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Demystifying cryptocurrency in esports: existing opportunities | Part 2

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Demystifying cryptocurrency in esports is a five-part series created in collaboration with Bitcashier, a corporate-focused cryptocurrency trading platform, to unravel the nascent relationship between cryptocurrency and esports.

Part 1 set up the background context behind the growing relationship, while Part 2 looks at the crypto industry’s existing penetration of the esports space.

(ESI Illustration) Bitcashier COO and Co-Founder Marc Dominic. Image credit: Bitcashier.

If betting was the first big ‘gold rush’ in esports, cryptocurrency certainly looks to be the second.

Just as gambling brands pumped big money into the coffers of organisations and leagues as esports matured in the late 2010s, companies in the blockchain sector are gleaning the unique opportunities esports presents.

This year, some of the most notable esports organisations, including TSM, Astralis, NaVi, and BIG, have donned jerseys and changed team names thanks to branding agreements with various blockchain entities.

Most of those blockchain entities are centralised cryptocurrency exchanges, partnering with esports teams in multi-million dollar bids to tap into esports’ valuable audience.

One of the turning points that cemented cryptocurrency’s status within esports was a $210m (~£156m) ten-year sponsorship deal with esports organisation TSM.

However, crypto’s involvement in esports hasn’t entirely been positive. In July this year, FaZe Clan, a preeminent esports organisation, was mired in scandal and forced to kick one of its members, as well as suspend three others, amidst a crypto ‘pump and dump’ scam.

Three of its influencers, amongst other content creators, pushed a charity cryptocurrency token called ‘Save The Kids’ to millions of fans, with some allegedly selling their shares shortly before the value plummeted — leaving fans to pick up the tab.

RELATED: Demystifying cryptocurrency in esports: the background | Part 1

However, while crypto can present problems in esports, it is also perfectly positioned to address some of the industry’s most glaring issues. According to Bitcashier, a cross-exchange cryptocurrency trading platform offering global trading services to corporate entities, sponsorships barely scratch the surface of what cryptocurrency can provide in esports.

“Integrating cryptocurrency is essential for an industry such as esports, which is considered an innovator and current to its audience — the majority of whom are sub-35 years old,” explained Giles Whitby-Smith, CEO of Bitcashier.

“The borderless appeal of cryptocurrency, combined with the cost savings from using it, and its global popularity, will contribute to ensuring esports’ validity as a digital leader.”

As two digital-native sectors that exist, first and foremost, on the internet, blockchain presents opportunities for fundamental innovations. Nevertheless, most partnerships — even TSM’s $210m deal — have arguably failed to capitalise on this potential.

While teams, leagues, content creators and others in esports have welcomed the sponsorship money with open arms, cryptocurrency’s utility far outstrips simple sponsorship.

In fact, the underlying mechanics of its trustless, permissionless and decentralised nature offers to fix some of esports’ pressing, digital-native issues.

In Part 3 of this series, Bitcashier and Esports Insider break down the use cases for blockchain and cryptocurrency in esports, and look at what crypto firms can offer the sector.


Supported by Bitcashier

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OpTic Texas Forfeits First CDL Series As Tempers Flare

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It was a season debut like no other, and owing to some memorable and somewhat tragic moments, it’s one that won’t be forgotten for a while. For OpTic Texas, it was a heartbreaking season opener, with a complex and (in the eyes of some) potentially malicious situation bringing about the decision to forfeit the fixture against Minnesota Rokkr. It doesn’t matter if you’re blaming the stability of the game or the decisions of Rokkr’s Cammy, it’s a sour situation all-round.

In the closing seconds of the third-round match, a Control on El Asilo, Cammy summoned an SAE – a GA’d killstreak. There’s a known bug concerning the SAE at present, and it causes the player to freeze in place upon kicking it off, and that’s exactly what happened. There were single-digit seconds left in the game when Cammy called it in and owing to the bug surfacing, the COD League rules determined that the entire round should be replayed.

At that point, OpTic Texas had already won the round.

Controversial, To Say The Least

optic texas forfeit scump

This isn’t how Scump wanted his final season to begin. (Image Credit: COD League)

There are several key pieces of information to take away from this situation. Firstly, given that the SAE killstreak is GA’d, Cammy shouldn’t have been running it in the first place. Furthermore, as a top-tier professional competitor, he should have recognised what it was that he was about to deploy, as the in-game menu does allow for a preview. Unfortunately, owing to limitations in the Modern Warfare II platform, once Cammy had set the SAE up, he couldn’t remove it again.

