The idea of LIGA is to apply blockchain technology to sports, creating an opportunity to cash in on predicting the outcome of sporting events. This differs from classical betting, and is implemented on the Waves Platform by the LIGA team.
LIGA tokenizes major sports events, such as FIFA World Cup or the UEFA Champions League, by issuing tokens for each participating team. The initial value of each team’s token depends upon its ranking prior to the event. Users subsequently buy tokens corresponding to the teams they expect will win.
While a sports event is in progress, the tokens can be traded on Waves’ DEX, with their value reflecting traders’ expectations of a specific team’s chances of winning. Overall, the idea of predictions markets is based on the fact that popular wisdom has often been able to accurately predict the outcome of sports events.
In a classical betting model, bets are placed based on odds offered by a bookmaker, a central authority. LIGA stresses their project has no central authority, and the prize fund — which is divided among users who correctly predict the winning team — is formed by bets made by all participants.
For the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League, the prize fund amounted to 2,868 WAVES, and for the FIFA World Cup, it stood at just over 3,000 WAVES.
By buying a token, a user acquires an asset whose value depends upon their chosen team’s performance. Another advantage that LIGA claims to have over traditional betting is that a user can not only easily sell their tokens, but their value can actually increase, enabling the seller to realise a profit.
A user can either choose a team and wait for the outcome of the entire event, or go for a more complex strategy — for example, buying tokens of low-rated teams in the hope that their value will go up. The use of Waves DEX enables participants to sell their tokens easily at any time. The withdrawal procedure is also very simple.
Unlike traditional bookmakers, LIGA doesn’t impose strict conditions on registration. Specifically, users don’t have to provide their passport details.
The blockchain, on which all transactions with tokens are recorded, ensures full transparency.
LIGA recently created a smart contract to control the entire process. In the first stage, all information about participants is written to the smart contract, while in the later stages it verifies transactions and distributes funds among the winners. Users’ funds are protected from unauthorised withdrawal, and a buyback algorithm adds an extra layer of protection.
Since the blockchain cannot directly communicate with the outside world and, for instance, collect game results, LIGA Oracle is used to provide this information. Similarly, the Oracle removes eliminated teams.
Meanwhile, aiming to offer a meaningful alternative to traditional betting, LIGA has to overcome a number of obstacles. The LIGA team recognises that one of the major challenges is people’s unwillingness to use crypto — adding that the technology itself is still very young, so technical issues can arise from time to time and need to be resolved.
Another challenge is the legal environment, which is essentially non-existent. LIGA doesn’t exactly qualify as a betting project, so existing betting regulations do not apply. At the same time, various issues involving crypto in general still need to be regulated. However, despite the challenges, the LIGA team plans to broaden the scope of the project, adding other sports events, including cyber sports.