Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
Dating back to 5000 BC, horse racing originated from Central Asia, championed by nomadic tribesmen, known globally as the first culture to domesticate horses. Fast forward to today and it’s now revered as the sport of kings.
Popular across the world from Africa to Oceania, horse racing is widely considered to be the oldest ever sport, and the sport’s premise – which nag will get over the finish line first – has remained intact since the inception of the sport.
But, things are changing. And fast. The world of NFTs, which seem to have permeated every online platform over the past 12 months or so, heralds a new dawn for horse racing. NFT horses can now be purchased, bred, and trained online.
If you’re still scratching your chin as to what exactly this is all about, here we have the complete guide to NFT horse racing explained.
How Do NFT Games Work?
NFT gaming is still taking its first few baby steps, and there are a number of ways that NFTs can be gamified. There are applications for NFTs at both fiat-accepting casinos and cryptocurrency-facing operators.
The most important aspect to keep in mind is that NFTs can’t be used as tender on gambling platforms; instead, they are awarded as prizes and incentives for promotions.
So, NFT Horse Racing Is Like Pokémon Go?
You might be thinking that NFT horse racing is a bit like a monetized reworking of Pokémon Go, and in some respects, you’d be spot on. The biggest difference is that Pokémon Go doesn’t have a legitimate platform whereby punters are invited to wager on the outcome of a Pokémon battle.
With the shift of decentralized gambling moving away from traditional payment methods (and gambling authorities), the legality of intellectual and digital property are both in the mix and it’s an exciting time to see how NFTs will shape the future of horse racing betting and the online gambling industry.
What Is an NFT Racehorse?
An NFT racehorse is a unique digital asset that contains data of the horse’s lineage and attributes that influence its performance, and ultimately, value. They can come in the form of a standard horse with traditional coats and colors or they can be highly stylized.
There are two options to become a proud owner of your very own NFT racehorse for digital NFT gambling.
1. Buying NFT Racehorses
Marketplaces for buying your own NFT racehorse vary in design, blockchain, and accepted cryptos. The current NFT racehorse marketplaces are as follows, with more in the pipeline:
- Zed Run
- Oly Sport
2. Breeding NFT Racehorses
Physical breeding of racehorses isn’t quite as simple as stable (and hay) for two and Marvin Gaye played on repeat. It’s a wholly unreliable process of equestrian coupling and logistically tricky, to say the least.
As you’d imagine, breeding NFT racehorses is a different story altogether.
Digital breeding of NFTs is based on the classic romantic intimacy that occurs when one horse wants to get very close to another horse (apologies if you’re breaking out in a sweat and this is taking you back to a purposely-forgotten birds-and-the bees talk).
So, you need a stallion (a horse that identifies as male), a mare or filly (a horse that identifies as female), and a stud.
The stud is the digital equivalent of a Shibuya love hotel for horses, but instead of an instant ramen-themed room that’s rented by the hour, you can choose your foal (a horse that identifies as a baby) to stay in the stud for one, three, or seven days.
The longer in the stud, the healthier your horse.
Each horse has its own unique genetic makeup known as a genotype. The genotype of the foal will be dependent on that of its sire (father) and dam (mother). As with physical horse breeding, the better the lineage of stallion and mare, the more value their young will have.
The Zed (more on these guys in a bit) Stud Farm holds stallions from differing genetics tiers; from the most sought after (a thoroughbred in physical horse racing terms) to the least (mixed/Heinz 57/crossbreed). At the Zed Stud Farm, NFT horse breeds are categorized as follows (from best to worst):
So, if you mix two horses from the Genesis breed, you’ve got yourself a top-notch nag. Should you decide to mix to horses of the Pacer genotype, it’s probably going to come out as foal that only a dam could love.
At the time of publishing, the most valuable stallion – I’m a Police Officer – was priced at $247,280.78, with the most affordable stallion coming in at $33.38.
The Best NFT Horse Racing Sites
To get in on the digital horse racing action, complete with funkily-colored horses that leave equestrian chemtrails on the race track, check out the following platforms, each with its own unique interface, features, and promotions.
