Source: Binance

The BNB Smart Chain is one of the most robust NFT/gaming platforms. For starters, more than 300 gaming projects use the BNB blockchain network.

Even more impressive, 50% of the top 50 decentralized gaming apps use BNB Smart Chain.

DappRadar top Blockchain Games - 30 Day average as of 4/3/2022. Note: sum is greater than 50 because some games use multiple chains.

However, before diving deeper into where BNB Smart Chain is today, let’s take a step back. To understand how BNB Smart Chain came about, we need to look back to July 2017 when Binance Coin (BNB) launched. The BNB token was native to the original Binance Chain (BC), which faced all the typical “blockchain trilemma” challenges, most notably around solving for scalability. As a solution, the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) was proposed in April 2020 (and launched in September 2020): a parallel blockchain built for running smart contracts at scale. BSC allows users to enjoy the best of both worlds: high transaction capacity of BC and smart contract functionality.

BSC was also designed to be fully EVM-compatible, meaning any smart contract written to run in the Ethereum Virtual Machine could be easily ported to BSC. Moreover, BSC was designed with pre-integrated price oracles (e.g. ChainLink) which are critical for decentralized application (DApp) development and use.

To summarize: Binance launched BSC to combine high throughput, smart contracts, and EVM compatibility (at the expense of greater decentralization). By doing so, DApp developers got access to larger capacity, faster speeds, and lower latency compared to Ethereum.

Source: Coin Telegraph

During 2021, BSC became an evermore popular choice for decentralized finance (DeFi) developers and NFT projects given its ease of operations, interoperability, and low cost. By the end of 2021, both average daily transactions and average DAUs were up more than 20x compared to the beginning of the year.


Some of the most popular applications on BSC in 2021 were DeFi applications like Pancake Swap and Sushi Swap, and the growth in lending protocols, DEXs, and Yield Aggregators undoubtedly fueled much of the growth on BSC. However, the majority of transactions and growth on BSC in 2021 actually came from gaming. According to a Binance blog post, “GameFi had a stellar year and was a big contributor to BNB Chain’s network growth. GameFi transactions make up slightly over 50% of total transactions.”

Not unexpectedly, along with this explosive growth in usage throughout 2021, challenges around scalability became more pressing (the core development team noted challenges specifically related to active users from GameFi projects). The hard lesson learned was that one chain cannot cover all angles, and for DApps with large userbases multi-chains and cross-chains are the best solution.

Enter BNB Smart Chain

In February 2022, Binance announced changes to the brand and technology strategy for Binance Smart Chain.


The rebranding started with a name change from Binance Smart Chain to BNB Smart Chain (gets confusing, we know). BNB Smart Chain is “beyond Binance” according to Samsul Karim, a BNB ecosystem coordinator who explains the rationale behind the name change:

“A lot of the community thinks that Binance owns and controls BSC. Of course, Binance was one of the initiators and one of the key supporters in many ways, including financially. But today, there's many more organizations supporting the BNB chain... We want it to be more loosely coupled by Binance from the BNB chain and then more tightly coupled BNB token to the BNB chain.”

Technology Strategy Change:

The principal strategy change is toward cross-shard and cross-chain interoperability. The BNB Smart Chain vision is to operate at the crossroads of a decentralized blockchain future, and to do this, the development team will be implementing new features to better prepare for mass adoption. More specifically, the enhancements planned for BNB Smart Chain this year are:

  • BSC Application Sidechains (BAS)
  • New BSC Partition Chains to offload the strain on BSC mainnet
  • On-chain governance mechanisms
  • Expanded validator set from 21 to 41 validators to provide more decentralization and boost scalability

In terms of active users, BNB Smart Chain already has the highest active users of any layer one chain with 1.5M - 2.0M daily active users (Ethereum is second with less than 1M daily active users). Furthermore, the total value locked on BNB is third highest (behind Ethereum and Terra). The goal is to “onboard 1 billion users." While this is a lofty goal, the project is well positioned in the current ecosystem.


