TSM FTX, the most valuable US e-sports company, is partnering with Aurory, the most promising NFT gaming project on the fast-rising Solana blockchain network.
TSM, now known as TSM FTX, today announced a partnership with Solana NFT gaming startup Aurory that will see the e-sports company collect NFT minted coins for the first time ever. In total, four TSM-branded Aurory NFTs will be minted – one will be auctioned off for charity, and the other will be given away to fans.
But the remaining two TSM FTXs will be used for their own use in the upcoming Aurory game, Walter Wang, head of TSM FTX operations, told us. And these tokens could be just the beginning of TSM’s involvement in Aurory, which is widely considered to be one of the elite few “blue chips” on Solana.
“Cryptocurrency and esports have a huge intersection from multiple perspectives,” Wang said.” Both of our industries are cutting-edge, digitally native, focused on new technologies, and have overlapping audiences. It makes sense for the video game and esports industries to collaborate more with the cryptocurrency world.”
Indeed, cryptocurrency and esports make sense, and games and NFTs can make money. There’s plenty.
NFTs are unique crypto tokens used to prove ownership of digital items, such as art, music or assets in games – and they’ve suddenly become a multi-billion dollar business. Last year, according to NonFungible, the total sales of all NFTs was just $200 million – for the entire year. Turning to 2021, OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace on Ether, has seen more than $7.2 billion change hands on its site, according to Dune Analytics.
And that number doesn’t even include some of the most desirable and valuable NFTs, such as CryptoPunks and this year’s exploding cryptocurrency game, Axie Infinity.
Axie Infinity has sold $2 billion worth of ethereum NFTs. what’s next
Axie Infinity, a game on Ether that requires players to own or rent at least three NFTs to play, now claims to have over 1.8 million daily active users. Just last week, it topped $2 billion in sales this year. The value proposition for potential players is fairly straightforward: buy NFTs, play the game, and earn tokens – which can then be cashed in for fiat. This is the model Aurory seems to be emulating, but with a few key differences.Aurory is on Solana, which is Ether’s rival blockchain, and it’s free to play.
Aurory is backed by some of the same investors as Axie – including Animoca Brands, which is increasingly dabbling in almost all areas of NFT gaming – and launched a month ago with the first sale of 10,000 profile picture, anime-style NFTs. Despite some technical glitches, and a controversial phishing scam rampant on its Discord servers, those NFTs sold out in three seconds. According to the site, secondary sales of Aurory NFTs at Solanart (an NFT marketplace in Solana) have generated more than $64 million.
Aurory NFTs, known as “Aurorians,” will be playable characters in the upcoming game. Owning an NFT also unlocks certain key features, such as early access to advanced game modes and other perks, including joining DAO. but NFTs will not be required to play the game, unlike Axe’s monster.
Instead, Aurory will be free, and anyone who does so will have the opportunity to earn AURY tokens through player vs. environment and player vs. player battle modes.Aurory plans to launch AURY tokens later this month, and the game’s public beta is expected to drop in November. It also plans to host tournaments and “tournament tours” which could see TSM FTX participation.
According to Forbes, TSM is one of the most successful esports teams in the world and the most valuable esports company in the U.S. TSM sponsors players in various team games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, Apex Legends and Valorant, but it also has players in single-player tournaments such as Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter.TSM’s Wang wouldn’t say whether the company plans to sponsor Aurory players directly, but he confirmed that TSM plans to use its Aurorians in its games and expects “more news to be announced soon.”
In June, TSM signed a massive sponsorship deal with FTX, an emerging cryptocurrency exchange led by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. The $210 million contract not only secures brand naming rights for TSM and FTX on jerseys and events, but also appears to have kick-started a growing relationship between the cryptocurrency exchange and the esports team.
“Through the TSM FTX partnership, we’ve been able to explore huge new opportunities,” Wang told us.” We’re working on a lot of really interesting blockchain and cryptocurrency projects and collaborations right now, and FTX has definitely played a role in all of the blockchain and cryptocurrency projects we’ve done, including introducing the Aurory team to us.”
Just yesterday, FTX US CEO Brett Harrison teased the upcoming integration with Solana NFTs on the FTX marketplace in a tweet that featured silhouettes of four of the most valuable collections on Solana: Degenerate Ape Academy, Solana Monkey Business , Thugbirdz, and Aurory.
The FTX NFT Marketplace is expected to simplify NFT purchases by enabling credit card payments, which Harrison seemed to confirm in a follow-up tweet.
Perhaps. Or maybe that’s just the beginning.