DraftKings Founders Back ‘Play-to-Earn’ Soccer Game With $3M Raise

MonkeyBall, a self-described mashup of “FIFA Street” and “Final Fantasy,” will run on the Solana blockchain.

Oct 21, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 21, 2021 at 3:11 p.m. UTC

A non-fungible token (NFT) game called MonkeyBall has raised $3 million as the latest experiment in the surging “play-to-earn” sector, where gamers reap crypto rewards for their time.

The soccer game is being developed with the Unity game engine on the Solana blockchain in a bid to be a high production value, AAA-grade title, the company said Thursday.

In the game, users manage a team of four monkeys that play head-to-head matches against other users. Team’s earn tokens for victories and can collect additional rewards for buying stadiums and attending the matches of other users.

The funding round was backed by Solana Capital, Republic, NFX, iAngels and Longhash, and included angel investment from multiple DraftKings founders and the sports betting platform’s largest shareholder, billionaire Shalom Meckenzie.

“Play-to-earn games are a revolution in how gamers interface with the virtual world,” Meckenzie said in a press release. “Gaming and NFTs will be the first true mass appeal application of blockchain, all that is missing is to actually make a game that would stand tall among AAA titles. I believe the MonkeyBall team has what it takes to get there.”

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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.