The world of gaming has evolved dramatically over the years, and the advent of blockchain technology has opened up new avenues for gamers to not just play but also earn. Crypto games, often referred to as “play-to-earn” games, have become a lucrative ecosystem where players can make real money. Play-to-earn (P2E) games have emerged as a cornerstone in the cryptocurrency landscape, providing gamers with the opportunity to accumulate rewards through gameplay, achieving milestones, or completing specific tasks.
While the types of rewards vary from game to game—ranging from tokens to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)—each holds tangible real-world value. These rewards can be exchanged for other digital assets or even converted into traditional currency through specialized trading platforms.
You have the opportunity to earn cryptocurrency by engaging in a diverse range of games, from pet-focused adventures to immersive 3D metaverse experiences and even fitness-oriented games. How you choose to utilize your earned rewards is entirely in your hands.
This guide will introduce you to some of the highest-paying crypto games available in 2023. While some are well-established names with thriving ecosystems, others are newcomers that offer you the chance to gain an early foothold in the space.
What Are Crypto Games?
Although the idea of in-game currency is far from novel, the emergence of blockchain technology has opened new doors for developers in the crypto-gaming industry to infuse their games with real-world economic elements.
By participating and succeeding in these games, players can acquire digital assets like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) or cryptocurrencies, which they then truly own.
Frequently, these in-game digital assets can be swapped for stablecoins through either centralized or decentralized crypto exchanges. These acquired digital assets can then be either traded on online platforms or directly converted into traditional fiat money.
How Do Crypto Games Work?
By this point, blockchain technology has infiltrated virtually every sector and aspect of life you can imagine, and the gaming industry is no outlier. In fact, its influence has been especially significant in the realm of video games, so much so that some argue that beyond cryptocurrencies and smart contracts, gaming represents the first substantial “real-world application” for blockchain.
To grasp the concept of blockchain gaming, consider any standard video game you’ve played before. Traditional gaming platforms centralize the experience, limiting players to using their in-game earnings, whether currencies or experience points (XP), exclusively within that specific game.
In contrast, blockchain games adopt a decentralized framework that allows players to have true ownership of their gaming data, which can be utilized across multiple blockchain games or networks. For example, a player could choose to transfer in-game items like weapons or experience points from one blockchain game to another or even sell or trade these assets on public marketplaces.
Broadly speaking, blockchain games can be categorized into two types: fully decentralized and hybrid models.
In the fully decentralized model, the game is entirely powered by blockchain technology, meaning that even the developers can’t make unilateral changes to the game without community consensus. On the other hand, the hybrid model operates on a centralized server for the gameplay but allows for the trading of in-game assets on a decentralized marketplace.
Highest Paying Crypto Games Of 2023
Decentraland is a 3D virtual reality platform that operates on a decentralized model, leveraging NFTs to give digital form to in-game assets. Its popularity skyrocketed, partly due to the 2020 lockdown, and it now boasts a large following across social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit.
To begin your journey in Decentraland, all you need to do is create an avatar, assign it a name, agree to the terms and conditions, and you’re ready to explore the metaverse. However, to fully immerse yourself in all the experiences the platform has to offer, you’ll want to link a cryptocurrency wallet to customize your avatar, visit unique spaces, and participate in events.
Within Decentraland, players can construct a variety of virtual structures such as homes, amusement parks, casinos, art galleries, and more. They can also charge other users for access to these spaces and display a plethora of digital content. The platform is teeming with NFTs that players can purchase, trade, and sell both within and outside the metaverse.
What is the Currency of Decentraland?
The native currency of Decentraland is MANA. While you won’t automatically earn MANA simply by playing—as is the case with some other play-to-earn games—the earning potential is virtually limitless. You can accumulate MANA by offering services, vending goods on the marketplace, and more. MANA tokens can be bought and sold on various cryptocurrency exchanges. The current value of MANA stands at $0.70, although it has reached an all-time high of $5 in the past.
How to Generate Income in Decentraland?
