Co-founder of Immutable (a market leader in blockchain gaming) and Australia’s youngest rich lister, Robbie Ferguson says riding out the current crypto winter is reasonably easy for him and his company because he’s been there before. He’s tipping a crypto rebound (though he didn’t say when) and recently spoke to the Australian Financial Review about how he’s riding out this bearish period.
Australian rich-lister Robbie Ferguson recently sat down with the Australian Financial Review’s How I Made It podcast. Amid other interesting insights (like the fact he grew up “obsessed… with debating and model UN”) and the fact that he was a “massive nerd [who] read a tonne of fantasy and science fiction” (which he says was the “best form of education”) he also shared a couple of insights into how he’s looking at the broader crypto market.
We figured crypto investors and enthusiasts might find these interesting. So: have at them. This is what Robbie Ferguson said when queried about how the broader market downturn is impacting his business. First up, Ferguson said this current downturn is not that much of a shock to the system for him, because he’s seen crypto winters before (he even co-founded his company in one).
“It’s reasonably easy for us to get through this right now,” he told How I Made It. “We have a few hundred million dollars [and] Immutable was born into one of the biggest bear markets in crypto of all time, which was in 2018. That really forced us to focus on developing a product that people want to use rather than papering over it with a bull market, incentives and crazy token prices.”
“Instead we had to develop a game where the benefit is not speculating on expensive assets but it’s instead the items inside the video game you own or trade. Maybe you trade it for 50 cents or a dollar and that focus on building a product people actually want to use was imperative.”
“We focussed on revenue and establishing something people wanted to use and pay for because that was where we could demonstrate value rather than just an idea.”Robbie Ferguson
“The second thing,” Ferguson mentioned, was “[we] focussed on creating a community where the focus is not ‘what is the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum?’ but instead ‘what value are we delivering to players?'”
He added: “Gaming as a section of Web 3 is the biggest allocation of web 3 capital. There are more than 50 billion dollars earmarked for web 3 in VC money right now and there has been more than 8 billion invested into Web 3 games in the last 18 months – that’s almost more than total gaming investments from 2000 to 2010.”
“Of course, people have to manage their cash through that – they have to make sure they can get to the next run – but equally the funding has not gone away.”
The focus for now, he says, is using the fortunate position they’ve found themselves in, to build a strong base and keep ahead of competitors: “Ultimately it’s always a competitive game and now we can build a strong platform and continue [our] hiring spree.”
Ferguson also recently opined on Twitter, after visiting Korea: “You cannot visit this country and not leave unbelievably bullish on web3 gaming.”
GN, Korea.— Robbie Ferguson ⓧ – Hiring! (@0xferg) August 12, 2022
You cannot visit this country and not leave unbelievably bullish on web3 gaming.
How I Made It also interviewed Ferguson about his education and how he got into the blockchain gaming space (he went to Knox Grammar, where he was Dux of his year, then the University of Sydney, where he completed two years of his degree before dropping out to pursue his business, as it started making millions of dollars).
He said he spent a lot of his adolescence playing computer games, and that he was not a motivated student until year 12. He said he probably spent a few thousand hours playing League Of Legends and Runescape (strategy computer games with in-game economies). He said he was not particularly good at the games but the experience formed the basis of what he later built his career on.
$8B has been invested into web3 games in the last 18 months alone.— Robbie Ferguson ⓧ – Hiring! (@0xferg) August 5, 2022
“If we threw this much money as a toaster, it would do something remarkable.”
The shift to real digital property rights is inevitable.https://t.co/ulh98cgdMQ
The biggest breakthrough came when, while studying a dual degree in Law and Computer science, in the 2017 Christmas holidays, he decided to build Ether Bots – the first ever multi-player game in a blockchain. Though the concept was clunky by today’s standards (“if you play a round of it today it will cost you thousands of dollars in transaction fees so we learnt early on how these games need to be built and scaled”), it went viral, made a lot of money, and taught Ferguson a lot.
Back to the state of the crypto market though – as DMARGE Money correspondent Tom Mitchelhill wrote at the start of this month – many believe this latest winter is just a flesh wound, and Blockchain-based tech is only just getting started (while the bear market wipes out projects that lack solid fundamentals).
In the end, only time (and perhaps Elon Musk’s tweets) will tell.