An introduction to Bitcoin gaming – Explaining the ZBD ecosystem

Dive into Bitcoin gaming with ZBD. Learn how to play games for Bitcoin and how to develop games with Bitcoin in them.

By ZBD   •   3 years ago

There’s a reason people are drawing parallels between Bitcoin today and the internet in its early days. Both are massively powerful tools that are profoundly changing the world. And Bitcoin’s transformative potential is multiplied when you apply it to virtual worlds.

Bitcoin is a tool that completely changes the possibilities for virtual economies. At ZEBEDEE, we’re using it to unlock a revolution in gaming. We’ve built both the infrastructure that developers need to integrate real-time Bitcoin transactions into their games and the tools gamers need to interact with the system.

How do I join the Bitcoin gaming revolution?

If you’re a game developer, apply for access to the ZBD Developer Dashboard and start adding Bitcoin into your games. Or read our blog and learn how to develop your own mobile game.

If you’re a gamer, it’s even more simple:

Step 1: get the ZBD app.
Step 2: start playing Bitcoin-powered games.

OK, so that may have been a bit of an over-simplification… but if you read through the rest of this article, you'll find a rundown of the ZBD Bitcoin gaming ecosystem and what it has to offer both gamers and game devs.

The ZBD ecosystem supports anything from casual mobile games to streamers collecting donations while they’re live, to developers making brand new game mechanics that weren’t possible before.


  • The ZBD app is your bridge between gaming and real-world currency.

  • The ZBD username is your name within ZBD and comes with a static QR code for easily collecting donations or payments anywhere online.

  • With ZBD Infuse, we’re introducing Bitcoin into existing popular games.

  • ZBD games are how we show the world what's possible with Bitcoin.

  • Our Developer Dashboard empowers game devs to put Bitcoin into their own games in innovative ways.

ZBD – Your portal into Bitcoin gaming

The ZBD app is basically everything you need to start playing games for Bitcoin, participating in Bitcoin-powered esports events or collecting Bitcoin tips on your live streams. But one thing at a time.

Before you read all about it, maybe you’d like to install ZBD and take it for a spin yourself?

What is the ZBD app?

At its core, ZBD is an app with an integrated custodial Bitcoin wallet much like any other – it allows you to send and receive Bitcoin instantly by using the Lightning Network. But that’s just the underlying mechanics of how it works. What sets our app apart is that we’ve built it specifically for gamers and streamers.

You don’t need to be a Bitcoin enthusiast to use our app. We’ve designed it to be intuitive and simple to use even if you don’t know the first thing about crypto. Here’s a few cool things you can do with the ZBD:

  • Play Bitcoin-powered games and join Bitcoin Esports events like MintGox.
  • Send other ZBD users Bitcoin instantly, with zero fees AND attach a message or gif to your transaction for extra coolness.
  • Send Bitcoin just by texting inside Discord or Telegram
  • Get a static QR code you can use to collect payments instantly, anywhere and without a third-party processor – popular among streamers for taking tips.
  • Easily get your friends into Bitcoin by generating vouchers redeemable in the app.

Want to learn more about the ZBD app? We got you covered.

The ZEBEDEE Mobile Wallet
The ZBD app.

The ZBD username – Your Bitcoin gaming identity

Your ZBD username is sort of like your nickname in the ZBD ecosystem. You set up your userna,e when you first install our app. From that point forward, receiving Bitcoin payments becomes as simple as sharing a QR code.

The username allows you to easily receive direct payments straight into your ZBD app. Other ZBD users can find you from a list of users in the app itself, but the real beauty of the ZBD username is that it comes with a static Bitcoin address. This means you can share your address in the form of a QR code and place it anywhere online for people to send you Bitcoin!

A static address is like your bank account number, but much more simple to use, since it works with standard QR codes compatible with any Bitcoin Lightning wallet. You can save it, share it, print it or paste it anywhere you want. This is how streamers use ZBD to collect instant donations without third-party processor fees – they just overlay the static QR code on their stream! Literally no other setup needed.

And what's more, your username's QR code isn't just for collecting payments, it lets people request Bitcoin from your as well! Welcome to the metaverse (v0.1).

Along with your username, you get a public page at that displays your address and a message you can set in the app. It will look like this Check out this one, which we've set up for collecting donations for Bitcoin developers:

It’s really a very simple concept. But we couldn’t just leave it at that, so we included a dynamic component into the otherwise static QR codes, so you can tweak various little things. You can use the ZBD app to change what’s the minimum payment amount you accept and modify the message people get when they send you some Bitcoin. This will not change your address or QR code though!

Bitcoin developer donations Gamertag profile page on
Here's a ZBD username profile page we've set up for collecting donations for Bitcoin developers

To play games for Bitcoin, you first need Bitcoin-powered games

Here we come to the gist of our whole operation. It’s all well and good having a wallet that is specialized for gamers, but you still need Bitcoin-powered games to use it with. At the very core of the ZBD ecosystem is a way to put Bitcoin into any game.

