Byteball, a DAG-based cryptocurrency currently valued at $80 million, has ventured into the terrain of eSports by partnering up with Spanish eSports community eStreams.tv
. This is a significant move towards mass market adoption of crypto.
For decades, the gaming industry has been at the forefront of making cutting-edge technology accessible to the general public. And the same holds true for contemporary eSports and the crypto space, of which e-gamers have proven to be early adopters.
Highly promising market
Over the last couple of years, eSports has been the fastest growing segment of the digital entertainment industry.
In 2017, its value reached $1.5 billion and is forecasted to grow up to $2.3 billion by 2020, according to data from Superdata Research.
However, the eSports market is yet to enter a mass adoption phase, and faces major challenges as transparency and accountability.
The use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts based on the blockchain technology is widely believed to be the most promising solution for these problems.
Not just another cryptocurrency
However, in the eSports world where speed of transactions is vital, blockchain also has limitations and issues that inhibit its wider adoption.
High transaction fees and low speeds have been generally accepted as blockchain's main drawbacks, pushing companies in the cryptocurrency/blockchain sector to look for new solutions.
One possible way to make transactions scalable and faster – and therefore compatible with the stringent requirement of the eSports world - is the development of Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG).
The technology has attracted attention as an apparently faster, safer and cheaper alternative to traditional blockchain, and some experts have predicted that it could succeed blockchain as its next evolutionary step.
Byteball was among the first to embrace DAG and has foreseen it as a major technological breakthrough. Incidentally, some DAG-based cryptocurrencies such as IOTA have seen their market capitalization exceed $1 billion. Now Byteball, previously mainly focused on tech developments, is determined to be the first to get a wider public "on board".
Both Byteball and eStreams.tv are set to gain from their partnership.
As part of the deal, Byteball will distribute its tokens, Bytes, for free to eStreams users – or "airdrop," as this process is referred to in the crypto space. In turn, Estreams.tv will be using the funds for prizes and winnings, popularizing Byteball among the eSport community.
Under this agreement, eStreams, which offers a platform for gamers to watch streams of their favorite eSports, engage with content and compete to win prizes, will be able to distribute Bytes to thousands of users.
"We want to stay ahead of the game and work with communities that are open to adopting new technology and new ways of doing things, all of which Byteball provides, with the convenience of its wallet, bots and other unique features," Tony Churyumoff, founder of Byteball, commented on the deal.
"The agreement with Byteball is a sign of the evolution of new technologies, and how markets and businesses can cooperate to take advantage of the benefits of cryptocurrency," agreed Carles Rodriguez, founder of eStreams.
"Byteball is a company with a strong reputation in the crypto sector and their project of smart contracts and payments can definitely help the ecosystem of e-sports," he adds.
Looking into the future
Meanwhile, the partnership between Byteball and eStreams is likely to have wider ramifications for the eSports industry and, more broadly, for the entire crypto space as it paves the way for wider adoption of crypto in the real world.
At this point, a major similarity between cryptocurrencies and eSports is that both seem to be on the threshold of mainstream adoption, but are yet to achieve it.
For years, experts have predicted a role for cryptocurrency as a means of mainstream payment in e-commerce, but various obstacles – mostly a lack of real incentives to use crypto in daily life, along with technological and legal complications – have been keeping crypto from achieving that status.
Similarly, eSports has been growing faster than any other forms of digital entertainment, with the numbers of gamers, streamers and viewers going up exponentially and major global companies beginning to express interest in sponsorship, but overall adoption is still behind that of other forms of entertainment.
Interest in eSports from blockchain startups over the last couple of years is understandable: as both cryptocurrencies and eSports are striving for a mass market break, they could clearly help each other.
As crypto and smart contracts promise better transparency, accountability and ease of payments, gamers are becoming early adopters of crypto: they are more tech-savvy and willing to try new technology. By doing so, they are giving a boost to crypto adoption.
On the other hand, wider crypto adoption is likely to benefit all forms of digital entertainment, including eSports, ensuring transparency and convenient forms of payment.