The NFT community as a whole appears to be attempting to transform online memories into one huge game – with a lot of money, of course. People are becoming meme millionaires; the original “Doge” image sold for $4 million in June, and the original “Pepe” comic image sold for $1 million in April. Buying and trading six-figure JPEGs is a strange occurrence, but it doesn’t do much to persuade the ordinary internet user that NFTs are important.
Eternal wants to make trading internet history into a game, but it’s only interested in one type of content: popular footage from game broadcasters. Users can purchase packs of serialized footage from Eternal’s network of game streamers through a user experience that looks and feels a lot like NBA Top Shot. Zelos Gaming, led by co-founders Jeffrey Tong and Derek Chiang, established the marketplace, which has moved from developing a cross-platform battle pass (which we discussed here last year) to now embracing the wild world of NFTs with Eternal.
NFX, Mark Cuban, Coinbase Ventures, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dapper Labs, and Arrington Capital are among the startup’s supporters, with the latter investing $4.5 million in the startup’s most recent funding round. Y Combinator had previously supported the team. At the moment, it’s very much a Top Shot for X-type platform — as evidenced by the site’s design — but the team has enormous plans for how the platform will expand in the future.
Unlike Top Shot, which was able to get relationships with the NBA and the Players Association, there is no overarching esports or Twitch counterpart, leaving Eternal with a tangle of partnerships with streamers and streamer networks designed to keep them from going elsewhere. The firm claims to be primarily focused on popular Twitch streamers in the top 0.05 percent. Streamers can sell their most popular clips, which are easily tracked by platforms like Twitch, as well as footage from their social media accounts, effectively “immortalizing” the events on the blockchain.
By linking up-and-coming streamers with more established personalities, the firm intends to raise awareness of more creators and help build a network of users who “own a piece” of them and are invested in their success. CEO Jeffrey Tong tells TechCrunch, “I think Top Shot is a terrific strategy, but [Eternal] works significantly better for creators because it allows them a fresh new way to earn.”