Globally, NFTs have gained popularity, but the trading of these blockchain-enabled, verifiable digital assets hasn’t made inroads into India yet. Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, Coatue Management, and Dapper Labs have backed a startup that claims to have cracked the code to conquer the second-largest online market in the world. Cricket is known to 1.3 billion people around the world, and is often a crucial part of their lives. FanCraze has launched its digital assets focused on that game on Thursday. Most Americans are unfamiliar with cricket, but it is one of the most important and popular sports throughout the world. This sport has a larger fan base than several other popular sports combined.
Due largely to its large catalog of cricket streaming rights, India’s Hotstar has more than 300 million subscribers, making it a formidable competitor to Netflix and Prime Video in some parts of the world. As part of Disney’s plans to expand around the globe, Hotstar, which gained ownership of 21st Century Fox after a $71.3 billion acquisition, has become a key player. The game’s popularity with NFTs is now being capitalized on by FanCraze. The NFTs include evidence from some of the game’s most iconic moments. Examples include MS Dhoni’s six that gave India victory at the 2011 World Cup, South Africa’s infamous fumble against Australia, Yuvraj Singh’s sixes that defined a generation, and Sachin Tendulkar’s heroics in 2003 when he hit the ball over the park in a stand-off against Pakistan.
FanCraze and ICC, the global governing body for cricket, have forged a multi-year partnership to deliver these iconic moments. Apart from the startup, several cricketers have also partnered with them, including Rohit Sharma, Jonty Rhodes, Muthiah Muralidaran, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Jasprit Bumrah. In an interview with TechCrunch, FanCraze CEO Anshum Bhambri explained that this is to provide additional exclusive moments.
Like most Indians, I have been a huge cricket fan all my life. I have been able to watch the same YouTube videos, again and again, during sleepless nights as an NRI. I, as well as billions of other people, are indebted to those moments,” he said. We have been given access to ICC’s archive of video and still images that range from 1950 up to the present day. There have always been big fat legal contracts protecting the archives and their rights. With NFTs, IPs become liquid and tradeable by being parsed into small parts – 50-60 second videos and still images – that can now be verified as ownable and provably scarce because of blockchain technology, allowing the owner of each copy to be specified and able to be proved as having ownership without the need for verification from a third party, he explained.
Fans are building a more direct relationship with creators and athletes through FanCraze, as well as similar NFT startups like NBA Top Shot and SoRare, where the two are able to make and reap the largest benefit from the value they create. Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot distributes tens of millions of dollars every month through the Flow blockchain, using licensed NBA “moments.”. Many of its fans have become millionaires through its NFTs, which proponents claim will solve the problem of collecting assets while skeptics call them an absurd form of speculation. In direct opposition to the business models of scores of large firms across the world, the web3 idea focuses on who derives maximum value from a transaction. Every year, during the IPL cricket tournament season, platforms like Hotstar make more money than the BCCI and other cricket boards or even the cricketers themselves.
As part of FanCraze’s effort to bring NFTs to the masses, the purchase process is made as simple as possible. A person who wishes to buy an NFT, or any other crypto asset, typically has to figure out what blockchain the asset is trading on, how to operate the right wallet, buy the native token needed to complete the transaction, and then pay a transaction fee. NFT can be purchased with multiple payment options with FanCraze, including plastic cards, wallets, and UPI in India. Flow blockchain records a user’s purchase once they have completed it. Users outside India are also able to purchase the NFTs. NFTs cost $9 each in three packages that were launched today by the startup.
Fans will be able to trade NFTs through a marketplace later this week, according to FanCraze. Bhambri said FanCraze is also working on cricket-based games where users can earn karma points in-game by using these NFTs. Karma points can be used to upgrade and make NFTs (where crafting is the act of modifying the NFT’s attributes or meta-data). NFTs that have been upgraded perform better in gameplay, improving the user’s chances of winning. He added that users are welcome to sell their NFTs and karma points to others.