Recap of ARPA AW X Spaces: A Discussion on On-Chain Gaming and Autonomous Worlds

ARPA Official
19 min readJan 22, 2024

In our recent X Spaces, we had the opportunity to host a conversation with several experts in the field of on-chain gaming and autonomous worlds. Our panel included Felix from ARPA Network, Gink from AW Research, Mike from AGLD, Tabasco from Particle Network, and Chris from Mirror World.

Key highlights included ARPA Network’s advancements in cryptographic algorithms for random number generation, AGLD’s focus on the Loot Chain for efficient transactions, Particle Network’s efforts to make Web3 more user-friendly, and AW Research’s commitment to exploring innovative Autonomous World projects. Mirror World highlighted its role in facilitating omnichain liquidity infrastructure for gaming projects. The panelists also shared their excitement about the potential bull market following the approval of the ETF and the increasing diversity in the autonomous worlds and on-chain games sector.

Delving deep into the intricacies and future trajectories of autonomous worlds, the panelists unpacked challenges such as adoption hurdles, infrastructural needs, and the imperative for more compelling content. The panelists agreed on the necessity of developing unique experiences leveraging blockchain technology to attract and retain users. They explored the potential of composability and modularity in games to revolutionize the gaming experience. The session concluded with a consensus on the unique opportunities presented by fully on-chain games in creating autonomous, permissionless ecosystems, highlighting their potential as major onboarding points into Web3 and the critical role of crypto-native features in fostering industry growth.

We invite you to explore the diverse perspectives and insights shared by our panelists, offering a comprehensive view of the current trends and potential future of blockchain gaming and autonomous worlds.

Felix (ARPA Network): At ARPA Network, we utilize threshold signature scheme cryptographic algorithms to generate verifiable random numbers on-chain. Our use cases include fair launch lotteries, games like Autonomous World games or gambling games, and other on-chain randomness applications in dapps. Recently, we integrated with Base and Optimism Mainnet, and we’re progressing toward integration with MUD, Redstone, and other chains.

Mike (AGLD): I’m one of the core contributors at AGLD. Our primary focus is on the Loot Chain to enable low gas transactions for builders in autonomous worlds. We’re collaborating on projects like Gabby World and developing our own fully on-chain games. We’re gearing up for a major push in Q1 and Q2, with more details to come soon.

Tabasco (Particle Network): I handle developer relations at Particle Network. After attending AW Day in Istanbul and keeping up with ARPA and others, I’d like to offer an overview of Particle. Our tagline is “the intent-centric modular access layer of Web3,” which means we’re focused on simplifying onboarding and interaction with Web3 to make it more accessible and seamless. We primarily do that through our Smart Wallet-as-a-Service, which simplifies onboarding by implementing social logins and account abstraction, streamlining user entry into Web3 with familiar tools like Google accounts and emails. Once in, users gain access to smart accounts for seamless gas transactions and session keys, eliminating pop-ups and enhancing the user experience. We’re building this alongside other things like intents. We’re doing a lot of privacy technology, offering diverse solutions that shift Web3 from its engineering-centric roots towards a more user-friendly, consumer-oriented industry. We empower applications, particularly fully on-chain games, by simplifying user onboarding and retention with their familiar means. We also leverage MPC-TSS for robust account generation and management, utilizing various methods like social logins and JWTs, with the goal of hopefully bringing some level of adoption to web3.

Felix (ARPA Network): I’ve been closely following Particle Network’s progress for quite some time, particularly since the inception of the Wallet-as-a-Service. They’ve consistently been at the forefront in terms of both usability and user experience, setting a high standard in wallet services.

Gink (AW Research): I am a principal investigator at AW Research. AW Research stands as an up-and-coming Triple-A: Chain Agnostic, Engine Agnostic, and Language Agnostic research institution for the builder, by the builder, and of the builder. We’re committed to exploring the potential of innovative Autonomous World projects and also future primitives. We’re actively focusing on moonshot projects and hosting a hackathon and co-living space at ETHGlobal London, with a keen interest in small proof-of-concept games that utilize cryptography, on-chain composability, and interoperability.

