The First NFT in Paintball History has been Minted.
As the World continues to transition into an increasingly digital landscape, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have been playing a critical role both as a store of value and in providing an incorruptible verification of ownership through blockchain technology. Their potential major role in the future of the digital world, as well as sports and gaming is quickly becoming evident. In the sport of professional paintball, the first NFT ever minted has emerged and with it, the potential for content creators to capitalize their intellectual property while immortalizing the iconic moments of the sport.
The National Xball League, the world's premiere professional paintball league, hosts the World Cup of Paintball each year in Kissimmee, Florida. When videographer Ryne Broshears stepped onto the World Cup field just a few weeks ago, he never could have imagined that one of the iconic moments he captured would become the historic, first-ever NFT to be minted in the sport of paintball. "The Stare Down" NFT features two of the best players in the world, Tyler Harmon of Houston Heat, and Raney Stanczak of San Antonio XFactor getting into a heated exchange during a critical match that would decide which team would play in the finals. Ryne felt the weight of the moment as it happened live; “I believe it was one of the most exciting moments from the World Cup, it was one of the most memorable moments of the event. The passionate attitude Raney played with captured the emotion of that game. I like catching the raw emotion that shows up in sports. Everyone has a response for it.”
A new opportunity for Creators.
Tyler Harmon, one of the players featured in the NFT, also happened to be the winning bidder for the historic digital item. Tyler is a firm believer in the future of NFTs in the paintball community and thinks they will be critical moving forward; “I’m a huge fan of the digital art landscape. This is the first recorded professional paintball NFT on the blockchain and I guarantee you it will not be the last. ”The Stare Down” provides a documented time stamp in the lineage of paintball media as we move into the next frontier of providing the community with amazing paintball moments.”
Perhaps one of the most direct problems that NFTs and the Blockchain in general can solve, is that they will provide a legitimate source of capitalization to media creators in the paintball world. In a sport that traditionally is difficult for media creators to sustain a living wage, NFTs can provide a new avenue of earnings for these talented creators if they are crafty enough to utilize the burgeoning potential of NFTs. Tyler Harmon agreed, providing an intriguing insight from a professional athlete in the sport;
“In the future of paintball I see NFT’s playing a huge role in being able to help compensate the extremely valuable men and women that document the game of paintball we all love. I believe we are also going to see paintball companies roll out NFTs that customers are only eligible to have access to by buying their products, which will then in turn create more revenue for those companies as customers look to acquire their favorite digital assets from those brands.”
The potential of NFTs being used in the sport is certainly as novel as it is exciting, and it should be able to provide a new and diverse ecosystem of collectibles within the game.
Utilizing the Blockchain to create secure and verifiable ownership.
Historically, creators in the paintball industry have always struggled with the intellectual rights they have to their content as well. The Blockchain, put simply, can be thought of as an electronic ledger that records data; like who owns the content in regards to NFTs. This ledger is unhackable, incorruptible, and unbiased, it just shows the data. When someone purchases an NFT, that person is recorded as the rightful owner of the token, in most cases, the original creator, date of creation, and value of the purchase is recorded as well.
Photos, videos, and digital creations have been used without proper permission or payment in the past and NFTs solve that problem in Ryne’s mind; “The key is there, like you said, minting NFTs creates secure and verifiable chains of ownership. In a time where social media and creative work is often being stolen online, NFTs and the blockchain verification system helps add the next step to acknowledging ownership of media, it's undisputable. There's no opportunity to crop out a watermark or for someone to claim it as their own.”
Ryne plans to continue to be a trailblazer in his utilization of NFTs moving forward and already has plans to rapidly expand his offering of unique and collectible tokens. “My plan is to release a 20 NFT series from the 2021 season that captures memorable moments. I will continue to expand that with a full offering of the 2022 season’s best moments in paintball. I also plan to pursue an individual pro paintball athlete series specific to them.”
The digital world within the paintball industry should continue to expand as more media creators begin to recognize the utility behind NFTs and their associated security on the blockchain. The potential to give back the power of media creations to their creators is groundbreaking, and the future of digital creation looks bright in the sport of paintball.
For more information on the historic first NFT “The Stare Down” you can visit the OpenSea link here!
To learn more about the basics of NFTs, check out Stephanie Glen's article on Data Science Central here
New to the World Cup of Paintball this season is the introduction of an all-women's professional paintball division, being called the Women’s National Xball League or the WNXL for short. Paintball has always been a sport of inclusion where everyone has an equal and fair chance to play. However, the introduction of a women’s only league will hopefully create a larger demographic of professional female players in a sport that has been mostly seen men as the majority gender.
The WNXL will feature six brand new franchises for the 2022 season that will compete in events all over the country. The league unveiled five of the six franchises that will play in 2022, with a sixth unnamed franchise to also join the field. Players interested in playing on these teams during the 2022 season can showcase their skills this spring at the Women's Paintball Combine held at Paintball Fit in Texas. The teams announced so far are: