Minecraft Bans NFTs — Details on the Anti-Blockchain Stance

Rachel Curry - Author
By

Jul. 21 2022, Published 11:34 a.m. ET

Microsoft-backed digital sandbox game Minecraft has made a clear stance against non-fungible tokens (NFTs), effectively banning them on the platform.

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This anti-blockchain stance juxtaposes that of the broader video game industry, which is moving towards Web3 elements like NFTs.

Minecraft announced the NFT ban ahead of an update.

On July 20, Minecraft published a blog post announcing a ban on NFTs on the platform. Minecraft has previously allowed NFTs to represent skins or worlds that players can access through digital ownership. However, the game — owned by Mojang Studios, which Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) acquired in 2014 — says the feature is no more.

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Minecraft stated, “Integrations of NFTs with Minecraft are generally not something we will support or allow.” The word, “generally,” does leave an opportunity open. However, it shuts the door on a large swath of NFT utility.

Minecraft explained its anti-NFT policy.

Players should be able to access the same features as everyone else, especially when they pay to access a server, Minecraft says. The company also said, “NFTs, however, can create models of scarcity and exclusion.”

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Players should be able to access the same features as everyone else, especially when they pay to access a server, Minecraft says, adding, “NFTs, however, can create models of scarcity and exclusion.”

That’s not all. Minecraft also refers to the speculative nature of NFT investing, which distracts players from being able to enjoy their in-game experience. That isn't to mention the general uncertainty of NFT legitimacy. Despite plenty of NFTs that are so far legitimate, rug pulls, liquidity failures, and downright frauds plague the market. Minecraft clarified, “The speculative pricing and investment mentality around NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we think is inconsistent with the long-term joy and success of our players.”

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The game goes further by criticizing blockchain.

Ahead of its forthcoming update, Minecraft said, “Blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our Minecraft client and server applications nor may they be utilized to create NFTs associated with any in-game content, including worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods.”

While many other applications are moving toward Web3 and blockchain-based features, Minecraft is blockading them. The company states it has no plans to integrate blockchain into the game at this point, though it remains open to evolutions in favor of user security and satisfaction.

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Is Minecraft making enemies?

As Minecraft bans NFTs and blockchain technology, French video game company Ubisoft (creator of The Settlers, Ghost Recon Frontline, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, and more) has invested in an entire arm dedicated to NFTs and blockchain technology, Ubisoft Quartz.

Minecraft is now under the control of Microsoft leadership, but its creator, Markus Persson (also known as Notch), seems neutral-to-skeptical about NFTs. As for Minecraft fans, the decision to block NFTs will likely only phase a small minority of players.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t making enemies. Chris Dixon, the general partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), tweeted it’s “clear Minecraft/Microsoft has done zero research on the topic.” Considering Dixon controls a $4.5 billion Web3 fund at a16z, this is no small diss. Moving forward, Minecraft has the option to alter its stance, but for now, it remains firm.

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