How RuneScape led to the rise of NFTs and Web3 | by Manan Modi | Dec, 2021

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More on how the Grand Exchange works:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znlHidRXsc4&

As mentioned, the Grand Exchange is very similar to DeFi and blockchain transactions today.

Source: https://twitter.com/Cooopahtroopa/status/1376388270351818753

Referencing the tweet above, the NFTs are typically what a player keeps in their inventory and the items that they own. In RuneScape, there are also clans that can act as DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) — which can be a second topic for another day.

Rare Items and Collectibles

Our veteran players probably came to the article because they are passionate about one thing in particular — the “rares” of RuneScape. Understanding the concept of rares and collectibles is crucial to understanding how NFTs went mainstream.

Source: https://twitter.com/nateliason

During various “holiday” events around the times of Christmas, Halloween, and more, RuneScape released various tradeable holiday items that were common and tradeable items when they were released. They continued to be tradeable items, but they became less common as the game grew in popularity. As a result, items became increasingly more valuable over time. As items were dropped (and disappeared), as people lost access to forgotten accounts that had these items, and as less tradeable holiday items came out, these holiday items became “rares.” They became increasingly more valuable in “GP.” The supply was limited, but the demand kept increasing over time. Here is a list of the most popularly traded “rares” in the early 2000s:

Source: https://runescape.wiki/w/Discontinued_rare_items

In December of 2020, RuneScape partyhats were documented to have been worth up to 57 billion GP in the main game — RuneScape 3.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acKvztQu8Zg&ab_channel=FlippingOldschool

These partyhats are the most expensive items in the game, and as this article mentions, they could have been theoretically worth over $6,700 USD at the time. However, real-world trading is outlawed by the game; this means that it’s against the rules to exchange any items for real-world currencies. These party hats and other rares have always been popular — even before NFTs went mainstream in 2020–2021. NFT marketplaces, on the other hand, allow digital items to be traded between people in exchange for real-world currency.

RuneScape’s Effect on NFTs today

What do NFTs, RuneScape partyhats, and other collectibles have in common? Humans give value to possessions, resources, and other things in our society. In cognitive psychology, the scarcity effect plays a major role in giving value to items — people want what they do not have. Human behavior influences people to “place a higher value on an object that is scarce and a lower value on one that is available in abundance.” This is one reason why we give anything value today. In terms of the rise of NFTs, what may have seemed irrational is commonly accepted as rational behavior in human psychology today. Here’s an NFT project called “OSRS Punks” that has encompasses RuneScape-themed NFTs of players.

Source: https://opensea.io/collection/osrs-punks

On a broader scale, there are several NFT projects that could be tied back to the concept of rares in RuneScape. All of the top projects, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, and more, have fans and followers that were once players — and became big advocates of what NFTs meant to them. The beginnings and the continued growth of NFTs, Crypto, and Web3 have all seen parallels to the history of RuneScape.

Historical Timeline

For those who want to learn more about RuneScape, you can watch the documentary below on its full historical timeline:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZlj694lcxA&ab_channel=MotePlox

Recently, I logged onto the game on December 18th, 2021 to check how long my oldest account has existed. Though I haven’t played RuneScape seriously in years, I can say that it has led me to believe in the future Web3, Crypto, NFTs, and more.

RuneScape is the reason I became passionate about gaming, technology, and user experience design. It led me into product management today, and my first exposure to venture capital was learning about Insight’s investment in RuneScape back when I was growing up. RuneScape has taught its players to be entrepreneurial: it has been my foundation behind learning a multitude of real-world skills, such as understanding negotiation tactics, maintaining discipline over time, navigating the basics of economics, grasping concepts of psychology & human behavior, learning how communities are built, building an awareness of how to communicate, and appreciating the value of hard work.

I’m glad that a lot of people feel the same way about this game’s impact on the rise of Crypto. As someone who used to played this game for years, I can confidently say that history it repeating itself in the NFT and Web3 landscape. Let’s keep it going.





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