[toc]As esports betting operator Unikrn sets the seal on what is likely to be one of the largest initial coin offerings (ICOs) to date with its up to $100 million Unikoin Gold raise, a lengthy lineup of further esports-related token sales suggests CEO Rahul Sood’s headliner won’t be monopolizing the headlines.
The Mark Cuban-backed Unikrn has so far raised more than $30 million from a pre-sale open to a limited number of large-scale blockchain investors — including Cuban himself alongside blockchain investment houses Blockchain Capital and Pantera Capital — and a public crowdsale last weekend.
The Ethereum-based Unikoin Gold SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens) note will be the subject of further regional crowdsales in the coming weeks.
Unikrn is the most high-profile of the esports-related ICOs. But a host of further offerings have either already taken place or are slated to open in the coming weeks.
Going by some of the published roadmaps of many of the startups listed below, the esports sector might well be awash with differing crypto-coins next year. The number of the startups listed below that make it to that stage, however, is more debatable.
Some recent and upcoming esports-related ICOs
Here’s a list of some of the other ICOs out there.
- Gimli – A Malta-based company which makes the claim that it is the “first decentralized esports betting/streaming platform” built on the Ethereum blockchain. The ICO is slated to run until late October.
- Hashrush – A “large-scale hash-powered strategy game” which is powered by its own cryptocurrency called Rush Coin. The ICO is under way and runs until late October.
- Skrilla – Asports daily fantasy wagering platform and a “roadmap” that includes a betting exchange, pool betting and head-to-head skill-based competitions. The white paper says the site is a collaboration between Puntaa (a P2P social betting site) and esports media group Gamurs, which earlier this year merged with Dot Esports. The coin pre-sale starts in mid-October.
- GameCoin – A Russia-based esports-related cryptocurrency concern whose website claims it has raised nearly $9 million through a recent token event.
- HuntBet – Another Russia-based blockchain-based esports betting platform. A token sale occurred in August but the website Hunbet.io appear to be non-operational at present.
- Triforce Tokens – Another attempt to launch an esports-related token that in this instance hopes to become the “industry standard on multiple gaming platforms,” brining game developers and payers together in a new ecosystem. The coin sale runs until mid-October and the maximum amount that will be raised is $40 million.
- VRCoin – A Russia-based offer, this time promising a franchise of VR arenas with “profit distribution via smart contracts.” A pre-sale has been completed and the white paper says it will update on next steps in October.
- EnjinCoin – Another “smart cryptocurrency for gaming” which claims to have raised the equivalent of $12 million via a recent pre-sale. Another crowdsale was slated to end in early October.
- Refereum – A blockchain-based cryptocurrency which claims it will directly reward influencers on platforms such as Twitch and Unity. The company says it “uses the blockchain to directly connect developers and influencers, resulting in lower marketing costs and increased profits for everyone.”
- OPSkins – Skins marketplace that has already started accepting Bitcoin and hopes to launch an ICO in October for a blockchain-based decentralized platform for virtual exchanges called the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX). William Quigley, the chief executive of OPSkins, says that WAX creates a “global virtual-item platform accessible to anyone, providing a complete catalogue of all assets available for sale in real time.”
- Herosphere – A decentralized esports social betting app that planned to raise $14 million through an ICO in late September.
- TheEsports.com – The company says the ultimate aim is to build an online esports university where budding gamers will be able to learn new skills and techniques.
- Gilgam.es – An Ethereum-based competitive gaming platform whose recent crowdsale offers a hint of troubles to come. Having failed to sell the requisite planned amount of tokens, the company has had to reset its plans regarding the tokens left in the possession of the owners.
Esports and tokens are a good match
The long list of offerings suggests that esports and the ecosystem of tokens might be a match made in heaven. As Paul Polterauer, chief executive and co-founder of Herosphere, told Esports Betting Report: “We are convinced that that the esports and crypto community have a big overlap.”
Joseph Borg, partner at Malta-based law firm WH Partners, is involved with two of the ICOs listed above – Gimli and The Esports.com. He says there is a huge overlap between esports and the burgeoning ICO scene.
“Blockchain technology is very disruptive, particularly in the gambling industry as well as the esports,” he says. “It offers endless opportunities for operators and customers alike. As the technology develops even more, we will see big changes in many business models.”
Skins for gold
One such change is signaled by Unikrn, which says it hopes that esports gamers sitting on caches of skins from CS:GO will be able to exchange these skins for Unikoin Gold tokens.
An update from Unikrn said the company has designed an engine that will take CS:GO skins in and hand out UnikoinGold in their place. The Gold tokens can then be used in various ways on the Unikrn platform. Those include legal and regulated betting on esports. Players will also be able to swap their Unikoin Gold tokens for another token or cryptocurrency on any exchange.
Says the update: “By allowing our community to exchange their CSGO skins for Unikoin Gold, they’re helping us build inventory for more jackpots without burning cash, and we’re helping them trade out of a skin that they may not have use for anymore.”