Everything You Need to Know About NFT-Based Digital Horse Racing
What if the biggest news in horseracing didn’t actually involve real horses? Digital thoroughbreds are the hottest trend in a world where sport and crypto currencies collide. This is the marketplace where steeds fetch upwards of six-figures, but require no food or water. This is Zed Run, an online platform where enthusiasts buy, breed, sell and race online horses.
What is Zed Run?
The digital horses are NFTs – non fungible tokens – a form of digital asset. They don’t exist in the real world and never will. You don’t need to feed them, and they don’t require round-the-clock security protection. Instead they do all the running – literally – on digital tracks while owners move their currencies around the various marketplaces.
The difference between these NFTs and others is that the horses are what the creators call “breathing NFTs”. They have their own DNA, and it is as unique as that found in nature. The horses have their own breeds, bloodlines, and life stories. When it breeds, it passes its genes on. Enthusiasts make money not only by buying and selling, but by racing the steeds. This is where sport meets business, and cryptocurrencies meet online gaming.
History of Zed Run
According to Sportico, Virtually Human Studio in Australia launched the digital technology in 2019. It started with around 4,000 horses sold at approximately $30 each. The NFT tech helped to prove ownership and allowed further transactions to take place on marketplace sites like OpenSea. Today, Zed Run has sold over 11,000 racehorses and there are 8,000 more bred and housed in stables across the globe.
Horses can fetch astronomical prices, given they don’t actually exist in real life. Rare breeds have changed hands for up to $125,000. One enthusiast sold an entire stable of virtual horses for $252,000.
Racing in the Digital Realm
While the betting and casino world is familiar with gambling based on sites like GGPoker that hold virtual poker tournaments, owning, racing and selling digital horses is a new edition to the gaming universe. Races happen 24/7 and are streamed live. The race has a maximum of 12 horses and the lineup is based on the horses’ past performances and their unique qualities. The conditions are picked by algorithms. And much like the real world, there is the associated business of betting, analyzing stats and generally talking all things digital racing. Users can livestream their own races and create their own content, becoming influencers in the realm.
The horse owners pay an entry fee each time they want to compete in a race. These race fees go from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars each time. Right now, users can’t bet on the races, but this may change if regulations are passed to allow this to happen. There are also many more plans in the pipeline including themed tracks and horses, and even ways that people could earn a living operating horses for others.
Why Race Online Horses?
The real world of racing and horse ownership is prohibitively expensive for all but the richest members of society. There is no barrier to entry into the digital races and you can own your own thoroughbred for the price of a new pair of trainers. It also provides users with a sense of excitement and control over their investments. For fans, this game/ investment takes the best of online gaming, sports, and money-making and combines it into an easy to access package.
However, it does remain to be seen whether these racehorse owners will still be turning a profit in a few years’ time. Who’s to say that if the trend disappears, these horses will be completely worthless?
No matter how exciting or lucrative the current trend for digital horseracing is, it seems unlikely it will ever completely overtake the real thing – nothing can match the thrill of watching live horse racing events. But we think there is room for the two types of action and look forward to seeing where the digital horse racing realm takes us next.