How Cryptocurrency is trying to disrupt the Esports Industry

Maarten Sonneveld
Jul 19, 2018 · 13 min read

Original purpose blockchain

After the financial crisis that rocked the world in 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto released ‘Bitcoin: a Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System’. In this paper, he introduced the concept of Bitcoin and briefly explained how it would operate. While Bitcoin focused on becoming a digital currency using distributed databases, the underlying technology called ‘blockchain’ has since developed itself into a ‘groundbreaking’ technology that has the power to disrupt any industry.

The Millenials’ industry

Just like Bitcoin and blockchain, esports is booming. Growth rates of more than 25 percent a year are quite standard, and it’s on its way to becoming a 1.65 billion dollar industry by 2021. Moreover, other established industries such as media and entertainment are aiming at success in the industry as they have the opportunity to get to an audience that’s been getting out of their reach for a while.

Major shift in gaming

Over the last few years, the gaming industry has changed immensely. It all started with the launch of the (Apple) App Store some years ago. With the launch of this new platform came an entirely new industry of free-to-play games that were focused on making you pay for additional in-game items. These items would, for example, give your character another appearance, or boost the in-game performance by gaining extra lives.

One of the biggest free-to-play games: League of Legends

Combining Crypto & Esports

According to many cryptocurrency & esports enthusiasts, esports is on the edge of a new significant change, namely the implementation of blockchain technology. In the last year or so we’ve seen dozens of attempts to exploit the growing world of esports with blockchain. There are a few main areas the many initiatives focus on:

Betting

15+ million unique daily visitors, 2+ million unique monthly broadcasters and a total of 355 billion minutes watched; Twitch has had its’ best year so far and is making esports accessible. Watch esports anytime, anywhere. The accessibility allows the esports community to grow, which results in subsequent growth in the esports betting scene. In 2016, esports enthusiasts have wagered approximately 649 million dollars on cash gambling websites. This amount is projected to be over 11 billion dollars in 2020.

What companies have entered the blockchain esports betting area?

As the esports market and its’ audience are proliferating, it’s not more than usual that the amount of companies founded to benefit from the growth is enormous. In just a matter of years, there is now a mix of companies active on the esports betting market. On the one side, Pinnacle, BET365, Betway, and Ladbrokes represent the established traditional sportsbooks that have moved into esports, and on the other hand, Unikrn, GGbet, Skrilla, Firstblood, and Ultraplay represent the esports-only sportsbooks.

What’s the difference between those platforms?

As mentioned before, esports enthusiasts have wagered over 650 million dollars on the three main categories: esports match betting, fantasy esports, and head-to-head wagering. Each website focuses on one or two of these categories. Let’s give a quick explanation of these markets:

Esports matches betting
Esports match betting is the most significant category and the one that the traditional sportsbooks are involved in. This is the betting that probably everybody has heard of and is familiar with. The player bets on the outcome of, for example, a football or tennis match; win-lose, and in some cases, draw.

The Unikrn platform; bet esports and win prizes.
Skrilla; daily fantasy tournaments for cash.
  • Improved trust: The decentralized blockchain records all transactions openly and cannot be changed.
  • Incentivised participation: Members will be rewarded with SKR tokens for certain behaviors including account verifications, deposits, referrals, sharing content, following social account, entries into paid contests.
  • Liquidity through global player pools: Current betting pools are regionalized due to currency exchange limitations. Creating one global unit of exchange will facilitate use and increase liquidity.

Forming and Providing Teams

League of Legends, one of the biggest esports titles for years, has over 250 million players. Of course, many players play the game casually, but there are only around a hundred teams that compete. There’s some imbalance, to say the least. Compared to football, the most popular traditional sport, there are 300 million players globally and approximately 300,000 clubs. ‘DreamTeam’ is all about taking on the challenge of ‘fixing’ this imbalance.

Find and manage teams on the Dreamteam platform.

What will actually influence the world of esports?

Let’s start with betting..

I do think that blockchain can improve the current way of match betting. As a regular gambler myself, I know what it feels like to wait an endless time before receiving my winnings. Even though some websites are trying to improve their performance, it’s still quite a problem. Smart contracting will enhance the speed, efficiency, and trust of placing bets and cashing out on them. Players are provided with the assurance of where their money is going and that their results were generated fairly. Once there is a reliable integration of blockchain, safe and high-speed betting will be available.

Managing teams on the blockchain

I think that, just like in esports betting, forming and providing teams on the blockchain will make esports more accessible but will not create a significant shift. It’s true that esports is missing a ‘hub’ that enables players to join the world of competitive gaming, but I’m not sure that just one platform can manage it all. It can help, but I reckon it won’t be enough to fulfill the needs of all esports players. As of now, Dreamteam has announced that it will support League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Players Unknown Battleground, Fortnite, DOTA 2 and Overwatch. Except for Fortnite, all of these games are played on PC only. Aiming to become the hub for upcoming esports talent, Dreamteam is excluding millions of console gamers all over the world. They will need to make the shift towards full integration of console gaming as well; otherwise, it will be hard for them to reach their goal.

Conclusion

If there is an industry that is made up of young, tech-savvy individuals, it’s esports. Gamers and the esports community as a whole tend to embrace new technologies quickly. Looking at this situation, esports should be one of the first industries to include blockchain in day-to-day usage.


TripleUniverse

We're a bunch of geeks working to make the best of the digital landscape by combining tech knowledge, and design thinking into business critical solutions.

Maarten Sonneveld

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Disrupting the esports industry by creating unique concepts, such as Team Gullit.

TripleUniverse

We're a bunch of geeks working to make the best of the digital landscape by combining tech knowledge, and design thinking into business critical solutions.