Break out the mint juleps. Find your fanciest hats. It is time for the horse races. Don’t worry; you don’t even need to fly to Kentucky.

There are a lot of unique uses of blockchain technology and the crypto space. One of those is Zed Run. This digital horse racing game, which launched in 2018, has created quite a frenzy as it incorporates cryptocurrency, decentralized technology, and digital horses into a fun, and potentially profitable, game.

What Is Zed Run?

While many dream of owning their own racehorse, let’s face it. Most of us don’t have the cash for a stable, horse feed, or the care and maintenance a real horse requires. But, what if you could have a racehorse made from an NFT?

Zed Run is a blockchain game that uses NFTs for digital horse racing. Unlike traditional NFTs or non-fungible tokens, the makers of Zed Run like to call their product “breathing NFTs.”

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A Breathing NFT

Roman Tirone, the head of partnerships at Virtually Human, the Australian company that created Zed Run, coined the term breathing NFT. In an interview with the New York Times, he called the concept an NFT with a unique DNA.

“It can breed, has a bloodline, has a life of its own,” Tirone told the Times. “It races, it has genes it passes on, and it lives on an algorithm so no two horses are the same.”

Digital Horses

Much like a real horse farm, starting up your digital horse for Zed Run is a costly venture. Maybe it isn’t the same as purchasing a stud in Kentucky, but be prepared to shell out hundreds, and sometimes thousands, if you want to own a horse.

However, to play in Zed Run, one of the first things to do is search for a horse.

Quite a Price Tag

While introductory horses in 2019 were ranging around the $30 price tag, the popularity and success of the game have driven up that sale price higher than Kentucky Bluegrass. Today’s prices for a single horse can top out on a secondary market for $150,000 each. Complete stables have gained some stable owners over $250,000.

Once you do own a horse, this NFT is yours. And like all non-fungible tokens, the ownership of this digital asset is made possible through blockchain technology. Just as NFTs are used in owning digital art, you can also be a part of owning digital horse racing.

There are breeders out there making this practice into a true business. If an NFT horse can go for a six-figure price, there is clearly a payout there for the taking. And while other sports have yet to find the equivalent, it is not likely far behind. Someday, you may be able to play baseball, golf, or football all in a virtual, crypto-based marketplace.

Where To Buy Zed Run Horses

While Zed Run offers up horses in periodic drops for purchase on its own platform, there is also a vast secondary market out there, where owners are selling their racehorses just like crypto. And, it takes crypto to buy them.

If you don’t catch drops on the site, and chances are you won’t because those horses fly off the market awfully quickly scooped up by fans, dubbed Zed Heads, you still have a chance in secondary markets. Zed Run’s own site suggests you try OpenSea or Discord to find your champion.

If using another market outside of the Zed Run and branded drops, the platform warns users to look for the “official and verified Zed Run contract” which is noted by a blue “tick” mark on the Zed logo. These contracts are approved by the platform and offer a level of security to buyers.

The Making of a Digital Horse

When a mommy horse and a daddy horse really love each other, they … oh, wait. That is the real world. Kind of…

In the online universe, digital horses can still be bred. Yes, horses on Zed Run can breed with others. You may stud your horse, and receive payments (think stud fees) for doing so. From a technical stance, however, the creation of the newly formed horse is up to programming and random luck-of-the-draw.

A breeding algorithm was created by Zed Run in order to truly take into account a horse’s “bloodlines” and how removed a horse is from its “ancestors.” This means “genetic traits” are actually “passed down” from one generation to the next.

Considerations in Selecting a Horse

There are so many things to consider when picking out your digital horse, and its name and color are just the start. True Zed Run enthusiasts suggest that you dig a little deeper if you want a successful racer.

The Bloodline

There are four bloodlines in the Zed Run racing world. The four bloodlines include:

  • Nakamoto: the rarest and purest breed sold at the highest prices
  • Szabo: the next most rare horse, below a Nakamoto, but often more affordably priced
  • Finney: a mid-range horse that can compete with the best of them
  • Buterin: the most common of horses, most affordable, but also able to hold its own

The bloodline is just one factor in what the horse’s make-up is, so putting all your faith in its rare bloodline alone is not the way to win. A Buterin can beat a Nakamoto in any race, as there are several more traits that matter.

The Genotype

Just like bloodlines, the genotype is ranked in order of a horse’s availability. The rarer a horse is, the more desired they are.

There are six breeds within the ZED ecosystem. In order of rarity, they are Genesis, Legendary, Exclusive, Elite, Cross, and Pacer.

Genesis horses can only be acquired via Zed Run direct drops. These are the purest breed type and therefore are the most desired of horses. The Genesis horse is also strongly desired because it is a part of a limited run.

Zed Run has stated that there is a fixed number of these horses (only 38,000 will ever be created) and once they are sold, no more will be minted.


