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Balthazar Research Report: Enter the Fantomverse

Written by Nicholas Korsgaard, Chief Gaming Officer, Kim Bjerkeli and Sigurd Thomassen, Game Strategists, Balthazar Alpha Team, and Heidi Anette Laugsand Johansen.

Introduction

In this report, we present our narrative on Fantom. We discuss Fantom’s partnership with Chainlink, specifically mentioning Chainlink’s RNG (Random Number Generator) VRF. Further on, we look at gaming through Fantom, the experimental decentralised game Rarity, and Tank Wars Zone, which is a “metaverse ready” action game built on the Fantom blockchain.

We spoke to Fantom’s CEO/CIO Michael Kong about how it is differentiating itself as an NFT ecosystem and its plans for the future.

We analysed social volume and how Fantom may be able to close the gap between blockchain technologies and worldwide industries, and its environmental impact.

Disclaimer: Fantom Foundation is a backer of Balthazar, however, the following content is the subject of the authors’ thoughts, speculations, and our attempt to connect the dots.

Fantom Partnerships

Fantom x Chainlink

May 2021, Fantom announced that they would be working with the blockchain Chainlink to integrate Chainlink’s VRF (Verifiable random function), a randomizer for gaming. A randomizer is needed for fair play and to have some degree of irregularity in the game.

Prior issues have been that randomizers can be manipulated by, for instance miners, making games unfair and transparent to some degree. VRF is built based on the newest and leading academic research. This results in high usability without compromising security regarding randomness.

There is no randomizer that has been deemed perfect yet, but we may suggest that Chainlink’s VRF is as close as it gets at this point in time. This is one of many reasons why the collaboration between Fantom and Chainlink is exciting news, especially regarding gaming.

Fantom x Scuderia AlphaTauri 2022 season

On January 19, 2022, Fantom was announced as the official sponsor of Red Bull’s Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 for the 2022 season, which will feature Fantom’s logo across the vehicle’s nose, halo, helmet and cap of both pilots. Drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda are strong supporters of the Fantom project according to the announcement.

Source: https://scuderia.alphatauri.com/en/gallery/at03-beauty-shots/

Both the motorsport and Fantom have a common commitment towards sustainability. In 2020, F1 unveiled its plans to reach zero-carbon, non-fossil fuels with their eco-friendly vision, while Fantom plans to build the greenest technology. More about Fantom and sustainability later in this report.

Fantom x Healthcare

In addition to focusing on gaming, while also collaborating with Chainlink and partnering with Scuderia AlphaTauri, Fantom announced a smart medicine pilot project in Afghanistan in May 2020. This project partnered with pharmaceutical distributors and producers including Royal Star, Nabros Pharma and Bliss GVS.

Fantom’s involvement included tracking four products, one of which is a hand sanitiser by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help combat COVID-19. Its goal is to improve the security of patients’ medical records.

Although the pilot was successfully implemented across Kabul, due to political instability, Fantom had to cease all operations in Afghanistan. However, it is looking to take the technology to other countries.

Gaming on Fantom

Fantom believes the potential in gaming is immense. It reports the global gaming market was valued at US$173.7 billion in 2020 and expected to reach almost double this value within the next four years. The number of gamers is estimated to be one billion people and the numbers keep growing.

It’s very clear to us that Fantom wants to participate in the gaming market, especially when looking at their new incentive program, which they extended to blockchain game projects in September 2021. As part of this new extension, all blockchain and NFT-based games built on Fantom are eligible to apply for grants. In total, Fantom has allocated 370 million FTM tokens to the incentive program, which is currently worth US$577.2 million (as at February 22, 2022).

GameFi, games where you can earn money from playing, has great potential and will probably bring in the next wave of crypto users. In addition, Fantom’s cooperation with Chainlink offers new and exciting possibilities to blockchain gaming.

Fantom’s CEO/CIO Michael Kong spoke to us about Fantom’s push into GameFi:

“Thanks to fast, low cost transactions, it is now better than ever for blockchain-based games to deploy on Fantom. The Fantom Foundation also provides technical integration help, marketing support, and a gaming incentive program to further grow and develop the NFT ecosystem. With additional improvements coming for data compression and faster smart contract transactions, the performance for gaming and all other applications will only get better.”

