NFT Horse Racing: A Gamble Within a Gamble
The world of NFTs has been conventionally associated with the art/digital graphics sphere. This is to say that NFTs are synonymous with ownership over images, gifs, videos which themselves are finite resources that begin and end with the data in the media whose ownership is verified by blockchain. The world of NFT horse racing is something that struck me as unique in my research . The Australian company Zed Run is responsible for the series of NFTs which are released regularly in small batches to the public. Each NFT horse that is released has specific stats attached to it such as race distance preference. The races themselves occur multiple times an hour through out the day, with buy in prices ranging from $25 to $150. Once all horses are entered in a race Zed Run plays 10,000 versions of the race and randomly selects one outcome, which gives the opportunity for worse horses to still win a race against stronger horses, while statistical likelihood still sways towards horses with better stats.
One of the most famous horses sold by Zed Run was a part of the Preakness x Zed Run line of horses. In the world of Zed Run there are two ways to get horses: buying directly from the website’s limited drops also known as “genesis” horses and buying from the secondary market which consist of genesis and bred horses. Genesis horses are the most valuable and have the most reliable statistics, and the further in the bloodline a bred horse is from a genesis horse the worse their stats get. Within the genesis group there are six different “bloodlines”. The most valuable and profitable of these bloodlines are the Nakamoto horses. In May of 2021 a line of unique Preakness x Zed Run genesis horses were released. The Preakness Nakamoto horse sold for 47.25 ETH worth roughly $158,000. The total collection sold for $1.8 million, and the genesis horses involved in the line are sought after for both their stats and rarity.
The most fascinating aspects of Zed Run is the ability to profit in multiple ways. Valuable genesis horses can be bought and resold for a higher value, male horses can be bred for a “breeding fee”, and horses can win money in races. Because of these multiple paths towards profit the market becomes a sort of gambling bubble within the world of crypto currency. The world of NFT horse races combines the video game-like aspect of racing the horses with the ability to garner significant returns on investment. A horse with a good win track record is able to garner siring fees upwards of $5,000 on top of significant race winnings, all of which are received in etherium allowing for prize money to appreciate along with the crypto currency.
Zed Run is a fascinating example of how dynamic monetary exchange can be. Within the potentially volatile world of cypto currency exists an even more volatile economy that relies on making big gambles. The ability to breed horses allow buyers to strategically build their stables and diversify the ways in which a singular horse can generate profit. The way that Zed Run works relies on a large portion of people making no profits, with few turning profits on their investments, and even fewer making extremely large profits that are reliant on huge buy ins. The Nakamoto Preakness x Zed Run is an embodiment of the cycle that occurs in which a large investment is made, because of the investment size rarity and desire are amplified, which in turn generates further profit.
Kane, I. (2021, May 18). Zed Run X the Preakness nfts sell for $400,000. DappRadar Blog RSS. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://dappradar.com/blog/zed-run-x-the-preakness-nfts-sell-for-400000.
Zed Run “Learn” Page. Welcome – zed run guide. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://guide.zed.run/zed-run-guide/.
Zed Run: The future of horse breeding and racing. ConsenSys. (2021, August 10). Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://consensys.net/blog/metamask/zed-run-the-future-of-horse-breeding-and-racing/.