Frank Bonnet

Founder & Lead Developer

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Founder and Lead Developer of Cryptopia. Frank Bonnet comes with 12 years of experience designing, as well as building countless enterprise .NET applications. With a deep understanding of blockchain and smart-contract development, he is essential to our team. Frank has a business view with a developer’s expertise.

Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I'm from the Netherlands originally, and I've lived in Thailand for the last 10 years. I wasn't born as a programmer, or maybe I was. In any case, I've been a software engineer professionally since I was 23. So I've had a lot of experience building all kinds of applications in .net. We had a company that concerns with advertising software for the automotive business in the Netherlands. And an insurance business. In 2016 I started playing around with Ethereum, and since then, I've been involved in blockchain.

What inspired you to make Cryptopia?

I was really early adopting Ethereum, making smart contracts in Solidity. I got involved with smart-contract coding because I like technology, and when I saw an opportunity, you know, it's programmable money! As a programmer, that's like the Holy Grail. I took a deep dive, and at one point, I thought, well, I should do more with this. I had an idea to create a decentralized options trading platform. I wrote a white paper, which was really ahead of time. This was this De-fi at its core, and the term De-fi wasn't even coined yet, which was 2016. We were on all these forums, and I was discussing the white paper that I wrote. I got so much interest from thousands of people that said, wow, I want to invest. So what I did was I wrote a few smart-contracts, and we organized an ICO using forums. We were able to get a lot of backers, which was great. I started coding, and we hired other people. The company grew, but unfortunately, we hit a regulatory roadblock. To keep it short, we couldn't continue with the project. We had all these backers, the code was there, and it was almost ready to launch, but we couldn't. That was really hard. You know, if you've worked for two years on a product and put everything that you have into it, you can't go live with it despite knowing it's going to work. That's really painful. But then, I still had this very specific blockchain knowledge and coding experience. We also had all these relationships with interested parties. And so I realized I had to do something else with all these, and that's when I came up with an idea for a game. I'm a big fan of the Civilization series, so I wanted to make something similar on a blockchain. That's what I started building, and then Hans got involved. I had been working on it for about a year and named it Civilizations Unchained. When we started talking about the name and whether there could be a concept that would be more casual and appeal to more people. That's when I noticed the domain name for sale. But that's like a loaded name, right? If you have a new brand that you have to teach people about, it takes so much effort before they remember you top of mind. It would be easier to change people's minds about a name they already know with a fantastic product rather than starting with a name from scratch. That's why we went with Cryptopia.

Are you a big gamer?

No, I'm not a big gamer. I have some periods that I think, oh wow, I’m going to play this game, then I download it, play it for an hour and get bored. I better enjoy building games than playing something that someone else has built.

Could you describe Cryptopia in a nutshell?

That's not easy because it's such a big project with many, many aspects to it. But at its core, it’s a virtual open-world game. It's 100% decentralized—no server, no browser, nothing. And this is where it draws inspiration from Bitcoin. Nobody can shut Bitcoin down because it's decentralized. And most of the other 'blockchain' games out there are more like regular games that rely on servers like Amazon and Google. But they have a blockchain component to them, mostly NFTs. What I wanted was a world that is the same as Bitcoin. It's a game that can't be shut down as long as people are playing it. So all you need is to download the software, and you're able to play the game. What else is Cryptopia? Let me reference other games. What you see in similar blockchain games is tantamount to buying an NFT, which represents land, and holding it until someone else comes and wants to pay for it. And that's the end of the gameplay. I wanted a game that's also actually fun. I saw two groups: People who want to invest to earn and those who want to play to earn. I wanted to bring them together and create opportunities for players. So we're not going to take the crypto; we're going to allow the player that wants to invest to spend his tokens on new players that want to earn, thus creating a sustainable model.

Would players who invest quite a bit initially have more of an advantage in Cryptopia?

Yes. They do. Like in real life, they have better chances if someone has more to invest. That's not something that we necessarily try to change. But we do change something in that when the investing player pays, they don't pay us directly. Instead, they contribute to the growth of Cryptopia. They create opportunities for players who don't have much to invest, reinforcing the system. Let's say that I want to construct a building. I can't do it myself. I need other players who have construction skills. And I'm willing to pay for it. This is my business model. I will allow 10 or 20 other players to earn from constructing my building. That's the beauty of Cryptopia. You create opportunities for other players.

One of the features that we like to talk about in Cryptopia is the multi-sig wallet. Exactly how beneficial is this for players?

When you compare it to your regular wallets, it's safer. It allows you to own one wallet with multiple devices. It gives you 2FA. It means you don't lose everything when one device is compromised because the chances of both devices getting compromised are much smaller. You can also own a wallet with multiple players. You and your life partner could even co-own a wallet. The Cryptopia wallet is the first ever built inside a game engine that allows for frictionless blockchain gaming. Other games out there rely on Metamask, and mostly what you see is a browser game with limited capabilities. You need to go out of the game, sign a transaction, and return to it. With our wallet, we have a strategy where people won't need to buy crypto. We sell the game to you for a dollar. You get $1.00 worth of gas in your account to start with, and because it's play to earn, you can start earning. And a part of that money is allocated for gas, so you should never have to deposit crypto to pay gas fees. That makes it frictionless. You download the game, start playing like a regular game, and you don't need anything else. Behind the scenes, the game signs transactions for you, submits them to the blockchain and waits until they are complete.

What's the key ingredient for success in Cryptopia?

It's planning. The nature of blockchain is its immutability. Every choice and action you make is forever, and we try our best to highlight that. So whether you become a pirate, for example, you know when you're a pirate, you can never go back. I want to highlight the aspects of blockchain which I did. So, new players should think carefully about the steps they take because every action is transparent, everyone can see what you did, and it's irreversible.

If you were to choose a faction you prefer, which one would it be and why?

Well, I would play the tech faction. Yeah, but I would play it in a way where I don't do better, and I set up a supply line, harvest resources, change them into products, and then sell them on the market and make a profit.

If there's a type of food that you can eat every day, what food would that be?

Wow, that's a tough question because I have a problem—I don't know what to eat every day. So many choices. A type of food that I like to eat every day…um, grapes, because I do eat grapes every day. They're like healthy candies. And you can turn them into wine as a bonus.