Rarity: experimenting with decentralised game development

Fantom’s DeFi Architect, Andre Cronje, is an O.G who has worked with Fantom prior to the release of its blockchain. On September 5, 2021, Cronje released the framework for a new blockchain-based adventure game called Rarity. This is a decentralised game meaning that anyone using the Fantom blockchain can add to and help create the game.

Players are required to input variables and write contracts directly to play the game. One of the early builds of the game allowed players to click buttons, and later visual elements were added with descriptions such as attributes, skills, and crafting.

As of September 21, 2021, just two weeks after the release, Fantom users had already created 2.5 million characters. At the same time, Fantom had its highest spikes of transactions, measured in volume, which can be connected to Rarity’s launch. Cronje, continues to work on the game in his free time, as well as freely discussing the future of the game with the game’s community.

Not only is there now a marketplace but there are also several “visualizers” that convert the mechanics of smart contracts into visual, interactive experiences, such as Rarity-MMORarity VisualizerRarity Extended and Rarity Manifested. Honestly, we think is pretty cool.

Why Fantom?

Cronje posted a blog on Medium on the launch of Rarity on September 5, 2021, and wrote about his decision to use Fantom over Ethereum:

“I originally started deploying this on Ethereum, but given the daily xp grind requirement, it simply does not make sense to do this on Ethereum, as such, I have opted to deploy on Fantom. For anyone interested, you only need 5–10 FTM to keep you going for months…”

Tank Wars Zone: Metaverse ready and backed by Fantom Foundation

While deep-diving into the Fantom ecosystem, we stumbled upon Tank Wars Zone, so let’s do a quick look at one of the very first play-to-earn games built on Fantom.

When you love Battle Royale P2E but also want some more mech in your life, Tank Wars Zone might just be your game. Its homepage states it is a metaverse-ready action game built on Fantom. Claiming to be the first blockchain game on Fantom with investment from the Fantom foundation themselves.

Genesis mint

The game is currently mid-genesis mint of their initial 10,000 mystery boxes, each containing one Genesis Tank NFT. Each Mystery Box costs 1500WBOND, which as at February 23, 2022, this equates to US$225.60 per box. The public mint started on February 15, 2022, with 8,000 Mystery Boxes up for grabs, as 2,000 were offered to guilds and private partners.

Despite 3,302 Mystery Boxes sold within one hour of the public launch according to social media reports, just over half of the 10,000 boxes have been sold so far (5,657). This isquite disappointing results for a game with 70,600+ followers on Twitter, especially compared with other projects with this level of following usually sell out within hours.

Gameplay

If we ignore the slow public genesis mint sale for a moment, the game itself looks quite interesting and it’s aiming high on delivering a quality game.

Tank Wars Zone wants to be a play-to-earn tank battle game with the following game modes: PVE – Story Mode, PVP 3v3, Battle Royale, World Boss, Land Gathering, and Guild Wars.

https://tankwars.zone/

Currently, Tank Wars Zone is in alpha testing, with only the PVE “control-free-turn-based battle system” game mode available for free testing.

We had a go at the game and we were provided with a Fantom tank, with a plethora of battle stats.

As we don’t have many choices outside of pressing PLAY, we continued on with our play test.

Loading into the actual game, our tank met an opposing tank on a street, and we took turns flipping images to get three-in-a-row either vertically or horizontally, which gave us the use of the images that combined, whether offensive or defensive. It is a death match game where the objective is to destroy the opposing tank before it destroys you.

Timeline and game-development roadmap

Source: https://tankwars.zone/Tankwars-zone-Whitepaper.pdf

As we can see, the game is still in its infancy. So regardless of a sub-par performance on the genesis NFT sale, there is still a lot of good things coming in the near future. Tank Wars Zone should have more than enough resources from their investors and backers to at least get close to the product they want to release. When that day comes, we will definitely be taking a look. There is potential here, but as of right now, it is not yet being delivered.

