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Sleep Number digs in to learn more about a new football tech trend of block chaining fantasy football. A new start-up is uniting two of the biggest recent phenomena in sports and technology — fantasy games and cryptocurrencies. There is no virtual draft because there are no imaginary teams. Instead participants win or lose according to their ability to predict the performance of individual NFL players.

If you feel like a fantasy football college All-American, chomping at your mouthguard for a shot in the NFL, Jay Berg wants you to join him on his new fantasy football platform, called Protoblock, for its inaugural season.

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A Florida-based start-up, Protoblock serves as a complement to conventional leagues, rather than a substitute. There is no virtual draft because there are no imaginary teams. Instead, participants win or lose according to their ability to predict the performance of individual NFL players.

“Every single insight that you have, whether someone’;s going to bustpersonalized newborn baby gifts, someone’;s going to get drafted, someone’;s going to have a bad game or a bad season — you should be able to monetize that,”; argues Berg, who founded Protoblock, in an online video.

Berg expects early adopters to be people who take their fantasy football seriously. They are likely already active in conventional leagues, such as those run by ESPN and NFL.com.

If you have dabbled in the financial markets, or maybe bought some Bitcoin last year, Protoblock may have a familiar feel. For example, participants can short players they think are overrated and long those they believe underrated, just as in the financial markets. You can hedge against underachievers on your conventional teams, and place bets on players not on your rosters.

“;We have futures contracts for individual players,”; Berg says in an interview.

If the couch players’; hunches are right, they’;ll receive earnings in the form of Fantasy Bits (FBs), Protoblock’;s own cryptocurrency. (More on that in a minute.)

In conventional fantasy football, participants are cast as general managers. They draft players and navigate virtual salary caps. Their teams are matched head-to-head against other people’;s teams. Points are scored according to the statistical performance of a fantasy team’;s players that week in the real-life NFL. Passing yards, sacks, field goals and dozens of other measures can garner points. Add up each team’;s points, and the one with the most is the winner.

But in Protoblock, participants invest sweat equity to buy-in by ranking over 600 leading NFL players. This might seem like a lot of work, but you can take a shortcut by copying one of the many published fantasy player rankings, offered now even by old-school outlets such as Sporting News.

Every week during the season, Protoblock participants compete by making predictions about the individual performance of any or all NFL players.

Unlike conventional leagues, which charge about $100 per team, Protoblock doesn’;t charge fees, partly because winnings are paid in cryptocurrency. One hundred fantasy bits are generated for each PPR fantasy point derived from the statistics of real-life games. (PPR stands for Points-per-Reception, an increasingly popular fantasy football scoring system that gives more weight to pass receptions than other systems, thus its name.)

Fantasy bits (FBs) are doled out according to the accuracy of predictions. Each week is a new game. People can join anytime and are not required to play every week. As with other cryptocurrencies, FBs may accrue monetary value if they generate enough interest to create a market.

To help explain Protoblock, Berg uses the image of a corn farmer who buys a futures contract to guarantee the revenue from his next crop.

“;The corn farmer only represents one percent of all trades. The other 99 percent are speculators,”; he explains. “;As long as there’;s a natural hedger, you can bet on things you never could before. You can short [New England Patriots Quarterback] Tom Brady, for example.”;

Will you jump on this new tech trend and block chain your fantasy football picks?

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