Baidu’s new blockchain game allows you to gamble on the World Cup
Baidu is testing a new blockchain-powered game that allows you to build planets… and bet on the World Cup.
Du Yuzhou, or Du Universe, went live on Thursday. I won’t lie, after downloading the game I was a little confused, because the objective and goals of the game aren’t immediately clear.
As soon as you log in, you get a virtual token representing an element. You have to collect these elements to build planets. The bigger the planets get, the greater their gravity -- and the greater their gravity, more likely they are to attract other elements.
Sounds pretty epic, right? But it turns out that right now, one of the only things you can do with elements are to gamble them away on a planet called Soccer Fairy.
We checked just a couple of hours before Friday’s match between Egypt and Uruguay and saw that more than 38,000 people used their elements to place bets (and 26,000 of them bet on victory for Uruguay).
If Uruguay does emerge victorious, players will be rewarded 1.48 times their initial investment. And if Egypt wins, players will get 7.6 times their initial bet… y’know, like gambling.
Other features of the game aren't available at the moment so it remains to be seen what else there is to do.
Baidu said that Du Yuzhou aims “not to launch another cryptocurrency, but a digital society experiment.”
Cryptocurrencies are banned in China, but blockchain technology is not. So companies are launching games to keep crypto alive in the country while staying within the law -- which is why there’s no way to convert elements for real money.
Meanwhile, other reports say the company may launch another blockchain game called Oasis.
Instead of rewarding players with elements, in Baidu’s Oasis, players earn crystals by completing various quests. The mechanics that generates crystals resembles that of bitcoin: There’s a limited overall supply, and the birth rate of new crystals decreases over time.
Internet users speculate that it may be inspired by Steven Spielberg's recent sci-fi hit Ready Player One, which revolves around a virtual world called Oasis. The summer blockbuster was a huge hit in China in terms of both ticket sales and ratings.