Chris (Mirror World): I’m the co-founder and CEO of Mirror World. Mirror World is an omnichain liquidity infrastructure that allows for on-ramp aggregation as well as cross-chain DEX aggregation. And our main vertical is essentially serving gaming projects. To date, we’ve supported over 100 applications, with more than 50 in gaming, many of which are exploring autonomous worlds. Our partnership approach enables these gaming projects to on-ramp or access on-chain liquidity through our World Store, our latest product offering. This integration allows for a seamless interaction between gamers and gaming assets across different chains, enhancing the overall gaming experience. Personally, I am a very big fan of some of the AW games out there.

Felix (ARPA Network): That’s awesome. Actually, before we delve deeper into the autonomous world and gaming sector, one thing that everyone must know is the ETF finally got approved. This likely signals the onset of a bull market, opening up exciting possibilities both within and outside the autonomous world sector. What are your thoughts on the most exciting developments in the first quarter?

Mike (AGLD): There’s a noticeable surge in autonomous worlds and fully on-chain games. The market is becoming increasingly dynamic, with the emergence of new launchpads and a variety of projects. One notable example is a fully on-chain gaming launchpad on Polygon called While the details about the team behind it and the types of games they plan to launch are still unclear, it’s certainly intriguing. Additionally, there’s a distinct sense of renewal with an array of new game titles on the horizon. I’m excited to see what these new builders will bring to the table. Up until now, the AW space has been somewhat predictable, with familiar founders and their projects. However, it seems that fresh people are starting to enter the space, signaling an exciting phase of growth and innovation.

Tabasco (Particle Network): In the next quarter, or even over the next two or three, my excitement remains the same. Over the past four months and looking forward to the next six, both I and Particle as an organization believe we’re on the cusp of a significant shift in web3 user experience and accessibility. The challenges in bringing consumers, especially gamers, onto fully on-chain platforms have been substantial, there’s a lot of friction points and challenges involved in getting people on chain and actually using these applications. However, a collection of emerging technologies is now poised to make large-scale consumer engagement a reality. This goes beyond just Wallet-as-a-Service and social logins. Developments in account abstraction, intent space, and overall blockchain scalability are reaching a point where creating expansive, fully on-chain games and high throughput consumer applications is not just feasible, but imminent. These technologies are still underutilized, but I anticipate a surge in sophisticated consumer-centric applications soon, especially with the recent approval of the BTC ETF and the improving public perception of web3. This change, I believe, will foster a wave of new, advanced use cases in the near future.

Gink (AW Research): The Cancun upgrade and EIP-4844 are pivotal for the first quarter. The introduction of proto-danksharding is set to unlock scalability, transitioning the focus from solely DeFi and speculative activities to more consumer-centric applications in crypto, including layer twos and innovations in Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) cryptography. This transition is crucial for diversifying blockchain applications beyond their traditional speculative uses.

Most participants in the crypto space, especially after the passing of the BTC ETF, are comfortable with speculation and arbitrage activities. Current platforms like Ethereum layer one, Binance, and Coinbase OKX suffice for these purposes. However, our vision extends beyond these conventional activities. We’re looking towards introducing new, innovative applications in the blockchain space. The forthcoming EIP-4844 is a step in this direction, heralding a new era of blockchain.

Additionally, the development of storage proofs and decentralized provers, which I believe are already in use on Arbitrum, along with other scalability and TPS RPC solutions like Redstone — somewhat aligned with the Plasma concept — are part of this new wave of innovation. The advancements in STARKs and SNARKs are particularly exciting. As Vitalik put it, “ZK roots in everything around me.” This statement resonates with our focus for 2024, as we delve deeply into the world of ZK and their myriad applications.

Felix (ARPA Network): That’s definitely something interesting happening in the ZK space. For instance, making game data private is a crypto-native move. We are currently conducting a lot of research on zero-knowledge proofs, including ZKML, and we are eager to explore new use cases in gaming.

