From Cyberpunk To DeFi: How the Team Behind Node Runners Built Drops

It’s not often that the creators of a hit cyberpunk-themed video game go on to develop a unique lending platform for DeFi assets, but that’s precisely what led to the creation of the Drops NFT loan marketplace. 

For the uninitiated, Drops is a fast-growing platform in the non-fungible token space that’s aiming to provide a way for users to reduce the opportunity cost of holding NFTs and access liquidity without selling those assets. With Drops, NFT holders can leverage those tokens to obtain cryptocurrency loans to earn additional yield. Meanwhile, those willing to provide liquidity can do so by creating a lending pool and stating which kinds of assets they’ll accept as collateral, earning interest on those loans as they’re repaid. 

It All Started With Node Runners

The inspiration for Drops came from the creators of one of the most popular NFT-based games, Node Runners, an open-source cyberpunk-themed game that aims to bring DeFi enthusiasts together to fight for a “decentralized tomorrow”. 

Node Runners is set in a dystopian future in which the world is ruled over by a ruthless corporate autocracy. Underground cyber partisans emerge to challenge their supremacy, creating a resistance alliance called “Node Runners”. For players, the goal is to become the top Node Runner by acquiring Hero NFT cards, boosting their strength so they can defeat the corporate villains in one-on-one battles. 

Key to Node Runners is its DeFi-based economy, which combines liquidity mining with collectible NFTs and an NFT-based farming and staking model. Players can receive NFTs as a liquidity mining reward and stake those NFTs to acquire $NDR, which can boost their chances of winning the game.

In a podcast with The Nifty, Node Runner creator Darius Kozlovskis relates how the inspiration for Drops came about as a direct result of building that game. Node Runners launched in September 2020, just as NFT collectibles and metaverse items started to go mainstream. As the concepts became more popular, Kozlovskis said his team quickly realized the need for more ways to use NFTs to generate additional value for holders, either through yield farming or as collateral, in the same way as DeFi tokens operate. 

Having hit upon the idea for Drops, the Node Runners team reached out to its community of players and received overwhelming support for their idea. Knowing Drops would be a hit even before it started, the team quickly set about making the platform a reality. 

Launch of Drops

Drops consequently launched its idea of trustless NFT loans in February 2022 with its mission to solve the problem of assets sitting idle in users’ wallets. 

Drops have since evolved to become a full-fledged DeFi platform for NFTs that brings expanded utility to all token holders. The main benefit of the platform is it decreases NFT sell pressure due to a lack of ROI on those assets, preserving the value of those investments. For NFT holders, the immediate advantage is they can obtain instant liquidity without selling their assets.

Drops is planning to launch additional value propositions too, including NFT vaults where users can stake their tokens and earn yield with permissionless NFT loans. 

Drops have rapidly become an extremely beneficial addition to the NFT ecosystem, bringing more utility to what were once largely idle tokens. It’s building a solid foundational layer at the intersection of the NFT and DeFi industries, and with NFT gaming itself only just beginning to take off, the future of both Drops AND Node Runners looks to be a bright one. 

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