Nowadays it’s becoming more and more common to hear conversations between teenagers such as the following:
– Hey! Do you play Axie?
– Of course! I can’t complain, Alhumdulilah I make around $900 a month. What about you?
– Yeah. I just started a few months ago, but I’m already close to $400…
It’s the boom of the moment, a new trend in the videogame industry that was birthed from the crypto world.
I’m not talking about a simple game with which to kill leisure time, but about a video game that has already generated more than $400 million in profits and is placed in the top position among “play-to-earn” games.
It turns out that thanks to blockchain technology, it’s now possible to make a lot of money by playing videogames related to the crypto world, and one of the best examples of this is Axie Infinity.
To give you some idea of just how popular and transformative this game has been for some, know that Axie Infinity is already considered by many as the “Bitcoin” of NFT-based videogames, and its popularity has reached the point that in some countries, people are paying their bills and quitting their jobs thanks to the income they earn playing the game. Madness or a playful crypto revolution?
Let’s figure that out today with an Axie Infinity Overview while also exploring, is Axie Infinity halal? Yallah!! (Let’s go!)
What is Axie Infinity?
Axie Infinity is a Player-vs-Player (PvP) and Play-to-Earn online video game developed in 2018 by the Vietnamese company Sky Mavis and based on the Ethereum blockchain technology.
In Axie Infinity, as a player, you can create characters that have the appearance of monsters in the Pokémon style – in fact, Axie is inspired by this famous game – called Axies and that are represented in the form of NFT tokens, thus becoming cryptographic collectibles that you can later improve to put them in battles against other Axies and make some virtual money.
You can later use that money in the form of cryptocurrency tokens to improve your character’s strengths and abilities, get new monsters or sell them on the market for higher profits.
These characteristics have made Axie Infinity one of the most interesting games in the crypto world, already surpassing veteran platforms such as Sorare or CryptoKitties.
What is the goal of Axie Infinity?
The main goal of the game is to collect the best Axies and put them to fight against other players or against the artificial intelligence in the game. In this way, the more powerful your creatures are, the more possibilities you’ll have when facing other players and therefore, to make more money in battles as your level increases.
Axies can be improved because each one has a series of unique features that you can improve as you carry out activities in the game, which include battles, as well as missions, and other extra activities. But as I already mentioned, the most interesting thing about these creatures is that thanks to blockchain/NFT technology, each Axie has a set of unique and unrepeatable features.
This is reflected in the fact that each Axie has unique “digital genetics” that gives it characteristics that make it more or less efficient in combat, depending on each situation. For example, a particular Axie could have been “born” with great resistance to fire attacks. Your duty as a breeder is then raising it in the best possible way so that it develops this ability to the max level.
If you’ve ever played Pokémon, you may notice that Axie Infinity’s dynamic is very similar to that of the popular game by Nintendo.
What are AXS and SLP tokens in Axie Infinity?
Axie Infinity has two unique tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain technology which are called AXS and SLP tokens. Let’s take a closer look at what each one of them consists of.
AXS stands for Axie Infinity Shard and consists of an ERC-20 type token that allows players to receive rewards for their participation in the game. For example, if you wish, you can take all your AXS and stake them and earn extra AXS tokens as a reward for supporting the Axie ecosystem. These AXS tokens also serve to participate in the game’s decentralized governance, in addition to serving as a form of support for the community treasury that helps drive the development of the entire ecosystem.
The AXS token was made public in November 2020, which is one of the reasons why this token is not yet fully functional. However, it’s easy to see that the AXS token was created to offer access to a decentralized finance system to incentivize and make future development and improvement of the game easier.
I should highlight that AXS has a limited supply of 270,000,000 tokens, which makes it a scarce resource with good potential to increase its value in the future insha’Allah.
SLP or Smooth Love Potion, is another token of the ERC-20 type that is used so that players can receive their rewards when winning battles within Axie Infinity. As it’s a PvP game, when you win each battle, you should receive experience points or XP – which is the norm for PvP games – but in Axie Infinity, instead of XP, you receive SLP tokens that you can later use as you wish.
These SLP tokens are essential within the game since, for example, if you want to start breeding an Axie, you must have at least 100 SLP to be able to do so. Each upgrade or enhancement you want to make to an Axie, will have a specific cost in SLP, and the more Axies you’d like to have or the better the Axie you’d like to own, then the more SLP you will need.
Is Axie Infinity safe to play or invest in?
