Play with Your Monkey on the Sun: Our Investment in MonkeyBall

- And Enjoy the Process

Or Harel

Follow your passion. Such a cliché, right?

If you watched some motivational videos in the past decade you must have encountered Steve Jobs’s commencement speech for Stanford’s graduating class of 2005. It was not long after Jobs had recovered from cancer, which gave the speech an even more epic effect. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle”. Mic-drop.

But unless you live in a Disney fantasy world, after the (fairy)dust has settled, your first thought must have been “okay... what if my passion is building 15th-century sandcastles? How am I going to get fed?” 

Fair point.

The founder of Apple, Pixar, and inventor of the one-liner “one more thing”

Swedish Ninjas

Richard Tyler Blevins, better known by his online alias Ninja, is an American Twitch streamer, YouTuber, and professional gamer.

Blevins began his streaming career participating in Esports games and gradually gained fame when he first started playing Fortnite Battle Royale in late 2017. Blevins's rise among mainstream media began in March 2018 when he played Fortnite with Drake, Travis Scott, and JuJu Smith-Schuster on stream, breaking a peak viewer count record on Twitch with a massive 667,000 concurrent viewers. Today he has more than 24M followers just on YouTube.

Gloria Borger, the lead anchor of PewNews, is today’s most-watched name in news with more than 10M viewers per show. To put into perspective, CNN averages only 800K primetime viewers. If the name doesn’t ring a bell it is because it is one of the pseudonyms of Felix Kjellberg, a YouTuber, better known as Pewdiepie.  Once, just another young kid from Sweden playing video games online, and a decade later, the most popular YouTuber in the world, with 110M followers.

The world's most famous gamer

UFC vs. LoL

The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is the “realest” and most popular Mixed Martial Art sport in the world. Its most popular event to date was a fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov watched and paid for by 2.4M viewers around the world. This viewership pales in comparison to League of Legends’s (LoL), a virtual, multiplayer online battle arena video game whose 2020 finals reached almost 46M concurrent viewers. 

"The Notorious", Conor McGregor

Now that we have established that VR sports enjoy greater mass demand than actual reality, we can stop monkeying around and get down to business.

Monkey Business

MonkeyBall is a Solana-based, *Play-to-Earn eSports game that sits at the intersection of FIFA Street and Final Fantasy. The game offers a high production AAA gaming experience and is being developed on the Unity game engine, allowing it to deploy on both desktop and mobile.

A 4v4 arcade soccer game that is easy to learn yet hard to master. Players build a team of four Monkeys to play as Striker, Midfielder, Defender, and Goalkeeper. Matches are played between two teams in Stadiums, owned by players, and can be watched by other players as spectators.  

MonkeyBall introduces the concept of asset portability. Players own the game's assets, Monkeys and Stadiums, in the form of NFTs and own the in-game currency in the form of tokens ($MBS). The game offers multiple play-to-earn systems, giving players flexibility and excitement in how they play. Furthermore, players can exercise governance over the game platform and treasury using a DAO governance token ($SCORE).

MonkeyBall in action

MonkeyBall’s Team

The MonkeyBall team comprises industry-leading talent in game design, blockchain, and creative art. The team has great experience in developing new games leveraging emerging technologies. For example, it was not only one of the first to develop games for Facebook but also to move to mobile casual games.

The Builders and Sellers

Raz Friedman is Chief Product Officer at Playtika, a massive game development company. His experience is virtually unmatched as a game developer, in charge of games like Slotomania, Poker Heat, Bingo Blitz, House of Fun, and many others. Playtika is a publicly listed company that is traded on Nasdaq (NASDAQ: PLTK) with a market cap of $12B and has created disruptive gaming experiences that continue to reshape the gaming landscape.

Shahaf Bar-Geffen is the co-founder and CEO of COTI, a blockchain-based financial ecosystem, offering a wide range of financial technologies and use cases for enterprise clients and merchants.

Easy as Web 1,2,3

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the creator and father of the World Wide Web (no, it wasn’t Al Gore), and what we now colloquially call “The Internet”.

Web 1.0 introduced static, visually challenged graphics and design. A technological breakthrough that opened the equivalent of Alexandria’s Library of knowledge to anyone with an internet connection. It is undoubtedly one of the most stupendous technologies to ever be invented and one that rapidly and completely changed the way we behave and interact in the world. 

Web 2.0 made the internet interactive and was a leaps and bounds improvement from a user experience standpoint. It gave us online shopping, social networks, video streaming, and Justin Bieber. But seriously, one of its most important accomplishments is the democratization of and decentralization of talent and creativity. Beforehand, you had only a few, highly centralized, news outlets. Today everyone with a phone can become a news anchor à la Gloria Borger. Once, in order to be a filmmaker, pop star, or successful artist you had to go through the much-centralized talent agencies, Big Studios, and record labels. With web 2.0 you can now upload your creations to the web in a relatively permissionless manner,  and if you can reach “1000 true fans” you can make a career out of your passion.

Web 3.0 is based on the backbone of blockchain technologies. It enables the unbanked to finally keep their hard-earned money secured. It enables everyone to create and offer the world their talent in the form of NFTs. It makes it possible for everyone to transform something that once was “just a hobby” into their dream job.

Another framework for looking at the evolution of the internet is the progress from information to communication, and now (decentralized) monetization.


Many in the crypto space, myself included, make a distinction between Play-To-Earn and Play-And-Earn. It may look like an over-anal, semantic punctiliousness but there’s a big difference IMHO.

A few years ago, I heard a lecture by a very wise man, who suggested an idea that completely changed the way I think. Such a small and basic idea, that could have easily passed over my head without me noticing it (but luckily it didn’t) thus changing the way I do almost everything.

As a goal-oriented person (pun intended) I used to create S.M.A.R.T goals, bite down my teeth and complete the task at hand - no matter what. Combining this kind of bat-blind tenacity with high aspirations gives you a proven recipe for burnout. The simple suggestion was to just add “and - enjoy the process” to everything. Instead of “work out” it became “work out  - and enjoy the process”. Instead of “do the dishes” or “write a blog post”, it’s now “write a blog post - and enjoy the process”.  This was a game-changer.

MonkeyBall offers users the chance to be part of a team/community/tribe – as well as the variety, surprise, and plain fun that the game itself offers.  This means users will stick around for the experience, rather than quitting once they’ve farmed their rewards. The logic here is that gamers will play for hours on end, for free, just for the sheer joy of it - and the added profit incentive on top builds genuine loyalty.

The Future Monkeys

At Node, we are proud and excited about this investment in MonkeyBall. The potential of Play-and-Earn is self-evident. With the ever-growing adoption of the Solana Smart Contract Platform, its fast speed (essential for online gaming), and a world-class, battle-tested team of MonkeyBall, this looks like being an exciting collaboration.

Final Fantasy

Circling back to Steve Jobs’s “do what you love” recommendation - as days go by, more adoption, more development, and better technology become cheap and ubiquitous. The Metaverse becomes more and more “real”, and the concept real itself becomes more and more virtual. 

The once-naive person living in a “Disney fantasy world” can actually build, live - and make a living - in his chosen Metaverse.

It won’t be long until reality and fiction merge and produce a new, improved version of Homo sapiens sapiens.
Welcome, monkey 2.0, to web 3.0.

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