Episode #38 - Aleksander Leonard Larsen, Co-Founder & COO, Sky Mavis (Axie Infinity)

Episode #38 - Aleksander Leonard Larsen, Co-Founder & COO, Sky Mavis (Axie Infinity)

Last updated:
May 11, 2023
Total length::
36 min
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Cryptocurrency, Crypto

On this episode, we’re joined by Aleksander Leonard Larsen, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Sky Mavis. As a leading developer of blockchain games and infrastructure, Sky Mavis aims to further the mission of building player-owned economies.

We discuss:

- How Aleksander transitioned from competitive gamer to business founder.

- The current scale of blockchain gaming.

- Differences between blockchain games and traditional games.

- Details about what it means to “play and earn.”

- The importance of developing games that induce a flow state.

- Why it's vital to align gaming incentives between players, developers and speculators. 

- Challenges with gaming interoperability.

- Why digital scarcity requires the use of a blockchain. 

- How to build virtual worlds that people find value and meaning in.

- Challenges with placing blockchain games within traditional app stores.

Anthony Sar: Hello, and welcome to the Waves in The Finoverse. I'm Anthony Sar, the CEO and Co-Founder of Finoverse, and I will be your host today. And today we have a special guest, Alexander Larsen, Co-Founder of Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity, which is one of the largest blockchain gaming ecosystems. Alex has been involved in the NFT space and blockchain gaming since 2017. And he's also chairman of Sky Mavis. Alex also sits on the board of the Blockchain Game Alliance. He made quite a few angel investments, and he's also a venture partner at the South Korean VC firm, which is called Hashed. But there are different views on this industry, and many of them are quite controversial. So let's dive in into this topic and hear out Alex. I will be asking you a lot about Asia, obviously, Vietnam, how you ended up there. But before that, let's maybe go back a little bit to your home in Norway. I understand that you were a professional gamer before the whole thing started.

Aleksander Larsen: Yeah, I guess calling myself a professional would be a stretch. At least I played competitive. The industry was so small even back then that there were precious few real professionals. What I will say though, is I represented Norway in Warcraft 3, Dota and Dota 2, so very kind of RTS and MOBA. But also at the same time, I played Magic the Gathering and Diablo for I think the past 20 years or something like this. So I enjoyed collecting both physical and digital collectibles for a very long time. I think the game economies are particularly interesting. Yeah, that is my background.

Anthony Sar: So how did you transition from being a gamer into founder? When did you realise you have this passion towards building a business? How this whole thing happened?

Aleksander Larsen: Actually, my father is an entrepreneur. He was building various companies or I would say small companies for a long time and his entire life. And I actually felt that was a lot of work for not that much big of a payoff. So I was never really that interested in building a small company. But what I was doing, I was building communities. And these are kind of small companies, actually, because you're trying to make it go round, you get some sponsorships, and that kind of thing. But it was never really for profits so to say. I just did it because I was passionate about something. And I think that's really also why I was so attracted to Web3 and Blockchain stuff when I started learning about it, I think, late 2016-2017. So when I discovered Crypto Kitties, late 2017, that was kind of really when I figured that, hey, I can actually combine my interests here for blockchain game for blockchain, and also gaming. And then I can maybe make a company here, which then utilises this technology and maybe actually have an impact. So when we started in 2017-2018, there was all these startups, most of them failed. I think there's just a couple of lists from the blockchain, gaming space and Sky Mavis and Axie is one of them that was left after really pushing through, through various crypto winter. So it's been a good pretty long journey. Now, this is the fifth year that Sky Mavis is operating. So quite proud of the impact that we've had so far. But I still believe that there's a lot left to do, and so that's why I'm passionate about building in the space even further.

Anthony Sar: Could you share with us any numbers to kind of show the scale of your operations at the moment. 

