The next big crypto market could be fantasy sports, says Messari

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As "Digitally native" ecosystems like esports continue to synergize with blockchain technology, industries like fantasy sports could be primed for mass adoption, says digital research firm Messari.

In a newly published report, researcher Mason Nystrom argues that fantasy sports are primed for significant growth due to COVID-19.

"While the peak culmination of esports and cryptonetworks waits for improvements in emerging technology and 5G connectivity, blockchain-based fantasy sports are poised for consumer adoption."

Citing PwC research, Nystrom said betting and fantasy sports are expected to grow 7.2% over the next 3 to 5 years.

This may bode well for the segment, as 75% of traditional sports betters also played fantasy sports according to a study from 2018.

Unlike traditional sports betting, where participants bet on the outcome of a game, wagering on fantasy sports is when you assemble a fantasy team and compete against opponents for a cash prize.

The need to digitize the sporting experience has taken on paramount importance after COVID-19 led to a drastic reduction in viewership revenue.

The end of a federal ban on U.S. betting markets in 2018 provides one such avenue.

Fantasy games built on top of the blockchain operate by selling non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, that ostensibly increase in value based on how real athletes perform.

The top three crypto fantasy sports - Sorare, MLB Champions and NBA Top Shot - have already amassed over $10 million in sales.