Guild: Play-It-Forward (PIF) DAO— Scaling GameFi to New Highs
Disclaimer: The author is a Research Analyst at Signum Capital, where the firm is an early investor of Play-It-Forward. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial advice and is solely the firm's opinion. Trading cryptocurrencies pose potential risk of loss. The firm does not guarantee any particular outcome.
PIF DAO is an ecosystem with a unique combination of a guild management platform (P2E Board) and a large-scale guild (PIF Guild, previously known as Railings University).
In 2021, GameFi was a successful proof of concept and PIF Guild was a significant part of that success. Within six months, PIF Guild grew to become the 3rd largest guild globally, with 3000+ scholars and a community of 40,000+ members today.
Looking ahead, PIF DAO aims to grow the pie by enabling all guilds with their guild management platform, P2E Board, to onboard millions or even billions of potential scholars from developing countries, starting in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Also, PIF DAO is looking to offer DeFi loans to their community, further value-adding to their growing community.
Observing the results of their early success and the team’s prior experience, we are confident PIF DAO is primed to overcome the challenges ahead and succeed.
Token Launch Auction on CopperLaunch
GameFi — A Successful Proof of Concept
In 2021, following the lead of an innovative multiplayer PvP blockchain game, Axie Infinity, a new business model for the gaming industry was born, Play-to-Earn (P2E). Further enhancing that innovation was the rise of guilds, such as PIF Guild (previously known as Railings University or RU). They play an integral role in tapping onto the advantage of P2E and are accelerating the growth of the GameFi ecosystem as a whole.
In the traditional gaming industry, the primary source of revenue for games is from in-app purchases. According to Business of Apps, 79% of gaming apps monetize via in-app purchases. Typically, players willing to spend and contribute most to the game revenue have higher income status and are looking to be entertained. Also, in multiplayer PvP games, the entertainment value of a game is relatively proportional to its popularity.
Hence, to attract gamers who are willing to spend, game studios are willing to or have to spend large budgets on distribution platforms, such as Apple App Store and Android Google Play Store, and ad marketing to bootstrap their game towards profitability.
According to Liftoff, in 2020, it costs $5.72 to get a mobile user to register for a game and $43.88 to get a mobile gamer to buy something in the game.
However, the P2E model gave players another reason to play. That attracted a new group of individuals to the ecosystem — individuals from lower-income groups looking more for a source of income rather than to be entertained.
Among the lower-income group, P2E is a strong incentive to attract them to the game as the amount they earn can be a significant portion of their existing income. For example, most players in Axie Infinity are from developing countries, with Filipinos taking the highest spot, accounting for more than 40% of DAPs on Axie Infinity.
In the case of Axie Infinity, at the current market prices of SLP, an average player can earn about 110 SLP/day (~US$2.20/day). According to World Bank Data, making US$2.20/day accounts for about 40% of what half the population in the Phillippines can earn. If we extend this projection to the rest of the top 20 populated developing countries globally, we are looking at more than 38% of the population, approximately 1.4 billion people.
With P2E having such a strong appeal to the lower-income groups, games can leverage the P2E model to bootstrap them. This can help them save a ton on ad marketing at the initial phase. This was how Axie Infinity’s team has not used any paid advertising but has reached millions of people.
Unfortunately, among the lower-income groups, they face a set of challenges that can highly prohibit their ability to participate in this P2E ecosystem, where games are online and require hardware such as smartphones or PC: 1) They might not be able to afford the hardware required, 2) they might not be able to afford access to the internet, 3) They might not be able to afford the NFTs required to begin playing. For example, Axie Infinity requires all new players to purchase 3 Axies (min ~$50/Axie).
Guilds — Value-add to GameFi ecosystem
Guilds, such as PIF Guild, recognized the trend and the challenges that the lower-income groups face and responded quickly. They came up with an innovative solution to lower the barrier-to-entry to participate in the economy and earn revenue. Their solution was to front the upfront cost required to participate in P2E games and profit-share any earnings that the players (aka scholars) had from the game.
Within a short span of 6 months, PIF Guild has grown to become one of the largest guilds globally, with strong dominance across Asia. PIF Guild grew from 50 scholars to more than 3000 scholars across multiple games (Axie Infinity, Thetan Arena, Pegaxy) along with a community of over 40,000 participants today.
Looking ahead, they are on a mission to onboard millions or even billions of people from developing countries, starting in Indonesia and the Philippines.
At the same time, PIF Guild can value-add to up-and-coming P2E blockchain games by accelerating their player adoption curve with the large community that they have under their ecosystem.
Guilds — Limitations in Infrastructure for Rapid Expansion
Despite facing rapid growth being a desirable outcome, the current infrastructure of guilds, like in PIF Guild, is not adequately equipped to scale rapidly and efficiently manage large numbers of scholars. This is even more so for guilds with a lean management team.
As the community grows rapidly, guilds of today face several challenges:
- Lack of Trust — The relationship between guild managers and scholars began as strangers. It is challenging for onboarding scholars to trust someone they have never interacted with. Furthermore, because of their tight economic background and the need for immediate cash flow, they tend to be afraid of putting in the time and effort and risk not receiving any payments. This can potentially put off potential scholars from onboarding.
