Star Atlas CEO on ‘the next step in the coordination of human labor’

star atlas ceo on 'the next step in the coordination of human labor'
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Michael Wagner discussed the ‘borderless digital nation’ and the evolution in decentralization

DappRadar went along to the Star Atlas 426LIVE event on July 21st to hear firsthand about the hotly-anticipated platform updates. Rumors had been flying through fan forums for days, while the Star Atlas team remained tight-lipped. Everyone was speculating about what Michael and the team would reveal. 

Luckily for us, no one left disappointed. The event went off seamlessly, with live DJs and plenty of chat. Senior figures from Automata, the team behind Star Atlas, showed up to deliver updates, revelations and plenty of alpha.

Key takeaways from the presentations:

  • Operations security is of paramount importance for Star Atlas. To this end, they are working with Kudelski Security to ensure users’ wallets are as secure as possible.
  • Star Atlas is working with gaming manufacturer iBUYPOWER to release a range of custom products. These will be a branded PC case, bespoke headphones and a smooth gaming mouse pad with Star Atlas artwork.
  • Product Lead Luciano Castello gave us a world exclusive when he presented Star Atlas’s very own Galactic Marketplace. This has now launched and is ready for trading.
  • StarPath is the brand new Star Atlas referral program. It employs web3 technology to reward users and in-game clans who recruit new players to the game.
  • CEO Michael Wagner delivered the most anticipated and exciting update in the final presentation: Star Atlas is launching the first version of its Decentralized Autonomous Organization. More on this later.

After the music and presentations, I got the opportunity to sit down with Star Atlas CEO Michael Wagner, alongside some fellow web3 press members. 

We discussed the importance of DAO mechanics to the future of Star Atlas. And we spoke about how difficult it is to create a sustainable economy inside blockchain games. What follows are Michael Wagner’s answers to some of the questions we asked.

Exclusive Showroom gameplay

Why are DAOs so important for web3?

Michael Wagner: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations are blockchain-native governance systems that use automation to coordinate the directives of participants. 

DAOs are relatively new as a concept globally and they differ from traditional corporate structures in that they prioritize the member-ownership. 

These structures are the next step in the coordination of human capital and labor and this step is as historically important as the invention of the corporation itself.

How will the DAO operate in Star Atlas?

MA: The DAO ecosystem is being designed as a multi-tiered platform and at the top level, the universal DAO that we’re launching today is tasked with managing monetary policy, the treasury, and game-wide decisions regulating the overall wellbeing of Star Atlas. 

It’s an overarching structure, it guides the ecosystem as a whole and in following iterations, we will be introducing faction, regional and local DAOs to be utilized in gameplay. 

Alongside this, there will be an independent infrastructure for guilds. These sub-level DAOs will determine factors such as planetary and faction tax rates. And they’ll be used to coordinate faction warfare, so much more to come on all of this in the future.

The universal DAO is primarily tasked with managing the Star Atlas economy via ATLAS monetary policy, and will have purview over future ATLAS emissions for game rewards. It will also oversee alternative incentive structures. 

Additionally, the DAO has embedded revenue streams from gameplay taxationalongisee product implementations such as the new marketplace. Other areas of influence outside of these economic considerations include feature and asset release schedules. 

And the incorporation of player-created content. Also, the approval of legally binding off-chain contracts between real-world companies.

The foundation will be operated by an independent board of directors. I really want to emphasize here that Automata does not control the foundation. 

The board of directors’ sole function is to serve as an agent for the DOA. And they’re responsible for processing past proposals and engaging in legal contracts on behalf of the DAO where necessary.

iBUYPOWER bespoke Star Atlas PC case

What features are critical for the success of a blockchain game? True decentralization, ease of use, Triple A gameplay, or something else?

MA: As far as onboarding mainstream gamers, they’re going to be relying on us actually developing a product that’s very attractive to them. And that’s clearly what we’re going for.

That’s this Triple A unreal engine-based experience that runs on Solano. And you know, it’s going to be critical for us just to deliver very fun, engaging, entertaining, gameplay experiences.

And that needs to be our priority, a fun gaming experience. Secondary to that though, is the foundation, which is the underlying economy and the different value propositions that we can allow by introducing crypto and NFTs. And things like play-to-earn, for the gamer. 

To me, it’s a value enhancement. It’s not the core value proposal for that user group. If you can spend a couple of hours playing in an MMO and at the end of that, you also get some cryptocurrency that has real world monetary value. Well, that is all upside for that particular user. 

