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FanCraze: the Sorare of cricket, new NFT juggernaut

A new essential of the NFT universe is coming more and more certainly: FanCraze. You’ve never heard of it ? It is regrettable, but it is not surprising. Indeed, in France, unfortunately, we rarely mention what is happening in India and cricket is an almost unknown word. And yet, this startup has everything to succeed and become a big NFT unicorn (valued at more than a billion dollars) like Sorare. Already in September 2021, I had written here an article on why India may be one of the world’s largest creators and buyers of NFTs. Since then, everything seems to have accelerated at breakneck speed in India: new NFT boxes are springing up every week, Indians are buying more and more of them, Bollywood stars are in turn starting to produce and market them (in July 2021, I mentioned here the case of Vishal Malhotrathe first to pave the way), and above all, FanCraze is attracting interest from all over the world!

FanCraze tackles the little-known, but gigantic, cricket market

A foreign game to most French people, cricket is one of the most popular sports in several regions of the world (India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Asia). With 2.5 billion supporters, cricket is quite simply the second most popular sport in the world behind football! The enthusiasm around this sport is such that in India, the giants Netflix and Prime Video are struggling to cope with the Indian streaming service Hotstar (acquired by Disney for 71.3 billion dollars), because the latter obtained cricket broadcasting rights.

FanCraze was founded in 2021 by former students of the prestigious Stanford University and a former Wall Street investment banker. She tries to cash in on the sport’s popularity with NFTs.

FanCraze is an online NFT trading platform capturing great moments in cricketing history

Sniffing the right vein, FanCraze signed an exclusive multi-year partnership with the ICC, the world governing body of cricket (the equivalent of FIFA for the round ball). Thanks to this partnership, the startup has the authorization to develop and sell NFTs capturing and immortalizing actions and iconic game facts of this sport. Concretely, she develops NFTs on videos and archival images, which she calls Critics. The properties specific to NFTs make it possible to establish authenticated intellectual property rights (with the blockchain, without recourse to a third party), liquid and negotiable.

The marketplace was launched in early January, along with the first NFTs. For example, they developed an NFT capturing the legendary moment when Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a cricketing superstar, former captain of the Indian team, scored the winning 6 “runs” against Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium, which sealed India’s victory in the 2011 world cup. There is also an NFT of the unforgettable moment when batsman Sachin Tendulkar sent the ball over the stadium in a match against Pakistan in the 2003 world cup.

FanCraze wants to become the metaverse of cricket and develop rewards

Today, the game attracts users for two reasons: the collection of Critics and the intrinsic value of each Critics (any buyer can hope to make a capital gain). But this is only the beginning. Eventually, these NFTs can be used in applications and games play-to-earn which will be developed over time in the FanCraze metaverse.

But still, FanCraze wants to develop a whole system of rewards for the holders of the Critics. Fans will be able to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences. For example, they might have the opportunity to interact with the cricketer in the Critics that he owns, to watch cricket matches for free…

FanCraze takes Sorare as an example. Which formula works best?

Admittedly, unlike Sorare, FanCraze is not an NFT play-to-earn collectible card game. However, much like Sorare and NBA Top Shot, FanCraze’s raison d’être is to establish a more direct and stronger relationship between fans and athletes through NFTs.

In addition, Sorare has succeeded in establishing itself as a benchmark company in the football ecosystem. Today, Sorare’s valuation stands at 4.3 million euros. Which makes it the fourth most valued French unicorn! This is why FanCraze has every interest in drawing inspiration from their strategy to become in turn unavoidable. In fact, the startup has modeled its marketing strategy on that of Sorare by also signing individual partnerships with famous players (including Rohit Sharma, Jonty Rhodes, Muthiah Muralidaran, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah).

Finally, like Sorare, FanCraze has developed with a fundamental principle: the user must be able to buy the videos and images of cricket that make him dream, without necessarily having the required knowledge of the blockchain, NFTs and cryptocurrencies. This “concealment” of the technological complexity put in place is one of the keys to Sorare’s success. For example, FanCraze allows users to purchase NFTs with multiple payment options, including credit cards, cryptocurrencies, and UPI (United Payment Interface).

Lots of money raised from famous investors

By November 2021, the startup had already raised $17 million in seed from Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital and Coatue. According to Bloomberg, the startup is close to raising $100 million from these three funds, but also from Capital Group, Insight Partners and…. Cristiano Ronaldo!

What is particularly striking with these fundraisers are the investors who carried them out. In addition to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo who may surprise, the participation of Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital says a lot about the potential of the project. Indeed, they are quite simply in the top 3 of the most prestigious investment funds for startups (Venture Capitals) in the world! That such American funds go to India to support this company from the year of its creation is a significant guarantee of the incredible potential of this company.

Thus, FanCraze is an NFT startup, which has everything to succeed: a solid team, an attractive project, a gigantic market, no competition with its exclusive partnership, renowned investors who support it, a clever use of NFT technology . It smells like hyper-growth!

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Gregory Morat

Student passionate about entrepreneurship and fascinated by the technologies behind cryptos! Yes, I am convinced that the two are intimately linked: blockchain and NFTs are revolutionizing many sectors and presenting unprecedented opportunities.

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