[THE INVESTOR] Singaporean blockchain startup EsportsChain is gearing up for its planned token sale next week with aims to launch its blockchain-powered solutions that it believes will shake up the way all transactions are made within the burgeoning esports industry.
“The esports market grows more than 25 percent every year and almost 600 million people enjoy online games globally. But the system is still dominated by a few groups like manufacturers, tournament organizers or other big service providers,” EsportsChain CEO Pechi Zhao told The Investor in an interview on March 21.
“We aim to create a more transparent, decentralized system that allows entirely new revenue models for the whole ecosystem.”
EsportsChain CEO Pechi Zhao
The firm develops diverse blockchain-based platforms to adopt smart contracts and ease the purchase of virtual assets into the esports ecosystem. Pechi, former producer at Tencent Video, the biggest video provider in China, set up the firm in 2015, along with his colleagues at the Chinese gaming giant.
The management team visited Seoul this week to meet local investors and partners before its EST token sale starting March 26. Of the total 1 billion tokens issued, 12 percent will be sold over the next two weeks, priced at 1 Ethereum per 11,000 EST tokens.
Following the token sale, the firm plans to launch trading platforms for virtual assets and players’ intellectual properties by the year-end and another tournament platform based on an upgraded revenue sharing model later next year.
“Korea, as one of the big three esports markets along with China and the US, has a lot of star players and top game makers, not to mention the huge gaming population. We are seeking a bigger presence in the Korean market for our expansion,” he said.
The firm recently signed contracts with two Korean casters -- Jeon Young-joon, the legendary caster of the “StarCraft” tournaments in Korea, and Lee Hyun-woo, also known as CloudTemplar, the star caster of the immensely popular “League of Legends” -- for them to play a key role in promoting its new platforms.
“We were one of the first to adopt blockchain for esports. This first-mover advantage will help us compete with bigger rivals who are pouring money in the field,” he said.
He also boasted the firm’s own vast user base WanPlus, China’s largest esports community with more than 1 million users, saying the industry’s young millennials are early adopters of new technologies like blockchain.
“Still, we are not trying to overturn esports business itself. We aim to rebuild the entire ecosystem and attract more partners and investors to join the mission.”
A slew of famous names in blockchain scene have already invested in the firm. They include: Renowned venture capitalist Tim Draper; Sinapore’s blockchain platform developer Qtum Foundation; Chinese gaming firm Beijing Kunlun Tech; and Node Capital, a venture capital focusing on blockchain.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)