- Poor Scalability — The end-to-end process, which includes application submission, interviewing, matching, liaising, coordinating, tracking, payment distribution and etc., is done manually. This is a very time-consuming task and the process is very prone to human errors, which potentially puts a dent in the trust that scholars have in the guilds and limits its scalability.
- Lack of Capital — Guilds, especially those that began at the grassroots level, may face capital constraints in meeting the rapid growth in demand for scholar positions.
P2Eboard by PIF DAO— The Scaling Solution for Guilds
P2E Board is a tech-enabled guild tooling platform built by guild managers for the guild community.
The objective of P2E Board is to serve as an enabler for all guilds within the Play-It-Forward ecosystem to build trustworthy and long-lasting relationships with their community and scale rapidly with demand. PIF DAO aims to grow the pie rather than take a bigger slice.
Key features of the P2E Board are:
- Scholar Board & Job Postings — Digital marketplace for sourcing and matching among managers and scholars.
- Performance Tracking — Scholar dashboard for managers to automatically track and manage scholars.
- Payouts — Integration with exchanges to facilitate automated fiat payment to scholars in local currencies (e.g., PhP and IDR).
PIF DAO — Competitive Advantage & Performance Metrics
In a space where the growth potential is aplenty, PIF DAO is not the only player in the current scene, and many others are bound to appear in the future. However, two key differentiators set PIF DAO apart from the rest.
- Grassroots Experience as Guild Managers
First is the founding team’s grassroots experience in the guild community. They are the founding guild managers of PIF Guild and today PIF Guild is one of the largest guild communities in the space. As guild managers, they have first-hand experience with scholars at the grassroots level and that gives them insights into the challenges that both the scholars and the managers face daily.
Their beta testing of the P2Eboard with PIF Guild showed very promising results.
The P2Eboard could automate 80–85% of the end-to-end process, translating to an operational improvement of 70–90%.
P2Eboard gave them the capability to onboard more than 500+ scholars a week and handle ~600–800 unique payments (totaling US$ 80k — 100k) in fiat/crypto per week to scholars, managers, and sponsors.
2. Lead DeFi Expansion with Prior Experience in TradFi
Second, it is the founding team’s prior experience in the traditional finance industry (LinkedIn below) and how they are leveraging their experience to bring financial inclusivity to their community. In their roadmap, apart from creating a higher source of income for their community through P2E games, PIF DAO will be offering DeFi collateralised loans to their community. The loans will be backed by digital assets (i.e., NFTs) and/or past earnings. Having interacted with the community, the team identified many among their community, from the lower-income group, to be underbanked or unbanked. With this loan feature made available to the community:
- It is a reliable alternative to bypass traditional banking facilities that have long neglected their financial needs.
- It is a strong boost to their purchasing power, allowing them to make any big purchases to improve their standard of living.
- It provides them with greater financial flexibility to tide over any emergency cash-flow situations.
We are confident that they have the necessary experience and capability to build P2Eboard and the broader Play-It-Forward ecosystem to best suit the needs of scholars and managers.
PIF DAO — Tokenomics
PIF DAO —Token Utility & Value Accrual Mechanism
After mentioning all the defining potential of PIF DAO, as a token holder, it is crucial to capture the benefits of the ecosystem.
The PIF token is designed to serve several functions.
- Index of Treasury NAV — A P2E index that directly represents the value appreciation in the PIF treasury. The PIF treasury is expected to accrue value in the following manner: a) price appreciation of NFTs owned and early-stage investments in GameFi, b) income generation by running profitable scholarship, and c) inventory management (e.g., breeding, etc.) programs. Note that PIF Guild is already a revenue-generating business.
- Platform Benefits —Guilds and players are to stake tokens in exchange for access to premium tools and services to manage their Metaverse journey seamlessly.
- Incentive Distribution — To align the community's long-term interest with the ecosystem's growth, high-performing scholars and members are rewarded with PIF tokens. Additionally, PIF holders can participate in staking programs to gain a share in the ecosystem's upside as the team executes on their strategic roadmap.
- Governance — Voting power will be proportional to the number of tokens held versus the overall circulating supply at the time of voting. As PIF evolves into a decentralized platform governed by guilds, players, and sponsors alike, the DAO will balance the interests of all stakeholders democratically and equitably. Proposals will be put forward and debated in the spirit of true cooperation to arrive at the optimal path for all involved.
On the token demand side, as P2E Board serves to value-add the guild community, it is expected to serve as a strong pull factor for guilds and managers to purchase PIF to gain access to the premium tools offered by the P2Eboard.
On the token supply side, as PIF token holders have to stake their PIF token to be eligible for the utility mentioned above and token buybacks increase in line with growing revenue, it is expected to remove PIF out of circulation and reduce sell pressure.
Overall, this puts PIF holders in a desirable position to gain from the features and economic benefits of the ecosystem.
PIF DAO — Management Team
Paolo Santos, Platform CTO — Linkedin
PIF DAO— Scholarship Programs & Partnerships
As early investors of PIF DAO, we are excited to partake and assist in their journey to expand the guild community to provide more significant value-add to the GameFi industry and greater financial inclusivity to potentially billions of individuals in the lower-income group.