Blockchain-based games are becoming increasingly popular, but playing them is becoming prohibitively expensive. StepN and other play-to-earn games require players to acquire an NFT before they can participate, but other crypto video games offer gamers expensive upgrades such as virtual avatars and unique skins or costumes.
Akshay Malhotra and Griffin Dunaif started Halliday in 2021 to create a “buy now, pay later”-style finance option for gamers who wish to pay off in-game purchases over time.’
The startup has raised $6M in a seed round headed by a16z crypto, with participation from Hashed, a capital, SV Angel, Immersion Partners, Sabrina Hahn, and other investors.
According to the company, the six-person team expects to launch its product in a beta partnership with League of Kingdoms in a few weeks. A full public rollout is likely soon after the beta.
Halliday‘s offering, like that of many other BNPL providers such as Klarna and AfterPay, will be interest-free for users. However, unlike typical BNPL providers, Halliday will not collect penalty fees to subscribers who fall behind on their payments.
Gamers can use a Halliday extension to purchase an in-game asset and start using it right away, but the asset will be retained with Halliday until it is fully paid off. Once the payments are completed, Halliday will relinquish ownership of the asset to the gamer.
If a gamer does not pay what they owe on time, Halliday will simply take back custody of the digital asset rather than reporting the delinquency to a credit institution. Halliday has created its own smart contracts that “wrap” NFTs, allowing gamers to utilise the underlying object but not sell, transfer, or keep the rights to the NFT itself. Game creators, too, frequently have their own internal access controls that restrict a user from gaining possession of and holding onto a virtual object if they are not authorised to do so.
Though Halliday intends to charge users who use the device an upfront fee to support the startup’s costs. The fee will be phased out over time; the company’s goal is to maintain the product as low-cost as feasible for players.