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Axie Infinity recently came under criticism on social media after a tweet by its Program Lead, Andrew Campbell. On November 21, Campbell (@ZyoriTV) tweeted that Axie owners, “are responsible for the actions of any scholars.” Reactions from scores of disgruntled Axie managers and Lunacians quickly followed the tweet.
But what exactly was wrong with Campbell’s tweet? Should Axie Infinity managers not be responsible for the actions of their scholars? Before taking sides, let us critically analyze both stances. But first, a little bit of clarification is needed.
Multi-Accounting vs Account Sharing
Axie Infinity allows what it calls “account sharing”. This is when two people play Axie Infinity on the same account. But this grace does not extend beyond two people, and these two people have to play exclusively on the same account. This means that you can’t share an account with more than one other person or have a personal account while sharing an account with someone.
Multi-accounting, on the other hand, is illegal. Multi-accounting is one person playing on multiple accounts within a 24-hour window. This was the cause of the recent ban wave. Accounts found multi-accounting had their Axies banned. Some were banned indefinitely, and after some investigation, others had their bans reduced to 90 days.
Equality In The Axie Infinity Ecosystem
Axie Infinity has always championed equality. When the company announced controversial updates to its platform in October, it cited fairness as one of its reasons. The company’s Growth Lead, Jihoz, shared this in a tweet.
The point of the updates was to tackle bots and make the game fairer for “real, hardworking players.” It appears that pretty much the same rationale has been applied with the recent ban wave that initially affected nearly 24,000 Axies across nearly 10,000 wallets. But that figure dropped to 18,505 Axies after Sky Mavis found an error in its detection system.
Unfortunately, Axie Infinity’s attempts at fairness now seem to be hurting the same people they were designed to protect. So why does Sky Mavis not rescind its decision?
Axie Infinity Player Protection
Every company feels a need to protect its greatest assets—its customers. Sky Mavis is no different. It is okay to punish players found trying to game the system to their own unfair advantage. However, that is not the crux of the issue at hand. Although measures should be taken to protect the system, should people who have no control over the actions of others be liable for said actions?
Secondly, is the issue of tradeoffs. Sky Mavis is in a position where it has to make a tough choice. Ban Axies and risk the ire of managers, or be lenient and risk having its system defrauded, thus losing money. When one weighs the pros and cons of both circumstances, one can understand why the company is so strict.
Axie Infinity Investor Protection
Investors are the lifeblood of the Axie Infinity ecosystem. Axie Infinity has a relatively high barrier of entry with about $800+ required as an initial investment to start playing. Players use this money to purchase the base three Axies required to start playing the game. Each Axie costs $250+ on average.
However, it goes without saying that not many people can afford the luxury of investing $800+ in a game. In fact, Axie Infinity is most popular in the Philipines—a relatively poor country with a minimum wage of $6 to $11 a day. Clearly, most of the residents there cannot afford to enter the game on their own. This is where investors, aka Axie Managers, come in.
Individuals with enough money to smash the barrier of entry into Axie Infinity but without the skill to play the game or time to learn it often set up academies. They then give scholarships to Axie Infinity players by funding the purchase of Axies and allowing those players play and earn through these Axies. After an agreed period, the manager and scholar share the profits (usually equally).
Unfortunately, some scholars try to cheat the system. They may register under more than one scholarship program or run multiple accounts. Usually, Axie Infinity may not ban an account for this. But many scholars, in a bid to obtain the daily rewards try to log in to multiple accounts on the same day.
Axie Infinity Investor Persecution
The implication of this is that managers lose the Axies they paid for. They lose their investment. And the offending players can just go on and create new accounts to defraud other managers as pointed out by one Twitter user.
Nonetheless, there is only so much a manager can do. A manager cannot police the actions of their scholars. When scholars get greedy, a manager has no way of knowing that they are multi-accounting. Especially when the manager does not control the accounts the player multi-accounts with.
All of this puts managers in a very precarious position, one that is akin to persecution. Sky Mavis’ failure to empathize with this reality shows a gross disregard for the welfare of the people keeping its metaverse’s economy running.
Managers are the lifeblood of Axie Infinity. Without the funding of managers, Axie Infinity will not be as popular as it is. The relatively high barrier of entry limits the involvement of the average person in the game. Sky Mavis might be doing itself a great disservice by victimizing its most important stakeholders.
What the long-term result of Sky Mavis’ actions will be remain unknown. But one thing is sure—it has to revise its policies if it is to continue being profitable.
So what are your thoughts? What can managers do to protect themselves? What can Sky Mavis do to protect investors while minimising foul play? Share your ideas in the comments below.