Minecraft Bans NFTs and Blockchain Technologies
Minecraft has become a gaming staple over the years, allowing players to build the world of their dreams. But what if that dream included NFTs? Developer Mojang has clarified its position on NFTs, and it’s not good news for anyone who was hoping to inject crypto scarcity into the block-based world. Mojang says NFTs will not be supported in Minecraft. Just blocks, no blockchain.
NFTs and cryptocurrency in general had a huge year in 2021 — numerous brands launched NFTs, and entire startups appeared just to hawk unique JPEGs. They don’t have to be images, though. An NFT is essentially a receipt that says you own something, be that an image, a song, or a Minecraft skin.
Mojang allows players to create and run their own servers, even allowing operators to charge for access. However, everyone still needs to abide by the acceptable usage guidelines. Some companies have started to offer Minecraft content like skins and world files as NFTs, which spurred the developer to take a position, and that position is that NFTs aren’t allowed. That means no blockchain technology can be integrated with the client or server applications, nor will Mojang allow NFTs associated with any in-game content.
According to a statement on the Minecraft website, the development team is committed to making Minecraft inclusive. NFTs are very much the opposite — they are based on artificial scarcity and exclusion. An NFT might “drop” for the equivalent of a few hundred dollars in cryptocurrency, but it could resell for thousands because it’s unique. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a picture of a cartoon ape that anyone can right-click and save. If it’s exclusive, someone will pay money for it.
The speculation around NFTs has driven the costs upward, and while the crypto market has cooled in 2022, it’s still a space Minecraft wants to avoid. The devs behind Minecraft believe the game is best when you can collaborate and play together with others, but that’s not possible when you have to pay thousands of dollars for an NFT — there’s not even a guarantee the expensive NFT items you purchase will always be available. The industry is rife with “rug pull” scams where the creators take everyone’s crypto and abandon the project.
Other developers are clearly less concerned about the potential impact of blockchain technology in games. Ubisoft famously began issuing NFT items in Ghost Recon Breakpoint last year. It ended the NFT campaign in that game just a few months later, but Breakpoint was not a new title — Ubisoft just used it as a testbed for its blockchain aspirations. It promises more NFT content in future games, whether you like it or not. There are also some games designed from the ground up around NFTs, but these projects are still very early.