Introducing TradeStars series: Fractionable Non-Fungible Tokens.
A new era in Fantasy Sports
The lack of innovation in the industry in the last few years, the rise of new technologies and the huge potential to develop the Fantasy Sports model outside today’s traditional dominating markets were the kick-off of our idea of changing this industry for good.
Our vision is to provide true Digital Ownership, Transparency, Liquidity, and Decentralization to the Fantasy Sports industry and, in this endeavour, bring new ways on which people can communicate and express their passion for sports between each other and with their favourite sports teams and players.
TradeStars’ is based on a few, quite new interesting concepts of the digital economy around Continuous Token Models and Non-fungible Assets (NFTs) that we believe are key in helping us to fulfil our vision.
This article is about the internal features that allowed us to build a game based on the four pillars defined above and its crypto-economy.
Why using a public Blockchain?
Public blockchain infrastructure is well-suited to freely create and exchange unique digital representations of anything in forms of tokens.
After the great success of the fungible ERC-20 standard and the great hype for the ICOs in 2017, several initiatives started working on a new proposal that could represent something unique and scarce on a public digital ledger. This digital asset, a non-fungible asset, univocally owned, non-interchangeable and capable of holding intrinsic value took form with the ERC-721 token standard in the first months of 2018.
A Non-Fungible Token, or NFT, is a special type of cryptographic token that represents something unique, not interchangeable and with verifiable digital scarcity.
So far, the use-cases for ERC-721 have mostly been for collectibles games, like CryptoKitties, Gods Unchained, Axie Infinity, and other on-chain assets such as the Lands’ assets in Decentraland or like in The Sandbox upcoming sale.
Why using the Ethereum Blockchain?
Despite the network congestion and scalability issues Ethereum has been facing momentarily for large-scale applications, it has proven to be one of the most successful blockchains released to date. Not only in terms of reliability, but also in the amount and quality of projects building on top of it and its active blockchain community.
The programmable blockchain is key to fulfilling our vision of disrupting the Fantasy Sports industry. Transparency, Decentralization, Continuous Liquidity (without having the custody of the users’ funds) and true Digital Ownership is possible through the use of Smart Contracts.
It’s worth noting that we’re working on solving scalability through the use of a PoS second layer solution with our friends at Matic.network, but this is a story for another post.
TradeStars Fractionable NFT
What seemed the natural next step around the non-fungible tokens was the possibility to be partially owned. This could, for example, be accomplished by transferring the ownership of the asset to another “manager” Smart Contract that could provide governance for the different owners based on their current holding of shares of the NFT. Just if they were equity holders of a real-world asset.
This is a super interesting pattern and, I believe, we will see many implementations of it for sharing the acquisition of NFTs in the future. It would allow people to partially own digital assets whose market price would turn them virtually impossible to be entirely acquired, or maybe just to participate as investors on an expecting future rent, backers of a project, etc.
But our approach to the fractionable non-fungible tokens is primarily focused on how those NFTs would manage its shares supply. A Continuous Token Model seemed to be ideal for providing Liquidity, and the NFT’s Smart Contract could also control the price and supply of the shares with Transparency while ensuring the Digital Ownership and having Custody of the users’ funds. All of this in a Decentralized way.
TradeStars implementation was influenced by the ideas behind Bonded Curves and Smart Tokens concept in the Bancor protocol. An excellent post from Simon de la Rouviere details the timeline of how these ideas first appeared.
Bancor’s Smart Tokens vs Token Bonding Curves
I’ve seen a few times in social media that people think I took Bancor’s Smart Tokens idea and called it something else…
How these concepts technically work are matters of another post. Meanwhile you can check the TradeStars White Paper to have a more detailed overview.
Tokenized Sports Performances
In Fantasy Sports games, the scores are generally based on athletes’ real-life performance statistics. By combining Decentralized off-chain data with an on-chain NFT registry it is possible to tokenize those public sports performances data sets. “Tokenizing” is the act of creating a unique, tradable, trackable representation of the real-world asset on a public ledger.
Our implementation of Fractionable NFTs allows then to represent each athlete’s public performance statistic through a digital asset with the unique capability to issue fractions of itself.
In the next articles, we’ll share more insights on how these ideas enabled us to build a new kind of Fantasy Sports and the in-game crypto-economic incentives leveraged by the use of this technology.
TradeStars is a Fantasy Sports platform powered by the Ethereum Blockchain where users can own, create and trade digital assets that represent real-life sports performances. A new way in which people can express their passion for sports, compete against each other, and show “How much their sports knowledge is worth”