The main concept of the proof of play algorithm is that the players of a particular game create and validate new blocks
Less complicated protocols
A disadvantage of Bitcoin mining and other blockchains that use the PoW protocol is the huge energy consumption during the process of creating and validating new blocks. Looking for an alternative for this inconvenience, algorithms like PoS (Proof of Stake) and DPoS (Delegate Proof of Stake) emerge, as some more than are in development.
Within these alternative algorithms there is also the PoP (Proof of Play), which is considered as a derivation of the PoS, in which the goal is that the users can test their participation in a game in which they must be the winners. An innovating crypto-mining protocol in which coins can only be extracted with the cognitive workload, the participation in a game in this case.
The PoP proposal looks for the block validation and crypto-assets generation through the assignation of challenges in the game, and instead of trusting a work done by a computer, it is based on a work done by the user through the game.
The first project to use this protocol was Motocoin, and although there are other proposals created with the Ethereum technology, this protocol hasn’t consolidated strongly in the market, its first issue being the possible security failures, reason why this alternative hasn’t had as great success as the previous ones.
Block generation and validation through a game
Unlike the Proof of Work and instead of looking for an algorithm, Proof of Play tries to find a new entry in the game, so that the level generated pseudo-randomly from the block can be completed with this entry. Instead of comparing the hash with the objective value, it checks that the time it took to complete the level with the entry was lower than the assigned objective time.
Since having only one level per block would not be good, there is an additional cost, a value that is used in the generation of a new level, which can be verified by any node and completed with the entry in the required time.
The main concept of the proof of play algorithm is that the players that participate in a particular game create and validate new blocks, making use of the activity of the users that dedicate a great amount of their time and the processing resources from their computers. In order to implement this, a game with the capacity to register all the game movements in the blockchain, and which allows the creation or validation when certain conditions are met is needed.
Proof of Play is not only about “rewarding players”, since it can also execute a proof of play mechanism that never issues a reward token for the player, but only allows to verify that the game has been carried out correctly.
This verification capacity is what makes it a proof of play, not the reward itself. The proof of play only gives the reward so that rewards can be assigned fairly, but this is only a good additional side effect that is not part of its definition. The definitive factor consists of the capacity to verify the correction of the game independently.
It is not possible to have any proof of play without recording some proofs. With an adequate PoP human mining system, the repetition of the action that was carried out or the game played can always be “recreated” and get to the same conclusion of who won, without relying on any central authority. If the system cannot go back and verify the game actions history, then it is not a proof of play.
Games as a usable resource
Video games have had an impact in many fields and have gone much further than leisure; in fact, the same industry of technology has advanced thanks to the boost that video games have given it.
It may be possible to think that the relation is upside down, that technology advances first and then video games, however, in this very special relationship, over the years we have seen devices and technologies that today are of general use and that have had their origin in a video game world and electronic leisure.
This activity that involves a very high percentage of use of time and technology can be used in an important way in another much more productive activity, such as cryptocurrency mining.
Proof of Play games
The games developed or adapted to this algorithm should not depend on the low latency of the network due to the nature of the confirmation of the transactions in the blockchain, since in almost every blockchain there are few seconds for the confirmation of transactions.
A game for Proof of Play must be deterministic because physics engines are generally implemented using floating-point arithmetic, which is a problem, since depending on the CPU options, slightly different results can be given. This is unacceptable in cryptocurrency mining because the result must be the same for all pairs, otherwise the network would be bifurcated.
Facing the security problems that are generated in these cryptocurrency mining activities, the ideal is that games that use PoP for the validation of cryptocurrency blocks are not played in real time, but in turns. It must have a variable game difficulty that is not easy to master so that participants can not create bots that can meet the conditions to create or validate blocks.
Also a game that can be used for this purpose should be exclusively PvP (player vs. player), ie a game like chess, which could meet the conditions of the protocol, or a game that does not allow draws.
Collectible card games can also comply with the necessary characteristics to execute with this protocol, because they could adapt very easily to the blockchain technology. For example, cards can be digital assets that reside in the blockchain and the currency of the game used to buy cards / packages can be cryptocurrencies.
Another element to keep in mind is that the average duration of a game that operates with PoP must handle a short time, mainly because it would lead to the creation of blocks more frequently.
New blocks are created as soon as someone finishes a game. Since many players end a game over a period of time, an algorithm is needed that chooses which player would create the new block and what would be its reward, which is the same for both block creators and validators.
