Esports Digital Collectibles: The 100 Thieves NFT

With many Esports fans and gamers skeptical towards NFTs, 100 Thieves has created one of the most thoughtful digital collectible projects.

Esports Digital Collectibles: The 100 Thieves NFT

How are collectibles featured within the world of Esports? Popular games like Overwatch are selling collectibles products to their fans. Nike has collaborated with several games like NBA 2K and League of Legends to create new sneaker products specificaly geared towards Esports audiences. And there is a lot of talk around how NFTs can apply to Esports.

The most successful NFT launch related to an Esports organization was the February 2022 NFT collection launched by 100 Thieves. 100 Thieves is one of the world's biggest Esports brands. They own several Esports teams and also operate as a broader lifestyle brand producing merchandise, brand collaborations, and other products.

To commemorate winning the League of Legends world championship, 100 Thieves created hundreds of thousands of digital collectible necklaces for their fans. These were digital versions of the physical necklaces given to the winning 100 Thieves team in real life. While these digital collectibles were NFTs, 100 Thieves did not explicitly refer to them as NFTs.

The necklaces were available for fans to claim online completely for free, with the transaction fees paid for entirely by 100 Thieves. The NFTs were on the Polygon network, a layer-2 blockchain solution built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. If you watch the video of 100 Thieves founder Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag announcing the NFTs, you'll notice a few other things.

He emphasized the fact that the NFTs would be given out to fans completely for free. This directly addresses a lot of the criticism around NFTs and particularly gaming companies producing NFTs as a shamless cash grab that disappoints fans. By making it clear that 100 Thieves will not be financially profiting from the collection, Nadeshot was able to convincingly describe that the digital collectibles are truly gifts for their community. They were not intended for resale and the current price floor price of the NFTs is <0.001 ETH, which is essentially zero.

Another thing emphasized in the video is that the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the NFTs will be minimized. Nadeshot even said that minting the 100 Thieves NFT is equivalent to the energy spent sending two emails. This preempts another major criticism about NFTs, that the technology uses a huge amount of wasteful energy that harms the environment. By using a simple analogy of sending two emails and showing that they are mindful of the NFT carbon footprint, 100 Thieves was again able to handle a common fan objection towards NFTs.

By being clear with their intentions and thoughtful about their communication, 100 Thieves created an improved template for how Esports organizations can approach NFT launches. While other gaming companies have had to cancel their NFTs due to backlash, fans have been generally receptive to the 100 Thieves NFTs and around 700,000 of these digital collectibles have been claimed. In such a young market, Esports organizations need to be mindful of how they position NFTs towards audiences that are not always going to be receptive.