Charging down one road comes gambling, a business where money is constantly changing hands and an industry that is reliant on assurances of fairness and always hungry for innovation.
Down the other comes the blockchain, a technology that facilitates the movement of money in a transparent, secure environment that could ultimately reinvent the way offerings in the digital gaming space are designed and brought to market.
If you are intimately familiar with the gambling industry, you have undoubtedly heard the word “revolutionary” attached liberally to new (and sometimes not-so-new) ideas.
It is a label that is dismissed almost reflexively. But blockchain technology presents a rare instance, like in-gaming betting or the hold-card camera, where the term aptly applies.
Amazingly, a couple of years into the “revolution,” the prominent question in the gambling industry remains: “What is it?” Many consumers and entrepreneurs alike, despite being entrenched in the movement, have given up on understanding exactly what it is.
The basic explanation is that a blockchain is a digital database that serves as a ledger distributed across a peer-to-peer network of computers.
It yields a continuously growing set of records (aka “blocks”), each containing details of a time-stamped transaction and linked to data from the previous block.
The intersection was inevitable Each new transaction is authenticated across the network by “miners” using specialized equipment.
Looking at it more abstractly, we are accustomed to data in the digital space going through centralized channels.
Even peer-to-peer betting involves transactions that flow through host computers.
Gaming software is housed on servers, and money is channeled in and out of banks by payment processors.
With blockchains, however, data flows from peer to peer without going through cen tralized channels.
At the onset, blockchain technology was utilized as cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin being the first prominent solution available to the public.
The intersection was inevitable This in itself had great utility in the internet gaming industry, which has forever been plagued by payment processing difficulties.
As with all innovations in the space, the early adopters were
offshore betting sites based in jurisdictions with minimal regulatory oversight, with larger highly regulated services like William Hill and Paddy Power eventually getting in the game upon regulatory approval.
But for digital businesses—including gambling operators—blockchain technology offers much more than just a means of paying for products and services.
Since the infancy of iGaming in the mid ’90s,
when companies commonly raised money by acquiring the shells of corporations listed on smaller exchanges, the industry has sought creative means of tapping startup capital.
Introducing blockchain-based tokens to the open market, aka the initial coin offering (ICO), encapsulates that spirit.
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