Aleksander Larsen: So Axie Infinity, the first game that we ever shipped, generated about $1.3 billion in revenue so far, and the Axie Infinity NFT collection is the most traded NFT collection with over $4.2 billion in NFT volume traded between players. And that's where Axie Infinity takes the 4.25% cuts because it's traded on our marketplace. At peak we had about 2.7 to 2.8 million daily active players and the game was never even published on any sort of App Store. So players needed to download the game directly from our APK on via Google Play. So right now we have, I think, between 35,000 to 100,000 daily active players still today. So there are, I think on a monthly basis, it's anything from 300 or 300,000 to 500,000 players. So there's still a significant player base here.

Anthony Sar: This is very impressive indicators. And given that you're just 5 years old company, but for those who are not very familiar with Blockchain gaming, fundamentally, how would you differentiate just gaming from blockchain gaming, where's the fundamental difference? 

Aleksander Larsen: So the way I would say it is that blockchain games, they utilise of course, blockchain technology to store the assets of the players in some capacity. Now, that might be the in a non fungible way. So basically, the unique characters of the players. So whenever you are doing something in the game, you might actually buy a player, buy a character as a non fungible token. Or assuming that you do some kind of achievement inside that game. Maybe that is also stored as a non fungible token. It's a unique digital asset that's stored in your wallet. And then there are other things that also can be used, such as you can use fungible tokens when it comes to game resources, which makes the game very transparent, so anyone can see the assets that are being formed. So it's harder to cheat in that sense. That's kind of a very high level of how you use blockchain technology in games.

Anthony Sar: But owing, buying assets in gaming is nothing new about that fundamentally, what makes it different with the blockchain gaming? 

Aleksander Larsen: I think part of what makes it unique here is that when you're storing these game assets as NFTs, they can be traded on open markets. And what we've seen in the past with different types of games, even though they are storing their characters as data, you been able to trade them on grey markets, for example. So in World of Warcraft, let's say that I'm done playing that game of some 10,000 hours in that game, I want to, let's say sell some of my game items. It was never really possible before in a provably fair way. And in an open marketplace that you wouldn't get scammed. And so you would have to use a grey market, for example, I think that's a very clear benefit, which is probably 100 to if not a billion dollar industry at this point.

Anthony Sar: And the principle that basically you have is Play2Earn or later it's called now Play & Earn, how is it different from Work to Earn?

Aleksander Larsen: I think you have to kind of go a little bit deeper to understand why Play2Earn or why it became a thing. So when we are designing our games, what we are looking for is, how do we ascribe value to certain actions inside these games. So in a game, such as Axie, where the players are, they are battling with their digital pets against another person, whenever you are playing this game, you go into the client, and you click play, and what you're looking for there is you look for another opponent that you can play in real time. And if there are many players and on the server that are clicking play, at the same time, this you will find the game immediately. What we like to call that from Sky Mavis’s perspective, we call that concept player liquidity. Because there's a lot of players, there's a lot of liquidity in the queue. And that to us actually has some value. Because if not, the players are stuck, they’re waiting in the queue. And they go out of what we define as the flow state. So from a game developer perspective, we try to get the players into the flow state where they are consistently having fun, they're playing the game over several several hours, without kind of exiting that flow state because then again, that increases engagement and retention. So when we can find different things that we ascribe value to that means that we can also reward that value with something. That was the initial concept for how we wanted to give something back to the players. And that's when we gave them a fungible token inside that game, which then tied directly to the game economy, which became hugely popular, particularly in the Philippines. And it was also actually quite heavily abused, of course, as you can imagine, by robots, right. But it's harder to detect robot behaviour in games, because you cannot verify who is actually human as easily. And that's something that I think every kind of blockchain game and even every game will struggle with in the future. But that's something that I think Sky Mavis is very much on the forefront of.

Anton Sar: And what about the abuse, not just from robots, but from other human players who have accumulated a certain wealth, if I may say so, or certain parts of the market share within the games that can influence or put situations put other players in unfair situations?

