The best chess players in the world compete for bitcoin. The pot is volatile.
When the best chess players in the world face off this week, they won’t just be controlling their opponents. They will also check the bitcoin price.
Sixteen grandmasters, including the world’s top 10, compete and race against the clock in a typically tense elite-level chess tournament – like anyone who’s watched Netflix’s NFLX,
“The Queen’s Gambit” will know.
But there’s a twist this time, as tournament organizers have thrown the volatility of the world’s No.1 cryptocurrency into the mix.
The winner of the FTX Crypto Cup, which kicked off on Sunday, will take home $220,000 plus an additional $100,000 in bitcoin BTCUSD,
provided by crypto exchange FTX, which sponsors the tournament. This is a record total prize for an online tournament.
However, that $100,000 in bitcoins – or 2.1825 bitcoins – is now worth just over $81,000, according to the live prize tracker on the tournament website. At one point on Monday, it fell below $70,000. As the competition only ends on May 31, there is still plenty of time for the winnings to fluctuate.
The tournament is one of 10 events in the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, which organizers have dubbed “the richest and most prestigious online chess event in history”.
Read: Fed’s Bullard Says Most Cryptocurrencies Are “Ain’t Worthless”
The rules clearly state that the additional prize pot is $100,000 in bitcoins at the cryptocurrency price at 2:30 p.m. on May 17 – $45,819, making the prize pot 2.1825 bitcoins .
The world’s first bitcoin chess tournament is taking place during a particularly volatile time for the cryptocurrency.
The price fell to a 24-hour low just above $31,000 on Sunday, more than 50% below its mid-April high of $64,829.14. This comes amid environmental concerns over bitcoin mining, raised by Tesla TSLA,
chief executive Elon Musk, and a Chinese crackdown on the sector. It has since recovered ground to trade just above $37,000 early Tuesday, according to data from CoinDesk.
The unpredictable nature of bitcoin seems to have passed on to players, with world number one Magnus Carlsen at risk of being knocked out prematurely after a shaky start to the tournament.
Read: Banks are rushing to offer crypto services. HSBC won’t, CEO says.