In brief

  • MintGox is a monthly online competition series based around Bitcoin-centric games.
  • Players can earn BTC for winning competitions, along with other prizes.
  • MintGox #009 takes place this coming weekend on November 29.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading far and wide earlier this year, many live conferences and events were cancelled—and that was true in the crypto world, too. Some of the companies in the burgeoning crypto video game space had planned to use such events to showcase their games and their competitive potential, but were forced to pivot in the wake of cancelations.

With that, MintGox was born. According to Desiree Dickerson, VP of Business Operations at Lightning Labs, the event came to life when she connected on a call with Simon Cowell, co-founder and CEO of Bitcoin payments platform ZEBEDEE, one of the companies that planned to showcase its gaming tech at events earlier this year. They then looped in Christian Moss and Andre Neves of ZEBEDEE along with Jack Everitt of THNDR.GAMES, and started planning the first of many MintGox events.

The main monthly event is streamed online from the MintGox website, which has a dashboard that points visitors towards esports tournaments for various crypto games and other interactive activities. MintGox events have thus far featured games such as Donnerlab’s first-person shooter Bitcoin Bounty Hunt, ZEBEDEE’s Mario Kart-esque Bitcoin Rally, Satoshi’s Games’ battle royale shooter Litenite, and THNDR.GAME’s arcade-style Bitcoin Bounce.

“Viewers can pay satoshis to drop power-ups directly in the game, helping players they support or boosting the bounty on players they want to see fall,” Dickerson told Decrypt. “MintGox is remarkable in that we’re tearing down the fourth wall between viewers and players. Now these groups can directly interact, which isn’t done anywhere else.”

Each main event has featured a prize pool of 5 million satoshis, or 0.05 BTC (about $960), although there have been additional prizes such as socks from Mt. Socks and Bitcoin-centric playing card game SHAmory.

MintGox #009 takes place this coming weekend, on November 29, with MintGox #010 on December 27 planned as a “flagship event,” said Dickerson. She said that the year-ending event will have a “much bigger prize pool” and other surprises, and that they are on the hunt for additional partners and sponsors to help bring MintGox #010 to life. They have previously integrated sponsors for in-game activations during events, including a Bitrefill-branded station within Bitcoin Rally.

According to Dickerson, participation and engagement have grown significantly since the first events earlier this year. While the first MintGox event had about 100 players and viewers and 1,000 Lightning transactions during the event, the latest brought in more than 4,400 players and viewers and more than 15,000 Lightning transactions.

“We are also witnessing ongoing involvement between events, with a lot of popular players competing between events and becoming Bitcoin gaming ‘influencers,’ she explained. “Not only are we seeing an incredible amount of engagement and demand, but there is a very strong community forming around MintGox and the games that we feature.”

MintGox was originally planned as a short-term initiative to fill the pandemic void, but has grown into something that the organizers plan to keep supporting into 2021 to drive awareness of Bitcoin-centric gaming.

“MintGox is very much a community experiment and we are letting it evolve with demand. In 2021, we plan on hosting more frequent events, qualifiers for the main monthly events, and developing ways for people to play in between events,” Dickerson added. “The next year should also be filled with new games and bigger prize pools! We are also looking forward to collaborating with influencers and streamers that can help create exposure for these games outside of the Bitcoin community.”