About a year ago, I started this wallet and set all of my 200 or so WAXP to stake. I left it until a month or so ago, assuming it would amass a large amount of WAXP so I could hop in and start buying stuff.
The WAX token (WAXP) is an integral part of the NFT Blockchain built by the WAX.io team of developers, designers, and engineers. I first went into this ecosystem to store and stake my WAXP in early 2020 and recently have gone back to poke around and see what’s shaking.
Before today there’s not been much to tell, but I must start this article with the funniest thing my research brought me— a cute little farming game I’m not going to name directly because I’m not shilling things. Anyhow, it’s so cute and inexpensive to play that I had it running in the background while I edited this article. I have worked through the steps in this play-to-earn game on the WAX ecosystem and put certain strategies in place to potentially earn a gain which will be based on the gameplay and structure of the actual game.
Before I dig into those things, it’s important I go through WAX in general, so I have a solid foundation to build upon. NFTs are still a little weird to understand. While that game sits between actions, let’s explore the first time I poked my toes into the world of WAX.
You might remember that baseball cards came in wax-covered paper to preserve the gum inside. In fact, early on, the baseball cards didn’t take off in popularity, and the gum was the main draw to purchasing a pack.
Today’s NFTs (non-fungable tokens) have a horrible name and a worse reputation. The technology behind NFTs is mind-bogglingly immense because these digital archives function as a potential replacement for many outdated record-keeping and licensing systems. Putting that aside for a moment, I discovered the WAX ecosystem is by far more complex and well-rounded than I originally assumed when I first got involved.
Ironically, Topps— the same company that printed the most paper baseball cards— issues NFT-based baseball cards. Though it does beg the metaphor, it appears the newest trading cards are distributed as NFTs on WAX and other similarly featured blockchains. The newer layer of NFT-based “baseball cards” also comes encased in WAX, as you need WAX tokens to buy and sell them.
I think it’s obvious why WAX picked its clever name. If you watch their header video, they show many throwbacks to cabbage pail kids, older baseball cards, and even old baseball card packs lined with wax paper to protect the piece of gum inside. You can even see a few Atari video game references because Atari has been building in the NFT and online gaming arena for at least the last few years, perhaps more. Atari has its own token ATRI and stock, PONGF. They also have ALATA, which is kind of a mystery to me, and I’m not sure if you can buy it in the US yet.
In the WAX ecosystem, you have to stake WAX for ram and cpu, and staking it is weird. My approach has been to just get in there and do things— watch, act, and learn.
About a year ago, I started this wallet and set all of my 200 or so WAXP to stake. I left it until a month or so ago, assuming it would amass a large amount of WAXP so I could hop in and start buying stuff.
I didn’t buy in earlier because I have a cost cap on these mini-experiments, and the WAXP token was relatively expensive compared to its 11-cent price now. I was tracking it back when it was 50 cents each, and the prices for things were in the hundreds of WAXP, which was far too expensive for me to play.
I even found initial instructions that came out when this game was new to the market. Apparently, folks had to pay upwards of $1,500 to get to even play the game. I love the blockchain because something like this can be started and continue in perpetuity even after the founders of certain projects move on; the decentralized nature has a permanence to it.
Since WAX is known for its NFTs, I wanted to avoid the center of the past NFT flipping hype. I wanted to let the first cycle of misfortune happen as folks bid up crap and sold it. I figured that whatever remained after the initial build and bust cycle would be a functioning ecosystem with a lot of expensive items and some promising newer ones that might grow in value during the next hype cycle.
When I got into my wallet after leaving it idle for a very long time, I was shocked to see that I had only made a few WAX. I apparently didn’t read the directions well enough to know that I needed to stake to gain system resources first. You might think that was a stupid mistake; however, back when I was doing this first round, there weren’t super easy directions to follow. Additionally, each system changed a TON between when I started my mass deployment of future projects and when I first re-visited them.
I saw that first shotgun phase of getting the network-based wallets in place and giving them a balance as a set it and forget it phase until I had the time and opportunity to revisit. I have many of these random wallets with tokens sitting in them, waiting for me to explore that “new to me” ecosystem.
