In 2017, the cryptocurrency community had a serious case of ICO fever. Initial coin offerings were still an exciting and novel concept, promising to create an entirely new class of cryptocurrency investment. Unfortunately, the ICO reality didn’t live up to the hype. Bad token ideas, outright scams, and regulatory crackdowns all poured a steady stream of ice-cold water over the once red-hot ICO market, with some genuinely interesting projects failing as a kind of collateral damage.
Fantasy sports and eSports betting was one of the hardest-hit categories of the ICO collapse. While these tokens always existed in a legal gray area — gambling laws vary considerably by country — they had a clearly defined use case, something that many other ICOs lacked. There were clear reasons for an eSports or Fantasy Football fan to use a dedicated cryptocurrency, and these tokens seemed like a genuinely useful — if legally dubious — solution. A cryptocurrency on a public blockchain was semi-anonymous, allowing users to enter into smart-contract bets that made scamming much harder to do.
So why did so many eSports and Fantasy Sports tokens fail? In this post, we’re taking a look at five of the biggest examples of betting tokens that crashed and burned.
1. NoLimitCoin (NLC2): Built to serve as the exclusive crypto token for Crypto Fantasy Sports, NLC2’s crowdsale was announced all the way back in September of 2016. By September of 2017, the token was selling for a respectable $0.51. Unfortunately, the ICO crash of 2018 hit NLC2 hard, steadily driving the price down to $0.002 by 2019. NLC2 isn’t exactly a failed project, however, as the No Limit Sports brand still uses the token across its network of betting sites.
2. SkinCoin (SKIN): Launched in sprint of 2017 as a dedicated token for the “instant trading [of] CS:GO, Dota2 and PUBG skins,” as well as eSports betting in general, SKIN quickly found a niche in the competitive gaming world. That status would be short-lived, as users soon began to complain of shady activity on the token’s website. The token’s price plummeted over the fall of 2017, dropping from $0.04 to around $0.01. These days, SKIN appears to be a dead project, with their last social media updates posted in mid-2018. The token is still traded on some exchanges, although the price has fallen to a mere $0.0005.
3. GameCredits (GAME): Founded by Serbian developers in 2015, GAME was designed to serve as a cross-platform token for all kinds of gaming. The idea was to create a general-purpose token that could be used for anything from eSports betting to in-app purchases for mobile games. Their approach proved successful, with GAME steadily rising in value over time. During the cryptocurrency price boom in late 2017, GAME was valued at a whopping $6.61. Like many other tokens, GAME crashed hard during the 2018 sell off, and it never really recovered. GAME tokens currently sell for around $0.06, and the developers still seem to be active, making it possible that the token will see a future resurgence.
4. FirstBlood (1ST): Created in 2016, FirstBlood’s 1ST is a token designed for the explicit purpose of monetizing competitions in games like PUBG and Dota. It’s still very much a player in the eSports world, although crackdowns in that space have helped to drive the price down from its $2.61 all-time-high in late 2017 to its current value of around $0.10.
5. Unikoin Gold (UKG): When UKG’s crowdsale ended in October of 2017, much of the excitement that had driven ICO investment was already starting to dry up. Based in the Isle of Man, a UK-adjacent tax haven, Unikoin likely survived its rough early days because of the island’s gambling-friendly laws. (Online gambling alone generates around 17% of the island’s GNP.) Even with those advantages, UKG has seen a considerable and steady decline in value, falling from an all-time-high of $2.18 (in January of 2018) to just $0.03.