As an esports agent, Adam Whyte grew tired of his clients having to wait anywhere from three to 10 months to receive their prize money, sponsorship fees, player salaries and influencer payments. He wasn’t alone in his frustration, finding a kindred spirit in a perhaps unlikely source: Scott Hiett, a 17-year-old computer coder with whom he has now co-founded the contract management platform Edge.
Boasting the tagline “made by gamers for gamers,” Edge works with talent agencies, esports organizations, tournament organizers and video game publishers to streamline transactions through smart contracts, automated contract payments and robust data tracking and collection.
“With a platform like Edge, we take the human error and hours out of a complicated yet crucial business practice—paying your gamers and talent,” said Whyte, the CEO, who also emphasized the strength of the company’s data analysis. “If data is the new gold, then Edge is the picks and shovels. Edge is the link between digital events and transactions. Frictionless and simple—it’s a digital solutions platform for a digital industry.”
Whyte and Hiett met in 2019 at an esports competition, where the two were commentating together. At the time, Whyte was so impressed with his broadcast partner that he asked about commentating at other esports tournaments, only to learn Hiett he was actually a programmer. After sending Whyte some of his work, the two discussed the inefficiencies of esports and the slow payout tendencies. That summer, Hiett—now Edge’s head of engineering—spent his time building the demo platform to show possible investors and clients.
Powered by the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform, Edge joined the AWS Partner Network at the end of the year to help expand its reach. “We are a cloud-native solution and have worked with the AWS team to enable the vast scaling and deployment of our platform,” Hiett said. “Their technology also enables us to do some of the amazing things with Edge, such as our custom Smart Contracts, which would be very hard to replicate elsewhere.”
Edge’s five types of Smart Contracts—player-team pacts, influencer agreements, streamer contracts, image rights and IP assignment, and tournament and league regulations—cover U.S., English and Welsh law and are programmed so that once the conditions of the contract are met, the competitor or influencer is automatically paid.
The digitization and automation of the contract payment process address the three main reasons why, according to Whyte, esports players haven’t been paid in a timely fashion. First, the process of verifying tournament results is still done manually and often error-prone; second, the sheer volume of payouts (also overseen by humans) for a single tournament can take weeks to verify and clear; and lastly, given the global and digital nature of the industry, international banking comes with cumbersome processes, regulations and time lags.
“I hope that Edge will be the go-to place for processing data into real transactions,” Hiett said. “We want to take away the issues that esports players are facing.”
Edge is also closing on a $1.5 million funding round, led in part by among other angel investors with backgrounds in payments and gaming.