Bitcoin is well the best-known and most beneficial cryptocurrency, however there’s extra to cryptocurrency than simply Bitcoin – and far more to the expertise behind it than simply digital cash.
All cryptocurrencies are based mostly on blockchain expertise: an immutable, decentralised ledger system that’s like a sturdy, trustless database. Copies of the blockchain for every forex or undertaking are scattered throughout the computer systems of all individuals within the community, guaranteeing that there’s all the time a backup and drastically decreasing the potential for unhealthy actors efficiently altering data.
Bitcoin’s fast rise and fall in worth in late 2017 has led some to denounce the digital asset and others, labelling as a bubble that popped, however the wider cryptocurrency market retains rising: it sits at a market cap of about $570bln as of this writing, with different currencies akin to Ethereum, Tether, and Ripple every properly above the $10bln mark respectively.
Blockchain expertise began with Bitcoin, however it has confirmed to be a invaluable expertise for functions aside from cash. Whereas there are a wealth of startups growing instruments round blockchain, it’s additionally being adopted by main company giants and governments to assist with meals security, welfare advantages, and information analytics. It’s additionally fueling a brand new business of digital collectibles, wherein digital art work, in-game gadgets, and different creations are individually “tokenised” on a blockchain to show rarity and authenticity.
Now these digital collectibles have hit the esports market. As of this writing, we’ve got seen 4 main esports groups announce crypto fan tokens, which followers should buy to realize entry to unique options. For instance, proudly owning fan tokens could permit somebody to vote on team-related issues – akin to which in-game banner it ought to use in competitions – in addition to have early or unique entry to buying merchandise, or probably have the ability to meet or compete in opposition to their favorite gamers at an occasion.
OG, the back-to-back The Worldwide champions for Dota 2 in 2018 and 2019, was the primary esports staff to offer a fan token along with crypto startup Chiliz and its Socios.com platform. Chiliz has additionally signed up a variety of conventional sporting manufacturers akin to FC Barcelona, Juventus, and the Final Combating Championship, Furthermore, fellow esports organisations Team Heretics, Natus Vincere, and Team Alliancenot too long ago started providing their very own respective cash by way of the platform as properly.
“We’re honoured to work carefully with Socios.com in order that our followers have the chance to take part in constructing OG’s story,” wrote OG CEO Johan Sundstein in a launch. “Socios.com offers followers a voice, so the hyperlink with OG was fairly pure. Enhancing the reference to our group has all the time been a part of OG’s DNA. With Socios.com, we will take it to the subsequent degree. We wish to push the expertise additional, by providing them the chance to have an actual affect in a few of OG’s choices.”
Lately, Gen.G Esportslaunched its own crypto fan token for its Counter-Strike: World Offensive staff, referred to as the GG Strike Coin. That exact enterprise was established in partnership with a startup referred to as Rally, which has shared management with the org: Gen.G co-founder and Chairman Kevin Chou can also be the founder and CEO of Rally. The soon-to-release GG Strike Coin earns homeowners entry to non-public Discord chats with Gen.G’s gamers and coaches, amongst different perks.
Along with the myriad purposeful advantages of possession, the digital tokens themselves could rise in worth over time, particularly with a hard and fast variety of every minted. OG’s Fan Token was initially supplied for about $1 apiece initially, however as of this writing, CoinMarketCap experiences that the market value is simply over $2 every. Look, it’s in all probability not going to problem Bitcoin on that entrance, given its present value over $19,000, however it might nonetheless be a invaluable funding.
It’s early days nonetheless for fan tokens, however the preliminary examples showcase the potential for esports organisations to generate extra income whereas offering extra in-depth and unique engagement alternatives for individuals who purchase into the system.
Nonetheless, the broader market has its challenges in terms of mainstream adoption, and notion is without doubt one of the largest. Merely put, many individuals nonetheless don’t perceive what cryptocurrency is or why it’s invaluable. Some imagine that crypto expertise is solely used for nefarious and unlawful means when actually there may be vital reputable utilization and potential.
Esports groups contemplating a crypto-backed fan token should keep away from fueling that damaging notion by merely viewing the transfer as a trend-chasing income play. If crypto fan tokens are actually right here to remain, esports organisations should present clear and sustained advantages to consumers. The extra worth that groups create across the tokens, the extra invaluable they’ll develop into – and maybe it’ll be greater than a handful of groups providing them this time subsequent yr.
This text first appeared in Version 7 of The Esports Journal.