With WAX, maybe the resource staking criteria came after I first went in, and I needed to restructure my staking to get actual rewards. Whether I misread the directions or the criteria changed, once I realized my misstep, I was able to correct it. Now, I stake WAXP for what I think I need for system resources: CPU, NET, and RAM. As silly as this sounds, here is what it looked like before I did anything new.
I’m using 2% of my allotted CPU and 31% of my allotted RAM. The “NET” refers to the internet and tends to move a little when I do stuff, but it rarely leaves 0%.
To be allotted RAM, I needed to “purchase” it. I can always resell it later— hopefully at a markup.
To get my 5.65 ms of CPU, I needed to stake 35 WAXP. I staked the same amount for my NET to keep everything equal. I’m hoping this WAXP earns a gain. I’ll be able to tell when I log back into the WAX account in a month or so to compare it with this screenshot. I’ll also have to try and enter this wallet into my portfolio manager to start tracking my NFT purchases.
It’s at least somewhat realistic to get into these NFTs now as I’m able to buy them for fractions of a fraction of a cent. Because the price was right, I put a little more money into this project. I bought another 200 WAXP for 2 USDT and sent it into my WAX wallet, where I purchased NFTs for as little as 0.00003 WAXP. This USDT value is crazy-inexpensive, so my 200 WAXP went a long way, except when I started playing the actual game. Then I realized that staking for resources, especially CPU, was super important.
This is how I learn, by doing.
I have to figure this out— not because I don’t want to work, but because I want to dispel the rumor that you can’t make a living playing games. Well, certainly, there are the e-games where actual trained athletes compete in video games. Those leagues are pretty big, bring in a lot of betting, and generate a huge network buzz. Generally, the studios that make the games do the funding, and the players train non-stop. However, my test game is a “play to earn” game that looks similar to Township on my iPad.
To learn how to use resource staking, I started playing the game. Below are a good few screenshots to illustrate the process. As I got deeper into the game, I needed more resources. Therefore, I had to stake more WAXP. I can always unstake it when I’m done; however, I will need a 72-hour cool-down period before I can use the WAX again. It also seems as if the WAX team understood it would be silly to charge all of these micro-transactions. Instead, they built a computer concept whereby you can use as much of the network resources as you stake for, and all the computing goes on within that amount of resource.
These 35/35 WAXP staking amounts were fine until I launched the game. Then it warned me that I needed to stake for more CPU, which I did, and I was able to use the 2D dashboard of the game. Once I got deeper, I needed to stake a little more WAXP. Thankfully, I had a lot to spare at that time.
I got into the 3D world, which looks nicer but uses more resources.
Here’s what it looks like. Funny huh?
I’m getting ahead of myself, though.
I usually like staking in a proper wallet to start into a new ecosystem, but that didn’t happen with WAX. Not having a proper wallet started me off on a weird foot and was probably why I didn’t do much in WAX the first time.
Everything pertaining to WAX starts with their wallet– https://wallet.wax.io/dashboard. This is an online wallet, and to get started, I needed to give my email address. I don’t have a mnemonic phrase, so I’m going to call this a custodial wallet. A wallet where I don’t have retention of the keys is (to me) not a wallet I can trust long-term. But the system may be like this because of their ecosystem, or there might be another software or hardware wallet where I can move my WAX purchases. Either way, it’s what I have to work with for now.
I’m okay with this arrangement for now because the amount of WAX I own is so small it’s really just an experiment. I didn’t spend very much on this asset either. If I can grow it to a point where it’s worth protecting, I’ll look into a safer wallet— if one exists.
For now, I’m going the easy route with what the WAX team built. Their platform seems logical and well-planned, so here we go!
Despite my safety concerns, I can’t think of a better format for a wallet. This one has easy access to everything related to the actual token: organization, news, and actions. This structure seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how basic some wallets look. As a former systems designer, I look at wallets and expect a Twitter feed and easy-to-follow ecosystem tool links at the very least, so you can immediately become engrossed in the ecosystem.
The WAX ecosystem has had good funding and incredibly large user support since the beginning. The WAX developers get a portion of every NFT sale to fund the development of their ecosystem, no matter how high or low the price. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. An ecosystem needs relevant content and a wide base of users to have a fighting chance for survival. If no one uses a network like this, it just dies as it loses its funding.
