Bondly, a blockchain company that claims to be at the “forefront of NFT technology that brings creators and fans closer”, are facing a lawsuit from G2 Esports. The lawsuit has been filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
G2 is seeking a total of US$ 5.25 million in damages. The immediate consequences of this lawsuit are that all links to the Bondly NFT project are now dead. The reason for the lawsuit is because Bondly have failed on their deliverables as per a two-year agreement that was signed in June 2021. So far, neither G2 nor Bondly have publicly spoken about the failed deal.
As part of the deal, Bondly were to create and sell official G2 NFTs, apart from paying the team an annual rights fee of US$ 2 million. Over and above this, they were to also pay an advance of US$ 1.25 million, the money Bondly were projected to be able to make back through the NFT sales.
The original announcement, made amid much fanfare, claimed that the partnership would allow for G2 Esports “strongest moments” to be immortalised in NFT-format, along with future options to gamify NFT assets. But all that seems to have fallen flat. Previously, Bondly, had partnered with the likes of singer Lewis Capaldi and American YouTube superstar Logan Paul to create NFTs.
NFTs at the center of it all
As per G2’s lawsuit, Bondly “failed to successfully deliver an NFT program” after the first rights fee invoice was raised. Bondly initially wanted to put the agreement on hold, but when this was rejected by G2, they allegedly wanted to terminate the contract.
G2 alleged Bondly knew they couldn’t deliver the NFTs when the contract was signed and merely milked the esports organisation’s popularity at the official launch. G2 also claimed attempts were being made to pause millions of dollars’ worth of Intellectual Property and licensing payments soon after the signing.
“Bondly and its agents knew that their representations were false when they made them, or made the representations recklessly and without regard to their truth,” the lawsuit states. They knew they could not perform, but cunningly waited until G2 had publicly announced its partnership with Bondly to its millions of fans to reap the benefits of publicity through the highly valuable G2 brand.”
Now, with one deal having fallen flat, G2 isn’t giving up, as they are now partnering with Solana, another NFT company, to launch their Samurai Army NFTs. They will be minted using Solana’s Metaplex Protocol. They will mine a total of 6262 NFTs, apart from providing several perks to the holders. G2 have built a global fanbase of over 35 million across continents, attracting international names like BMW, Logitech, Phillips, Redbull and Mastercard among their line-up of commercial partners.
The relationship between blockchain and the business of sports has led to lucrative and innovative transactions over the past several years, but the future isn’t free from risks arising due to uncertain legal and regulatory landscapes. Sports teams are looking at leveraging fan base and using it as a platform to infuse funds.
Outside the esports landscape, NFTs have been hugely popular in the football world. In 2020, FC Barcelona launched their own fan token ($BAR) and generated US$1.3 million in less than two hours after the tokens went on sale. The tokens were sold in 106 different countries and began giving fans the opportunity to vote on many different decisions regarding FC Barcelona, including the design of a mural in the first team’s locker room. Other teams have had similarly spectacular results include AC Milan, Yasir Saint-Germain and Juventus, among others.