Friday night’s mixed martial arts bout between British featherweight fighter Brendan Loughnane and Brazil’s Sheymon Moraes could make history – and not because of the expert footwork or the nasty elbows.
It’s because the entire MMA fight was made possible through the wizardry of fast-emerging blockchain technology and one particular platform in particular: Socios, a unit of the company Chiliz, where sports fans can use the increasingly popular genre of cryptocurrencies known as “fan tokens” to express their devotion.
Some lucky crypto traders have made a fortune betting on Chiliz’s in-house token, CHZ, which has surged 20-fold this year in digital-asset markets, to a previously unthinkable $2.3 billion market capitalization. That compares with a 70% year-to-date gain for bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency, and a tripling in the price of No. 2 ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum blockchain.
In the case of Friday night’s Professional Fighters League (PFL) fight, the matchup was chosen by fans who purchased PFL-related tokens via Socios; they voted on whom they wanted to see square off in the EPSN+ event. The PFL fan tokens sold out in under 10 minutes for $500,000 during the initial launch.
“This is what really got me excited,” Katie Talati, head of research for the cryptocurrency-focused asset-management firm Arca Funds,