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An overview of WAX and FAQs
Hey there and thanks for taking the time to learn about Virtual Item Exchanges, Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX), and the decentralization of entire business processes. In this post, I aim to communicate the value proposition of the virtual item exchanges and its relation to the WAX protocol.
What are Virtual Asset Exchanges and the Virtual World Economy?
The term ‘virtual economy’ is no more than the exchanging of virtual items and services with virtual or real currency within a virtual world. Over the last decade, there has been extensive growth in both the number of virtual worlds published and the total number of virtual players. In the last year, 400M+ gamers purchased $50B+ in virtual items worldwide, a number that staggers most anyone not connected to the virtual economies. There is a plethora of evidence for the growth of various virtual economies across a variety of virtual worlds. These virtual items range from in-game cosmetics, weapons, equipment and virtual territory. Here is the WAX team discussing just how big Virtual Asset Exchanges are.
What is keeping Virtual Item Exchanges from expanding?
With the possible infinite virtual economies, it is no surprise that the industry continues to fragment across hundreds of competing marketplaces. These marketplaces not only have to overcome the internal economics these games provide, but the actual accounting bottlenecks of cross-border transaction fees or being landlocked to trading within your geographic area. The vast majority of users who wish to buy and sell virtual assets see items stolen, get stuck in a scam, or end up paying exorbitant fees. Here is the WAX team addressing the bottlenecks of the industry.
So how does WAX resolve this?
The ideal solution to this industrial problem is a global virtual asset repository, accessible to anyone, which provides a complete catalog of all items available for sale in real time. This market will not only have to be global, but impower in-game users to drive their ecosystems economy. A genuinely centralized marketplace would create more market friction across all industries than enabling users to be their own businesses. Such a repository, when coupled with distributed trust mechanisms, and a reliable, low-cost settlement network, will vastly improve price discovery and market liquidity, thereby increasing market size. WAX is creating a blockchain solution for virtual asset trading. The decentralization of existing solutions like OPSkins.com would remove every bottleneck facing the industry. WAX will enable virtual asset traders, similar to that of modern marketplaces such as Alibaba, Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb. These platforms enhanced commerce for millions of small business owners and created hundreds of billions of dollars in new value. These tech giants achieved their global success by making their platforms easy to use and widely available, while simultaneously solving expensive problems like fraud prevention, settlement execution, product and seller reviews, standardized catalogs of product information, supply and demand matching just like the issues currently facing virtual asset exchanges. The WAX team is adamant that this protocol will enhance Virtual Asset Exchanges.
How will WAX use its blockchain?
Through the creation of the WAX token, a platform utility medium, WAX enables users to list items for sale, transact value between each other, settle the transfer of virtual goods, create and service contracts, propose and vote for WAX Guilds. The application of WAX Token is entirely focused on these functions, and developed to enforce security during the digital exchange. To meet the high throughput demand of markets, WAX will utilize a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS, further explanation below) consensus algorithm was selected, with selected confirming nodes, or “Guilds,” focusing on a single game. Virtual goods’ sales prices are listed in WAX Token; when a user wants to purchase the virtual asset, they pay with WAX Token. If the item is recorded in a different currency (through a site linking to the WAX Platform), the WAX Token must be converted by the listing agent at the current exchange rate at the time of purchase.
Who Is Working On WAX?
WAX is created by the same ownership and team that built OPSkins.com. OPSkins was established in 2015 and became the global marketplace leader for video game virtual assets. The company claims to have facilitated over 100+ million purchases annually for customers across nearly one-hundred countries. When created, OPSkins built a centralized solution to address the most significant needs of the marketplace and systematically reduced the failure rate of exchanges by creating liquidity, settlement due diligence, and shifting fraud loss to the platform rather than the consumer while allowing for cross-border executions. The CEO of the company is William Quigley was part of former Disney CFO of licensing, a member of idea lab, and many other venture capital opportunities. The team has advisors that worked on Call of Duty, the founder of Interplay Entertainment & inXile Entertainment, a World of Warcraft Executive, the Former CEO of Vivendi Universal Games. To see the full list of team members and advisors you can check their website. Here is William Quigley talking about why he is qualified to lead WAX to mass adoption.
