Avocado Guild is a young but already prominent project in a peculiar and rapidly developing area called Play2Earn. The Avocado Guild founders and developers don’t just create player communities; they also incorporate such well-known technologies as NFT, DeFi, and GameFi in their product.
We spoke to Brendan Wong, CEO of Avocado Guild.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Brendan Wong, CEO and co-founder of Avocado Guild. The company has been around for about five or six months now. We started the guild with a keen interest in games in the Play2earn space after seeing how Axie Infinity took off. We wanted to discover what we could build and “grow” ourselves. Since then, we’ve created a robust community of 50,000+ people, plus our Discord and about 40,000 Twitter followers. We’re the biggest existing guild right now. We have over 10,000 scholars, predominantly in Axie Infinity, and I’m also in the process of introducing them to several new Play2earn games.
Where does the “Avocado” name come from?
Well, I’m originally from Australia, and we love avocados in Australia, so I thought “Avocado” would be a really cool name! So, my other co-founders and me just figured, let’s call ourselves “Avocado”. It’s nice and cool, and very crypto-friendly.
What inspired you to launch the project about half a year ago?
We launched in the beginning of July. The project has two other co-founders – one is a very “behind the scenes” manager that the community knows quite well and the other is more of a strategic partner, who aids the guild in all areas and helps us move forward and grow.
At that time, Axie Infinity was talking about it, and it was gaining popularity. Even before Axie Infinity, we had all been into crypto, and we saw how crypto was going to change the world, primarily through decentralization. Then, when we learned a little more about it and delved deeper into the actual game, we realized that this is a realm of endless possibilities. We all have the opportunity to work in the digital space while using cryptocurrencies to improve our lives in the real world. The very idea that you can work or play to earn a token and improve your life this way blew my mind.
Blockchain gaming platforms are one of the youngest and fastest-growing areas in the gaming industry. When did you realize that you had discovered a fundamentally new direction with huge potential? And do you agree with this assessment?
I definitely agree. Blockchain games have huge untapped potential. I think this market is still in its infancy. I started looking into all of this and testing the gameplay in early June, but it wasn’t until July that we began really diving into the guild and figuring out how we’re going to scale this to impact more people.
As soon as we started, we discovered a considerable number of community users who want a scholarship program. They are excited about how it can improve their lives, and they want to earn money. We then realized that we entered an entirely new market, something the world likely has not seen for a very long time. That’s when we thought about bringing our expertise and scale to this project and testing how big we can build a game earning program (“scholarship program”).
Are you a gaming-only company, or do you have plans to combine GameFi with the more conventional sections of DeFi?
Following our token launch in December, we are working on bringing elements of DeFi into our mixed business model.
Speaking of your business model, is it a simple Play2Earn, or is there something else to it?
The basic business model is providing NFTs to our scholars in various games. We lend our NFTs so that they can go and complete quests, work, play the game, and get rewarded for creating content.
The game uses a utility token. This token has its own intrinsic value; with it, we share revenue with our scholars. And we keep expanding into different games and repeating the same process over and over again – it’s essentially streamlined.
But what we’re noticing right now is that many guilds like ours are moving into the realm of consultancy, helping with game development, providing user feedback, and even investing in these games.
It’s a good place to ask about your customers. Could you describe a “perfect” user? What about the community as a whole?
I think the perfect user for us is someone who is clearly aligned with the guild’s direction.
We are very transparent: we are trying to form a new generation of Web 3.0 users by introducing our own gaming blockchain technology. It might currently be the Ethereum-based Axie Infinity on the Ronin sidechain. But ultimately, as the latest games come out, we will educate, support, and provide NFTs to include in new games.
This way, we help people learn about the new technologies we create. We make our goals explicit not only for our users but also for their family and friends, and we aim to show that we can improve their lives with this new opportunity.
Do you think the GameFi industry will always be tied to NFT technology? What if the technologies develop in a different direction?
I believe that NFT technology and gaming industries at this point have a shared future.
Many game developers are already discussing NFT development with us and other platforms. We need to look at fundamental questions like – Do you want to be able to transfer an asset you own from one game to another? Do you want to continue playing another game with your savings?
At the same time, I’m noticing new games where the developers are trying not only to reward NFT ownership but make the game enjoyable. You can still earn money in this model, and if you own NFTs, you will make more. However, it only works when the game is actually fun and engaging, so developers try to direct both streams of customers to their games.
At what stage is your project currently? Where do you see it in a year?
I think our project is doing pretty well at the moment where there is an audience for it. We have over 10,000 scholars, predominantly in the Philippines and Indonesia. We have launched our token, which allows us to do a lot more. Given all that, I think within a year, we can deliver on the whitepaper promises and build the technology to solve all the problems that arise in the process of building a platform.
As we move into other games, we want to create the right platform, database, and tools to really integrate a game into our community. And if in a year Avocado continues to grow at the rate we have been moving so far, I think every region will soon have major Avocado assets, as we become one of the leaders in Southeast Asia.
That sounds great. We are currently seeing some governments fight against the DeFi market, and others support it. How do you think DeFi will develop going forward? Will the struggle between government agencies and the industry continue?
Personally, I think that struggle is a good thing since any change always requires some form of struggle to bring it about. That being said, some governments, as you’ve mentioned, back the decentralization of finance, while others oppose it, and we must operate within the set limits. At the same time, I don’t think you can really “turn off” people’s interest in DeFi. So it’s mostly about establishing generally accepted rules that people will abide by.
