An interview with ionomy General Manager, Richard Nelson
Describe the ionomy ecosystem. What are the key elements?
I would say that the key elements are the ION blockchain and its masternodes, the crypto games we’ve developed, the platform which includes financial services like wallets and our Alchemy exchange, and the final element would be our game developer tools that bring gamers and crypto people together.
As you know, ionomy includes a proof of stake blockchain that features masternodes. There is a whole wonderful community, bigger than just ionomy, around masternode projects. And part of the appeal, of course, is the passive income. We love to celebrate our masternode identity and have continued to push the envelope by coming up with ways to make “masternoding” better.
The second element involves games that use ION as an incentive for competitive play. ionomy Studios has developed three games from the ground up and has more on the way. There’s a strong market for good games. There are also a lot of games out there, so developers need something that differentiates their games from the rest. We’ve found that games integrating cryptocurrency rewards — the chance to win real money — get more people interested and keeps them playing.
The games themselves naturally lead to the third element, which is the ionomy platform. When gamers reach ionomy.com (to collect prize winnings or check the leaderboards, or get discounts on game assets), they discover everything else we do. This isn’t just a website for gamers; it’s also a fully featured crypto hub for financial services.
When I talk about the platform, I can’t help but put it in context of our recent achievements. We’ve got a really good record of saying we’re going to do something and then we actually do it. Not all crypto teams can boast about that. So, in 2017, we announced an ambitious agenda to evolve ionomy into a full service game development incubator with exclusive features for developers, gamers, and crypto enthusiasts. In 2018, we delivered several parts of that agenda. The most explosive part has been Alchemy, ionomy’s multi-asset exchange. You might be wondering, “Why does a game dev need an integrated exchange?” The answer is: we’re using blockchain technology to monetize games and make them more fun. Gamers and developers both need a place to trade their crypto assets.
The ionomy platform supports a growing list of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin, and will soon add Ethereum. ionomy is also partnering with established and promising masternode projects. In addition to hosting online wallets and exchange trading, we offer masternode hosting and even Sharenode hosting and markets. Sharenodes, as the name suggests, allow holders to get fractional masternode rewards without having to pay the whole collateral. Sharenodes, themselves, are a newly-created asset and they’ve proven quite popular. In addition to ION, Alchemy started with DASH and PIVX support. Since then, we’ve partnered with MasterNodesPro Coin (MNP), SLATE (SLX) and Wagerr (WGR). We’re actively expanding our partnerships and we want to hear from communities and projects interested in applying for exchange listing.
Even Sharenodes are tradable on Alchemy. Not only can you buy a Sharenode to participate in ionomy’s pooled masternode rewards, you can also sell Sharenodes. Masternode rewards have never been so easy or so accessible.
The final aspect of ionomy is what we call PWR-GRD (but we just say “Power Grid”). This is a suite of tools designed to make it easier for blockchain devs and gaming devs to get together. These tools include solutions to implement in-game currencies, crowdfunding to aid in development, management of payment to tournament winners and payment to developers for purchase of in-game assets. PWR-GRD will be one of our main areas of focus in 2019, but already we have some aspects of it active and in use.
What key features make your ecosystem stand out from other crypto projects?
It’s mainly the sheer breadth of what we do. I don’t know of any other project that has an exchange, masternode hosting, cryptocurrency development, and a business model that involves integrating cryptocurrency into the mobile gaming experience.
Frankly, I think most people are kinda blown away by the richness of the platform when they first sign up for an ionomy account. And what they see doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s going on behind the scenes.
The ionomy team has been developing for four years. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the crypto landscape. More government regulation, zero tolerance for scams. We welcome this new era.
All legitimate crypto projects will benefit from having the garbage taken out to the curb. Our focus is on building substantive projects and innovations, and we will continue to build regardless of fluctuations in market price.
We have our own blockchain, our own exchange, we’re designing groundbreaking masternode innovations, we develop our own games, we help others develop games, and the list goes on and on.
Describe how ionomy platform users can generate passive income.