Aleksander Larsen: Yeah, I mean, I think that is actually about the game design, and how we as developers are thinking about it. And what I will say is that from a developer's perspective, the game that will figure out how to align the incentives between the players, the developers, and the speculators in the best possible way, that is the game that will likely go absolutely viral, and I think could have billions of players even, and create many jobs in digital space. But finding the way to align those incentives is quite difficult. So what happened, for example, with Axie that you have players or speculators that come in, and they put the economy into a hyper state. So basically, they are pouring in all of this economy, all of this money into this economy, just like you might do in a emerging nation. And when there is a lot of money that's coming into an emerging nation, you might find that there are certain things that are growing out of proportion relative to the underlying GDP, or the economic value that's being created in that nation. And you see the same thing happening in Axie, right, where there was a lot of money flowing into the ecosystem, and the underlying kind of the product or the game quality was not high enough to sustain that level of speculation. So that's kind of when you get the boom and bust cycles just as you have in real life. So there are a lot of similarities here. And I think the deeper you go into the systems, the more you will learn and find that, you know, it's very, very similar to any kind of growing economy.

Anton Sar: Talking about the gaming in general industry, obviously, there was a massive backlash towards the NFT's and introducing into the gaming, overall, gaming community was heavily criticising blockchain gaming. Yourself coming from pure gaming industry into this, what do you think that people from the gaming industry don't understand about blockchain gaming?

Aleksander Larsen: I think oftentimes, what you see is that people are focusing a lot on the monetary perspective. And that's actually kind of similar to what you see happening with crypto as well, in general. So both for Ethereum and Bitcoin and any sort of bigger cryptocurrency, a lot of what people get attracted to initially is the price, right? They hear about the price, oh, there's money to be made. It's kind of a gold rush. So they get into the ecosystem, and they learn, and they're speculating, and they want to make something happen here.

Anton Sar: Is the most important motive for people to actually Play2Earn?

Aleksander Larsen: I’ll get a little bit into that as well, because I think it's important to put it into the context of cryptocurrencies and how kind of the motivation impacts the entire ecosystem. So what happens there is that people come in and they want to make money, right? So they learn and then eventually, what happens is that the true believers, they emerge. Because they learn about what is Self Sovereign Money, why is it important to own your, your Ethereum, or, let's say, even own your digital data. And to me, that's also very important when I look at blockchain gaming. So when I'm saying what did we design the game for? And what did we make the game for? It's very different than what maybe some guys are using it for, or some guys are advertising it as. So you might see other people that are players that are advertising Axie as a get rich quick scheme to their communities, which in our opinion, is actually not what we made here. We're trying to make a sustainable game, which is about collecting Axie’s, and then like letting people have fun, and then also earn something if they add value to the game. That's a very different thing than saying this is a get rich, quick scheme. But sometimes you have people who adopt the narrative and turn it into what they want. And then that's when you get these speculative cycles, and then eventually, kind of the communities contract. So you get the kind of the true believers that are left that actually believe that. Imagine if you could play two games that had feature parity, but in one of the games, you actually had some kind of value that you go back to in terms of actually truly owning your digital property rights. So owning your game characters, being able to sell them, being able to use them as an identity flag. So when I say that, I'm looking at my background, which is as a competitive gamer, I represented Norway, you know, these are my words that I'm telling you. But you would never be able to actually verify if I did that, if you tried to Google my name, you would find it on a random Russian web page. Now, that in itself might not be enough because I could have adopted that person's nickname. But imagine if I had an NFT in my wallets from that time, 50 years ago, when Norway beat Sweden in Dota, which has massive meaning to me. I will be able to provably be able to prove it to you that I actually did these things in a digital space. And to me, as a gamer, as a person who's lived digitally their life, that has massive amounts of meaning, because blockchain genuinely enables a more true internet, the more real internet, where you cannot fake the things that you have done because you have them in your wallet unless you actually lose it.

Anton Sar: Are you able to transfer these assets now to other games that are produced by other developers. Where we are now with interoperability within the gaming ecosystem at least?

