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Augmentors: Africa’s First Blockchain AR Game Has Been Launched in South Africa

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Augmentors
Image by AugmentorsGame.com

Augmentors, Africa’s first blockchain-powered augmented reality (AR) mobile game, has soft-launched in South Africa this past week.

A Shark Tank Investment

The game’s two co-founders took part in Shark Tank South Africa in 2016 and secured an investment from Vinny Lingham. Lingham proposed that the blockchain be used as a new solution to the problems the entrepreneurs were trying to solve – generating scarcity and uniqueness in a digital environment.

Michael Deon and his co-founder Kyle Haffenden’s initial idea was that game characters would be summoned by real-world items, metallic “triggers” that would be sold to players in order to generate revenue. But under the new system, the company raised funds by selling ‘databits‘, an in-game cryptocurrency that also makes use of the Counterparty token system, that players will be able to use to buy items and abilities for their characters.

Lingham reportedly offered an R500,000 investment, around 59 bitcoin (BTC) for 20 percent equity in Augmentors. Fellow Shark Tank South Africa investor Gil Oved, co-founder of The Creative Counsel, also invested in Augmentors.

Meet Augmentors

The Augmentors game is a 3D modelled augmented reality fantasy game consisting of 50 rare creatures, known as Augmentors. Each Augmentor is capable of unique attacks, spells, and movements. They also have their own origin, backstory, are trainable, tradable and swappable between players.

It is free to play and while battling other players you can earn rewards and an in-game currency (Emeralds) to spend on upgrades. Rewards are granted in packs called portals which require time to unlock. Portals contain ability cards, and may also contain single-use items called relics. Each Augmentor has two unique abilities – attack and defence. You then select another nine abilities to build a “deck”. Your hand consists of four abilities, randomly drawn from your deck.

If you gain abilities from a portal that you already have, these duplicates may be put towards upgrading your abilities. You can purchase premium treasure portals with real-world money, from R14.99 to R1,499.99 in value.

The in-game currency, Emeralds, is linked to a cryptocurrency called Databits (DTB) – which runs on the Bitcoin blockchain. When the game officially launches, the developers say it will be possible to exchange DTB for Emeralds, and back.

The company plan to hold DTB in a reserve to maintain fixed ratios of 1 DTB to 1,000 Emeralds. The amount of DTB stored in the reserve will continue to grow as it gains popularity because more Emeralds will be in circulation because using DTB directly in the game brought technical, user-face and regulatory issues.

Right now, Emeralds are only to buy gold or immediately open portals and take 3.5 hours to unlock. However, Emeralds will later be the currency used in the auction house and the in-game marketplace where creatures, relics, and skins may be purchased.

A Real-World Rarity

Haffenden and Deon wanted to create a multi-player game that got players together in the real world but blockchain technology could not facilitate this. Still, it is helping to release another dream: a system of real-world rarity and value for digital assets, i.e. digital scarcity.

Augmentors

Image by AugmentorsGame.com

Although some games have the mechanism for trading in-game currency or value for real-world value, systems that allow a direct exchange of game items or in-game currency for cash is rare. Other games link their in-game currency to the price of a monthly subscription, giving it real-world value. Others let you buy a premium currency with real money, and players can this exchange for assets in the game. Although, these fiat currency to in-game value exchanges are usually one-way. A player is unable to cash out unless through illegal channels.

The creatures are non-fungible tokens, which means that each individual creature is unique. This differs from fungible tokens, such as Bitcoin, where each token is identical.

Augmentors said it will use ERC-721 standards for its non-fungible creature tokens. They benefit from ERC-721 through provable scarcity and inter-game operability.

An alpha version of Augmentors is available for download in South Africa for both Android and iOS.

Blockchain Technology

Pundi X Unveils New Blockchain Phone ‘XPhone’ in Kigali

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xphone

Singapore-based company Pundi X recently unveiled its blockchain phone, called XPhone, at the GSMA Mobile 360 Africa event in Kigali, Rwanda.

The XPhone

The XPhone features a blockchain-based operating system enabling users to make calls and send text messages without the need for a centralised service provider. This makes it the first phone that runs on a decentralised ecosystem while allowing users to make phone calls, send messages, and transmit data. Furthermore, users can switch between the blockchain mode, which is powered by Function X, and the Android mode.

“Telecommunications and Internet companies have derived tremendous value from controlling data. By decentralising apps, we can put this data onto a smart contract, effectively giving control back to creators and users. Much of what we call peer-to-peer or ‘decentralised’ services continue to be built upon centralised networks. We are changing that,” said Pundi X founder and CEO Zac Cheah.

PundiXAccording to Pundi X, each XPhone is “a node on the network contributing to the operation of the blockchain ecosystem. Content and connectivity are organised in a distributed, node-to-node manner.”

Pitt Huang, the co-founder and CTO of Pundi X, stated: “Scalability in blockchain is derived from the number and geographic spread of nodes. It is clear how achieving a critical mass in terms of scale will require something with a high utility for people. The XPhone, thus, has the potential to establish a large global pool of nodes.”

