Caffeine, Gamers & Cryptocurrency: A Curious Connection

 

As technology advances more things have become available to either purchase, stream or conduct online rather than in the physical world. The fairly controversial topic of cryptocurrency has had a resurgence in the last year due to an upswing in the NFT Market. Whether you have bought cryptocurrency or invested in the NFT market, believe it’s a scam or know nothing about it, this digital market has taken off extensively in the last year.

Huge caffeine-centric beverage corporations, such as Red Bull, Monster Energy and Gfuel are ramping up their marketing strategies and placing sizable investments into cryptocurrency along with the slightly mystifying, intangible NFT market. The same energy drink companies have also been directing their advertising toward the Esports gaming industry.

This got the wheels in our brains turning as we scratched our chins wondering what the connection was between these three seemingly disconnected worlds: gamers, caffeine and cryptocurrency. Then the light bulb went off over our heads, as if in a cartoon, and the connection, which first appeared obtuse, became crystal clear.

Let us introduce you to the players in this game:

Player #1 The Gamer

In 2021 the Esports market raked in a whopping 1.84 billion dollars worldwide. Gamers play in teams in tournaments that are streamed live across the planet. The connectivity within this industry is quite inspiring. One gamer in the U.S. could be playing live with another gamer in Tokyo, Japan. Some of the top gamers can earn a salary of 50k, have sponsors, health benefits and a retirement plan. This is a far cry from the early 1990’s, playing Nintendo’s Mario Brothers or Duck Hunt with friends from your block.

Gamers need to have excellent hand-eye coordination, dexterity in their fingers and hands and rapid response to ongoing external stimuli. This is when we proposed the question: what over-the-counter drug would enhance all of these abilities improving a gamers chance of winning? Caffeine.

Player #2 Caffeinated Beverages

Do you remember Jolt Cola? For some of us who are pre-internet, pre-cell phone and pre-social media (what did we do all day? conversations, we had conversations face to face), Jolt Cola was the only beverage on the market that was known to have a heaping amount of caffeine to get you nice and hyped-up. Then in 1997 “we got our wings.” Red Bull was introduced to America from Austria and the rest is energy drink history. Since then, nearly all beverage companies have jumped on the caffeine bandwagon, convenient store coolers were filled with Noz, Monster, and a countless other brands that were clawing their way into the over-saturated caffeinated market.

Caffeine, while beneficial for you in many ways if consumed in a moderate dosage, can have ill-effects when consumed around the clock on a daily basis. Caffeine dependency has been known to lead to other disorders such as caffeine-induced sleep disorder and anxiety disorder. Caffeine withdrawal has also been linked to depression and anxiety when attempting to stop altogether.1 Not a fun time. This is why moderation is key. Moving on to the last player in our cryptic game.

Player #3 Cryptocurrency & the NFT Market

In January of 2009 the birth of the first decentralized digital currency, called Bitcoin, ushered in a new age of blockchain technology and skepticism from every corner of the Earth. Since many people are scammed on a monthly to weekly basis, it is only natural that when digital currency was created there were questions raised concerning its validity as well as its improbable longevity as a legitimate new form of money.

A more recent and perplexing type of currency is known as the NFT market. NFT, an acronym for non-fungible token, was built using similar programing of other cryptocurrencies with some major differences. One main difference is that cryptocurrency and physical money can be exchanged and traded (making it fungible) as opposed to NFT’s which have a unique digital signature making it impossible for one NFT to equal another. This is where the skeptics start wagging their fingers and pulling out their hair to an admittingly complex system to fully understand.

One popular NFT marketplace called “Opensea” is a place where you can buy and sell collector’s item such as a rare books or paintings as a digital file. The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey recently sold his first “tweet” as an NFT for $2.9 million. In the last year the NFT market has surged and the energy drink companies are one of the many big players in the game. Monster Energy filed for an NFT trademark which will focus on downloadable virtual goods such as beverages, food, gaming music and apparel. Are you starting to see the underlying connection?

 

The Game

Caffeine is for the majority of Americans, and most people across the globe, a regular part of their daily routine and diet. For those involved in Esports, our gamers, caffeine is a necessity and a tool used to enhance their performance while gaming. The benefits of caffeine for gamers are:

  • Improved Reaction Time
  • Vigilance
  • Judgement
  • Attention-Span
  • Alertness2

Energy drink companies have been using a “play-to-earn” model, where gamers are able to earn cryptocurrency by completing certain tasks or by beating levels of a game. When one of the items you can buy with cryptocurrency are energy drinks, what do you think any self-respecting gamer is going to do with their crypto? Buy more energy drinks! And our game has come full circle.

Gfuel, which is the official energy drink of Esports, created virtual versions of their energy drinks that were purchased with NFT’s (if you are slightly or even still completely confused with the logistics or reasoning behind NFT’s, don’t worry, you are not alone). Red Bull notoriously known for their non-conventional marketing tactics, installed a Red Bull vending machine at a hackers conference which only accepted Bitcoin.

When looking back to when credit cards were being offered as alternative to using cash there were skeptics and people who believed it was a way of “Big-Brother” to keep tabs on our financial records. With new innovations and technological advancements, historically there is always fear and resistance to accept change. Change is uncomfortable and can create fear.

Whether cryptocurrency and the NFT market will take over our financial system is yet to be determined. But is safe to assume, caffeine is here to stay. Stories have been passed down for generations about an Ethiopian farmer who noticed his goats becoming restless and full of energy after eating berries in his field. When these berries were dried out they turned out to be, what we know refer to as, coffee beans.

Caffeine has been part of our global history for thousands of years, way before a small Seattle-based company called Starbucks opened their doors. Whether traded for a flock of sheep or paid for with NFT’s by selling your latest viral tweet, caffeine will dominate the market for a long time to come.

 

 

 

References

  1. Caffeine Addiction Symptoms and Withdrawal, https://www.verywellmind.com/caffeine-addiction-4157287.
  2. Caffeine – A good way for gamers to improve their performance, https://www.gscience.io/resources/caffeine-performance-gaming.
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