A new fantasy football mobile app called Hashletes debuted this week. The app uses blockchain technology to verify the ownership of tradable digital collectables, which fans can purchase to build weekly lineups to compete for cash prizes. The digital player tokens in the platform have been licensed from the NFLPA.
Hashletes launched Tuesday with 25,000 individual tokens created for all of the more than 2,000 current NFL players. Player tokens are available via packs priced between $3.99 and $4.99 and range from eight to 18 random players per-pack. Users can also buy top-tier single player tokens for $1.99. The MLBPA released its own player tokens digital collectables platform back in August, but Hashletes adds a fantasy gamification aspect to the burgeoning blockchain-powered crypto-collectable space. Hashletes is financially backed by billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.
“We curated down to four to five companies that truly met the criteria for us,” said Ricky Medina, Head of Business Development at the NFL Players Association. “Hashletes really stood out because they took a novel approach to the the layers on top of the player token. That was a real differentiator, tying it to fantasy. Other groups alluded to fantasy, but it was very much in the abstract.”
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Users can create lineups for three different game modes within Hashletes. They also own of all their player tokens and can chose to sell or trade them via the Hashletes marketplace. Offensive mode consists of a quarterback, running back, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one FLEX option. Defensive mode lineups require 11 defensive players. There is also a franchise mode where users must enter 24-player lineups that include five offensive lineman and one punter. Hashletes has its own scoring system, which is mostly comprised of standard fantasy metrics. Eventually, Hashletes also has plans to release a multiplayer mode, where friends can combine their individual player tokens to build a team.
Similar to HQ Trivia style gameplay, Hashletes participants will compete against all signed-up users during free-to-join weekly fantasy contests and winners will evenly split from a designated prize pool. Hashletes will set a specific point marker each week and if a user reaches that point total, they’ll earn a piece of the weekly prize.This week’s Hashletes prize pool consists on $10,000.
“We are a much more casual experience compared to FanDuel or DraftKings,” said Michael Anderson, co-founder at Hashletes. “You really have to understand the complicated budget maximization [in FanDuel or DraftKings contests],” he continued. “We think we become different by creating the casual gaming experience for people like my mom, who understand a little about football but won’t understand if Tom Brady at 12,000 dollars is a good purchase or if she should go with Aaron Rodgers instead.”
Hashletes was founded this past April and reached a multi-year partnership with the NFLPA in June. The company was co-founded by Silicon Valley product designers Michael Anderson, Brennan Erbeznik, and Vance Spencer. Spencer, 27, previously worked at Netflix while Erbeznik, 26, and Anderson, 28, both worked for Snapchat. The Hashletes app is currently only available for iOS devices.
On the technical side, each player token will posses a smart contract that is viewable on the Ethereum blockchain, aiming to eliminate the threat of fraud. Anderson says the blockchain database is intentionally limited to the back-end of the Hashletes app since the technology is still a relative unknown to the average sports fan.
As part of Hashletes’ licensing deal with the NFLPA, several NFL stars will post their own player tokens across their personal social media accounts to market the app. The NFLPA and Hashletes are banking on digital player tokens gaining the same valuable collectable status among sports fans that physical trading cards and memorabilia amassed before the digital age. Anderson expects Hashletes player tokens to eventually serve as a new way for fans to connect with athletes through future-planned engagement features such as live question and answer sessions.
“Growing up we were infatuated with collectables of our favorite players and teams,” Anderson said. “In the digital ecosystem, nothing yet represents the same sort of collectability that I once had with trading cards. Our ultimate goal is to enhance the already existing relationship between fans and athletes.”