Chris (Mirror World): My involvement extends to the EVM space in terms of our product offerings. Personally, I’m also keenly observing the growth of alternative ecosystems, such as Solana’s. The autonomous worlds within Solana are still nascent, but the upcoming Jupiter airdrop this month is set to bring a new wave of liquidity. As an omnichain liquidity protocol, something that we think about is to create seamless connections between different ecosystems, such as bridging a larger one like EVM with smaller ones like Solana. The Jupiter airdrop, anticipated to inject probably billions of dollars into the Solana ecosystem, is a significant event on my radar. Although slightly off-topic, I’m excited about the potential changes this airdrop could bring.

Felix: Absolutely, the Jupiter airdrop is highly anticipated within the Solana ecosystem. I’ve been holding my Solana bag since 2021, through thick and thin, and it’s heartening to see its resurgence. The developer community in Solana is particularly interesting, showing remarkable loyalty and resilience through various market conditions.

Chris (Mirror World): Indeed. That’s what we saw as well, and it was one of the key reasons we started supporting various standards within the ecosystem. What’s noteworthy is the neutrality within the Solana developer community. Many Solana developers initially worked with EVM and eventually expanded to both platforms. Contrary to initial assumptions, we’ve found the community to be more open-minded and less hostile.

Felix (ARPA Network): I’d like to share something that excites us at ARPA. We’ve been dedicated to infrastructure development over the past few years, focusing on creating developer tools, particularly our random number generator. We aim to cater to the AW sector and beyond. Recognizing the need to truly understand and cater to the gaming sector, we’ve ventured into game development. For the past two months, we’ve been working on a small-scale, mobile, fully on-chain game. We’re looking to launch it in the next month or so, and I feel really proud about it.

Now, shifting our focus to the Autonomous World section, we’ve discussed a lot about infrastructure. But what do you think is the most pressing challenge in the Autonomous World space currently? Is it the lack of developers or adequate developer tools? Could it be the user experience, or perhaps the limited user base? What are the biggest challenges you perceive in the AW domain?

Mike (AGLD): The main hurdle is adoption. In efforts to enhance user accessibility in autonomous worlds, significant strides have been made, such as simplifying account creation and focusing on Testnet operations. Paima Studios, for instance, allows users to engage in games without necessitating transactions at the outset. However, a persistent challenge lies in the user experience, particularly the need to wait for playtests and find other users to participate. To mitigate this, the incorporation of AI agents could be instrumental. Implementing more AI-driven characters or NPCs in these games, perhaps with mechanics that reset after certain intervals, could significantly enrich the user experience. This approach addresses the content limitations inherent in fully on-chain games, which currently act as a barrier to continuous and rich gameplay. Although the resolution of these issues is a work in progress, their potential impact on user engagement is promising.

Felix (ARPA Network): I agree. Reflecting on the early days of Sky Strife’s playtests, the challenge was evident in the requirement to gather several players to start a game. The number of users actively engaged in fully on-chain games is limited, complicating the process of gathering enough players for a game. This issue has been a common occurrence in many newly launched fully on-chain games, highlighting the need for innovative solutions to boost user engagement and participation.

Tabasco (Particle Network): The challenges are a mix of infrastructure and adoption. AW is a niche within a niche, so naturally, attracting millions of users is not immediately feasible. However, AW’s strength lies in its unique position within the gaming sector. Historically, most on-chain or Web3 games have been a hybrid of Web2 and Web3 elements, and this has led to various issues in existing Web3 games. AW, in contrast, is carving out an entirely new vertical in gaming — a feat not seen since the rise of Web2 games like battle royales.

AW is crafting its own category in terms of a new type of gaming and entertainment that just wasn’t possible before. Yet, the infrastructure supporting this vision of AW and fully on-chain games is still in its nascent stages. Our discussions earlier highlighted this, especially regarding blockchain scalability and user onboarding. The upcoming EIP-4844, for instance, is a significant development that will enhance our infrastructural capabilities, enabling us to better support the expansive autonomous worlds. This goes beyond merely attracting users for speculative investment; it’s about offering something uniquely engaging that traditional Web2 gaming does not. Currently, we’re on the cusp of realizing this potential, held back primarily by the aforementioned infrastructural limitations and the niche nature of AW. However, as we overcome these initial challenges, I believe we’ll see a natural progression in user engagement. In my view, gaming, particularly fully on-chain games, could emerge as a primary gateway for introducing people to Web3. This is due to their unique ability to offer tangible and novel experiences to players and general consumers.

