Crypto fintech Cake DeFi enters Play2Earn gaming and esports with UK-based FACEIT

Cake defi FACEIT

Singapore crypto fintech Cake DeFi has made its first move into Play2Earn (play-to-earn) gaming and eSports through a multi-million-dollar partnership with UK-based gaming platform, FACEIT.

Cake DeFi, which gives users access to decentralised financial (DeFi) services and enables them to generate returns from crypto and digital assets, will link to FACEIT’s user base of 25 million gamers.

Gamers will be able to earn crypto prizes while playing eSports tournaments and can compound their winnings and earn returns on crypto through Cake DeFi’s platform, which currently manages over US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in customer assets.

Cake DeFi chief executive and co-founder Julian Hosp said gamers have a natural affinity with crypto and could now join the shift towards decentralised finance – the financial technology system based on secure distributed ledgers which operate outside of banks and other traditional financial institutions.

“In 2021, we paid out US$230 million (S$319 million) in rewards to our customers. So, it’s a win-win-win for FACEIT gamers,” Hosp said in a statement.

FACEIT co-founder Michele Attisani said the FACEIT platform is home to the largest community of competitive gamers.

“Our users are incredibly forward-thinking and educated when it comes to crypto, so the partnership we chose had to bring tangible and substantial value to be of interest,” he said.

“The collaboration with Cake DeFi is much more than brand integration, and offers our community clear experiential and financial benefits which go beyond what any partnerships of this type [have] delivered before.”

FACEIT said its users are core gamers who spend an average of 2.5 hours each day on the platform. Recent FACEIT research shows that many of those gamers were already interested in and investing in crypto, showing a natural synergy between both brands and industries.

Cake DeFi’s move into eSports and gaming comes several months after the Singapore-registered firm launched its venture capital arm, Cake DeFi Ventures (CDV).

CDV kicked off with US$100 million (S$138.6 million) in earmarked capital to invest in Web3, gaming and fintech start-ups in the next two years.

Under the FACEIT deal, Cake DeFi Missions will have in-game tasks and monthly challenges for players to complete in order to win crypto prizes, as well as weekly tournaments throughout the year. Crypto prizes are redeemable through a player’s Cake DeFi account, allowing FACEIT to expand its current Play2Earn (play-to-earn) offering.

The crypto-gaming partnership highlights the growing shift from Pay2Play (pay-to-play) to Play2Earn in the industry.

Traditional gaming has only offered Pay2Play, where gamers pay money for the chance to win virtual rewards which can’t be cashed in once a game has run its course. Under blockchain-based, NFT (Non-Fungible Token) platforms, cryptocurrency and NFTs have been integrated into gaming, giving players unique opportunities to earn crypto doing what they love.

CDV investment partner Nicholas Khoo said traditional gaming studios were starting to realise they needed a Web3 strategy, and the ground is shifting towards Play2Earn.

“In Singapore alone, out of a population of 5.5 million, we actually have close to three million gamers,” Khoo told a livestream crypto event last month.

“In the Asia Pacific, you have a gamer penetration of at least 50 per cent. So we are only scratching the surface when it comes to Web3, gaming, and NFTs.”