Latest in Crypto Hiring: Former DraftKings Exec Shifts to Web3 Horse Racing
The exec, who helped build out the sports betting giant’s NFT marketplace, has jumped aboard at a digital horse racing startup
Silks modified by Blockworks
A former pro at DraftKings and Amazon Web Services executive has made the move over to the blockchain gaming space.
Srini Vasan has joined Game of Silks as its chief technology officer, the company told Blockworks. He intends to help the blockchain game build its backend tech stack to enable a “frictionless” in-game experience for metaverse users.
Vasan was an enterprise architect at Amazon Web Services from 2019 to 2021 before joining sports betting platform DraftKings as a vice president of engineering — a role in which he was tasked with building out the platform’s NFT marketplace.
Citi said in a March 2022 report that the total addressable market for the metaverse could reach $13 trillion by 2030, while users could amount to roughly five billion.
“We can debate which compound annual growth rate will be proven correct in 5 to 10 years, but the commercial potential of this space seems undeniable from my perspective,” Vasan said.
Game of Silks touches on several areas which may shape the future of blockchain gaming, Vasan argued — such as the replication of real-world sports and sports betting, as well as new revenue sharing models between professional athletes (or, in this case, race horses).
Digital horse racing has been around, as the startup behind Zed Run — which allows users to virtually breed, sell and buy horses — raised $20 million in Series A funding in 2021.
Game of Silks, built on Ethereum, replicates and tokenizes each year’s crop of professional racehorses as they are registered. Owners of these NFTs, called Silks Horses, are rewarded as their real-life counterparts win races and breed offspring.
Vasan’s hire comes after the blockchain game partnered with the New York Racing Association, which generated $2.3 billion in wagering last year.
“Game of Silks’ long-term goal is to deliver a fantasy-football-sized impact on the sport of thoroughbred horseracing by introducing the sport to new audiences and demographics that might not have ever thought about attending a race previously,” Vasan said.
a16z adds former Google exec
Jason Rosenthal, as a16z crypto’s new operating partner, is set to work with the CEOs and founders in the venture capital firm’s portfolio.
“We’ve staffed the a16z crypto operating team with experts in functions such as go-to-market, recruiting, and regulatory, to provide guidance to our founders in those areas,” a16z crypto founder Chris Dixon said in a Monday blog post. “We also know that founders often need guidance from someone who’s personally navigated many of the abstract, harder-to-define, but nevertheless critical obstacles that inevitably arise in any startup.”
Rosenthal was CEO of social network creator platform Ning from 2008 to 2012 before becoming the chief executive at Lytro — a software company ultimately acquired by Google.
He has spent the last five years running most of Google’s consumer-facing subscription services.
Other notable hires
- Former federal prosecutor Laurel Loomis Rimon joined law firm Jenner & Block, where she is set to co-chair its fintech and crypto assets practice
- Tokenization company True I/O added Karl Turner, Crypto.com’s vice president of North America, to its board of advisers.
- Web3 gaming company Pixelcraft Studios appointed Jason Slama — a former game lead at digital card game Gwent — as its new game director.
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