Moonray is an NFT-powered metaverse game built on Stacks, a Bitcoin blockchain-based network. Moonray PBC, raised a $3.5 million seed round backed by Animoca Brands
Bitcoin is set to be present in the metaverse
While Facebook’s concept of the metaverse is still years away, Ethereum-based game worlds such as Decentraland and The Sandbox are already reaping the advantages. Due to Stacks, a new game that will launch on the Bitcoin-backed network, Bitcoin will also be present in the metaverse.
Moonray is the game, and in March 2022, selected gamers will be given early access to the elegant PC action role-playing game. Moonray PBC has raised $3.5 million in a seed round headed by Animoca Brands to continue developing the NFT-centric action game, which will eventually open up into a shared metaverse experience.
How can the Bitcoin network support a crypto game? Smart contracts, which are the bits of code required to run decentralized apps such as games, are not supported by Bitcoin.
Stacks, on the other hand, is a smart contract blockchain that bundles its transactions and sends them to the Bitcoin network for settlement. Stacks are the basis for Bitcoin-powered NFTs and how DeFi applications can connect to the Bitcoin blockchain.
Stacks CEO Muneeb Ali described it as a “layer 1.5” platform to Decrypt in October, in contrast to Ethereum’s layer-2 scaling options.
Moonray PBC CEO Rodrigo Etcheto told Decrypt that his company is “a huge believer in Bitcoin,” but that they aren’t maximalists. He lauded Solana and Avalanche as “excellent blockchains,” but they finally chose Stacks because of its Bitcoin ties.
We’re bringing #NFTs tradeable economy to an AAA Action RPG set in a far-future, surreal sci-fi world.
This is not a cinematic trailer, it’s real gameplay live in Unreal Engine today! EA Q1 22
NFTs dropping soon & generate DeFi yield in #Bitcoin!
— Moonray.btc (@moonraygame) September 16, 2021
He clarified, “We’re not maxis.” “We believe there will be a lot of use cases, thus a lot of blockchains will make it and succeed.” However, the security of Bitcoin appeals to me. That remains, in my opinion, the most decentralized and secure blockchain, and I don’t expect that to change very soon.”
Etcheto’s team was a member of the Stacks Accelerator’s first cohort, which helps fund and guide startups developing on the platform. GBV Capital, Metavest Capital, LD Capital, and Lucid Blue Ventures, as well as unknown angel investors, participated in the $3.5 million seed round alongside Animoca Brands.
Moonray plans to use the Stacks network in a variety of ways, including in-game treasures, skins, and NFT-based weapons. Players will be able to purchase NFTs using Bitcoin at first, and thereafter with credit cards, and they will be able to resell them through an in-game interface or on external marketplaces.
An NFT is a blockchain token that serves as evidence of ownership for a rare digital item, and it can be used to represent one-of-a-kind video game items just like it can be used to represent profile images and digital trading cards.
Etcheto also suggested that NFTs be used for special in-game events, such as a one-of-a-kind boss encounter that can only be accessed by purchasing an NFT. On the plus side, gamers can gain access to a rare and potentially valuable object, which can then be resold.
Moonray will be released with both single-player and multiplayer online modes. The game will expand to include digital online towns in which users can acquire land sold as NFTs at some point after launch, similar to The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Axie Infinity.
It will also include other types of structures, such as a blacksmith’s shop or a guild headquarters, that contribute to the game’s economy and may benefit players.
That is the game’s metaverse aspect. The metaverse is a futuristic internet vision in which users interact with avatars in shared, 3D digital places. Facebook is banking big on the metaverse, and a slew of crypto initiatives are working to create an open, interoperable metaverse that allows users to use their own assets (NFTs) across platforms and experiences.
Moonray PBC’s seed round was headed by Animoca Brands, a leading investor in metaverse firms. Animoca Executive Chairman Yat Siu told Decrypt in October that his company is “sort of in a hurry” to assist develop the metaverse before tech behemoths like Facebook and Tencent claim it. Both are a “threat” to an open metaverse, according to him.
Moonray PBC has a big vision for a crypto-infused gaming future, but it wasn’t built with blockchain in mind from the start.
Moonray was originally intended to be a typical, high-end video game, but Etcheto said the team recognized the potential of blockchain in gaming early on and decided to change the game’s design and business strategy.
“When we realized what was going on with blockchain, it was clear that this was the future of gaming,” he said. “This is a new economic paradigm that I believe will completely transform the business.”
Bridging the divide
Moonray is a flashy-looking battler built with the same Unreal Engine as many of today’s top video games (including Fortnite). Etcheto hopes it will appeal to a wider audience. It’s one of the reasons he thinks Stacks is such a good fit for the game, given how well-known Bitcoin is even outside of crypto circles.
“We’re really aiming to attract mainstream gamers who don’t know a lot about cryptocurrency or are wary of it,” he explained. “To show traditional gamers how a token economy and NFT economy should work, we’ll build a straightforward, gentle onboarding process.”