What happens when Illuvium meets Death Road? Killer-looking NFT car packs in a crypto-gaming mash-up, that’s what. Stockhead caught up with Illuvium’s Sydney-based founder Kieran Warwick to chat things non-fungible, collaborative and deadly.


How’s it going Kieran? Enjoy your panel appearance at NFT Fest last week? 

Great, thanks! The past 12 months have been a whirlwind, but the excitement and evolution of the NFT space keeps me going. And yeah, for sure – NFT Fest lined up a great bunch of speakers. Aussie crypto projects are definitely contributing to a vision of a global metaverse.

What’s been happening with Illuvium since we spoke in July? Are things on track?

Yep, all going well! We’re on track to deliver our mini-game in December, and we have a land sale coming soon. We always have the best experience for our community in mind, and that’s where we dedicate the most effort and planning in our roadmap.

And you have a bit of a reveal for us… a Death Road (DRACE) collaboration?

Yeah, I’m excited about this. It’s the first time two crypto-game studios have collaborated to deliver interoperable assets and share revenue between communities. We’ve created an Illuvium skins pack for a bunch of Death Road cars [which are NFTs with in-game utility]. So they’ll look like some of our main characters but in car form. 


One of Death Road’s new Illuvium skins.


What makes it special for Illuvium and ILV holders? 

The big thing for us is we get to test out our smart contracts and revenue-distribution model with it, so we’re very excited that our DAO members can start earning. It’s the first partnership we have that’ll generate revenue for the Illuvium vault.

More than this, though, the collaboration shows that we have a serious goal to partner with fellow gaming projects to build out the metaverse. 

What sort of profits are we talking?  

So, 25% of all profit from each sale of Illuvium Death Road skins goes into the ILV vault, to be redistributed to people staked in the protocol. And DRACE receives the rest. They’ve got over 100,000 people in their community, and we’re now over 500,000, so I’d imagine the collab will be quite successful for both projects. 

Ace. So Death Road is a game in development built on the Binance Smart Chain. How would you describe it? It looks like it’s got a less-dsytopian Mad Max kinda vibe… 

Yeah, definitely Mad Max in there. Battle-enhanced automobiles outfitted with machine guns riding a circuit with one mission: take out everybody else. The demo they’ve got on their site is seriously fun. And fans should get a kick out of the way we adapted our Illuvium aesthetics for the collab skin pack. Definitely collector’s items!



What sort of investors have jumped on to Death Road at this stage? Looks like they have a few, judging by its website

Well I’m backing it, as is Santiago [Santos] from ParaFi Capital. And yeah, a number of other large VCs have also invested. I think once people see how addictive the game is, while giving players the ability to earn… it’ll only be a matter of time before it takes off.

How did the partnership come about? The Death Road founders all come from the Vietnamese PoS blockchain TomoChain, I see…

Yeah, I knew one of the devs from a previous project, and I admire his work ethic. He was keen enough to see great opportunities in NFT gaming and founded his own NFT game. I was a little disappointed that he didn’t come to me until after their TGE, but after playing their demo for two hours straight, I forgave him and sent him a $100K cheque. 

Love the look of the cars. Did Illuvium team members design the skins art?

Yes! We had one artist complete them. For our project, he creates super high-fidelity graphics. For this, he had a lot of fun working with 2D assets and taking on the challenge of translating the appearance of Illuvials into the form of car skins.

What sort of utility will the Illuvium Death Road NFT cars have? Anything different? 

Death Road has actually given the Illuvium cars 13 per cent more power than others, but beyond that the skins are purely for the look. For ILV fans, it’s also about getting to use familiar assets in another addictive game, and enjoying the metaverse colliding!



And just on the “metaverse”… like Illuvium, Death Road looks like it’s building its own multi-faceted world. Do you see a future where all games can potentially interlink and collab in a single metaverse and genre mash-up? Like in Ready Player One? Is this the start of that and where it’s all possibly heading?

We’re a long way from that, but this partnership is a tangible foundation to that integrated metaverse. The reality is, just about every project in this space currently thinks it’s building its own “metaverse” which, by definition, doesn’t actually make it a metaverse.

