Blockchain Gaming 101: Bitcoin Miner
Bitcoin Miner is a much older game than one would think by looking on the App Store. It was developed over four years ago by a small team who saw the latest bullrush on Bitcoin and saw an opportunity to create a game about mining for cryptocurrency. We spoke to Paul West of Fumb Games about the Bitcoin Miner journey: “We’d already created a similar game called Zombie Labs, where you dug zombies out of the ground. We thought, okay, what would be cool is if we made a Bitcoin version of this”
In Bitcoin Miner, it’s your job to make as much money as possible, in the usual idle clicker way of purchasing new tools and upgrades. What starts as an underground bunker with one chap mining for Shiba Inu, becomes an empire where up to ten coins are being mined, including meme coins like Doge and powerhouses such as Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Unfortunately, four years ago, things were very different and crypto wasn’t in regular conversation yet. “We went to launch it and we couldn’t” Paul laughs, “Google and Facebook, which were the main marketing channels for app promotion said ‘absolutely no, you cannot promote cryptocurrency-related products’ and of course, we replied that nothing in the game is real, it’s just the artwork which looks like crypto.”
So, the game stalled because Fumb Games couldn’t promote it to new players. The game that exists today is very similar to the one created over four years ago, however now that society is becoming more comfortable with crypto the game is seeing another big push with one new addition. Now you can earn actual crypto while you play.
“We were approached by Zebedee, who are the Bitcoin payment provider, saying they’d like to work with us.” As you play Bitcoin Miner you can earn Satoshi which is a fraction of a Bitcoin, and when we say a fraction we mean it, a Satoshi is 0.000001 BTC. These Satoshi appear occasionally from your miners, along with other tappable power-ups, and once tapped they get banked in a holding area until you withdraw them to your Zebedee wallet.
I’ve been playing the game since its launch a few weeks ago and I’ve banked 609 SATS, or $0.17. You’re never going to get rich, but that’s not the point. This is just a game, with the blockchain and crypto elements sown within. Paul is proud of what the game is doing, because to him, the gameplay came first, “we gave the game a bit of a facelift after Zebedee got in touch – those miner sprites are my original art from years ago! – now we’re the first Bitcoin mining simulation that actually pays you Bitcoin.”
The Satoshis will never really amount to much, even if you’re hammering the game constantly. I’ve found myself a little addicted to watching my miners unearth coins, in the same way I got hooked on other idle clickers or, as Paul calls them, “enterprise games.”
It’s the ideal game for five-minute breaks during the day; you open the game, upgrade some miners or open new mining sites, you can tap the green arrows which pump the coin price up, or there’s a purple split arrow which duplicates the coin. There are treasure chests which give pieces of coins that, when assembled, upgrade the value of your coins, and watching ads can reward bonuses.
You might ask where these Satoshi come from, which is why we asked Paul: “it comes directly from our revenue, going back to the community. We want this to be ‘if we win, then you win.’” The game does feature advertisements, which Paul knows can be a contentious point to players, but he hopes they understand that the interstitial ads are creating the revenue supplying the Bitcoin.
It’s all about making money, in the same way your idle theme park or bakery game is. Except here, you can see actual money being paid out. “It’s like the cherry on the top” says Paul, “the game comes first, the Satoshi is simply a bonus.” Bitcoin Miner can be seen as a proof of concept to other developers, but it should also be seen as a great example of developing alongside Web3, rather than in reaction to it.
“Web3 friction points are everywhere,” says Paul as we discuss how his game can help others learn about cryptocurrency mining and blockchain, “we think this is a frictionless way to learn, you can go from knowing nothing about Bitcoin, to earning it within 3-4 minutes.” Bitcoin Miner makes everything very simple, even setting up a Zebedee wallet is a breeze.
“There are a lot of games out there that are Web3, but there are so many hoops to jump through; setting up a wallet, buying an NFT or staking tokens in the game” Paul is talking about the general Web3 gaming scene, which makes it difficult for everyday gamers to jump in and try new games. With so many upcoming games, there’s little to see and play, “they’re speculative products, right? They’re investments that people are making.”
Bitcoin Miner is anything but speculative. The gameplay may have been seen many times over, underneath various facades. That’s no bad thing, it won’t be for everyone, but for those who lean towards idle clickers or those interested in how crypto works, it’s an ideal clicker. A stand out comment from Paul is one to end on: “you’re not playing to earn, you’re playing and earning” and this seems to be a path that many developers should follow if they’re to appeal to ‘Web2 gamers’.