The Beautiful Marriage Between eSports & Crypto

The Beautiful Marriage Between eSports & Crypto

There’s a growing connection between crypto and eSports, and it’s one that makes a lot of sense. In recent years, we’ve seen some of the crypto industry’s biggest brands splash out millions of dollars sponsoring eSports events, while a number of major tournaments have offered Bitcoin prize pools. Crypto, meanwhile, is commonly used to bet on eSports matches.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, for crypto and eSports have something of an affinity. It’s fair to say that both of these industries have a similar target audience, with the average crypto user and eSports player generally being younger and tech-savvy people who spend lots of time online. Both have attracted their fair share of criticism too. Video games have been a target since the 1990s, being blamed for causing developmental problems with children, making them lazy, and even inspiring events such as the horrific Columbine High School massacre. Similarly, crypto has been labelled by many as “worthless” and a “scam” ever since it first arose into the public consciousness.

At the same time, both industries have enjoyed explosive growth over the last decade. eSports has transformed itself into a global movement, with hundreds of pro gamers emerging globally and millions of fans. At the same time, crypto adoption has exploded, and even though it remains somewhat niche, millions of crypto users are spread out worldwide.

The two industries have grown closer as a result of these affinities, with a number of major eSports teams agreeing on sponsorship deals with leading crypto players. In 2021, the London-based eSports team Fnatic entered into a multiyear partnership with worth more than $15 million. That same year, the now-defunct exchange FTX struck a seven-year deal with Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) league, and followed that with a $3.2 million sponsorship deal of Brazilian eSports squad Furia. Other top eSport teams, including Gen.G, Misfits and Cloud9 have announced similar arrangements.

Crypto Levels The eSports Playing Field

While these multi-million dollar sponsorships have been the most visible link between the two industries, a much bigger impact may be felt by the merger of crypto and eSports.  


eSports has undoubtedly become a very big and global business with professional, highly organized teams fighting for lucrative prizes. As a result, it has also become something of an elitist space. Fact is, deep pockets are everything, and the most visible tournaments are restricted to only the very best players in the most popular eSports squads. 

But there are millions of video gamers out there in the big wide world and many of them spend hours honing their skills to become lethal players in their own right. No doubt, many would be able to compete with renowned eSports gamers if only the playing field were level. What prevents many from participating is the need to become a member of an established team, before they can access eSports tournaments and compete for prizes. 

This is where the marriage of crypto and eSports promises to open things up, making competitive video gameplay far more accessible to the masses and perhaps even a viable career for many. A number of exciting projects are leading the way in a bid to make this happen. 


WAX stands for the Worldwide Asset Exchange and was originally conceived as a blockchain for digital assets, namely non-fungible tokens (NFTs). However, these days WAX is much more focused on the emerging blockchain gaming sector, offering a platform for developers to create video games with Web3 elements such as blockchain, crypto and NFTs.

Gamers can access WAX’s platform to discover hundreds of decentralized applications (dApps), the vast majority of which are video games. The WAX blockchain is number one when it comes to so-called “play-to-earn” games, with some of its biggest titles including Alien Worlds and Farmer’s World. 

These play-to-earn games are unique in that cryptocurrency is a key element, with players required to purchase an NFT with crypto before they start playing. Then, once they’re in the game, they can complete daily challenges to earn crypto rewards, usually paid in the game’s native token. They can also pay a small fee to enter one-on-one contests with other players, or tournaments with much larger prizes. 

These blockchain games are similar to professional eSports in that the prizes can be exchanged for real money, so they provide genuinely competitive gameplay. However, many of the leading blockchain games have been derided by hardcore video games fans for their repetitive, low-level gameplay, and the industry has remained a fairly niche one until now.

It’s for this reason that holds much more promise. Blockchain games are routinely slated for their lack of enjoyment, so what Moxy is trying to do is bring “play-and-earn” to regular Web2 video games instead. Basically, Moxy can be thought of as a game streaming platform, similar to Nvidia’s GeForce or Steam, where players purchase games on the platform and play them on their TV, PC, console or mobile device.

The key difference is that Moxy provides developers with tools to create an eSports gaming mode for their existing titles, so players have the option to play normally or in a competitive environment. It’s the perfect solution for developers because they don’t need to concern themselves with blockchain and crypto – they simply use the Moxy blockchain, while $MOXY tokens are used for tournament entrance fees and prize pools. So any existing game can make use of Moxy’s API and SDK to add competitive eSports play. As an added incentive to developers, Moxy ensures they receive a small percentage of the prize pool for each eSports tournament. 

As Moxy explains, eSports is currently restricted to the top 1% of video gamers. Its platform aims to make this lucrative industry accessible to everyday gamers, and it is making good progress on that goal. Recently, it announced season 3 of its Beta Challenge, a key step on its roadmap that aims to stress-test its platform. Gamers can sign up to Moxy, complete the KYC process and then compete for a prize pool of $100,000 USDC, Moxy tokens and other digital collectibles. 


FirstBlood employs a somewhat different concept to Moxy in that it doesn’t involve or incentivize game developers, instead facilitating direct, competitive gameplay between players. It describes itself as an automated tournament platform that enables video game players to play competitively in top AAA games such as Call of Duty: Warzone, R6 Siege, Halo Infinite, DOTA2 and more. 

In reality, FirstBlood is a dApp that makes it possible for gamers to bet on the outcome of games against other players. It’s built on Ethereum and uses smart contracts, with players required to bet $1ST tokens on the outcome of the game. Those tokens are sent to a smart contract-powered escrow before the game takes place. The system relies on witnesses, who earn a small percentage of the amount the players have staked on the game. The witnesses are required to validate the result of the game, and ensure that the prize is sent to the winner. In the event that witnesses disagree, a Jury Voting Pool acts as a final arbiter. 

By allowing successful players to monetize their gameplay skills, FirstBlood democratizes access to eSports, while its use of blockchain and smart contracts ensures security and transparency for the players involved. 

Crypto & eSports: A Perfect Marriage? 

It’s clear that the professional eSports industry is growing fast, while cryptocurrencies and blockchain continue to attract interest from people from all walks of life. Until now, the two industries have existed more or less separately, with very little cross-over. However, with a number of platforms trying to change that it’s clear they have many synergies and can help each other to grow. 

It’s far from a given that professional eSports gamers will be willing to embrace crypto, but then again this doesn’t need to happen for this marriage to work. Crypto is the only way to make eSports more accessible to the millions of gamers who don’t play at a professional level. The marriage between digital assets and eSports has much to offer, and it’ll be interesting to see how it blossoms as the dynamic unfolds.