Play-to-Earn Giant Axie Infinity’s Revenue Tanked 40% in September

The company’s monthly revenue was second only to Ethereum’s $830 million among blockchain-based apps, Token Terminal data show.

Oct 1, 2021 at 8:39 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 1, 2021 at 1:29 p.m. UTC

Rapid growth for blockchain-enabled play-to-earn game Axie Infinity came to a screeching halt in September, with revenue sliding by 40% from August, the first month-over-month decline for the company since January.

The monster-battling game that uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to reward players made 64,933.71 ether (ETH), worth $220.32 million, in September, down from a record $342 million in August, data center Axie World shows. While September’s figure represents a nearly 3,000-fold year-over-year growth, it’s only about 10% of the pace of the month before.

Among blockchain-based applications, Axie’s monthly revenue was second only to Ethereum’s $830 million, according to data provided by Token Terminal. The popularity of the play-to-earn economy is evident from the fact that Axie Infinity earned significantly more revenue than decentralized finance (DeFi) heavyweights like Aave, Compound, Curve and SushiSwap.

Launched by Sky Mavis in 2018, Axie infinity came into the limelight in the early third quarter as yield compression in bitcoin and DeFi drove hot money into gaming and NFTs.

The game has become a significant source of income in countries like Brazil, the Philippines, Venezuela and Vietnam. It’s become so popular in the Philippines, that the government has expressed its intention to tax Axie players.

(Axie World)

Axie allows players to collect, breed, raise, battle and trade token-based creatures known as “axies,” which are digitized as their own NFTs. The game has two utility tokens, smooth love potions (SLPs) and axie infinity shards (AXS), which can be easily converted to cash.

Breeding fees accounted for nearly 90% of the income in September, while the rest was earned from marketplace fees.

The AXS token was trading near $78 at press time, up over 14,000% on a year-to-date basis, according to TradingView data. Prices reached a high of $95 in early September before retreating with the broader crypto market in the wake of China’s blanket ban on virtual currency businesses.

“China’s crypto ban resulted in some downside for the token, but that was largely due to the high correlation nature of digital assets,” Denis Vinokourov, head of research at Synergia Capital, said in a LinkedIn post. “The underlying fundamentals remain very much intact, and demand for AXS and its ‘play-to-earn’ model will likely accelerate going forward.”

(Token Terminal)

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Omkar Godbole is the senior reporter on CoinDesk's Markets team.