Catnip and Cashflows

Introducing the revolutionary hybrid economic model of Nyan Heroes built for mass adoption and sustainability at scale

Nyan Heroes
9 min readMay 24, 2024

Blockchain gaming is here to stay.

It’s no secret that the web3 digital revolution is capturing the attention and intrigue of millions of developers, capital allocators and consumers around the world. The technology at hand is unlocking the next stage of evolution for the world of digital assets, adding ownership, transparency and an instrinsic layer of value transfer that is “turned off” by default in traditional games.

Developers and gamers in this industry understand that it is the fundamental right of a player to own an asset that they purchase in a game. However this right has been insidiously removed from today’s game experience, creating a slew of value extractive game experiences and monetization models that seek to milk the consumer as much as possible.

This needs to change, and it will. However there are many challenges ahead.

We’ve seen the rise and fall of many web3 titles, unsustainable economies, industry meltdowns and of course now synonymous with the crypto industry — scams. Upon looking a little deeper, we see major issues in user experience, platform compliance as well as fragmentation of gamers between a myriad of L1s, L2s and gaming communities.

Two things have become clear to us amidst all these issues:
1. Incentives cannot be the sole driving force of a game economy
2. In order for mass adoption to occur, the user experience must be seamless and the onboarding process must be familiar

During the previous cycle we saw the rise and fall of many web3 titles. Ultimately there was one thing in common that led to their demise — their economic model.

These old models were built on a positive feedback loop, which whilst extremely powerful when the machine begins to roll, ultimately becomes unsustainable and hyperreflexic in the long run. These systems have no intrinsic sustainability, relying on new buyers to support the promise of uncapped rewards for existing players seeking ROI. In this way, they were very much ponzi schemes all with very similar looking boom-and-bust price charts.

In this way, they were very much resemblant of DeFi protocols that gave the promise of rewards through incentivized emissions but ultimately had no long-term user engagement due to lack of real interest in the product. Games that operate under this same ideology are inevitably doomed to fail as there is no real motivation to play the game once incentives dry up.

Games should be fun.

This axiom has held true of successful games over many decades. Why should it be any different now? Incentives are certainly a huge force multiplier in terms of UA, and a powerful tool for web3 studios that wish to self-publish. However a great game must always lie underneath, regardless of the economic model.

Additionally, mass adoption necessitates a seamless and familiar user experience. Most players dont purchase cryptocurrencies or NFTs. They create a player account, login and play the game. Some may choose to spend some money via a credit card on some in-game items or cosmetics. If a web3 game doesn’t have a similar onboarding or FTUE, players won’t play it.

Blockchain technology itself should never be the focal point, putting it front and centre will only serve to create more friction between users and game experiences. Backend systems will also need to be strategically designed in order to meet compliance demands of platforms and various regions.

Nyan Heroes is excited to introduce a revolutionary approach and a new refined update to our economic model. It is a hybrid approach that takes the success of traditional models and integrates a web3 feedback loop over the top.

How does it work?

Our default game experience is F2P with premium purchases. Our game features a soft currency called Scratch and a premium currency called Catnip. This premium currency is not a cryptocurrency, but an in-game currency that can be purchased with fiat directly from the store.

Scratch can generally be fairly easily earnt by playing the game, alongside an assortment of other materials like blueprints, alloys, spare parts, cores and more. These items are used for in-game progression, including crafting and levelling mods for your Guardians, unlocking weapons and basic cosmetics.

Catnip on the other hand is a premium currency used for purchasing premium items such as loot boxes, battle passes, premium cosmetics and progression boosts. These purchases are designed to fast-track progression, and are designed to allow more optionality for paying players as opposed to raw power advantages.

In addition, Catnip is the currency that is used in our in-game marketplace for trading. Free players will be able to earn Catnip through daily missions, luck based events, competitive play and seasonal quests. The addition of the marketplace will further allow free players to earn Catnip through selling items that they have accrued/farmed to paying players.

One major function of Catnip is the ability to “awaken” your characters, mods and cosmetics. This essentially mints these assets from default game assets into NFTs. These awakened items can be traded for Catnip in-game, or for fiat via our web-based marketplace. By structuring our marketplace in this way, players who accrue Catnip in-game have a way to exchange it for cryptocurrency out-of-game via our awakening system through NFTs.

As part of our in-game marketplace, we place a small transaction fee in Catnip for all trades. This fee, as well as all Catnip spent on premium item sinks, feeds into our studio revenue. Any Catnip revenue spent on the awakening process is indirectly converted into $NYAN which ultimately results in demand drivers for $NYAN via Catnip.