As has happened – and continues happening – with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and more recently with NFTs, a debate directly linked to these two types of crypto assets also falls on Axie Infinity. In this sense, many people wonder:
Is Axie Infinity a financial bubble?
Is it safe to invest in Axie Infinity?
It’s easy to understand that these questions will arise for many, especially every time a new boom appears in the crypto world that generates exorbitant amounts of money overnight, but you should remember that the possibility of making money playing blockchain games is indeed real. After all, we already know that it’s possible to make money professionally by playing videogames such as eSports games.
But in addition to eSports games, for many years, there has also been a gray market on the internet where users of certain games can make an economic exchange that moves millions of dollars a year.
Some of these games that generate millions of dollars in revenue per year would be World of Warcraft or Runescape, to name just a few examples.
Now, thanks to blockchain, developers have been able to create and promote a new business model in videogames. Axie Infinity has demonstrated that it’s possible to generate an entire internal economy in a game, strong enough for players to keep motivated to dedicate more and more time to this activity, even professionally.
In the Philippines and Vietnam, it’s already happening; there are people who have quit their jobs to earn money playing Axie Infinity and other similar games. It’s not the first time that this type of action has taken place, especially with projects that move huge amounts of money.
However, even with the enormous figures that Axie Infinity moves, it’s also true that the economic return can have its terrible ups and downs.
What Axie Infinity has done is take advantage of the NFT trend and the speculation that exists around that sector, to get the attention of the masses. But be that as it may, for many, this is a serious investment, not just a game.
Today, thousands of users pay 20 times more than what a next-generation console game is worth to enter the game in the hope of recovering their investment and obtaining superior benefits. And so far, the business model works.
But what if a strong competitor – or several – arrives overnight and makes the game lose popularity?
The entire game economy could be affected as users lose interest and NFT items lose value. After all, there is a certain level of risk when investing in blockchain games.
So when it comes to playing or investing in Axie Infinity, as always, the key factor here is to be cautious, do your research, and never invest more money than you can afford to lose. Muslims should not take extreme risks with investments; always being mindful of the provision that Allah has given them and who they are responsible for with that provision.
What do I need to play Axie Infinity?
If you’ve already gotten excited about Axie Infinity and want to ride this new wave, here’s a rundown of what you need to get started.
Create an account at Axie Infinity
In MetaMask you must have funds in Ether – the Ethereum currency – which you must then transfer to the Ronin wallet, which is the one used internally in Axie Infinity.
Then, from Ronin, you must transfer the money to buy the first three Axies necessary to start playing. At the time of writing this blog, the cost would be a total of about $1,200. Although, if you don’t have this amount of money, you can try to get a scholarship to play for free – more on this later insha’Allah (God willing).
After spending some time playing and accumulating victories, you can withdraw Axies to your Ronin wallet in the form of Ether, the second most important cryptocurrency, and exchange this for fiat money or spend it in the many online stores that accept the currency.
How do I play Axie Infinity?
As I mentioned before, the game is similar to Pokémon, only that the abilities of the Axies are reflected in cards. In this case, each monster has a series of features such as:
- Type – fish, beast, etc.
- Amount of damage it can cause
- Health levels
- Skill levels
- Special abilities
As a player, your goal is to strategically combine cards that reflect the abilities of your Axies to attack your opponents and try to defeat them. The player with the last Axie standing is the winner of the match. It’s as simple as that.
But again, what if you don’t have money to start playing Axie Infinity? Well, you could look into getting an Axie scholarship.
What are Axie scholarships?
A scholarship at Axie Infinity allows a novice user to receive an Axie for rent so that they can start playing and earning SLPs. These earnings will then be divided between the player, the Axie owner, and the scholarship manager, resulting in all users making a profit.
So, Axie Scholarships are comprised of three:
- A person who owns Axies to lend out to players
- A Scholarship Manager who manages the players
- A Player or one who is in need of Axies and is willing to play once they are lent Axies to play with
To qualify for a scholarship, you only need to have enough time to play, a desire to learn, and a commitment to following the scholarship guidelines. Take into account that in this case, both the owner of the Axie and the administrator, or scholarship manager, are trusting you to generate profits and distribute them.
If you are interested in obtaining a scholarship, you can try to apply through the official Axie Infinity Discord channel in the scholarships section. From there you can apply, but you must be prepared to demonstrate your skills and motivation.
And here’s a pretty good article that gives step-by-step details on how to create and manage an Axie Scholarship if you are interested in doing so.
