Sorare, a digital fantasy soccer collectible card game, has been using blockchain technology based on Ethereum since its founding in 2018. This way the company secures the ownership and distribution of cards. As with most CCGs, the supply of cards is limited and cards cannot be altered, duplicated, or deleted. Each card is unique and owned personally by a single gamer, validated through the blockchain, allowing its value to appreciate based on the market, with no speculation or fraud risk. The cards are actually NFT (non-fungible tokens) - a special type of cryptographic token which represents something completely unique, in contrast to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin that are fungible in nature.
The problem: in-game currency purchase process
Despite having blockchain at its very roots, the company quickly understood that between 80 to 90% of their new players don't know what crypto is and couldn't care less. For the players, the game simply had an in-game currency that could be purchased for traditional money. The problem is, while most non-crypto games have an extremely easy system of purchasing credits (usually via store payment providers, such as Apple or Google), Sorare had to be more creative. Making users go to an external crypto exchange platform (not to mention creating a wallet in the first place) is a horrible UX pattern and leads to lower engagement rates and a lot of additional support.
The first take at alleviating this issue was an integration with Stripe. Payment technology providers support more use-friendly options, such as credit/debit cards and Apple Pay, lowering the barrier of entry. For a crypto-based solution it's not enough, though. As soon as you start playing Sorare frequently, you will come to realize it's much easier to fund your account before bidding and collecting. Fraud protection was also insufficient.
Simply put, more flexibility for the players was needed, but in a way that would not harm user experience.
Possible solution: crypto on-ramp in gaming
To combat this, Sorare have partnered with Ramp to provide a streamlined, easy experience of getting cryptocurrencies to buy their favorite football players. Thanks to Ramp, the process of buying cards is 40% faster and much more streamlined than before. Players used to have to leave the Sorare website, create complicated wallet set-ups and verify with third-party exchanges to make a single purchase. Now Sorare creates a smart contract-based address in the background for the user and Ramp allows them to top up instantly without ever leaving the app or giving data to 3rd-party exchanges.
Ramp solves chargebacks offering 100% chargeback protection to partners like Sorare. This means Ramp not only affects top line by reducing drop-off with its great UX, but also the bottom line, reducing the cost of fraud.
Cryptocurrencies are a great fit for games, ensuring lack of fraud and problems with digital goods - especially on a limited collectors market. According to marketwatch, the CCG (collectible card game) market revenue alone is worth nearly US$700m and annual growth hovers around 5%, and quite a bit of modern games (be it mobile, AAA or indie) feature online marketplaces with rare, valuable items. Creating a great ecosystem for the players and monetizing it is one of the best ways to combat piracy and games re-selling, while adding value to end users. In short, a win and a proper game over.