Frequently Asked Question
Why is the WAX protocol asking for an initial 180M valuation? This seems to be the question most people want to ask. Most people are comfortable with ICOs being valued around 60M and WAX is asking to raise 60M and have and value their protocol initially around 180M. The most important thing to realize is that WAX isn't two men in a shed asking for 60M because they can clone bitcoin or make an ERC20. WAX is creating a completely new blockchain, importing a multi-billion dollar a year company fully on the chain, and decentralizing their business processes so other parties can use the platform. The task in itself is massive to scale a vastly fragmented industry into one easy to use decentralized protocol. Not only is the task large but OPSkins is the largest company ever to convert to a blockchain protocol. Basic math suggests that valuing the protocol at ONLY 180M is a steal. William himself is adamant that OPSkins if sold, would fetch quite a bit more. The ICO is for funding development and getting a token (that should have inherited value) to the mass market without making it valueless (free) ruining their multi-billion dollar ecosystem.
What is keeping STEAM from shutting down WAX? To date, STEAM has only shown a lack of support for gambling websites. STEAMs core values come from the platform and the games Valve develops. Secondary markets enhance their ecosystem and at this point could be viewed as necessary. If steam wanted something like WAX to be shut down they would have made moves several years back. Furthermore, the premise of developers being able to code items so that they're compatible with blockchain tech goes far beyond steam. Just like when Amazon started allowing 3rd party sellers, they quickly became the largest retailer in the world. For virtual items, blockchain will enable items to be traded across any number of channels with high security for both the buyer and seller.
How will you introduce WAX adoption to the gamer markets? "First, the WAX team began by introducing OPSkins users to cryptocurrency by introducing Bitcoin and later Ethereum as accepted currencies on the OPSkins platform. Due to its low fees Ethereum as proved to be quite popular among users. Granted, getting 1 billion gamers to use cryptocurrency is a challenge for the whole crypto industry and we have a dedicated team working on that. We will be doing videos, tutorials, FAQs and all types of educational material to convert gamers into crypto-gamers. Using this team, we can guide you through any issues and questions that you might have for this transition. No other market is better primed for understanding and using cryptocurrency than the gamer market. "
Will WAX do mobile gaming? While there is a massive number of gamers that are primed and ready for WAX, the number of mobile players are triple the size. The opportunity presented by the mobile market is huge. Mobile gaming is the natural next step for WAX. The guild system makes it so easy for anyone to set up a digital assets trading platform for mobile gaming assets, allowing for exponential growth.
What happens to OPSkins once WAX exists? OPSkins will continue much as it used. OPSkins needs WAX to solve inefficiencies in the way that items are transferred. Currently, OPSkins relied on bots and trust to get the items to and from the marketplace. By using WAX smart contracts and becoming a decentralized ecosystem, many of these problems are solved, making the whole user experience much more secure and fluid. “In math we trust.”
How long will it take for OPSkins to be decentralized? WAX plans on taking a step-by-step approach by integrating WAX into certain parts of OPSkins’s ecosystem. Due to the transactional volume of OPSkins, the necessary speed requires a new chain, not even the Ethereum chain can support the current trade volume of OPSkins. Early next year WAX will begin the process of moving sections of OPSkins business to a decentralized platform, and from there WAX will be able to expand to cover a more significant portion of the trade volume and, as the network grows, the entire OPSkins volume as well as the guilds.
Why is WAX different than its competitors and why not just user Bitcoin/Ethereum? To utilize the maximum potential of smart contracts you need to create your chain that is tuned for your coin’s needs. OPSkins know the value of skins. A mere reskin of Bitcoin or Ethereum wouldn’t be appropriate for WAX. The most significant issue is the scale, i.e., the volume, cannot be handled on Ethereum’s platform. WAX will be able to handle the enormous size and quantity that OPSkins require. Only WAX gives the power to provide p2p services of the quality and value that the gaming and crypto communities deserve.
