Major League Baseball (MLB), which launched in 1903 but has roots all the way back to 1876, making it the longest-running major professional sports league in North America, is entering the crypto space. MLB is launching Crypto Baseball via a partnership with Lucid Sight, and the platform will facilitate the trading of official MLB collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain. MLB Crypto Baseball has the potential to rival or exceed CryptoKitties’ popularity, which has made USD 25 million in revenues since its launch and is the biggest Ethereum blockchain-based game so far.
MLB Crypto Baseball is launching in late Summer 2018 and officially licensed by the MLB. It will be the first decentralized app in history created by a major professional sports league. Specifically MLB Crypto Baseball will offer collectibles based on memorable moments during MLB games, like home runs, division championships, and no-hitters. Kenny Gersh, MLB’s Executive Vice President of Gaming and New Business Ventures, says “Collecting items related to your team, engaging with your team in a new way. For me, say the Red Sox win the division in a couple months, I want to buy something that symbolizes that. These will be event-based things—those moments in sports that happen that you want to remember and cherish, and have a sense that you were there, even if only digitally”.
MLB Crypto Baseball has the potential to get bigger than CryptoKitties, especially when considering MLB pulls in about USD 10 billion of revenue annually and there were 18.9 million TV viewers during the 2017 World Series. In total MLB baseball teams have tens of millions of Facebook fans. Also, collecting MLB baseball cards has been a popular hobby for people of all ages throughout American history.
Through the power of non-fungible tokens, MLB collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain will be 100% owned by the people who purchase them. They will be 100% cryptographically secure, and it will be easy to cash them in for Ethereum or trade them with other users through the marketplace. The success of CryptoKitties provided inspiration for Crypto Baseball, Kenny Gersh says “We were already talking to Lucid Sight around the time that CryptoKitties first came out, and then CryptoKitties sort of validated it a little bit more”.
Like CryptoKitties, MLB Crypto Baseball will require users to buy Ethereum and transfer it to MetaMask before buying collectibles. If MLB Crypto Baseball becomes as popular as baseball cards, it would cause a tremendous increase in Ethereum’s user base.
Apparently, the MLB had previously considered accepting Bitcoin for payments but decided Crypto Baseball was the best way to enter the blockchain space. Kenny Gersh says, “We talked a long time ago about bitcoin and whether we should accept it as payment for MLB.tv and some of our other products, and we opted not to. At the end of the day, we decided that isn’t our business, we’re not in the speculation business. We’re in the business of delivering baseball to the fans. So this game is a more interesting intersection of blockchain technology and what we do.”
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