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How Esports and Crypto Work Together

How Esports and Crypto Work Together

Figure 1 The potential for crossover between esports and crypto seems obvious

With many industries and work sectors falling to the wayside in the last few years, as the entire world has struggled to live with the pandemic, two areas have enjoyed unprecedented growth.

Cryptocurrencies have seen a huge interest spike and have moved from an underground, in-the-know topic to everyday mainstream interest. Esports have followed much the same trajectory, with tournaments and players now enjoying the same kind of fandom as more traditional sports. But how are these industries now working together?

 

Similar Outlook

 Even from the point of little knowledge about esports or cryptocurrencies, these are two areas that would seem perfect for each other. The same kind of people are likely to be attracted to both – and there are plenty of obvious ways that the two could cross over.

 Sponsorship and Naming Rights

 We have already seen huge sports sponsorship deals and naming rights awarded to cryptocurrency exchanges such as Crypto.com. The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team are now playing in the Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Arena) – and you cannot get a much more high profile than that.

 But crypto exchanges and companies have been getting into esports in a big way for quite a while now. By bit has pumped money into the NAVI team for sponsorship rights, as has Coinhako with ALMIGHTY. With major chunks of these deals being paid in crypto as well, the relationship only gets closer.

 NFT and Crypto Prizes

 Influential Youtubers and crypto companies have also realized the immense worth of using NFTs and crypto prizes inside the esports games and tournaments themselves. With the recognition that the gamers are exactly the kind of people that would be interested in crypto anyway, it really is a win-win situation.

 NFTs are being used as in-game assets that are securely stored on a blockchain. They can be used as skins in games, and cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum, can be awarded as prizes where traditional currencies may have been used before.

 

Figure 2 Cryptocurrencies are already used as prizes in games

Traditional Sports Tie-Ins

 The relationship between esports and crypto-only intensifies when traditional sports are brought into the mix. We have already mentioned the naming rights for the home arena of the LA Lakers – but there are plenty more examples of teams and clubs dipping into the crypto world in one way or another.

 Many top European soccer teams have been pushing club-related crypto in the last few years, introducing their fans to a new way of being involved with their favourite teams. It seems as if crypto companies are desperately trying to find a way of getting into the sports world after the huge success of esports.

 Convergence

 With all the similarities we have noted here, it is unsurprising that those in the know refer to a convergence of the esports and crypto worlds. It seems like a no-brainer and something that will only get bigger in the coming years.

 Gamers, creators and esports influencers have already launched a number of bespoke cryptocurrencies and are working ever closer with gaming platforms to capitalize on the close relationship.

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One-Way Traffic?

This burgeoning relationship has not been entirely one way, though. Crypto and blockchain technology continues to be controversial topic in many areas. PC game retailer Steam actually banned any titles that used the technology, and Discord also halted its plans for deeper integration,

There is, of course, an infamously high environmental toll attached to blockchain technology at its very core – and that has drawn criticism within esports and outside, such as Elon Musk’s outspoken reaction with Tesla.

 But the huge sponsorship deals and ultimate convergence does still seem to be the more likely way that esports and crypto will work. We will find out in the coming years just how close that relationship will be.