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Have you ever tried to play an arcade game, only to have the machine eat your quarter? That’s how I felt when I tried to play the popular Web3 game Axie Infinity—except instead of losing 25 cents, I lost over $100.

It went down like this. In November, I decided I had to try Axie, a metaverse game that is valued at billions of dollars and hailed as a pioneer in what’s known as “play to earn.” Though my gaming days are behind me (weed-fogged nights of “Halo” stopped being a thing after college), I figured it couldn’t be too hard to dive into Axie.

I was wrong.

In order to play the game, you need to download software of the game’s parent company Sky Mavis and then a standalone application for Axie Infinity. Then it gets complicated. You can’t play the game without buying Axie characters, which cost money in the form of Ethereum. So I fired up my MetaMask wallet and went to transfer 0.05 of ETH–only to discover that Axie won’t interact with MetaMask; you have to create and fund another wallet called Ronin.

Okay, fine. I transferred the funds using Ronin Bridge, which cost me $76(!) in fees, and finally I was poised to go shopping at yet another site called Axie Masterpiece. Oops, not so fast: it turns out you need to buy not one but three Axie critters to play the game, and the cheapest were selling for around $90, so three of them was more than I could afford with the 200 bucks or so I had left after transaction fees.

After waiting a few weeks to see if the price of the critters would go down (they didn’t), I decided to give up and cut my losses. It was time to send…


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