Animoca and Formula 1 to Launch Second Ethereum-based Digital Asset

- June 18th, 2019

The two companies’ first digital asset sold for US$113,000 in May. The new non-fungible token will be released as a collectible virtual car.

On Tuesday (June 18), Animoca Brands (ASX:AB1) announced that it will launch its second non-fungible token (NFT) auction on Wednesday (June 19). This follows its first NFT auction, which raked in over US$113,000 (415.9 ether) in May.

Animoca, in partnership with Formula 1, which is owned by Liberty Media (NASDAQ:FWONK), is auctioning a unique virtual race car inspired by the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco.

The digital asset, Monaco Edition 2019, will be raceable in the blockchain game F1 Delta Time in 2020, and until then will serve as a one of a kind collectible. It has added performance features, including a hometown advantage and stats that reflect Formula 1’s history in Monaco.

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The auction will take place on Wednesday at 2:00 a.m. UTC, with bidding taking place in ether. The auction will end after 72 hours, and requires ethereum wallets and ethereum-supported browsers.

Ethereum is a blockchain-based platform, whereas ether is the digital currency that is used to store or exchange value on the network. The company is citing the sale as a historical digital event, as NFTs are deemed highly valuable collectible items.

Virtual assets have gained noticeable attention in the past few years. For example, AxiomZen’s CryptoKitties has generated over US$1.3 million in transactions, with its “Dragon” kitten being sold for approximately 600 ether. That was equivalent to over US$172,000 in 2018. For a comprehensive list of CryptoKitty sales, click here.

In addition, Fuel Games, based in Sydney, Australia, developed Gods Unchained, a blockchain-based card game. It released a Hyperion NFT that sold for approximately US$60,000 (146 ether) in July 2018.

The joint venture between Animoca and Formula 1 aims to cross pollinate the companies’ audiences. In January, Formula 1 released a report showing it has over 490 million unique visitors globally.

The company’s top markets are Brazil, Germany and Italy, while significant surges in television viewership from India (87 percent) and France (51 percent) were shown. Formula 1 further reported that its Monaco Grand Prix had 110 million viewers in 2018, becoming its most-viewed race.

Hong Kong-based Animoca was founded in 2014. It publishes a number of original games, in addition to providing games for brands such as Astro Boy, Garfield and Masters of the Universe.

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Its partnership with Formula 1 first involved developing a game together in March to create broader brand recognition between the companies’ audiences. “We will leverage Formula 1’s considerable global reach to drive product uptake and revenue growth as together we seek to increase consumer exposure to blockchain,” said Yat Sui, chairman and cofounder of Animoca Brands, in a press release.

Blockchain’s integration within the esports industry offers a number of new opportunities. Planet Digital Partners, for example, hosts digital offerings that serve as an additional revenue stream for the company. Esports betting company Unikrn uses blockchain to track transactions.

“Blockchain could disrupt the space in that these virtual items could be traded over blockchain and their whole virtual economy could be built on it,” Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn, told CNBC.

Shares of Animoca Brands opened on Tuesday at AU$0.16 and closed at AU$0.14, a 9.67 percent decrease. Shares of Liberty Media opened at US$37.47 on Tuesday and decreased by almost 1 percent, closing off at US$37.11.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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