A digital race horse just changed hands for $125,000 as crypto-mania and the boom in NFTs show no signs of slowing down

Racing horses with jockeys

A digital racehorse based on blockchain technology sold for $125,000 recently, as crypto-mania sweeps the markets.

In online game ‘Zed Run’, digital race horses can be raced, traded and bred. Different breeds and bloodlines make the horses unique, as well as their racing history. Players buy and own the horses in the same way non-fungible tokens – or NFTs – are bought and owned. It is inscribed into the blockchain code the horses are based on.

Zed Runs runs on the Ethereum blockchain. When it first launched in 2019, horses sold for around $30 – but prices have accelerated up to a peak of $125,000 and regularly exceed $15,000. Almost 11,000 horses have been sold since then and an additional 8,000 have been bred within the game. Different stables mix bloodlines and breeds with the aim of producing successful racers.

NFTs are a fast-growing crypto trend, where people buy unique digital files such as images, audio or video that are not exchangeable. They are often deemed to be collectors items, as anyone who is online can usually view them, but only one person can own them.

In Zed Run, players can enter their horses into races for a fee and win prizes of a few hundred dollars. Before entering, players are unable to see what the odds of winning are and therefore must take part in races based on the defining features and race history of their horse.

Chris Ebeling, co-founder of Virtually Human, who launched Zed Runs, told Sportico there was opportunity for expansion and people would eventually be able to make a living off trading, breeding and racing digital horses.

Gaming company Atari, who have expanded their blockchain and crypto business, are supporting Zed Run in its development.

The digital horses are one of the newest trends emerging from the crypto-mania that has grabbed many. In recent months, NFTs have been selling for record highs and have entered industries from music to art and gaming. The expansion and interest continues despite worries about crypto assets being in a bubble.

Earlier this month, Mick Jagger used a song snippet combined with a visual loop by artist Extraweg to raise money for charity and Christie’s has announced that it will auction more digital art pieces after it successfully sold a digital artwork for a record price of over $69 million.

Other digital assets have also been on the rise, such as virtual land and real estate, which can be purchased, built on and sold, much like the horses. An image of such a virtual landscape sold for over $74,000 earlier this month.