Sorare, the fantasy sports platform based on blockchain, has announced that it will allow player managers to transact with its NFT collectible cards without using cryptocurrency from early August.
In 2021 the company landed a $680 million funding round led by Softbank. Since then it has extended its core soccer userbase to include the likes of the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A and MLS. Additionally it has expanded in the U.S. to support trading of official NFT cards based on players in the MLB and NBA.
The web3 startup managed to reach its 5 million registered users by appealing to a broad user base. It already made onboarding crypto users relatively simple compared to other platforms. Now mainstream users don’t need to go through the hassle of creating a crypto wallet at all.
It has partnered with Mangopay to launch its Cash wallet enabling uses to play by connecting their bank account or credit cards to buy and sell collectible player cards, sidesteppig crypto. It already supported these methods, but the fiat currency such as dollars and euros was converted to a crypto equivalent to make purchases.
“New technologies must be accessible to all if they are to fulfill their potential,” said Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia. “The launch of Cash Wallet is key to our goal of making Sorare as simple and user-friendly as possible for all sports fan.”
In late 2020 Sorare partnered with crypto startup Ramp, one of its earlier attempts at addressing the crypto usability issue. This integrated the crypto wallet with the Sorare app so users didn’t have to figure out how to create a wallet. By then Sorare had already concluded that 80 to 90% of new players didn’t care about cryptocurrency. With the current aura around the sector, there’s a risk the crypo angle might be a turn off.
In terms of numbers of NFT transactions, Sorare ranks as second overall (341,000) during the last month according to CryptoSlam. The leader is gaming marketplace DMarket, which also targets mainstream users, not just for blockchain games.
A far more direct competitor is DraftKings, the market leader in fantasy sports in the United States. Outside of NFTs it is the official daily fantasy and sports betting partner of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA TOUR and UFC.
Compared to Sorare which went live in 2018, DraftKings was a latecomer to NFTs for fantasy sports, launching in late 2021 with an NFL Players Association deal. Currently, its NFT transaction values are quite a bit smaller than Sorare, but the number of transactions is catching up fast and is just 7% behind Sorare during the past month.