How to make money with Axie Infinity
Currently, there are several methods to earn money playing Axie Infinity, let’s take a look at a few of them.
The most obvious method is to fight other players in the arena, or in adventure mode against the AI. Every day, you’ll receive a certain amount of energy to be able to fight and thus earn SLP, which you can then exchange for fiat money, and even other cryptocurrencies. At the time of writing this article, you can possibly generate between $8 to $40 per day.
You can also make money by buying Axies and breeding them. Once you get new hatchlings, you can try trading them for Ether. In this case, the price of each Axie will be different depending on its characteristics, as well as the supply and demand in the game – the cheapest Axie costs about $300. You can also offer your Axies in scholarships for other players to use.
Axie Infinity has plans to allow AXS token holders to stake their AXS tokens within the Axie universe.
Axie Infinity developers would like to see Axie Infinity become a more decentralized ecosystem and has thus developed a reward system that will reward additional AXS tokens to those who not only stake their AXS tokens within the Axie universe, but also actively play Axie Infinity, and also participate in governance initiatives by voting on community projects.
Staking is normally seen as a passive way to earn income, but with Axie Infinity, staking will require some work. The developers would like to see Axie Infinity’s development and growth come from its community and believe that the best way for this to happen is through active participation, and this is why its reward system is designed to reward those who not only stake, but will actively play, and actively vote on project initiatives. So, we cannot say that staking on Axie Infinity is merely passive. It will require some effort from the one who stakes.
At the time of writing this blog post, staking has not been initiated on Axie Infinity so we do not know the following:
- We do not know how long one has to stake their AXS tokens to receive rewards. 3 months? 6 months? One year? We don’t know as of yet
- We do not know how often one has to play Axie Infinity in order to qualify to receive staking rewards
- We do not know how often one must participate in governance voting or voting on community projects in order to qualify to receive rewards
Insha’Allah the developers of Axie Infinity will make this clear in due time as it appears that many people seem eager to participate in staking on Axie.
Buying and selling virtual lands
Currently, it’s possible to buy plots of virtual land within the metaverse of the game and whose minimum prices are close to $12,000, and wait for prices to rise before selling or even renting them. Some of these lands have been sold for $1.5 million and more!
Is Axie Infinity worth it?
Right now, Axie Infinity may be more or less worth it, depending on the strategy you follow. As I said before, it’s an investment linked to the volatility of cryptocurrencies, so you must measure very well which are your best opportunities based on your investment possibilities. If you have the time and you like to play, this may be the best option, either as the owner of your own Axies or as a user with a scholarship. In this way, you could possibly generate more than $1,000 a month, depending on your abilities.
Now, if you don’t want to play, remember that Axie Infinity offers several ways to invest in the game that can be more or less profitable. You can take advantage of the current boom in NFTs by buying or selling Axies or if you have the money, buy and sell virtual lands, and new ways of generating income are sure to come in the future if the game maintains its popularity insha’Allah. Just remember to always do proper research before you invest and never invest what you are not willing to lose.
Is Axie Infinity halal?
Is Axie Infinity halal? When examining a consensus of fatawa (legal opinions) from scholars as it relates to playing video games and earning money from playing video games, then we would say, yes, Axie Infinity is halal but not encouraged. Axie Infinity is not a game of chance, nor is the game structured as a tournament where prize money is given from participant registration fees as a reward, nor does the content and theme of the game conflict with Islamic principles, so we can say that it would be permissible to play and earn income from Axie Infinity but scholars still would encourage players to find another means of earning income.
So let’s break this down and see why playing and earning money from Axie Infinity is permissible while at the same time some scholars would still discourage seeking to earn money from Axie Infinity and videogames in general.
Game of Chance
First let’s look at what is called, “game of chance”. “Game of chance” is commonly understood to mean gambling, or getting something too easy, or getting a profit without working for it. This is forbidden in Islam. The ayat in the Quran that clarifies gambling as haram are the following:
“O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone altars [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” – Holy Quran, 5:90-91
“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” – Holy Quran, 2:219
“Game of chance” does not apply to Axie Infinity as Axie Infinity is a skill-based game where one focuses on building their Axie’s strength and powers through battles and breeding, and in return, they can earn income from selling their Axie NFT or SLP tokens in a marketplace. In other words, Axie Infinity requires effort, strategy, and time. This is not gambling and Axie Infinity is most certainly not a “game of chance”.
