Bitcoin and Ethereum are becoming commonly used words as Initial Coin Offerings are sprouting up. (Photo: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Cryptocurrencies are all the rage in 2017. Names like Bitcoin and Ethereum have become a part of common dialogue as people seem to be interested in learning more about cryptocurrency markets and exploiting them in any way possible for financial gain. The markets are rather volatile, with the more popular Bitcoin falling in price by roughly 20% in a mere seven day span, but that has not dissuaded anyone from wanting to at least consider being part of the cryptocurrency action.
An industry that may be perfectly positioned for the exchange of such cryptocurrencies is gaming, where individuals are constantly competing to best the competition, often with some form of prize to be awarded for excelling. With the rise of esports, cryptocurrencies could be a clear match, and there are companies looking into the potential of same.
Take for instance NEVERDIE, a company that has been in the virtual reality space for many years that is now trying to create a cryptocurrency coin/token that can be used for transactions in the virtual reality world as well as for esports prizes. NEVERDIE is currently running what is referred to as an ICO -- Initial Coin Offering -- which is to raise funds, without regulation, for a cryptocurrency venture. NEVERDIE's ICO ends August 1 with coins available on the Ethereum Blockchain. Thus far, over $2.1 million has been raised, including $50,000 from a single investor.
"Esports is a great way for gamers to earn meaningful income and digital currency makes perfect sense for the purse," says NEVERDIE CEO Jon Jacobs, who added that he plans on adding a blockchain sports book with the NEVERDIE coins in the future. Jacobs is not only an entrepreneur, but also a director, producer and writer who has been involved with a variety of films.
"Betting is really one of the most important ingredients for turning esports into spectator sports," adds Jacobs. "We launched the NEVERDIE Coins on the Ethereum Blockchain because it was really much harder to grow an audience for high-level esports, but now there are so many ways we can tackle it. When you combine Twitch streaming and cryptocurrencies, you have tremendous tools at your fingertips for creating exciting events that are inclusive."
Jacobs is not alone in the space. He is joined by the likes of Monster Byte Inc., which announced its own ICO in June, as well as Skincoin, a company that launched an ICO that same month. Skincoin's cryptocurrency was allegedly created specially to cater to the needs of the online gaming community.
"Esports is such an essential part of game culture," says Jacobs. "Getting paid to play games is one thing, but competing against other gamers for prizes and titles really keeps things exciting and keeps gamers striving to better themselves. Ultimately, as humans, we need to feel that we have value and we a need a sense of community. It doesn't matter where we get that from, the real world or the digital world."
Jacobs certainly knows from experience that there is a lot of money up for grabs in that digital world. In 2010, it was reported that Jacobs sold a virtual space station for $635,000, profiting more than $500,000 in the process. If a virtual space station can sell for that much money, then it would be silly to discount Jacobs' ability to pitch virtual coins called NEVERDIE.