Minecraft developer Mojang announced earlier this week that it was banning blockchain and NFT technology from the popular block-based game. The general response from the community has been positive, but the purveyors of NFTs are feeling the sting. NFT Worlds, which has made a business of selling crypto-infused Minecraft content, is in search of a new path forward and may have to pivot by creating its own NFT-based version of the game.
The freedom to build your own world in Minecraft has been appealing to NFT groups, offering plenty of opportunities to create blockchain products. NFT Worlds has generated over $75 million in transaction volume selling what it calls “world seeds.” Like other NFTs, these products are unique, and they can be bought and sold with blockchain backing. The owner of the NFT can use the seed to create a world using the Minecraft client.
In announcing the blockchain restrictions, Mojang said NFTs “create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft.” Before Mojang’s announcement, NFT Worlds were selling for 3 Ethereum, or roughly $4,500. After Mojang decided to ban blockchain tech from the game, the value of the NFTs dropped to 1.4 Ethereum ($2,100), reports Vice. The NFT Worlds crypto token also plummeted in value by about 70 percent.
— NFT Worlds (@nftworldsNFT) July 20, 2022
NFT Worlds says it is currently attempting to contact Microsoft (which owns Mojang) to seek clarification on the change and seek an “alternative outcome.” That seems unlikely, but NFT Worlds says it has an alternative: it’ll just build its own NFT game. It wouldn’t be the first, but most of these titles are still barebones and not very popular. I question whether it’s even possible to build a game around overpriced digital assets that is actually fun to play.
Mojang has not said it will forever ignore blockchain technology but the current exclusionary model of NFTs will not be permitted. That’s not to say that NFT Worlds and other groups are out of options. They could continue to sell NFTs with Minecraft seeds — there’s nothing stopping people from manually inserting seeds into the game client. However, NFT Worlds won’t be able to use the Minecraft API to send and receive crypto payments for the NFTs inside the game. That’s the sort of feature a game built from the ground up for NFTs would have, but good luck finding one that’s as enjoyable as Minecraft.