Aleksander Larsen: We're building an Axie ecosystem so that the NFT's that you have, they are dynamically evolving. So that means that whenever you are using an NFT in, let's say, one of the games that we're making, so we're making many different games, all of that is connected to a holistic experience, which we're calling Axie Core. And what that means is that you might play one game, you earn experience points, and then you travel to another game with your Axie game character, which has done something else. And then all of these things are connected. So we're building this interoperable game universe for ourselves first, and then you know, we might see that other people are adding value to that down the line. I think it's still quite early to really tout interoperability between game universes as something that's really the main value driver here, because to me, at least I don't see that as being feasible in the very short term. I think maybe other game developers will be adding value to NFT's from ecosystems to acquire users. It's a good vampire attack, kind of situation, because you can target the whales much easier. And you can target the users that have money and give them some items in your game. But it's not about like the interoperability between game assets in many universes. Like that's, I think, the dream that we might get to in several years. But the real far thing there is to ascribe the value to the game assets when you have a million different game assets from a million different game universe, what's going to be stronger, what's going to be weaker? Why does it make sense? When you're designing a game universe like that, you really need strong people to have also the ethics behind it. But you know, it's going to be pretty difficult to make.

Anton Sar: Depends on who you're sending prompts to. But when it comes to blockchain gaming, so I think this is pretty much fundamental value, right? If Sky Mavis will disappear tomorrow, the assets that people own, they may not have much value, because they can’t play with them, right? 

Aleksander Larsen: I mean so they would be able to make their own games with it. And we already seen third-party game studios that are making games with these Axie game characters. And we've also been quite open with some of the Axie IP so that even if we do disappear, people will be still be able to use it. But there's definitely challenges there as well, in terms of like, where is the data stored? But I think it's also important to consider how early we are in this industry, right? Because if you look at, for example, wallet users, I think there's somewhere in between 100 and 200 million blockchain wallets that have been created in terms of Metamask. It is still a very early market when you compare it to like just how many people that are online, several billions, right? I still think we have a long way to go to really see where this will land. But the way I see it, this is a natural expansion to the internet, a new thing that has been discovered and there is no way to take it back.

Anton Sar: It's interesting. Also makes me think of the Metaverse promise a lot over the last recent couple of years development in the space. And to me, it was quite difficult to understand the principle of scarcity in the virtual space. By definition, say games like Decentraland, Sandbox, by definition, the virtual space is unlimited, is not where you can create scarcity, is no real estate, as we know it in material world. The whole actually promise of internet in Web3 is that we have unlimited space, and then you don't have such things like proximity, you can just travel within the click of mouse to any other world or any destination. What's your views on this?

Aleksander Larsen: When it comes to the Metaverse? Obviously, it's been hyped at all. I think Web3 is the metaverse kind of I mean, Web3  enables digital scarcity, as kind of what you said is hard to do. So I think you can't have digital scarcity in the same way without using a blockchain. When it comes to digital land and that kind of thing, it's, you know, of course, it's a construct. It depends on what are they trying to create. So why do they need this digital land or this scarcity? It's hard for me to say because I'm not a designer of those things. I can talk about our land and why we have digital land, why it makes sense, because it's a game. Because like, that's where people will be able to find resources and use and that makes more sense to me. If you think about what are you trying to create in terms of a virtual world, I think a virtual world is a better way to describe what some of these companies are calling Metaverses. So a virtual world has historically been very difficult to create, because people don't find meaning in when they are interacting with these spaces. So even in Second Life, for example, maybe they have 10,000 I'm not sure people might not be familiar with it. It's very early virtual world, which had some very expensive, like signups that were sold, for example, you have a gambling planet, I think it sold for over $100,000, many years ago, which was insane at that time. But the point is still, when you get new people and want to acquire user into these virtual worlds is that what are they going to do when they get there? There is no game, there is no progress. There is not enough content to entertain people for years and years on end. That's really the most difficult part. And that's when you compare these virtual worlds something like let's say World of Warcraft, that is the original to me, at least a virtual world because there is a lot of meaning there. People come there, they hang out with their friends, there's a social layer, they can go on quests together, they go on missions, even Fortnite now. It's kind of becoming this like more virtual world. So to me it's about meaning how do you make meaning in these spaces? And that's why it's so difficult to create a Metaverse or virtual world because if you're just like Decentraland, people log in there and they're like, okay, now I’ve explored, my friends are not here, I can’t play games, I can't do anything, it's like a very, maybe it's gonna get there, you can see all these like bigger companies that are creating some kind of bank or something in there. It's like, well, to me that's more marketing versus like actually giving people what they want, which is why I'm not that interested in it for Axie. I would rather that Axie made a virtual world and a game universe. And then eventually people started using that maybe as something else where they were hanging out with their friends, and that then it becomes something totally different. And it becomes something more real.

