Cartoons and Video Games Evolved into Bitcoin and NFT


and other cryptocurrencies are making the news. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have exploded onto the scene, with people spending large sums of money to acquire unique rights to digital images. The explosion of invention and innovation is amazing, isn’t it?

Except these are just minor variations of things that were created decades ago, have grown into huge markets with the participation of a good portion of the world’s population, and continue to grow today. Invention? Creativity? How about minor variations on proven ideas, giving them a new name and a slightly different context, and getting super rich?

From drawing to cartoons to video games

Drawing, sculpting and otherwise creating artificial images of the reality we live in has a long history.

For example, here is a painting of a cattle from a cave Created by early humans over 40,000 years ago:

Designs that suggest reality but are deliberately different from real things are called cartoonsand date back hundreds of years, becoming more prevalent in the 1800s in print.

Then there was a breakthrough: animation. Taking advantage of early cinematic technologies, the artists worked hard to create a rapidly changing sequence of images to create the illusion of motion. In addition to sound, you could now go to the theater and watch and hear a whole cartoon, filled with characters and action that could never happen in real life. Characters like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny have become part of modern culture.

The next big step came after computers were invented and got video displays. Of course, computers have transformed the process of creating animation. But animation has always been like watching a movie: the human could only watch and listen. With computers, the possibility first arose for the actions of the person to directly and immediately modify what was happening on the screen. the the video game was born.

Video gaming has seen a massive evolution from primitive and simple space warfare to immersive MMORPGsit is

(massively multiplayer online role-playing games), allowing players to interact with each other in evolving shared animated worlds, often with combat but also other activities.

World of Warcraft (wow) was not the first, but became the most popular MMORPG.

“Similar to other MMORPGs, the game allows players to create a personageavatar and explore a open game world in third– or first person view, explore the landscape, fight various monsters, complete questsand interact with non-player characters (NPC) or other players. The game encourages players to work together to complete quests, enter dungeons, and engage in player versus player (PvP) combat, but the game can also be played solo without interacting with others. The game mainly focuses on character progression, in which players earn experience points to upgrade their character to make it more powerful and buy and sell items using in-game currency to acquire better gear, among other gaming systems.

World of Warcraft was a major critical and commercial success upon its original release in 2004 and quickly became the most popular MMORPG of all time, peaking at 12 million subscribers in 2010.[4] The game had over one hundred million registered accounts in 2014[5] and by 2017, it had grossed over $9.23 billion in revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time. The game has been cited by gaming journalists as the greatest MMORPG of all time and one of best video games of all time.”

The industries creating hardware and software for these artificial worlds have grown enormous. In 2020 generated video game over $179 billion in worldwide revenue, having topped the film industry years before.

Video games aren’t just for kids. The are an estimate 3.24 billion players worldwide.

In the USA the numbers are huge. “In the United States, three out of four people, or 244 million, play video games, an increase of 32 million people since 2018.” Gamers spend a lot of time on their games: “…gamers spend on average 14 hours a week playing video. Games.”

Game world and virtual economies

A large number of people go in front of a screen or put on a headset and “enter” the world of a video game, where they often spend hours at a time. While in this world, they can move from place to place as an observer or as a controller of their personal avatar. They can interact with others, as shown in this scene from the virtual world of Second Life in 2003.

Long before the creation of Bitcoin, video games had virtual economies with digital currencies.

The currency used in a game world can be called different things. For example, in World of Warcraft it’s called – big shock coming here – Gold. Gold can be earned by players doing things in the game world and can be spent on skills or in-game items. Players can buy and sell items to each other using these currencies. Many games allow players to purchase in-game currency using real money. In some cases, the virtual “ground” of the game is also for sale.

Long before Bitcoin, marketplaces arose to allow in-game currencies to be exchanged for real-world currencies. It is now a multi-billion dollar industry. “In 2001, EverQuest players Brock Pierce and Alan Debonneville founded Internet Gaming Entertainment Ltd (IGE

)a company that not only offered virtual goods in exchange for real money, but also provided professional customer service.” The company was the largest online exchange of its kind and represented hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions.

Video Games, Bitcoin and NFT

The first bitcoin was sent in 2009. It was not widely used or valued until 2013. Ether

eum was first launched in 2014. At that time, there were already MMORPGs with hundreds of millions of players earning, spending and trading digital currencies involving virtual items in their game worlds.

Let’s see how things used by literally billions of gamers compares to Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) and NFTs.

  • Games have digital currencies with no real value. It is similar to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
  • Virtual in-game items can be bought and sold using in-game currencies. It is similar to buying NFTs from the crypto world with Bitcoin.
  • New units of digital currency are created by gaming software. New crypto is created by Bitcoin mining software.
  • In-game currencies can be used and exchanged between players. Same with Bitcoin.
  • In-game currencies can be exchanged and purchased with real money. Same with Bitcoin.
  • There are exchanges outside of the game that allow you to buy/sell. Same with Bitcoin.
  • The exchange price can vary considerably. Same with Bitcoin.
  • Teams create new games with currencies and virtual items. Teams create new cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Still think there is no relationship between gambling and crypto? How about, as mentioned above, the fact that Brock Pierce and a partner founded the IGE game currency exchange in 2001, and the same Mr. Pierce was active in cryptocurrency in 2013 and became a “Bitcoin Billionaire” in 2018.

Of course, the new crypto and NFT worlds are different in some important ways from the game worlds. Games as well as items and currencies are created and managed by the game company. Although there is more control than commonly thought, cryptocurrencies have a high degree of self-management with their embedded miners. Similarly, NFTs are created independently.


The first Bitcoin seemingly came out of nowhere in 2009. A few years later, variants of Bitcoin appeared on the market. An astonishing explosion of crypto followed, along with digital objects “living” in the crypto world.

Like many other “brand new” things, the worlds of crypto and NFT have a remarkably close relationship to the world of gaming, from which they seem to have evolved. Compared to the gaming world, the number of people invested in crypto is truly miniscule, hundredths of a percent. But inflation and the amount of real-world currency that has been converted into crypto dwarfs the amounts in the game world.

As with many other tech trends, the history and evolution of the trend elements rewards study.

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Carolyn M. Daniel