading: Ethereum TVL Drops Over $1 Billion After Merger
Question: Being the founder of Open Loot, what would you say is the biggest challenge in blockchain gaming?
Ari Melich: One of the biggest challenges for the blockchain game is introducing player-owned economies to the traditional Web2 demographic. Unfortunately, many players have already been exposed to fraud and low-quality titles, which leave a bad taste in their mouths. Many blockchain games are financial apps with overlaid graphics, providing a boring experience for most players.
The challenge is to create something that seamlessly integrates Web3 aspects while maintaining a fun gaming experience.
Q: Are there any recent projects you are working on?
Ari Melich: Open Loot recently signed three game partners: Hit Factor (HF), Motor Meta (M2) and Gacha Monsters.
HF is a game developer founded by industry veterans, and they’re working on a game called War Park – a tank-based brawler game. It features realistic, tactical vehicle combat that requires skill, teamwork and quick thinking to win.
The second partner, M2, is a gaming platform for vehicle-based games. They are working on a game called Blitz-GT. It’s a fast-paced arcade where two teams of four battle each other. The game is like a “Mario Kart meets Overwatch” battle.
Our third partner is Gacha Monster by GC Turbo. GC Turbo is a veteran studio based in SF and Beijing. They recently made Pokemon Medal as well as titles for Facebook, LINE and GREE.
Question: Where do you see the metaverse and blockchain games in the next five years?
Ari Melich: In the next five years, I think the complex aspects of the blockchain will move to the backend, and players can experience traditional games like Web3 games. But, of course, this requires more quality gaming devices to join the space and allow players to overcome their prejudices.