So, while the industry has only recently become ready for this paradigm shift, I’m optimistic about the future, especially from the perspectives of developer tooling and blockchain infrastructure. Looking ahead, I’m excited about the prospects of fully on-chain games as they are primed for significant success, hopefully making a substantial impact in 2024.

Gink (AW Research): As I previously noted, the current state of cryptocurrency is already okay if you are just into DeFi. However, the existing UI/UX solutions cater primarily to degens. These users typically operate through specific wallets like Metamask, Rainbow, Soul Wallet, or a combination of CEX and DEX. Yet, this approach does not align with mainstream preferences and the core infrastructure still faces significant hurdles. For instance, issues like gas limits and RPC errors impede transactions, especially in layer two, during high-frequency in-game activities. Another critical aspect is the uncertainty of transaction outcomes. Back in Istanbul, I believe it was at the AW Assembly, someone was talking about abstraction leaks, which also means breaking the fourth wall. We aim for immersive games, not ones where a browser extension disrupts the flow, reminding players they’re merely interacting with a dated game in a web browser.

Another challenge lies in the scarcity of developers and the limited time available for game iteration. To be honest, many web3 or fully on-chain games lack engaging elements beyond their tokenomics or social aspects. They appeal to a specific group of enthusiasts playing games like Dark Forest, Primodium, or Loot Survivor, but fail to resonate with a broader audience. Even if we enhance the user experience, allowing seamless login and swift transactions, these games still struggle to captivate players as effectively as mainstream web2 games like Dota II or CS Go. To truly evolve and thrive, the fully on-chain game industry needs to develop a PMF with unique, crypto-native game features. These features must offer a novel, engaging experience that distinguishes them from traditional web2 gaming offerings, catering not just to current enthusiasts but also to a wider, more diverse player base.

Chris (Mirror World): The points made about infrastructure and user experience are spot-on. My personal experience with current AW games highlights a significant issue: the limited content available. Initially, the AW space seemed promising for many developers. However, the reality is that larger teams need a substantial user base to justify creating extensive content, and presently, that user base is small. For instance, consider Primodium. I’ve known the team behind it for some time, and they’re a small group of five or six people crafting an experimental game. It will likely take a considerable amount of time for such teams to develop enough content to attract a broader audience. For now, we’re looking at a relatively small group of players, engaged in what might be a repetitive gaming process with occasional updates or seasonal events to enhance the guild-like experience. We have to acknowledge that, for the time being, there is only going to be a small group of people playing these games and the mass adoption is not anywhere near before the content is actually there.

From a business standpoint, this model could still be viable. Looking at Sky Strife’s ticketing and cost structure reveals that their audience comprises a small group of users willing to pay high gas and entrance fees. This raises a crucial question for development teams: should they focus on this high net-worth user base or strive to attract a larger, more diverse audience? I think those are two different routes that we can see teams go into. Presently, I believe catering to a smaller, wealthier user group might be sufficient. These users, often possessing significant amounts of ETH, can contribute to a high TVL within these games. However, the lack of substantial content limits the potential for continuous, live operational gameplay, a challenge compounded by the small size of these development teams. I’m eager to see the evolution of this space, but for now, it seems more pragmatic for teams to focus on the existing user pool rather than attempting to scale massively. I don’t see a large-scale adoption as a feasible or strategic approach currently.

Felix (ARPA Network): When we look at GameFi and play-to-earn models, such as STEPN, they boast millions of users. This contrasts sharply with the user base of fully on-chain games. Consequently, teams developing fully on-chain games often don’t raise substantial funds, usually comprising less than ten members. This limits their ability to create rich content and immersive gameplay. However, this also highlights the nascent stage of fully on-chain game and autonomous world development. Swinging back to Tabasco’s earlier point, I’m curious: what unique experiences can we craft with a smart contract, fully on-chain autonomous world, that are distinct from centralized or play-to-earn environments? What specific mechanisms can unite players in such a way that they are willing to pay, thereby fostering a healthier ecosystem?

