Blockchain technology is on the cusp of having a meteoric effect on the world of online gambling. In fact, if you talk to those most au-fait with the technology, they believe that blockchain is going to revolutionize the online world as we know it, creating a different kind of internet. Although such statements don’t yet have much substance, what we do know about blockchain technology is that it is already enhancing the iGaming landscape in many noticeable ways.
iGaming platforms already using blockchain to its potential
The casino industry has long been at the forefront of tech. From the development of the first roulette wheel in the 17th century to physical slot machines and the latest state-of-the-art 3D slot technology, casinos have always been ahead of the curve in terms of tech trends and consumer demands. The blockchain has already encouraged significant developments to certain iGaming products and platforms, the way iGaming customers access and use those platforms and the regulatory framework that oversees its operations.
In fact, iGaming platforms are already using blockchain. Take FunFair.io for instance, a games developer that’s already harnessing the benefits of blockchain to create an altogether different kind of online casino experience for users. But before we consider the users, it’s important to acknowledge that blockchain-powered solutions have since made it possible to operate an online casino in a simpler, more cost-effective way. What’s unique about FunFair and blockchain technology as a whole is that it provides users with unrivaled levels of protection and transparency, both in terms of personal data and provably fair gaming. Trust in online casino sites is very important to customers because many play with (and for) real money. That is why FunFair’s Ethereum-powered casino games offer a refreshing alternative. A blockchain is a public ledger that is completely transparent. All gamers can see all related information, because the FunFair.io casino games run on the blockchain, so anonymous transaction data is freely available to view.
FunFair.io is led by Jez San, founder of Argonaut Software and one of the leading developers behind the 1993 Super Nintendo classic title Star Fox, which sold around 3.91 million copies worldwide. Mr . San firmly believes that crypto-gambling is something that the masses can latch onto quickly, not only due to its gaming integrity, but its accessibility. All FunFair.io casino games are browser-based, with no requirements to install software even on smartphone and tablet devices. The upshot is that online gamblers can make the most of a frictionless iGaming platform on any device, either at home or on the move. It’s difficult to find a definitive number on the number of people using bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies worldwide, but there were a reported 14 million wallets in use last year, according to Coindesk. That’s good news for the blockchain as that’s all a crypto-gambling customer needs to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies in and out of these sites.
There are already some crypto-gambling sites, which have grown to a position where they can take on 3D slots gaming titles from some of the most pioneering iGaming software developers such as Microgaming and NetEnt, the latter of which had a 15% share of the iGaming software market in 2016.
iGaming security and transparency
Blockchain technology can be utilized by iGaming sites to code smart contracts, which are essentially secure transactions between any number of stakeholders. It is coded using a basic “if this, then that” formula, which lends itself very well to the way online gambling games work. For instance, a smart contract can be coded to pay out winnings to you if your blackjack hand beats the dealer’s. Alternatively, if the roulette ball doesn’t land on the colour you bet on, the house wins and takes your stake. An iGaming site can hold bets securely in escrow, for example, and distribute the pay-outs automatically depending on the outcome – based on the “if this, then that” formula.
Traditional iGaming platforms tend to store or manage servers which house all of the online casino software, gaming commands, history logs from previously played games, customer data, deposit and withdrawal data and other sensitive information which, if placed in the wrong hands, could have catastrophic effects. By contrast, blockchain-based iGaming platforms are not required to store or manage the network services which save all sensitive game-related and user-related data. All of the sensitive data is saved within the blockchain instead, decentralizing all operational areas of an online casino and allowing each facet to operate independently of each other. This also means less downtime for services.
Servers are still the number-one point of exploitation for cyber-hackers who attempt to steal and leak sensitive data from these such central points. As blockchain-based iGaming platforms don’t rely on a central point, they are much more robust against the threat of hacking attacks. In order for a cybercriminal to successfully tap into a blockchain-based iGaming platform, they would need to hack into each single node within the blockchain, which would take far too long. Furthermore, the hacker would be required to locate the relevant line of code they wish to hack, find out a way of navigating through the transactions buried on top of the target code within the node and repeat that process for every single node. Put simply, it’s practically impossible.
When you combine the practical benefits of a fairer, more transparent gambling experience with a more secure, robust gambling infrastructure, it’s difficult to see blockchain failing in its bid to transform the face of iGaming as we know it in the years to come. According to a news story earlier this summer, a blockchain tech incubator called Adel is going to be working closely with some of the leading iGaming brands in the Isle of Man in a bid to unleash the technology’s full potential. Earlier this year, the incubator was the first blockchain incubator to launch its own Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of 100 million non-mineable Adelphoi units, aimed at crowdfunding new projects. Exciting times ahead for all concerned.