2017 has been an exciting year in technology. We are seeing the rise of two industries that are each equal parts capability, excitement, and possibility. Blockchain technology, in the form of private or public distributed ledgers, is being implemented across many industries and it’s bringing real disruption in its wake.
Blockchain technology offers many compelling features including decentralized network structure, tokenization of assets, and integrated p2p infrastructure. Several leading organizations and think tanks have conveyed the capabilities of the blockchain including The World Economic Forum, which wrote, “distributed ledger technology promises to have far-reaching economic and social implications.” Additionally, research and consulting juggernaut Accenture designated the blockchain as “the most exciting technological developments in recent history.”
In conjunction with the blockchain’s ascension, the emerging world of eSports is quickly growing in popularity and capability. This niche category of video gaming is flooding into the mainstream with estimates between two and three million participants from around the world logging into the various eSports platforms to participate in the competition, to wager on results, and to partake in the dynamic communities. It’s also highly profitable with earning estimates in excess of $1 billion by 2019.
Blockchain technology and eSports are two emerging industries that are transforming the technological landscape and creating new opportunities for gamers. Specifically, blockchain is bringing tangible improvements to security and oversight while also broadening opportunity and engagement. One blockchain-based eSports company, Skrilla, is combining its experience in the gaming industry with blockchain capabilities, having released its ICO on November 6th. Their tokenization of eSports wagers represents a tangible expression of blockchain security brought to the eSports arena.
One of the most basic but profound benefits of blockchain technology is its superior security and reliability. eSports has thousands of users who are wagering millions of dollars, and they have to feel confident that their wagers are secure, and their winnings are guaranteed. Blockchain-based platforms like Skrilla make it easy for participants to place wagers, but it also makes it safe for them to participate.
The Harvard Business Review asserts that “With blockchain, we can imagine a world in which contracts are embedded in digital code and stored in transparent, shared databases, where they are protected from deletion, tempering, and revision.” This is the fundamental premise of the blockchain: data is safe and secure while also being interactive and adaptable.
For eSports, this is a crucial component that companies will have to master for their platforms to proliferate. Blockchain technology enables eSports platforms to accomplish this through smart contracts, which are an escrow-like feature built into the blockchain to ensure that all funds are procured and distributed according to the predetermined conditions set forth in the contract.
To continue to proliferate, the industry needs to expand its ability to provide easy-to-use platforms that include regulatory oversight and legal viability. It’s rare for eSports ventures to include both of these, and there are several high-profile examples of eSports platforms enduring difficult downfalls when their legality is questioned. As a result, Skrilla’s legally compliant, fully regulated eSports wagering platform stands out as a progressive service that is differentiated from other, similar offerings. Much of this oversight can be credited to blockchain technology, which maintains unchangeable records that can be made available for review and audit. CoinDesk notes that “A blockchain solution could essentially allow an automated third party verification by a distributed network to ensure that transactions are complete and accurate and unalterable." A more secure, verifiable system means that users can more fully engage in activities that matter most to them while tangentially knowing that their activity is legal and regulated.
The tandem rise of blockchain technology and eSports is great for both technologies. Distributed ledgers have revolutionary possibilities, and each time they are successfully integrated into a new industry their prominence increases. Skrilla’s platform is an indication that blockchain and eSports are a brilliant combination bringing improved security and oversight to an industry already flush with consumers.
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