On July 9, 2021, Mavs Condaya, a single father of two working as a delivery man and sometimes online seller, swallowed his pride and posted a message in an Axie Infinity Facebook group asking for a scholarship. “Some people called what I did as “online limos” (online begging). It’s true, but it did not matter to me. If it’s for the future of my kids I’ll do everything for them,” Mavs said in an interview.
“Their words and online bashing won’t kill me.. Their words can’t feed my kids.”
In the past, what was originally “Coin Sessions” conducted training, seminars, and roadshows, teaching Filipinos about crypto from one school to another.. from one city to another. Its founder, Emerson Fonseca (pictured above), long time crypto trader and one of the “who’s who” in the Philippine blockchain industry, sees education as the most important first step before all other opportunities come knocking at a person’s door.
But all of these came to a halt in 2020, for reasons everyone already knew about. In 2021, however, Emerson decided to revive all the disrupted plans but this time, focusing on the currently popular way to teach people how to crypto: play-to-earn.
Play-to-earn – the new trend in gaming that allows the player to also own their in-game assets or possibly earn from it. In the case of Axie Infinity, Axie owners could lend their Axies to players who will play the game, and both the owner and the player will earn depending on their percentage agreement.
A crypto trader since even before Bitcoin hit its first mania phase in 2017, Emerson deployed capital to finance an Axie Infinity scholarship guild this May. Together with “Moonlight” and colleagues past and present, the newly revived Coin Sessions Entertainment started operating via Discord channel, recruiting Axie Infinity scholars to play the game while at the same time earning from it.
The scholars are not just playing, however, because Emerson invites them to his training sessions, sometimes about Axie, sometimes about crypto trading. “I do not want the scholars to just be scholars, at Coin Sessions Entertainment, we want to help them achieve financial freedom through financial literacy. Playing the game is just the easiest onboarding method because the scholars get to enjoy the experience while learning at the same time,” Emerson told me over the phone.
At the time of my interview with Emerson, CSE had 40 scholars. That’s a lot considering that the group just kickstarted the scholarship guild last month. “We really deep dived into Axie last May and from there, we developed how we wanted our group to operate, how we choose scholars, and how we really want to give back to the community,” Emerson said. Not everyone in the CSE Discord group is a scholar, but everyone benefits from the training sessions that CSE provides almost every day.
And the training could really be beneficial. A lot of people these days have heard of Axie Infinity first before they even have a working understanding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. And while a lot of people already know the potential opportunity in Axie, not everyone knows it. On Facebook, viral posts of students and people in need looking for donations or help, whether for their medicines, their mother’s operation, or for them to continue their studies are plentiful. Of course, many are also looking for some ways to supplement their income.
Mavs Condaya is a single dad of two children working as a delivery man, one the side, he sometimes do online selling. It is not hard to imagine how tough it must have been for people like him, especially at the height of the pandemic, wherein, at that time, the thought of an eventual effective vaccine would materialize was still months away from certainty.
Emerson saw Mavs’ Facebook post about wanting to be a scholar and tried to get in contact with him to give him an Axie Infinity scholarship.
Mavs knew of Axie prior to meeting Emerson. But the price of Axies are something he could not afford. He has two daughters and even with multiple jobs, he’s aware that he simply wasn’t’ earning enough for his daughter’s future.
On July 9, 2021, Mavs swallowed his pride and posted a message in an Axie Infinity Facebook group asking for a scholarship. “Some people called what I did as “online limos” (online begging).. It’s true, but it did not matter to me. If it’s for the future of my kids I’ll do everything for them. Their words and online bashing won’t kill me.”
“Their words can’t feed my kids.”
In one mid afternoon in the middle of his deliveries, someone messaged him about Emerson’s post looking for him. The funny thing was that he did not know that Emerson and CSE were of the same group. “I rejected Emerson’s offer because I said I already received a scholarship from CSE.” Nevertheless, he accepted Emerson’s offer and got onboarded to CSE and Axie Infinity, and by extension, the play-to-earn phenomenon.
In an email interview, Mavs admitted enjoying the game, but the onboarding process was naturally difficult. “When I first started, I have to do research and study the Axies lent to me by Emerson.” He mentioned studying the cards and the possible combos of his cards and his opponents cards.
One of the biggest challenge was when the Axie servers got overloaded, and this problem lasted for days. Mavs, knowing how much each of the Axies lent to him were worth, tried to find ways, or even times, to play the game. During this server load situation, it was really a hit or miss for players. Some were able to finish their daily quests, some weren’t able to. “Thankfully CSE was very considerate at that time even though we are not able to reach our quotas,” Mavs said.
Just in case it’s not evident, Mavs is enjoying his time as a scholar of Coins Sessions Entertainment and the opportunity that play-to-earn brings to him. “I won’t be plastic,” he emphasized. “All I want to say is that money is the main reason why many of us are here,” he continued. But he said the training and education CSE provides about Axie and cryptocurrencies (and by extension financial literacy), as well as the friendship he started building, will be with him for life. He, of course, like all devout Filipinos, credits God for giving him the courage to post that message on Facebook, and of course to CSE for the opportunity.
If we look closely at this story, it’s really about doing something exactly at the right time. A series of what ifs. If 2020 did not happen, there’s actually a chance that play-to-earn will not be what it is today. It’s possible that CSE did not pivot to play-to-earn and continued with their usual training sessions — sessions about blockchain and trading that could be difficult for someone like Mavs who’s struggling to make ends meet.
And if Mavs did find the courage to post on Facebook at the time when Emerson’s actively looking for a scholar, the single father of two could still be driving his bicycle on the street, waiting for orders to get delivered. The opportunity could not have been his.
This opportunity, Mavs admits, is something he knows hundreds of thousands of other people want to have. Scour any Facebook post or Twitter post about Axie and you’ll see replies of numerous aspiring scholars. Mavs knows he’s in a position that many others don’t have. So his advice to other scholars: Don’t waste the opportunity. “
‘Don’t waste the opportunity, there are people who are wishing that they are in our positions. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you shouldn’t waste. It might be complicated at the beginning but in the long run this play-to-earn opportunity is something you’ll probably never have again when you lose it.”