Splintershards (SPS) is the official crypto for the coolest game on the blockchain, called Splinterlands.
I found this online game back in 2019 while I was researching crypto and trying to understand it. Splinterlands is a virtual card-playing game. Sort of like Suicide Squad, if you've seen that movie. You draft a monster squad and your opponent does the same and then you have a fight to the death.
These monster cards are actually non-fungible tokens (NFT) on the blockchain. And while Splinterlands is a lot of fun, what shocked me was my ability to make money while playing.
A free game morphed into a money-maker
When you start playing Splinterlands, it's a free game. After I played for a couple of months, and my monsters kept getting killed by strange and powerful villains I'd never seen before, I decided to pay $10 via PayPal and get access to the entire catalog of monsters.
I was just having fun. I elected to pay $10 to expand my playing options, and obtain access to the whole roster of monsters. What I didn't know at the time is that once I paid my $10, the game dramatically changed. I started to have ownership rights in the NFT cards that I won.
At the time, I didn't know what an NFT was. This game introduced me to the concept. In fact, that's one reason you want to play Splinterlands, aside from the fun factor: you will engage with the crypto universe and learn more and more about it.
Your NFT assets increase in value
In the back of my mind, I knew the cards had some value. But everything was in pennies, so it didn't seem to matter much. I just kept playing for fun.
When you play Splinterlands and you win a battle, you are awarded another virtual currency called DEC (Dark Energy Crystals). You can use DEC to buy monster cards in the gaming market. One common strategy is to buy multiple cards of the same monster and unite them. This is called "leveling up," and it makes your monster stronger. Doing so unlocks new and wonderful powers.
It also has the effect of removing NFTs from existence and making your monster cards more valuable. After playing for over a year, I noticed the prices of many of my NFTs had gone from pennies to dollars, which I found intriguing.
After playing for a year and a half, I counted up the value of my cards. And they were worth $2,000. My cost basis was still $10.
2021 was a good year for crypto
Last year the number of Splinterlands players spiked dramatically, as more and more people from around the world discovered the game. More players led to more demand for the NFT playing cards. And the mechanics of gameplay (uniting cards to make your monster stronger) shrunk the number of available cards.
At the time, there was a boom in the NFT market. Lots of people were buying NFTs. Still, that spike from a $10 fee to $17,000 in assets was highly unusual.
I attribute this to a couple of factors. One, Splinterlands awards active players who put a lot of hours in. I've played hundreds of hours. And the other factor is that the nature of gameplay shrinks the number of NFT cards that exist of a specific monster. So the individual cards become rarer and rarer. And the dollar value goes up and up.
In 2022, the crypto market crashed (again)
Once or twice a year, Splinterlands introduces a new deck of monsters into the game. The newest and largest deck is called Chaos Legion.
Every time a new deck is introduced, it increases the supply of cards overall, and prices take a hit. The value of my cards dropped to $14,000 in early January. Later, the valuation would crash along with the crypto market; it fell to $7,000 in May. Now my cards sell for around $5,000 on third-party sites.
The rapid rise and fall of my card prices reminds me of the stock market, the crypto market, the art market, the comic book market. It's completely normal for valuations in emerging markets to skyrocket and crash and then zoom a lot higher.
Splinterlands is in its very early innings. The game started in 2018. I think this game will continue to grow, along with crypto. And it's still a lot of fun to play. Over time my cards will get rarer and rarer, and their values will spike higher again.
Over the last year, I've not only concluded that crypto is a valid asset class, I've started investing in it. I've bought Solana and Fantom and Ankr coins, and a few others. And it occurred to me that maybe I ought to add a few dollars to my most entertaining crypto asset.
So, via PayPal, I recently added a little money to Splinterlands, above and beyond my $10 initial cost. That's not necessary. What you really want to do is check out the game. And if you like it, be sure to pay $10 and start winning some NFT assets. It's well worth your time.