Major League Baseball has sought to create another first for the sports market by agreeing a partnership to develop the first blockchain game based on a global sports league.
MLB has partnered with Los Angeles-based game studio Lucid Sight in the venture, which will lead to MLB Crypto Baseball, the first-ever game comprised of officially licensed digital, limited edition sports collectibles tied to the Ethereum blockchain. A limited supply of MLB Crypto Collectibles, as designed and created by Lucid Sight, will be available later this summer with the full game set to launch shortly thereafter.
Ethereum is a blockchain application platform that runs applications exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. Applications, such as MLB Crypto Baseball, run partly on Ethereum, which is a shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property over peer-to-peer networks.
In MLB Crypto Baseball, Ether, the cryptocurrency utilised by Ethereum, will be exchanged for blockchain-secured MLB Cryptos, such as interactive avatar figures and digital collectibles commemorating special moments, featuring official marks from MLB and all 30 clubs. The Ethereum blockchain secures each MLB Crypto as an immutable asset and ensures that it has a single owner, creating the same rarity as any traditional physical collectible.
Once the initial run sells out the only way to acquire new MLB Cryptos will be from other users on the MLB Crypto Marketplace.
"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 fans. So this game is a more interesting intersection of blockchain technology and what we do."
Kenny Gersh, Vice-President of Gaming & New Business Venutres, MLB
Amid falling attendances at MLB ballparks, Gersh said the league's latest venture is a means to engage with the youth audience. He added: "That is 100-per-cent one of the strategic goals of this initiative. Collecting items related to your team, engaging with your team in a new way.
The latest innovation comes after biometric identity platform Clear last week partnered with MLB and Tickets.com to introduce biometric ticketing at participating ballparks from 2019.
The deal will result in the development of a first-of-its-kind collaboration of emerging technologies from Clear and Tickets.com, removing the need for baseball fans to present a paper or mobile ticket at games. Fans will instead be able to use biometrics to enter ballparks.