Tabasco (Particle Network): I think this is a really good question. My view is that autonomous worlds and fully on-chain games should not be seen as direct competitors to web2 games. Many web3 developers fall into the trap of trying to outdo billion-dollar game studios or large indie games that benefit from the convenience of web2. However, fully on-chain games offer something fundamentally different. They present an opportunity to create a gaming vertical exclusive to web3, providing experiences unattainable in web2.

This is primarily defined by the idea of a continuously evolving, autonomous, and permissionless ecosystem. In this landscape, anyone can build, monetize, and participate, free from the risks of centralization or censorship, and independent of the limitations inherent to web2 games. In web2, games are fundamentally permission-based, controlled by centralized entities, and subject to their notion regarding monetization. If a publisher goes bankrupt, the game disappears.

In fully on-chain games, players have unparalleled freedom. They can build, contribute, monetize, and participate in ways that are impossible in Web2 games. This freedom spans from creating mods and plugins to establishing entirely separate economies within the game.

Our vision at Particle is that as we lower the barrier to entry, players will begin to recognize the unique potential of on-chain games. The initial challenge is attracting a dedicated user base, even if it starts with just a hundred or a thousand core users. Once this is achieved, we anticipate a rapid increase in adoption, creating a positive feedback loop of more funding, more players, and more innovative contributions, culminating in the realization of a truly autonomous world. To summarize, the key difference between fully on-chain games and traditional Web2 games lies in their open, decentralized nature, offering players a level of freedom and creativity that redefines the gaming experience.

Mike (AGLD): What captivates me is the evolution of the game Parallel. Initially, it wasn’t designed as an autonomous world game, but it’s gradually aligning with that concept. The game, fundamentally a card game, allows players to create their own rule sets and win conditions. This is possible because it’s fully on-chain, rendering the game to be both composable and modular. Imagine a gaming universe where each board game is interconnected, yet distinct, allowing players to retain their characters across different games or even design expansion sets, potentially using AI, for an existing game. This concept of full composability is thrilling. It resonates with Vitalik Buterin’s vision for Ethereum, where the flexibility and interactivity of components are central. So, for me, the excitement lies in the realm of composability within these gaming worlds.

Felix (ARPA Network): Gink, I’m intrigued by your perspective. If we consider a typical person unfamiliar with crypto, even providing them with a wallet that utilizes social login might not be enough to engage them in a fully on-chain game. I share this sentiment; given a choice, I’d prefer playing Dota II over a fully on-chain game. But what do you think could be a compelling hook or tagline to attract such users to fully on-chain games?

Gink (AW Research): Being involved in moonshot experiments, our focus isn’t primarily on gas fees or immediate profitability, though these are important in the long run. We envision AW and fully on-chain games as testbeds or sandboxes mirroring real-world dynamics. In my opinion, the ‘magic touch’ in the fully on-chain game industry lies in integrating DeFi, SocialFi, on-chain credentials, and privacy elements. A prime example could be the approach taken by Blast or Manta Network, where players stake their ETH in a game or contract to earn interest, governance tokens, or higher APRs. However, creating a successful AW requires aligning the game’s physics and governance structures. This approach is distinct from the web2 world, where there’s a lack of interoperability and composability. For instance, in a web2 scenario, my life savings deposited in a bank cannot be utilized in games like Genshin Impact or World of Warcraft. This limitation doesn’t exist in the fully on-chain gaming world.