How is WAX different from DMarket? The similarities start at “gaming” and end at “token.” Wax is designed to facilitate the transfer of digital items using a smart contract. Dmarket is an erc20 token that is a “reskin.” In the gaming digital assets industry, WAX knows the value of a having a proper new product instead of a “reskin.” A gun with new guide-rails or a unique design will sell for more than one that merely has different colors. The business model of Dmarket is another huge difference, and it is this difference that WAX see their success and their failure. The go to market plan for Dmarket is to contact 5000 (!) game publishers and try to convince them to adopt a bitcoin reskin. Game publishers could not be less interested in the blockchain, let alone to choose a small company’s token. They claim in their whitepaper that there are nine things that they claim are necessary for their success. Item 9 is 500,000,000 people using their system. With their approach? Good luck.
Will converting skins to WAX be seamless off the back? The WAX team is full of industry veterans, and WAX knows it will not be seamless. That said WAX will do an incredible job and have proven so with OPSkins. No other team in the world knows more about or has more experience with virtual trading items than the WAX team. The WAX founders and the team also have been heavily involved in blockchain development and funding since the beginning. The customer experience, once launched, will be smooth and exceptional as is expected of the market leaders. WAX will probably implement it game by game to ensure that this service fits the needs and peculiarity of each market. WAX will adapt, WAX will evolve.
What is a guild and why is it valuable for WAX? Once someone acquired enough tokens and votes, they become a guild. Once a guild is formed, it activates the ability to have transfer agents. Transfer agents can move any asset between the buyer and the seller. This can be for any game where items are tradable, in any language, location, or platform. In short, anyone can form a guild and create a new marketplace. This is the real core of our decentralization methodology.
How to look up a user safely and check if they're a scammer:
If the person is messaging you on Steam, click their user picture in the chat window to go to their Steam profile. Right click that page and choose "Copy Page URL" to make sure you have their real Steam profile page. If the person is messaging you on another website, there should be direct (not typed by the user) links to their Steam profile page. From there you can copy the URL from the address bar in your browser. Then go to SteamRep and paste that copied link into the search bar to bring up their user page. If a user has been marked as a scammer or caution (on a SR member community) it will be listed on this page. It's possible that a user has pending scam reports against them but are not yet marked. To look these up, click the "Search SteamRep Forum" link in the "Search Engine Queries" section on the user's page. Each SR user page also has user-specific links to multiple trading and rep sites, use these rather than trusting any links given to you by a user (see #1). Other things that indicate a probable scammer or scammer alt account are low games playtime, low backpack value (when buying expensive items), few other games on Steam, private account, and low account age (which shows on their SR page). A lack of fluency in English is also a possible warning sign, but shouldn't be used as a sole reason not to trust someone.
Fake Phishing Links One of the most common scams, this is a technique used by many, even outside of the game. Phishing links look like links to familiar websites, but are actually imitation websites that try to trick you into giving them your account details (Steam and/or email username and password) or download malware that will take your details/control of your computer. With these details the phisher can gain control of the account and lock you out of it by changing account details, then move your items and steam wallet funds to one of the phisher's accounts. Phishers can contact you through Steam, trade sites, and even email so always be careful to check before you click links. Even better is to not click links at all, and navigate to the real page yourself by searching (see top for details). Additionally, a chrome extension written by dmn002 will block several known misspelled websites, but it won't stop all of them. For Firefox users, Jeesecar96 made a userscript to block phishing sites.
Quickswitching This involves the victim thinking they're getting one item but gets another instead. While in a trade, a scammer will put up the desired item. Without the victim noticing, he'll quickly switch it to another item of less value that looks similar. A common attempt is switching an expensive unusual hat with a much cheaper unusual version of that hat; the item will look the same in the trade window but have a different effect. The item might also be renamed so that chat window of the trade that updates when items are removed/added looks less suspicious. After trading, the victim is left with the switched item. This scam often involves misdirection; they'll ask a question in Steam chat so the victim switches windows and then the scammer will swap the item while the victim is typing. They might also ask the victim to add another item or remove one of them, or add and remove many items themselves to mask the visible chatlog from showing that they've switched the item. With updates to Steam trading this has become easier to notice. Any change in items is shown in the trade chatlog and any change after you have readied up on the trade will stop you from accepting the trade. Always take your time in trades, and double check all items after you have clicked "ready".
