DraftKings CEO on Accepting Crypto Payments: ‘People Want It, We’re Working Towards It’

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In the past year, the publicly traded fantasy sports and sports betting company DraftKings has gone hard on crypto—specifically NFTs.

In July, DraftKings launched an NFT marketplace that is the exclusive home of NFTs from Tom Brady’s platform Autograph. The company also offered a CryptoPunk NFT as the prize for a fantasy contest, and in June the company’s three co-founders all wore CryptoPunk T-shirts to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq.

Might accepting crypto as payment for fantasy contests and betting be next on the roadmap? DraftKings CEO Jason Robins says it’s likely.

“Certainly people want it,” Robins said on the latest episode of Decrypt‘s gm podcast. “Certainly within the marketplace, we should be able to do that. So we’re working towards it.”

But Robins also sees regulatory hurdles with accepting crypto payments, especially since DraftKings and other sports betting operators are dealing with a state-by-state legal landscape. (In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, the federal ban on sports betting, which allowed states to legalize sports betting; 30 states have.) “Different products in different states might be more likely to be doable earlier, and some may be out of our control,” Robins said.

He’s also cautious because crypto is such a new space and can be confusing to the uninitiated. “There’s protections that people don’t necessarily have in the crypto space that we think are important,” he said. “We feel like in order to introduce something like that to our platform, we need to go a little bit beyond maybe where some others in the market have gone, because there’s an expectation from our customer that we do so.”

By that same logic, Robins even thinks the entire crypto industry could use more centralization to welcome newbies—even though that flies in the face of the decentralization rallying cry of crypto purists.

On the gm podcast, Robins also talked about how and when he first got into crypto and NFTs, why so many people react so strongly against NFTs, and what he foresees happening next in the industry. Listen to the full episode wherever you get your podcasts.

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