Takara, the first Bitcoin geocaching game for iOS devices, has added support for tokens thanks to Counterparty – the platform developing smart contracts for the Bitcoin blockchain. With the recent worldwide craze for mobile augmented reality gaming launched by Pokémon Go this may help introduce the value of cryptocurrency and blockchain assets to new people looking for prizes they can use beyond just a single app.
Takara stands for “treasure” in Japanese and the app allows users to plant and hunt for Bitcoin treasures planted across the world. Christian Moss, who headed the game’s development in the MandelDuck studio, explained: “The blockchain can liberate game items from their parent game allowing the same item/token to be collected, traded and utilized across several platforms.”
IndieSquare, which provided the API, added: “With this integration, users can pick up not only bitcoins but also Counterparty tokens when they get close enough to the takara boxes on the map. It works in a similar way as Pokemon Go but instead of Pokemon, takara users can pick up bitcoins and various tokens. Tokens can represent coupons, tickets, loyalty points, company stocks, game items or anything else you can imagine.”
Christian Moss Interview
Developer Christian Moss talked to us about the reasons for the cooperation with the other technology providers and his vision for the future of game assets.
Why did MandelDuck decide to use Counterparty?
Counterparty allows developers to register tokens on the bitcoin blockchain, these tokens can then be used as game items. As they are on the bitcoin blockchain they are publicly viewable and therefore a single game item can be verified and used in other projects.
There are other protocols that offer a similar token registration system but Counterparty was the only bitcoin 2.0 protocol on the bitcoin blockchain that had interesting projects already in use that we could collaborate with and demonstrate the “cross project” token idea.
How does the IndieSquare API demonstrated in Takara make use of Counterparty?
Using Counterparty requires the developer to run and maintain a counterparty server as well as having some expert knowledge of cryptography and blockchain tech.
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IndieSquare’s API takes care of these requirements allowing the developers to concentrate on the development of their game or project. In takara we use IndieSquare’s API to send tokens to the user and also verify the balance of tokens contained in a takara.
What is your vision of the future of in-game and digital assets?
I can imagine a time where in-game items and currency are no longer tied to a single game, once a user has finished with one game they would be able to use some of their weapons/items and currency in another. With digital assets it doesn’t have to stop with games, they could sell their items on an exchange or buy physical goods, in takara you could geocache game items.
Imagine climbing to the top of a mountain in order to find and receive a legendary sword? It is the realization of the concept of digital property rights.
How will you prevent gps spoofing in Takara?
We are not going to pretend that we can prevent gps spoofing 100%, the system will try and detect spoofing and ban such users accordingly however we recommend that if a user is dropping bitcoin or a high value token that they secure it with a question that only somebody at that location could answer.
We realize this does limit the number of places users can securely drop takara but we have noticed many users actually enjoy adding questions and being quite creative with it.
What are some of the other games made by MandelDuck that make use of Counterparty?
We implemented Counterparty tokens into our game SaruTobi. Spells of Genesis is an upcoming game that users Counterparty tokens as cards and we allow the users to re-use these cards in SaruTobi.
It is a simple implementation but we hope it sets a precedent and encourages other game developers to explore cross-game item sharing.