A game that operates with PoP works with the generation of copies of itself, which are generated automatically to the extent that each challenge is solved, that is, from the moment a player is the winner of the game, the system generates a copy so that others can participate in it. This in order to generate a different block to the one that already validated the game won based on the same challenge, which represents that these games must necessarily be executed in a blockchain network.
It is precisely the mandatory use of the blockchain that establishes the security guarantee of the non-repetition of blocks, or the generation or use of the same cryptocurrency unit.
Some advantages of the PoP protocol are:
Among the advantages offered by Proof of Play are that a user could be a part of it without the need for large equipment or sophisticated hardware. The only thing that is needed to mine is an average computer and some skills in computer games. It also does not need to spend huge amounts of energy.
The use of Blockchain guarantees that security failures in the network are almost impossible.
Additionally, Proof of Play allows you to connect temporary real-world locations for out-of-band communication and virtual games with Blockchain environments, in order to achieve a consensus about the distributions of genesis and other initial characteristics, as well as government changes for non-native tokens.
Equally, Proof of play combines resources inside and outside the chain in natural and digital environments for a cooperative human work test without a jigsaw puzzle.
Proof of Play or Proof of Stake?
The market for digital games has grown to the point that only between 2017 and 2018 are profits calculated comparable to the total income of the music world since its inception. It stipulates that the video game industry could concentrate profits of up to 180 billion dollars by 2021.
It is because of this potential economic growth of the industry, that the introduction of crypto-asset technologies in digital gaming platforms has become one of the most talked about events of the last year, predicting not only a large-scale adoption of DLT networks but also the incorporation of new economic models and recreation.
There are currently hundreds or perhaps thousands of video games that have been created based on Blockchain and that allow the generation of cryptocurrencies or tokens, some that can be negotiated out of the game and others that are exclusively used within it (non perishable).
But this modality of digital games based on blockchains does not necessarily imply the implementation of a “game test” protocol for its operation, and since the vast majority of these are supported by the Ethereum Blockchain, whose consensus protocol refers to PoS or participation test, one might think that the evaluated game test represents the participation of the player in the validation process of a block.
That is, the vast majority of these games, through which blocks can be validated and generate cryptocurrencies, would operate with a consensus protocol of proof of stake, in which refers to meet the challenges set in a game.
As pioneers in the development of digital games that allow the generation of cryptocurrencies through blockchain validation, there are the creators of Huntercoin, the first game to implement the game test protocol, as well as Motocoin and PopCoin.
It could be said that these three video games represent an example of the actual application of a proof of play consensus algorithm. Although many more games have subsequently been generated that operate with blockchain for the generation of crypto-assets, their protocol is more of a consensus test, in which only the participation in the generation of the block is necessary, and not the fulfillment of the challenge proposed by the game.
Many video games developing companies are successfully entering the Blockchain world, for which they have presented or are on the verge of doing so, new versions of games already recognized by the public, but updated with Blockchain technology, and incorporating as a novel modality, the generation of crypto-assets..
A great inconvenience that arises with the implementation of games that offer monetary rewards, is in reference to the traps, since every day the number of hackers that manages to violate the security protocols of the games grows in order to take out an illegitimate advantage of these.
Although there is no law against cheating in video games, it is the responsibility of companies to penalize those who cheat, but it is also an urgent need to develop strategies to tackle those who violate or corrupt third-party software illegally.
Some game development companies that offer monetary rewards have developed security protocols based on Blockchain, which work with the Proof of Play protocol.
These security protocols are created as a side chain to the Blockchain network used, which proposes a validator between the players and the game itself. For each competition of a game, a smart contract is integrated and governs the rules regarding the calculation of points. The actions of each player are recorded as they are and the validator compiles the movements in the scores. Validators also determine the winner based on the highest score.
The network establishes a relationship without trust between the validator, the player and the game itself, which includes the developers too, because this environment is the only way to build trust between one and the other.
These systems must use a tolerant fault engine, which must be quite resistant to double-spending attacks, using software to replicate a device safely and consistently on many devices. Likewise, a completely deterministic protocol is necessary, so that there is no randomness, and the validators are chosen in this same way through a mathematical function defined from the implementation.
This system allows to establish the weight of the validator, its election and turn to propose the block, and establishes the conditions of validator change after each game round. These validators obtain a monetary incentive for each block produced.
Proof of Play has proven to be a secure protocol, and although its implementation is still slow, the technologies that have implemented it report excellent results in terms of acceptance and security.