If you’re aiming to maximize your earnings, land and unique names are the prime commodities in Decentraland. You can buy and sell these assets on the marketplace to increase your income.
For an added layer of meta-gaming, Decentraland hosts in-game play-to-earn crypto games, with Ethermon and WonderQuest being among the most popular.
Additionally, you can wager MANA in the in-game casinos. Those who establish and manage popular destinations like casinos often end up being some of the highest earners in the metaverse.
Pros: The game is free to play, and the opportunities for earning are boundless. Cons: The high cost of land can serve as a barrier to entry for new players.
Similar to our first entry, The Sandbox is another decentralized virtual universe where players can roam freely and construct whatever their imagination allows.
Originally, The Sandbox was a game-building simulator available on Steam. It was later acquired by Animoca Brands and transitioned to the Ethereum blockchain. This history means that The Sandbox offers more polished game mechanics and features compared to many other play-to-earn games, as it had a life before its monetization.
How to Earn Money in The Sandbox
If you’re curious about how to generate income in The Sandbox, it operates much like other virtual worlds.
What is the Currency of The Sandbox?
The in-game economy is driven by SAND, an ERC-20 token that serves both as a utility and governance token. With SAND, you can purchase a variety of items, including land, clothing, and avatars, from the marketplace.
These items are referred to as Voxel Assets. You can use VoxEdit to craft 3D models, and there’s a high demand for unique creations within this metaverse.
Income Streams in The Sandbox
In addition to crafting and selling Voxel Assets, you can monetize your virtual land by designing unique experiences for visitors. You can charge entry fees or offer in-app purchases, whether you’re operating a casino, an art gallery, or even a virtual office.
Pros: Ideal for creative individuals with robust game mechanics. Cons: The cost of virtual land can be a hurdle for newcomers.
Gods Unchained is a play-to-earn trading card game featuring NFTs. The development team was spearheaded by the former director of Magic: The Gathering Arena, and much like MTG, you’ll use your deck of cards to engage in battles.
To dive in, simply create an account and download the game for free from the website. A tutorial will guide you through the game mechanics, and you’ll receive 85 complimentary cards to kickstart your deck.
How to Earn Money in Gods Unchained
So, how can you monetize your time in Gods Unchained? The cards you use in the game are actually NFTs, which can be sold on the in-game marketplace. The value of each card varies, but generally, the rarer the card, the higher its price.
What is the Currency of Gods Unchained?
The game features its own token, known as GODS, which is currently valued at $0.3. You can earn GODS tokens by completing matches and can accumulate even more by staking them.
Pros: Completely free to start, offering immediate earning potential, unlike many other play-to-earn games. Cons: The game may not appeal to those who aren’t fans of deck-building gameplay.
Valhalla is a turn-based tactical combat game that holds a special appeal for enthusiasts of meme coins, as it’s one of the inaugural projects from Floki Inu.
Floki Inu is a dual-chain token compatible with both Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain. It gained prominence in 2021 following a tweet from billionaire Elon Musk, who announced he would name his Shiba Inu “Floki.”
How to Earn Money in Valhalla
Valhalla, one of the first major initiatives by the Floki Inu team, offers a rich metaverse to explore. Players can roam through expansive worlds and engage in battles with monsters, earning FLOKI tokens as rewards. Additionally, the in-game marketplace allows for the buying, trading, and selling of NFTs.
The combat in Valhalla is more akin to strategic chess moves rather than button-mashing gameplay. While this might not meet the expectations of gamers accustomed to high-octane combat games, Valhalla’s free-to-play model makes it worth a try.
Pros: Free to play with an economy based on the popular Floki Inu token. Cons: The graphics and gameplay mechanics may not satisfy fans of traditional combat games.
If you’re nostalgic for the Tamagotchi era, Aavegotchi will likely resonate with you.
Aavegotchi is an NFT-based collectibles game built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Each Aavegotchi avatar is a unique digital collectible with distinct attributes.