Anton Sar: I feel like the problem is, was the sort of crypto, metaverses is they kind of started from the end. Let's build the transactions, let's have ownership of land, here are the tools, how we can exchange the land, and we can, on top of that, we can monetise this in that, and then back to like, Alright, oh, we need actually people, and people need to come here and, you know, socialise, spend time and entertain themselves. And that's where the problem actually starts. Because there's no people.

Aleksander Larsen: So exactly. And this is what it's almost like the cold start problem when you're creating a network effect. Because you need people in any network, or even any marketplace, right? You need liquidity for it to be an attractive place to spend your time and to post goods or whatever else that might be. My take on this is that there are two ways to create a platform, which is kind of what Decentraland and The Sandbox are doing. So the first approach is kind of doing what they're doing, where you create the platform first, and then you actually have to acquire the games and the content, you need to buy it, right, you need people to make it, but you have a dead universe. So there is nobody there is no, not attractive for anyone to really build it. So you need to bootstrap it and subsidise any sort of content in that universe. That's pretty difficult. And then you have the other side, which is kind of more like what Fortnite is doing. Actually, the first way is similar to what Minecraft is doing as well. Minecraft created the platform first, and then people started making content. And that content, eventually, you know, Minecraft, that took like 10 years, and then it's popular. For Fortnite, you see that they're making a game first. And then eventually, it's becoming this platform where people can make stuff. And that's actually the way we see it in Axie as well. Because we want to, we knew that if we want to make like, we believe that NFT's are primitives that people can build on top of. That it can become a game universe, it can become a virtual world. But to do that, to actually get to the point we need players, we need people that can attract developers and developers then make new content, which then attracts new people. That's a very positive flywheel. But if there are no people, there are no developers. So you kind of have to start by acquiring the people and make the content first. And then you can kind of create that flywheel where you get more content. So it's a different way of acquiring users and acquiring developers.

Anton Sar: Talking about Axie, I think, interesting part of the sort of monetisation element and earning element led to financial inclusion, providing opportunities for people in especially the emerging markets. I know Southeast Asia is where I think your games are extremely popular. Could you tell us a little bit more of what are you seeing, observing from this perspective?

Aleksander Larsen: Let me I think start a little bit what the vision for Sky Mavis is. What I believe in is that or we are making a platform for game developers such as ourselves to publish their blockchain games. We're making all the tools because we needed to make them for Axie. So we have the wallets. We have the Mavis Hub, which is the distribution platform, we have our own marketplace. And we have our own team that's kind of guiding these other game developers into what they shouldn't be doing when it comes to building their ecosystems and kind of finding their first 1000 true fans. So basically, we're taking all the learnings that we have for Axie, and we want to provide it for other game developers. And our goal here is to be the first place where people in the world create their blockchain wallets. Because we believe that the blockchain wallet is similar to a bank account, and where people will eventually store not only their unique digital collectibles, but also their digital money. And that might be synthetic assets to the dollar or to that peso, or it doesn't really matter, or game items that they then we'll pay with and in their real stores. And I think my vision is for what we actually saw happening in 2021 is that a person to play a game on their mobile phone, because let's say in the Southeast Asia, they might not even have a computer. They play the game on their phone, and they earn some resources. And then they're able to use those resources to buy chicken on the street. And that exact use case actually happened in the Philippines in 2021 and 2022. And to me, that's incredibly powerful, because it means that as you said, we can enable financial inclusion.

Anton Sar: Your company is based in Vietnam, is that correct?

Aleksander Larsen: So our main company is in Singapore, and then we have subsidiaries in Vietnam, Norway, where I'm from, and also the US. So Sky Mavis is now 250 people in total. Yeah, it's becoming a pretty big company. I'm quite proud of what we've achieved so far. Of course, there's been ups and downs. But you know, given where we were last year, just surviving a hack and kind of repaying all the users and you know, kind of dealing with all those struggles, I'm very proud that we've kind of achieved, come to this place today.

