Play-to-Earn games have turned our concept of side-hustles topsy-turvy. Instead of plowing through the grind and putting in long hours to build a brand name for yourself, you get to indulge in probably your favourite hobby - gaming - while earning a respectable income on the side. Here are some popular Play-to-Earn games that have catapulted into the public imagination this year: Axie Infinity, Splinterlands, The Sandbox, among others.
In Messari's report published earlier this month, Ryan Selkis, the founder noted that the Play-to-Earn revolution is set to accelerate in 2022, given how various influential firms are investing in the development of such games with substantial funds. I quote directly from his report:
a16z poured $150 million into Mythical Games. Enjin announced a $100mm gaming fund. FTX and Lightspeed invested $21 million in Faraway Games. On the same day.
Amidst this backdrop, we must remain detached from the crypto-earning frenzy and be vigilant at all times. Let me share with you something that has rocked the crypto scene in Singapore this week.
Neko Inu was launched in Singapore this year and promised its players the chance to earn USDT as they took care of virtual pets and sold them on the marketplace. Given its resemblance to Neopets, you bet that it gained popularity among Singaporeans within a short period of time. What's more, it sold the promise of allowing players to earn 5% on their USDT every day. And that's not all. When you referred your friends to play this game, you would receive part of their returns whenever they purchased and sold their pets.
Hence, given the fun element, lucrative rewards and attractive downlines, who wouldn't be enticed? Some aspiring players even sought to take out loans in order to enhance the value of their pets.
Various influential personal finance bloggers like Budget Babe and Kelvin Learns Investing openly declared that they thought Neko Inu was a scam and cautioned their readers/viewers to stay away from this game. But it seemed that their well-meaning advice came a little too late for some players.
It all started as something innocent and innocuous. A maintenance announcement.
Image credit: @nekoinu.global
Then, the maintenance got extended because the team needed to fend off vicious online attacks, including a DDOS attack.
Image credit: @nekoinu.global
But when the server was eventually restored, players were horrified to learn that all their USDT has been converted to Neko$. Neko$ was a token that was not listed on any crypto exchange, so this meant that they would not be able to cash out their earnings or assets.
A rug pull had been performed.
Imagine the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realised that your hard-earned money was turned into worthless currency overnight.
Some victims have banded together to file police reports against the Singaporean named as the chief marketing officer of Neko Inu. But given that this Singaporean couldn't be located on LinkedIn, it is highly likely that he is a fictitious character.
This serves as a painful lesson that I hope to remind myself in my crypto endeavours next year (and beyond). I hope you find this article a jolt to your senses too.