Demystifying cryptocurrency in esports is a five-part series created in collaboration with Bitcashier, a corporate-focused cryptocurrency trading platform, to unravel the nascent relationship between cryptocurrency and esports.
Part 1 set up the background context behind the growing relationship, while Part 2 looks at the crypto industry’s existing penetration of the esports space.
If betting was the first big ‘gold rush’ in esports, cryptocurrency certainly looks to be the second.
Just as gambling brands pumped big money into the coffers of organisations and leagues as esports matured in the late 2010s, companies in the blockchain sector are gleaning the unique opportunities esports presents.
This year, some of the most notable esports organisations, including TSM, Astralis, NaVi, and BIG, have donned jerseys and changed team names thanks to branding agreements with various blockchain entities.
Most of those blockchain entities are centralised cryptocurrency exchanges, partnering with esports teams in multi-million dollar bids to tap into esports’ valuable audience.
One of the turning points that cemented cryptocurrency’s status within esports was a $210m (~£156m) ten-year sponsorship deal with esports organisation TSM.
However, crypto’s involvement in esports hasn’t entirely been positive. In July this year, FaZe Clan, a preeminent esports organisation, was mired in scandal and forced to kick one of its members, as well as suspend three others, amidst a crypto ‘pump and dump’ scam.
Three of its influencers, amongst other content creators, pushed a charity cryptocurrency token called ‘Save The Kids’ to millions of fans, with some allegedly selling their shares shortly before the value plummeted — leaving fans to pick up the tab.
However, while crypto can present problems in esports, it is also perfectly positioned to address some of the industry’s most glaring issues. According to Bitcashier, a cross-exchange cryptocurrency trading platform offering global trading services to corporate entities, sponsorships barely scratch the surface of what cryptocurrency can provide in esports.
“Integrating cryptocurrency is essential for an industry such as esports, which is considered an innovator and current to its audience — the majority of whom are sub-35 years old,” explained Giles Whitby-Smith, CEO of Bitcashier.
“The borderless appeal of cryptocurrency, combined with the cost savings from using it, and its global popularity, will contribute to ensuring esports’ validity as a digital leader.”
As two digital-native sectors that exist, first and foremost, on the internet, blockchain presents opportunities for fundamental innovations. Nevertheless, most partnerships — even TSM’s $210m deal — have arguably failed to capitalise on this potential.
While teams, leagues, content creators and others in esports have welcomed the sponsorship money with open arms, cryptocurrency’s utility far outstrips simple sponsorship.
In fact, the underlying mechanics of its trustless, permissionless and decentralised nature offers to fix some of esports’ pressing, digital-native issues.
In Part 3 of this series, Bitcashier and Esports Insider break down the use cases for blockchain and cryptocurrency in esports, and look at what crypto firms can offer the sector.
Supported by Bitcashier