The BNB Smart Chain team coined the term MetaFi in February to describe the concept of implementing a wide range of blockchain functionality into one “MetaFi Universe”:

MetaFi is a concept that provides advanced and sophisticated DeFi infrastructure to all the different types of projects such as metaverse, GameFi, SocialFi, Web3, and NFTs and puts them under one umbrella – MetaFi. MetaFi is a future all-encompassing ecosystem that promises to deliver a paradigm shift that will enable seamless interoperability between different projects and blockchains.”

According to the BNB Smart Chain team, MetaFi applications include: virtual worlds, marketplaces, yield farming NFTs, fan tokens, and much more. It’s no coincidence that the focus on MetaFi came at the same time as the announcement of the rebranding; after all, MetaFi is a more ambitious web3 vision that will require highly scalable and interoperable blockchains. BNB Smart Chain is aiming to be the solution that enables MetaFi at scale.

In 2022, the BNB Smart Chain (notated BSC in the graph below) continues to maintain its leading position from active user perspective. To maintain this momentum, it is easy to understand why the BNB team is laser-focused on scalability, as this is the key element needed to pursue a MetaFi vision..

Source: Nansen (3/28/2022)

Looking at total wallets in Q1 of 2022, it’s clear that BNB Smart Chain is continuing to grow at a faster pace than its peers:

Source: Coin98 Analytics

Part of this growth can be attributed to the significant investment that Binance has made in the developer ecosystem. In October 2021, a $1B developer fund was announced, showing Binance’s support of BSC at the time (now BNB Smart Chain). It’s the largest crypto accelerator in the world, and the funds are divided into four sub-categories:

  • $500M Investment Program: This will not be limited to BNB Smart Chain and will be used to support many blockchain infrastructure projects. It’s a lot of money!
  • $300M Builder & Incubation Program: $200M will be used to expand the Most Valuable Builder (MVB) incubation program, which aims to incubate 100 innovative DApps that build on top of BSC. The other $100M will be used to conduct hackathons, bug bounty programs, developer conferences, and more.
  • $100M Talent Development Program: This includes mentoring developer communities, educating new crypto investors, providing academic scholarships to universities, running boot camps, and supporting R&D on cutting-edge blockchain projects.
  • $100m Liquidity Incentive Program: This part of the funding provides liquidity rewards to specific protocols/projects based on innovation, total value locked (TVL), active users, or trading volume. It also provides support to professional traders and institutions who create more liquidity in DeFi protocols.
Source: BSCDaily

Leading BNB Gaming Projects

There are a plethora of games and gaming platforms that use BNB Smart Chain. Today, in terms of tokens held by unique wallets, the largest games are:

Source: BSC Daily

There are many other significant projects using BNB Smart Chain, including (but not limited to) Star Sharks, Dark Land, MetaGalaxy Land, and Mines of Dalarnia. What’s notable is that BNB Smart Chain is the home of many blockchain gaming platforms, not just games. The nuance is that these gaming/metaverse platforms are building infrastructure to support more than one gaming experience, and BNB Smart Chain has the technology and planned interoperability to help achieve this. Specifically, if you look at the chart above, Wall Street Games, Mobox, and X World Games all are multi-game ecosystems.

Going forward, I expect that BNB Smart Chain will be a leading choice for game developers given its accelerator programs, reach, technical capability, scalability, and interoperable-friendly approach. However, from a market share perspective, the growth and focus of other networks like Solana, ImmutableX, and Polygon can’t be dismissed. Whereas BNB Smart Chain is a leading overall solution for DApps, some of these other networks are being built more specifically for gaming and metaverse applications. As the blockchain gaming market matures, we will see these blockchains co-exist — after all, there is enough room for many winners — but, compared to today, BNB Smart Chain will almost certainly lose some market share to these other nascent networks.

Zooming Out

The birth of the BNB Smart Chain is a significant milestone in the evolution of both the BNB utility token and the BSC network. It ushers in a new era of more user-friendly and performance-focused blockchain applications that will serve the masses and provide organizations and businesses with the infrastructure required to migrate millions more users into Web3. There’s much more to build and more competition than ever, but BNB Smart Chain’s advantages will help its ecosystem stay highly relevant for the foreseeable future. It may not catch as many headlines in gaming circles, but it’s certainly an ecosystem to keep a watchful eye on.

Big thanks to Alex Summers for writing this essay!

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