We created ZBD to revolutionize gaming by giving developers the tools they need to give in-game currencies, actions and scores actual real-world value. Everything we’ve built are essentially the tools to get this job done. But because this is all extremely new technology, which at first glance seems complex and abstract, we’ve created a showcase of the power of ZEBEDEE by integrating Bitcoin into the most popular multiplayer games today. We call this solution ZBD Infuse.

ZEBEDEE Developer Dashboard – Powering a new age in gaming

While Infuse is a great new way to spice up existing games, it’s basically just an overlay and doesn’t dig much deeper than the surface level of the game. To really take advantage of the possibilities unlocked by ZEBEDEE, developers can implement Bitcoin into games at a core level, as a part of essential game mechanics. This is where our Developer Dashboard comes into play.

The ZBD Developer Dashboard gives game developers a powerful tool for fusing game mechanics with Bitcoin. Through our API and SDKs, game developers can connect Bitcoin transactions with in-game actions, which opens the door to a lot of innovation and new approaches.

With Bitcoin in your game, the points you collect by playing suddenly start to matter a lot more. Withdraw them from the game, use them to tip your favorite streamer or even transfer them to another game. Or use them to buy a car if you’ve accumulated that kind of dough! This is a very strong incentive for users to not just try a game, but stick around.

However, it’s not just about replacing the points you earn within the game with an outside currency. What ZEBEDEE is all about is unlocking innovation by enabling new and creative ways to use payments in games. Here’s a taste of what we mean by that:

  • Monetize EVERYTHING – Literally any in-game action or event can be tied to a transaction. Finished a level? Get Bitcoin. Lost a life? Lose Bitcoin. Picked up a powerup? Decide if you want to use it or turn it into Bitcoin and cash out instead. The only limit is your imagination.
  • Break the fourth wall – Involve spectators in the gameplay to blur the lines between player and audience. Running out of stamina on a crucial quest? Donators can heal or buff your character. Think that’s cheating? Enable viewers to give you a handicap if you’ve got it too easy.
  • Microtransactions – Since Bitcoin is divisible into tiny units (1 Satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC, which is roughly equal to 0.0005 USD), you can tie financial transactions to small in-game actions without breaking the bank.
  • Better ways to advertise – Noone particularly enjoys seeing ads in games, but they’re a necessary part of the experience. Game studios need to make a living somehow! But what if ads could be handled in a way that’s non-intrusive or actually fun? Like picking up branded power-ups or getting paid Bitcoin for interacting with sponsors. For example, we put a Bitrefil-branded gas station into our Mario Kart-esque game ZBD Kart, which fills your “tank” up with Bitcoin when you drive through it.
  • Establish a shared economy across games – Introduce the same currency to multiple games to create a meta-economy. Since players can withdraw that same currency into the real world with no barriers, your in-game economy instantly gets real-world value.

And much more, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination (and game development skills).

Audience dropping power-ups mid-game in Raiki by MandelDuck Studios

ZBD Discord & Telegram bots – Bringing Bitcoin into every part of gaming

The gaming community doesn’t end when you quit a game – actually that’s only the start of the community part. That’s why we’re bringing Bitcoin to all parts of gaming, including some of the most popular chat tools out there: Discord and Telegram.

We’ve built bots that let you transfer Bitcoin easily while chatting. You can send Bitcoin to any user, tip an awesome comment or reward a hilarious meme – all with the money you’ve just earned in your favorite game.

The bots are as simple and intuitive as sending an emote, except even cooler, since you have real value at the tip of your fingers! With Bitcoin in your chat, you can make community points actually matter!

It's been said that sending money over the internet should be as simple as sending a text message. Now it is.

The Lightning Network – The revolutionary tech powering ZBD

The magic of the ZBD ecosystem comes from the Lightning Network, a fast and scalable network built on top of Bitcoin where transactions are almost instant and come with virtually no fees (seriously, Lightning fees are tiny). While transactions on the main Bitcoin network can be too expensive and not fast enough to support the kind of micropayments we wanted to add to games, the Lightning Network gives us an instant and practically free way to move money. More importantly, the digital nature of Bitcoin makes it programmable – it’s money you can program to respond to in-game actions or events. And that’s the real magic behind ZBD.

By building the ZBD ecosystem on top of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, we can give developers a powerful tool for inventing brand new game mechanics, while at the same time connecting the points you earn in-game with a real-world global payment network. The Bitcoin that lands in your wallet is instantly yours and you can do whatever you want with it. This is inherently different from platforms like Twitch, where you don’t get paid out until you break a certain threshold, or payment service providers like PayPal that charge significant fees and can easily block your withdrawals.

At the end of the day, it’s not really about Bitcoin, it’s about new ways of moving value in games. Bitcoin and its Lightning Network just happen to be the best tools for the job.

This post was updated in July 2023.

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