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Athlete NFT platform Blockasset announced today that it is expanding beyond its original home of Solana for Chiliz Chain 2.0, the new Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible Layer-1 blockchain from sports fan token firm Chiliz.
Alongside the expansion, Blockasset will receive an equity investment from Chiliz, which owns the Socios fan token and rewards platform. Socios works with more than 170 partners including teams across the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS, plus top soccer leagues around the world. The investment comes through Chiliz Labs, the $50 million incubator that Chiliz launched with VC firm Jump Crypto to support blockchain projects in sports.
More than 40 athletes offer NFTs through Blockasset, including former English soccer star Wayne Rooney, NHL veteran Alex Ovechkin, New Zealand rugby player Jonah Lomu, and UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal.
In a blog post from Chiliz and Blockasset, the companies wrote that Blockasset will "now move the next development phase" from Solana to Chiliz Chain 2.0. However, in a tweet, Blockasset co-founder and product manager Mike Dickens said that the company is "not leaving Solana" and that the firm will take a cross-chain approach.
Other Solana projects have made recent moves to exit the ecosystem, however. DeGods and y00ts, two of the most popular NFT projects on Solana, will bridge over to Ethereum and Polygon respectively this month through a "burn-and-mint" process for each new chain. Tiny Colony, a Solana NFT game, is leaving for Ethereum scaling network Immutable X.
“Blockasset’s athlete-verified token approach is different yet completely complementary to our Socios.com team Fan Token model, allowing us to strengthen the utility of our Fan Tokens and increase our catalog of rewards through cross activations,” Chiliz CEO Alexandre Dreyfus said in a statement.
Fans can buy Blockasset’s NFTs to access perks such as Discord chats with athletes, meet and greet events, merchandise, and signed memorabilia.
Chiliz offers similar rewards through Socios, its fan token platform that lets users vote in polls related to their favorite teams. Socios has other deals with the UFC and Professional Fighters League, and owns an equity stake in FC Barcelona’s digital studio. Lionel Messi, soccer’s biggest star, is a global brand ambassador for Socios.
Chiliz says it plans to further invest in Web3 projects to help onboard them onto its blockchain network, with an emphasis on NFT ticketing and play-to-earn games.
Editor's note: This article was updated after publication to clarify that Blockasset will not exit Solana entirely, but rather go cross-chain as it expands to Chiliz Chain 2.0. We regret the error.