Another Notable Partnership

Fantom x Travala

Travala was founded in 2017, and is the leading cryptocurrency-friendly travel booking service, offering over 2.2 million accommodation deals according to its website.

Travala announced in October of 2020, a collaboration with Fantom amongst others, which would allow for its website to accept FTM (Fantom tokens) as a payment method.

In its blog, Travala mentions that FTM token holders will be able to save up to 40% on their travels compared with other online travel agencies, thanks to their ‘best price guarantee’ and additional discounts and rewards. Travala’s customers can book flights, hotels, excursions and soon rental cars using TFM as a payment method.

One of Fantom’s aims, according to their whitepaper, is to connect blockchain and logistics. This could be a partnership worth keeping an eye on for all of us travel-hungry crypto enthusiasts.

Statistics

Let’s look at some Fantom statistics. All charts were pulled directly from FTMScan.

Unique addresses are currently slightly above 2.1 million. It has seen huge growth in unique addresses, which showcase Fantom’s increase in use since early 2021.

We can also see from daily verified contracts a clear rise in contract calls alongside the huge increase in new unique addresses. This is another clear indication of increased use.

Daily transactions are on the same upward trend, with an extremely high spike in September 2021, likely from announcing its incentive program as well as other partnerships.

This is pretty neat. From May 2021 onwards, the average block time, which is the time taken in seconds for a block to be included in the blockchain, has held around or below one second, which is extremely fast.

Socialnomics

Social media followers count

Discord: 35.5K

Twitter: 380.7K

Telegram: 30.2K

Fantom by social volume

According to LunarCrush, Fantom is currently coin #30 on social volume with 9.39K unique mentions across social media. Notably beating out Algorand #32, Chainlink #35 and Binance Coin #39. Some of the competitor chains beating out Fantom is Solana #18, Matic #16 and Tezos #4. Top 10 currently requires 24.32k Social volume, and the top five requires 60k.

A bullish case for the Fantom blockchain itself

Fantom is a fast, high-throughput open-source smart contract platform for digital assets and decentralised applications, designed to overcome the limitations of previous generation blockchain platforms.

Its team consists of a variety of people ranging from engineers, scientists, researchers, designers, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Their vision is a world powered by Web 3.0.

Fantom’s Opera Network is an environment for building dapps on a permissionless, decentralised, and open-source network.

The mainnet provides smart contracts support through Solidity and is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This allows contractors to utilise smart contracts on top of Fantom, while also giving them the ability to port their existing dapps to the Fantom network easily.

Lachesis: Fantom’s aBFT consensus algorithm

Lachesis is Fantom’s aBFT consensus algorithm. Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance (aBFT) is the highest standard of consensus algorithms and sets out to solve the problems often found in blockchains. With an aBFT consensus protocol the blockchain allows for maximum decentralisation, high scalability, and bank-grade security.

Lachesis is:

  • Asynchronous: Meaning that users aren’t limited to that of timing.
  • Leaderless: There are no users that serve any “special/leader” roles.
  • Byzantine Fault Tolerant: Supports 1/3 faulty nodes that exhibit malicious behaviour.
  • Final: The output can be used immediately. Because there is no need to wait for confirmation; transactions are confirmed in 1-2 seconds.

In Fantom’s Whitepaper, it’s explained that the issue with other blockchains is a lack of real-time transaction settlement and scalability. Slow confirmation and high transaction costs are some of the main reasons why blockchains are rejected by many industries.

Fantom’s protocol could be the solution to creating instant transactions and transaction costs close to zero. That’s simply put what Fantom aims for.

Lachesis and developers

Lachesis is designed so that developers can implement it into their applications, regardless of the programming language used. In turn, this means that developers are able to focus on building the application logic then integrate Lachesis to handle a fault-tolerant service.

The focus on middleware development will lead to faster and more secure execution of smart contracts, by allowing developers the option of using their preferred programming language for building applications. This is while Lachesis takes care of the fault tolerance, which is smart. It leads to a more inclusive developer environment, in an industry which is desperate for talent in this field.

