The sports world is full of platforms for those household names that dominate their field (of play). But what about giving young athletes from disadvantaged and marginalized communities the same opportunity to shine as the Ronaldos, Williams, and Alonsos of this world. With a new NFT-based platform, one blockchain startup is doing just that.
LEAP is a sports discovery and endorsement platform that uses blockchain and Web3 to power its mobile app that helps to connect youth talent with talent seekers and fans. LEAP’s decentralized digital arena democratizes sports and grants all talents equal growth opportunities, motivating young athletes to develop their game and compete online in the “Tournament of Meta-Legends,” bringing their real-life skills to the digital playground.
It’s a noble cause. Across the world, children that grow up in impoverished communities dream of turning their passion for sports into an enriching professional career. In the U.S., home to many of the most prominent sports associations in the world and a high-class college and youth sports infrastructure, only one out of 16,000 high school athletes turns pro.
In regions like Latin America and Africa, where sports are just as popular, but resources are more limited, the chances are even lower. However, many athletes strive for a secondary route to stardom. LEAP uses decentralized economic models to make it possible for anyone engaged in real-life sports activities to play, grow, and earn.
With LEAP, young athletes showcase their skill-sets in short-form videos uploaded to the platform. By specifically working with young athletes from impoverished and isolated communities, LEAP brings together a digital community of sports talent, talent seekers, and fans to help the athletes gain recognition and get rewarded based on their skill levels. The app features a customized video editor – LEAP Studio – with filters, stickers, and add-ons to help talents better highlight their skills.
Using a play-to-earn model, LEAP encourages athletes to improve their skills through competitions between its users. These one-on-one battles, known as DAREs, showcase individual talents through performing short-form videos highlighting specific skills. Think Tik Tok for talent, with a payoff for those that can outshine their rival. The LEAP Seekers community – consisting of fans, agents, hall of fame athletes, clubs and academies, brands, and journalists – vote for whoever they feel performed the skill best.
As the budding stars compete in DAREs, the higher their rating will be, resulting in the minting of unique player-card NFTs whose value, worth, and score will determine rarity. These NFTs can be bought and sold, allowing these young athletes to earn from their hard work while also serving as a potential investment if they develop into a star.
The platform rewards its users based on their accomplishments with LEAP’s in-game tokens. Users receive an allowance of in-game tokens backed by real crypto-assets and use them in the LEAP Meta-Market to purchase real-world products and services, further improving their athletic development.
“We are building an important platform that will enable young athletes to receive the visibility and rewards they deserve based on their talent level,” Omri Lachman, CEO and co-founder at LEAP, said. “For too long, athletes from certain backgrounds or geographic regions have seen ‘going pro’ as the only solution to better their lives, and we are here to show them that going pro is not the only win. We are bridging the traditional sports industry with emerging talents and fans to unlock a brand new universe where everyone has an equal shot at the title by bringing their physical skills into the digital space.”
It’s an intriguing idea and one that leverages Web3 and NFT technologies to help those athletes – that would typically be overlooked – grow into the next generation of superstars, get the backing they deserve, earn as they play, and be noticed by those that can propel their sports careers to the moon.