Exclusive: FanDuel launching NBA contest with cryptocurrency prizes

Article By Daniel Roberts

For this year’s NFL Playoffs, the daily fantasy sports company FanDuel offered a “Bitcoin Bowl” contest in which winners were paid in bitcoin. The winner received 1 bitcoin. It was FanDuel’s first foray into cryptocurrency.

Now FanDuel is doing it again, with fantasy NBA. FanDuel’s Crypto Cup will launch on Feb. 22, and the prize money will be paid in cryptocurrency—but in Dash (DigitalCash), not bitcoin. The contest is “presented by Dash.”

Crypto Cup includes two NBA contests: one is a free contest, the other has a $3 entry fee. Users will have until the start of the first NBA game on Feb. 22 to enter their lineups. (Entry fees still have to be made in USD; FanDuel is not accepting entries in cryptocurrency.)

For the paid contest, the prize payouts are: 15 Dash to the winner; 10 Dash to 2nd place; 5 Dash to 3rd place; 4 Dash to 4th place; 3 Dash to 5th place; 2 Dash to 6th place; 1 Dash to 7th place. The free contest pays out 2 Dash to the winner, 1.5 Dash to 2nd place, 1 Dash to 3rd, and 0.5 Dash to 4th.

Dash is an open-source, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that was forked from bitcoin’s source code. It first launched in 2014 under the name XCoin.

At the time of writing, 1 Dash is worth $690 USD and it’s the No. 12 cryptocurrency by market cap. Its value is up 3,450% in the past 12 months.

FanDuel takes a risk by committing to pay out prizes in cryptocurrency: the payout is not locked in at any set USD amount, so if Dash were to soar in the next week, the contest could cost FanDuel more than expected.

View photos

Price of Dash in the past 12 months, as of Feb. 16, 2018

DraftKings has never paid out prizes in cryptocurrency.

So is FanDuel’s foray into crypto just a marketing gimmick, or does the company have bigger plans to integrate with digital assets or blockchain technology?

FanDuel CFO Andy Giancamilli will only say that it’s about innovating to keep things exciting for users.

“Our first cryptocurrency contest was a new experience and well-received by our users, so we wanted to continue to offer this unique prizing option,” he says. “We are at the forefront of the sports industry, so whether it’s Bingo or cryptocurrency as a prize, our goal is to innovate our contests and prizes to give more people more ways to play and win on FanDuel.”

Interestingly, DFS users may also over-index as cryptocurrency enthusiasts. When FanDuel launched its Bitcoin Bowl, Giancamilli said in a press release, “We’re recognizing that most of our users are early adopters of technology and have a significant interest in cryptocurrency.”

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