The legendary gambling centers of Las Vegas and Macau are suffering from lockdowns triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. With their immediate and longer-term futures looking uncertain, it’s time to talk again about the “iGaming,” or online gaming industry. Bitcoin SV (BSV) is well primed as a platform for data-heavy and provably fair gaming that doesn’t care whether its players enter a casino or stay in their living rooms.
According to the Bitcoin Association, iGaming was valued at US$48 billion in 2018. Projections at the time indicated that figure would grow much bigger as mobile internet devices continued to proliferate around the world. But with a new drive to move more real-world applications online and less physical interaction—and whether that’s a good thing or not—there could be an even bigger boom for online gambling alternatives from here on.
iGaming and trust
One aspect of iGaming that has hampered its growth so far is trust. Physical casinos, for all their flaws, are regulated in most of the jurisdictions in which they’re located and must follow strict rules on game fairness. Their owners invest a lot of money and effort in building their premises, which can be closed down or disciplined if local officials are dissatisfied with their actions. The owners themselves must be identifiable. That isn’t always the case, or at least the jurisdictions and rules are not always clear, in the online gaming space.
Blockchain technology, whether BSV or otherwise, has long been touted as a solution to this problem. Publicly verifiable and immutable records of games and rules are a big step towards establishing reputations and winning players’ trust. If you can see whether a game is running fairly or not, the location or identity of its operators becomes less important (though still relevant).
Even with blockchain, though, there are issues. Some apps—such as many employing Ethereum smart contracts—run their gaming logic on-chain, meaning they’re limited by that platform’s performance issues. Others use the blockchain only for recording player-owned game assets, with the gameplay logic happening off-chain. Even in the latter case, apps may be limited by performance and scalability issues if the blockchain itself can’t handle everything at once.
This is also an issue in a separate-yet-related industry: video gaming and esports. Companies like Kronoverse ran into similar problems when developing their flagship product, CryptoFights.
Enter Bitcoin, built exactly for the purpose of handling everything at once. Even if the game logic isn’t running on-chain, it has the transactional capacity to record (and verify) its operations, as well as interactions and asset ownership records for all players. BSV’s unlimited scaling capacity is perfect for iGaming blockchain applications, with the added assurance the base protocol cannot be altered at some future date in a way that impacts economies and business models.
Again, trustworthy online gaming was one of Bitcoin’s earliest promises—and for a while, one of its biggest success stories. But BTC’s deliberately limited transaction capacity knocked most of its operators out of business as usage grew. Gaming development has been either stagnant or moribund on BTC as developers sought alternatives.
BitBoss has the industry experience and talent to make iGaming work
BitBoss is one of the more experienced companies developing iGaming platforms on Bitcoin BSV today. Its CEO and co-founder, former lawyer Matt Dickson, is well established in the gaming world. He founded Poydras Gaming Finance Corporation which once owned almost 3,000 slot machines, before selling it to Las Vegas gaming company AGS recently. Together with CTO Alex Shore, an entrepreneur and enterprise software developer, they settled on BSV as the most suitable platform for their new operation.
BitBoss has developed a suite of iGaming products that run on BSV and can be used online, in real life, and even to integrate the two. These include the “Bridge Link” hardware device that communicates between mobile apps and physical gaming devices in casinos, the multi-asset Cabbage Wallet, and a range of mobile gaming apps. The company also has a number of patents pending for its technology, and the platform is available for third party developers to build upon.
With BitBoss’ technology, Dickson said, casino operators can integrate other aspects of their business—such as promotions, restaurants, entertainment and incentives—without the operator or their users even needing to know they’re using the Bitcoin blockchain. Casino operators have attempted to create apps for this purpose in the past, he said, but implementation has been generally poor.
They’re also missing out on customers who can’t or won’t physically visit the casino premises, a problem that has existed for decades but has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s highly likely casino operators will ramp up efforts to go online and recover the millions they’ve lost as casinos lie darkened. Casino operators in the past have had a poor understanding of the iGaming world or considered it too expensive to develop and link with their ecosystems. They now have added incentives to explore online options. Companies like BitBoss and other budding entrepreneurs on BSV would be happy to show them the way.
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