DraftKings, Polygon Team Up on Blockchain Accord

Posted on: October 18, 2021, 10:30h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2021, 10:43h.

DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) is forging deeper into the cryptocurrency space, announcing today that it’s partnering with Polygon to support debuts on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on DraftKings Marketplace.

DraftKings Polygon
DraftKings inks deal with Polygon. It’s the latest sign the gaming company wants crypto exposure. (Image: DraftKings)

DraftKings Marketplace recently launched and features “curated NFT drops and supports secondary-market transactions.” The platform partners with Autograph, an NFT collecting platform cofounded by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. That relationship is pertinent, because Autograph has agreements with movie studio Lionsgate, as well as NFT deals with Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka, and Tony Hawk.

With Polygon, which is based on the Ethereum blockchain, DraftKings adds throughput and expands digital token capabilities.

Also notably, DraftKings now has the option to potentially contribute to Polygon’s governance, and help secure the network as a validator node with its own stake pool,” according to a statement.

The announcement comes as Bitcoin, the largest digital currency by market capitalization, is higher by eight percent over the past week. Polygon, number 21 by market cap among cryptocurrencies, is up almost 18 percent over the same period.

DraftKings Has Eyes for Crypto

As a young company that counts plenty of young, crypto-savvy investors among its clients, DraftKings’ embrace of digital assets and NFTs isn’t surprising.

Earlier this year, CEO Jason Robins said he’d like his company to accept crypto as a form of payment for online casinos and sports betting. But state regulators currently don’t permit that. He’s broadly bullish on crypto, noting the asset class will “likely transform some entire industries and portions of others.”

While it may be a while before regulators sign off on gaming companies accepting digital currency as payment, the Polygon accord hastens DraftKings’ ascent in two emerging categories: crypto and NFTs. With the help of Polygon, DraftKings customers in the US and Canada will eventually be able to purchase NFTs on DraftKings Marketplace and move those digital artworks to digital wallets on Ethereum Mainnet.

For its part, Polygon is expanding its exposure to gaming, though it’s in forms beyond traditional online sports betting.

“Teaming up with DraftKings Marketplace marks the latest major integration for Polygon alongside existing partners that include Atari, Decentraland, OpenSea, The Sandbox, ZED RUN, Neon District and others,” according to the statement.

DraftKings’ Evolution

While DraftKings Marketplace and the agreement with Polygon are new endeavors for the gaming company, those are signs the operator views itself as much more than a gaming enterprise.

There’s talk in the investment community that in the future, DraftKings won’t look much like it does today, as it expands beyond basic gaming operations.

Some investors already see that potential, with some viewing DraftKings as a company with emerging fintech credibility. That status is enhanced by the firm’s growing crypto and NFT footprints.