If you follow the news, then you’ve probably seen a bit about cryptocurrency. They’re virtual currencies that can be used to purchase things, especially in the digital world, and tend to have dedicated communities behind them. This description also sounds very similar to in-game coins, which have been used for decades at this point.
So, are cryptocurrencies and in-game coins the same? Not exactly. The two share many similarities and are used by millions worldwidebut also have some unique differences.
Here are some of the things that set cryptocurrency and in-game tokens apart:
While both cryptos and in-game coins exist in the virtual, only one can translate easily to the physical. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum can be sold for fiat currencies like dollars or euros and spent in the material world. This is not always the case with in-game coins, as they can usually only be used to make in-game purchases.
There is one slight exception to this, however, which is sweepstakes casinos like those found in Techopedia's selection for 2023. These are casinos where people can play table games and slots for free with their in-game sweepstakes coins. While these sweepstakes coins themselves still don’t hold real-world value, they can be traded for real money. This has made them one of the more popular in-game coins, and they’re a valid alternative to players living in areas where real money gambling is restricted.
While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are connected to and partially controlled by the blockchain that they are derived from, they can be used ‘outside’ of them. You can use crypto to buy goods and services from some ‘traditional’ merchants and use them outside of crypto-centered spaces. This is not the case for most in-game currencies. If you acquire gems in a racing game universe, it is quite unlikely that you’ll be able to spend them outside that universe. Simply put, cryptos see more engagement with the material world compared to in-game coins.
While they have a few significant differences, there are also some similarities between cryptocurrencies and in-game coins:
Most of us have held money in the form of paper or coins in our hands before. However, no one has held an actual Bitcoin or in-game currency before. This is because both are digital. You can see a number in your crypto wallet showing how much of a token you own or can see your balance for a casino or online game. But you can’t physically touch them.
Most times, cryptos and in-game tokens are issued by the developers of the ecosystem they are attached to. And while they are spent and traded by people online, they never manifest physically.
Make no mistake. While cryptos and in-game tokens can’t be felt or touched, they are far from worthless. On the contrary, one thing they have in common is that they represent value in the ecosystems they operate in. Cryptos like Bitcoin can be swapped for other tokens and are highly sought-after by crypto lovers.
The same is true of in-game tokens. Depending on where you are using them, they can be used to pay for games, level-up virtual characters, and unlock benefits. Some gamers even spend months saving up their in-game tokens for this reason. Needless to say, both have value to those who use them.
As we’ve explained before, cryptos and in-game coins are usually attached to a specific project. In the same way currencies like the dollar or the pound are issued by a country, these digital assets are issued by a project. Cryptos are attached to unique blockchains and this determines how much of them are issued and what they can do. In-game coins are issued by their casinos, video games, and so on.
This attachment to a project also determines the limitations of their use. If you have gems for game A, for example, you might only be able to spend them within that ecosystem.
If you exist in the digital world, chances are that you’ll make use of cryptocurrencies or in-game coins at some point. Whether you’re using cryptos to make purchases or claiming points in your favorite video game, the two have become practically inescapable.
The two also have many things in common, from their digital nature to their attachment to specific ecosystems. Of course, they are set apart by several differences as well, and it is important that consumers educate themselves if they will deal with either.