Minecraft, the world’s most popular video game (number of copies sold), and the fourth most played (number of active player accounts), threw serious shade on blockchain and NFTs this week in a notice of change to its upcoming user guidelines. Mojang Studios, the developer of Minecraft, and a Microsoft owned company, stated it will not allow the use of blockchain and/or NFTs in any of its client or server applications. The rationale driving the policy includes maintaining the egalitarian integrity of the game, whereby all players have access to the same game environment and abide by the same rules, and the avoidance of using the platform for what Mojang perceives as the “profiteering” associated with NFT trading. More simply stated, Mojang won’t allow Minecraft to become a for-profit marketplace where digital items of questionable value can be traded, nor will it allow its gamers to be subjected to exclusionary play where certain players can pay to be endowed with NFT-based abilities or possessions that other players can’t. What makes the story this week’s most interesting is the public rebuke of blockchain technology by the portfolio company of a blue-chip, BIG-tech like Microsoft. Though the policy speaks specifically to Minecraft play and players, crypto and blockchain rarely receive negative press these days – at least in relation to the fundamental technology. In fact, despite the harsh economic environment, crypto and blockchain are two areas in technology, and financial technology, that are still actively seeking and receiving private market funding, and VCs are still having success raising new funds.
Minecraft owner bans in-game NFTs to discourage profiteering