The World Poker Tour announced today that it will be releasing a series of Non-Fungible Tokens based around key hands from the WPT’s history. The NFT’s will use Theta Labs’s blockchain technology.
The plan is to push the NFTs through advertising on the WPT show. To boost the profile of the NFTs they are also running a series of cash games sponsored by Theta Labs. These will air on Bally Sports Network channels across the U.S. The first episode will air on April 18, 2021, but the NFT’s launch date remains TBD.
“Our exclusive NFT launch with Theta Network is one of our biggest digital initiatives to date,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. “And for the first time ever we’re combining our global reach of live televised poker with an NFT marketplace. It gives our fans an interactive, real-time opportunity to collect a piece of the WPT poker action. We are thrilled to bring some of our top poker pros, players, and celebrities to the NFT world. Featuring rare and legendary WPT packs in weekly drops and running exclusive one-of-a-kind auctions for super rare poker moments.”
These “moments” are likely to take the form of video clips. This is similar to Top Shots, a set of sports-based NFTs that the NBA produces. Each Top Shot is a video clip from the broadcast of an NBA game.
The WPT announced the offering on Twitter. They wrote: “WPT and @Theta_Network to Launch World’s First Real-time NFT Marketplace with the Live Premiere of WPT Season XVIII.”
What are NFTs?
The short answer is that an NFT is a unique entry in a blockchain ledger. The entry corresponds to some other unique item of value. This item could be a baseball card, a piece of digital art, or a Tony G catchphrase. In this case, the unique item of value is a video clip that Theta will take from a World Poker Tour broadcast.
Blockchain ledgers are basically records of ownership, so the technology adapts pretty naturally from currency to certificate of ownership.
Fascination with the blockchain is practically part of the poker player stereotype at this point. So it comes as no surprise that the NFT craze is moving in on poker’s turf like this. Now the WPT is boarding the bandwagon.
NFTs have become the latest fad, in part, because they offer a new way to monetize digital content using parts of the blockchain. The cryptocurrency market has its big players now. Breaking in requires new angles, and NFTs are one of those angles.
Even Paris Hilton is on board. According to a recent article she wrote, she imagines that NFTs could transform the art and fashion industries.
How does this version work?
The first WPT NFT to drop will be based around Mike Sexton. This makes sense. Sexton was the heart of the WPT show and considered a real mensch in the poker community. There will be just three editions of this token. No further details are available. A safe bet for one NFT would be Sexton’s WPT Montreal win from 2016. This was one of the biggest successes of his career.
Mitch Liu, CEO of Theta Labs, explains the way the auctions are live-streamed and tied to TV broadcasts.
“ThetaDrop maximizes earnings to brand partners and creators by bringing the interactivity, real-time engagement, and personality possible only through a live-stream when doing NFT drops and auctions,” Liu says, in a rush of marketing jargon.
“Theta’s proof-of-stake native blockchain means creators can be assured that minting and transacting NFTs are 100% eco-friendly, fast, and inexpensive.”
ThetaDrop has a network of some 30,000 nodes on which their propriety tech operates. They claim to be cheaper, faster, and more eco-friendly than any of the current cryptocurrency blockchains in operation. Their chain was purpose-built for selling entertainment and media-based NFTs.
“We’re excited to launch the next-generation NFT marketplace with WPT, a unique opportunity to bring digital collectibles synchronized to live TV and cable broadcast to an audience of millions worldwide,” Liu, continues.
The release dates and potential prices for all the WPT’s NFTs are still to be announced. However, with the air dates coming up in a matter of days we expect an update soon.
Featured image source: Twitter