Zebedee Does What Ninten don’t

There are plenty of big-name video game developers jumping on the blockchain bandwagon. Unfortunately, most of them are stuck in the NFT kiddy pool. But the real future of blockchain gaming is in play-to-earn. That’s where Zebedee has stepped up. Like Sega in the early 1990s, Zebedee’s doing what Ninten don’t. And what Sony won’t. And what Microsoft is too distracted to even think about.

They’re creating a platform for integrating Bitcoin with the retro video games that everyone already loves. That’s what their new prototype, Bit-Tendo, is all about. Rather than offering an entirely new gaming experience, Zebedee is pulling out the old Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), dusting it off, and giving it a new (Bitcoin-infused) lease on life. It’s enough to make you shout, “Wa-hoo!”

Sonic’s Grabbing More than Rings

Can you still hear the jingle of every coin Mario collected? Can you still feel the frustration of nearly getting 100 rings in Sonic 3, only to hit an enemy and watch them scatter to the wind? What if those coins and rings were more than just numbers on a screen? What if they were real?

Bit-tendo has been designed to transform every ‘?’ block in Super Mario Bros. into a Bitcoin ATM. Smash it and watch your balance go up. Pick up a few stray coins and earn real cryptocurrency. It may sound like a (green) pipe dream, but Zebedee’s making it a reality. Bit-tendo integrates with an actual NES and can be adjusted to work with any original game. The game is run from the console through a computer and output to a television. The result is the same game you remember, except for the fact that it features an Sats counter and timer at the top of the screen.

The build that Christian Moss, Zebedee’s founder, recently revealed on Twitter offers players the opportunity to earn 100 Sats (Bitcoin’s smallest unit: 0.00000001BTC) for every in-game coin they grab. It gives an entirely new (and more tangible) reason to pick up every coin Mario or Luigi passes. But Bit-tendo won’t just work with Super Mario Bros.

The device can be configured to offer players Bitcoin rewards based on any in-game event. This means that has the potential to work with any game. And while Super Mario Bros. 3 is the only game that’s been shown off at this point, Moss has promised to reveal a Sonic the Hedgehog integration soon. But Sonic’s only the beginning. You could create a play-to-earn version of Pac-Man where every dot equals real money. Or you could give someone the chance to earn actual cash delivering papers on Paper Boy.

The possibilities are only limited by the number of retro games out there.

Read also: Unidentified Bitcoin Aliens (UBA) Sells All Their Coins, Making a Profit of $10.6M

Press Play to Earn Bitcoin

Playing the Bit-tendo is even easier than booting up an old NES console. After all, you won’t have to blow into this cartridge. Instead, you’ll just scan an on-screen QR code with your phone’s Zebedee app open. Then, can start playing like normal. Once the timer runs down, you’ll have the opportunity to keep going or cash out the Bitcoin you’ve earned. It’s like a modern day, crypto arcade – but the games are all the same classics you grew up with as a kid.

Setting it up is easy. All it requires is a wallet that’s connected to the Lightning Network, so transactions are as quick and cheap as possible. This is why Zebedee is hoping to get Bit-tendos set up at bars, conventions, and meetups across the country. The minds behind the project are confident that it could be just what’s needed to make play-to-earn gaming familiar and easy enough to catch on in the mainstream.

Putting the Crypto in Coin-Op

Getting started with Bit-tendo isn’t quite as simple as dropping a quarter in the slot. But it’s not far off. The venue hosting it will need to set up the system, including the console and a custodial wallet with Zebedee or LNBits. Once they’ve decided which games to include and customized how earnings will be rewarded, they’ll be ready for players. 

Players can approach the console, scan the QR code to pay for their chance to play, and jump into the game of their choice.

Coming Soon to a Console Near You

Christian Moss has already shown off the Bit-tendo’s integration with the NES, but he’s not stopping there. He recently tweeted that if he could get 200 retweets, he’d add Sonic the Hedgehog. It didn’t take long before he had that many (and more).

That means the Blue Blur (and presumably other Sega Genesis titles) will also work with the system. Ultimately, Moss hopes to make the system game agnostic, so it can be customized to work with any game out there (Though some may be easier to implement than others).

The Origins of Bit-Tendo

If play-to-earn games are going to catch on, they’re going to need to feel familiar. And nothing feels as familiar (or nostalgic) as booting up an old NES or Sega Genesis cartridge. That’s the real thought behind the Bit-tendo. After working in the play-to-earn space for years, Christian Moss realized that it’s far easier to get people to play games they already know and love than it is to introduce them to something new. That’s what makes Bit-tendo so accessible. And it’s the reason Zebedee may be poised to bring play-to-earn to a wider audience than ever before.