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How blockchain sports platform Sorare hides crypto complexity from mainstream users

juventus ronaldo

Blockchain fantasy football network Sorare has partnered with crypto app startup Ramp. The partnership aims to smooth consumer purchases and use of cryptocurrency on Sorare’s platform. The collectibles network has signed major soccer clubs such as Juventus, Bayern MunichParis Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

While there are many advantages to using blockchain for collectibles, it also has drawbacks in end-user complexity. Collectible platforms usually require the user to leverage two different types of tokens. One is to buy ether or some other cryptocurrency, which is then used as an ‘on-chain’ means of payment to purchase the item the user really wants – the collectible token or tokenized in-game item. While ether is essentially like an in-game currency, the poor usability experience creates a barrier to adoption.

That’s despite the benefits of using blockchain for the collectible token. Tokenizing a collectible card ensures that each card is unique, cannot be altered or deleted, and is owned by a single gamer. These features help enhance the collectibles’ market value as there is little risk of fraud or duplicating cards, and it has advantages for providers and end-users alike.

But Sorare came to realize that 80 to 90% of new players neither understood nor cared about cryptocurrency. A requirement to have a separate cryptocurrency wallet, an exchange account and the need to jump through Know Your Customer (KYC) processes causes far too much friction for someone who just wants to buy the collectible football card.

For games that don’t use blockchain, typically, in-game currency can often be purchased through Apple or Google Pay. Even though there are advantages to blockchain collectibles from a consumer perspective, you would lose users at ‘hello’.

The solution was to partner with Ramp, which means the wallet is now an integral part of the Sorare game. There’s no need to go to a cryptocurrency exchange. Instead, the payment is made from the Sorare website and KYC is done ‘invisibly’. A Ramp spokesperson told Ledger Insights that they use open banking, so “it still happens, but is instant and completely invisible to end users.”

Ramp claims the integration of its platform with Sorare makes the process of buying collectibles 40% faster. 

According to Marketwatch, the market for collectible card games is worth around $700 million and is growing at around 5% per year. For Sorare, addressing issues that complicate consumers’ experience and attempting to match it to non-crypto games will likely attract mainstream consumers, expanding Sorare’s potential market. 

But there is one other user inconvenience. That’s the fact that the collectibles are priced in ether, which fluctuates in value. To avoid this issue, Sports gaming platform Dapper Labs recently signed a deal with Circle for similar purposes. The agreement enables Dapper Labs users to pay for US dollar stablecoin USDC (used for in-game blockchain payments) through credit and debit cards, which avoids the need for potential users to understand cryptocurrency payments. 

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