Esports tech powerhouse eFuse is in troubled waters as they postpone the launch of their latest venture, the “Creator League”, as gamers disapproved of the use of blockchain technology, specifically the promised non-fungible token (NFT) community passes.
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Creators League delayed after gamers’ backlash
Prominent influencers like Bella Poarch, iShowSpeed, and Clix were set to be part of the venture, which gained widespread attention due to the promotional efforts of YouTube sensation MrBeast.
However, a dark cloud of controversy now hovers over the project. The revelation of the NFT community passes led to an outcry among gamers affiliated with the league, many of whom claimed they were kept in the dark regarding the blockchain angle.
eFuse is now backtracking on its NFT plans, promising a refund to buyers of the Creators League pass:
eFuse forced to downsize
The consequence of this uproar was swift. According to Esports Insider, eFuse has laid off about 30% of its workforce. Although the company neither confirmed nor denied these exact figures, they announced a pending “restructuring.”
Matthew Benson, the CEO of eFuse, provided some insight into the setback:
“The Creator League was an experiment in creator-led, fan-controlled esports. 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.”
NFT controversy explained
For $20, fans could purchase community passes associated with the league’s key influencers. These passes granted holders access to an exclusive Discord server, voting rights in league-related polls, and entry into select contests.
However, the underlying technology for these passes is where the friction began. eFuse announced they would issue the passes on the NEAR blockchain but were adamant these were not NFTs. However, based on the company’s description, critics argue that these passes resemble Soulbound Tokens (SBTs), a variant of NFTs bound to the original wallet.
Amidst this storm, YouTuber Connor “CDawgVA” Colquhoun, a prominent figure attached to the Creator League, publicly announced his intention to withdraw:
“So I’ll just be real with you guys, I accepted to join the creator league not fully understanding the tech behind it. Needless to say, with the current information available I’m planning on withdrawing.”
eFuse’s shady past
Further investigation revealed an 18-month financial relationship between eFuse and NEAR, with the latter providing eFuse a cash grant. The specifics of this grant were confirmed by a September 2022 transparency report, which disclosed NEAR’s “Ecosystem” funding ventures.
eFuse’s turbulent journey isn’t a new occurrence. Last year, the company grappled with the resignation of its Chief Strategy Officer, Patrick Klein, following a sexual harassment scandal during his tenure at Ohio State University.
Carefully managing its next steps should be eFuse’s top priority, as one more misstep could permanently ruin the company’s already precarious reputation.