March 27, 2024
eFuse Suspends Creator League Amid Blockchain Backlash and Workforce Reduction
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eFuse Suspends Creator League Amid Blockchain Backlash and Workforce Reduction

The esports technology company eFuse last week announced a “Creator League” with major influencers including Bella Poarch, iShowSpeed, and Clix and leveraged MrBeast’s enormous reach on YouTube to promote it. However, in light of the criticism surrounding the league’s usage of blockchain technology, the firm has officially suspended the initiative.

According to reports published on Tuesday by Esports Insider and Sports Business Journal, eFuse has also reduced its workforce by 30%, affecting an estimated 30 people. Even though eFuse declined to confirm the precise figures, it did declare in an announcement that the business will undergo “restructuring.”

“The Creator League was an experiment in creator-led, fan-controlled esports,” eFuse CEO Matthew Benson stated in a statement. “We remain excited about the Creator League and will take some time to reflect on community feedback and refine its structure. As with all ambitious projects, the path toward innovation is winding. We’re prepared to keep learning and pushing gaming forward.”

“Community Passes,” which cost $20 each and were linked to all of the gamers and influencers heading teams in the esports league, were available to fans through the Creator League. Each pass allowed users to join a private Discord server, cast their votes in league-related polls, and take part in certain competitions.

A few league-affiliated personalities voiced complaints about the use of blockchain technology soon after the league’s establishment. The Near blockchain, according to efuse, is being used to “validate data and log information relating to community passes.” The business asserted in a statement, however, that the passes aren’t NFTs.

“Within the product, the blockchain provides additional transparency to inventory levels,” stated eFuse VP of Engineering Shawn Pavel in a statement.

“Not tokens. Not transferable. Not fungible. No cryptocurrency involved,” an eFuse representative claimed.

The passes, however, sound like soulbound tokens, which remain bound to the wallet that first creates (or purchases) them and cannot be sold, according to the company’s description. If so, even though the limits imply there’s no anticipatory component to them, that is still an instance of NFT.

“We used the blockchain to power transparency and create a public ledger so the community knew we weren’t overselling passes,” the spokesperson further added.

One of the eight creators whose names are being utilized in the Creator League, YouTuber Connor “CDawgVA” Colquhoun, announced his intention to abandon the project, which set off a firestorm of controversy around the initiative.

“I accepted to join the Creator League not fully understanding the tech behind it,” Colquhoun commented on Sunday. “Needless to say, with the current information available, I’m planning on withdrawing.”

“I was given assurances that it had nothing to do with NFTs. Given my vocal hatred of such tech, I would never agree to join had I known that,” stated Colquhoun, who has amassed millions of fans on Twitch and YouTube, mostly because of his material about exploring Japan.

The anonymous co-founder of OTK, who goes by the handle “TipsOut” said that the esports organization had been “told there was no NFT or crypto component” in the Creator League.

MrBeast, whose well-known YouTube channel and candy company Feastables both served as platforms for the Creator League’s promotion.

Notably, the Creator League’s usage of Near is not mentioned in either the official trailer or the Twitter promotional video.

Crypto gaming streamer Bryce “Brycent” Johnson stated he has “no clue” whether the associated influencers to the Creator League were aware of the project’s blockchain links on a Sunday Twitter Space.

Johnson added, confirming that he was informed of the Creator League’s usage of Near: “Efuse, from my perspective, has always been upfront with me and given me adequate information.”

In addition to failing to specify that the passes are monitored via a blockchain network in its blog articles describing how the pass works, The Creator League’s own sales website fails to make it clear to customers that they are buying something that uses Near as the backend. Fans will be able to email Efuse to obtain refunds, according to the company.

An eFuse representative replied to Decrypt’s email inquiry for more information on the company’s financial connection to Nearby stating that there has been an “18-month relationship” between the two parties.

“They provided a cash grant to exercise their platform and build our tech on top of it. We didn’t make any money on the deal. The grant allowed us to learn and experiment on the blockchain—but again, that was a while ago,” the eFuse spokesperson stated.

According to a transparency report from September 2022, Near gave eFuse a grant of an undisclosed sum as part of its “Ecosystem” funding initiatives (the category’s about 29 projects received a total of $133 million in grant-based support).

Also, eFuse, which additionally runs the news website, has encountered criticism before. Patrick Klein, the chief strategy officer at eFuse, resigned last year following claims of sexual harassment made against him while he was employed at Ohio State University. Due to text messages and social media discussions with 13 different student-athletes, Klein was found guilty of breaking the school’s sexual harassment policy in 2020 after a university investigation.

Image: Freepik

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