Niantic gamifies Bitcoin

Software developer Niantic unveiled a new AR game that allows players to “literally” mine for Bitcoin.

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Niantic gamifies Bitcoin


The Future. Software developer Niantic unveiled a new AR game that allows players to “literally” mine for Bitcoin. It’s another step in Niantic’s overarching plan to build a metaverse that sits on top of the real world… and it just may attract a wide swath of users who would otherwise hesitate before creating an identity inside a digital world.

Pickaxe player
Niantic, the creator of the super successful Pokémon Go, is rolling out a play-to-earn game in augmented reality.

  • Fold AR (created in partnership with financial company Fold) tasks users with finding cubes of binary code in an AR metaverse.
  • Users then have to repeatedly tap the cubes until they reveal a prize.
  • The game mimics the metaphor of “mining” for Bitcoin, even spawning a new cube at the same rate as real Bitcoin mining.
  • The Bitcoin prizes are rewarded in the denomination of Satoshis, which are currently worth about 1/20th of a penny.

Eventually, Niantic would like to roll out a feature that would allow users to leave cubes behind for other friends to find, as well as some sort of NFT system (because, of course).

“Real-world metaverse”
Niantic’s goal for the game is not for people to really make money (that’s a nice byproduct though), but instead to “make a virtual currency feel real.” It helps sell the idea that digital revolutions such as AR, crypto, NFTs, etc., are actual tangible concepts that the average person can engage with.

It’s all part of Niantic’s larger plan to create a “real-world metaverse,” which the company just raised $300 million to make happen (valuing it at $9 billion). It plans on using that funding to expand its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK), which is already being used by companies like Coachella, Universal Pictures, SoftBank, and Warner Music Group.


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