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Bitcoin In Gaming: Lightning As The Game Changer

This article is part of our ongoing research work and series of publications on the Lightning ecosystem. The previous articles provided an overview of the Lightning Network project ecosystem and an analysis of different Lightning implementations — their key characteristics, usage, development statistics and features. In this article, we attempt to take a closer look at Bitcoin and the Lightning Network applications in gaming.

Summary

  • Interactions in games largely influence enjoyment and engagement of gamers and subsequently monetization of a game for game developers and publishers.
  • Micropayments increase interactions within the gaming ecosystem and have already been used successfully to unlock new experiences for gamers and value for the ecosystem.
  • As Bitcoin adoption continues, bitcoin-based micropayments can break up closed gaming economies and enable disintermediated, bidirectional value flows between game operators, gamers, the audience and advertisers.
  • Bitcoin can create more liquidity and interoperability of payments between gaming platforms, while also providing the global infrastructure to securely transfer identities (SSI) of persons and assets across trust domains.

Introduction: Seizing The Opportunity

Historically dominated by large incumbents, the gaming industry has been evolving continuously in recent years driven by technological innovation and changing consumer needs. The rapid growth has led the global gaming industry to surpass $150 billion in size in 2019, a ~10% expansion per year.1 For the first time, the gaming market grew to be larger than music and video combined, becoming the most lucrative form of leisurely entertainment.2



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