Axie Infinity is arguably the best NFT-game out there in the market, having good earnings while being an overall enjoyable game. However, what is making it a strain for beginners, especially amid its extreme hype, is the exorbitant prices of Axies. With Axies starting around 0.2 Etherum (ETH), that makes a total of 0.6 ETH or around $1200 assuming ETH at $2000 to start playing Axie Infinity, needing 3 Axies to start. There is also the stress of choosing the right Axies to make a team, a variety of strategies, moves and factors involved with every Axie. Fortunately, there is an option for playing Axie Infinity for free from the community, though comes at the cost of time: scholarships.
Just like scholarships in real-life is a payment from a company, government, authority, etc. to give you free education (usually a course degree at a university), scholarships in Axie Infinity is scholarship managers, those controlling the scholarship service, giving a team of Axies for free for someone so they can earn by playing for them. The big difference between a scholarship between the two is that no education is needed in Axie Infinity, the game is relatively easy to understand and play, though comes at a learning curve. Some compare it to Chess, a strategical board game appearing simple at first, but having an infinite quantity of options to play.
In simple, scholarships is someone giving you an Axie team to earn them money, collecting a share of it as well depending on the manager (e.g. 50-50, 90-10, etc.).
With Axie Infinity currently so hyped, scholarships seem a great option. You would be given free Axies to play Axie Infinity, earning money by consistently playing for the manager. However, there is a catch, many catches. Let's look at the pros and cons of Axie Infinity scholarships.
The main pro of scholarships is that you get free Axies to play Axie Infinity, which as has been mentioned many times earlier, is a luxury for many. Rather than saving or waiting for the right time to buy, scholarships give the Axies at the time of the establishment with the conditions between the client and manager. This means instant cash, which over time can accumulate enough to quit the scholarship and buy your own Axies, 'graduating' the scholarship's course. With more experience in playing the game, choosing Axies becomes more simple, knowing your purpose within the game.
There also is the interaction with the community in scholarships. To make a scholarship, you literally need to sell yourself out in the Axie Infinity community, and this means you start to build relationships within the community. Building relationships makes the Axie Infinity journey easier and more fun, having others to support and interact for a better understanding and purpose.
Although scholarships seem like the perfect thing for beginners in Axie Infinity, there are some drawbacks. One of the most significant is trust. It might not seem obvious at first, but by the manager giving you 'free' Axies to work for them, the manager is giving you, likely a stranger over the internet, over $1000 to work for them. It is possible not only for you to be banned from Axie Infinity, losing access to the game, but the manager as well, which can be detrimental to their scholarship program, having possibly hundreds upon hundreds of Axies that can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Trust is important, and so managers will need to know a lot of their clients to ensure that they will not betray them.
However, it can work the other way around, managers betraying clients. With no solid regulations over the internet, especially within an NFT game based on a decentralised blockchain, there is no support for job employment/conditions, unlike the real world. Managers can abuse this, using clients to their own benefit. They would make the client work for a few weeks or a month, the usual time for the income withdrawal of SLP (Smooth Love Potion), then remove the Axies from the client, running off with the rewards.
Also, note that it would not only be you going for scholarships but many, many others. That makes a high demand, thus high competition for scholarships, so it may take a long time or high effort before one rightfully comes.
There are tons of places to find scholarships. I will share two which I think are great options to start, though there are many others out there.
Scholarship Opportunity 1: Axie Infinity Scholarships Subreddit
There is an official subreddit dedicated to the listing of scholarships. Scrolling through here are opportunities for scholarships, which are most likely looking for an application via a Google Form. Note that there is likely a high demand, but if you try hard enough and apply to as many scholarships acceptably, it is possible to find a scholarship. Also be careful of any scams/spams, some possibly looking at abusing you or getting you to join their Discord server or doing something else unethical. The subreddit can be visited here: https://www.reddit.com/r/AxieScholarships/.
Scholarship Opportunity 2: Axie.Tech
This is an Axie Infinity community that I stumbled upon and seems promising. Bryce, one of the community moderators, provides great advice in getting a scholarship, giving out some himself. From what I have gathered, this is a legitimate scholarship program and by following the steps outlined below and giving enough time, a scholarship would be within sight. The scholarship page for Axie.Tech can be visited here: https://axie.tech/scholarships.
Scholarships for Axie Infinity are a great feature for its community, especially for beginners not knowing where to start or having little/no budget to start playing. Many people have started to go for scholarships, sparked by the recent hype on Axie Infinity, making it more difficult to become a scholar from the high demand, though not impossible. Two possible places to begin scholarship applications is the Axie Infinity Scholarships subreddit and Axie.Tech scholarship program that I have explained in the previous sections. Scholarships are a valid option to begin playing Axie Infinity for free, but remember that the manager does not know who you are, neither do you and that there is always to possibility of abuse or greed in applying for a scholarship.
Disclaimer: The information above is not financial advice and is for educational and entertaining purposes. All information is of my personal opinion and is based on the research I have made. Any information on this article should not be mistaken as fact, and any decision with crypto means you need to DYOR (Do Your Own Research)