For the first time in chess history, grandmaster Magnus Carlsen has been awarded a nonfungible token (NFT) trophy for winning an international chess tournament, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour (MCCT). The tournament minted a number of NFT trophies and collectibles to indefinitely preserve the game’s most defining moments.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Carlsen shared his appreciation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem for supporting virtual chess tournaments. The chess champion cited MCCT’s recent partnership with FTX crypto exchange that allowed professional chess players to compete for a prize fund of 2.1825 Bitcoin (BTC) ($81,079).
“NFTs help the chess community celebrate great moments and possibly also reward those that have already invested so much time in growing the game. With Chess Champs, this is just getting started and I look forward to seeing it evolve,” Carlsen said.
Chess Champs minted two identical editions of the Champion’s Trophy NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, which were digitally signed by Carlsen after winning the tournament. The second NFT trophy was auctioned off at 6.88 Ether (ETH), approximately $24,700 at the time of purchase. According to a source, the bidding for the NFT trophy went up to 11 Ether ($27,093) after the deadline. Carlsen said:
“It feels great to share the trophy with a passionate fan. It will be interesting to play a match with him and meeting him during the next season’s Champions Chess Tour Final.”
Collectibles also include NFTs dedicated to various chess pieces (such as a pawn and a bishop) on the blockchain.
As the NFT boom continues to bridge the gap between sports and digital entertainment, NFT marketplaces offer new ground for innovation.
Sorare, a marketplace for NFT trading cards, attained a $4.3-billion valuation after raising $680 million in Series B funding led by Japanese fintech giant SoftBank. As Cointelegraph reported, the company plans to use this funding to “significantly accelerate the development of women’s sports.”
Moreover, Sorare has also secured partnerships with La Liga soccer league and plans to onboard top-tier soccer teams as it diversifies its NFT-based portfolio offerings to other fantasy sports.