For now, there are arguments hailing from all sides of the debate. There is the party that believes Cammy was playing maliciously, deliberately using the SAE to trigger the bug and force a replay, especially considering there was no way that Rokkr could have won at that moment, and triggering the bug did bring a replay order around. There’s another party that believes it’s an unfortunate series of events made up of several mistakes and shortcomings of the platform.

Fortunately, Cammy was on hand after the match to explain the situation from his perspective:

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Astralis announces new LEC 2023 roster

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Another LoL news was introduced as the European League of Legends team, Astralis, has announced its roster for the upcoming LEC season. While keeping mid laner Dajor and the bot lane duo Kobbe and Jeonghoon within the organization, Astralis also acquired Finn from EXCEL and 113 from Karmine Corp.

Ready for the new season

One of the most famous esports organizations especially in the western world, Astralis never had great success in League of Legends. Unlike its success in different gaming titles, Astralis failed to achieve anything worthy in LEC. The team placed ninth in LEC 2021 Spring, 7-8th in LEC 2021 Summer, tenth in LEC 2022 Spring, and lastly, ninth in LEC 2022 Summer.

Despite the disappointing result of the last split, Astralis decided to keep its core within the organization and make a change for the top side of the map. Last split, Vizicsacsi and Xerxe were the top laner and jungler of the lineup but Finn and 113 will replace them in the upcoming LEC season.

astralis-2023-lec-roster

Image Credit | Astralis

As mentioned, Finn will take on the top laner responsibility. The Swedish player started playing professionally under the Magistra roof and player for nine different teams before signing a contract with Rogue to compete at LEC. He attended Worlds 2022 with his team and then signed with Counter Logic Gaming. After a year in North America, Finn made his return to Europe with EXCEL. This year, he will be a part of the Astralis roster.

The new jungler of the organization is the young Turkish player 113. He started career in Turkey, with SuperMassive Academy. After his success with the team and insane solo queue performance, 113 was acquired by Giants Gaming. He spent the last season with Karmine Corp with names like Cabochard and Rekkles and won the EU Masters 2022 Spring Trophy. He recently parted ways with the organization to join Astralis.

The original core remains

Other than the top side of the map, rest of the 2022 Summer Split roster will remain within the organization. The German mid laner Dajor, Danish marksman Kobbe and South Korean support Jeonghoon are going to stick with the team. Looking at the roster from last year, only Vizicsacsi and Xerxe are not going to be a part of the team. Dajor, Kobbe, and Jeonghoon had decent individual performances last year but they failed to show it as a team. Astralis lacked chemistry last year and that is why they failed to qualify for playoffs.

On another note, the organization has not made it to the playoff stages since it was founded. Astralis’ success in the European LoL esports world is surely not optimal. However, the organization still tries to form the best roster combining talented players to succeed in the region.

The new Astralis roster will compete against some of the best LoL players as the competition in Europe is pretty tough. With the combination of youngsters and experienced players, Astralis might be a real threat if they can build the chemistry needed. All of the players are very talented on an individual level but their communication and chemistry will decide their performance in the ucpoming LEC season.

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Almost caught the captain: KuroKy to lead Nigma in 2023 DPC despite retirement rumors

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Nigma Galaxy spent the last Dota Pro Circuit season away from the spotlight in the second division of Western European DPC. Despite making it back to the first division, the team’s future has been rather foggy; that fog has started to dissolve as the team announced KuroKy will remain at the helm.

Rumors surrounding KuroKy’s retirement started to pop up after The International 2022 as the team had been silent for a while. Though Nigma hasn’t officially confirmed the rest of its Dota 2 roster, the organization has been hinting that the majority of the roster could stick together for the 2023 DPC season.

At the time of writing, KuroKy is the only confirmed Nigma player for next season. However, Nigma has been posting content that could be seen as a verification for four other members. GH was featured in a YouTube video in early November where he addressed the rumors surrounding the Nigma roster. The position four player said that “everything was fine with the team.”

Another social media post by Nigma featured SumaiL and Miracle- shaking hands, meaning four members of the team were confirmed in various ways, only leaving Mind_Control in the dark. Nigma’s offlaner has been missing since the roster shuffle season began.

The only official roster change for the team is in the Coach position as rmN- was replaced by ImmortalFaith, formerly of Gaimin Gladiators. Given Nigma’s hiatus from the highest level of the competition, a coach with recent TI experience is likely to become one of their greatest strengths in the upcoming season.



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