100 Thieves launches esports' first well-received NFT project
100 Thieves, the trendy hypebeast of esports, has launched the first-ever NFT collection from a major esports organization that has been generally well-received by the community. Here's how the org did it.
The collection: While this isn't the first NFT project from 100 Thieves, it's very different in approach to what came before it in esports.
- The project is a commemorative digital 100 Thieves-branded championship chain, given out for free in unlimited supply until February 5th.
- The NFT collection was made in collaboration with Polygon, a blockchain-focused company, that recently appointed YouTube's Global Head of Gaming Ryan "Fwiz" Wyatt as its CEO.
- The chain mirrors a real-life chain that was gifted to all of the players that helped 100 Thieves achieve its first season win in North America League of Legends competition, the LCS. The org said "a championship isn't just for our players to celebrate".
The backlash: This launch is only particularly notable as it's the first instance of a prominent esports organization not receiving widespread ridicule and criticism online on such an initiative.
- FaZe Clan, perhaps the most comparable organization to 100 Thieves, received generally negative sentiments towards its partnership with Moonpay.
- Even 100 Thieves' first attempt at utilizing NFT technology, a collection paired with its 'Enter Infinity' apparel line, didn't go down too well with the community.
- G2 Esports' partnership with Bondly to launch NFTs was met poorly and never materialized. G2's more recent effort with Metaplex, the Samurai Army "social club", didn't do much better in the public sphere.
The strategy: So, how exactly did 100 Thieves manage to evade the instant backlash other esports organizations have faced with regards to blockchain technology? It's mostly down to communication.
- The org made its intentions clear right off the bat: the digital items are free, they have no commercial purpose, and redeeming a chain has the "same carbon impact as sending two emails".
- Something that was evident in Team Vitality's partnership announcement with Tezos proved true here too: if you avoid the buzzwords then the ethos behind the project takes centre stage. 100T didn't use "NFT" in its social copy for the announcement.
- 100 Thieves carefully placed a resource that addresses most of the typical hesitations and criticism towards NFTs in the form of a FAQ section on the redemption page for the digital chain. It reinforced that NFTs aren't inherently evil, it's a technology. It's all down to how it's utilized.