ICE London 2023 interview of Nick Hill with Becky Liggero

ICE London 2023 highlights

YouTube video

ICE London set an attendance record when it welcomed 40,000 unique gambling industry attendees to the ExCeL from February 7 to 9, such an exciting milestone for Clarion, the event organizer.

After attending ICE London for nearly 20 years, for the 2023 edition, I wanted to check out the most ground-breaking technology and B2B solutions that exist within the gambling space today, in particular those that are powered by blockchain.

I spent the majority of my time at the Consumer Protection Zone (CPZ) because the management of data surrounding responsible gambling initiatives can be dramatically improved using the timestamp functionality of the blockchain. An example of two companies who understand this synergy are W2 and Crucial Compliance, headline sponsors of the CPZ and both powered by nChain when it comes to their blockchain tech.

“Safer gambling is tippy tongue of everybody’s mindset…and for nChain to be the headline sponsors [of CPZ] with our partners, Crucial Compliance and W2—as well as BitBoss—to be supporting and powering them is terrific,” shared nChain Sales Director Nick Hill.

While perusing the CPZ, I spoke with Crucial Compliance CEO Paul Foster about the progress his team has made with their technology and product offerings over the past year. He explained that via nChain’s Kensei platform, Crucial Compliance is now able to put irrefutable data such as key player protection data onto the blockchain so its stored and findable.

“When we look at our system, it creates a huge amount of data and individual data points are what we’re storing through the Kensei system onto the blockchain,” Foster confirmed.

I also spoke with W2 CEO Warren Russell at the CPZ and he explained how his company is looking at ways to “future proof” identity.

“At the moment, identity verification is very much a point in time, but that relationship has to change from a perceptual manner,” explained Russell.

“So we’re using blockchain in a way that you can reuse identity credentials, share identity credentials but anonymously to meet GDPR and data protection requirements. We reduce the cost, reduce the friction, and use market leading technology to change the way that we onboard customers for the better,” he said.

As you can see, there is such a natural fit between blockchain and data-rich B2B providers like Crucial Compliance and W2. According to Foster, nChain identified the fit early on and were actually the first blockchain solution to service the player protection space.

“They’re the first people that saw the opportunity and as a result, we’re the only people that are doing it with them. And that is incredible because with W2 and ourselves, we’re able to offer the ultimate solution, which is bombproof for the next five years. Nobody else will be able to beat it. So we’re here to stay. It’s a fantastic relationship,” Foster said.

Matt Dickson, CEO and Co-Founder of Bitboss, another partner of nChain, made the trip to ICE London from Denver to educate delegates on his blockchain-powered cashless casino system.

“We have a cashless ecosystem for casinos consisting of hardware and software and banking KYC, we wrap it all together to make it one seamless package for a casino to launch into cashless,” Dickson explained.

“The velocity of money is so high in casinos, we’re constantly moving balances back and forth. Blockchain technology is really the key way to do that and nChain is powering that technology for us,” he added.

It was also a real pleasure to bump into two Block Dojo graduates, the CEO and Co-founders of Sesire and Combat IQ, at ICE London. For those who don’t know, Block Dojo is a blockchain incubator program with offices in London and Miami, which just announced a 51% acquisition by nChain.

While Sesire is not a gambling industry company, rather an adult entertainment platform, Sesire’s Sam Gibbon said the synergies between the two worlds occur in payments.

“We’re trying to put creators back in control. So giving them governance and obviously reduced fees. So the power of blockchain brings lots of benefits to the adult entertainment sphere,” shared Gibbon.

“At the moment, the industry standard is people are paid either twice monthly or T+7, so seven days after it happens, whereas if we utilise blockchain, people can get paid instantly. You don’t have to wait for us to clear funds and obviously we can charge a lot less then,” he confirmed.

Tim Malik of Combat IQ added, “We’re a deep tech company that uses blockchain and I think that goes a long way to show the power of blockchain. You don’t have to be built on the blockchain, but you can still tap into its utility. That’s what we’re doing.”

“When we analyse flight data, we send that to betting companies and we want that immutable record of the odds that we share for easy dispute resolution and for settlement. So that’s the motivating factor for us to use blockchain,” Malik explained.

iGaming Business blockchain tech contributor Sergio Muscat, Founder of Oxygia Consulting, has been following blockchain for years through the lens of a technologist. He says while we’re still in the beginning stages of blockchain, there are many applications for the tech within the gambling industry.

“I think that there is a lot of potential for the gaming industry to use to use blockchain more as a way to provide service more than as a way to bring money in and out,” he said.

“Using the idea of blockchain and of NFTs, for example, to provide loyalty points, to create digital marketing content and digital products that [operators] can then distribute to their customers,” he suggested.

The massive potential of combining IPv6 and blockchain was even discussed at ICE London this year, a subject that gets Earle G. Hall, CEO of and Government Blockchain Association board member, extremely excited.

“Blockchain is still in its young stages. IPv6 already has the mesh, IPv6 already has the capacity to store information. Now, if you take an approach of consolidating a transaction or validating a transaction and you use the mesh, you use the IPv6 network that already exists, well, you’ve got perfection,” he told me.

“So I think that merge is where we see blockchain go commercial and it goes from not smoke and mirrors, but it becomes from something that scares people into retail—into everything—because everything should have an IPv6 address in today’s world. And IPv6, that’s where it’s pushing us,” he said.

Throughout my time at ICE London, I noticed most blockchain-related conversations referenced the future and the way it will be “someday,” but we must remember it’s important to get involved with blockchain now to stay ahead of competition.

“If you don’t embrace what is happening now, then you’re going to be left behind,” warned Hill.

“If you don’t start to adopt your blockchain or DLT or Web3 strategies now, you’re playing catch up. Today is the day and you need to act now because this technology is not going away. It’s here to stay and it’s moving rapidly,” Hill advised.

Watch: ICE London 2022 opens its doors at the ExCeL

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.