i3 - July/August 2018 - 24

Protoblock is one of many companies embracing cryptocurrencies as a way to improve the transparency and payment
methods of fantasy sports. These startups use decentralized
networks to provide quicker verification, faster withdrawal
speed and more payment options. Some also offer a wider
range of sports and leagues, including cricket. In the past
years, companies such as NoLimitCoin and MyDFS have
raised funding, started a beta, and set plans to launch their
own currency while expanding its platform.
"We've streamlined every underlying process to make our
platform work quickly and transparently," MyDFS states in its
whitepaper. "Users can play their games, invest their winnings,
and withdraw them quickly without facing insider gaming, bots,
or other unfair practices that spoil the spirit of the game."
Above all, apps like MyDFS and Protoblock ensure fair play,
since having a decentralized, public platform lets players see
each bet or transaction. While their identities still remain anonymous, anyone can monitor what is going on. It keeps the game
both player and investor friendly.
"I designed the protocol for the public, with each Protoblock
player as a part owner, and governance completely controlled
by the collective fantasy football skill," Berg says. "The peer-topeer network and proof-of-skill protocol make the system inherently fair, open and transparent."

ESPORTS: THE EVOLUTION OF THE
MODERN ATHLETE

According to research firm Newzoo, the global esports, or professional video game audience will reach 380 million this year.
The worldwide esports economy will generate $905.6 million
in 2018 with projections to top $1.4 billion by 2020. That's
why just about every traditional sports league is exploring
esports directly, while many team owners and teams are
investing heavily in esports organizations.
"Of course it is a 'sport.' It fills arenas and stadiums, has an
[over-the-top] network built on it [Twitch], and there is a
robust market in team purchases that is developing," says David

LFE made 2.4 million
of its tokens available
for 20 cents,

SOCCER GETS A KICK OUT OF CRYPTOCURRENCY

The London Football Exchange (LFE) hopes to cash in on the
cryptocurrency craze by democratizing club ownership, says
Ben Leigh-Hunt, LFE's main board advisor. With more than
four billion soccer fans globally - roughly half the world's population - LFE is in talks with over 50 clubs to participate in this
new form of fan engagement.
LFE did an ICO of four billion tokens, which Leigh-Hunt envisions clubs will allow fans to use for various exclusives, including
tours, meet-and-greets and discounts on merchandise. Down the
line, there's the potential for tokens to be used to purchase tickets,
which would help improve current ticket technology and reduce
the high fees of 8 to 15 percent that companies like StubHub
charge consumers for using debit or credit cards. Blockchain
technology would also make these ticket transactions safer than
the current offerings, eliminating the threat of hackers.
LFE made 2.4 million of its tokens available for 20 cents,
which allowed even less wealthy soccer fans to get involved.
Leigh-Hunt says the idea for this new exchange is to go beyond
the transactional token level marketplace and ecosystem by giving fans "ownership" in their favorite team.
It's also introducing a new revenue model for clubs, which can
separately partner with cryptocurrency gambling partners. For
example, Arsenal, like many premiere league teams, has its own
cryptocurrency deal for gambling and has partnered with
CashBet for CashBet Coin.
Betting is not a part of the LFE, which again makes it safe for
even the youngest soccer fans to interact with. Leigh-Hunt says
the advent of the LFE Group is the conduit for football fan
engagement as well as club financing, while promoting the social
good, youth development and gender equality. "These goals will
sustain the LFE initiative long past the crypto craze," he adds.
24

JULY/AUGUST 2018

Stern, former NBA commissioner, answering one of the main
hurdles that many traditional brands have faced with esports.
Esports is spread across many different types of games like
Riot Games' League of Legends, Valve's Dota 2 and CounterStrike: Global Offensive, Epic Games' Fortnite, Activision's
Call of Duty, Blizzard's Overwatch and Hearthstone,
Electronic Arts' FIFA, NHL and Madden, and Take-Two
Interactive's NBA 2K, with a diverse fan base that often
doesn't overlap - offering brands unique new ways to capture
the attention of millennials and Gen Z.
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N



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