Anton Sar: For those listeners who might not be aware of what Aleksander referred to was the hack that happened last year where over 600 million was vanished. By the way, if you would have a chance to talk to yourself before this hack happened, from your today's position, what would you, what advice you would tell yourself?

Aleksander Larsen: It's difficult, right? Because when you're making a startup, you're always trying to thread the needle between or prioritisation, right? There's always hardcore prioritisation. Of course, I would say we should prioritise security more. And I think now we're in a new chapter for Sky Mavis, where security's in the absolute top seat. We have our own Chief Security Officer, we are building towards becoming a zero trust organisation. As I was saying, we repaid all the users every single cent that they lost. And we were, it's now a new chapter. So I'm very excited about that. But definitely high focus on security. And hopefully the other people in the industry learn from us in this case. It is very hard to survive something as existential as what we did.

Anton Sar: That's very impressive how you went through this and as an entrepreneur I feel it, and it's really admiring that you managed to continue and move on from this. It's a massive hit. With all these benefits of blockchain gaming, why do you think the App Stores of this world are not accepting you? What's the problem? 

Aleksander Larsen: To me that's very obvious, right? I mean, we've been trying to work with Google Play and mostly Apple iOS for a long time now. What they're telling us is that we need to take out everything that's blockchain focused, like we can't have NFT's, we can't have any sort of earning. And if you do that, with Axie, kind of, you're taking out all the magic that makes Axie special. It's really pointless then to distribute the game on any App Store's right. And the problem is that there is not enough incentive alignment. Because Apple and Google Play, they're taking up 30% cuts of all the revenue that's kind of flowing into these games. And this is like a remnant of the past where Apple, it's working as a publisher, or trying to position itself as a publisher. Because back in the day, game publishers used to take 30% of net revenues. And I think everyone was okay with that, because the publishers added a lot of value to the games. Right now, it's not certain that Apple is actually or Google Play is actually adding the amount of value to these game developers that actually justifies that 30% fee, because it's so difficult to succeed on these App Stores. And for blockchain games, particularly right, if they are telling us to do all this dumb stuff, then it doesn't even make any sense to try to distribute there. So right now, we're trying to go direct to consumer. And I think that consumers eventually will, especially on the iOS devices, will have to start to demand these features. Because it can only come organically. It can only come from the demands of the people. Like this technology is for the people, it's about ownership, it's about taking back the data that these big platforms have owned in the past. And I think that's really the principle that people need to understand. And that's when the demand will come. I mean, we have our own App Store, like our own distribution platform, which is called the Mavis Hub, we can also make that on mobile. But the problem is like for Apple is that they are not allowing anyone else to have any sort of App Store inside their games like but actually every kind of blockchain wallet is almost like an App Store. So it's going to be quite difficult for them to censor this stuff. But what I hope will happen is that we are able to do revenue sharing with Apple based on the and Google Play based on the value that they are bringing into our games. So what I mean there is that if they are referring a user to us, and we can say that user then is spending some money in our game, that's when we can give them some money. But if they're asking for 30% of the revenue of the transaction value that's flowing in between two players. Like that's absurd, because that's just not how a marketplace works. And you know if we are taking 4.25% of the transaction value that's flowing between players, maybe we could share 30% of this 4.25% with Apple, if the user originated from there. That's how we have to think about it. And we're making the system right now. So that we can actually give that value back to these, I guess you can call it referral platforms, more so than anything. But yeah, it's gonna take some time. And there's a lot of education to be done here. But I'm very tired of I think, trying to fit within their books. It's kind of very anti entrepreneurial, to say that oh, we have to do all these things. So yeah, I want to be more aggressive in the future.

Anton Sar: Talking about perception. Before the interview, I spent some time to researching about the company and learning a lot and I came across with this, quite a provocative article in CoinTelegraph. I'm pretty sure you're familiar with the title “Axie Infinity Is Toxic For Crypto Gaming.” And what is also I would just want to… 

Aleksander Larsen: Isn't that written by one of our competitors or something? A person who is making another startup in the blockchain gaming space.

