The first quarter of the 2022 year has served largely as a cool off following the substantial expansion the cryptocurrency market saw since 2020. Many assets, including that of Decentraland (MANA), Axie Infinity (AXS), and Sandbox (SAND), declined or consolidated for much of Q1 2022.
What hasn’t stopped since the beginning of the year is development within the metaverse space. Nearly every major play-to-earn (P2E) project has seen tremendous development, expansion, or fresh investment from both in and outside the cryptoeconomy.
Here is a wrap up of what the top three leading P2E projects did over the course of Q1 2022.
The use case and ability of Decentraland has continued expanding throughout Q1 2022 with the project adding a number of new features and incentives. Decentraland’s native cryptocurrency token MANA had an overall rocky Q1 in terms of price action.
The MANA token reached an all time high of ~$5.90 USD in November 2021. Since then, MANA has declined in price over 50%. Despite the decline, MANA will begin Q2 2022 up ~175% from its price at the end of Q1 last year in 2021.
Image credit: Messari
Decentraland has announced or integrated all of the following features so far in 2022:
- Royalties - Decentraland kicked off the 2022 new year with a major announcement that royalty payments were going to be integrated into the protocol. This implementation into the Decentraland marketplace will allow creators to substantially increase their potential earnings, incentivizing further adoption.
- My Store - Decentraland integrated a new feature to its marketplace called My Store. This upgrade allows creators to more easily manage assets, view data, and build personal branding.
- Transparency OS - In February 2022, Decentraland announced the arrival of a new operating software geared towards improving community decision-making called Transparency OS.. In short, this serves to provide further transparency of data between the community and DAO.
Axie Infinity (AXS)
Following the market peak in November 2021, Axie Infinity’s had continued its decline for much of Q1 2022. Since the end of February, AXS has consolidated largely around a market capitalization of $2.8 billion USD.
AXS remains down over 50% from the all time high it hit in 2021 after the cryptocurrency market entered a consistent decline in Q4 of 2021. Despite this, Axie Infinity is up a staggering ~1,200% since the end of Q1 2022. That makes Axie Infinity one of the fastest-growing projects within the cryptoeconomy overall.
Image credit: Messari
AXS isn’t far behind MANA, ending Q1 2022 within the top 40 largest cryptocurrencies by market cap. AXS also enjoys being the leading project in the subcategory of gaming as well as the second largest metaverse project only behind Decentraland.
Axie Infinity has benefited tremendously from the impressive (and growing) list of partnerships they have, including all of the following partners:
The Sandbox (SAND)
As far as virtual worlds go, The Sandbox remains one of the most popular projects within the sector. Pretty consistently trailing just behind both Axie Infinity and Decentraland, The Sandbox’s native token SAND is still holding an impressive $4 billion USD market cap.
The SAND token peaked like much of the cryptocurrency market in Q4 2021, down a comparable ~50% off the token’s all time high. The expansion of SAND over the past year has also been impressive, outperforming Decentraland and rising nearly 400% since Q1 2021.
Image credit: Messari
With enthusiasm for the metaverse and Web3 growing, SAND has also minted some truly impressive partnerships. Some of the most impressive partners to join with The Sandbox include the following examples:
- Snoop Dogg
- The Walking Dead
- The Smurfs
- Hell’s Kitchen
Snoop Dogg avatars. Image credit The SandBox
A recent Q1 2022 example is the partnership between The Sandbox and SM Brand Marketing which will be utilized to construct a Play-to-Create model. This will be centred around building within the metaverse and minting collectables like NFTs.
With a growing arsenal of opportunities for users to earn income, The Sandbox continues to see an adoption rate that rivals all other projects within the metaverse space. Address growth is continuing to increase which correlates with a higher number of daily transactions within Sandbox.
GameFi and P2E projects took a massive step forward in 2021. In spite of price action declining much of the past five months, there has been zero slow down in the development and expansion of many projects. Brands are moving into the metaverse and blockchain space with every passing week.
Outside of the big three, a watchful eye should be kept on other gaming, metaverse, and NFT projects in the sector as the sector market cap grows. Other notable projects include:
Studies have already been released in Q1 2022 that demonstrate the potential growth of the metaverse overall, with estimates suggesting that by 2026 a quarter of people will spend at least one hour within the metaverse for work, shopping, education, and so on.
JP Morgan Chase even released a detailed study on the metaverse in Q1 2022 that outlines how their organization is expecting the space to develop and expand. They even went as far to say that the metaverse will reach “$1 trillion [USD] in yearly revenues” in the coming years.
As off-chain organizations move more towards the cryptoeconomy and attempt to integrate the metaverse - like Facebook rebranding to Meta - the legitimacy of projects like Decentraland, Axie Infinity, or Sandbox should continue to grow in 2022 and seemingly beyond.