Digital creatures

Axie Infinity is an ecosystem of various games, marketplaces, and community. This is where users can develop, trade and play with Axis, digital creatures created on the Ethereum ERC-721 standard. These unique assets fall under the definition of “non-fungible tokens” (NFT). This means that they cannot be copied, but can develop unique features and looks.

The first game that really put NFT’s on the map was CryptoKitties. The game became so popular that it nearly the entire Ethereum chain crashed. During the CruptoKitties period, Alexander Leonard Larsen became an expert on NFT’s as a community participant. His dedication and knowledge led him to Axie Infinity and Vietnam.

Aleksander Leonard Larsen – Founder Axie Infinity

How did you discover crypto and what led you to Axie Infinity?

– My father traded Bitcoin quite early in 2014, but I wasn’t mature enough for it then. It wasn’t until early 2017 that I really understood the potential of crypto and began to read up on the subject.

When CryptoKitties (CK) came out on Ethereum in late 2018, Alexander combined the two things he spent most of his spare time doing: games and crypto. “It was a perfect combination and I quickly realized that the potential for non-fungible tokens (NFT) was huge.

He continues “When CryptoKitties started to become a viral hit, I had already gained a position in the CK community as a moderator. It was here I met an incredible number of smart people who were curious about NFTs, but we ended up being disappointed with CK and the way they handled their success.”

In January 2018, Alexander took a leave of absence from his state job and began as Community Manager at Parsec Frontiers, a blockchain game from Norwegian studio ArtPlant. They had had a successful “pre-sale” to an ICO in late 2017 that Aleksander had invested in and thought could be a good project.

– At the same time, some of my contacts from CK wanted to launch a new game, Axie Infinity. I said yes to joining as an advisor and together we did a non-fungible token sale in Axie Infinity in February 2018. It ended up being a breakthrough success. They wanted me to join me full time as a chief operating officer and one of the founders. After a short break, I decided to resign my position in Parsec Frontiers and the state to join the Axie adventure.

How do you explain what Axie offers, in a so-called “elevator pitch”?

– I’m a fan of the term “hyper-capitalist Pokemon”, but the official elevator pitch reads as follows: “Axie Infinity, is a digital pet universe where players battle, raise, and trade cute creatures called Axies. It is one of the highest grossing-grossing blockchain games of all time, according to DApp tracking website

How did you end up choosing non-fungible tokens on Ethereum? Did you consider competitors?

There were extremely few real alternatives in early 2018. The general ecosystem was at an incredibly early stage and no other blockchain had as many developers as Ethereum had – the same is true today.

How did you end up choosing non-fungible tokens on Ethereum? Did you consider competitors?

– We realized early on that Ethereum was not designed for gaming and has spent a lot of time evaluating different solutions. We have been in contact with Loom Network for a long time, and have already used our Basechain to issue some NFTs earlier this year. Basechain will function as a universal Layer 2 solution that can seamlessly talk to different blockchains.”He says.

– It’s probably a little while until we’re right there, but at the moment they’re the only solution we think works fine.

What is the big benefit to the user that you build Axie and the products on a blockchain?

– We see that our players most appreciate the ownership of their items. It allows them to sell or bring their characters to other games that are not necessarily made by us. The fact that players can sell their characters means that we are forced to stay on the same lot as them. If we find some nonsense, they can easily run off and the economy is shaking.

The owners of Axies are now participating in an extended ecosystem where several other developers are working on different products and services.

Right now, 18 external development environments are building products in Axie’s ecosystem. There is everything from new games, to a wiki page and a decentralized exchange.

Since all Axies are ERC-721 NFTs, they can be traded on any marketplace that supports this standard. Axie Infinity also has its own marketplace where tokens have been traded for $ 1.8M +.

Why Vietnam and are there challenges associated with relocating there?

– I had never been to Asia before and am only in Vietnam because the team is here. I am at home to fix a new 90-day VISA often enough that it works out fine. The Vietnamese in the company take care of several practical needs that foreigners may struggle with, especially in the beginning. State authorities applaud us that we are there to do business.

Would it be possible to build Axie in Norway?

– One of our biggest advantages is that we are located in Vietnam. We can hire strong developers here for 1/3 of the price it would cost at home in Norway. This means that we can scale the company quickly without getting a wild burn rate and therefore we do not have to stress about raising money all the time. If we had done the same in Norway, we probably would have been more driven entrepreneurs and had larger networks.

He finished with, “We have actually considered setting up a small office in Norway, where I and some developers could work from, but it seems quite impossible to get a residence permit for tech talents. Also, the startup equity and tax rules are incredibly attractive compared to most other countries in the world.”

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