Cryptocurrency exchanges have identified esports as a potential growth driver. The industry has experienced significant growth in recent years as leagues look to monetize the competitive nature of video games.
Bybit has secured new contracts with esports organizations Astralis and Alliance that will see the cryptocurrency exchange expand its footprint in the video game industry.
Bybit will have its logo featured on gaming jerseys and twitch.tv streams as part of a broader strategic initiative targeting more expansive player engagements, carbon neutrality initiatives and financial education programs, the exchange announced Monday.
Ben Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Bybit, said his company “is in it for the long run,” referring to esports. He believes there is a “special connection” between the esports and cryptocurrency communities for their high degree of competitiveness and rapid adoption curves.
As part of the deal, Astralis and Alliance will send talent to the upcoming World Series of Trading, which is an annual gamified cryptocurrency trading competition hosted by Bybit. Players will compete for a prize pool of up to $7.5 million, which is roughly five times the previous year’s sum.
Bybit has been expanding its footprint in the esports industry, having only recently signed an exclusive partnership with NAVI, a Ukrainian esports organization known for its Counter Strike, FIFA and Apex Legends competitions.
Other cryptocurrency exchanges have recognized the potential of esports. As Cointelegraph reported, leading derivatives exchange FTX recently signed a seven-year deal with professional esports league the League Championship Series LCS. In June of this year, FTX sealed a naming rights deal with esports giant TSM valued at $210 million.
While estimates vary, the projected market size of the global esports industry is over $1 billion in 2021. Other estimates suggest the industry revenue could top $6 billion over the next six years. Although these figures are small when compared with the global video game industry, they represent significant growth for a sub-sector that was barely recognizable from just a few years ago.