Anton Sar: Which is a good valid point. Yes. But basically what I want to cite is saying “Axie and most other crypto games to date have been awful experience. They aren't even really games. They’re more like digital sharecropping, rich NFT owners exploiting low-wage earning players. It’s shallow gameplay layered on a tokenomics model.” What's your take on this, and similar criticism?

Aleksander Larsen: To me, it's actually insulting towards our players, of course, to us too, but I don't really care what our competitors think like it's more I feel like insulting towards our entire player base, some who actually love Axie for the funness of the game and the entertainment value it brings. And that is actually a combination of both the gameplay in itself, and also the economic layer that's underneath, and the social fabric that's kind of connecting all these experiences. These guys that are writing, it's there, they are trying to get attention for themselves, which is pretty, pretty normal, I think, in any business and industry. I registered that article existed, and I can see it, but it's like, doesn't necessarily matter much to me what these guys think. You know, awful experience. What does that even mean? Like that's who are these, the arbiters of fun to decide what's an awful or great experience like, that is up to the person who's playing the game who's actually interacting with it. And guess what, like, every game has a different niche. People who love football games, or like pressing many buttons all the time, they're not going to like chess. Like that, to me, that's absurd to to kind of think about it in that way. And like, and when it comes to like the low wage earning players, I mean, that is also a weird kind of talking point. Just being able to even enable some kind of earning, I think is a massive win. Like, let's talk about bigger media outlets, right, because they love picking on Axie, and they love writing about all the like some things that might have failed up until the past couple of years, right? A lot of this is a big experiment. We also have to acknowledge how early it is, and that the products are not fully developed. So judging books based on what's like that it's 30% done and trying to kind of extrapolate from there, that's okay, you can do it. But kind of means that you will be missing out on what's the remaining pages, I have yet to be written. And I think that's kind of a mistake, because we're really on the bleeding edge of everything here. And I think maybe that's why some of the gameplay could seem limited, because we literally have to make the entire financial ecosystem all over again, kind of, to make some of this stuff work. And I'm proud of what we made. And I kind of resent when people are trash talking us for that. But giving these guys attention, as I don't really see that as being very beneficial for us at all. It's like a startup strategy, you always want some kind of enemy up there. I would rather have the enemies be the bigger companies of the world that are actually trying to, let's say EA or FIFA or whatever. Like these guys, these games, they are shipping new versions of their games every single year. They're selling the same freaking collectibles every year. They're earning billions. The players are, to me that's exploitative to the players. That you can't have your digital collectible and use it through many different games like what the hell is that about? To me? That's a lot more interesting to debate versus what some kind of other crypto gaming startup is thinking because they want to garner attention for their own product like that's irrelevant to me.

Anton Sar: That's very interesting point you make in about the big, large players in the gaming industry. What's your end goal Aleksander personally, out of all of this? Where do you see yourself in the companies say, personally, in the next say 5 to 10 years?

Aleksander Larsen: I mean, I love winning so I want to win this market. I feel like if Sky Mavis can be the first place where people goes for blockchain gaming, especially on the mobile side in the next 5 to 10 years, that's massive. I'm not sure what winning looks like in terms of money or whatever I that, in terms of valuations and that kind of stuff. It's not as important. I would like to make also our investors proud of investing in Sky Mavis, I think there's a lot of responsibility there. And I feel like we need to prove ourselves to the people who put their faith in us. That's what I want to do. And that is what I feel like is important.

Anton Sar: We ask our guests to pick up one song that they will take with them in Finoverse. If there's one song that you would like to keep what would be this song? 

Aleksander Larsen: Probably, I love Daft Punk. So I think Daft Punk and Pharrell with the Get Lucky song is pretty good. Because I believe in leaning into luck in my life, and I think everyone should do that. No matter what, like there's always an opportunity. And if you are positive I think to seeking new opportunities and yeah leaning into luck, that I think is how you should approach life.

Anton Sar: Fantastic so get lucky and wish all the best of luck to you Aleksander and your company and thank you very much for the time.

Aleksander Larsen: Thank you for having me.

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