Axie Infinity’s AXS token has climbed 41% in the last 24 hours to a record $153. The surge comes days after the play-to-earn game announced that it would distribute over $60 million worth of tokens to its early adopters and the launch of staking capabilities.
Since the Sept. 30 announcement, the price has more than doubled from $73, according to data from TradingView.
According to the AXS staking dashboard, since the announcement more than 12 million AXS have been staked. Staking is the process of participating in transaction validation on a proof of stake (PoS) blockchain, similar to mining. In a PoS blockchain, anyone with the minimum required balance of the relevant cryptocurrency is able to validate transactions and earn staking rewards.
“Staking yields on AXS remained exceptionally lucrative (189% APR), even with 12.4 million AXS staked already and growing, leading to a real risk of a supply crunch for AXS,” said Denis Vinokourov, head of research at Synergia Capital. “This could result in exponential, albeit likely unsustainable, upside, and in the end leading to erratic and choppy price action.”
The advance is also likely sapping away demand from other gaming and NFT-related assets as investors jump on momentum trade, according to Vinokourov.
Axie Infinity’s growth this year has surged, pushing its market cap to $9.3 billion. In countries where the earnings from playing Axie work out better than the average income, traffic is high. The Philippines ranks first, Brazil second and Venezuela third for traffic, according to data from SimilarWeb.
“The rise in price can be attributed to Axie’s growing popularity and how easy it is to get into,” said John Pangilinan, partner at Signum Capital. “I also feel that Axie has done some pretty smart marketing, such as their scholarship program.”
The Axie community offers scholarships to aspiring players so that they can get started without having to pay the high cost for a “starter team,” currently around $1,065. These scholarships are not official in-game features, they are done by a trusted community member who gives out a free Axie team and often takes a cut of the player’s earnings.
“I don’t think there’s another competitor that has this kind of price movement right now, therefore the attraction is high for both players and retail investors,” Pangilinan said.
The blockchain gaming startup also recently announced on the Scoop podcast that it will be launching a new decentralized exchange. According to The Block, it will be built on ‘Ronin,’ an Ethereum-linked sidechain purpose-built for Axie Infinity.
“This will remove some of the friction that exists for players who have to move their tokens to platforms,” said Vinokourov. “The move will improve user experience and further solidify AXS’s market leading status in the world of blockchain gaming,” he added.