David Angliss, an analyst with Australia’s leading cryptocurrency investment firm, Apollo Capital, shares the fund’s regular take on what’s happening in the fast-changing and volatile cryptocurrency space.

The move-to-earn phenomenon led by the Aussie-founded STEPN project took the crypto universe by storm when it materialised earlier this year. Bear-market cool-off aside, it’s still a concept that has many enthused for its fitness/GameFi crossover.

Now, though, it’s come to our attention there’s a Melbourne-based AR/VR project in an advanced stage of development that’s set to combine move-to-earn and a whole lot more.

Mirror Planet is pitching itself as the world’s first “explore-to-earn” metaverse/crypto game. And Apollo Capital, which is beginning to give its long crypto funds more exposure to metaverse-infrastructure projects, is bullish, says analyst David Angliss.


Explore to earn… ‘Pokémon Go meets STEPN’

So what’s “explore to earn” all about then? The Mirror Planet elevator pitch gives a topline explanation, and that goes something like this:

Mirror Planet is an Augmented Reality Web3 game that’s being developed by a Melbourne team of highly experienced mobile-game and GameFi developers. The game is designed as a mirrored version of earth using Google Maps data. It encourages players to bring their real lives into the game and make financial gains through outdoor exploration.

“Imagine a cross between Pokémon Go and the move-to-earn crypto project STEPN – that’s one way to think about it,” says Angliss.

“It’s definitely inspired by the move-to-earn craze we’ve seen over the past few months or so, but combining that with Google Maps and various NFTs and GameFi token-earning elements. What users will essentially be doing is exploring for NFTs and tokens scattered virtually around actual Google Maps locations.”

Some of the types of in-game NFTs that will be on offer in Mirror Planet. (Image: mirrorplanet.com)


And it’s also a social-interaction app, right?

“Yeah, we see it as more of a potential interactive social metaverse application and not just purely a game,” says Angliss. “It’s something in which users can interact with friends in a VR world with AR [augmented reality] capacity.

“It’s essentially a fun, interactive and social metaverse which is designed to mix in with everyday life. You’re moving to earn tokens, but also exploring and finding NFTs. And your friends, if they’re playing, they’ll appear on the map as well. You’ll be able to look through the lens of the camera and see them as avatars in-game, for instance, as well as items you’re hunting for.”

Angliss also notes that, beyond socialising with friends and their avatars in a melded real-world and VR/AR-world reality, the game will also see users interact with various businesses.

“Users will also be able to get discounts and deals from participating businesses. So it’s essentially aiming to break down the dimensional wall and bring merchants into the Mirror Planet universe, injecting sustainable revenue into its gamified ecosystem.”


A game with a property-empire twist

So when the game releases, what will users need to do to begin?

“How that will work is once you purchase an NFT house/land plot (which are actually real Google Maps locations represented by the project’s own maps) then that’s how you can start to generate in-game tokens.

“And then, throughout the map, there are other NFTs, other in-game assets you can pick up, so it’ll be a bit like a treasure hunt.”

Once a property is purchased (using the native token of whichever blockchain the game’s launched on – to be confirmed), players will be able to play to earn, and the move-to-earn aspect will then be unlocked for the player as well. The more houses you own, the more you’ll be able to earn, and the more move-to-earn capability you’ll have per day.

In other words, it’s got a housing-empire twist to it. A bit like playing Monopoly while also getting off your butt and moving around.

“There will also even be actual landmarks represented in the game, too, that you can purchase as NFTs,” adds Angliss. “So, for instance the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House or the MCG. That’ll all come later, as they’ll be in testing for a while.”

Stage of development – super early?

While it’s still extremely early days for Mirror Planet in terms of community building and buzz – prehistoric in fact – the project is well advanced in terms of its actual game development.

“The devs have been building it for about a year and a half to two years,” confirms the Apollo analyst, and, in fact, its prototypes are pretty close to completion in that sense.

“It’s in testing phase at the moment – currently using Google Maps data for Melbourne and Sydney,” adds Angliss.

“But in terms of the project’s community growth, you can expect to see that ramping up soon as its Twitter will become more active with opportunities to grab NFTs for the early community members. They will also begin to run AMAs and community calls on their Discord channel, which will be launching soon.

“And there will be an IDO [initial DEX offering] at some stage, so I’d imagine early participants will likely be able to get involved in testing rounds as more features are released.”


Investment thesis

Overall then, why is Apollo bullish on this one? Angliss breaks that down like this:

• Team – “We’ve got to know the team pretty well and they have a really impressive track record. One of them is the founder of SavySoda, a really successful smartphone-app developer and one of the first to start building interactive apps on the App Store. Xin Zhao – he’s been able to develop applications that’ve been used by over 100 million users.”

• Proven success of AR and VR – “Yes, it’s got the branding on its side, but the massive global success of Pokémon Go gives us confidence that this sort of AR/metaverse sector, combined with the right incentives and stimulation, has real potential. People are becoming way more comfortable on their phones, with phone usages and screen time up year on year across the globe.”

• The outdoor/health factor – “It’s also a bet on the game being fun and interactive, while moving around and being outdoors and promoting healthy behaviours,” adds Angliss. “Despite dropping off a bit, like everything though the bear market, STEPN and the move-to-earn concept has definitely captured the imagination of many within this industry.”


You can learn more about Mirror Planet on its website and, for now, keep up to date with fresh developments and potential early-stage opportunities on its Twitter page

The views, information, or opinions expressed in the interview in this article are solely those of the interviewee and do not represent the views of Stockhead.

Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.