By routing all web2 economic flows through Catnip, our premium currency, we are not only able to create a system that is inherently familiar and seamless for regular gamers, but also ensures that we are compliant with all regulations and practices from any platform or region. At the same time we are not only able to generate revenue to the studio, but also create real network value for our ecosystem token $NYAN.

Having described our web2 flows and elaborating on the intrisic relationship between Catnip and $NYAN, we now move to the web3 model. As web3 natives, the team at 9 Lives are acutely aware of the need to implement both near-term and long-term mechanics to begin activating the positive feedback loop of our web3 economy.

Players who are oriented towards the economic side of Nyan Heroes will be able to utilize or consume $NYAN to further their stake in the network. $NYAN will play a critical role in our economic model, heavily capturing flows from market participants. Various events, competitions and seasonal campaigns will serve to distribute these flows to token-holders and NFT owners.

Upon full game launch, these incentives will persist through standard game loops, progression systems and competition. All NFTs will become awakened items in-game. As established, whether you are awakening assets in-game via Catnip, or via our website through $NYAN — the demand accrues to $NYAN nevertheless. This system revolutionizes the way that traditional players engage with the blockchain elements of the game, whereby the experience feels natural yet the revenue still flows into the network.

Awakened assets have two main value propositions. In the case of assets with game utility like characters and gear, these awakened assets will yield a unique layer of rewards inaccessible by regular players — including emissions of $NYAN itself. In the case of cosmetic assets without game utility, awakened versions will be tradeable in and out of game — akin to the csgo skins marketplace.

Beyond awakening, Nyan Heroes features a vibrant P2P marketplace that revolves around trading an assortment of items from raw materials, crafted goods, cosmetics, mod attachments and various awakened assets. The sum total of all marketplace volume is represented by game GDP, all of which has transaction fees. A portion of these fees will be captured by the network, which continues to grow as marketplace volume grows with the userbase.

Additional sinks including NFT rental fees, competition entry fees, staking rewards and governance features will further improve the robust demand for $NYAN,

There are many reasons why this hybrid approach in our eyes has the highest likelihood of success.

Derisks the economic model significantly
By building on top of something that we know already works, we are mitigating a lot of the risk associated with building an entirely new and untested system. Whilst it is brave and exciting to pioneer something completely original — the fact is that these systems are largely untested and unproven as we have seen with numerous failures already. Innovation typically is not 0–1, but rather a stepwise process that adjusts one or multiple levers of an existing system but keeps the foundation intact. Game development in web3 is already full of risks and pitfalls, we do not believe that it is to the benefit of our stakeholders and community to add additional layers of risk to an area as critical as the economic model.

Seamless user experience
Traditional gamers are already familiar with the F2P model and our default user experience begins here as well. By onboarding users through a model that is already known and easy to navigate, we can reduce friction and skepticism. We have already seen this seamless onboarding experience with traditional gamers who played our pre-alpha — many noting that the oboarding was exactly the same of a traditional game which in their mind was a positive experience.

Compliance with platform regulations and policies
By routing the default user experience through a traditional F2P model, we are immediately in compliance with the policies of app stores and PC platforms. These typically do not allow direct cryptocurrency transactions and/or state that any transactions should not provide additional features or functionality with the game. Additionally this default experience allows our studio to publish in regions that are currently “anti-crypto” by ensuring the default experience is identical to traditional game experiences.

Opt-in pathway for users to transition from web2 to web3
Traditional gamers can play the game without ever exploring the web3 element if they have no interest. Ultimately our goal is not to shove web3 or cryptocurrency or NFTs down the throats of gamers. Our goal is to create a seamless experience that can accelerate the mass adoption of a game product that utilizes web3 elements.

Synergy, sustainability and scalability
If executed well, each half of our hybrid model will synergistically feed off eachother whilst remaining economically sustainable at scale. Through this system, the monetary inflows of traditional users with zero interest in blockchain technology will nonetheless create sustainable drivers of network value for the $NYAN token. Additionally, any web3 user that enters the system via the web3 pathway will still serve to accelerate the flywheel effect of old web3 models — however this time it will be built on top of established sustainable systems.

About Nyan Heroes

Nyan Heroes is a competitive movement shooter featuring small cats piloting giant mechs. Our vision is mass adoption through gameplay, esports mindshare, seamless onboarding and an innovative hybrid economic model that is familiar to regular gamers and captures value through both traditional and web3 feedback loops.

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