Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been gaining a lot of popularity in the sports and gaming industry. These two sectors have been largely affected by the rise of blockchain technology, and alongside this the utility of NFTs, which are unique tokens, often representing another real-world item, which is deployed on a blockchain network. Fundamentally, NFTs were built for gaming, yet they can be extended to benefit artists, sports fans, investors, and brands.
Gaming-industry leading with NFT use
The gaming sector has been working with NFTs for quite some time now. In fact, gaming is what brought NFTs to the limelight back in 2017 with the popularity of the crypto-collectibles game CryptoKitties. Since the rise of CryptoKitties, many projects have started working with NFTs and it has also drawn the attention of tech giants like Microsoft.
Decentraland is another massive NFT based game that was launched recently, three years after its ICO in 2017. The game is basically a virtual world where people buy and sell digital land as well as construct buildings. The game uses its native token MANA as the in-game payment method. The game had raised $20 million selling MANA tokens during the ICO. Now, Bloomberg said in a recent article that over the last week Decentraland gamers have purchased over $1 million worth of digital anchorage on the Ethereum-based game.
Sports Market catching up
The sports industry has also seen its fair share of NFT utility. Popular sports like football, NBA, NFL, have all seen NFTs in action. Internationally acclaimed clubs are taking advantage of the growing demand for NFTs. Blockchain tech is an ideal solution for creating traceable and tradable digital assets that help draft a tokenized economy.
Leading Italian football club Juventus, in partnership with blockchain-enabled fantasy football startup Sorare, is offering blockchain-based digital collectible cards of its players. All the cards issued on the Sorare platforms will represent non-fungible tokens based on Ethereum’s ERC-721 standard. There will only be 1 “unique” card per player, while the other two categories will see 10 and 100 cards issued, respectively.
Sorare has also licensed digital collectible cards from 37 different clubs, including Roma, Napoli, West Ham, Lyon, Atletico Madrid, Porto, and Schalke.
The NBA and NFL are also inclined towards implementing NFTs to boost the underlying economy of the sports. In the recent NFT NYC event dedicated to non-fungible tokens, Adrienne O’Keeffe, associate vice president of partnerships at the NBA, and Sophie Gage, counsel at the NFL Player’s Association, were part of a panel that discussed the value of blockchain technology for big brands.
O’Keeffe believes that NFTs would create more opportunities for fans to “connect with” the game. Gage, however, claims “there is a lot of uncertainty: are these utilities, are these securities? It’s a new area for growth. There is a lot of untapped potentials.”
Despite slightly different stances from the representatives, both the NBA and NFL have issued blockchain-based cards with Panini, a popular traditional players’ cards market.
Furthermore, both Gage and O’Keeffe believe we won’t see contract tokenization anytime soon. This means that NFTs would be in focus, which is something that would be a massive push for the technology at such an early stage.
The power of cryptocurrencies and the tokenized economy they can create is becoming a popular tool across many other sectors as well. Any item can be embedded with an NFT and that will give it a unique and extremely identifiable tag. Being stored on the blockchain enables a seamless and easy method to verify authenticity.
Anything is possible when using disruptive technologies like NFTS and many new realms of possibilities open up when being creative with it. However, NFTs are as good as the underlying blockchain technology. As of now, the market is dominated by Ethereum as most NFTs we see today are built on the ERC-721 and ERC-1155 Ethereum standards. Other blockchains like Enjin, the native blockchain for the popular cryptocurrency ENJ, are also working on NFT based projects.