A startup called Yamzu wants to win the competition to bring blockchain to the eSports industry.

Based in Sweden, Yamzu has been operating a platform since 2016 that allows gamers to compete against one another and to set up eSports tournaments. Now it plans to transition to a blockchain system and launch the presale stage of an initial coin offering (ICO). ESports refer to a multiplayer online video games played competitively for spectators, often by professional gamers, though amateurs can also play on some platforms.

After the company sells its Ethereum-based tokens, which will go by the abbreviation YMZ, eSports players will be able to use them to pay for merchandise and receive them as prizes. Yamzu will take a 12.5 percent administrative fee on all payments made through its system.

The main challenge in moving from traditional eSports to blockchain is explaining how the industry works to investors who have never played games.

The blockchain system will become the basis for Yamzu’s entire platform and will be used for setting up professional tournaments and validating data about scoring and wins. The ICO will run from Aug. 29 until Sept. 29 and will have a hard cap of 13 million euros. Each Yamzu will have an exchange rate of 0.1 ether (ETH).

According to Asiad Majeed, founder of Yamzu, the company realized about one year ago that a platform offering prizes to winning players would benefit from a secure payment system. The decentralized nature of blockchain can ensure that transactions can be trusted.

Moving From Points to Tokens

Today, Yamzu’s approximately 10,000 users get “Yamzu Points” to exchange for euros, but Majeed tells ThirtyK that using traditional technology to manage those points creates the potential for errors or fraud.

He adds that the transition from points to tokens will be nearly invisible to users. “It will be like flipping a switch. The gamers won’t have any trouble adapting to the new system.”

Yamzu isn’t the only eSports company looking to employ blockchain. Fuel Games, an Australian firm, has announced plans to launch a game called “Gods Unchained,” in which players will be able to purchase in-game items via blockchain. Another startup, Unikrn, is creating a cryptocurrency specifically for eSports betting. The interest is probably driven by the accelerating size of the potential market. Last year, 143 million people were frequent eSports viewers or enthusiasts, according to research from Statista, with that number expected to reach 250 million by 2021.
Understanding Gamers

Majeed says the main challenge in moving from traditional eSports to blockchain is not the technology but explaining how the industry works to investors who have never played games like “Counter-Strike” or “League of Legends.” Although cryptocurrency investors might normally evaluate an ICO based in part on the size of its following on the popular messaging service Telegram, Majeed says eSports players are more likely to be found on a service known as Discord.

“Every gamer is on Discord. No gamer is on Telegram,” he says. “Translating those differences to the ICO community is difficult.”

Majeed describes himself as a realist, and that one of Yamzu’s core values is to ensure crypto investors aren’t misled by the potential growth of eSports.

“We don’t exaggerate,” he says. “Our ICO is not as hyped as other companies, which makes it easier for us to live up to it.”

Shane Schick
Shane Schick is veteran journalist who covers lifestyle, business and technology issues. He is the editor-in-chief of the Canada-based B2B News Network and Chair of the 2018 Blockchain Summit in Canada.