Gender also plays a role in a horse’s make-up, and therefore value. Male horses charge a fee for being the stud, while the female horse’s owner keeps the offspring.

Currently, males can produce up to three children per calendar month, while female horses can only give birth to one horse per month, so each side has its pros and cons. To be sure you have the naming down, here are the gender/ages associated with Zed Run’s racers:

  • A Colt — a male horse that has no children
  • A Stallion — a male horse that has offspring
  • A Philly — a female horse that has no children
  • A Mare — a female horse that has offspring

Now, that’s a horse of a different color! Another factor that goes into the rarity, and again value, of a racehorse, is also in its coloring.

There are seven total coat color groups in Zed Run, including Neptune, Earth, Wild, Moon, Fiery, Classic, and Mystical.

Each color can affect the temperament and personality of a horse but does not impact a horse’s performance (i.e. how fast he or she runs in a race).

Each group is broken down into three tiers: Super Rare, Rare, and Common. In total, there are 28 unique combinations, four tiers for each of the seven colors.

Digital Horse Racing

Once you have a horse, you can race him in the hourly races offered around the clock via the Zed Run platform. This concept of an online gaming ring designed to make crypto is a unique one.

With most NFTs in the marketplace, for example, digital art, the NFTs are bought, sold, and traded. With Zed Run, these features still exist. You can buy horses, sell them, or even trade them with other horse breeders.

However, in Zed Run, it doesn’t stop there. The marketplace is only one facet of the platform. The racing is the other.

With NFT digital horse racing, you not only own the NFT (the horse), but can race him or breed him, too. It gives users an entirely new money stream not previously used in the typical NFT blockchain.

How Does Zed Run Work?

If you have ever been to an off-track betting location, you may find much of the Zed Run display similar. Screens are shown with a live stream of the upcoming (or presently running) race. The horses participating in that race are also displayed, along with their statistics.

Start With a Streaming Service

The races being shown on the Zed Run website are also streamed via the popular video game app, Twitch. The stream adds to the game-like aspects of the platform, meeting gamers where they already are, and using systems they are familiar with in order to communicate.

Take One Discord App

In addition to the Twitch stream (think screens in the off-track betting arena showing the races), you will also notice a live Discord chat thread. Discord is used in conjunction with Zed Run, allowing racers, breeders, and even observers to talk.

While blockchain technology brings users together in a peer-to-peer network, Zed Run uses this additional tech (Discord app) to bring them even closer together.

Add In a Blockchain

There are 12 horses in each race. That is the limit, and no more can be in any one race at one time. Races are only held on the hour, every hour. Horses are matched for a race based on the aforementioned genetic qualities, but also using the past performance records of each horse.

Then, the magic happens. Okay, technically speaking the computations happen. The Zed Run site uses an algorithm that runs 10,000 random outcomes to choose the race’s condition.

Stir Together and Create a Metaverse

Combining these applications, alongside the blockchain technology of its platform, Zed Run has created a society of its own. Owners use their own horses, making the atmosphere more game-like than gambling-based.

The addition of a “breathing NFT” just adds to the reality of the game. Since these same races take place daily with real, living horses, it is not difficult to imagine. Thusly, players are sucked into a metaverse, making connections, planning breeding, and betting for or against each others’ horses.

Add in a Discord server to allow them to communicate, and the virtual circle is complete. There is certainly a community out there, with many players involved. The idea of such a vast metaverse has investors and gamers alike interested.

Behind the Technology of Zed Run

The blockchain that runs Zed Run each day, for each race, is not just a random number generator. Its algorithms are taking into account the actual factors of each of the 12 horses in the race. Statistics, such as which gate a horse prefers, its genetic lineage, past performances, and even race conditions, are all taken into account.

Just like a real-life race, those wagering a bet can read all about the horse’s past, and thusly all the factors that the computers will also use to determine a winner.

The Science of a Horse Race

In addition to a horse’s make-up (bloodline, genotype, gender, and color), the horses are also rated. A class of a horse is considered, in order to make races fair, horse to horse.

Class of a Horse

For example, you wouldn’t want to take a horse out for its first run against the champion of the year. To level the playing field, Zed Run has created classes. Those include:

  • Griffin- un-raced
  • Class 5- a Z rating between 0–20
  • Class 4- a Z rating between 21–40
  • Class 3- a Z rating between 41–60
  • Class 2- a Z rating between 61–80
  • Class 1- a Z rating above 81
Z-Rating of a Horse

A “Z-Rating” is set by starting a horse with its first race. If you are new to the platform, you will want to get your horse to break into the scene with its first race, which is a free Griffin-Class Race. From there, your horse will be given a Z-rating, based on his or her performance.

The Griffin Class Race will provide your newbie horse with a rating. This is a base rating, and it is said to be largely determined by a genotype.

