When original creator Michael Deon and his partner Kyle Haffenden pitched their concept on Shark Tank South Africa for the first blockchain-based augmented reality (AR) mobile game, South African-born Internet entrepreneur turned venture capitalist Vinny Lingham knew this local startup would have global appeal.
Lingham’s confidence wasn’t misplaced as the initial crowdfunding 30-day round has been the most successful game initial coin offering (ICO) in history, with half of its $1-million crowdfunding target reached within just 24 hours.
As one of the world’s leading bitcoin analysts and the CEO of blockchain-based identity startup Civic, Silicon Valley-based Lingham knew that this mashup – a 3D-modelled cross-platform mobile AR fantasy game backed by Counterparty crypto tokens that run on blockchain – had unique appeal.
The game consists of 50 rare creatures known as augmentors that are each capable of unique attacks, spells and movements. They also have their own origin, backstory and can be trained, traded or swapped between players.
Seed funding for the development of the game came from Lingham’s startup angel investment firm Newtown Partners, which he co-founded with Cape Town-based venture capitalist Llew Claasen, who is also the executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation. Fellow Shark Tank South Africa investor Gil Oved, group co-CEO and co-founder of Africa’s largest advertising agency The Creative Counsel, is also an angel investor in Augmentors.
“Augmented reality and blockchain technology are two of the most exciting sectors in tech right now, so to find a startup that combines both in such an innovative manner is an extremely exciting prospect for us as investors,” comments Claasen.
Following a successful pre-sale offering, which showed significant appetite for the game among both gaming and cryptocurrency communities, Newtown Partners sought to crowdfund an additional $1-million to complete the game’s development. This was done via an ICO of the game’s databits crypto tokens, which went live on 30 January 2017.
Game creator Michael explains that Augmentors has made available a total of 100-million databits for the ICO, at a ratio of 15 000 databits to 1 bitcoin, which will increase in cost by 1 000 Databits every five days throughout the ICO period. “Of this, 70% has been made available to backers via the ICO. The remaining 30% will be used for game development and marketing.”
Early backers of Augmentors receive specially priced databits, as well as a selection of rare, one-of-a-kind creatures based on the size of their participation in the ICO. “The databits will be locked, which means no more can be issued after the ICO. After the crowdfunding sale, all remaining unsold databits will be burnt, instantly shortening the supply of databits in circulation,” continues Michael. “Early backers can then use their databits to purchase creatures and relics once the game is launched, or can sell them off to other players for any other cryptocurrency tokens.”
This ICO concept clearly resonated with first-movers in the gaming and cryptocurrency communities, with Augmentors raising 522 bitcoins, at a value of $497 000, within just 24 hours. “We partnered with the team behind the original game ICO – Spells of Genesis – for this campaign and their input has been invaluable. The Augmentors crowdfunding campaign is now the most successful game ICO ever,” concludes Lingham. The Augmentors game concept has also piqued interest worldwide, with the biggest ICO backing coming from participants in the USA, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Norway, Romania, Netherlands, Canada and China.
The 30-day ICO ends on February 28, 2017. Once the initial ICO crowdfunding round closes, the Alpha version of Augmentors will be released at the end of May 2017, with the Beta version set to follow shortly thereafter. Augmentors will be available for download on the Google Play Store and the App Store.