🎙 "I Realized We Could Scale Play-to-Earn to Impact Thousands, Hopefully Millions of Lives:" YGG's Gabby Dizon

In this week’s episode, I speak with Gabby Dizon, co-founder of Yield Guild Games, or YGG. Long before Gabby was into crypto he was into gaming, and that’s how he started playing Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based game where players earn cryptocurrency just for playing. Gabby eventually became a well-known figure in the Axie community, spreading the word especially in his home country, the Philippines, as he saw that crypto earned for playing was making a real difference in people’s lives.

He started doing so well, collecting Axies, which are NFT tokens linked to digital, mystical animals, that he started renting out his NFTs. He realized this could lead to an entirely new business model, and that’s how Yield Guild Games was born. YGG scholars, or those who lease out NFTs, generated about $3.3M dollars in revenue in July alone, 70% of which went to players.

Gabby believes YGG’s play-to-earn model, where groups of people put up the initial capital needed while others perform a job or task, and then split the revenue, will extend beyond gaming. Still, that’s way into the future. Right now he’s focused on making sure YGG becomes an on-ramp for anyone in the world to easily start earning from playing, even if they have never heard of crypto.    

The podcast was led by Camila Russo, and edited by Alp Gasimov. Transcript was edited by Owen Fernau.

🎙Listen to the interview in this week’s podcast episode here:

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Gabby Dizon: I'm a lifelong gamer, and I always knew that I wanted to make games growing up. So I became a game developer in 2003, and was part of the team that created the first-ever game to come out of the Philippines. And in 2014, I started a mobile game studio called Altitude Games. So we were making mobile games for iOS and Android phones. 

And three years later, in 2017, I first heard about Ethereum, and the concept of a smart contract or just the concept of having programmable money. And it was a very radical concept for me back then. And we started playing around with Solidity to see if it can change the game industry somehow. And it was during this time when we were playing around with Ethereum that CryptoKitties came out of ETH Waterloo in late 2017, and it crashed the Ethereum network, made a lot of news, and it popularized the term “non-fungible token.” 

So that was really the aha moment for me, knowing about NFTs, and knowing that you could store unique tokens on the blockchain. So they could be game items, for example, that live outside the game that was truly owned by the player. So that was such a radical concept and even up to now it is. And that was when I decided to devote my career to NFTs. So I've been in the NFT scene since 2018. We made a game called Battle Racers that was on Decentraland. And I co-founded and helped start the Blockchain Game Alliance as well.

Camila Russo: So what were your first learnings with those early blockchain games?

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