Currently, the concept of integrating governance and DeFi economics (tokenomics) into the core game loop of autonomous worlds is still somewhat nebulous. However, there’s a growing trend toward this integration. For instance, last week, tax cuts, a key figure behind Primodium, tweeted about establishing an open creator economy on top of Primodium. This development mirrors earlier trends seen in OG fully on-chain games like Loot Survivor and Dark Forest. Before Loot Survivor, initiatives like Loot DAO, Realmstone, and AGLD had already begun implementing their governance plans. This indicates a strong inclination toward governance tokens as a PMF in these games. Players are motivated to participate in governance not just for the sake of control, but because it aligns with their interests.

Chris (Mirror World): From our perspective, identifying the ‘killer feature’ to attract more players to the game is complex, blending elements of entertainment and financial products. In discussions with Emerson, co-founder of Primodium, we’ve emphasized the importance of capturing attention or mindshare in this sector. The value of tokens is a direct measure of this attention.

When we look at products in the AW or broader crypto space, they serve as mediums to capture and magnify user attention. A game that excels in engaging players, ensuring they return consistently, naturally secures a significant share of their mindshare. This engagement makes it easier to integrate other DeFi elements, thereby increasing token share and overall involvement.

As Gink pointed out, the foundation is DeFi, augmented by entertainment elements to sustain user interest. For me, the ultimate ‘killer feature’ remains the content itself. If the goal is to maximize efficiency and profitability for users, why would they opt for an on-chain game over direct engagement with platforms like Uniswap? The answer lies in the unique blend of excitement and stimulus that gaming offers, an aspect that traditional DeFi activities might lack. Like a lot of people said, it is still a PvP arbitrage game.

The overlap between seasoned crypto traders and gamers is significant. Both groups seek thrill and engagement, making Autonomous Worlds an attractive platform. I envision games that not only provide exhilarating gameplay but also incorporate traditional DeFi trading elements. Such games, offering both excitement and financial incentives, are what I believe will truly invigorate the AW space.

Felix (ARPA Network): Chris, that’s a great conclusion, and I totally agree. Discussing autonomous worlds or fully on-chain games, it strikes me that they represent more than just games. They are akin to intricate rabbit holes for crypto enthusiasts to delve into. If we focus on creating truly crypto-native experiences, utilizing mechanisms unique to the crypto sphere, we can capture the attention of these ‘crypto OGs,’ who have been deeply rooted in the industry for a long time. These individuals are likely to play around with their ETH or with their other cryptos and then support a game.

I believe that all great journeys begin with small steps. We need to cultivate a core community of these crypto veterans. By designing our games to be inherently crypto-native, we can gradually draw in an expanding audience. There’s a need for a defining moment in fully on-chain gaming, similar to the ‘yield farming’ phenomenon in DeFi. I recall back in June 2020 when Compound launched their token, marking a pivotal moment where people recognized the tangible rewards available through DeFi. This was followed by innovations like’s pool tool, which set a precedent for the industry.

Given this context, it seems evident that small teams, including ours, are focused on developing games that resonate with the ethos of the crypto world. The aim isn’t necessarily mass adoption, which is more the realm of AAA titles and play-to-earn games. Instead, our lean approach is about experimenting and catering primarily to the crypto-savvy audience. We are committed to crafting gaming mechanisms that diverge from traditional models, potentially paving the way for new paradigms in the world of on-chain gaming.

About ARPA

ARPA Network (ARPA) is a decentralized secure computation network built to improve the fairness, security, and privacy of blockchains. ARPA threshold BLS signature network serves as the infrastructure of verifiable Random Number Generator (RNG), secure wallet, cross-chain bridge, and decentralized custody across multiple blockchains.

ARPA was previously known as ARPA Chain, a privacy-preserving Multi-party Computation (MPC) network founded in 2018. ARPA Mainnet has completed over 224,000 computation tasks in the past years. Our experience in MPC and other cryptography laid the foundation for our innovative threshold BLS signature schemes (TSS-BLS) system design and led us to today’s ARPA Network.

Randcast, a verifiable Random Number Generator (RNG), is the first application that leverages ARPA as infrastructure. Randcast offers a cryptographically generated random source with superior security and low cost compared to other solutions. Metaverse, game, lottery, NFT minting and whitelisting, key generation, and blockchain validator task distribution can benefit from Randcast’s tamper-proof randomness.

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