The Drone Racing League (DRL) is the world’s premier professional drone racing property. Millions of fans watch the best drone pilots in the world compete in high-speed, highly competitive races broadcast on NBC, Twitter, and other international sports networks.
DRL partnered with DEPT® to launch a series of NFT collectibles by building a branded platform on the Algorand blockchain, making them the first brand to take advantage of Algomart.
A reputation for leveraging groundbreaking technology
DRL doesn’t just hold competitions IRL. During the pandemic they launched a full-scale virtual transformation by taking advantage of the DRL Simulator. The cloud-based technology enabled DRL to broadcast live races within an immersive simulation and proved so successful that it stamped DRL as a pioneer of a new era of sports racing.
With the rapid expansion of Web3 and the metaverse, DRL has since partnered with Algorand’s Playground Labs to take digital drone racing a step further with blockchain-enabled ticketing, fan transactions, and, of course, digital collectibles in the form of NFTs.
After learning about DEPT®’s role in creating Algomart, Algorand’s open source technology enabling brands to launch their own NFT platforms, DRL approached us for help in this endeavour.
A non-fungible, first-of-its-kind promotion for a 21st century sport
Building a full-scale branded NFT platform from scratch represents a hefty investment of both time and money. Furthermore, blockchain technologies are still relatively new and finding a team that can marry the off-chain and on-chain systems needed to build an NFT marketplace is tricky. Most brands don’t have this capability in-house, limiting options even more.
Algomart is a groundbreaking piece of technology in that it provides an out-of-the-box solution to these issues, putting brands in control and enabling them to enter a new and exciting market with a bespoke offering that feels like a traditional e-commerce experience and can scale as needed.
DEPT® helped DRL take full advantage of everything that Algomart has to offer. We worked with their team to take Algomart out of the box and launch their branded marketplace in under a month. Their first run of 400 NFTs featured fourteen drone pilot avatars created by the award-winning digital artist Metapunks. Of that first run, 387 NFTs were a “common” design and the remaining thirteen were one-of-a-kind “rare” designs.
Rather than releasing their first set of NFTs for purchase or auction, DRL debuted their marketplace at Algorand’s 2021 Decipher conference as a promotional offering. They distributed 400 flyers with QR codes which attendees could scan and find out which of the fourteen designs they had redeemed.
As a promotional release, DRL’s NFTs symbolized the brand’s place at the head of a first-of-their-kind 21st century sport. Additionally, they provide an exciting, low-risk way for DRL to test the waters for digital collectibles.
The entire ecosystem of blockchain and NFTs is going to bring people closer to the brands they love and open a whole host of new experiences.
Anne Marie Gianutsos, CMO, Drone Racing League
An exciting future
Going forward, DRL has big plans for their NFT marketplace. Recently, they’ve announced their official mobile game, which will allow fans to compete in play-to-earn virtual races for cryptocurrency and NFTs. The game was launched as part of DRL’s partnership with Algorand’s Playground Labs and DEPT® continues to have a role in helping expand the marketplace to include a secondary marketplace.
Play-to-earn games are a much-anticipated part of the future of blockchain. By integrating them with their NFT marketplace, the possibilities for new NFT offerings from DRL are almost limitless and will continue to be facilitated by Algomart.
Director of Web3 at DEPT®
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