Voyager sat down with Witek Radomski, Enjin Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. Keep reading to learn more about how he got involved in the crypto industry, what's on the horizon for Enjin, and more.
Voyager: Tell us how you first got involved with blockchain and cryptocurrencies?
Witek Radomski: I first heard about Bitcoin in 2011, from a futurist friend of mine. I tried out the old Bitcoin-Qt wallet and one of the early Bitcoin faucets, but I wasn't impressed with the usability at the time. I later started hearing about Bitcoin more and more in 2012 and met a few people running DIY mining rigs. After learning about how it worked and becoming fascinated with the idea of decentralized networks, I convinced the Enjin team to accept BTC as a payment option. We even participated in the early Bitcoin Black Friday events, offering customers a discount for payments made in BTC.
When I heard about concepts like colored coins and smart contracts on Ethereum, I was hooked, and I couldn't wait to experiment with writing software for these new networks.
V: You've been a part of the Enjin team for 11 years. How has the project grown and evolved during this time?
WR: Enjin began 11 years ago as a multi-gaming website platform, the Enjin Network. Twenty million gamers have used Enjin for socializing and connecting with their guilds and clan members. Thousands of these gaming communities were getting donations from their members or even had virtual item sales in the case of Minecraft servers using our tools.
In the last three years, we've devoted our attention to virtual items and the ownership of collectibles by building a holistic ecosystem of blockchain products fueled by Enjin Coin. We feel this has a lot of potential for innovation in the gaming world. When it's implemented correctly, digital ownership in games will explode in popularity in the coming years.
Like with our legacy community platform, we're giving gamers and developers tools to easily explore digital asset ownership, without getting bogged down with the technicalities and quirks of blockchain tech.
V: What makes Enjin different from other blockchain projects? What's its unique value proposition?
WR: There's a long list of what makes us different, but let's focus on three key points:
First, we're not just building a wallet, a marketplace, or a development platform. We're building it all (and more), all in the form of a blockchain ecosystem that encompasses usable, seamlessly integrated products designed for mainstream users.
Second, it's the tokenomics of Enjin Coin (ENJ), which currently powers over a billion blockchain assets. Every asset minted with the Enjin Platform is backed by ENJ, giving it advanced blockchain functionality—and instant liquidity.
Third, it's the fact that we're building Efinity, an Ethereum scaling solution usable by the average Joe, and capable of infinite transactions at zero costs. Since day one, we were not interested in bringing blockchain to people that are already sold on it—we're extremely confident that we can bring it to mainstream audiences.
Each of our products has its own unique value proposition, as we're targeting multiple audiences. What they all have in common can be summed up in a single word: usability.
V: Do you have a favorite game built on Enjin? If so, what is it?
WR: I'm excited about a lot of our official and earliest adopters listed here: https://enjin.io/powered-by-enjin but I shouldn't pick a favorite :)
Many of these projects are using our tech in really unique ways, for example, The Six Dragons' real-time blockchain crafting and enchanting.
V: Can you explain to our audience how Enjin plugs into popular games like Minecraft?
WR: Enjin was founded the same year as Minecraft's first release; Minecraft servers and communities represent a large portion of our 20 million user-strong Enjin Network. Our first Minecraft plugin, DonationCraft, has garnered 5.1 million downloads and helped server owners earn millions of dollars.
EnjinCraft, our blockchain plugin for Minecraft, was the obvious next step in this continued, parallel evolution. It's built on top of our Java SDK, and we launched it in May this year.
The plugin communicates directly with the Enjin Platform, which then facilitates all blockchain functionalities—everything from enabling server owners to create blockchain assets and provide special permissions to players, to enabling players to link their blockchain identities and trade peer-to-peer.
V: Has the Coronavirus pandemic had an effect on the gaming industry?
WR: Overall, the video game industry has been extremely resilient to the pandemic—the sales of both video games and video gaming hardware increased as a result of lockdowns.
People simply turned to video games not only as a pastime, but also as a way to maintain and build social connections, and get the freedom of movement.
At Enjin, we've watched closely as platforms like Steam and Xbox Live set new records for concurrent users, with tens of millions of gamers playing at the same time.
V: We love that Enjin has a futuristic vision! Can you share more about Enjin's belief that in the future, the "real world" and the digital world will evolve into an interconnected reality?
WR: We're all investing a lot of time and energy into the web of social connections and experiences people are building online. The concept of owning digital property or assets has always needed to be expressed in the online world. In many ways, items created in the new blockchain universe are more permanent than "real" things. Their history is logged forever, and they will survive for as long as humanity keeps the major blockchains alive (I'd argue that will be essentially forever).
I can see a very near future where someone can snap their fingers, ask their ever-present AI assistant to mint them a token on-the-fly, and pass the token to someone in front of them (or in a chat conversation or game in their AR glasses), within the span of a few seconds. People will perform simple exchanges of value, IOUs, famous signatures, and, most interestingly, represent digital goods and ideas and transfer them freely.
In the gaming world, I would love to see games being created that experiment with user-created tokens. Guilds could create their own currency or kill-point accounting systems. In open-world games, users could tokenize their creations and sell or trade them. Tokenization could be part of gameplay by allowing players to "patent" designs and create interesting online and real-world trading economies. We've already seen some blockchain games that use the concept of breeding and DNA traits. I think even this idea could be pushed a lot further.
Some people collect physical concert tickets from the famous bands they saw in person or signatures from their favorite authors or artists. But what happens in the digital world? Why can't I get a limited digital edition of a comic book, personally signed with a message from the author? How about looking back on memorabilia from some of the online games I used to play? What about the VR concert I might attend in the future?
People will want to keep collectibles that preserve their digital memories and link them to a past event. These are some of the ways I think blockchain technology will weave itself into reality over time.
V: What do you wish more people knew about crypto? Which crypto myths do you want to bust?
WR: Blockchain gaming is not all about pay-to-win or monetization. Instead, I would ask people to be open minded and think of blockchain as a powerful new ingredient in your game design toolbox.
V: What can we look forward to in 2020 on Enjin's product road map?
WR: The largest project we're working on is Efinity, our Ethereum scaling solution, and integrating it into all of our software, SDKs, and of course, Enjin Coin. We can't wait to show the community what's coming later this year.
We're improving the user experience of our Enjin Cloud platform and making it more user-friendly for non-developers. We've realized that a lot of people that aren't game developers also want to mint and organize crypto assets. Our experience with enterprises like Microsoft and our game developers also gave us the incentive to build better statistics and reporting tools for the Enjin Platform.
Finally, we're putting focus into more general ERC-1155 support, an improved blockchain explorer, many upcoming updates to Enjin Wallet, and the public release of Enjin Beam, a QR airdrop system for distributing blockchain assets.