PBA Goes Crypto: Bowling Awards Now On-Chain with Avalanche NFTs

PBA Goes Crypto: Bowling Awards Now On-Chain with Avalanche NFTs

The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and Bowlero have launched League Bowler Certification (LBC) Awards, tokenized achievements minted as NFTs on the Avalanche blockchain to recognize bowling feats and offer earnable points that can be redeemed for physical products or even unlock real-world benefits.

Bowl a perfect game? Soon, your buddies won’t simply have to take your word for it— you will  be able to show off a tokenized achievement, minted as an NFT on the Avalanche blockchain tech by the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA).

The PBA and parent company Bowlero today announced the launch of League Bowler Certification (LBC) Awards, which are NFT-based honors to recognize bowling feats that will be airdropped free to the approximately 300,000 participants in Bowlero center leagues.

The “digital awards,” as the PBA calls them, cannot be traded or sold once received, making them soulbound tokens. In that regard, these are not typical Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collectibles—Bowlero Chief Strategy Officer Lev Ekster stated the LBC initiative as “a loyalty program on steroids.”

At the beginning, the program will comprise Non-Fungible Token (NFT) awards for achievements such as a league player bowling their 1st 200-score game, a perfect 300 game, a series of 700 or 800 total points, or notching a game with either 50 or 100 points over the player’s average.

Ekster stated that another organization previously gave out physical awards for certain milestones in bowling leagues, including rings, but that it had stopped at some point—to the consternation of some dues-paying players. “They were pretty disappointed about it,” he stated of league members. Now the PBA is trying to fill that void with its LBC program and digital awards.

Bowlero and the PBA collaborated with Layer 3 Labs to launch the initiative. Layer 3 CEO Jonathan Teplitsky stated the startup specializes in bringing Web2 brands into Web 3.0, but Ekster admitted that the physical sport-centric PBA’s move is more like “Web1 to Web3—we’re making a pretty giant leap as an organization.”

The PBA will use a dedicated Avalanche (AVAX) subnet to handle the digital awards for bowlers, which insulates it from potential congestion or issues with the broader network. Layer 3 worked with the Avalanche (AVAX) founders and core contributors at Ava Labs on the implementation, and Teplitsky stated that he wanted to choose a network partner that “doesn’t have reputational risks.”

Bowlers were already onboarded onto the PBA’s LeaguePals platform to be eligible to receive the digital awards, and they won’t be must handle digital currency to receive the Non-Fungible Token (NFTs). Ekster stated that the PBA won’t use “NFT” terminology in describing the assets for its user base.

“Our community doesn’t know what an Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is,” he informed Decrypt. “They’re not really crypto-native and they don’t understand it, but we call them digital awards.”

Handing out digital awards is just the 1st phase of the program, though. In the following phase, the PBA will offer up earnable points that can be redeemed for physical products—like bowling balls and equipment—or even physical trophies for certain achievements. Avalanche (AVAX) will be used to verify the authenticity of an achievement to determine eligibility for physical perks.

Teplitsky sees potential future extensions of the program, such as the  potential to attract bowlers’ progress and perks into a metaverse game world, or even unlock real-world benefits—like getting special lighting on your lane when bowling at a Bowlero center.

And the broader goal is not to delimit this in particular  to Bowlero leagues, but to sooner or  thereafter offer the program to leagues at all bowling alleys across America or potentially the world. On the other hand, since it’s a new initiative, Ekster stated that they will keep it internal within Bowlero leagues for now to fine-tune the execution and make sure all goes reports by plan.

If it works as intended and expands out broadly, then Teplitsky sees potential for the PBA’s digital awards program to onboard millions of bowlers into Web 3.0. That’s a more exciting premise to him than pushing another Non-Fungible Token (NFT) project targeted at high-value traders.

“ This is why, I like to work with corporations, not ‘projects.’ This is the physical world, where this is a real business. Bowlero is valued at billions of dollars, and they are integrating Web 3.0 into a business model. This is the future,” he stated. “We’re not bringing in the same old Web 3.0 people that are trading their Bored Apes.”

Editor’s note: This post was updated after publication to clarify details around the previous physical bonus given out to bowling league participants.


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