Masternodes are sort of the ultimate vehicle for passive income and ionomy makes it easy to get masternode rewards. With ionomy hosting, we take care of the technical responsibilities and you can sit back and let the rewards roll in. For advanced users who want to hold on to their own collateral, we make remote hosting easy too. It’s the same set-it-and-forget-it approach, where we take care of the servers while the user retains their coins and their private key.
Here’s some recent stats from our masternodes, just to give you an idea of the numbers:
- Block Reward: 5.75 ION
- Daily Earned: 14.27 ION
- Coins Locked: 11,620,000 ION
- Circulating Supply: 21,264,202 ION
You can always get up-to-the-moment statistics from any number of websites. One I like a lot is masternodes.pro. ION stats are available at https://masternodes.pro/stats/ion/statistics.
Sharenodes represent a right to collect fractional portions of masternode rewards. If you have a Sharenode, you own that right. This means you can get masternode rewards without having to put up the entire amount of collateral. And this is not just for ION. We have Sharenodes for PIVX and DASH also.
I also talked about Alchemy, our crypto exchange. You might say, “yeah, but that’s not passive income.” Technically that’s true, but our exchange is one of just a handful that has complete integration with the trading A.I. developed by HaasOnline, the HaasBot. This allows for automated trading. Trades are executed according to your plan while you work or while you sleep.
ionomy-integrated games can also be a great way to make money, though I’m not sure I could call it passive income. We’ve been running gaming tournaments for the publicly released games like, “The Moon or Bust’” and “Offroad Heat’.” Active players winning real cash prizes paid in ION direct to their ionomy.com accounts. The prize total is $500 each week per game. It’s enough that some gamers we know make a living off of competing. Playing games has to be the easiest and funnest way to get into crypto.
What is Dark Matter (XDM)? How will ION cryptocurrency holders benefit from it? (How will this work in practice regarding distributing Dark Matter)
We are really excited about Dark Matter because it represents the exact point of intersection between ionomy economic principles and our future in gaming and coin development. XDM will be the first token on the ION blockchain, and it is infused with a combination of innate utility and economic policy that will also make it an outstanding store of value.
Let me tell you about the utility first. ionomy is an acknowledged leader in the world of masternodes, but we have always had an eye on coin development. Countless games have internal economies and we think almost every one of those economies can be “ionified” to incorporate real crypto. How does the game developer make that new coin on the ION blockchain? It can be done right from ionomy’s modern wallet and it requires XDM be input into the network. So, Dark Matter is going to be the fuel for token development on the ION blockchain. And tradable in-game tokens will drive a revolution in how games are made and played.
You may be surprised to learn that this brings us back to masternodes and passive income. For game developers (anyone else who wants to create tokens), generating custom tokens is going to be really easy — you can do it right from the modern wallet. As I mentioned, the fee will be paid in XDM. A portion of that fee is then distributed to ION masternode holders. So the masternodes don’t just earn passive income in ION, but they also earn XDM every time someone make a new coin.
The economic principle behind XDM is perfectly summarized by its Twitter handle: @inflationsucks. A lot of cryptocurrencies recognize that inflation is an inevitable killer which undermines fiat currency. Dark Matter takes it, not one step further, but several steps further. First, there is an ultra limited supply. No more than 71,000 XDM will ever exist. Also, it has a deflationary policy built in as a portion of the fee for each transaction is burned and removed from circulation. It’s kinda fun when you think about this in terms of supply and demand because the supply will be diminishing and if tokens become popular, the demand could increase at the same time, driving exciting market dynamics. Pair that with XDM being required to create new tokens on the ION blockchain, and we’ve got a really exciting asset.
What steps would a game developer take to incentivise their game with ionomy’s PWR-GRD?
So, we just talked about how Dark Matter will allow coin development for use in games, but what about game development? That’s where PWR-GRD comes in. We talked about this a little earlier. The Power Grid is a group of tools to bring together blockchain and game development. There is a tool that allows crypto integration, via tournaments, to be added to an existing game. That, by itself, is an unbelievable innovation. No one else that we know of is doing this.
Another exciting part of PWR-GRD is Jumpstart, which will act as crowdfunding platform for crypto game development that uses the ION blockchain. A lot of amazing looking games are going right to Kickstarter and that’s great because it fosters investment and creates community. But Kickstarter is serving the most general population and projects of every type. We wanted to get the benefits of community and investment and also bring our experiences and connections to enhance the game developer’s chances for success. For a reasonable fee (better than
Steam), game devs get a dedicated consumer base invested in their success and a pool of beta testers motivated to improve the game from a gamer’s perspective.