Blockchain communities are fighting against each other to get their hands on the best developers, and by having an inclusive approach like Fantom does, makes it easier for developers to pick the Fantom blockchain as their next project.

Fantom, the eco-friendly blockchain

One of Fantom’s key goals is building the most sustainable ecosystem, which we believe will play a huge factor for adoption and general acceptance on a global scale.

In November 2021, it released data on its energy consumption and found that it consumes 8,200kWh of energy per year – less energy than a single US home (10,700 kWh), and 52-times less energy per transaction than Visa.

The blog post stated:

“Fantom embraces the responsibility to provide the greenest, safest and best technologies to its population of users. Advances in technology go hand in hand with increasing sustainability, and we view it as imperative to offer energy-efficient solutions and account for network power demands.”

Transactions in the blockchain world normally need several confirmations to be completed. For instance, Bitcoin needs six confirmations and Ethereum needs 12. One of Fantom’s best features is that it only needs one confirmation. This speeds up the process drastically to only two seconds compared to Ethereum which uses five minutes while bitcoin can take up to 40 minutes depending on the transaction.

By limiting the confirmation to only one, Fantom also lowers the energy use per transaction. In the November 2021 blog post, they also shared that Fantom consumes 6.6 million-times less energy per transaction than Ethereum, and an astonishing 25-69 million-times less energy per transaction than Bitcoin.

DeFi growth

There is no doubt there has been heavy growth in the Fantom DeFi Ecosystem lately, and there are many reasons for it. Notably is the newly launched 0xDAO, a decentralised exchange (DEX) protocol created by Fantom builders, and Multichain, a cross-chain router protocol enabling token swaps across blockchains.

Another notable mention has to go to Solid Swap, the Automated Market Maker (AMM) built on Fantom by Andre Cronje and Daniele Sestagalli. Solid Swap is expected to implement a novel tokenomics model called ve(3.3), potentially opening up new opportunities for the broader DeFi space.

Fantom adoption

Artion is a completely open-source NFT marketplace that is built on Fantom and was released on September 24, 2021.

Its key features are:

  • Easy connect: Connect your wallet such as Metamask or Coinbase wallet easily.
  • Super fast: Transactions are usually confirmed within 1-2 seconds.
  • Low transaction fees: Near zero transaction costs, with transactions usually only being a few cents, allowing users to create and trade NFTs without any real financial barriers.
  • Zero platform fees: Trade NFTs via auction or direct offer without any fees taken by Artion.

NFT bridge

Fantom has announced that Artions’ next release will add a built-in version of Anyswap’s Ethereum-Fantom NFT bridge, which will give it the ability to exchange and make use of information cross-platform, making Artion the first cross-chain NFT marketplace.

As a result, creators and collectors will be able to port their collections to Fantom without being hindered by transaction fees and commissions.

Total value locked

Fantom is currently holding the 5th-highest TVL (Total Value Locked) across all chains with 7.71b. Total value locked is the overall value of crypto assets deposited in a decentralised finance (DeFi) protocol – or in DeFi protocols generally.

Fantom’s future

It isn’t big news that blockchains in general and worldwide industries have been divided in the past and even to this day. What are the possibilities of Fantom being the one blockchain that manages to close the gap between blockchain technologies and worldwide industries, while also being environmentally friendly? This is one of Fantoms’ many aims, which they want to accomplish by using a new smart contract-based ecosystem that can be used by all kinds of future partners around the world. For now, their main focus is having larger scale industries such as telecommunication, finance, logistics, and electric vehicle provisions utilize their chain.

Imagine the possibilities if Fantom is successful and reach their goals. This would open for a whole new world market that includes blockchain and cryptocurrencies altogether. In addition to creating quicker, cheaper, and higher scalability transactions, Fantom also consumes 52x less energy than a visa transaction. Can Fantom achieve all of this? If so, we see no reason why Fantom wouldn’t be highly successful in the future representing crypto and blockchain in the worldwide market.

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