Bait and Switch 2 complicit scammers go on a trade server, a trade site, or possibly contact people directly. The first advertises that they are paying a very high amount for a specific item (usually rare but not a requirement), a lot more than it is actually worth. The second advertises selling that exact item, for more than it is worth but for less than the other scammer is offering. They pretend to be unaware of each other, hoping that someone gullible will try to make a quick profit by buying the overpriced item from the second scammer with the intent to sell to the first. Once the item has been sold to the victim for the inflated price the two scammers leave the server, close their listings, or block the victim, leaving the victim stuck with the item.
Lending A scammer may ask to borrow a specific item for a short period of time (usually giving some flattering reason to the victim). After the item is given, it won't be returned. Scammers will take advantage of online acquaintances this way if given the chance. Never lend an item you aren't willing to lose to find out if your "friend" is a scammer.
Trading Outside Steam A scammer may offer to purchase a victim's item with something that won't fit in the trade window (usually cash or game codes). They'll ask the victim to go first and claim that they'll give the payment separately after they have the item. Once they have the victim's item they'll simply block the victim. Many times the offer will be very high to attract victims with more greed than sense. If something seems too good to be true it likely is. This is also sometimes accompanied by a fake link (see #1) for rep to show why they deserve to go second in the trade; never trust links the other person gives you. Instead of a fake link, the scammer may impersonate a trusted trader in which case the links would be correct but not belong to the scammer's account. Looking up the potential scammer's info as detailed above (not using the links given to you) can make the impersonation obvious. Always double check before a transaction. There are legitimate transactions with legitimate traders that happen partially outside the trade window, but the possibility of being scammed is very high. SteamRep maintains a list of trusted middlemen, which act as a neutral party to hold the Steam-tradable side of payment while the rest is transferred. Even with a trusted middleman in a cash trade you can still be scammed (see #7), so be careful.
Middleman Injection After a trade that takes place partially outside Steam has been agreed to, a middleman needs to be chosen. The scammer will suggest a trusted middleman that checks out correctly on SteamRep. However, once the victim agrees to the middleman a fake account pretending to be that middleman adds the victim. Once the unaware victim completes their side of the transaction, believing that they are using a trusted middleman, both the scammer and accomplice will delete and block them while keeping the stolen goods. Make sure you personally add the middleman yourself, and independently verify the identity of the person who added you using the instructions above (look up both accounts on SteamRep and compare). If you're not listed in the friends list of the actual trusted middleman, you're dealing with a scammer. You need to check the MM out yourself - that means you click on the MM's profile and copy/paste their profile URL into SteamRep and verify that it's the person they say they are.
Chargebacks Funds sent over PayPal (and some other sites) can be "charged back", meaning that PayPal revokes the transaction and gives the buyer their money back. Scammers abuse this by making otherwise legitimate transactions then pulling their money back (sometimes months later) so that they get too keep both the items and the cash. To limit your risk of being charged back (if you use PayPal the risk will always be there), make sure the person buying from you has a long history of successful cash transactions without charge backs. Rep threads on SourceOP are trustworthy; to search for a user's rep thread navigate to their SteamRep page and click the "SOP" link in the "Search Engine Queries" section. Comments on one's Steam profile should not be considered rep as they are easily faked and any negative comments can be deleted by the user. It is recommended that (for maximum risk avoidance) that the buyer's cash rep (from a trusted source) should extend far beyond 90 days in the past. Ideally you should never sell to someone with lots of cash rep that only goes back 90 days or less because this is the most common charge back window for PayPal purchases. As a rule of thumb for selling anything of major value, ignore any cash rep made in the last 90 days and ideally their older cash rep should definitely total more than what the current transaction is. This indicates that they are invested in their rep and aren't gaining more by possibly choosing to charge back than they are giving up in historical reputation they've built up. MoneyPak and Bitcoin do not allow for charge backs, these are safer alternatives.
