Klaytn Meets Sportsplex
We’ve been running our Klaytn Meets series for quite some time now, so we assume you are all familiar with Klaytn’s ecosystem and its initial service partners by now. If you need to go back to our post on initial service partners, click here, or check out previous Klaytn Meets postings here!
The fifth partner we’d like to introduce is Sportsplex. Operated by Nabu Studio, Sportsplex is a fantasy sports platform covering popular leagues such as MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL.
We sat down with Danny S. Woo, the CEO of Nabu Studio.
Klaytn: Please tell us about yourself for our readers.
Woo: I’ve been in the game industry for almost 15 years now. I started off at NHN Hangame developing Poker and Go-stop (a type of Korean card game), which I did for about 4 years until I moved to NHN America for business development. I came back to Korea for NHN Poker and Go-stop again until I started sports management game service for baseball and soccer at Naver. I also did Anipang Poker (popular Korean social-network game service) for a while afterwards, and then I founded Nabu Studio. Our team consists of “old” crew with whom I’ve been working together ever since my earlier times at NHN Hangame.
Klaytn: How did the collaboration with Klaytn first come about?
Woo: After I founded Nabu Studio earlier this year in March, we embarked upon a platform hunt to onboard our project. We met a good deal of platforms, and at the end, Klaytn, of course, turned out to be the best match for us.
What really hit me as I was going through meetings after meetings with a variety of platform companies was that many people in this industry are overusing what I’d like to call a ‘lazy blockchain premise.’ They’re saying things like “for a blockchain project, this is good enough,” or “for a blockchain project, this is innovative enough.” They’re buried in merely the idea of doing blockchain. I would pose a question or raise a point, and they would answer it by uttering that premise of oh well, this is a blockchain, so this and that. That lazy blockchain premise is the road to failure.
You see, our end users, especially our blockchain users have already experienced PC and mobile for a pretty long time. So if they find themselves stuck with these cryptic wallet addresses, terribly low speed, and blah performance, there’s no way they are going to use blockchain services. Blockchain wouldn’t mean anything.
But with Klaytn, however, we shared a similar vision. Whether or not it’s a blockchain service, or whether or not it’s a service that’s going to dole out tokens or coins, is not the issue here. We’re looking for a technologically advanced service that is user-friendly and developer-friendly. This new blockchain service should surpass all of the previous services in its performance, UI, and speed. Just beyond everything. And Kakao had abundant B2C experiences, produced great UI and UX, and served millions of users. And I believed that Kakao-backed Klaytn would have a depth of concern that’s different, and also more deep and profound than any other platform companies out there. And there it went Klaytn.
Klaytn: Can you tell us more about your blockchain project?
Woo: Put simply, it’s a fantasy sports. More specifically, it’s a daily fantasy sports, a subset of fantasy sports. It’s not so much in mainstream popularity here in Korea, but it’s popular in the States with about 60 million active users. Fantasy sports are a type of online game where users create virtual teams of real-life players of a professional sport. And for daily fantasy sports, it’s a shorter version. You don’t have to wait throughout an entire season, let’s say, an entire football season to figure out who won and who lost. The results are announced each day. The market size for fantasy sports is about 7 trillion won where as for daily fantasy sports, it’s approximately 3.5 trillion won.
Klaytn: Nabu Studio’s daily fantasy sports, ah ha. How did you first start?
Woo: Three reasons. First, as I earlier mentioned, I already had work experiences in sports management game service. For baseball, we had about 400,000 DAU and for football, 200,000. And I came to think, it would be interesting to ‘blockchainize’ these games so that users can have a chance to trade in-game items or virtual players by using cryptocurrency.
And second, the biggest issue with fantasy sports I noticed was that there are these so-called “sharks”. The ill-intentioned players, or abusers who do fantasy sports for a living by using macro programs. It’s impossible for normal users to register hundreds of lineups. These sharks, however, can register up to something around 5,000 lineups in a single day. This is pretty controversial in the States, where people do demonstrations for their state governments to issue corrective orders, which, however, are not so effective.
And I thought that this issue with sharks could perhaps be solved if blockchain technology was applied. If we were to examine a certain player’s betting patterns or online behaviors, we would be able to, as well as other average players themselves, would be able to tell if they are sharks or not. And they would be banned from playing games because other players would not let them play with them.
And third, I want to restructure the huge 10% participating fees that players pay. I picture a system in which players can vote on how much they would like to pay for the participating fees. And we plan to redistribute the collected participating fees back to players based on the idea of, the greater the fee, the more incentive they receive. And for the voting system, the more often players play, the more votes they get. So the players will have to make decision between incentive and participating fees.
Klaytn: How exactly does Sportsplex’s token economy work?
Woo: We have what’s called SPO, SPX, and SPC. SPO is governance point with the function of action, referral and consumption. It’s like VIP points or mileages you can earn based on the number of games you have played, assets you have accrued, or the number of friends you have referred to within a period of 2 weeks. And biweekly rewards are given out based on your SPO. Your right to vote is also based on your SPO. SPX is utility token used for services value that can be agreed upon among users, while SPC is digital currency used to consumer contents with a fixed service price. You can receive SPC when you register for the first time or when you win a league.
With these tokens in your wallet, you can put advertisements, participate in fantasy sports competition, or buy and sell virtual players you manage. In this way, we are successively linking fantasy sports with multi-player management game, through which you can scout players, manage your players, and appoint coaches.
Klaytn: How do you envision the future of blockchain industry?
Woo: If this industry was to continue sailing as it is now, it will fail for sure. Too many people here are confined within conceptual frameworks. What’s more important than conceptual discourse? Users. More attention should be given to user experience. This is the essence of blockchain technology, and it’s being overlooked. This also explains why I decided to collaborate with service-centric platform like Klaytn that prioritizes UX as the highest value.
Klaytn: What would it take to get better?
Woo: When I first started digging into blockchain, I perused through a lot of books and websites, but not many of them had really explained blockchain technology in a simple and easy way. It was often the case that blockchain had been described as something extremely difficult and hard to grasp. The same goes for algorithm.
Also, you go to these blockchain or crypto meetups, and you are probably expecting insightful discussions on what would take for the industry to continue advancing or what we as a group can do together for the government to relax regulations. Sadly, however, you are often encountered with presentation after presentation of “I have a better project than you do.”
Blockchain should be neatly straightened up in a way that even my uncle, my nephew, and my parents can easily understand. At the end, blockchain, put simply, is a kind of technology that’s a bit expensive but easier, that can send and receive values via wire transfer with transparency and trust guaranteed.
Klaytn: Sportsplex has entered the blockchain scene quite fast compared to other fantasy sports projects. What was the motivation behind this?
Woo: I believed that blockchain-based games can definitely contribute to a lot of things. Incentivized participation can reward the time and efforts that gamers put into. And in this way, we could also perhaps alleviate the hostile prejudice that some people might have towards game companies in general too. Our vision is to create a multiplayer sports portal equipped with transparency and trust based on blockchain technology. And in that sense, the users ultimately will be able to freely connect with one another.