There is only one metaverse, and we’re all building in it. The creative challenge, and where we will see true innovation, is in how assets will function interoperably, and be composable for each game. I liken it to the advent of AI. It’s amazing to think that, sometime in the future, we will have chips in our head to assist us with critical thinking. We are a long long way off from that, too, but projects will be pushing the metaverse buzzword!



Aussie projects, Snoop and the power of NFT communities

Changing gears for a sec… are there any standout Aussie projects catching your eye at the moment – gaming, NFTs or otherwise? 

I’m in a group called Aussie DeFi Founders, and I swear we have two new projects joining every week. I’m obviously bullish on IMX [Ethereum scaling solution Immutable X] as we’re building Illuvium on it…

But I also have my eye on prePO [an Australian-founded decentralised pre-IPO & pre-token trading platform]. Full disclosure, I’m invested in that one. Oh, and there is this really cool project called Synthetix [founded by Kieran’s older brother Kane] that I’m quite fond of, too!

How are you seeing the NFT space at the moment? Frothy? Snoop Dogg looks like he’s all in…
Snoop, yeah, it’s a good omen that mainstream adoption of crypto is on the horizon. I’m always focused on mainstream gamers converting into crypto gamers, because of the massive opportunities they can enjoy that will powerfully enhance their experience of play. I want to do right by the mainstream gamers. It’s where I came from.

There’s a lot of crap and scammy stuff going on in the NFT space. How do you sort the wheat from the chaff and get into promising things early?

It begins and ends with your community. This is especially the case with NFT collections that aren’t attached to games. As more people join a project community seeking to collect even one NFT of a limited-run series, the rarer those NFTs become. Just look at CryptoPunks. Those collectors would sell their limbs before their Punks!

When there’s an authentic, active, dedicated community, it’s a genuine sign that a project has shown enough promise and solvency to impress a huge, discerning audience of crypto enthusiasts, who are rallying with it. 


China FUD, regulators and are ‘we all gonna make it’?

Any thoughts on the market jitters recently with all the macro news out of China stirring things up? 

As an active investor in the space, I watch the market news very closely. To be honest, I’m not worried. We’ve seen this movie way too many times for me to think it’s going to end differently. 

Does the idea of over-regulation in crypto concern you? It doesn’t seem like that’s happening in Australia any time soon, but if the SEC and unhelpful tax laws come into play in the US, there might be a danger of a global regulatory ripple effect. 

In any type of market, there is always an underlying fear that “something” could happen to neutralise the effectiveness of decentralisation – however, as you mention, we’re not really seeing that fear in the current expansion of DeFi.

And that’s especially when it comes to DAOs like Illuvium. We have 134 core contributors from over 30 countries. The ability to regulate something of that magnitude would be extremely difficult to undertake, so it’s hard to imagine any swift regulation can realistically be put in effect any time soon.  

Last year we had “DeFi Summer”, then this year’s NFT boom and play-to-earn gaming starting to get a foothold with Axie Infinity. What do you think will be the next big narrative in crypto heading into next year? 

NFT gaming. Once mainstream gamers realise that they can own their in-game assets that they grind so hard for, it won’t be long before large mainstream studios start dipping their toes into this industry. We’re talking about a market of three billion people.

So… as the cryptoverse likes to say, WAGMI (we all gonna make it)? 

Projects that build for the future will. Flash-in-the-pan games with un-thrilling gameplay, lacklustre artwork, and zero lore and substance simply won’t last. 

Anything else you want to mention about Illuvium’s roadmap before we sign off here? 

Illuvatars! They’re our version of in-game avatars, coming soon, and I’m super excited about them. We always prioritise the maximum enjoyment of the collector. Rather than a Dutch auction, we’re allowing collectors to mint as many Illuvatars as they want – but only for a limited time.

Cool, what’ll make the rare ones… rare?

Distinctions in traits will make certain ones rarer than others. And hitting certain in-game achievements will give players the opportunity to earn super-rare wearables that will never be minted again. And as you journey through the Illuvium world, your Illuvatar will be uniquely yours.




This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.

This is not a paid promotion but the author is invested in several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and, yep, some Illuvium.