‘Shark Tank’ South Africa Sees Its First Bitcoin Investment

Written by Dana Sanchez

Reality TV show “Shark Tank” premiered in 2009 in the U.S., and has since gained global appeal among audiences who love the sink-or-swim stakes. The show has a cult-like following in the U.S., but it wasn’t born there. It’s a franchise of the international format “Dragons’ Den,” which originated in Japan in 2001.

Aspiring entrepreneur-contestants get to pitch their business ideas to a panel of “sharks” — investors — and try, if they’re lucky, to set off a bidding war among the sharks.

As reality TV shows go, “Shark Tank,” may be unusual for its focus on businesses seeking investment rather than on the drama or personal lives of cast members, Business Insider reported.

There are now “Shark Tank” versions all over the world including Canada, Czech Republic, England, Finland, Poland, Spain and Ukraine. The look and feel of the show varies dramatically from country to country, along with investors’ expectations when they put money into a company.

An investor on the South African version of “Shark Tank” is making waves for a new reason — possibly a world first — and it has to do with legal tender.

From Coindesk. Story by Corin Faife.

In what could be a world first, bitcoin made an appearance on the popular TV series “Shark Tank” this week.

South African audiences now have their own version of the popular TV franchise, launched in October. Entrepreneurs with a business idea pitch to a panel of investors, aka the sharks. But while bitcoin may not seem like an obvious fit, a notable investor in the technology is giving it small-screen visibility.

For the first season, one of the four sharks is Vinny Lingham, a South Africa entrepreneur known for a string of companies including Gyft, Yola and now blockchain startup Civic. He also happens to be one of the most vocal supporters of bitcoin, having incorporated it into past products.

In the most recent episode, Lingham brought bitcoin to the fore by offering his investment to the developers of augmented reality game Augmentors in bitcoin.

In the clip, made available online by TV network M-Net, Lingham tells the Augmentors founders: “The problem you’re trying to solve around creating rarity … can better be solved by using the bitcoin blockchain. So, my offer will be 500,000 ZAR, or roughly 59 bitcoins, for 20 percent of your business.”

Lingham said he had confidence in his investment due to the success of games like Spells of Genesis, a trading card game that integrates a blockchain-based token.

“I made the investment in bitcoin because I believe that it’s the right blockchain for the Augmentors team to leverage to build a globally accessible game where ownership of limited digital assets can be verified.”

Games like Augmentors and others represent a first foray into the use of cryptocurrency tokens for gaming, but augmented reality games may prove to be an ideal place, he said, for this blurring of the lines between in-game and real-world value.

Lingham proposed that blockchain be used as a new solution to problems the entrepreneurs were trying to solve – generating scarcity and uniqueness in a digital environment.

Read more at Coindesk.