Most people I speak to have no idea what blockchain is, and those who have heard of the blockchain think it is tied to Bitcoin, and a way to make easy money through dubious methods. If you feel like this, you are not alone.
Los Angeles-based digital media consulting company Vorhaus Advisors recently released a Forte-commissioned survey of more than 2,000 consumers surveyed in June 2020.
It wanted to assess their behaviors towards virtual goods and their level of interest in blockchain-enabled features in games.
Its "Untapped Opportunities: Games, Virtual Goods, and Blockchain" report shows that, in the general population across the US, only one in four (25%) of adults have any idea about blockchain.
Of the adults who recognize the term "blockchain," most do not understand it.
Almost two in three (62%) stated that "blockchain is the same as cryptocurrency," and 48% said that "blockchain is the same as Bitcoin."
Less than one in five (18%) of US adults say they have used a product or service related to blockchain. However, this percentage rises to 25% among the younger 18 to 34 age demographic.
There are significant new revenue opportunities for game developers who use blockchain technology to develop games.
More than half of virtual goods buyers (51%) expressed interest in earning income from playing games.
The ability to create, own, and trade digital assets might allow the lines between play and work to blur more than they already have.
Virtual goods buyers want the applications that blockchain enables.
Almost two in three (63%) of virtual goods buyers would spend and play games more if those virtual goods had real-world value and could be traded or sold, and 64% say they would play more often.
Whilst awareness, use, and trust of blockchain increases within groups who already purchase in-game goods and services, the vast minority of gamers, may not be aware that they are playing games that sit on the blockchain.
But blockchain enables new business opportunities for game companies, due to its ability to enable the creation of in-game digital assets and collectible one-of-a-kind items that players can own.
It can also facilitate player-driven in-game services, and provide a foundation for secure, verified peer-to-peer transactions.
It is not only gamers that benefit from the blockchain. Overall, the report indicates that people have little awareness of blockchain, yet covet the very capabilities it enables.
The challenge and perception across different varieties of blockchain and Bitcoin currencies is down to a lack of trust, protection, and regulation for the digital currency.
Trading of "unregistered securities without registering under applicable federal and state securities laws as exchanges and/or broker-dealers (are) in violation of US securities laws." No wonder people are confused and wary.
What consumers need is clarity. The clarity in which type of blockchain to use, and clarity about whether the version of Bitcoin you are buying/selling/using is trusted.
And until the SEC defines which versions of digital currencies are, or are not securities, we will continue to see mistrust and confusion about using the blockchain and Bitcoin.
Yet we would all like to make money, seemingly easily. But that digital money needs to be legal, regulated, and trusted -- and that will take some time.