[Interview] Ownly CEO Reveals Move to On-Chain Gaming

Ownly CEO Ismael Jerusalem outlines the company’s strategic shift to on-chain gaming, emphasizing blockchain integration into Filipino card games.

Photo for the Article - [Interview] Ownly CEO Reveals Move to On-Chain Gaming

Additional reporting and interview by Michael Mislos

  • Ownly CEO Ismael Jerusalem revealed the company’s shift toward on-chain gaming; aiming to integrate blockchain into popular Filipino card games like Tong-its.
  • Despite market challenges, Ownly’s previous products, including NFT collections and marketplaces, remain available online.
  • Plans for the upcoming year include merging previous NFTs into playing card games, developing new on-chain gaming projects, and concentrating on product development to enhance token value.

In a special interview on the BitPinas Webcast during the Yield Guild Games Web3 Games Summit (YGG W3GS), Ownly CEO Ismael Jerusalem provided insights into the company’s strategic moves. The discussion covered Ownly’s pivot to on-chain gaming, the current availability of their previous products, the continued development of earlier initiatives, and the outlined plans for the upcoming year.

(This is part of our recap series for the YGG Web3 Games Summit.)

Transition to On-Chain Gaming

In the interview, Jerusalem acknowledged the ongoing bear market, which led to their reassessment of the products and services offered to the space. In line with this, he noted that the company has pivoted to focus more on on-chain games.

“We saw an opportunity to the innovations of the technology, it may make sense na we focus more on developing on-chain games. Together with my co-founder Rico Zuniga, he is the developer of Tong-its video game way back [in] 2003. So we think this is the right time for us to implement blockchain with tong-its,” he stated. Tong-its is a card game popular in the Philippines with rules are similar to the American card game Tonk.

On-chain gaming is a new generation of gaming experiences built on decentralized, blockchain-based platforms. It combines gaming with the unique features of blockchain technology, such as secure and transparent transactions, digital asset ownership, and decentralized governance. This approach offers players more ownership, control, and transparency over their in-game assets and transactions.

Availability of Previous Products

“As you know, we’ve been building since 2018. We started in developing crypto solitaire on the decentral land. Then we iterate to focus more with NFT (non-fungible token) collections, we created a marketplace, then we ventured with metaverse, we created Mustacios, we ventured with XR, then na-realize namin na parang, oh, wait, the market right now is really hard for us to be able to push those previous products,” he shared.

Despite this, he revealed that such products are still available and are still launched online. The Ownly market is still open to visitors.

Plans for 2024

Moreover, Jerusalem disclosed that for now they are planning to migrate all efforts to a gaming focused blockchain. In this regard, he disclosed that the company is currently looking to develop the previous products alongside with this new project on on-chain gaming.

“We can implement those previous NFTs to a playing card game. So, something like that. Just like an interoperable development of the previous products,” he said.

Jerusalem shared that the company plans to further develop its business in the coming year, as it launched its token in 2021. In order to increase the value of its token, the company plans to create a product.

“Let people use that product and if they find value in it, it will grow eventually if the product’s really good. So we will really focus on the product development as always,” he added.

Recent Activity

In Ownly’s mid-year review, the CEO highlighted the company’s significant wins in the first half of 2023, including the creation of Asia’s largest blockchain-integrated physical art, international network expansion, key partnerships with entities like Coins.PH and government collaborations with DTI, DICT, and LGU. 

In September, in another BitPinas Webcast, Jerusalem discussed the challenges faced by the Philippines in the global crypto community. He  addressed issues such as regulatory challenges, market conditions, and the negative impact of scams on adoption. 

In June, Ownly and Coins.ph engaged with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region V Office, Albay local government unit, local business owners, and Bicolano startup founders to explore the integration of blockchain into the region. 

Earlier this year, the “Existential Voyage,” the largest blockchain-integrated physical art in the Philippines, was unveiled. It is made through the collaborative effort between Ownly, Meatspace, and Lei Melendres.

This article is published on BitPinas: [Interview] Ownly CEO Reveals Move to On-Chain Gaming


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