Meta’s Abandoned Shopping Cart: How Mark Zuckerberg’s Commerce Plans Went WrongView Now

March 26, 2022 7:00 AM PDT

Michael Bacina’s daughter knew her father worked in the crypto industry, and she wanted in. Bacina, a lawyer at Piper Alderman in Sydney specializing in blockchain law, recalled a fateful day in a cafe two years ago, when his daughter, then 7 years old, turned to him and asked, “When are you going to buy some [bitcoin] for us?”

He was thrilled—it’s not easy to get children passionate about fintech. So he whipped out his phone, purchasing his daughter and son, then 10, a few hundred dollars’ worth of bitcoin before their appetizers had even arrived.

It only took a year before his daughter got a job in crypto herself—sort of. Bacina lent his children his “Axies,” the non-fungible tokens required to play the crypto game Axie Infinity. The game is a play-to-earn platform, which rewards players with cryptocurrency. The Bacina kids scored a few hundred dollars in tokens after sporadically playing over six months. “Everyone I know…working in this space has exposed their kids to play-to-earn,” Bacina said. “It just seems like a great way to get kids to understand [crypto].”

If crypto investors have their way, your kid’s first job may also be battling adorable cartoon blobs in a pastel-hued world. In the last year, venture capitalists have poured hundreds of millions into play-to-earn crypto games like Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and Gods Unchained. These companies essentially knock off classic games—Gods Unchained is a funkier Yu-Gi-Oh, The Sandbox is a watered-down Roblox, and Axie Infinity is a “Pokemon on the blockchain,” according to Andresseen Horowitz, one of the game’s venture investors. But each boasts an intriguing twist, rewarding gameplay with cryptocurrency.

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