By David Sly
Blockchain has been an ambiguous technological concept in the minds of many – despite great excitement about its potential and enthusiastic recent spruiking by the South Australian government.
Now its function has gained some clarity for mainstream audiences through being used as a pivotal component within an innovative online game being devised in SA.
Forever Has Fallen is a conspiracy thriller game that will be played across different media types such as social media, websites, mobile and real-world events such as scavenger hunts and escape rooms.
The game will use blockchain technology to register ledger functions that players use to verify where they are in the game, along with ownership of digital goods and collectibles, and issuing rewards for completing tasks.
The attractive function of blockchain is that it allows digital information to be distributed but not copied. It serves an incorruptible digital ledger of separate blocks of information that are chained together in sequence, time stamped and managed by a cluster of computers rather than a single entity.
Therefore, no centralised version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt, making it an especially secure system for transferring financial transactions and confidential documents.
Originally devised for the Bitcoin digital currency, blockchain is now being applied by tech companies to serve other functions – with Adelaide-based marketing and communications entrepreneur Kimon Lycos being the first to apply it to entertainment and gaming with Forever Has Fallen.
Hoping to re-imagine the blockbuster screen entertainment format, Kimon has worked with his development team to present an interactive game that involves direct interaction with story characters, challenges and puzzles. At the game’s core will be Forever Coin digital tokens, a form of digital currency that will rely on blockchain technology to track and authenticate tokens used by game players.
“Our model is far more cost-effective at producing blockbuster storytelling than a conventional Hollywood movie franchise,” says Kimon. “We will be able to fuse the entertainment with game-like challenges that reward fans, and there is an entire economic system integrated within the story, where fans can buy, earn, trade and sell.”
While Kimon had initially planned to sell Forever Coin tokens by issuing SA’s first Initial Coin Offering, he has now abandoned this means of selling tokens. Instead, his company is planning to launch the Forever Has Fallen game concept via a podcast. He estimates that the company is about six months away from launching its podcast pilot.
“This is a digital democracy – truly interactive and live to all parties at once – which is why gamers in particular are excited by its implication,” says Kimon.
This wider application of blockchain being used beyond Bitcoin is, in the view of Kimon, the start of a fast-moving tech phenomenon. He sees the uptake of blockchain technology having a huge effect in government administration.
“Governments can address the challenges of trust and transparency while meeting the need for data protection and privacy,” Kimon says.
He points to Sweden’s land registry authority, the Lantmäteriet, wanting to allow buyers, sellers, banks and authorities to track a transaction from beginning to end digitally instead of using paper contracts, thus making tracking and transparency easier, because every party has information always accessible on the blockchain.
“The Dubai government is going all in. It wants all government documents secured on a blockchain by 2020,” says Kimon.
“It estimates its blockchain strategy has the potential to generate 25.1 million hours of economic productivity each year in savings, while reducing CO2 emissions.”
In a provocative article titled Death of the Bureaucrat published by the Hackernoon website, Kimon has written that “we can look forward to a revolution against governments and ironically enough it will be led by governments themselves”.
“This will be thanks to globalisation and a need for countries to be competitive in the struggle for talent, tax revenues and innovation to maintain prosperity.”
However, the need for substantial computing power to realise all of blockchain’s potential uses means that many of blockchain’s more ambitious ideas are running ahead of current online capabilities.
“We are probably still five years away from having the readily available computing power to do all the blockchain things that people are talking about, because we don’t have the necessary storage, bandwidth and processing speeds of devices,” says Kimon.
“I liken this to the early days of the internet, when it took several leaps in the advancement of hardware and accessibility to reach where we are now. I think blockchain is on that same upward trajectory.
“Government can supercharge our competitiveness in blockchain technology,” adds Kimon. “Breakthroughs in new technology only come via support to make great leaps – and I believe that creating a world-class developer centre for excellence would result in SA having great exportable capabilities with blockchain, which is going to be enormous on a global scale.”
Check out the Forever Has Fallen trailer below! Contains very mild language and violence themes.
Industry in focus: Creative Industries
Throughout the month of March, the state’s creative industries will be explored as part of I Choose SA.
South Australia is home to a thriving ecosystem of creative businesses and specialists who are delivering world-class works VFX, TV and film production, app development and the VR space. Read more creative industries stories here.
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