With the recent collapse of Football Index, many survivors of that platform are now making the switch over to Sorare. As a Football Index survivor myself, I wanted to do a quick post about the three key differences between the two platforms.
And the first key difference is now even more important to understand in the light of today’s news about Footstock closing.
Before I go on, for full disclosure, I am a Sorare affiliate so if you click on my link to join that helps me as well as you. I’m also an ambassador for the platform – a role that has no financial benefit but one I’ve taken on purely because I believe so strongly in what the team are doing.
Difference 1: Sorare is not a gambling platform
Football Index was a gambling platform, regulated by the Gambling Commission. I use the word ‘regulated’ very loosely because we all know how that turned out. As a regulated platform, there were certain checks in place to supposedly stop people depositing more than they could afford, to prevent money laundering and so on. There was also supposedly a small amount of protection to cash balances in the case of the platform going under. Again, we all know that these protections perhaps didn’t amount to much more than words on a page in the end and most people’s confidence in the gambling regulator is at rock-bottom level now.
Sorare isn’t gambling. People may try to dissect this and say ‘well it feels like gambling’ but the fact is, it isn’t. Sorare is a fantasy football game where you buy licenced collectables (player cards) which you can use in tournaments to win prizes. Buying a card doesn’t guarantee you entry to the tournaments and many people buy the cards for their collectable value only. There is no ‘game of chance’ as you know exactly what you are buying before you buy it (no loot boxes or blind packs). There are no fixed odds and the contests are free with fixed prizes, so this is not pool betting. There is nothing at risk – no financial sacrifice – because the cards are yours to keep once you’ve bought them. It’s not gambling.
This key difference has helped Sorare to roll out worldwide, with huge backers/investors, something that was out of the reach of Football Index and similar platforms. Sorare should be well-insulated from the fall out of the Football Index collapse (and now Footstock too) as they are operating in a completely difference sphere.
It should also affect the way you play the game – you’re not trying to beat the bookie here and you’ll need to think very differently about how to value players – it’s really quite a different proposition to these other platforms.
Still, it doesn’t meant this this is without risk. Sorare is a start-up company – this is not a stable offering by any means. Always play responsibility and never commit more than you can afford.
Difference 2: On Sorare you actually own your assets
Sorare brings you into contact with crypto, there’s no way to avoid that. Although it’s quite easy now to sail through the game without very much knowledge of how crypto works, knowing a little bit about it will be helpful.
Sorare is a Blockchain game. Utilising blockchain technology means that Sorare can issue digital collectables that are just as ‘real’ as their physical counterparts – they are NFTs, that thing that everyone seems to be talking about at the moment.
The code that sits behind the cards is unique, tamper-proof, allows them to be transferred securely between individuals, and means they can be used anywhere – not just on the Sorare platform. So unlike Football Index, if something was to happen to Sorare, you would still own those cards and they would still have value. This is a key difference.
Ethereum (or ETH) is the crypto currency that powers the game. Understanding a bit about ETH will help you as you progress and will help you to assess risk, as I think we have to assume there is an additional level of risk to consider when dealing with crypto currencies, particularly if UK regulation starts to tighten around them.
The use of ETH also fits into the concept of Sorare being a global game – we’re all using the same in-game currency. I’ve written a bit more about how crypto interacts with Sorare here.
Difference 3: Scarcity plus full transparency underpins the platform
One of the key issues that I had with Football Index was that they continued to issue more and more ‘shares’ with seemingly no understanding of how that would affect the market. Basic economic theory will tell you that supply and demand will always affect prices. As Football Index continued to pump more and more shares into the platform, the ability for traders to sell on those shares was diminished and it became a race to the bottom in terms of prices. Even worse, it was only at the very end that we were told just how many shares were in circulation.
We saw similar issues with oversupply put Footstock into trouble and this was no doubt a big factor in that platform’s eventual collapse.
Sorare is built on the principle of scarcity. When you buy a player card, you know the maximum number of those cards that can be minted in a season. Relative to the number of managers on the platform, those numbers are tiny. As an example, there are just over 100 Memphis Depay Rare cards in circulation, versus nearly 13,000 managers. If Memphis ends up at Barca next season, well you can imagine what that might do for his price (sadly I don’t hold him!).
The other aspect of this is full transparency. This goes hand-in-hand with Sorare being a Blockchain game – everything is out in the open. You can see how many cards are in circulation and how many managers hold at least one card. You can see everyone else’s gallery and every single transaction that takes place.
That makes it much harder for managers to manipulate the platform, something that we all knew happened frequently on Football Index. Pumping and dumping is difficult when everyone can see what you’re doing, and bad behaviour is almost immediately spotted and called out. And if big managers start to sell off their collections, it’ll be plain for everyone to see. There are no dark corners here.
Given the events of recent weeks I can fully understand why some people might not be looking at a platform like this right now. It’s understandable that people will feel pretty burned and want to be more cautious in future.
However, if you wanted to get started on Sorare, you can dip your toe in without committing any cash to start off. You get 8 opportunites to play as a ‘Rookie’ for free and the new One Shot League that they have built in partnership with Ubisoft is completely free to play and gives you a chance to win some pretty decent cards that you can use in the Sorare. This isn’t the same as playing the full game but at least gives you a bit of a chance to ‘try before you buy’.
I strongly recommend that you sign up via a referral link. Signing up via a link means you’ll get a free Rare card after you buy your first five cards at auction – something that could be worth a fair bit of money to you. And if you use an affiliate link, like mine, you also get a boosted budget if you decide to go down the manual onboarding process (plus your affiliate gets paid too, at no extra cost to you). Here is my link:
I’ve written a walkthrough of the basics that you need to get started but I’m always happy to give you one-to-one help if you get stuck – just give me a shout on Twitter or any of the other usual places.