The Persian Gulf is a region rapidly growing on the “crypto world map”: It has numerous fast-developing areas of the blockchain business and large capitals being invested in crypto projects. Do you see it as promising for yourself and your company?
Extremely so. I’m very interested in the Gulf, and I know it’s one of the most crypto-friendly regions of the world today, and it’s worth exploring the possibilities that come with it.
I actually think that the Persian Gulf is an exceptional place for crypto. For example, I know a couple of people who went there to do crypto business, and it was nothing but welcoming to them. I believe the first countries or regions to adopt new technology will lead the way to the future. This space is very new, and there is no single method by which one can become part of a rapidly developing market. You don’t know which path to take, so you just hope you’ve chosen the best route to help you grow.
Are you going to create partnerships to develop and promote your project in different regions of the world? Which ones are priorities for you?
Southeast Asia is currently the perfect place for scholarships. But in terms of partnerships, various future DeFi protocols to integrate into our platform, and what we decide to do with our token use case to provide value for token holders – we are very open to partnering with any protocol or project, regardless of region. We chose Southeast Asia initially because the time zone makes it easy for us to manage everything since it is all in one place.
A new trend over the past month has been the metaverses. You also promise the project participants “the realization of their potential in the Metaverse”. What is it all about?
Well, “metaverse” is a trendy and recently coined term. But in fact, metaverses have been around for quite a while. In essence, it is a digital space that contains the environment in which you work. A good example of what can be considered a metaverse is a game like World of Warcraft.
Nowadays, with the adoption of new technologies, different forms of currencies are available in the metaverse. There is huge value in blockchain being genuinely decentralized, which is its essential property. I think in the future, a lot of games will be sort of metaverses in their own right. You will have your casual games, advanced games, triple-A games all creating their own community or individual space. You will be able to buy land in many of these games. And what else can give users their identity more than the ability to purchase land and NFTs?
As for what a guild is, I look at it as almost like a hub. The bridge to the metaverse is our own metaverse, but our “workers” go out to play and have fun. At the end of the day, they go back to our boss, so their experience in another metaverse ends with them moving to a different game and a different metaverse. In this case, the game is, in a sense, like a home planet.
Could you give a few more details on the metaverse you are creating?
I think a lot of these metaverses are very interested in working with guilds because we have a large community of real players, and in some cases, those players can provide more “quality” with their understanding of blockchain and their mobility in this space. My idea of the metaverse is the one where Avocado could help connect these users with all their games. Considering these are our players, and we already have a community, we just need to create a kind of community hub. Maybe it starts as a platform, an online space, or an app, but it can eventually grow into something much bigger because it is precisely where everyone returns to gather together and accumulate their efforts.
You have recently closed an $ 18 million Series A private financing round. How are you planning to direct the new funds towards project development?
We have already used the funds to increase our presence in Axie Infinity. At the same time, they will go towards scaling our operations in new Play2Earn games to acquire NFTs for game characters and lands. If you work on the land, there will be economic benefit returned to the owner, which in our case will be the guild. We are also using some of these funds to invest in new, promising projects, ranging from NFTs to our token. Finally, we are expanding our team. We need advanced technology and a strong team with the best people in this community to help make the whole guild concept into something substantial and sustainable going forward.
How do you envision Web3?
I believe Web3 is still in its infancy right now. As Web3 develops further, people will realize how much there is to it because crypto is a very steep learning curve. And as soon as a person understands that “it is for me” and sees how great it is, it opens a lot of possibilities. And I think if we can send that message to the world and people understand it, they will be much more open to accepting Web3.
But the technology is still in its early stages, and there is much more that needs to be developed to make sure that the mass market is properly integrated with Web3.
Can you tell from your own experience how Play2Earn is changing people’s lives?
Today, the Play2Earn model itself is evolving. First of all, our idea of making money is changing. Now, people are given the opportunity to earn a supplementary income through gaming. For some people, depending on the region they live in, the money earned this way can be pretty significant.
So far, it is additional income, not replacement income. But as soon as you help people understand that there is an opportunity to earn money in games, it is very difficult for them to step away from this new world – they will always look for the next place and opportunity for Play2Earn. The person starts thinking, “Maybe I’ll find another game where I could earn a little more.”
When this new gaming model first appeared, you made money using NFTs. The whole concept of the game is that you can lend your NFT to other people. To demonstrate this through a real-life example, it is similar to owning multiple houses and renting them out.
For users that have accumulated content and artifacts through the game and would like to step away from it, they can release these items in a format accessible to other players who would like to play the game. They can even transfer these items to different platforms and make them available for players in other games.
You’ve mentioned DeFi – so let’s make it so that you can then borrow funds based on your NFT assets. It is how we changed the way people look at NFTs and play now. Now you are not just gaming, you can earn income in the same way as in real life.
Final question I ask most of my interviewees and would like to pose to you: You are quite a young man. Imagine what you are going to tell your grandchildren many years from now about this period of your life? Because, as you know, everyone who works in the crypto industry now is the pioneer of a new era.
Yes, I can picture it. I would say to my grandchildren that it’s not like I’ve always told myself to do this. But at some point, I hit the ground running and realized that I was already in the middle of the race. I would tell them that at one point in their grandfather’s life, he had the opportunity to change the lives of tens of thousands of people.
I’ve been doing my best to try to get that number up to a hundred thousand, realizing that I’ll do something good for the people by creating a space that will give them back control. So, whether I succeed or not, I won’t know until I become a grandfather. But if I have grandchildren, and if they ask me, this is what I will tell them.