Gambling Any betting or gambling game that relies on trust that the losing party will pay up has the possibility of that party simply choosing not to pay. This is considered scamming. To avoid this, use a trusted middleman to hold each party's items before the game begins. Because any middleman can theoretically scam you the same way once he has your items, be careful who to trust (see #5).
Money Transfer within Steam Many times scammers will attempt to convince the victim that money can be sent directly over Steam, usually as part of some other trade. This is a variant of #5 which relies on the victim not being familiar with Steam Trade/Offers/Market. They may put something in the chat that appears to be an automated payment message or simply convince you that it will happen. The only way currently that money (as Steam wallet funds) can be transferred in Steam is through the Steam Community Market. It cannot be transferred as a result of a trade in Steam or through the Steam Offers interface. If you ever feel unsure about a trade, take a step back and research it. Valve puts out FAQs on all of their trading methods that are explicit about what is allowed and what is not.
Email Verification Scam The scammer will as you to either forward the trade confirmation link, the trade decline link, or a screenshot of your email that contains these. Do not do so.
False Trade Links on Profiles The scammer will have a Trade Link on his profile readily available, hoping that you will click on the link to offer your item for his. His main profile will contain the item you want, e.g. a Sapphire Flip Knife. You check his inventory and confirm that he has the knife you want, then you would click the trade link on his profile, which would lead to a profile that is completely identical to the profile with the sapphire, the only difference being that his Sapphire Flip Knife is now a Phase 4 Flip Knife. You, wanting to make $20+ Profit, will put his Phase 4 Flip Knife into the trade window, not noticing that the Flip Knife has changed from a Sapphire to a Phase 4. The same goes for different Float Values or conditions (He could have a Field-Tested Vulcan instead of the Factory New one you wanted from him) Always inspect the item you are trading for and double check the item description. Always be suspicious when you are making profit that you know you shouldn't be, sometimes it's a scam, sometimes it's legit. Be alert.
Friend impersonation scam During trade negotiations, the scammer will agree to the trade only if you briefly give the item(s) to a person of your choice on your friends list, who would then return them to you so you could make the trade. Once you trade away the item, a steam account impersonating you will try to get the item(s) from your friend. This form of impersonation is especially effective because your friend has no reason to be suspicious and is likely not aware of common scams, and so more likely to fall for the act. If someone asks you to trade an item to a friend and back for any reason, it's almost certainly a scam attempt.
Verify items scam The scammer will ask you to trade your items to an IRL friend your trust to "verify" the items or to prove that you are trustworthy. The scammer then copies your name and avatar and proceeds to invite your friend to trade and makes off with the items. Scammer's may also ask you to send your items to a "trustworthy middleman" for "inspection", but however trustworthy they may appear to be, they are in on the scam and out to steal your items.
Glimmer Drop The user trades an item that appears to be worth a lot on the Steam Community Market, however the item is one of the few on the market and it's actual value is next to nothing. This is frequent amongst "autographed Dota items" which are unique and have never sold for large amount on the market. Another variant is the scammer tells you they will trade their high valued items or keys for an item on the steam community market and asks you to purchase it. This item is actually owned by the scammer's alt account, they then leave without fulfilling their end of the deal.
Fake Gambling website scam A website that is seemingly authentic (usually the source code is taken directly from a legitimate/popular betting site) is set up to scam users in various ways. They may claim to an admin of the site and prove so by altering it (remember - it's a fake site) and make an agreement to rig a "bet" or "pot" and split the money with you, the scammer then takes your items either via the fake site's bot or a direct trade. Promises of guaranteed wins or a trades involving the fake site's currency may also be involved. Always verify any website someone links you. If it seems fishy avoid the user altogether.
Fake bot / Impersonation of a gambling site bot Common with marketplaces such as OPSkins and gambling sites. Make sure the bot has the code which matches the one provided on the site itself. These scams may be random or targeted when a scammer is aware someone is about depost skins on to the site.
Variants of the above happen all the time, and new scams are always being thought up. Be careful! Never rush into trades, especially if they seem too good to be true. Take the time to ensure that you won't be scammed.
Enhanced Steam - Provides links on each user's Steam Community page for their SteamRep and more (in your browser only).
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