The Tale of the 1,000,000th Axie

Unless you are living under the metaphorical Axie Infinity rock, you are aware of the recent debate around Axie #1,000,000, or more so the process in which this Axie came to be.

I think the best way to start off is by explaining what happened and then going into the implications of it.

As everyone knows in crypto, ID is one of the many ways that people value certain assets. Whether it be 420, 100, 1, 888, or 1,000,000, people associate some sort of milestone or value to certain ID numbers. In this case, the milestone was the 1,000,000th axie ever bred in history. Now does it mean anything special in game? Not really. It just is an unique time in Axie history.

The Method:

So as everyone was preparing to breed the axie manually, a member of the community was preparing a more in depth procedure that would allow them to commit 50+ breeds at once (I think it was like 94). The point was that as the number approached 1,000,000 they could send off this script so that it would breed as many as possible to have a better chance at getting axie #1,000,000. I will not name names in this article because I don’t think it achieves anything productive by singling out one member of the community. As they describe it, the procedure was as follows:

“I dug around on the website this past week and figured out how the normal Ronin wallet interacts with the Ronin blockchain: by sending transactions to a free-gas RPC. I prepared a list of breeding transactions and data without interacting with the site at all

(just compiling the necessary hex data for breeding transactions), and I imported the RPC into my Metamask. I never actually touched the axie site during this whole process, and was able to submit a batch of 99 transactions to the Ronin network

from my metamask… was lucky timing that I managed to get it right, and I went out of my way to follow the ToS. Me submitting 99 transactions had no negative effect on the servers or the website.”

So in essence, they created a script that would fire off the breeds in order once the manual “command” was given in metamask. 

TLDR: they automated breeding 90 Axies in a row to give themselves a better chance at axie 1,000,000.

One Reaction: It Breaks ToS

Before I go into my take on the situation, I want to be fair and lay out both sides of the argument. The initial reaction by many in the community was that the actions took by this community member broke the Axie ToS. Specifically, where it mentions botting and automation that is not privy to the entire community or that doesn’t benefit the entire community. I am summarizing but you can check the entire list of terms here: 

Since this person created a script that only benefitted themselves, and minimized the chances that other people had at breeding this Axie, many saw it as cheating. They botted/automated breeding while others were waiting for hours to manually breed the Axie. They created something that did not benefit the entire community. 

This argument does have some merit. There is a case to be made that this member broke the ToS, however, I think there is more to the story.

My Reaction:

I have a lot to unpack here so this part will be longer. 

The Insta-Ban Reaction:

The first and biggest thing that upset me was some members on Twitter and Discord that went after the person to get them banned. Calling them out, creating hashtags, blackmailing the team and giving them ultimatums, is not what this movement was built on. One of the main reasons I spent so much time in the Axie discord early on was because of the rational conversations that members could have about the game, the team, the industry in general —  whatever it may be. Every conversation was open. Both parties could lay out their argument and there were never any hard feelings if you disagreed. There were many times community members, including myself, raised constructive questions with the team and the development. The team never shut us down. They never muted us or banned us. They let us lay out our constructive stance, in a logical, thought out way and they responded in the same. It was all for the benefit of the game, it was all out of passion for the game to be successful. It was never fud, never targeted to individual players.

The team always handles these instances with rationality, with logic. They will always do what they think is best for the game, without taking anyone’s side. I don’t think its right to try to ban this person, or give the team an ultimatum as if this was the first time they handled controversy. The team has handled countless examples of this, this just happens to be the first one many are a part of. The team’s approach has not changed in any of them. Transparent, logical, rational discussions.

I think this has always been the unspoken foundation that has allowed for us to thrive. 

The Financial Aspect of Axie:

I think there is an important distinction to make when it comes to Axie the game and Axie the financial market. Puff Chaddy made this argument on Twitter and I agree with them:

“IMO: There should be different rules for the marketplace vs. the battle system. Marketplace/breeding is a financial product. You can’t stop bots in finance. Breeding scripts allow for faster burning of SLP and more AXS in the treasury.”

There are different rules when it comes to the marketplace and the battle system. Breeding is a financial product, if there are profits, people will try to bot to get an advantage because money is on the line. When you are automating breeding you are technically not cheating in the game. You are not beating everyone in the arena, ruining the game for players. There is opportunity on the line and its fair play for everyone to go after it. The marketplace is an open environment for people to maximize profits (to an extent), this game does not guarantee profit to players. However, battling is different. This is why multi-accounting and botting the game is strictly banned. This directly impacts the user experience of playing the game. Botting breeding just makes in inconvenient it for others, it does not hinder their ability to play the game. The community member who did this took the time to understand the technology and create an opportunity to take advantage of it. Also, there was no guarantee that this would succeed, there was a lot of chance and risk in this strategy. It was not a 100% chance at getting Axie #1,000,000. 

Further, a positive secondary impact is that they had to use a ton of SLP and AXS to breed 94 axies. This means that there was demand that had positive price impact on SLP AND AXS. Everyone in the community directly benefits from this. Further, the community treasury benefits because the breeding fees allocated to the treasury ultimately end up back in the community. This had a net positive impact on the community.

A side note: Breeding has always been somewhat automated

Players have always in some way, shape, or form have botted breeding. At a large scale it is very difficult to maximize time with breeding axies. This situation it just happened to be used for breeding a specific ID.

Final Thoughts:

I think both sides of the argument have merit. I think the people concerned about botting have a valid point, which is why I want to promote rational, open conversations about these concepts. This is what brings new community members in: they see people in a community having passionate, thoughtful conversations around a part of the game. These passionate conversations are what create a digital revolution. Let’s keep them alive and well so that everyone can be a part of them.

At the end of the day, the team will handle it. They will do their own internal assessment and let us know their conclusion and the reasoning behind it. In the meantime, let the market decide if Axie #1,000,000 has any financial value. 

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