To begin, you’ll need to acquire an Aavegotchi. You can either purchase one from the marketplace or buy a portal that offers you a selection of ten Aavegotchis to choose from.
What is the Currency of Aavegotchi?
The native token of the Aavegotchi ecosystem is GHST.
Once you’ve named your new digital pet, your next task is to enhance its rarity score. This can be achieved by equipping it with wearables and increasing your experience points (XP) and kinship levels through interaction.
How to Earn Money in Aavegotchi
When it comes to monetizing your Aavegotchi, several avenues are available. Your pixelated companion is powered by decentralized finance (DeFi), allowing you to earn interest by staking crypto assets. Additionally, you can trade and sell Aavegotchis and Portal NFTs on the marketplace. A feature to farm land for tokens is also in the pipeline.
Pros: A nostalgic and fun experience combined with a gamified introduction to DeFi. Cons: Initial gameplay requires the purchase and expenditure of GHST tokens.
My Neighbour Alice
If titles like Animal Crossing or Minecraft resonate with you, then My Neighbour Alice is likely right up your alley.
Immerse yourself in a delightful metaverse where you can build, create, and interact with your virtual neighbors. Much like other metaverse experiences, many in-game elements, such as buildings, animals, and wearables, are NFTs. These can be customized to your preference and bought or sold on the marketplace.
How to Earn Money in My Neighbour Alice
The game rewards you for engaging in daily activities like fishing and farming. Additionally, it offers various gamified DeFi features, including staking and NFT lending.
What is the Currency of My Neighbour Alice?
The in-game economy operates on ALICE, an ERC-20 token, which is currently valued at $0.76.
Pros: Visually captivating and a perfect fit for fans of Animal Crossing. Cons: The cost of land can serve as a barrier for new players.
Alien Worlds is a play-to-earn game that operates on multiple blockchains, including Ethereum, WAX, and BNB.
What is the Currency of Alien Worlds?
The game’s economy is based on Trilium (TLM), and players compete for limited resources by mining for NFTs and in-game tokens.
To get started, create an account, choose an avatar and username, and then select a planet and plot of land to begin mining. Initially, you’ll only have a shovel, but you can acquire additional tools (in the form of NFTs) to enhance your mining rewards.
How to Earn Money in Alien Worlds
Players can stake their TLM tokens on specific planets to boost mining rewards for all players on that planet. Additionally, TLM can be used to vote on game development and governance matters.
At the time of writing, TLM is valued at approximately $0.01, a significant drop from its all-time high of $6. Despite this, the game continues to attract a large player base, with over 200,000 daily players, as reported by DappRadar.
Pros: Free to start and straightforward mechanics make it easy for newcomers. Cons: Limited gameplay variety and required waiting periods for mining activities.
DeFi Kingdoms combines a decentralized exchange (DEX), liquidity provision (LP), and gaming into a single platform. You can access it via your PC using the MetaMask browser extension or on mobile through the MetaMask mobile browser.
Once you’ve linked your MetaMask wallet to the DeFi Kingdoms (DFK) website, you can create a profile and enter the world of Gaia.
What is the Currency of DeFi Kingdoms?
The game’s native token is JEWEL, an ERC-20 token currently valued at $0.106. You’ll need JEWEL to engage in virtually all in-game activities. You can trade JEWEL for a wide array of other tokens and stake it in the in-game bank for passive income. JEWEL can also be used to provide liquidity via the game’s “gardens” feature.
How to Earn Money in DeFi Kingdoms
While JEWEL is central to the game, the main gameplay revolves around the “Heroes” function. These Heroes are utility NFTs with a diverse range to choose from. You can purchase a Hero using JEWEL from the in-game tavern (marketplace). Heroes can be used to summon other Heroes, list for hire, sell, engage in PVP battles, and go on quests. Questing earns you DFKTEARS (Gaia’s tears) tokens, currently valued at $0.24.
Pros: Gamified DeFi elements and continuous updates. Cons: Initial cost to start playing and many features still in beta.
