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Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Team to Hold Giveaway of Player Crypto Tokens via ETH

The American baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will hold the “first crypto giveaway in sports” with Ethereum-based crypto collectibles.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, a U.S. professional baseball team, will hold a giveaway of crypto-based athlete tokens at the end of this month, according to an official press release on Dodger Insider September 7.

The statement reports that Dodger fans will be able to get tokens — representing Dodgers players — convertible to Ethereum (ETH) during the game against the San Diego Padres scheduled on September 21.

During the so-called “Digital Bobblehead Night,” guests will be able to download tokens of such athletes as pitcher Clayton Kershaw, third baseman Justin Turner, and Curaçaoan pitcher Kenley Jansen.

As the statement explains, the tokens will be distributed according to the point of entry, with first 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance reportedly set to receive a card with a unique code that can be unblocked and transferred to an Ethereum wallet. The character crypto tokens will be selected randomly, with approximately equal share of Kershaw, Turner, and Jansen codes.

Dodgers’ CMO and Executive Vice President Lon Rosen commented that the “first-ever [c]rypto giveaway” in sports will allow them to “explore an entirely new marketplace with our fanbase,” as well as to “pique interest” of Dodger fans and “launch a new age of digital collectibles and promotions.”

Earlier this summer, the Sacramento Kings basketball team partnered with crypto mining supplier MiningStore to install Ethereum mining hardware in an indoor arena in order to pass crypto earnings to a scholarship program.

In early June, the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, made an undisclosed investment into blockchain-based esports voting platform chiliZ, so as to provide the sports industry with a “fan-driven token ecosystem for traditional sports teams.”

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eSports Platform To Launch Peer-To-Peer Betting As It Consults Malta’s Government

An eSports platform which allows users to challenge each other instead of betting against a bookmaker is preparing to integrate blockchain technology into its newly relaunched website. This comes as it consults with Maltese officials on how its gaming licence could be extended to incorporate cryptocurrency.

HERO is a Vienna-based company that has the goal of bringing back the social element to betting. It believes that the gaming industry lacks innovation and the nature of online betting needs to change, and gaming has become a system where middlemen take unfair fees and untrustworthy bookmakers rip people off. HERO enables users to challenge one another in a system without odds and unfair conditions.

Its decentralized technology is initially going to be integrated into herosphere.gg, an existing platform specializing in eSports prediction and fantasy that has already amassed more than 200,000 registered users. Herosphere currently offers contests across four games: Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch. Following the implementation, users will be able to place their bets using HEROcoin (PLAY) – a brand-new cryptocurrency. The bigger plan is to provide its blockchain technology to any other gaming provider over time.

Christina Roth, Head of Communications for HERO, told Cointelegraph: “Our goal is to reintroduce a social element to betting and make it fun and safe for everyone. We see the blockchain as a huge advantage for our industry, helping us to foster what has always been important to us personally: transparency, fairness, and consumer protection.”

“There is no need for bookmakers anymore”

The HERO Network’s launch comes at an exciting time for the eSports industry. Data from Newzoo suggests global revenues for this sector hit $655 mln in 2017, and this year, revenues of $905 mln are forecast – an increase of 38 percent. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is expecting that the market is going to grow by a compound rate of 22 percent in the three years to 2019 – transforming eSports into a “one billion dollar opportunity.”

Major players in the traditional sporting world have been watching the industry flourish with interest, and now, many want in on the action. The NBA recently announced plans to launch its own eSports league in 2018, and broadcasting behemoths such as ESPN have started to show eSports tournaments on their channels. According to research from The Next Level, 2017’s highest-rated show was Madden Challenge on CW, with 670,000 people tuning in. On Twitch, 40 mln hours were spent watching Dota 2 coverage – 21.3 mln of them eSports, according to Newzoo.

Although revenues per eSports fan are modest at the moment, they are growing. In 2016, it was estimated that every enthusiast was worth $3.50 a year – considerably lower than the average $15 that was spent by a basketball fan. However, HERO says expenditure and demand is increasing, with revenues of as much as $11 per fan, per year possible by 2019.

The HERO Network, a fully transparent system, allows the community to create games – with other users making peer-to-peer predictions on the outcome. Smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain are going to be used for automating the process of buy-ins and payouts, creating transparency and trust when transactions are being made.

Users who create a contest – for example, the opportunity for others to bet on the outcome of an eSports event – will be able to set their own reward, with a customized percentage of the total amount wagered being paid into their account. All contests will also come with something known as a General Reward, with at least 1 percent of the funds in pots across all platforms and providers going back to token holders.

Establishing new connections

HERO, which is based in Austria, has been pioneering legal changes in its home country when launching Austria’s first ICO last September.

