Axie Infinity, a game based around cuddly NFT creatures, is bearing its claws, its primary backer told Crypto Investor. 

More than three years post-launch, the Mark Cuban-backed Axie Infinity is experiencing exponential growth, posting more than $87 million in weekly sales and dwarfing other decentralized finance (Defi) protocols in revenue.  

In the last seven days, the Sky Mavis-owned game has brought in more than $10 million in revenue, according to Token Terminal, a website that tracks decentralized apps. MetaMask, a popular wallet and crypto conversion tool, took in $845,000, by comparison.  

“For us, raising capital from investors is always about recruiting new allies, educating new people on the space, opening new doors and connections — it’s not really about the capital," said Jeffery Zirlin, co-founder and growth lead at Mavis Sky.

That's more than the $7.5 million it raised in a Series A round from Cuban, Libertus Capital and others in May

Its recent growth give the Vietnam-based Mavis Sky a virtual stranglehold on the NFT collectible market. According to data from CryptoSlam.io, Axie Infinity accounts for more than 75% of all sales during the last week in the still bubbling market.  

Axie Infinity isn't likely to be alone for long. Hasbro has indicated it has plans to bring integrate NFTs into its Magic: The Gathering game, which last year pulled in a record $581 million in revenue. 

Others, seeing the success of Axie Infinity, will undoubtedly follow suit. 

"I think it's a new genre of gaming," Zirlin said. "There's gonna be others that pop up and I can't wait. It's actually very hard to be the only game in a genre." 

Sky Mavis attributes the surge in growth to migrating off of Ethereum and onto their own sidechain, Ronin. 

The construction of and migration to Ronin allowed for the independent operation of the marketplace that powers Axie Infinity The move allows so-called “gasless” transactions, eliminating expensive friction to the game’s breeding system, which powers its economy. 

The mechanics of Axie Infinity's game are simple at first blush, but get incredibly complex. 

In its simplest form, players buy, sell and trade creatures called Axies that have unique abilities and powers. Axies can battle one another in the game to earn rewards, notably "Smooth Love Potion" (SLP), which allows players to breed their Axies. 

Players can sell the bred Axies on the market. Breeding is currently the sole driver of player growth in the Axie ecosystem. Rewards require the investment of time to earn, which drives engagement, according to the developers. 

“We can only onboard players relative to the number of Axies that are being bred per day and our player base kind of controls that," Zirlin said. "Any friction around the breeding process slows down growth, so once we removed that it was a huge catalyst for us.”

Because of the game's popularity, it currently costs a steep amount — $600 —to field a team of three Axies to play the game. 

But the earnings for players, for the moment, are real. In fact, players have set up elaborate scholarship programs to allow players to use their spare Axies and earn to build their own teams. 

The practice is so popular, it is supporting the livelihoods of thousands of people in the Philippines and Malaysia. 

Axie Infinity, a game based around cuddly NFT creatures, is bearing its claws, its primary backer told Crypto Investor. 

More than three years post-launch, the Mark Cuban-backed Axie Infinity is experiencing exponential growth, posting more than $87 million in weekly sales and dwarfing other decentralized finance (Defi) protocols in revenue.  

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