Author – Anujit
Atari, best known as makers of the hugely popular 1980s video games “Pac-Man”, “Space Invaders”, and “Pong”, is trying to rebrand themselves as a serious player in the cryptocurrency space. As part of their February 8th announcement, they gave some details about their upcoming cryptocurrency Atari Token, and expansion of their partnership with Pairplay Ltd for launching digital currency-based gambling products. Several companies have seen their share price increased suddenly after announcing a blockchain or cryptocurrency based venture, and it was the same for Atari too, with their share price rising by 60%.
Atari plans to launch a blockchain-powered platform, which will offer a wide range of digital entertainment options to the users, including video games, movies, and music. The users of the platform will pay with Atari Token. In essence, this new platform will be a blockchain-powered digital storefront for entertainment products.
There is also a second plan that Atari has up their sleeve. This involves working with their partner Pairplay Ltd to let players of online gambling use Atari Tokens, as well as another new cryptocurrency called Pong Token. This project will allow the players to use fiat currencies as well.
Cryptocurrencies, and their underlying technology blockchain, is regularly attracting communities and businesses into their fold, with their promise of decentralization and increased efficiency. Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies, backed by encryption technology and built on blockchain, however, not backed by central banks and governments, and not guaranteed by tangible assets. Cryptocurrencies allow the traders bypass interference from governments and banks, and enables users to transfer funds across borders and trade in these digital tokens relatively anonymously. The underlying technology, i.e. blockchain, is a decentralized network, where computers on the network maintain a shared version of truth that is immutable, and mathematically proven. Every computer on the network, also called ‘node’, is a point of authority, and updates to blockchain aren’t routed through any centralized authority. No existing block records, also called ‘blocks’ can be deleted or updated. The only way to update blockchain is by adding new blocks, which can be done after very significant number-crunching operation at high speed. In the context of cryptocurrencies built on blockchain, this massive number-crunching is called ‘mining’. The term ‘miner’ can be used interchangeably to refer to the combination of special-purpose software, specially designed hardware and their users. Cryptocurrency mining is a competitive process, since miners are rewarded with a fraction of the cryptocurrency they mint. The mining process requires providing details of the transaction in question, as well as the reference to last recorded block on the blockchain, and only when a miner provides this proof of work (POW) by running resource-intensive number crunching operation, he gets to mint a new coin. The complexity involved in the process to update blockchain makes hacking a blockchain economically non-viable, and blockchain is hence secure. The technology has been widely welcomed by Financial Technology (FinTech) sector, and many other industries are exploring it intensely.
As recently reported, Kodak, the technology giant from yesteryears, is trying to reposition themselves with cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and saw their share price jump significantly. In another incident, Long Island Iced Tea, another struggling business, renamed themselves to Long Island Blockchain, and saw a massive jump in their stock price. Atari, originally founded in Sunnyvale, California, USA, had seen their fortunes nosedive in the 1980s, and the successor company, i.e. Atari SA is headquartered in Paris, France. The successor company has faced indifferent fortune for some time now, and the entry into cryptocurrency appears to be an effort to stay relevant in the intensely competitive digital gaming industry. From their announcement, it wasn’t immediately clear whether they will develop the Atari Token and Pong Token. There is possibility that Atari will lend its brand name to another company, or buy stake in the company, which will develop and run the blockchain platform and the cryptocurrencies. More details in this regard are awaited.