They were going to play anyway. but now they actually own their assets. They can freely transact peer-to-peer. And also they have earnings potential off of time spent in that game.

How can blockchain gaming achieve mass adoption?

MA: We hold this user security to be paramount in everything that we do. And we hold ourselves to the highest standards of cybersecurity protocols and implementation. 

So, it starts with us, making sure that our applications are secure and that those programs that individuals are interacting with are also secure. 

Now, we have a lot of sophistication in this. And we happen to be quite competent at it. That’s not to say that it’s impossible for some unknown vulnerability or a zero day attack to get discovered. 

But we take many steps along the way to ensure that our programs are safe. And that starts with the way that we architected. It starts with our own internal review of every single on-chain program that gets deployed. 

When it comes to the users themselves, obviously one of the things that’s really critical here is being able to provide some education to these new users. 

And I’ll get into one more thing after this, but, um, philosophically fundamentally, and maybe not everybody on the team agrees with this, but to me, it’s very important to teach people about the intrinsic benefits to operating in these censorship-resistant and permissionless systems.

My preference is to have self-custody of assets, to have people having their own wallets set up and their own key management established. But, in doing that, it does mean that we need to reduce the burden, reduce the friction, make things simpler for them to use. 

And then also provide guidance steps on how to access every component of what it is that we’re building.

Star Atlas trailer looks like a film

What has Star Atlas put in place to ensure the in-game economy is sustainable over the long term?

MA: Honestly, it is a weak point of existing popularized games.

Maybe I’ll start by just describing what our own in-house economics department looks like. It’s currently five people, some of the brightest people in the world with respect to economics. 

A couple of masters on the team and a PhD on the team. And we subdivide our economics department across game economy, token economy, and then also across the metaverse economy.

Right now, Automata are effectively the controlling monetary body behind the Star Atlas universe. Over time, I think that will change as a result of decentralized governance.

It’s always been a fundamental consideration of ours from day one to ensure that things like hyperinflation or just over-inflation of supply does not exist. And we also think quite extensively about what the reward structure looks like. 

Because what we’re not looking to do is create a short-term hype engine that just brings in a lot of players. We’re looking to build something that can stand the test of time. 

So if that means that we have to sacrifice in the short term, some growth, because we don’t have yield that competes with a DeFi platform or some other game, well, we’re comfortable with that. 

Because what we understand is that means that our game is going to last. Other projects are failing because there’s no longer interest specifically in the financial incentives associated with it. 

Ours will be around because our players are there to stay because we built a great product that they want to engage in.

Star Atlas releases its own Economic Report on a quarterly basis.

What could be coming further down the line for blockchain gaming?

MA: It’s difficult to conceptualize what’s beyond what we’re doing, because we already operate at pretty much the bleeding edge of what’s theoretically possible today.

On-chain interoperability is a huge opportunity, since we’re talking about blockchain. A lot of work is being done on that now. And it does seem that the economic opportunity is present. People are building cross chain platforms to transfer assets, to transfer funds so I think we’ll see that resolved.

And then, then it really beats into this next part, which is almost twofold, but it’s the economic consideration. Why would somebody want to duplicate an asset of ours to live in The Sandbox? Are they getting paid for that?

And the second part of the economics is from the company or entity standpoint. It’s important that there’s a fair exchange of value between those two environments.

Star Atlas would love to allow for alternative game assets to enter into Star Atlas. But our internal economy is far too young.

If we start letting ships from some other game start entering into Star Atlas, what is the result of the value of every asset from our existing userbase?

Screenshots from the new Galactic marketplace

How can n00bs get involved with Star Atlas today?

MA: I would direct them to our Discord because our team is very capable of responding to questions about how to engage with the game and the platform.

Also, the rest of the community is incredibly helpful at bringing new people in and getting them the information that they need. 

Obviously it would also be beneficial for them to review any content that’s been produced around the world. YouTube is a great platform for that.

Start playing Star Atlas now

  • Go to the Star Atlas single dapp page.
  • Click on Open Dapp in the orange box. This will ensure you go to the correct site and not a scam one.
  • When you arrive at Star Atlas, select Play Now in the top right-hand corner.
  • Click on Connect Wallet. You will need a Solana wallet to be able to do this.
  • Once you have read through and accepted the Terms of Service, you are in the game.
  • Start exploring and enjoy!
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