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Uniswap Labs Levels Up With Crypto: The Game

Uniswap eyes onchain entertainment with its Crypto: The Game acquisition
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Jun 11, 20244 min read
Uniswap Labs Levels Up With Crypto: The Game

I’ve played in 17 of the 20 competition days across Crypto: The Game (CTG) Seasons 1 and 2, and I had an absolute blast in these first two runs.  

Brimming with alliances, betrayals, and nail-biting challenges, this is a game where luck, social skills, and strategy come together like nowhere else in crypto. 

It’s a true Survivor-style showdown, as intense as it is addictive, and in my opinion the game has a bright future. That’s why I was excited to learn that the team behind Uniswap, another app with a bright future, just acquired CTG! 

Let’s dig into the big ideas here 👇

What’s the scoop?

On June 10th, Uniswap Labs announced its acquisition of CTG and that the game’s builders—Dylan Abruscato, Tyler Cagle, and Bryan Lee—would be joining its fold to continue developing the highly anticipated Season 3 contest.

Along with working on Season 3, the CTG maestros will also explore new onchain events for the Uniswap community, blending the excitement of games and limited-time social activations into the wider Uniswap ecosystem. 

“Uniswap Labs first learned about CTG because so many members of the Uniswap community—team members, investors, users, etc.—played Season 1 and were hooked,” CTG creator Dylan Abruscato told me via DM yesterday.

“As a result, UL decided to sponsor a challenge during Season 2, which gave them a behind-the-scenes look into CTG. This also gave us a chance to collaborate and we quickly realized that we all shared a passion for building products that offer the best onchain experiences for our users.”

Why it matters?

Uniswap Labs is a powerhouse across DeFi and NFTs, and if anyone has the brainpower and resources to elevate CTG to the next level, it's them. Look for CTG to get bigger and bolder accordingly.

This acquisition is also a compelling strategic move by Uniswap, as the DeFi giant can now leverage the engaging nature of CTG to funnel interest to its frontend.

via David Phelps

As David Phelps, co-founder of JokeRace, recently argued, winning on the frontend is crucial for monetization in crypto, where protocols can be easily forked and used by competitors.

“Even DeFi will need to be social,” Phelps said,  and Uniswap’s acquisition of CTG notably aligns with this moat strategy of creating unique social experiences to foster enduring, profitable engagement. If this move works well for Uniswap, look for other crypto projects to try to emulate this social blueprint. 

The big picture

Something I watch closely for in crypto is indie projects. Projects that bootstrap themselves with small teams from the bottom up to bring to life experiences that bigger, more traditional incumbents don’t have the guts or interest for. 

Part of the magic of early CTG has been its indie spirit, its vision for a game that could transcend the status quo. And though it’s now in the fold of crypto giant Uniswap, I fully expect CTG to continue being guided by its indie roots.

“The fact that our Season 1 winner was someone like MFL, a player from West Japan who speaks no English, yet won over the entire CTG community, has to be my favorite storyline. This is exactly why we're building CTG,” Abruscato told me.

Someone like MFL, who would never have been cast in a traditional TV reality competition, not only played but also won our game show, thanks to it being onchain.”

And while some skeptics say that blockchain tech is a solution in search of a problem, the CTG creator believes the game’s onchain elements have only enhanced its core mission instead of serving as the core mission.

“I can't really speak for any other crypto apps, but whenever I chat with other crypto builders, I always tell them to come up with an idea first, and then decide if building it onchain makes it a better product,” Abruscato said.

“CTG would never have had the impact it did if I had sat down at a whiteboard and tried to think of an idea for a crypto game. It started as an idea, and building it onchain made it more fun.”

Zooming out

Can CTG maintain its user interest and engagement in the long term as it scales up under Uniswap? I believe so—all the ingredients for success are there.

And how will other DeFi and NFT projects respond to Uniswap's acquisition of CTG? Will this move trigger a wave of similar acquisitions and partnerships, or will it remain a unique, one-of-a-kind strategy for the foreseeable future?

These are open questions, and I’m excited to see how the answers unfold. In the meantime, I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of CTG Season 3 and its new thrills. Keep your eyes peeled for S3 updates for now!

William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

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William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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