At first, there was only Ethereum, and WAX needed to come out with their first version. They used a now dead ERC-20 contract on the Ethereum system to launch their first marketplace and wallet programs. These programs were very basic, including the name, since they called their token WAX and gave it the same ticker (WAX). Here’s the dead token listing of the old ERC-20 token WAX that was retired once they created their own blockchain. Curiously, the price still tracks to the current price, so I wonder if it’s still in use somehow.
WAX was a project that started so early they had to ride on top of the Ethereum network, and once Uniswap (the first Ethereum Defi asset swap platform) came along, the gas fees shot through the roof with a deluge of transactions taking place. This overflow forced WAX to develop their own blockchain and migrate their whole process to a new model where they controlled all aspects of the deployment. This process will possibly be decentralized and governed by its rules with a code that can’t be altered after it’s committed.
It looks like there are at least three tokens at the center of the WAX ecosystem. WAXE is on the Ethereum blockchain— where their older WAX token was. WAXP and WAXG are on the newer WAX blockchain.
WAXG isn’t on CoinGecko yet, but from my experience with other governance tokens, they are given to the funders and eventually turn into some sort of voting mechanism. Among other things, this mechanism directs the development roadmap as dictated by the charter of the DAO. I don’t know if WAX is going in the direction of becoming a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, but since WAXG isn’t on Coingecko, I wonder if they know their exact path yet.
Back to reality…
I looked into how I can get some WAXE because I don’t have any. I want to get it to pair with ETH in a liquidity pool investment on SushiSwap, but rather than paying the gas fee, I’m going to my secret weapon, Matcha! Matcha allows me to place free limit orders and potentially get into assets below market value without fees.
If I don’t get this now, the order will just expire, and I won’t lose anything. But if I get this WAXE, I should be able to go here and join some ETH and WAXE in a liquidity pool. Since this is a risky move, I’m working with a small amount of ETH that’s all ETH based to track the investment as I put a certain amount of ETH in and hopefully get that amount plus more ETH back.
I’ll purchase my WAXE with WETH (wrapped ETH), and the other pair in the pool is ETH itself. It will cost ETH gas fees to set this up, so I may have to wait until the merge is complete to get this venture rolling. But who knows? Maybe I won’t even get the WAXE in the first place because I refuse to pay market value for it.
Back to the WAX wallet…
Let’s go over this menu; I find it fascinating. Everything I need is one click away. It’s what I’d call a user-proof system so far… let’s see if this ease continues.
The dashboard shows my tokens and links to the dApps I might want to use. You might wonder what a dApp is. It’s actually just an application that runs in a decentralized environment. They are usually associated with blockchain because that’s where the concept of dApps appears to be created; however, this concept existed well before blockchain was in our common vernacular.
The best way to explain a dApp is to reference the old Microsoft Word. In the “olden days,” you’d need to purchase a disk, install it, and register it. Microsoft Word was a local application you were only allowed to use on one computer. Then Apple shortened the vernacular to “App” and expanded the footprint to a number of devices, so you could use an App on all the Apple devices you own. And, you guessed it— you purchased these Apps from the App store.
Fast forward to Office365, where we can now pay for a subscription to a service called “Microsoft Word.” This service gives us the ability to log into a website and use an online application that looks and feels like the familiar local application Microsoft Word.
Office365 is a platform similar to WAX, and Microsoft Word is a dApp running on that platform within Microsoft’s ecosystem. The program you log into is running on a decentralized group of machines, but it’s not blockchain-based, or at least I don’t think it is. In that case, the group of servers and the server farms are owned, managed, and maintained by a single company, Microsoft.
As an aside, I’m pretty certain Office365 is not blockchain-based because of all the loss that can be realized. With blockchain, everything is recorded on the chain forever and ever. In Office365 there is another application called Microsoft Outlook. Not many folks know that there isn’t any native backup plan, so emails could be lost forever if you accidentally delete them.
Coming into crypto, the term dApp takes a new meaning as the decentralization grows massively. We are no longer talking about a single company controlling every piece of hardware and writing every line of code. While there is no one exact norm, crypto decentralization usually replaces a company-driven workforce with a goal-driven independent workforce and usually tasks the goal prioritization to a Decentralized Automatic Organization. These DAOs govern the trajectory of the developers and the project. Developers are key members in the DAO and have a say because they own assets. Crypto also, most importantly, allows for everyone to run nodes and miners so long as the proper code and setup have been done.
