Though NFTs have been in the limelight lately, they’ve been making their way into the mainstream since 2014.
As such, it’s no surprise that they’ve crossed into esports, especially as both share a virtual nature.
Disclaimer: This piece is supported by WePlay Esports
To put it simply, NFTs or Non-Fungible-Tokens are digital assets that stand for real-life and virtual objects like art, videos, music, and in-game items. They’re appealing because of their ‘one of a kind’ nature (they’re non-fungible after all) and can drop as singles or a group of collectibles.
NFTs allow artists and collectors to trade digital assets, while also ensuring the asset continues to maintain its value due to its originality. This is now possible due to NFTs carrying an unimitable identifying code cementing its uniqueness. There are millions of copies of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, but you can catch the authentic smirk only at the Louvre.
The rise of NFTs in the esports scene
Cryptokitties brought NFTs into the spotlight back in 2017. The game allowed players to breed and collect limited-edition cats, each carrying a unique crypto token. Essentially, Cryptokitties opened the path to collecting digitally stored gaming memorabilia as we know it today.
In 2020 esports organisation OG Esports partnered with NFT auction platform Nifty Gateway and created their own NFTs, OG Nifties. Since then, many big teams and organisations have dropped their own NFT collections, and taken advantage of this evolving esports sector.
Just as the WePlay Animajor started, esports media holding company WePlay Esports also announced the drop of its first NFT collectibles on the new Binance NFT marketplace.
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To learn more about the recent launch of WePlay Collectibles (stylised as ‘c0ll3ct1bl3s’) Esports Insider spoke with WePlay Esports’s Managing Partner, Yura Lazebnikov.
WePlay Collectibles: Why now?
Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people have made a complete switch to the online world. From the crash of Dogecoin to TikTok tutorials about how to invest in the stock market, everyone has heard of ‘crypto’ and ‘NFTs’ at least once.
So, 2021 seems like a reasonable time for esports giants to take advantage of the NFT gap in the market.
Yura Lazebnikov said: “People have long been accustomed to owning digital or semi-digital derivative assets, such as company stocks, futures contracts, etc. Since we live in the 21st century and everyone spends a huge amount of their time on the internet, it’s only logical that civilization has produced a certain type of asset that exists in this digital world.”
“WePlay Holding has accumulated a number of unique moments which we would like to share with the community.”
Lazebnikov describes WePlay Collectibles as a type of artwork associated with the esports industry. Not only does the collection carry sentimental value for the fans, but it also captures significant moments, victories, the highs in WePlay Holding’s history. Additionally, it’s also a unique opportunity to share digital assets online.
The artists and authors that are taking part in the project can “document their copyright to the works and inscribe them in the digital world history forever,” as Lazebnikov put it. After all, once something’s on the Internet it’s there forever.
What are WePlay Collectibles?
The first collection, Storyline, is dedicated to WePlay Esports tournaments. It offers three types of tokens: Logo, Story and Trophy.
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The Logo token depicts a static or animated logo of the tournament. The Trophy token has an image of the keepsake, also in a static or animated format. Both the Logo and the Trophy tokens come in Common, Rare, and Ultimate (one of one) versions on the rarity scale.
There is also the Story token, which depicts the most memorable parts of WePlay Holding’s stories, collected over all the years and years of tournaments. For example, the ‘WePlay! Forge of Masters Season 2 Studio’ Story token, which depicts the old train station studio, or the ‘WePlay! Clutch Island Studio’ Story token, which commemorates the survival-themed CS:GO tournament.
WePlay Collectibles officially dropped on June 24th, so fans can already bid on and purchase the Storyline tokens at auctions on the Binance NFT marketplace.
“When we were preparing the launch of the NFT project, we approached the issue of choosing a marketplace carefully and selected a partner with a solid reputation — the leading international exchange and blockchain ecosystem Binance,” Lazebnikov commented on the collaboration. “They launched their NFT marketplace, and we have decided to present our tokens from the Storyline collection at the platform’s auction as part of their ‘100 Creators’ campaign.”
The environmental implications of NFTs and crypto
The line between NFTs and cryptocurrencies is still a bit blurry for the general audience, as the former is also mainly based on blockchain technology.
There is a growing negative narrative around crypto, particularly surrounding its stability and environmental impact. However, there are efforts to overcome these problems, especially from Ethereum-based platforms.
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Lazebnikov said on the matter: “NFTs impact the environment just like almost any other human activity such as flights, watching something on streaming services, or smartphone production. Unlike them, leading blockchain ecosystem providers are working on the creation of a sustainable system that will reduce the pollution they generate.”
The reality is that NFTs aren’t carbon neutral, and their production costs are still quite high, despite their digital nature. But as crypto companies and entrepreneurs rise to the challenge of being more eco-friendly, so do NFT giants. Companies are developing their brand around being socially and environmentally conscious.
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