Blockchain is set to be a boon to the burgeoning eSports scene

It’s about time that the fast-growing, nearly $1 billion industry that is competitive gaming embraces another nascent field looking to send shockwaves across traditional markets.

 

There are numerous startups trying to occupy this space right now, many of whom loosely apply eSports to the idea of players competing with one another - not a bad thing, this could foster decentralized amateur league type arrangements - but the pro scene as we know it is also well catered to.

Who is leading the way?

DreamTeam are certainly the biggest name, currently; they boast advisors of great renown such as MLG co-founder Sundance Digiovanni and ESL chief Ralf Reichert and saw two rounds of funding net them over $10 million. But - and this is a big but - this is perhaps indicative of commercial interests being too strong in the platform. Certainly, they have a lot of credibility lended to them by the name recognition from these eSports stalwarts and this is not undeserved—their work to build the scene to what it is today is rivalled by few and they command respect as a result.

However, at least from the whitepaper, it seems that business interests are the primary concern here. Three problems that blockchain could solve are identified: the first is tournament fraud, a well-documented use case; but the other two are concerned with facilitating business development and advertising under the guise of helping users to “kick-start an eSports career”.

In essence, the platform seeks to centralize all aspects of eSports growth on to a single platform which is fine, if the wisdom of the crowd chooses to support a project looking to direct eSports in its explosive commercial growth. There are other startups, however, who look to develop a platform which focuses more on the first problem highlighted by DreamTeam while allowing the scene to grow in its own way. In fact, they could even be using better tech considering the yet unresolved scalability issues on traditional blockchains, though it must be said that DreamTeam hint in their whitepaper that they are developing a new protocol to this end.

Remember, plenty of options out there

Many of the startups focusing on eSports do slightly different things but the concept remains similar: earn crypto tokens by playing games and win big by dominating online tournaments. Such companies include Qlear Protocol, Bountie, UNIKRN, and Firstblood.io, to name a few, and what they have in common is that they do not look to make inroads to the commercial side of things.

Platforms like Qlear aim to design an infallibly trustworthy environment where tournament hosts and players alike can play safely with the reassurance that foul play is impossible. Two things set them apart from similar startups: they use a multi-party computation (MPC) engine - which means all platform functions are securely verified by third parties instead of by the tournament or game operator - while Ethereum Plasma sidechain technology makes this work at speed and, most importantly, leaves room for it to scale for a large number of users.

A slightly different approach comes from Bountie. They look to monetize eSports through weekly tournaments and overall leaderboards, targeting fledgling and pro-gamers with rewards of cryptocurrency. Firstblood meanwhile have a similar concept underpinning it; the idea seems good, there might be more competition to come in this space.

eSports could see massive growth on blockchain

On new technology the once-obscure, now huge industry of competitive gaming seems likely to expand to encompass all levels of play, across multiple platforms and an array of games. Current predictions place the value of the eSports market at $1.65 billion by 2020 and on blockchain, there is no telling how far this growth could continue to explode. One thing is for certain: if blockchain technology can be successfully implemented, there are numerous startups ready to compete for the lion’s share of a new type of user base.

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