Blockchain will be a game changer for eSports, and there there are dozens of different applications of blockchain and tokenization that are directly applicable to the eSports and virtual goods trading industries. Applications of blockchain within the virtual goods industry is very important given the explosive growth that has occurred (and will continue to occur).
However, there are a few that are exceptionally powerful and desperately needed…not because they marginally improve an aspect of eSports that already works well, but because they transform the online gaming experience entirely and solve problems that were previously to be “unsolvable,” including the efficient trading of virtual goods, “fraud-proofing” a virtual goods market, scaling fair gameplay, and providing reliable payment processing.
Here are three of the most exciting applications of blockchain that will come to fruition in the eSports and virtual goods markets in the next 18 months:
Tokenization and Decentralization in Virtual Goods Markets
400 million gamers globally trade “skins” — virtual goods used to adorn their characters that are also used as speculative assets and as collectors items — and these transactions are quite complex and inefficient on a technological basis when blockchain smart contracts are not utilized. Fraud and lack of reliable payment methods are two pervasive problems that plague the virtual goods trading industry.
However, one token, WAX, is ably solving these previously-unsolvable problems using blockchain. WAX is a blockchain P2P marketplace for the trading of virtual assets that utilizes smart contracts to enable seamless trading of virtual goods. WAX is a utility token makes digital item trading easier and less expensive for both marketplaces and customers, particularly for small and cross-border transactions. WAX users need only a simple blockchain widget in order to buy and sell virtual goods without ever leaving their gaming screen. It is extremely difficult to trade assets within games, and WAX makes it easy.
WAX’s team is spearheaded by the founding team at OPSkins, the leading global market for virtual assets (which sells 2 million items per week), a team that not only brings unparalleled technical expertise and domain acumen, but also a dedicated user base that is heavily incentivized to quickly deploy WAX technology. WAX is very unique in this sense, and is poised to become leading company in the virtual goods space, which will only continue to increase in size.
Dave Anthony, the founder of >em class="markup--em markup--p-em">Call of Duty, is incredibly excited about working with the WAX team, saying, “as soon as this catches on (and word-of-mouth is everything for gamers), I think it’s gonna explode. In the future, I think more and more gamers will use it; word of mouth will make it a phenomenon. I spent years thinking about this subject.”
Trust in Platforms
Smart contract technology creates scalable trust within gaming platforms. After all, the smart contract is designed to enable trust between multiple parties without the interference of a third party. And eSports is ripe for the application of blockchain smart contracts. Anything from execution of gaming scoring rules, the determination of the expertise level of an esports player, and the automation of game scoring can be done on the blockchain, and smart contract technology will enable enhanced accuracy, fairness, and decentralization within each of these applications.
A blockchain developer can construct the rules of gameplay for any eSports game as a blockchain smart contract, wherein the gameplay data is both evaluated and stored on an encrypted blockchain. With this, players can have absolute certainty that their scores cannot be altered at any point at a future date…not by a player, not by a hacker, and not by the centralized platform itself, since all of these scores will be kept on an immutable blockchain ledger.
Scalable Fair Gameplay and Mitigation of Player Toxicity
Blockchain smart contracts enable the scalable automation of “fair gameplay,” and will significantly improve the gameplay experience. Presently, games are largely centralized and gameplay is not placed on a decentralized blockchain with all actions independently verified. However, if a game was on the blockchain, there would be little room for dispute
Few outside of the gaming industry fully recognize the severity of the player toxicity problem. A vast majority of players contribute positively to gameplay, ensuring fairness, reporting those who cheat, and treating other players with respect. However, a very impactful minority of players oftentimes creates significant problems within a game, and these problems — at times — have been so severe within certain games that they’ve caused significant delays in updates for games. However, the blockchain will be a likely solution for this problem, with the promise that an immutable “reputation scoring” system that uses blockchain smart contracts between players could enable. Problems like cheating and inter-player disrespect could be logged (with each interacting party reporting) and harmful and abusive players could be flagged like never before, since a reputation management system of this type cannot be easily constructed without the fastidious deployment of blockchain technology.
Immutable Payment Processing
The blockchain enables direct, immutable payment processing between game player and game platform without the use of a third party intermediary. Blockchain will enable very low payment processing fees and incredibly fast speeds, providing players with a faster, cheaper, and more secure means of paying for gameplay and virtual goods. Plus, since all of the payments are on a public encrypted ledger — and since delivery of goods is executed via a smart contract — the incidence of fraud will be reduced tremendously.
Once games have been tokenized, all gaming payment transactions (including entry fees) can be paid for using a gaming token built upon a foundation of blockchain smart contracts. With the application of smart contracts to gaming payment transactions, the fraud rate in eSports transactions will be tremendously reduced. Further, settlements will be instantaneous, and users will experience very reduced payment processing fees.
Blockchain will enable a transformation in the market for virtual goods, empowering gaming consumers in an unprecedented fashion. With innovators like WAX leading the space, we have strong reason to believe that blockchain will also drive the mass adoption of blockchain technology, with the eSports space being one of the earliest spaces in which blockchain technology becomes pervasive.