Pokémon Go and Ethereum
If you’ve downloaded Pokémon Go recently, you may find yourself wandering streets you otherwise would never have visited.
We’re sure most people have at least heard of the new Augmented Reality (AR) game, even if they haven’t actually played it. People of all ages have flocked to their phones just to download the app. By now, it’s clear the game has become extremely popular, so much that it even has the virtual currency community talking about it.
Bitcoin.com released an idea incorporating Bitcoin into the game- which brings up a very valid conjecture about blockchain application implemented into Pokémon Go. Incorporating decentralized tech within the game can help with user identity information and incentivizing the game.
A ton of articles have circulated the web about Pokémon Go’s lack of security. Rather, the correct phrase would be: “it collects your data.” For those who have played the game, you’ll notice that their server goes down quite a lot. The reason that happens is not because tons of people are downloading it, but because it is overloading on the user’s personal data.
If you’ve logged in through your Google account, you’re giving Pokémon Go the ability to access your private photos stored on Google, search your map navigation history, access Google drive docs, read emails, and nearly anything else you’ve done using your Google account. After the influx of articles pointing out this data buffet, Niantic, Inc (the company behind Pokémon Go) updated their systems with a fix that turns each users’ info into more of a single plated dinner. In truth, they will never completely give up on collecting users’ info, just like any other app you’ve downloaded onto your phones which utilize GPS or account login info. The reason is simply because they use the collected data for targeted marketing.
Ethereum can aid in stopping the data monster by implementing a blockchain and off-blockchain personal data management platform that’s focused on protecting user data. This would allow users to manage their online identities themselves (instead of Google or another third-party). User identity ownership would make sure anything the player collects within the game is owned by only them.
Identity ownership aids in user incentivizing since players can sell their rare Pokémon for a specific amount of Ether. The possibility of selling their account could also be on the table. If a player were to reach Pokémon Master Level with tons of rare Pokémon in their arsenal, a Pokémon Trainer with deep pockets may pay a pretty penny to retain that status. Pokémon marketplaces could be set up in a way that allows users to sell their Pokémon as digital assets on the blockchain. If a user is logged into their Ethereum account, all Pokémon that is collected would be recorded onto the blockchain.
A few users on Reddit have even given their two cents on Pokémon Go incorporating Ethereum. Ethtrader Reddit user stated:
Maybe if they added battles, you could query a ruleset or something to verify states and have un-hackable battles.
Reddit user, Stu66er makes note that you could possibly “define” your Pokémon on the blockchain to make it more unique.
If someone were to create a Pokemon builder in Ethereum which determined rules for fulfilling a contract to create X Pokemon, the contract would be importable in the game and that would give you the Pokemon.
The blockchain would certainly incentivize player growth and adaptation if the players were truly allowed to own, create and use their rare Pokémon in any way they please. While this is great for the gamers, Niantic doesn’t have as much to gain in this agreement since they have already curated tons of players. However, the idea shouldn’t be limited to just Pokémon Go. Any other AR game out there with less traction and popularity than Pokémon could adopt this model. Ethereum could even push said game into an even wider adoption, helping with its success.