The eSports platform Unikrn launched their initial coin offering, or ICO last month of Unikoin Gold, a crypto token based on the Ethereum blockchain that will enable Unikrn platform users to wager real money betting on eSports matches, spectating and further down the line, earn money developing.
The significance of these decentralized tokens is that they will make it possible for people to bet on eSports the same way traditional sports are bet on currently, and perfectly legally. But perhaps more excitingly, tokens enable a virtual economy in which players will be able to bet on themselves winning, known as money-matching. So users can potentially make money playing the games they love, as long as they’re winning that is, while in the case of traditional sports, an athlete betting on themselves, even just to win, would be very illegal.
The Unikoin Gold ICO began on September 16th, sales of the token were initially made available exclusively to existing platform members then opened to the public 8 days later. As of today the ICO has raised $35m in Ethereum however the company has previously announced there will be a cap at $100m and the current sale will not continue past October 23rd.
But why have so many people been purchasing the token?
The success of the ICO could easily be attributed to the high profile investors Unikrn is reported to have attracted – venture funding has come from billionaire Mark Cuban, Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio invested as well as joining the board of directors, celebrity Ashton Kutcher invested, as well as Binary Capital, Indicator Ventures, Pantera Capital, Brock Pierce and many more. Many may see this as a good sign for the platform, and if the platform is to do well, the tokens are utilised by more people which will, in turn, raise their value attracting speculative investors in the currency itself.
Chief executive of Unikrn Rahul Sood was careful to point out that venture funding and the currently ongoing Unikoin Gold ICO, while both serve the purpose of raising capital for the company, are functionally very different.
“Venture funding is when you sell a piece of equity to a venture fund,” Rahul Sood explained. “Token sales are when you sell a token that works on your platform. It’s not an investment because it’s completely liquid.” Sood went on to explain that they built their own token sale from scratch, “It’s pretty awesome and we believe it’s more secure than other ICOs”.
The Unikoin Gold ICO also coincided with the news earlier this month that Unikrn EU had been granted a gambling license in Malta enabling 80% of the European continent to be able to wager real money on the Unikrn platform. Sood said that this highlighted the company’s commitment to bring safe, legal real-money wagering to their eSports community. While Unikrn was founded back in 2014 and has since then established itself as a major brand in the rapidly growing eSports community in that time, Unikrn EU was formed very recently through a joint venture with RBP which is the largest online gambling platform in France boasting over 300,000 users and over 1 million unique visitors per month.
The way cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, in general, is affecting the eSports industry is certainly interesting, but before getting too carried away it’s important to be aware that cryptocurrencies are susceptible to levels of volatility we don’t generally see in traditional fiat currencies. Too much volatility would mean users are less likely to purchase it for its true purpose and tokens become a lot like many cryptocurrencies, purely a vehicle for investors.