Microsoft is joining forces with Enjin, a blockchain-based game development platform, to make a set of reward collectible badges that will honor the contribution of Azure cloud community members as Azure Heroes.
The program is still in its early stages and is being currently tested in some Western European markets. The reward badges, which represent a cartoon badger, are non-exchangeable and unique digital tokens on the public Ethereum blockchain.
The different badger designs that can be earned are limited in quantity and are displayed on the Microsoft website.
In an announcement made earlier Enjin explained:
“Azure Heroes aims to recognize the real contributions and positive behaviors in the Microsoft developer community. The program emphasis will be on acts such as volunteering, mentoring, teaching others, and creating inclusive environments – the things that communities are all about.”
The rewards style resembles a new take on the idea of icons being assigned to forum users to distinguish between expert and novice community members.
This initiative is not the first time that Microsoft engages with gaming or blockchain. The Azure cloud is already hosting various blockchain protocol nodes. Also, EY and Microsoft worked together to incorporate blockchain technologies in the way Xbox is tracking game royalties.
Microsoft is also leading the Token Taxonomy Initiative. There is an identity project named ION, running on the Bitcoin network as well as an Ethereum project for Decentralized & Collaborative AI on Blockchain.
Many of the games have assets that can be acquired. Enjin has built a game development platform to make in-game assets, which exist on the blockchain. It is utilizing a sidechain on Ethereum in order to bypass existing scalability issues, of which the core public Ethereum network is suffering.
Enjin also signed a deal with Samsung, which will allow its gamer wallet to be present on the Samsung 10 phone in specific jurisdictions.
In 2017 the company issued a coin and raised almost $19 million and as of today has a market capitalization of about $70 million. There was more than 50% growth in the price of the ENJ token after the Microsoft deal was announced.
Enjin is probably most recognized for its is the development of the new Ethereum token standard ERC-1155. The most well-known Ethereum standard is ERC-20, which is used by a large number of projects as convertible tokens or currencies, such as for ICOs.
The company behind CryptoKitties powered the non-fungible token standard ERC-721, which serves for one-off items or collectibles. But Enjin identified a demand for an alternative standard since games usually have a large variety of item types.
A blog post outlined ERC-1155 as “one smart contract, many tokens”.
The blog noted:
“While ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens required a new smart contract deployed for each new “class” of token, the core concept behind ERC-1155 is that a single smart contract can govern an infinite number of tokens. Think of this like a vending machine that holds a wide variety of soda, juices, and even snacks. A customer interacts with the machine using a single secure interface (inserting a coin, pressing a button), and the machine dispenses the goodies they have selected. In the same way, an ERC-1155 contract made for a game could contain a wide variety of items, from weapons and armor to health potions, magic scrolls, and more.”