Are Crypto Rewards Coming to Grand Theft Auto (GTA)?

4 min readJul 1, 2022

UpOnly | Research #17: GTA 6 rumored to include crypto rewards, Axie Infinity reopens hacked bridge

Players of the renowned open-world street action-adventure game, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), might soon get the chance to earn crypto rewards. An upcoming release, dubbed GTA 6, is rumored to include the feature and could open the opportunity for more gaming studios to adopt the play-to-earn mechanism.

In other news, play-to-earn gaming major Axie Infinity has reopened the Ronin Bridge three months after an unprecedented $600 million security breach. This week’s UpOnly | Research brings you a roundup of these developments and the overall impact on the emerging blockchain gaming industry.

GTA 6 could feature crypto rewards

Rockstar Games, the developers of GTA, could introduce crypto rewards in an upcoming release, according to independent gaming publication ScreenRant. Rumors of crypto-integration have been floating around since last year. An alleged long-time Rockstar insider, going by the handle Mattheusvictorbr, has claimed the game could roll out by 2024.

GTA is arguably the best-performing open-world gaming title in the past decade. More than 140 million copies of the most recent release GTA 5 have been sold. The GTA Online version records more than two million active players monthly, while the GTA V label has recorded over 130,000 concurrent players since 2019.

(Source: Steam)

These figures suggest that an integration that allows GTA players to interact with cryptocurrencies could play a significant role in the mainstream adoption of crypto. Industry observers are speculating about the integration of a new in-game token that users can earn and trade, or an option that rewards users with bitcoins for completing top-ranked missions.

Another widespread theory revolves around the introduction of a crypto trading brokerage, improving on GTA’s edition of the parody BAWSAQ and LCN Exchange in the 2013 release of GTA 5. Players can currently trade simulated stocks on these virtual venues, a feature that could easily extend to include cryptocurrencies.

Rockstar Games’ record for being futuristic with GTA gameplay designs further backs potential crypto-integration. Back in 2004, the game developer introduced flying jetpacks and other technological features that are still relevant two decades later. Adding cryptocurrencies feels like a natural progression, especially as the technology becomes an integral part of our daily lives.

Ultimately, only time will tell whether Rockstar Games integrates crypto rewards into GTA 6 gameplay. This reported integration is a reminder of how the play-to-earn and blockchain gaming movement has recently gained steam. Other top-tier gaming developers, Konami, Square Enix, and Activision Blizzard, are already tapping into blockchain gaming. Rockstar Games’ involvement would not be a surprising move.

Axie Infinity reimburses users following a $625 million hack

On March 29, 2022 the popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity suffered a significant setback. Hackers drained over $600 million from the Ronin Bridge, a protocol that allowed users to move funds into the project’s gaming-focused sidechain from the Ethereum Network.

The security breach, which has since been linked to North Korean cybercrime group Lazarus, now holds the record for the largest crypto theft. It also significantly impacted Axie Infinity’s struggling game economy, casting doubt on the potential of the play-to-earn gaming space.

Impressively, Axie developer Sky Mavis has made a comeback from the incident. This week, the Ronin Bridge reopened to users, supporting the direct movement of previously stuck funds from the sidechain. Most importantly, Axie Infinity players have been made whole, with Sky Mavis replacing all stolen funds.

Although Axie Infinity has lost around one million users since the hack, the reimbursement of affected players sets a strong precedent for play-to-earn gaming projects that might suffer a similar issue. A robust insurance strategy and user-first approach will ensure that the play-to-earn space retains existing users while remaining attractive to newcomers.

Play-to-earn on the path to serving hundreds of millions of users

The potential entry of industry heavyweights like Rockstar Games makes for an exciting future for the blockchain gaming industry. The reopened Ronin Network bridge also paves the way for a potentially historic recovery of Axie Infinity’s struggling game economy, which was once a beacon for upcoming games.

Investors do well to recognize that the industry is still in its early years. It could potentially evolve to serve hundreds of millions of players as it stabilizes and onboards mainstream gaming studios.

UpOnly supports data-driven investment into play-to-earn gaming ventures. The UpOnly data directory provides insight into existing and upcoming play-to-earn games, allowing investors to profit from actionable data.

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