6 Questions for Illuvium founder Kieran Warwick


Kieran Warwick, the founder of GameFi project Illuvium — valued at just under $900 billion as of April 1, according to public metrics — sat down with Cointelegraph to discuss what he views as challenges to the industry — and possible highlights of the year ahead.

Here’s what he had to tell us.

1) What is the main hurdle to mass adoption of blockchain technology?

The biggest challenge we face is user experience. It’s getting much better, but purchasing crypto and participating in things like staking, lending, borrowing and governance is still daunting. This is why we see such crazy inflows to meme coins. There are no complicated white papers. The big ones are on centralized exchanges. The narratives are straightforward, and the technical barriers are low. 

2) From decentralized applications (dApps) to nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi), we have seen many “killer apps” for crypto, but none have really taken off yet. What will stick?

Kieran Warwick celebrating his engagement

I’m obviously biased, but I truly believe gaming will get true mainstream adoption. It’s easy for people to understand, and the introduction of non-custodial wallet solutions like IMX passport means players can create an account in a few clicks and start playing games like they normally would, except these games will give users true ownership of their assets, and this will lead to further exploration into NFT marketplaces, DeFi applications, and the broader crypto ecosystem. 

3) What has been the toughest challenge you’ve faced in our industry so far?

The hardest thing for me is adjusting to the gradual pace of mainstream adoption. My impatience often kicks in when I observe the slow acceptance of what appears to be clear and beneficial innovation, and it’s frustrating when others fail to see the same potential.

Also, the expectation for constant transparency in our field creates a double-edged sword. While it establishes trust and engages our community and investors, the continuous need to provide detailed updates can be taxing. Transparency is crucial because failing to communicate adequately can lead lost investor confidence, which is detrimental to any project. 

4) What do you think will be the biggest trend in blockchain for the next 12 months?

I’m torn between gaming and DeFi applications built on layer-2s. In the last cycle, much of the hindrance to crypto was high gas fees and slow transaction times. Yield farming was the biggest trend in the last bull market and most attractive due to the high APYs.

Related: Blockchain game Illuvium goes mainstream with looming Epic Games Store listing

So as much as I think gaming will melt faces this year, I have this sneaking suspicion we will see a resurgence of yield farming. Maybe yield farming 2.0!

5) What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited, and why?

When I was in my early 20s, I booked a Contiki tour in South America with my best friend. Part of the tour was in Peru. He had just gone through a breakup and had read about ayahuasca and how it could help you to overcome hardships. Without thinking about it too much, I agreed to do it with him.

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The whole thing was a crazy experience. The night before, a nurse came to our hostel and had us drink 10 liters of volcanic water to flush out our system in preparation for the next day’s ceremony. In the morning, we were whisked deep into the jungle to a spiritual lodge where the ceremony would occur. There was also a noble silence rule, which meant you couldn’t speak the whole time you were there. I remember thinking, “What have I gotten into,” because I love talking! But here I was in the middle of the jungle, about to drink a thick black sludge I had no idea about, in one of the most beautiful settings I had ever seen, in complete silence with nothing but natural sounds. To say it was an experience is understating it. I don’t think I will ever do that again, but I’m glad I did.

6) What book has influenced you the most? Why?

Without a doubt, it is Phil Knight’s autobiography, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. The way he started Nike is genuinely remarkable. I read it while I was having massive doubts about one of the startups I had founded, and it motivated me to continue even though there were so many hurdles. That startup taught me many lessons on resilience, the power of business partnerships, and coping with stress. These are all things that have helped me immensely in Illuvium.

Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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