A crypto variant: Bitcoin as a reward in sport
In the coming days, the world’s best chess players, led by world champion Magnus Carlsen, are expected to closely monitor the highly volatile cryptocurrency market. Naturally, since the winner of next week’s FTX Crypto Cup, the highest-grossing $ 320,000 online chess tournament that will see the top 10 ranked players face off has been promised a huge bonus. in bitcoins.
Despite this unprecedented windfall, the ever-fluctuating value of bitcoin which was $ 100,000 on May 17 when the tournament was announced, but which subsequently saw a 30% drop, added a nuance of intrigue and uncertainty about at actual prizes up for grabs.
The largely island sports world has warmed to decentralized digital currency. In recent years, bitcoins have been mentioned in the contracts of English League footballers and NBA stars. Cricketers also change over time. Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee donated a bitcoin (around Rs 40 lakh at the time) for a COVID charity in India. It happened around the same time, ICC revealed that former Zimbabwean cricketer Heath Streak confessed to accepting a bitcoin payment from a bookmaker.
Andreas Thome, CEO of the Play Magnus Group, calls the Crypto Cup a revolutionary event: “We, along with many chess players around the world, have been following cryptocurrencies for many years and are passionate about celebrating this industry. growing, ”he said on the tournament website.
CEO of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange and tournament sponsor, Sam Bankman-Fried spoke to Reuters about the connection of chess to digital currency. “In a lot of ways, you know the chess demographics overlap a bit with the cryptocurrency demographics in terms of people who tend to be technologically sophisticated, younger, and quantitative, and so I think you know that the Crypto’s appeal is certainly widening a bit, you know it’s still the best demographic for it, ”he said. Dutch grandmaster Anish Giri told chess.com: “It’s like playing with house money, isn’t it? You get it for next to nothing, it is also a bonus added to the prize fund. It’s a good thing, it’s here to stay. I don’t have an account, but I plan to open one soon. “
Another interesting facet of the tournament is the live display of the fluctuating value of bitcoin on the tournament website, giving players and fans an idea of the ever-changing bonus for the winner.
When the tournament was announced on May 17, organizers had purchased 2.1825 bitcoins worth $ 100,000 to $ 45,000. But two days later, the market collapsed after Chinese regulators banned banks and payment firms from using cryptocurrencies.
It has dropped nearly 30 percent to almost $ 30,000, although within three days it has risen to around $ 40,000. But what really matters would be its value on May 31, the last day of the tournament. They could end up pocketing prices lower than the expected $ 100,000; they could also pocket more than the sum, depending on the market rate on that day or at that precise moment. Prior to the crash, the value of bitcoin had peaked at around $ 64,000 per unit in April of this year, a 450% jump in six months.
Kasparov a lawyer
Former world champion Garry Kasparov is one of the main advocates of cryptocurrency. “Anything that can give us the opportunity to regain control or some control of our privacy is always welcome. It is a response to the transfer of power from individuals to states or other institutions that can act on our privacy without our consent, ”he told The Forbes two months ago. But he added a caveat: “As with any new technology, it’s not inherently good or bad. It depends on who uses it and for what purpose. You can use nuclear technology to build a bomb or a reactor. “
A day after the announcement, Chess.com launched its crypto-related chess event – CryptoChamps Chess, a tournament featuring largely amateur stars. These developments are another sign that the sport is gradually embracing Bitcoins, the world’s most popular digital currency. It’s also not the FTX cryptocurrency platform’s first foray into the sport: it coughed up $ 135 million to secure the naming rights of the NBA’s Miami Heat home arena.
Elsewhere, too, bitcoins earn foreign currency in sports. English Premier League club Southampton had made public that there was an option for the club to receive certain performance-based bonuses in Bitcoin at the end of each season, allowing the club to take advantage of the new growth at high increase. if it believes that it will bring significant future benefits ”. The same was true for the NBA Sacramento Kings franchise, which has paid part of players’ salaries in bitcoin since 2014, a move its chairman Vivek Ranadivé said it aims to use “the sports franchise as a social network to push back. the limits of technology ”.
Sportsbet.io, sponsor of Southampton, trades the cryptocurrency. There is also a bitcoin logo on the sleeves of the Watford Championship team, another team sponsored by the betting company. Watford also became one of the first football clubs in the world to accept digital currency. In Spain last January, former Real Madrid graduate and Levante striker David Barral became the first player to be bought using cryptocurrency only, when Segunda B’s side, DUX Internacional de Madrid, acquired his signature for an undisclosed sum. Three years ago, Gibraltar United FC announced that it would pay its players in crypto.
With transfer amounts skyrocketing day by day, in the not-so-distant future, Bitcoin transactions will become more popular. Iqbal V. Gandham, UK managing director of eToro, a cryptocurrency platform that has ties to several EPL clubs, told The Sun in January that “in about six to twelve months we will see a player transfer. in the Premier League ended using Bitcoin. ” This could help clubs avoid issues with third-party ownership of players, which happens in many top-tier transfers.
Although it will be unpredictable next season, football authorities are not totally against the idea. There is also more acceptance at FIFA and UEFA, with payment for tickets for some 2018 World Cup matches being accepted by cryptocurrency. FIFA said at the time that it viewed the mode as safe and transparent regardless of black marketing.
FTX Crypto Cup: May 23-31.
Participants (from seed 1 to 16): Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Liren Ding, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Daniil Dubov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Peter Svidler, Wesley So, Anish Pichou Giroui, Alan Pirez .