One of the very first applications of the blockchain technology is Bitcoin, although creating a decentralised digital currency secured through the cryptography isn’t the only use of blockchain. Just like how there is more to the internet than just email, in the same way, there is more to blockchain than just digital currencies. The incredible technology is being used in several different spheres, ranging from finance to media. In this article, we will look at a project named Ionomy which is focussed on the gaming industry.
What is ION?
Ionomy is a blockchain based, decentralised gaming ecosystem with ION coin as its native currency. The project has been designed for gamers and its cryptocurrency is meant to make a variety of mobile games interesting by rewarding the players with the coin.
Think of it like a decentralised platform for games. Unlike popular games like World of Warcraft or Skyrim, wherein you need to earn gold in the game to make your gaming experience more intriguing, users who play any of the Ionomy’s current and upcoming games will be rewarded with ION coins. Similarly, players who participate in weekly tournaments and competitions are rewarded with ION tokens. These ION tokens can be used to purchase in-game features and items, on which they get a 50% discount.
These monetary incentives are meant to make games more interesting, fun, and re-playable. Players can choose to hold on to their ION tokens, spend it or trade it with others. Hence, it is evident that Ionomy’s internal economy is driven by ION tokens.
Ionomy is meant to be appealing to game developers as well. The platform has a tool kit known as PWR-GRID, which is meant help developers take advantage of blockchain technology. Using these packages, which are known as Lightning, Thunder, Jumpstart, Alchemy, Spark, and Swarm, developers can monetise their games in addition to customising and adding new features. This also helps game developers test new games and launch crowdfunding campaigns.
The consensus algorithm utilised by Ionomy is known as static proof-of-stake. It’s called static because the reward is fixed at 50% of the block reward. This proof-of-stake algorithm has been designed such that it gives a significant amount of weightage to the duration a wallet is active in the network in addition to the number of tokens held. Therefore, the more a user is active in the network, the more are his/her chances to become a part of the PoS system and contribute to the network’s security and robustness.
In simpler terms, rewards earned through PoS depend on the active work done in the Ionomy Network and the number of ION tokens held in the wallet. This is done to promote the development of social components of the currency, which in the gaming industry, is an important aspect. This also ensures that people who are active in the network are the ones doing the main work.
Furthermore, the Ionomy and blockchain community are encouraged to work on the development of the currency and the project. This process can be considered to be a decentralised code optimisation, that is, having people from across the world work on the ION code to improve it further. For their efforts, the developers are rewarded with bounties in the form of ION tokens.
The total supply of ION tokens is capped at 55 million of which, a little over 10 million ION coins are in circulation. The rest of the coins will be released in the form of block reward - a number that will reduce every year. The average block time is 1 minute.
Where to buy ION tokens?
According to Coinmarketcap, ION tokens are available for exchange on Bittrex and Upbit. Since it is an altcoin, it will have to be traded against Bitcoin. Apart from this, you can buy ION coins directly from the official website of Ionomy. This is far more convenient since you can buy ION against any of the major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Aragon, Ether, Dogecoin, Golem, et cetera.
ION wallets can be downloaded from the official website of Ionomy. The wallets are available across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. Alternately, you can also consider hardware wallets like Nano Ledger S and Trezor.
As mentioned earlier, Ionomy Network runs on Proof-of-Stake consensus model. There are two ways to mine ION tokens - set up a masternode, which requires a minimum of 20,000 ION tokens, or create a staking node which has no requirements at all. In either case, the reward is 50% of the block reward. To get started, you need to download the wallet from the Ionomy website.
ION Price Trends
As of May 18, 2018, the price of 1 ION token is approximately 1.95 USD. The cryptocurrency reached this price after a recent fall in early May, when the altcoin was trading at around $2.90. Just like every other coin in this space, ION too has seen its fair share of volatility. In fact, being the part of a new asset class, it still continues to do so.
ION’s greatest bull run so far came in the month of January 2018, when the token crossed the $7 mark. This is certainly an intriguing performance by the currency, considering that in late December, it was trading at around $3. It goes without saying that whatever gains the token made in the span of two weeks or so were lost just as quickly, following the collapse of the bubble in the cryptocurrency space. ION was in a state of decline in the month of February, though it staged a small recovery in March.
Risks Associated with Investing in ION
ION is a token that is primarily directed towards the gaming industry. However, from an investment perspective, it is risky instrument owing to its extreme volatility. In addition to this, ION, being a cryptocurrency, is subject to regulatory hurdles.
In such a scenario, it is recommended that you look into other investment instruments, namely mutual funds. They are safer, less volatile and if selected wisely, can deliver good returns in the long run.