Into Year 2022

The year 2022 could well be quite a significant year. Age-wise, yes. Career-wise, I am taking on a new role. Cognizant of the fact that all things are in cycles, I can only hope that it will be another upswing. But I would never know. During the pandemic, many are switching jobs. I thought of it. I don’t feel a particular urge in doing so. But I’d never know how 2022 would turn out to be.

The Pandemic

When news of Covid in China first hit Singapore back in late 2019, in the office at MBFC Tower 2 where all the tech folks were – and my team is from the business – I vividly remember one particular day, I turned around and chatted with my female colleague ND. We both agreed that this was going to turn real bad, for Singapore and for the world. By March 2020, Singapore was in a “circuit breaker” whereby among the list of restrictions, working from home has become a default. ND then asked by when we could come back to the office, going back to normal. I said it would probably be by 2020 Christmas when we could be back together as a group, having a drink like the good old days. She was shocked, in disbelief.

Covid beats my expectation by one extra year, at least.

The year 2022 could see the end of most Covid restrictions when we can somewhat go back to the norm. It is not going to be the old norm for sure. Much like after 911, we are not allowed to bring liquid onto the plane, among many other travel restrictions. The virus may become less lethal and the world gets seasonal vaccination, similar to how we deal with the common cold. Until a decade or decades later, a new Covid virus hits us. Or virus of concern may continue to hassle the world while we adapt to it.

The Technology

The last couple of years have been interesting on the technology front. Electronic vehicles (EVs) are getting more common. Remote working has accelerated video conferencing technology. We may see the next generation of chips featuring artificial intelligence (AI) in the commercial market soon. I really wish to see China as a major and competitive graphic card manufacturer. PC gaming is getting more expensive thanks to cryptocurrency farmers.

For me, I am very intrigued by non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the associated cryptocurrencies. Until you read deeper into NFT, it is hard to believe why some people are willing to pay up to millions of dollars for an image file, be it as a legitimate piece of art or just a screengrab like the first tweet post autographed by Twitter CEO.

I am not going to delve into the pros and cons of NFT as the technology is still maturing. As a gamer and as an aspired artist, I think of the potentials. Digital assets while accessed by many – think of the last digital art you have seen on the Internet – can be claimed by one owner whereby ownership can be passed onto or sold to another (though it is not enforced by law but rather through the blockchain technology and the community).

As an avid gamer, NFT becomes even more interesting when we could in the ideal situation play-to-earn. This concept is not new. For example, during this holiday, I have been playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2). There is an ongoing event until mid-Jan next year for players to complete objectives and “earn” in-game cosmetic items that can be traded in the Steam marketplace for real money (caveat: you can only spend the money on games). On the record, these items don’t sell for a great deal of money. Most just worth a few cents. But some fetch more money than others like the one below.

This in-game plush toy can be hung at the cabin’s rear mirror worths S$12.46 as of Dec 31, 2021.

To best describe NFT and its challenges without going into all the details, going back to the plush toy above, what drives the price is two folds. The rarity of this digital asset and the ongoing trucking community. First, this digital asset is rare because once the event is over, it cannot be earned. That is to say, as of today, there are only a limited number of Plush Excavator available for sales in the Steam marketplace (I personally would like to keep it). Second, the demand comes from the vibrant trucking community. This game has two versions. The European and the American. As of today and looking at the daily peak stats, the former has around 50,000 active players while the latter 10,000. Putting the two drivers together, you can understand why some of these digital assets may be worth more than the base game when on discount (currently, the American version is selling at S$6.50 while this particular in-game plush toy can fetch up to S$12.50). Today, this digital asset is traded through real money. I can totally see how this can be done through NFT.

The challenge of course is that the trucking publisher may choose to re-run the event and put more of the same digital asset into the Steam marketplace or in the unthinkable scenario, players stop trucking or Steam may shut down. Hence, the value of this digital asset may fall or even drop to zero. A similar challenge is faced by NFT when the same digital asset can be re-tokened or the underlying blockchain cryptocurrency may devalue to a point that lesser and lesser people want to farm it.

Are we thinking too far ahead? Does the above matter? I mean, how much of what we buy today really last … forever? How many of, say, the watches in today’s world have good resell value?

As a gamer, I am keen to keep a lookout for NFT and cryptocurrencies. What an interesting year 2022 may turn out to be.

My Personal Front

I still don’t have a new year resolution per se. But I have some personal goals for 2022.

I have been procrastinating for a health checkup and I have finally made an appointment in 2022. Fingers crossed.

I have lots of unread physical books at home. I am keen to dedicate some time next year to read them. Learn new vocabulary. Gain new perspectives. Write book summary for some. Donate some that I may not want to reread in near future.

There are a few things I want to sell off at home. Because they are taking up space and I don’t use them anymore.

I should save some money to upgrade my NAS. Tech obsolescence, you know.

I still would like to publish a book. Perhaps hire a professional editor. This will be my stretched goal for 2022. My potential retirement job (besides being a full-time gamer to earn through NFT!).

Drink less and exercise more, perhaps.

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