Beer and horses? Combination takes to the digital space with branded NFTs

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The U.K. arm of pilsner beer brand Stella Artois is partnering with a digital horse racing game to release a series of nonfungible tokens.

In a Tuesday announcement from Stella Artois’ U.K. brewery, the beer brand said users of the digital racing game ZED RUN would now be able to bid on Stella-themed skins for their favorite horses. Beginning today and running until June 19, crypto users can bid on 50 digital packages featuring nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, of the racehorses and original Stella art, as well as the branded skins.

The auctions for the skins, horses, and beer artwork are available on OpenSea’s digital marketplace. At the time of publication, the highest bid on one of the pieces is 1.05 Wrapped Ether (WETH) — roughly $2,687.

Digital racehorse with branded skin. Source: Stella Artois

Built on the Ethereum blockchain, ZED RUN has offered an alternative to in-person horseracing events at a time when many venues are still closed to spectators due to the pandemic. Players can earn returns by digitally breeding and racing the animals.

“While for some the term ‘metaverse’ is still something of an unknown, this virtual world is exploding right now and looks set to change the way we all engage in digital experiences forever,” said Lindsey McInerney, the global head of tech and innovation at Budweiser Brewing Group, parent company of Stella Artois. 

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Many in-person horseracing events in England were closed to spectators during the lockdowns caused by the pandemic. Though the government announced earlier this year it was possible for venues to have crowds at pre-pandemic levels starting on June 21, the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant is making that look unlikely according to a recent statement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.