“X-to-Earn” in Crypto: What Does It Mean?

“X-to-Earn” in Crypto: What Does It Mean?
“X-to-Earn” in Crypto: What Does It Mean?

In just over a year, the “X-to-Earn” concept gained a strong foothold in the cryptocurrency and Web3 space, and has already evolved into a number of different incarnations.

Play-to-Earn (P2E), Move-to-Earn (M2E) and Watch-to-Earn (W2E) are just some of the ideas blockchain developers have come up with to incentivize the use of their products while rewarding the end user for their participation.

Yet of the three ways to earn cryptocurrency mentioned above, some have shown a greater likelihood of persistence than others, and each has its own unique quirks, features, and potential shortcomings.

Play to earn

Due to the built-in financial apparatus inherent in NFT technology, blockchain games have emerged as a way to bring new users into the Web3 space while compensating them for their time and attention.

These games usually see players earn cryptocurrency rewards for playing and winning against either AI or other players. In-game items such as weapons, armor, and personal avatars can often be owned directly by the player and then traded on the open market.

P2E’s popularity can be seen in the thousands of games that are currently live in the blockchain gaming space right now, but very few have succeeded in creating immersive gameplay. The vast majority of P2E games involve relatively little gameplay, and instead see players engaged in simple one-click routines that have more in common with yield farming than actual gameplay.

Move to earn

On the surface, Move-to-Earn appears to be a noble effort to increase engagement in the Web3 space by encouraging users to engage in physical activities to earn cryptocurrency rewards.

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M2E projects such as STEPN (GMT) see users receiving rewards for activities such as walking, jogging and running. While the idea initially burst onto the scene with much fanfare, the concept of the M2E also suffers from a few flaws. These apps often have a buy-in price, where special NFTs are required to start earning, thus overpricing potential users from the start.

Also, just like a new gym membership in the first week of January, the initial excitement of M2E apps often fails to be sustained. Expecting internet users to put on the sneakers for a meaningful period of time may be too much to ask in the long run.

Look to earn

Unlike the Move-to-Earn concept, the Watch-to-Earn sector does not place undue physical demands on users, but instead looks to reward them for something most internet users do every day.

Over the past few years, video content has emerged as the most important communicative medium on the internet, but until now the only ones included in the revenue model are content creators and platform owners.

W2E expands its revenue model to include the people who make video content so popular: the audience. W2E is exemplified by projects like the XCAD Network, which integrates with existing video sites like YouTube and Twitch to generate rewards for users who watch and share videos, and access special perks around the creator, bridging the gap between the creator and the fans.

W2E also benefits content creators themselves, who can generate additional revenue on top of YouTube ad revenue by fostering greater fan engagement. In the case of XCAD, content creators can also create unique NFTs based on memorable moments from their videos and live streams and auction them off to fans.

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Watch-to-Earn marks a genuine integration of Web3 ideals with arguably the most popular activity on the Internet today: watching videos.

The ‘X-to-Earn’ space in the cryptosphere continues to grow and we will no doubt see even more iterations of the concept emerge in the coming years. Right now, Watch-to-Earn shows the most promise as a true application of Web3 technology to the existing Web2 arena.

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