If I’m able to buy, join, and stake liquidity into the WAXE/ETH pool, I’ll receive rewards at every epoch (four-week period) in ETH and WAXG. WAXG seems to be the eventual governing coin, and I believe ownership of the governing coin will eventually translate into more votes on the direction of the wax ecosystem, though they have much more work to do on that aspect. The amount of ETH I’m investing is so nominal I doubt I’ll be able to sway any big future decisions.
In the Wax use-case, these dApps appear all over the place. I can’t even conceive of going through them all, nor would I want to. At this time, I count 75+ dApps. As I scroll through them, only a few interest me. So rather than drone on about the variety of actions you can take, I’d rather focus on what I did— not because it’s the only thing or even the best thing to do, but because that’s what I did, and it’s all I really know for certain.
Going down the menu to NFTs, I can see my inventory. I was gifted an NFT a while ago, and that’s there along with the 16 other NFTs I bought with my push a few weeks ago. I’d like to say there was a logic with what I bought, but there wasn’t really. I went by instinct, and I’m sure I picked all the duds. But this venture isn’t to make a massive amount of money. It’s really just for me to test things out and see what I want to do with my crypto life. If flipping NFTs is something I wish to do and can make a good yield proportionate to my needed work, it might be rewarding. I need to learn the WAX ecosystem because they seem to be a large player with a reasonable price tag.
I don’t want to spend a fortune to teach myself, so here in WAX, I bought all those NFTs for under $20 total— my usual spend on a new teaching project.
The first dApp I want to dig into is the one where I purchased these NFTs. https://wax.atomichub.io/profile/xwfaw.wam#inventory
Here I see my current P&L.
Some of the NFTs I listed for sale at a markup, and others I am holding onto. So far, nothing sold, but I don’t think these will sell until the originally minted NFTs get sold out. Mine have to be the best bargains and look like good buys before someone will purchase them. Right now, the originally minted and unsold NFTs are far less expensive.
I kinda focussed on something called a KOGs. I created my first round of NFTs from nearly random purchases from a collection called the kogsofficial. What I like about this project is that these NFTs are purpose-built to be used in many games that don’t yet exist. So, this is truly an investment in the future because if any game developer wishes, they can use the Kog Station or Snappers NFT in their game/metaverse. Likewise, any user who wishes to live on an Island in some future metaverse might be interested in purchasing my potential island paradise.
Since these are unique, each has its own serial number, but I blocked them out, so you can’t track me.
If no one uses these, I will have wasted $18 on 16 funny-looking pictures. However, I was smart with this as each of these NFTs is a certain rareness. Naturally, the more rare NFTs have a better chance of being sought after later on. The ones I purchased are not super rare but rare. This means they should be worth more than the common ones in the long run.
Only my duplicates or things I bought just to flip are actually on sale. Again, flipping this means that I spent less WAXP on the asset than I received. In some cases, I bought for 2 WAXP, and I’m selling for 8 WAXP. It’s very bizarre to deal with this small amount of coins because the fees are so nominal they don’t matter.
However, I did make one strategic purchase. I bought a “pack” of 12 random KOGS. There are 96,307 of these packs— my largest purchase. I bought it unopened for 44.54 WAX (about $5). Ironically, if we adjust for inflation, this is probably the price I used to pay for special baseball card packs back in the day.
I listed the pack for sale for 125 WAXP, worth $14.68 now, but if WAXP goes up or down, the USD value will change. However, I’m in this to grow my WAXP quantity, so I’m not that interested in the USD value at this point.
These unopened packs may retain their value because as the “good” NFTs get bought up, there’s still a known amount of those NFTs that exist, and the rest will be in these packs. Over time, the longest pack remaining unopened will sell for the largest amount of WAXP. That’s my theory. Mostly, I just want to see if I can flip a few and gain more WAXP in my account. Perhaps I’ll even buy one, open it up and sell the insides for more WAXP than I bought them for?
Mostly, I want to see how frequently these cards change hands. So far, I haven’t had a bite, but some of the staked WAXP that I didn’t stake correctly is now available for me to spend, so I’m going in for another round.
I’ll let you know how it goes…
Wish me luck!