More than 600,000 euros spent to become the owner of the virtual thumbnail of Haaland, a Norwegian footballer approached to join Real Madrid… It is one marker among others of Sorare’s success with football fans. In this online game inspired by the transfer window, football fans can acquire, via an auction system and the Ethereum exchange platform, images of their favorite players. And they are the only holders of it, via what is called an NFT (non-fungible token), a certificate of digital ownership. Then, with these old-fashioned Panini cards, they form teams that compete online.
Delirium? Guess not. Sorare counted 350,000 active users in 170 countries last March. And over the whole of 2021, the French start-up recorded a trading volume of 325 million dollars on its site. Investors were not mistaken, starting with the Japanese SoftBank. Last September, the founders, Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort, who pride themselves on being profitable since the launch in 2018, raised 580 million euros, valuing their company at 3.7 billion euros. It is the most expensive French start-up at the moment. Not bad for a game that only seems to sell banal images of players that anyone can see on the Internet and print…
Sorare’s success is another example of French Tech’s breakthrough in Web3, the third generation Internet. In this new virtual world, our avatars can meet, play, work, create objects or earn money. The ideal is to go there wearing a virtual reality headset to achieve complete immersion, in 3D. However, France has a know-how and a culture conducive to this new Internet. With its pool of video game companies like Ubisoft.
One of the major players in the nascent metaverse, The Sandbox, was founded by French people, admittedly based in Hong Kong. With the cloud of start-ups positioned on the blockchain, the essential tool for establishing title deeds or exchanging cryptocurrencies. And finally for what is called the French Touch. “Offering experiences that delight consumers, selling images and goods that arouse envy, developing an art of living, taking care of design, this is what companies that operate in the luxury, fashion or leisure”, note Joël Hazan and Thibault Genouville, consultants at the BCG strategy consulting firm.