Pundi X aims to give back to users the control over how their data is used with Function X which keeps data secure and encrypted.

“Blockchain today is at a similar stage of development as the Internet in the early ’90s. Like the browser was to the Internet, a new kind of network and decentralised protocol like Function X will have a profound effect on blockchain, putting it in the hands of millions via a smartphone and returning control of their data to them,” Huang added.

Features

The XPhone will have a 5.65 inches screen, 6GB RAM and 128GB ROM, fingerprint sensor on the side, 16MP front camera, 48MP rear camera, 3500 mAH battery capacity, and the Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 660 Mobile Platform. The blockchain phone will retail for $599. These are, however, the minimum specifications. Both the design and specs can change.

The XPhone will also have an ‘X’ button on the side that enables users to easily access DApps when they are in blockchain mode.

“Blockchain-based calling and messaging is toggled on and off on the phone operating system, which builds upon Android 9.0,” the company explained.

Pundi X will produce and release 5,000 XPhones in late 2019. The company is open to partner with hardware and phone manufacturers that want to build their version of a blockchain phone powered by Function X.

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Blockchain Technology

Blockchain Game Gods Unchained Launches Beta Version

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Gods Unchained
Image by godsunchained.com

Blockchain game Gods Unchained launched its beta version. The Ethereum-powered game, which was created by Fuel Games, has already sold four million virtual cards, generating four million dollars in revenue for the gaming startup.

God Unchained Beta

The Gods Unchained beta version will enable more players to “join the fray, collect cards, mint cards to the blockchain, and battle with others around the world.”

Co-Founder of Gods Unchained, Robbie Ferguson, said in a press release: “Gaming is a $100 billion per year market that has capitalised on leasing premium features to select individuals on their purchasing power. In almost every game, players are buying items, cards, skins, and upgrades which they do not truly own. Blockchain actually gives players digital-asset ownership by minting game elements to a blockchain. With Gods Unchained, we have captured the allure of traditional print card collectibles like Magic, married them with appealing visuals of digital games like Hearthstone, and added true ownership through the Ethereum blockchain.”

The beta will run through July where cards will be collected from packs. “Developers will monitor the performance of cards and measure the fairness of different deck combinations. This is to ensure that the game remains balanced, fun, and competitive. After the balancing beta, the development team will solidify card stats and activate peer-to-peer trading functions,” an official statement said.

Packs, Genesis Set, and World Championship

New players will get a starter deck to play the free game while players looking to expand their collection will have access to booster packs. In addition, during the pre-sale of the game, the developers have released a limited edition of the Genesis Set which has 380 special cards. The developers will terminate the Genesis Set after the beta closes and version 1 of the game launches. A new season of cards will follow the termination of the Genesis Set.

Ten percent of the sales from the packs will go towards the prizes for the first Gods Unchained World Championship. $430,000 has already been put aside for the championship.

Unlike traditional games where players do not own items they purchase in a game, the use of blockchain technology in Gods Unchained gives players real ownership to the items they buy or earn. This means that they can sell these items for digital currency or trade them with other players.

In order to create the blockchain game, Fuel Games raised $2.4 million from Coinbase Ventures, Sora Ventures, Nirvana Capital, and Continue Capital. The company is currently creating the Apollo Platform which will offer scalable blockchain infrastructure for world-class game studios.

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Blockchain Technology

OneWattSolar is Leveraging the Blockchain to Provide Renewable Energy to Nigerians

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Nigerian startup, OneWattSolar, is leveraging blockchain technology to provide low-cost solar energy to Nigerians to relieve them of the reliance on costly power generators.

Blockchain Payments

OneWattSolarWhen using OneWattSolar‘s clean energy solution, customers do not have to pay for the solar panel system setup. Instead, it comes with an Internet-enabled router that will collect data on energy usage to ensure customers are billed exactly for what they use and also alert the company of any potential problem.

The idea of using the blockchain for its solution is to allow transparency among all stakeholders and to reduce the costs involved.

“[The blockchain] provides transparency, you can see the utilisation of funds, how many systems we have purchased and how many are being used. On a traditional service using fossil fuels, energy usage is around 70 Nigerian naira ($0.19) per kilowatt. But the blockchain system is 50 percent cheaper than diesel,” Alagbe told CNN.

Africa Renewable Energy Industry

For decades, African countries – including Nigeria – have been plagued with a lack of power supply. According to a 2016 report, only four out of ten Africans have access to a reliable power supply. In 2017, Nigeria was ranked as the worst electricity supply nation while research conducted out by the World Bank shows 42 percent of Nigerians do not have access to electricity.

In a bid to tackle this problem, the renewable energy industry in Africa has been experiencing tremendous growth. Morocco plans to power over one million homes with a new solar power plant reported to be the largest in the world while Ghana announced plans to increase the consumption of renewable energy by 2030.

Video by Idea Seed Africa

OneWattSolar launched operations in January 2019. The clean energy startup hopes to supply more than one million homes without electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa with solar energy through blockchain by 2025.

OneWattSolar is a part of GoSolar Africa, a renewable energy company that has been in operating for the past eight years.

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