Touted as the world’s first and largest digital marketplace for racehorse NFTs, Maxima’s marketplace still hasn’t actually launched properly and is slated for opening its doors sometime during Q2 2022.
As we’ve already seen, Zed Run has its already running breeding facility, along with a racecourse and a marketplace on OpenSea. The breeding vertical is the most interesting, with a list of stallions from different bloodlines and of different breeds.
With its dark mode interface and unique demonic digital horse design, Zed Run is the most user-ready of the sites listed and races are live-streamed via Twitch.
The very strange front-end design approach of OLY Sport could put users off as it’s looking a little shoddy, to say the least. But these are early steps with the breeding facility and racetrack promised to open soon.
The Oly Sport website boldly states that it’s “The World’s first horse racing metaverse game for players to earn virtual land and real land in game”.
Taking a traditional approach, DeRace models its horses on a less futuristic archetype and offers up 3D graphics of nags of a more recognizable nature.
The A-B-C design may put some punters off, but the simplicity of the site’s navigation will appeal to folks of a less cybersurreal persuasion.
Promising a “cyberrace odyssey,” the Hồ Chí Minh City-based startup has totally nailed the graphics of the “horseverse” and has successfully created a nascent community of NFT horseracing enthusiasts.
Offering up a site featuring a mixture of Nordic mythology and cyberfied-steeds pulsing with neon veins, here’s a world that’s as complete as it is loopy.
Overall, the NFT horseracing industry is in its very much early days – with most of these sites under development and they don’t have much more than a mere roadmap of planned events.
Who the frontrunner will be in the NFT horse racing championship is anyone’s guess, but the smart money seems to be on Zed Run and/or DefiHorse.
The Horse Racing Metaverse
So, we have trained horses and are now looking for a location at which to race them.
Step in the metaverse.
Simply a 3D virtual space centering around social (and in this case, financial) interaction, the metaverse is where the geeks of today have decided they’ll finally take ownership of what is rightly theirs.
From this point onwards, all technically less accomplished humanoids will be treated with contempt via the digital caste system of the metaverse.
While this may be a slightly dramatic prophecy, the nerds of this world (especially rich nerds) are going to be the first to fully embrace the metaverse. Well, it does make living in your parents’ basement seem a little more agreeable.
Are NFTs the Future of Horse Racing?
While punters new to gambling may find the exclusivity and tradition of the physical horse racing industry stifling, NFT horse racing is more of an even playing field.
Elitism and horse racing have always, unfortunately, gone hand in hand. It’s tempting to think that this snobbery has been eliminated, yet it has merely shifted.
What was once an industry influenced by many factors – geographical location, financial status, industry contacts, the weather, to name but a few – there’s now a new form of horse racing ownership status which takes the form of online trading ability and technical knowledge.
It’s tempting to think of this as the great equalizer of class status, removing the dogmatism from the sport of physical horse racing with that of digital horses. Still, the main influencing factor is financial status.
If you can afford a top horse NFT, you’re going to enjoy the benefit of your futuristic stallion winning a greater number of races.
Established insiders and racehorse owners of the industry will no doubt extend their physical stables to that of digital NFT gambling. Naysayers will counter that horse racing is a culture that can’t be reduced to pixels alone, and they’re probably right.
The future of NFT horse racing will probably follow a few different models – with some players choosing physical horse racing, some purely NFT horse racing, and other punters choosing to combine the two.
Animal rights protestors will no doubt welcome the introduction of NFT horse racing. Eliminating the potential for on-track horse casualties often seen in jump racing, an NFT horse won’t – as the old wives’ tales go – be sent to the glue factory, end up in a tin of cat food, or on a Frenchman’s dinner plate.
With so much potential as both a form of entertainment and a way of making money, NFT horse racing seems like the most viable sport for the combination of NFTs and gambling so far.
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “Horse Racing: NFTs in the Running for Gambling Supremacy”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