A major difference between what Jumpstart will do compared to Kickstarter is that contributions to the gamer developer’s project will be in cryptocurrency. Why does this matter? First, the official currency of everything at ionomy is, not surprisingly, the ION. There is no inconvenience since the exchange is right at the website, but the benefits are myriad. Using ION to fund game development means that game development will stimulate and improve the financial tools. It also means that we can infuse the games with in-game assets (tokens developed on the ION blockchain) or tournament functionality where the awards are paid in ION.
Jumpstart funds the developers, but also makes the game more playable and fun and rewarding for beta testers. A game developer can issue limited edition tokens that can be earned exclusively by beta testers, and which can be traded later for their in-game utility or other market value.
We know engagement leads to success. So, games that incorporate real money, or assets that can be exchanged for real money, have a greater chance to succeed. That means a tool to create in-game assets that can be purchased from the game in exchange for ION. Then we need a tool to make sure that the game developer gets paid promptly when such a sale is made. We also need an apparatus that allows gamers to get paid on time when they win a tournament.
The implications for ionomy are also exciting. Once game devs get started in the ionomy ecosystem, they’ll discover powerful synergies of cryptocurrency enthusiasts intersecting with a growing base of gamers and game development studios. We expect partnerships to emerge not just between ionomy and the indie dev, but among developers as ionomy facilitates opportunities for collaboration and resource-sharing.
The PWR GRD has the potential to become a comprehensive resource center for game devs.
How do you see ionomy’s prospects? Where do you see the project positioning itself in the next 12 to 24 months?
You want to know what’s coming next. Well, when I think about what’s coming next, I’ll tell you: I can’t help but think about how someone knows they’re not dealing with just another alt-coin. You look at two things: did this project make promises that it was able to keep, and are the future plans, the new promises, pie-in-the-sky nonsense, or are these real things that will actually happen and actually work. ionomy’s future plans withstand that level of scrutiny.
In terms of the PWR-GRD, things are already happening. The Alchemy exchange is here with a wide variety of assets and vigorous trading. So that’s working, take that off the list. Then we also have Lightning tournaments under way. That’s not coming soon, gamers are getting paid and have been getting paid. So check that off the list, too.
We have a partnership with Rekall Games, who now owns the IP for the legendary Rumble Arena franchise. They already have the latest version out on iOS and Android, but, through partnership with ionomy, will be adding crypto integration. So, this technology exists and is ready for deployment, with the first example coming, probably, in the first half of 2019.
Other stuff that’s right around the corner includes token development. XDM is ready to go. The white paper has been posted at the website for some time and we even had a NASCAR sponsorship in 2018, so a lot of people are always asking about Dark Matter. Well, it’s here and its ready to go. Definitely by the first half of this year, and likely sooner.
And once we have XDM, then we can start token development on our blockchain by any subscriber right through their wallet. And, of course, the new tokens, the game assets, will be tradeable, along with XDM and Sharenodes and everything else in Alchemy.
The Jumpstart platform is moving forward full throttle and will be open for business in 2019. So we’re going to have more developers getting involved, building more “ionified” games that use new tokens, which is going to lead to more network activity and more trading for ION and demand for ION.
There is probably other stuff I’m leaving out about the PWR-GRD, but those are the main things we’re looking at in 2019. There is also a lot of news to report in connection with the blockchain itself. In February the protocol has scheduled a halving, so inflation will be cut in half.
We are also expecting an ION Improvement Proposal (comparable to BIPs for Bitcoin development) to take effect in Q1 2019 that will introduce “time-lock” options. This will increase rewards for masternode holders who commit to maintaining their masternode for a set amount of time. It’s the essence of what we think ionomy is about: aligning incentives with desired outcomes. We think it means more people will acquire ION to run masternodes, because the time commitment gives unbeatable value. Once again: shrinking circulating supply; growing demand. We’re excited.
For more information please visit: Ionomy.com
We Thank Richard Nelson for the interview.