- Stakes wants to be a Web 3.0 betting platform
- Former NBA exec joins as strategic advisor
- App is currently in beta on Apple’s iOS platform
New York-based startup Stakes has raised US$5.3 million in seed funding to continue development of a social wagering platform where players compete for bragging rights and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) rather than direct financial gains.
Participants in the round include Digital Currency Group, FBG Capital, CMS Holdings, LD Capital, Cadenza Ventures, Matrixport Ventures, and Sterling Select Group, while Sam Li, former vice president of the National Basketball Association (NBA) has signed up as an investor and strategic advisor.
While other gaming firms in the US talk of the need to ‘normalise’ and raise awareness of sports betting where the practice has only recently been legalised in many states, Stakes hopes to take advantage of existing social dynamics among sports fans.
Its application is currently in an open beta phase on the Apple App Store, with players invited to make predictions without placing a monetary wager. Instead, they compete for free in competitions via a social feed and winners collect NFTs as ‘proof-of-flex’ rewards for their successful predictions.
The company says this approach delivers the excitement and social elements of betting without the need to take any financial risks. More than 8,000 such NFTs have been minted so far to 2,500 users and the number of active users increased fivefold during the past National Football League (NFL) season.
“Digital sports betting increasingly feels like math homework – devoid of the emotion, energy and sense of community that motivates fans, especially this new generation of sports lovers,” said Kevin Wang, chief executive, and founder of Stakes. “Stakes re-imagines sports betting for the 21st century by using NFTs as rewards.
“We combine social media, gaming and crypto to tap into what sports fans are truly after: friendly competition, showing off knowledge and earning bragging rights. NFTs are a unique way to achieve this.
“We are delighted to partner with an innovative group of investors who have a finger on the pulse of Web 3.0 and the future of culture. Our mission is to bring people together through sports and community with an engaging, digital experience that is so much more than a spreadsheet of numbers.”