“Blockchain marks a new dawn for video games”: Atari founder Nolan Bushnell

At the recently held Dubai Future Blockchain Summit, Nolan Bushnell, American electrical engineer and businessman – and most notably, co-founder of Atari – shared his views about the emerging technology during a keynote speech.

In 2012, he founded an educational software company called Brainrush that is using video game technology in educational software. He now sees its future on the blockchain.

He explained: “If your parents aren’t giving you money, and you’re 12-years-old and want to go to a movie, there is no legal way for you to get money. I believe that we can do something better for kids today. Brainrush is a set of software programs that generate tokens on completion of different lessons. With this software, I believe that we can change the nature of education by paying kids to learn.”

Nolan’s Brainrush concept comes from a wider observation that more and more money is being spent on computer “bits”. “As an economy becomes richer, a higher percentage of their disposable income of that economy is spent on bits, not atoms. Meaning, more and more money is spent on information and less on food, transportation, cars and houses,” he said.

“When it comes to gaming and digital goods, billions of dollars are being spent on electronic fashion. People want to look good when dressing their avatar. People want to own real estate in a mythical world. All of these things, once put on the blockchain, can now become tradeable.”

Bushnell touched on the phenomenons Fortnight and Trivia HQ, two of the most popular online games in the world right now, the latter of which attracts 500,000 people twice a day to play via mobile phones for real cash prizes. He said: “What if these two games have a baby? The baby would be a game called ‘X to riches’ – a treasure hunting game where when you find the treasure, you get to keep it.

“We think that we are going to have somewhere between a half a million to a million players playing this game. Of those players, half of them are going to be winning something. But how do I reward 200,000 payers instantaneously without being hacked? That’s where blockchain comes in. We will create a crypto wallet and all we have to do is electronically transfer digital goods into the crypto-wallets. Fast, secure, untouched by human hands.

“With this technology, we have a tremendous opportunity for new kinds of games, new ways to monetise those games, and to have a secure and robust marketplace for digital goods, game currencies, and most importantly, fun. So, when you wonder about why we are doing blockchain? For me, it’s so that games can get better, and that’s why I’m here,” he said.


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