On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that betting was legal across the U.S., overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act from 1992. Following the federal green light, Delaware was the first to roll out single games sport betting on June 6, with other states expected to promptly follow suit.
But while the Supreme Court addresses the needs and rights of the states, what about the needs and rights of the players?
A company that is bringing blockchain technology to the area of social betting, Bethereum is using distributed ledger technology to offer players full transparency and, it hopes, fairness. Today, Bethereum has opened its public token sale.
The online platform combines blockchain technology with gamification elements to create a betting experience that the company claims its users can wholeheartedly trust. As Bethereum puts it, “in traditional betting, the house always wins, but with Bethereum, the house cannot win because it no longer exists.”
“Conventional betting is plagued by a number of key challenges,” Bethereum CEO Giacomo Tognoni told me. “There is a general lack of transparency and trust, high fees, low returns, and low social involvement. Regular winners are often banned, restricted, or overcharged. Conventional payment methods are outdated and expensive to run. We can provide full transparency of security by using a decentralized solution, automatically regulated by smart contracts.”
These smart contracts record the conditions of every bet. The platform then keeps funds in escrow, validates the bet outcome via interaction with oracles, and then automatically pays out any winnings. Smart Contracts are unchangeable once deployed and occur without human intervention, eliminating the risk of manipulation. Bet results are fed to the Smart Contract using an oracle (a trusted data feed) that gets its data from multiple data sources and runs a consensus algorithm to verify the validity of the source data.
“From a user experience standpoint, online betting is also looking more like a science than a fun activity,” Tognoni said. “This is why we are making every feature as intuitive as possible. As an illustration, we recently launched a simplified World Cup betting contest, and it is gaining major traction with players.”
Bethereum recently ran a successful presale, in which it raised over $4 million. In addition, Bethereum gained a top finalist spot in ICO Race, a competition in which over 150 projects vied for some of the largest prizes ever awarded in a blockchain pitching event.
Combining smart contracts with a distributed ledger makes a lot of sense for the betting industry, but Bethereum also includes gamification.
“We’re also adding powerful gamification elements, something the industry truly misses,” Tognoni said. “For instance, we are integrating social chat, achievements and badges, leaderboards, competitions, and alliances. Making the experience more like a game and less like a transaction is crucial for player retention and engagement. Gamification and social events are also what allowed us to build such an amazing community in a fully organic way.”
Of course, the idea of the “house” not existing is somewhat metaphorical. Bethereum still needs to make money like any other startup.
“In our solution, players’ funds stay with players, and just move from group to group,” Tognoni said. “However, we do take a 3.75 percent fee on the winnings as compensation for facilitating the betting service, and to support platform and application development.”
Bethereum isn’t just a B2C solution. It is also available to partners.
“We also have a B2B offering, white-labeling our technology to selected operators and conventional betting agencies, with a revenue share from third-party developers,” Tognoni said.
What’s next for Bethereum?
“We’re now busy completing our token sale, which has just opened and ends at the latest by July 31, 2018,” Tognoni said. “The focus will then shift to continuing development of the platform, our protocol, and our social betting application. This will be done hand in hand with the community, as we want to make sure we keep them informed and deliver a solution they truly appreciate. At the same time, we’ve started to engage with potential partnership candidates and initiated the process to acquire the necessary betting licenses.”