“We are not focusing solely on our own product”, Paul Polterauer, CEO of HERO, told Cointelegraph, “but we are interested in enabling change for the industry as a whole.”

Currently, HERO is advising Malta on how cryptocurrencies could be used in the gaming sector and has just finished their feedback on the second draft of the license. The country has a gaming license which is applicable for businesses across the European Union, and is planning to have it ready for application within the next months. “It’s an exciting time for us, but also for the industry”, says Polterauer.

Roth added: “When Malta was looking for stakeholders, they wanted experts who were experienced in dealing with complex regulations and reached out to us.”

The company is on track for its official release of the first use, where herosphere.gg will integrate the HEROcoin within the next weeks and prove an example for other providers.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Large Streaming Platform For Gamers Develops Its Own Blockchain For Unlimited Bandwidth

Play2Live, a streaming platform for gamers and eSports fans, announced that it is developing its own blockchain infrastructure called Level Up Chain, as the startup team reported to Cointelegraph. Founded in 2017, Play2Live aims to merge blockchain technology with streaming services. The company plans to launch the Level Up Chain Testnet in July 2018.

According to the company’s press release, creation of the new blockchain will let any participant – including viewers, streamers, eSports tournament organizers – benefit from monetization schemes. “Everybody can be part of the peer-to-peer interaction, and everybody,  even the viewer, is able to earn money,” the press release states.

This means that spectators can not only watch the stream, but also create their own content and earn rewards, according to the project’s white paper. In particular, users are able to benefit from advertising, betting, sharing their internet channel via the P2P model, voting, and other kinds of contribution on the platform. Streamers can also instantly withdraw and spend money they earned without filling out multiple application forms.

The brand new blockchain

The key advantage of Level Up Chain is the ability to potentially provide unlimited bandwidth to users, the press release states. The main network will be able to process up to 500 transactions per second. Due to the wide functionality of the Play2Live platform, transactions corresponding to different services will be allocated in different functional blocks of the network.

The new blockchain will work with the use of sub chains, explains the press release. Thanks to that the entire Level Up Chain infrastructure will be able to provide 100,000 TPS or more and will carry out transactions almost instantly, even during periods of enormous strain like live broadcasts and eSports tournaments. The cost of transactions within Level Up Chain will be minimal, and the team at Play2Live estimates that the fees will be maintained at $0.01 per transaction.

“Working on Bitshares, we have faced complex scaling and risks of ‘bottleneck’ as the functionality of the platform expanded, and the amount of transactions increased. The peak power of Bitshares is not enough to cover all the activities of Play2Live. That is why we are realizing product architecture that will allow us to scale the project without putting it to risk of depending on the capacity of the third-party blockchain”, commented Vladislav Arbatov, CTO at Play2Live.

In addition, Level Up Chain will use consensus protocol to reduce the cost of transactions within the network via special certificates. A consensus algorithm could solve the problems of processing power, giving each node an equal chance of being selected for a transaction confirmation process.

“Play2Live offers numerous tools for users. Each of them will be provided by our own reliable Level Up Chain blockchain. This will allow us to scale the platform and realize a huge number of opportunities unprecedented for the eSports market!” says Alexey Burdyko, CEO and founder at Play2Live.

Gathering millions of gamers

The platform plans to attract more than five million users by the first quarter of 2019. Play2Live aims to achieve this goal by working with content providers as well as collaborating with the world’s leading streamers and eSports tournament organizers.

The first major tournaments on the platform will soon be announced. As Cointelegraph reported earlier, in February 2018 Play2Live successfully hosted and broadcasted the world’s first eSport tournament with the main prize –  2 mln LUC (Level Up Coin) tokens, equivalent to $100,000. The tournament was broadcasted in 16 languages and gained 950K views, driving more than 120K unique users. 

According to company representatives, in Q1 2018 Play2Live reached its hardcap, $30 mln, with $18 mln raised during the pre-sale period (January 26 – February 6, 2018), and $12 mln raised during the main sales period (February 26  – March 14, 2018).

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Mark Cuban-Backed Unikrn Raises $31 Million in E-Sports Token Sale

E-sports betting startup Unikrn has raised roughly $31 million in an initial coin offering.

The firm collected 112,720 ethers – an amount worth approximately $31.4 million at press time – in a token sale that took place in two phases, including 56,000 ETH (roughly $15.6 million) in a presale backed by celebrity investor Mark Cuban. In an email, Rahul Sood, chief executive of Unikrn, said that the company had sourced contributions from 112 countries, characterizing them as “mostly small purchasers.”

The ICO’s completion also follows Unikrn’s receipt of a gambling license in Malta, a significant boon for a company looking to apply the tech to the electronic sports betting space.

