FanDuel Rolls Out the Bitcoin Bowl

January 9, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Recently, FanDuel rolled out a first of its kind event that both celebrated and made a prize of cryptocurrency, particularly that one that’s on a lot of minds right now: bitcoin. The event in question is the Bitcoin Bowl, and it’s brought a lot of new notice to an already closely-watched phenomenon.

The Bitcoin Bowl gives FanDuel a little something special to offer, with the Super Bowl still about a month away, and fans likely starting to shy away from FanDuel a bit to perhaps focus instead on fantasy basketball options. It’s essentially two events at once: one, a one-time entry-fee model where a single bitcoin—valued at $16,108 as of this writing—is the prize for winning, and the other, a multi-entry contest with just $3 an entry into a tiered payout structure and a top prize of two whole bitcoin.

With the second contest, the $3 entry model, players get an unusual proposition. Players compete for potential upside in terms of fractions of bitcoin, and can actually walk away from the table as desired.

Right now, FanDuel notes, bitcoin-based operations are comparatively limited. While this version took more than a little wrangling to pull off—featuring efforts from legal and government relations as well as marketing—the end result is likely to draw some attention. This is something of an industry first when it comes to fantasy football, and it can really only work because of the “highly-regulated environment” in which it works. There are stirrings, however, that suggest bitcoin may not be a limited-time-only affair if it continues to do well in public spending. Or if a lot of users buy in.

This is likely a way for FanDuel to test the waters with bitcoin, and potentially bring out more such events later on if there’s enough fan interest to carry on. But with bitcoin already seeing almost a 50 percent drop in its value, followed by an almost 50 percent recovery in just a matter of a couple weeks, bitcoin might be as yet too volatile for the site to really consider doing anything regular with.

Still, the fall football season isn’t so far away, and with the first half of the year to monitor bitcoin movements, it won’t be tough for FanDuel to figure out if it wants to go this route or not.