FirstBlood is a Dapp for Esports players. It is intended to allow these players to bet on the outcome of events in games such as DoTA 2 and PUBG.
The developer of FirstBlood raised $5.5 million in the first few minutes of its ICO. The developer owns a popular Twitch channel, and many crypto-investors have expected the project to be a success based on the influence of this channel.
In order to determine what type of players may enjoy using FirstBlood, we attempted to create an account in the app and try it out.
However, we found that there are two versions of FirstBlood. The first of these apps is centralized and has no connection to cryptocurrency. This version has a website and Discord channel to support it.
The second app is decentralized, but exists only on a github page and is listed as a beta version. It has no official website or marketing to support it, but does seem to function as advertised.
This article will explain how First Blood is supposed to work, according to the developer’s whitepaper. It will also report on what we discovered as we attempted to use the product.
How FirstBlood is Supposed to Work
The developer of FirstBlood has released a whitepaper explaining how the app is expected to work when it is publicly released. Here is a summary of what it says:
FirstBlood token (1ST)
The FirstBlood Dapp relies on the FirstBlood token (1ST) as a means of placing bets on Esports outcomes. This token was sold out in a presale held in September, 2016.
Players are able to stake their 1ST tokens to be used as prizes in Esports competitions.
The tokens go to a smart contract that serves as a third-party escrow system. Because of this smart contract system, players do not need to trust the developer with their funds.
All 1ST holders have the right to serve as Witnesses to verify the results of competitions. For a token holder to serve as a Witness, he must run Witness node software on his computer.
This software can connect to the Esports game’s API to automatically verify the results of competitions. For example, in a DOTA 2 Match, the Witness node software can connect to the actual DOTA 2 server and verify the winner of the match.
Witnesses are rewarded with 1ST tokens for their service.
For each match, two Witnesses are chosen randomly to verify the match. The chances of a particular node being chosen as a Witness is proportional to the amount of 1ST staked by that node, with a cap of 1%.
When the match finishes, the two Witness nodes connect to the game’s API to verify the result.
Contested and uncontested results
Under most circumstances, match results should be uncontested. However, if either of the players contests the results, a jury is chosen randomly from among 1ST holders.
This jury consists of a larger number of nodes. And a small number of these jury members must vote in order to reach a quorum. For example, if a jury pool is 100 nodes, the quorum may be 20.
Voters in the jury look at the results given by the Witnesses and compare them to whatever evidence players present, such as screenshots. Rewards are given to jurors who vote with the majority, whereas jurors who vote against the majority may be penalized.
FirstBlood.io: A centralized app?
A version of the FirstBlood Dapp appears to reside at FirstBlood.io. But this appearance is deceiving.
FirstBlood.io has always been the official site for the project, as evidenced by numerous blockchain news articles that point to it.
In our test, we created an account at this site and found an Esports app that seemed to function just fine.
However, we quickly started seeing clues that indicated this app does not run on a blockchain.
For example, we found blog posts within the app that referred to a centralized currency called xPoints. These posts also stated that cash transactions are no longer available on the app.
After investigating, we eventually got into contact with an admin from the FirstBlood.io official Discord channel. This Discord channel only allows admins to post, but we were able to PM one of them to get an answer.
This admin told us that “the app and the crypto are distinct from one another” and that it was his understanding that the app at FirstBlood.io is not decentralized, despite the fact that it is created by the same development team as the crypto-version.
In summary, the app at FirstBlood.io is centralized and does not use cryptocurrency.
FirstBlood Dapp on github
There is another app named FirstBlood that resides at this github page. This app appears to be completely decentralized, as is expected by holders of the token.
FirstBlood Dapp test
The FirstBlood Dapp has a setup executable file available, so it’s fairly simple to install. Loading the program results in an account creation page popping up.
The account creation page asks the player to enter his Steam username to create an account. If the question mark is clicked on the right side of this field, it asks for the “STEAM Community URL” instead.
In our first test, we tried both inputting our Steam username and Steam Community URL, but both produced a “there’s no such username available” error message.
Looking at the github issues page, we found another user with a similar problem.
After seeing this message dated on Oct 31 of last year, we were about to conclude that the app doesn’t work and the developer has abandoned it. But then the problem mysteriously vanished the following day.
At this point, the app appears to be working, although it also seems to have a few glitches. Since it’s listed as a beta product though, this shouldn’t be too surprising.
FirstBlood Dapp basic functions
Once an account is created, the user is sent to the main menu.
If the user clicks open Metamask, a version of Metamask appears.
This version has some characteristics that are different from the one we are all familiar with. For example, it refers to a wallet as a DEN. But other than this, it appears to work just like the browser addon.
DOTA 2 record
The player can see his DOTA 2 record by clicking on the DOTA 2 icon on the left side of the screen.
Challenging a player
To challenge a player, the user needs to click the play button on the left side.
The next step is to enter the amount of 1ST to bid on the outcome of a match and press create challenge.
This brings up a Metamask confirmation window.
We couldn’t find an opponent to play DOTA 2 with, so we were unable to test the app further. But so far, it appears to work as described in the whitepaper.
FirstBlood: Is It Still Being Developed?
FirstBlood.io was originally the official website for the FirstBlood Dapp. And Internet Archive results show that the site originally described the app as blockchain-backed.
However, this site now hosts a completely centralized app that appears to be very successful.
There is no mention on the site of future plans for integrating it with the 1ST token. And if it wasn’t for numerous news articles mentioning the Dapp’s ICO, a user would have no way of knowing that FirstBlood was associated with cryptocurrency at all.
Given these facts, it would be reasonable to wonder if FirstBlood has simply abandoned the Dapp project in favor of a centralized solution that could possibly be more profitable to the team.
But despite this concern, there is a functioning Dapp that has been published to github.
This app has no marketing to support it, and there seems to be no way to get into contact with the team. In addition, the last post to the github page was made six months ago, in October.
But despite these problems, the Dapp does seem to work. And although the developer has been silent on any plans for integrating the two apps, it’s still possible that it intends to do exactly that.
FirstBlood Review: Should You Use It?
Is FirstBlood Dapp worth using?
We think there are some concerns that users of FirstBlood Dapp should be aware of. The developer is difficult to get a hold of, and it may have abandoned the app entirely. This may cause problems if users encounter errors or other issues.
However, the app may also work effectively as Esports betting software. And since most apps in this category are still in an early stage of development, a user who is determined to bet on Esports outcomes may find that FirstBlood is the best app to use currently.
We’ve gone over what is known about the FirstBlood Dapp. We’ve described how the app is supposed to work in theory. And we’ve tried to make sense of the confusion surrounding these two different apps with the same name.
We hope this information has helped you to make a decision whether to try out the app or get involved with it further.
If you would like more information about blockchain games, check out our list of reviews.
Will you be using the FirstBlood Dapp? Or would you rather use an alternative, even if it means having to wait a long time for a competitor to be released? Let us know in the comments below.