Slack Sunday: eSports, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies come and go at a rather heady pace. They are usually the result of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), when investors would get the scoop of a decent investment and attempt to splurge generously in the hopes of a later return. We have talked about regulation and hacks and how cryptocurrencies have been used to serve nefarious ends. It is time to tune down the negative news and inspect a rather unusual use of cryptocurrencies – video games played professionally or eSports.
Let us first cast the backdrop. Esports are a global phenomenon that has drawn half a billion people in terms of viewers. Revenues in 2018 alone should reach $908 million, which puts them at a significant advantage. Naturally, investors are flocking and trying to get a juicy share of the eSports pie. Viewership is also likely to go up another 20% this year, research market firm NewZoo has explained in its latest report.
With so much happening in the world of eSports, cryptocurrencies are also coming as nifty ways to advance the industry and make a quick digital buck on the side. Presently, there are two main ways to rev up digital riches through eSports, at least where cryptocurrencies are concerned:
- Gambling – Many websites out there now allow eSports fans to take punts on the outcomes of tournaments and single matches and cryptocurrencies (usually bitcoin is the preferred choice);
- eSports’ ICOs – As many as 300 new projects featuring cryptocurrencies and blockchain see the light of day every month. Most of them flop after several weeks while other have a staying power that reverberates long after the first event.
Meanwhile, gauging the future of the eSports industry remains a challenging task as such, and it is understandable why NewZoo has dedicated an entire team to monitor the industry. The company has come up with some sophisticated statistics and metrics as well.
As the picture shows, there are several main drivers of growth in the eSports segment, with media rights, sponsorship and advertising making the top cut, and all three slated to increase multiple times over.
ICO and Blockchain Project to Reshape the Industry
One particular platform holds a dear promise to overhaul the landscape for esports such as we know it. Play2Live is a platform that has pioneered its own Level Up Coin (LUC) tokens that have been gaining popularity, mostly among eSports fans. Play2Live is an on-point project that has promised to revolutionize how we stream and perceive content.
On demand content is not a novelty idea, but making a tournament happen because of crowdfunding is. As this new company promises users to keep them more entertain than traditional streaming promises ever could, the LUC coin may become a mainstream token of exchange in such events.
However, one question should be asked: Are Play2Live looking past their own sector and expanding LUC into a genuine cryptocurrency that can purchase goods. According to the Bank of England, even Bitcoin does not have the trappings to be perceived as a real currency.
Bearing this in mind, platforms like Play2Live may just be using blockchain to advance their own goals and add exclusivity around their own offer. Still, using blockchain and other currencies, such as LUC to convert FIAT money seems a tantalizing prospect and one that is well deem looking into.
How Are Similar Cryptocurrencies Different from LUC?
Bitcoin is largely treated as property these days. As regulator control starts to intensify, so are owners cognizant of the fact that they may incur hefty taxes. Still, some merchants start to accept Bitcoin as a way to pay off for services and goods and that is giving teeth to proponents of the whole sector.
So how should LUC differ? LUC will serve the purposes of revolutionizing a particular sector. Introducing gamers to an alternative way to dictate what they watch and what they want to see is endearing and tantalizing enough.
LUC is already powering some interesting events. LUC served to power the Crypt0Masters’ event hosted by Play2Live and broadcast on play2live.tv. The event gathered seven invited teams and an eighth one that joined from an open qualifier, vying for $72,000.
With such spectacular events thrown down, it is easy to conceive that such platforms will have a success. However, Play2Live is not the only eSports project that has appeared on the landscape, tapping into blockchain and its own cryptocurrency in the hopes of upending the sector and appealing to fans of all stripes. More gaming projects have made their projects felt as well.
Gambling is also now sternly fixating on the use of cryptocurrency to appeal to eSports fans who have a proclivity for the latest technology. It is a smart way to appeal to young audiences as such and make one’s presence in the industry felt in an exciting new way.