By aligning the eSports industry with blockchain technology, Singapore-based start-up Bountie aims to change competitive gaming for good.

Competitive gaming, or eSports, has existed as long as video games themselves, going as far back as 1962 with the introduction of Spacewar, the world’s first video game. With 2.3 billion active gamers in the world today, gaming is rapidly becoming one of the world’s favourite pastimes. What was once a niche market is turning into a mainstream industry.

The Global Games Market Report by Newzoo forecasts that gamers across the globe will spend approximately US$137.9 billion on games in 2018. However, while gamers invest money, time and effort on their favourite games, they have limited ways to monetize their playing skills. Tapping on this potential for disruption is Singapore-based eSports platform Bountie. Founded by a team of passionate gamers, Bountie is capitalizing on the latest developments in blockchain and cryptocurrency to allow gamers to make a living from doing what they love.

Bountie is the brainchild of Lex Na, an avid gamer and founder of successful e-commerce store ContactLens.sg.

Get Paid To Play

Despite the rapid growth of eSports over the years, only 3% of gamers have turned professional. Those who do reach the top earn millions of dollars a year taking part in eSports tournaments with large pool prizes. But for everyone else, gaming remains essentially a hobby. This is a plight that is all too familiar for Bountie Founder Lex Na. An avid gamer himself, Lex spent his youth playing video game Warcraft III. Despite being ranked as the number eight player in the world, he still found himself reliant on his parents for pocket money.

Bountie aims to disrupt the top-heavy reward scheme of the gaming industry and fill the monetization gap by organizing weekly tournaments for gamers to participate. By completing daily challenges or emerging in the Top 10 of the leader board, gamers will be able to earn Bountie coins, the platform’s very own cryptocurrency backed by Ethereum’s ERC20 Token Standard. These Bountie coins can be transacted in five different ways. Gamers can trade them for fiat currency, convert them into other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether, spend them with cryptocurrency cards like TenX or use them to register for Bountie pro tournaments. The coins can also be used to purchase discounted gaming products from brands like Logitech and MSI at the Bountie e-store.

Blockchain Meets eSports

The Bountie platform will be able to support any game with competitive and multi-player modes including Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, Fortnite, Overwatch and more. While the platform is due for launch in July 2018, 50,000 gamers have already pre-signed up as of 30 April and the platform aims to acquire a million gamers by the end of the year.

For better transparency and security, profiles of these gamers will be stored on the blockchain. Storing data on a decentralized blockchain will empower gamers with keys to their profiles. They can also use the keys to easily access their gaming history and set their own levels of privacy. Bountie essentially aims to create a ‘LinkedIn’ for gamers, allowing professional teams to connect with potential team members or gamers to find prospective sponsors. Importantly, it could also allow advertisers to utilize a sophisticated level of micro-targeting.

Bountie will allow gamers to take part in weekly tournaments hosted on the platform.

Changing The Ecosystem

Recognizing that a strong network within the gaming ecosystem is necessary for the entire industry to scale together, Bountie has created a three-way cyclical system involving gamers, gaming partners and the platform itself. The company has partnered with some of the biggest names in the business including renowned gaming chair production company DXRacer and popular gaming laptop and PC brand MSI. Such partners will be able to showcase their products on the Bountie platform through ads, reviews, in-house generated content and more.

The company has also teamed up with the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (SCOGA) to foster competitive gaming within the community. The two will be working together to advise the government on how to nurture healthy playing habits among the youth and address issues like gaming addictions.

With ambitious plans on the horizon including building a dedicated eSports arena in Singapore, Bountie is at the forefront of a revolutionary time in the industry.

This article was first published on the MillionaireAsia Issue 48 - June 2018

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