Blockchain and its potential for eSports

Being a blockchain fan last year was a bit like having a friend who suddenly became famous. Promptly things that had been discussed in enthusiastic small groups were being dissected in shouty headlines from editorial pieces. The conversation was conducted in crude terms with like “Head of bank declares blockchain immoral” or “Blockchain is going to completely destroy the economy”. A concept we’ve cared about for a long time was being discussed loudly, with little regard. In some ways it was amazing to see the world catch onto a phenomenal idea, in others frustrating to see it misreported in so many places.

In the midst of all this hysteria some really cool stuff happened. The ideas behind blockchain became understood by a huge new audience, and people started to see how the application of the tech could change things in many sectors. While a lot of ideas are not yet workable, the immediate use for smart contracts via cryptocurrencies like Ethereum was evident. Particularly, for us, with developments in the world of eSports.

The world of gaming is gearing towards in-game purchases and digital currencies you exchange ‘real money’ for. These assets are not secure. They are vulnerable to servers going down, OS updates, or even being hacked from a remote location. The number of eSports players, people who want to professionally play games for money, is set to nearly double from 300m to 500m in a year and a half’s time. A huge influx of players will be affected by these issues.

At the same time the popularity of games are gearing towards professionalism, shared stakes and values of joint competition. Similar to organised marathons, we are now seeing more and more tournaments and leagues set up where everyone pays a fee to compete. This kind of tournament, with equal buy-in and set prizes for the top competitors, are the most popular kinds of games we have seen on our servers and across the industry.

In the midst of all the shouting about whether Bitcoin was a pyramid scheme or a new dawn of a financial era, the development of smart contract technology was being conducted by the same, enthusiastic small groups that had originally put the fire behind the world’s headlines. Smart contracts are secure, unique, one of a kind transactions. Their implementation into an industry that is already running on unsecured digital currency seems like an obvious step. Especially as that industry expects its userbase to nearly double in size.

As we start to see more marathons established, we should support them with as much security, transparency and efficiency as possible. At Yamzu we’ve been running our servers since 2016, for an audience that has grown yearly to 10,000 people. The implementation of blockchain tech is an obvious one to us, as business owners but also as gamers who care about our sport. From July our ICO will introduce a secure, transparent smart contract system that will replace the current set-up that our users in their thousands enjoy. For these gamers, not much will change. On the face of it they will still play League Of Legends, Counter Strike and DOA on our servers like they used to, but behind the scenes they will have a new ownership of their digital assets in a way that was unthinkable a few years ago.

In the meantime, the debate is still raging about blockchain. Some people saw it as a get-rich-quick scheme, and are now sitting and hoping for returns that are unthinkable on the stock market. Others want to see a financial revolution, and critics are waiting for the moment they get to say ‘told you so’ to whoever will listen. For us, these things are unimportant. Despite the fame we know the technology isn’t going anywhere, and has incredibly powerful connotations for our industry and many more beyond.

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