For further reading on “game of chance”, please read an excellent Islamic explanation here.
Tournaments and Prize Money
When it comes to earning money, scholars also mention that it is haram to earn money from competition tournaments where prize money is awarded from registration fees paid by those who participate in the tournament. Scholars view this as a form of gambling. The only exception for this is for certain competitions such as horse racing, camel racing, archery, swimming, or activities where the competition could be seen as enhancing one’s knowledge of Islam or training for jihad (defending or protecting the Muslim community).
Earning money from tournament competitions does not apply to Axie Infinity. As mentioned before, the main method of participating in gameplay on the Axie Infinity platform is by purchasing 3 Axies. Once the player has purchased 3 Axies, they can then play against opponents (Arena battle) or the AI (Adventure battle). Money is earned by selling Axie NFTs or SLP tokens or lending out Axies via a scholarship program. There is no registration fee and no grand prize money to win.
For further reading on tournaments and prize money, please read Islamic opinion here.
Theme and Content
Scholars also state that videos games should not go against Islamic principles such as the showing of awrah (intimate parts), using vulgar language, promoting immoral acts such as stealing, cheating, lying, etc., and the game should not promote the destruction of or show hate towards Islam. The theme and content of Axie Infinity do not go against Islamic principles nor does the game promote the immoral.
However, there are some things to keep in mind for anyone seeking to participate in play-to-earn games. In Islam, it is impermissible to deal in sales, business, or investment transactions that have high or extreme uncertainty. This is commonly referred to as gharar (uncertainty, risk, deception) in the sharia.
It may be that one person invests their surplus money to play Axie Infinity for leisure. This person has a solid understanding of how Axie Infinity works and they are investing money that if they were to lose what they have invested, it would not be of consequence to them or their family.
On the other hand, it may be that you have another person who is desperate and seeking a way to provide for their family. They know only a little of Axie Infinity and have only heard of positive stories of those who are making so much money in the game. This person takes their life’s savings to play with the hopes of supporting his/her family. It is in this situation where a scholar may say that this is impermissible because for this particular individual there is extreme uncertainty and speculation (gharar) as to their investment in Axie Infinity.
So when playing Axie Infinity or any other play-to-earn game, it is important for Muslims to have a proper understanding of what they are getting involved in and to be mindful of how they spend or invest their money, always being mindful of their responsibilities.
In Islam it is permissible to receive scholarships, however, it is incumbent upon the Muslim to fulfill their duties of the scholarship they have received assuming the obligations of the scholarship are halal. So, as long as the Axie Scholarship does not request or require the player to engage in what is haram then it is seen as permissible.
Why some scholars do not encourage playing
Finally, when it comes to playing Axie Infinity, or any videogame for that matter, we must always keep in mind how much time we devote to this activity. As Muslims, we know that when we meet Allah, one of the things that we will be questioned on is how we utilized our time.
There are some who will play Axie Infinity for income to support their family and there are others who will simply play for leisure. Regardless of where they fall, as Muslims, we should be cognizant of how much time we spend on this activity being mindful to not let this activity take away from the rights of Allah, others, or even ourselves.
And this is the concern of scholars. Scholars realize that it can be easy to find ourselves consumed in gameplay only to end up wasting time, especially if there is no true benefit of gameplay. Scholars encourage that we use our time to engage in what will benefit us in both this life and the next and see video games as a possible distraction.
This is not to say that one cannot play from time to time for leisure or even to earn income, but even for the latter, scholars recommend seeking other means of seeking income.
In recent years, several games have emerged to take advantage of the boom in cryptocurrencies and NFTs, generating a lot of money for both developers and users. In addition to helping generate real money for players, these games have also contributed to creating an entire ecosystem, a community, and a new economy that is changing various rules in the world, both real and virtual.
And with the growing advent of artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and robotics changing the landscape of the labor market by displacing humans for machines and with the negative effects of fiat currencies leaving nations economically poor, I believe that we will see a growing trend of people trying to find new ways to earn income for their families and they will do so in the metaverse.
The eyes of those who have large investment capital are seeing the enormous possibilities in the world of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the virtual world, and in the future, it is likely that more and more games of this type are going to appear in the market, so it’s time for Muslims to have our eyes wide open to the potential halal possibilities and opportunities in this space always remembering that whether it is the “real” world or the “virtual” world, Allah is Rabbil-‘Alamin, Lord of ALL the worlds.
And in the end, Allah knows best.
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