As the landscape of thematic investments continues evolving and shifting, it is becoming apparent that many of the technological themes of tomorrow share practical applications. Some companies are acknowledging as much and are positioning themselves for leverage to multiple, fast-growing themes. Leading the charge to ameliorate some of the payment issues associated with Esports platforms, LiteLink Technologies Inc. is encroaching on territory dominated by the likes of PayPal Holdings Inc. , Tencent Holdings Inc., Huya Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.‘s Twitch platform.
Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), itself a booming theme, LiteLink Technologies Inc. has roots in developing AI and predictive analytics technologies aimed at improving the fragmented logistics industry’s problem with antiquated technology. Tapping its expertise in AI, blockchain and cloud computing, the company is expanding into fast-growing digital and mobile payments arena.
Mobile payments – a market dominated by the likes of PayPal Holdings Inc. and Tencent Holdings Inc. via its WeChat Pay business, is growing at an exponential rate.
“The transaction value of the Mobile Payments Market was about USD 718.49 billion in 2017, and is expected to reach a transaction value of about USD 2,732.89 billion by 2023, recording a CAGR of 24.5%, over the forecast period of 2018-2023,” according to Research And Markets.
LiteLink Technologies Inc. is establishing a digital/mobile payments footprint of its own via its wholly-owned subsidiary, uBUCK Technologies SEZC business. uBUCK Tech is a fintech enterprise that has built uBUCK Pay, an online digital wallet and payments platform using pin vouchers and utility tokens to serve as a payment alternative for consumers, businesses and merchants. That venture could solidify LiteLink’s foray into other arenas where digital payments are increasingly relevant, including Esports.
Evaluating The Esports Opportunity
A slew of fundamental factors bodes well for the burgeoning Esports industry, potentially spelling significant opportunity for payment providers, such as LiteLink Technologies Inc., that are building Esports exposure.
Gamers that stream on a variety of platforms, including Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch, can accept donations and tips from followers via digital payments processors, such as PayPal. In China, the world’s largest Internet market, Huya Inc. provides one of that country’s most popular game streaming platforms where TencentHoldings Inc. via its WeChat Pay business can process digital payments. Rongjie Dong, CEO of Huya Inc. recently had an interview with CNBC where he spoke about the company’s future growth strategies. He specifically went on to state that Huya will focus on growing in Asia, Africa, and Latin America before competing in the U.S. market. With over 100 million users, China remains the top Esports country in the world in terms of size.
LiteLink Technologies Inc., through the uBUCK Tech business, and Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc. are among the companies leveraging the intersection of digital payments and Esports.
LiteLink’s uBUCK is working on Streambucks, a digital payments solution dedicated to the Esports industry. Streambucks is ideal for gamers that are looking to efficiently get paid for tips or tutoring other players, betting on Esports matches or for players that want to privately play games amongst each other for money. With Streambucks, winners can access their funds immediately, without any of the delays that are customary with bank wires or PayPal transfers.
“Esports continue to drive headlines around the world, as revenues and prize pools grow to new heights,” said VanEck in a recent research note. “According to Newzoo’s recently released 2019 Global Esports Market Report, Esports revenues exceeded $860 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to $1.7 billion by 2022. Newzoo also reports that the total prize pool for Esports matches exceeded $150 million in 2018.”
The opportunity set for LiteLink Technologies Inc. and Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc. in the Esports arena could be lucrative for both parties as Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc. just announced that they’ve hit 150 million monthly unique users.
On its own, the growth of streaming platforms offers compelling data for investors seeking Esports exposure and profits.
“Online streaming has a low cost of entry, and social media streaming websites allow anyone to create a username and post videos,” said VanEck. “Twitch currently generates 140 million unique viewers per month. On average, there are 15 million people who are considered daily active users (DAU). There are also 2.2 million monthly broadcasters. These are people who are posting their own videos to the website (as opposed to just watching and commenting).”
Making Transfers More Efficient
With prize pools for Esports tournaments swelling, the issue of paying winning players and teams on time is repeatedly cropping up. Players of games such as Fortnite run by Tencent Holdings Ltd. Companies, such as PayPal Holdings Inc., are taking notice and are forming partnerships with other fintech companies to speed Esports digital payments along.
With huge prize pools on the line, players want their winnings as quickly as possible. But some tournament organizers have been skimping on payments, citing administrative issues. In other cases, payments take months due to the payment platform used, misentered data, and a host of other delays. The recent deal between LiteLink Technologies Inc. and Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc. aims to solve that pain point. LiteLink’s digital payments platform will act as an escrow agent for the prize pool, enabling instantaneous payment with no administrative hassle. The tournament organizers put the prize pool in escrow with payment. The players enter their user IDs and e-mails. As soon as the tournament is over, the prizes are paid immediately.
What makes Streambucks unique is that it is dedicated to Esports. Payment transfer platforms offered by the likes of Tencent are big, but they are not focused on the Esports market. In 2018, Tencent’s combined smartphone and PC client games revenues amounted to $19.13 billion (¥128.4 billion). The Chinese-based internet service provider and media giant reported a 16% increase in year-over-year revenues. Much of this increase was due to the lingering revenue stream from last years Fortnite, produced by Epic Games, which Tencent Holdings owns a 40 percent stake in.
Streaming payments are another pain point for gamers. Twitch took $1.6 billion in revenue in 2015, prompting Amazon Inc. to buy it for a $970 million all-cash deal. Streamers on the service can accept donations via payment platforms such as PayPal, and Amazon’s in-house payment platform AmazonPay. Delayed payment pain points still persists, with both payment options requiring bank accounts and user details to be entered exactly, and neither option being instantaneous.
The LiteLink Technologies Inc. and Enthusiast Gaming partnership is practical. LiteLink’s Streambucks could potentially lure more gamers, who are eager to get paid efficiently. That could boost the community growth for the Enthusiast even further. In turn, LiteLink Technologies Inc. gets to unveil Streambucks to a broader audience, providing a runway for Streambucks to become the preferred payment option in the Esports universe.
Data confirm that LiteLink Technologies Inc. could be onto something big with its emphasis on Esports payments.
“If you’re wondering how massive Esports has become, just follow the money,” reports Venture Beat. “The live-streaming platform Twitch paid $90 million for the rights to the Overwatch League. Activision Blizzard, the creator of Overwatch, beat its revenue forecast for Q1 2019, in part because of its Esports initiatives. If you combine fan spend, media rights, and sponsorships, the Esports market is now worth an estimated $922 million.”
LiteLink Technologies Inc. is focusing on a niche (speedier payments) within a niche (Esports). That combination has sizable potential going forward. By 2022, it is expected that Esports television viewership will rival the current level of viewership of the NFL and big-name sponsors are taking note. Revered brands such as Coca-Cola, Kit Kat and more have recently sponsored Esports tournaments. Increased viewership and airtime on networks such as ABC, NBC, ESPN, and TBS, could turn casual gamers into enthusiasts, potentially providing throngs of new users for LiteLink’s Streambucks.
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