Axie Infinity was once one of the most popular play-to-earn crypto games, boasting over 2 million daily players at its peak. However, the game faced challenges retaining players after a $620 million hack in May 2022.
The game allows users to play, battle, collect, breed, and trade creatures called Axies, which are tokenized as NFTs. Think of it as Pokemon on the blockchain.
To begin playing, you’ll need to acquire three Axies from the Axie Marketplace. The cost can range from 0.001 ETH to 100 ETH or more, making the initial investment a potential barrier for some.
However, Axie Scholarships offer a workaround. These scholarships allow a breeder or manager to loan you an Axie, enabling you to start playing and earning.
What is the Currency of Axie Infinity?
In-game activities earn you SLP (Smooth Love Potions), an ERC-20 token currently valued at around $0.003. SLP tokens are essential for breeding new Axies. Another key token is AXS (Axie Infinity Shard), also an ERC-20 token, currently worth $4.5.
How to Earn Money in Axie Infinity
You can stake AXS tokens for long-term gains and receive rewards from the Axie Community Treasury, with estimated rewards at 40% APR. Additionally, the game offers NFT functionalities, allowing you to breed and sell Axies, as well as invest in Lunacia land, which varies in price based on its in-game location.
Developer and Challenges
Axie Infinity was developed by Vietnamese developer Sky Mavis in 2018. The game faced a significant setback in March 2022 when Ronin, an Ethereum sidechain built for Axie Infinity, was hacked, resulting in a loss of over $600 million. Despite these challenges, the game continues to attract and retain players.
Pros: Engaging gameplay and multiple avenues for earning. Cons: High initial costs can deter new players.
Splinterlands is a strategic trading card game where each card is tokenized as an NFT.
While you can play Splinterlands for free, unlocking the play-to-earn features requires an initial investment.
Unlike Axie Infinity, the entry cost is relatively low; you’ll need to purchase a Summoner’s Book for $10. Once acquired, you can earn rewards, participate in tournaments, and trade cards on the marketplace.
What is the Currency of Splinterlands?
In Splinterlands, you’ll earn DEC (Dark Energy Crystals) tokens by participating in ranked battles. The amount of DEC you earn varies based on factors like your league, win streak, card selection, and the number of players in the battle. At the time of writing, DEC tokens are valued at approximately $0.0007. Considering players can easily earn around 500 DEC per hour, it’s a reasonable return for your time and effort.
How to Earn Money in Splinterlands
In addition to DEC, you can earn Splinterlands credits, which can be used exclusively within the game to buy packs, cards, and other items. The real earning potential lies in the NFT trading aspect; the rarer your cards, the more valuable they are on the market. These cards can be sold or traded on various NFT marketplaces, including OpenSea.
Holding Splinterlands NFTs also rewards you with SPS tokens, the game’s governance token. The more and rarer NFTs you hold, the more SPS tokens you’ll earn. Currently, SPS tokens are valued at around $0.015 and can be sold or staked for additional earnings.
Pros: Low entry cost and multiple earning strategies. Cons: Lower earning potential compared to some other play-to-earn games.
Coinfantasy is not a traditional blockchain game; it’s more akin to a gamified investment platform.
In Coinfantasy, you choose from various investment strategies—like “hodl play” for long-term investors or “DeFi twist” for those willing to take higher risks. Based on your chosen strategy, you’ll engage in different games and earn tokens. As Coinfantasy is a relatively new entrant to the market, additional strategy games like “Yield Farmers” and “Meme Riot” are in development.
What is the Currency of Coinfantasy?
The game is powered by CF tokens (CFTs). Starting to play and earn is straightforward: choose a game strategy, stake your CFTs, create your portfolio, and begin earning rewards by topping the leaderboard. While CFTs are not yet listed on major exchanges, they are expected to launch soon.
Pros: Ideal for crypto newcomers, with reward bonuses currently available for early sign-ups. Cons: CFT tokens have yet to be listed on major exchanges.
