Hello Auryn, you had a successful token sale for the FirstBlood token 1ST last year, you’re now building towards the initial alpha release, you’ve been presenting at meetups, organizing multiple regular Dota2 tournaments for your community, and the pre-alpha was one of the first DApps in Status.
Before your public alpha launch we thought this would be a great time to delve deeper and ask you some questions.Community Director of FirstBlood, Auryn Macmillan For those who don’t know you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, like what is it that you do at FirstBlood? How did you get drawn into the world of Ethereum?
Officially my role is Community Director, what that translates to most of the time is cat herding. I coordinate our community events and tournaments to make sure everyone is having a good time.
I’ve been totally immersed in the blockchain space since early 2013, I originally discovered Bitcoin after learning about the deep web. That intrigued me, so I started poking around and noticed everything for sale was denominated in Bitcoin. From there I fell into a rabbit hole that just keeps on getting deeper (I feel a matrix session coming on). When I started reading Vitalik’s posts on his concept for Ethereum, I immediately knew it would be game changer.And how about FirstBlood? What would you say is the most exciting aspect of it for you?
FirstBlood (actually it was called Tronn when I first discovered it) immediately jumped out at me, it was a blend of a long time passion of mine, video games, and a rabbit hole that had ensnared me for the past few years. Naturally I was captivated.
Coming from a crypto background, I’m personally most excited about the proper alignment of incentives. Toxicity and cheating are rampant in video games and eSports, so platforms like ours that will financially disincentivise these behaviours can’t come soon enough.You actually have a background in professional competitive sports. Do you see that your former career in basketball helps you in the world of eSports?
Definitely, there are all kinds of parallels to be drawn between the two, everything from league/tournament design to player work and dietary habits.Auryn Macmillan was formerly a professional basketball player. Also you’re a gamer yourself, what kind of games do attract you, do you have a favourite genre of games?
I honestly don’t think I could say I have a personal favourite genre. I tend to like individual instances of just about every genre. My absolute favourite game of all time is Half-Life 2, followed closely by Diablo 2. Both of which have aged well enough for me to still enjoy playing them today.
The game I play most these days is Hearthstone, just because it’s a quick and simple game I can play anywhere.
And obviously I’ve been playing a fair bit of Dota 2 lately, the whole team has had to dive head first into Dota 2 to make sure we fully understand the ecosystem.What kind of players do you think will be drawn to FirstBlood and how will they benefit from it?
FirstBlood will be most attractive to competitive eSports players. Anyone who already spends time grinding out ranked games will find more consistent quality games on FirstBlood because of the incentive structure.
Because of this built in incentive model, FirstBlood will help to eliminate a lot of the toxic behaviour that is common in eSports. On FirstBlood there will be direct financial disincentives to cheating, disconnect, go AFK, feed, or start flaming your teammates.Dota 2 being the first game on FirstBlood, can you tell us what other games are you looking to and what you’re hoping to achieve with FirstBlood?
There is nothing set in stone just yet, but we’ll be targeting the major PC eSports games first. So that would include CS:GO, League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Rocket League, Street Fighter, etc. Beyond that, we hope to eventually expand into console games like Call of Duty, Halo, and FIFA.
To put it briefly, we want to reward the journey. We want to give gamers the opportunity to be rewarded for their participation in eSports from day one. Joe, our CEO actually wrote a nice blog post on this: https://blog.firstblood.io/reward-the-journey-a01415426c64What sort of issues are you facing on this journey of developing FirstBlood?
Waiting on the rest of the industry to catch up. We are pioneering this application of Ethereum’s blockchain tech in this space, so until the rest of the space catches up we will be dealing with making our product backwards compatible with legacy systems.
Typically public video game APIs are sparse and poorly documented. Finding or creating APIs that will give us the level of granularity we require will be one of the bigger challenges.
And the UX of Ethereum, and cryptocurrency as a whole, is nowhere near where it needs to be in order to satisfy the needs of mainstream gamers. Finding solutions or compromises to the janky interactions that crypto forces will be the biggest hurdle for us.
Making the UX of FirstBlood as simple as possible will be key for us. If you can play Dota 2 (or really any other eSport), you should have no trouble navigating our platform.FirstBlood pre-alpha Game Lobby Regarding Ethereum, what are the benefits of using it? Any other projects in the space that you’re excited about?
Ethereum will allow us to be more transparent than any of our competitors can be. Meaning players, teams, and other organisations will be exposed to much less counterparty risk when they interact with us.
There are some really interesting synergies in the Ethereum space. The one that immediately springs to mind is Ownage; they are tokenizing in game assets. Imagine being able to take your in game items with you from one game to another, this is exactly what Ownage is making a reality. Now the really cool extension on this will be asynchronous wagering, i.e. my sword vs your shield, on the FirstBlood platform.
Aside from FirstBlood, I’m most excited about Gnosis and Status. The later because I see it drastically reducing the barriers to entry in the Ethereum space. The former because it is the technology that will enable some of the more interesting and wild applications that the Ethereum has to offer; futarchy DAOs!
The big barriers to entry right now are key management and client weight, both of which Status is doing an amazing job at addressing.Do you see that Status as a mobile user interface can help FirstBlood?
First and foremost, crypto is scary! Well for a lot of users anyway. So anything that reduces that barrier to entry is welcome. Aside from that, giving users an opportunity to interact with our app while they are away from their PC will definitely help engagement.What do you think FirstBlood can do to help or change people’s lives?
I look forward to hearing the first stories of someone quitting their day job because they’ve been able to generate a steady income playing on FirstBlood. These cases will be exceptional, but there will be opportunity for everyone to monetise their eSports participation much earlier than is currently possible.How big do you think the FirstBlood community will grow in 2017?
It’s gonna be yuge!
Honestly though, I’m not going to try to predict a figure but we have no intent on scaling slowly once our platform is ready for users. We have a couple of leagues and tournaments planned that are sure to see some pretty wild growth.What are you personally looking forward to this year?
Wild growth in the Ethereum and crypto space! I think we’ll see the start of an Ethereum DApp boom, so I’m looking forward to more and more use cases for my favourite technology.So how can people get access to FirstBlood?
We’re currently in a limited alpha. If you participated in the 1ST pre-sale or have been active in our community for a while and want to try it out, then shoot me a message asking really nicely. Otherwise, you may just have to wait until we open it up to the public in Beta.Last question; what can people in the Ethereum community do to help FirstBlood?
Learn how to play Dota 2!Thank you for your time Auryn, we’ll be closely following the development of FirstBlood in the months ahead.