Ratings are broken down as such:

  • Z1 — Z4 base rating of 57
  • Z5 — Z9 base rating of 37
  • Z10+ — base rating of 17

Don’t fret, as your horse is not then set for life, stuck in one single class based on its first performance. Instead, this is just a baseline to create fairness amongst racers. From that point on, your horse’s rating will rise and fall with its record.

A rating increases by winning points. Points are awarded by the place your horse takes in a race. Points break down as such:

  • First place is awarded 4 points
  • Second place is awarded 3 points
  • Third place is awarded 2 points
  • Fourth place is awarded 1 point
  • Fifth to Eighth no point change
  • Ninth place is deducted -1 point
  • Tenth place is deducted-2 points
  • Eleventh place is deducted-3 points
  • Twelfth place is deducted-4 points

While a horse with a rating lower than the required level can compete in said higher race, those with a higher level cannot “move down” to race lesser horses. In other words, you can step up to take on the big boys, but you can’t go down and bully the newbies.

As you can see, it may take a dedicated degree in analytics to fully vet a horse or its standings. All of those analytics combine to make races anything but a game of pure chance.

How To Make Money on Zed Run

It is clear that it takes money to make money in the game Zed Run, but how can you earn a profit with an online horse racing game?

For starters, we suggest a pretty strong passion for the concept. This is a program that can become a very consuming metaverse. Zed Heads know all too well the ability to play the game is only one piece of the puzzle.

Two Tokens Used

ZED uses the ERC-721 NFT standard, which means that all of a horse’s data will be recorded on the blockchain. This also means, by the nature of the blockchain and its traits, that that data can be publicly cross-checked and reviewed. Details such as a racehorse’s DNA, past performance, name, color, and family tree are all stored on the blockchain, thanks to the services of an ERC-721 token.

Operating on the Ethereum platform, the Wrapped Ethereum, called WETH, is the token that represents ETH at a one-to-one ratio. The WETH also conforms to the ERC-20 token standard.

Conforming to ERC-20 means that these tokens have increased functionality across any application that handles ERC-20 tokens. This offers a token to expand the horizons of gamers using crypto.

Winning Horses

Horses that place in the top three spots are automatically awarded WETH. These funds are put into your digital wallet following the race’s conclusion. You do not need to take any action to receive the funds.

For first place, a horse is awarded 60 percent of the prize money. In second, the horse will earn its owner 25 percent, while third place takes home 15 percent.

From there, you can choose how to use the WETH as you see fit. Given its versatility, the makers of Zed Run wanted horse owners to have a variety of choices when it came to using their winnings.

Other Ways to Earn

While owning the perfect horse, and honing its skills into a lead performer is the main focus of the racing aspect of the game, it is not the only way to make a buck. Much of the Zed Run cryptocurrency exchanges can also occur in the breeding or selling of horses.

Breeding Your Horse

If you manage to breed a prize horse or help one work its way up to greatness, you may want to put him out to stud or offer her up to carry offspring. This is another way that game players earn crypto.

Negotiations are held over Zed Run via Discord or OpenSea. Like any blockchain, there is an ultimate goal to skip that middle man, so breeders are able to connect user to user.

Having a great horse, whether he earned it or by luck of the draw, will mean having rare bloodlines and genotypes, alongside an outstanding Z-rating. If your horse has the goods, more gamers will want to breed with it, allowing you to have an income based on that horse’s breeding fees alone.

Remember, a male horse owner can put him out to stud (collect a fee), while the female horse owner will keep the offspring.

Selling Your Horse

The additional market brought about by Zed Run is more typical of the NFT marketplace, allowing users to buy, sell, or trade valued horses on an open market.

Just as you would do with digital art, NFTs here can be valued for set amounts, paid for, and exchanged all courtesy of the blockchain. Advertising via hashtags can get your horse seen on markets like OpenSea or within Discord.

Know Your Value

It can be tough to determine the fair value for your collection, once you are well into the world of horses, racing, and stables offered with Zed Run.

Thankfully, FLOLiO offers the ability to ensure you get a fair market value on your horse or stable of horses. The tools and resources at can make a big difference in your bottom dollar. By understanding what an NFT’s true worth is, you are far more likely to get what price you deserve.

Be sure to calculate those top breeders, and know just what your investment looks like when it comes to dollars and cents.

The Wild World of Virtual Horse Racing

With an endless supply of creativity, and a vast technology on which to build, there is no telling what the future holds for NFTs, cryptocurrency, and the digital asset scene. One thing is for sure, there is a big market for online horse racing, and you don’t have to hit the off-track betting arena or casino to try your hand.

Zed Run has brought a unique revenue stream to many, and in doing so, created a phenomenon that is just getting its running legs. Surely, other sports are soon to follow. Keep an eye out and follow trends as this tech continues to grow and prosper.

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