How to play to earn crypto is taxed?
The play-to-earn crypto model is a relatively new phenomenon, and as such, most tax authorities worldwide have yet to issue specific guidelines on it. The Philippines is a notable exception, where the tax office has clarified that residents earning more than $5,000 annually from games like Axie Infinity are required to pay taxes on those earnings.
Just because there’s a lack of official tax guidance doesn’t mean you’re exempt from taxation. All crypto-related earnings are taxable, and this includes income from play-to-earn games.
Types of Taxes on Play-to-Earn Income
The kind of tax you’ll owe depends on the nature of your in-game transactions. Generally, you’ll be subject to either Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, or sometimes both.
Capital Gains Tax
Whenever you sell, trade, spend, or gift crypto (depending on your jurisdiction), you’ll be liable for Capital Gains Tax on any profits. A capital gain or loss is calculated based on the difference between the asset’s value when you acquired it and when you disposed of it. If the asset’s value has increased, you’ll owe Capital Gains Tax; if it has decreased, you won’t.
In some cases, your crypto earnings may also be subject to Income Tax. This varies by jurisdiction, but generally, activities like receiving payment in crypto, staking, and mining are considered taxable income. You’ll pay tax at your regular income tax rate on the fair market value of the crypto on the day you receive it.
Tax Implications for Play-to-Earn Games
While no specific guidelines exist for play-to-earn income, it’s likely that many tax authorities will treat it as taxable income. For example, if you earn new tokens or coins, such as AXS or SLP tokens, you may need to pay Income Tax based on their fair market value on the day you receive them.
But that’s not the end of the story. When you later sell, trade, spend, or gift those tokens, you’ll also be subject to Capital Gains Tax, regardless of whether you’ve already paid Income Tax on them.
NFTs and Taxes
As for NFTs, they are generally treated the same as tokens and coins for tax purposes. So, if you sell, trade, or potentially even gift an NFT, you’ll owe Capital Gains Tax on any profit you make.
In summary, while the tax landscape for play-to-earn games is still evolving, it’s crucial to be aware that your earnings are likely taxable. Always consult a tax professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.
According to market research released in December 2022, the worldwide blockchain gaming industry is expected to experience significant growth, expanding from $4.6 billion in 2022 to an estimated $65.7 billion by 2027.
Our compilation of top play-to-earn games serves as an excellent starting point for diving into the P2E universe, where you can earn actual cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Keep in mind that each game comes with its own set of rules, methods of tokenization, and other nuances.
Like any other investment, the profitability of gaming-related cryptocurrencies hinges on various elements, including your investment approach, risk tolerance, market dynamics, and the quality of the project you’re considering.
Generally, high-potential projects like the ones we’ve highlighted could yield substantial long-term returns. However, we strongly advise conducting your own due diligence and considering current market trends before investing in any gaming cryptocurrency—or any digital asset, for that matter.
What are crypto games?
Crypto games, also known as "play-to-earn" games, integrate blockchain technology into gaming. Players can earn real-world value in the form of tokens or NFTs by playing these games.
How do crypto games work?
Crypto games use blockchain to provide players true ownership of in-game assets, such as NFTs and tokens. These assets can be traded, sold, or used in various games and platforms.
What are some of the highest-paying crypto games in 2023?
Some of the top-paying crypto games include Decentraland, The Sandbox, Gods Unchained, Valhalla, Aavegotchi, My Neighbour Alice, Alien Worlds, DeFi Kingdoms, Axie Infinity, Splinterlands, and Coinfantasy.
What is the tax implication of earning in crypto games?
Taxation on crypto game earnings varies by jurisdiction but generally involves Income Tax for receiving crypto and Capital Gains Tax for selling, trading, or gifting crypto assets, including NFTs.
How should I approach investing in crypto gaming coins?
Success in crypto gaming coins depends on factors like investment strategy, risk tolerance, market conditions, and the quality of the project. Always conduct thorough research and consider current market trends before investing.
Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.