Esports is Huge! Can Blockchain Make it Bigger?
Esports is kind of a big deal. Even now, the number of people tuning in to competitive gaming broadcasts is around 300 million worldwide. And it’s only expected to get bigger. Combine that with huge organizations like the New York Mets and Cleveland Cavaliers investing into the scene, and it’s clear that esports has a very bright future.
The same applies to the blockchain. Most people are aware of the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but the technology behind them deserves even more recognition. Because the blockchain grants anyone in the world the ability to create open decentralized records or—in simpler terms—digital ledgers. This technology can apply to all transactions that involve exchanging money, goods, and property. Plus, its level of security and transparency puts existing financial systems to shame. Still, is there a way to combine these two worlds to make them even better?
Blockchain Player Protection
A mere 10 years ago, esports wasn’t the unwavering titan it is now. It was very much a grassroots scene supported by raw passion and pure enthusiasm. The record-breaking viewer numbers weren’t there yet, but people still loved their games. And they did everything in their power to make esports grow.
Unfortunately, this made them easy targets for scammers. People who viewed competitive gaming as a fad jumped on the esports train to make a quick buck. And so, the stories of shady teams and tournament organizers began to emerge. In 2015, a CS:GO event known as Gaming Paradise announced that it won’t be paying its prize pool to the tournament winners. A year later, a major League of Legends organization—Team Impulse—was exposed for owing large sums of money to its players.
It might seem like these scams are a thing of the past, but shady esports practices are still all too common. This is where the blockchain comes in. The technology allows the creation of smart contracts to guarantee that all parties hold up their end of the bargain. And since the particulars of the deal are written into self-executing lines of code, breaching such agreements is practically impossible. So if an esports team finishes first place at a tournament, the blockchain technology will ensure it gets paid.
Smart contracts could also come in handy by providing additional incentives. You could include clauses that reward players for achieving great results. With that, esports teams will benefit from a higher level of performance, and players will know they’ll get paid extra for showing up on stage.
Supercharging Esports Tournaments
Of course, cutting down on frauds isn’t the only use of the blockchain. Different countries have different gaming regulations, and more often than not, esports tournament prize pools are split in half because of taxes. And while evading taxes isn’t necessarily legal, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies could help esports organizations avoid middleman cuts and transactions fees that come with using third parties that deliver the winnings to the actual players.
Naturally, a payout system like that should be tested in smaller tournaments first. But it can serve as a very powerful tool to increase player income and improve the stability of the entire scene.
On a similar note, the blockchain can help out with donations. A large portion of esports player profits comes from fans tipping them on PayPal and Twitch. Meanwhile, pros give back by creating content, streaming gameplay, and providing educational or entertaining commentary. It’s a win-win scenario, as fans get to support their favorite players, and pros get to build up their brands.
Sadly, donations aren’t very reliable. PayPal gives its users an option of chargeback—a mechanism designed to prevent fraud by returning the money to the original donator. As you’ve probably figured out by this point, this option is easy to abuse.
So a $10,000 donation that could make or break a streamer’s career could disappear into thin air simply because someone thought it would be funny to charge it back. However, the blockchain acts as a digital ledger. Everything it records stays that way, so the funds go exactly where they were sent in the first place. And sudden chargebacks will no longer be an issue.
Esports Betting With Blockchain
As competitive gaming is growing, esports betting is becoming increasingly prominent. And for good reason! Few things are more exciting than placing a wager on your favorite team and seeing it clinch that W. Blockchain cryptocurrencies can make this experience even better.
Esports bitcoin betting is gaining increased popularity because of its unique combination of privacy and security. With its help, punters get to preserve their identity while having the utmost confidence that no one is going to rob them of their winnings. And although we don’t condone it, crypto betting presents a viable way to bypass country restrictions that so many gambling sites employ.
Then, there’s also the rise of ICOs. The abbreviation stands for Initial Coin Offerings—cryptocurrency tokens that many esports startups are beginning to sell. Right now, you can use these tokens to pay for coaching, acquire skins, and—of course—bet on esports matches. In fact, it’s the betting aspect that made ICOs so popular, as the blockchain technology allows bettors and gambling platforms to bypass banks and deal with each other directly.
Moreover, many ICO startups offer exciting opportunities like betting on Twitch streamer matches or even placing wagers on your own games. In short, the blockchain might very well overhaul esports gambling industry. Although, admittedly, some details need to be ironed out first. After all, you don’t want to invest your hard-earned money into a startup that will go up in smoke the very next day.
The Future of Esports and Blockchain
We’re just scratching the surface of what the blockchain is capable of. For one, there’s a real possibility that a blockchain-based esports title will emerge, as there are already popular games like CryptoKitties that use the technology. But even in its current state, the blockchain is already bringing about serious changes. And it can very well kick-start an esports revolution.