Twitch level up with Bitcoin

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27. August 2020

Twitch, Amazon’s streaming platform, seems to want to strengthen its crypto strategy. The site, which mainly offers services for video game livestreaming, currently offers a 10% discount on subscriptions if you pay with cryptocurrency through BitPay, the payment system supported by the portal.

BitPay’s chief marketing officer, Bill Zielke, told Cointelegraph that of the thousands of companies they work with, Twitch is the first global brand to offer a crypto-related discount system:

„We are seeing more and more interest in online merchants to use cryptos as a form of promotional payment, which is very interesting since most of these offers are reserved for PayPal payments. […] Twitch is the first important player to take note of this trend“.

Is Twitch’s interest in cryptocurrency related to gaming?

According to Zielke, it is important to emphasize that it is Twitch that offers the discount, not BitPay, contrary to what you might think. The fact that it is the streaming site that offers this option is surprising, since until now it had had a love/hate relationship with cryptocurrencies.

In March 2019, Twitch had eliminated the possibility to pay subscriptions with Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). This change was reported by a user on Reddit, who reported that the site had suddenly stopped processing payments with BitPay. Another Reddit user had noticed that during that time Twitch had deleted all crypto payment options. Three months later, however, the platform retraced its steps.

Zielke did not comment on the sudden rethinking of Twitch, but made it clear that the site wants to attract more and more crypto users:

„When a company as big as Twitch offers a crypto-currency promotion to all its users, it sends a clear message: let’s get serious“.

Some have framed this growing interest in the growing popularity of blockchain-based video games and increasing use of virtual assets in the ecosystem. Bearing these trends in mind, it is important to note that Twitch is primarily aimed at the gamer community. Some recent statistics show that about 16,000 games were broadcast on the site at the beginning of July, a number very close to the peak ever reached.

Trip Hawkins, a gaming pioneer and independent member of the board of DMarket, a blockchain video game platform, told Cointelegraph that he believes cryptos will significantly increase their impact on the industry in the coming years, particularly in games that have their own internal economy or within other related services:

„Video games are virtual worlds and as such can benefit from the reliability of different forms of payment. In addition, they can benefit from the tracking and property assurance mechanisms present in cryptocurrency. As a result, online sellers will offer payments in cryptocurrency if they consider them to be a not too volatile tool (which is why the relationship so far has been on the wavering side)“.

Hawkins also points out that another growing trend on the Iq Option livestreaming platform is the use of crypto to leave a tip. In December 2019, the mobile payment service MenaPay announced support for tips on Twitch through its stablecoin MenaCash; the decentralized browser Brave also supports this feature on both YouTube and Twitch.

DMarket founder and CEO, Vlad Panchenko, told Cointelegraph that he believes Twitch is building a next-generation interactive platform not only for gamers but also for other entertainment sectors such as sports, in order to increase total audience and engagement:

„This is a perfect example of how gaming companies are predicting the future, repositioning and restructuring their offerings with cryptocurrency“.

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