The Game We Play
— By Ibrahim Quabboua
Hello, dear community, in this article, I’ll discuss the nature of games, showing the difference between long, open value games, and short, closed value games. The idea of “game” in this context is the interaction between autonomous agents, also known as players, within a ruleset.
On Ponzis and Games
Human beings are game-playing animals. It is at the core of our being. From the time we are born, we play with our parents, our siblings, our friends. We learn through the play and grow by it. We build connections and have fun with the people around us. Games are our dance of life, where we enjoy both cooperation and competition by nature.
In that sense, civilization itself can be seen as a game, individuals being players with it, each with their strategies and motivations. This leads, however, to a fundamental question for you, me, and every one of us:
What kind of game do you wish to play?
Cryptocurrencies, due to their high volatility, attract many speculators, traders, gamblers, etc… Their main strategy is to buy projects’ tokens that they believe for some reason other people will buy, then sell at a higher price, effectively taking money from people that arrived late and invested at a higher point. For all its moral implications, this is a valid strategy, but a zero-sum one, the one that sells at a higher price, wins. Gamblers play PvP.
For gamblers, the tech, the communities, and the grand economic theories are all irrelevant, just selling points. For them, all of this is just smoke and mirrors. What matters the most is who can sell the hardest first. If one lives enough time as a trader in this space, constantly fighting against other gamblers, it is natural, then, to see everything, as just a series of Ponzi schemes, a dance of musical chairs.
One cannot blame gamblers for thinking that everything is a Ponzi. Bitcoin has proved ruinous to many that did not understand its PvP aspect. After that much pain, those gamblers would call Axie Infinity, a cute game that reached a record of $342M dollars in monthly revenue in August, “a Ponzi that may become sustainable”.
It can certainly be fun to be a gambler but to assume that everyone wishes to play the same game is short-sighted. Many of us want to play a different game, one where we can cooperate, build amazing things, create value, instead of taking it. These innovators, cooperators, communities, want to make their dreams come true, with the only limit being the laws of physics themselves! Builders play PvE.
For many builders, the most important aspect of Crypto is to make it. In crypto, you can be anon, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re young, old, white, black, gay, or straight. What matters is the content of your ideas and the strength of your character. In here, you have the power to connect to incredible minds and create things otherwise thought impossible.
We are innovators, coordinators. To create new things is what we actually do! Our name is LEGO, it’s Minecraft. Our dance is monkey see, monkey do.
The Long Game
For the builders, the game of making new things is fun! For us, “WAGMI” is not some bullshit “everyone is gonna get rich” motto. WAGMI means that we are going to make it. We are going to make the things we want to see in the world. In crypto, we are free to take our destinies in our hands and set our eyes to the future, with faith that what we make here can bring beauty and light to a most desolate world.
This is what it means to be human, with hot blood in our veins and music in our souls.
In Jordy’s “The Caveman Special”, where players pool resources, shuffle them around and then distribute them, no value is created, nothing is built. It is a game of gamblers for gamblers. The Caveman Special is not the game of civilization. The glorious things humanity has built the proof of both the existence and superiority of the value-generating games. The wonders of the world would be otherwise impossible if our interactions and games were primarily closed value systems.
The game of civilization is an open system of value: Its potential is infinite, its limitations only set by the laws of physics themselves. Crypto allows the ownership of this value to ever-increasing heights, as we collaborate to forge the future in the fire of work, bringing new value to existence. This is the spirit of (3,3), “The Long Game”. In the Long Game, gamblers are incentivized to generate the maximum amount of noise, miscommunication, increasing the chance of mistake. If no one can trust anyone, cheating is the only optimal strategy: it becomes the prisoner’s dilemma, where no one can win.
This is exactly why we must strive to preserve and build trust between individuals. The moment we lose sight of what is true and what is deceit is the moment we are thrown into the abyss of The Caveman Special, where nothing is gained and everything is destroyed.
The Caveman Special can be used as a fun distraction, a little PvP on the side for those who enjoy it, but we must not be deceived that the genuine efforts of builders are the same as the malicious intent of scammers and gamblers. To say that truth == scam is deceit, even if unintentional, internalized deceit.
In the long, open value game, “The Long Game”, (3,3) is the optimal strategy
In the short, closed value game, “The Caveman Special” (0,0) is the optimal strategy.
So, which game are you actually willing to play?