The idea is that Unikoin Gold, the token that was up for sale, will act as a common medium of exchange for bettors to use on the platform, which allows for placing wages on games like League of Legends, Defense Against the Ancients (Dota) and CounterStrike, among others.

Unikoin Gold is actually replacing a previous in-house virtual currency, dubbed Unikoins, that was used in conjunction with government-issued currencies on the site. The startup was founded in 2014 with backing from investors like Elisabeth Murdoch and Ashton Kutcher.

According to Sood, the coming months will see the release of additional applications to build on the Unikoin framework, including tools that allow users to garner more tokens.

“We have plenty of applications that allow users to use and earn tokens — we will start to release them in November through February,” he said.

Image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Regulated Cryptocurrency Betting Just Got a Big Boost in Europe

Regulated cryptocurrency gambling is about open up across a large swathe of Europe.

Announced today, major eSports platform Unikrn has been awarded a gambling license in Malta, a move that will open up its platform to real-money wagering via its UnikoinGold crypto token.

UnikoinGold – which is based on the ERC-20 ethereum standard and is currently being distributed via a token sale or ICO – is being deployed as a medium for real-money wagering in licensed jurisdictions. And, with the Malta licensure, that will mean 80 percent of the European continent.

According to Rahul Sood, chief executive of Unikrn:

“The European expansion means there’s going to be a large and soon-growing marketplace of users, including the real-money transition of already established users, who want to buy, exchange and use our token to bet on our platform.”

And Sood isn’t wrong.

The company formed Unikrn EU through a joint venture with RBC, a leading online gambling platform in France boasting over 300,000 registered users and 1 million unique monthly visitors.

Further, eSports – video games played competitively for both online and in-person audiences – are surging in popularity with young people, and are widely considered to be the fastest growing “sport” in the world. Market research firm Newzoo estimates that global eSports revenues for 2017 will top $696 million – a 41 percent year-over-year jump – with that figure predicted to reach $1.5 billion by 2020.

As profiled by CoinDesk, Unikrn has won the backing of high-profile investors like Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher and Elisabeth Murdoch.

Token benefits

Until now, Unikrn had only offered real-money betting in Australia and the United Kingdom – the only two nations where it held gambling licenses. It offered free betting in other jurisdictions on popular first-person shooter and multiplayer battle arena video games such as Counterstrike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and Dota 2.

This was all done through its older free Unikoin tokens, but these are now being retired thanks to the introduction of UnikoinGold and its ICO (now reaching its close).

The Malta licensure and rollout of the UnikoinGold token are critical steps toward migrating the company’s free-play bettor base to real money, as well as broadening the number of non-betting related uses that a token owner can derive from holding them.

Another free token, UnikoinSilver, will be launched to keep players in non-licensed areas engaged, though these tokens can’t be traded on secondary markets.

For Sood, the decision to transition away from the strictly free-play token was straightforward, particularly as his team had proved the concept of a tokenized scheme for building its global community when it released the original Unikoin two years ago.

Sodd told CoinDesk:

“We couldn’t have fathomed how popular they’d be. We turned over more than a quarter billion of them in under two years.”

Youth appeal

Part of the new token’s appeal is that participants, whether gamers or spectators, don’t necessarily need to wager to earn tokens.

For example, tokens can be earned by playing in a tournament or by just watching a match online or in person.

Sood explained: “Earning, using and utilizing UnikoinGold is not going to be restricted by region, and we think the more fans that are able to get it, the more uses we can give it. The more uses we give it, the more people will want it, and that drives a ton of potential into our platform.”

Both the betting and non-betting appeal of eSports has sparked great interest among the global gambling industry, as well as Las Vegas casinos, all of which are desperately seeking ways to appeal to younger audiences (seven separate panel sessions were held on the topic at last week’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas last week, for example).

“Walk through any slot floor and you will see more walkers and wheelchairs than at a Jimmy Buffet concert in a retirement home,” Sood said of the industry’s demographic struggles.

But the only way to bring about this revolution in gambling, according to Sood, is to play by the rules.

The Malta licensure, he argued, highlights the company’s commitment to providing its customers a safe, legal and regulated ecosystem that is underpinned by the token. And, notably, Malta is seeking to become a global leader in legal and regulated cryptocurrency gambling.

The key difference between UnikoinGold and other “gambling tokens” is that most others simply serve as little more than a “shortsighted” means of placing a bet, Sood said, adding:

“Many companies are doing ICOs for all the wrong reasons. They believe that by using crypto they can skirt gambling regulation, which is wrong. We think it will eventually catch up to them, and anybody holding their tokens.”

eSports competition image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].