Ahead of Maccabiah, Israeli tech and sports steal the spotlight

Blockchain-based platform LEAP leverages NFTs to help disadvantaged youth athletes gain recognition

DELEGATIONS FROM 85 countries gather at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem for the opening ceremony of the 2017 Maccabiah Games (photo credit: REUTERS)
DELEGATIONS FROM 85 countries gather at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem for the opening ceremony of the 2017 Maccabiah Games
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Much of the State of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora rallied around Israel’s national under-19 football team as they recently made history by making it all the way to the European Final. Despite playing an incredible game, the youth team lost to England in extra time on July 1 in Slovakia.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s fabulous 18-year-old midfielder Oscar Gloukh was named Goal of the Tournament for his brilliant goal in the Final. This incredible feat by the young Israeli team surely inspired Israeli and Jewish youths alike, encouraging the next generation to chase greatness and glory through sports.

For Israel’s teenage soccer stars, their professional careers are in front of them, and their participation in the European Finals was a great opportunity to showcase their skills on an international stage. For most of them, however, the journey that led them to the European Final started long ago by participating in youth academies and organizations. 

For many young people in Israel and all over the world, gaining recognition for their talent or even being able to participate in youth sports is a pipe dream. LEAP, a start-up based out of Rosh Ha’ayin that recently partnered with Maccabi World Union, is working to change that.

Gaining recognition with NFTs

LEAP has built a next-generation sports-discovery and endorsement gaming platform to bypass some of the obstacles young athletes from underprivileged backgrounds and isolated communities encounter. In addition to all this, LEAP’s platform uses NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and blockchain technology to empower these young athletes. Through LEAP’s app, aspiring sports talents now have a tool to showcase their athletic abilities in front of a digital community consisting of other athletes, coaches, talent seekers, and journalists.

 NFT (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY) NFT (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY)

LEAP’s platform uniquely blends play-to-earn and social media elements with NFTs to create a digital solution for athletes from marginalized backgrounds.

Today’s social media algorithms often make it hard for unknown athletes to become digital influencers. Social media giants tend to favor short-form dancing videos or cat videos over content from athletes. On LEAP’s app, users can upload a short clip of themselves performing a specific skill or trick to be viewed by their peers and certified talent seekers, agents or scouts.

LEAP motivates athletes to stay engaged with improving their abilities by facilitating in-app competitions, where users face off to see who can perform a skill or drill better. The winner is determined through user votes. The more athletes compete, win and interact with the platform, the higher their rating, resulting in the minting of one-of-a-kind player-card NFTs. These NFTs, whose value is based on the skill and promise of the athlete, are able to be bought and sold, allowing the user to make some cash off their talent. Or a fan could purchase a user’s NFT as an investment in case he or she blossoms into a true star.

Rewarding athletic accomplishments

LEAP rewards its athletes based on their accomplishments with an in-game token, backed by LEAP’s native cryptocurrency. The shadow backing mechanism facilitates the user experience through the use of in-game tokens to empower non-crypto users to participate in the LEAP economy. Cryptocurrencies have dropped precipitously in the last year.

Ultimately, becoming a globally recognized superstar athlete is nearly impossible, but LEAP’s solution fills a void in the world of amateur sports by providing a digital community for those gifted athletes who weren’t blessed with an environment conducive to nurturing sports talent.

No one knows where the next Lionel Messi, Lebron James or Serena Williams might come from, but thanks to LEAP’s platform, the next great phenom could come from a rural village in West Africa or a fishing village in Vietnam or maybe a poor neighborhood in Beersheba.