Sports Gambling Blockchain Projects

In my previous 2 blogs I spoke of the current state of the sports gambling industry, its problems, and why I believe it is about to be changed forever by utilizing blockchain technology. Just like any other revolutionary technology, it will take multiple iterations to get it right and there will be constant developments, adaptations, and competition to perfect it. Right now, the race is on. New blockchain based gambling projects are popping up like daisy’s. Each project is a bit different, but they ultimately have the same goal: to be the most widely used sports gambling platform.    

Over the past nine months I have spent a lot of my free time researching a blockchain sports gambling platforms and determining which one has the best chance of success based upon it’s ability to solve current problems within the industry and facilitate the process. All of these projects are currently in their infancy and none have released a live betting platform. So right now, my speculation is based on each projects whitepaper, what they have accomplished so far, and their intentions moving forward.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to begin a blockchain project is to create it on the Ethereum platform. Ethereum provides a developer environment for anyone to create a Decentralized app(DAPP) on top of its previously built blockchain. This saves developers a ton of time and money, as they do not have to set up nodes themselves.  Although this is the quick fix there are numerous cons to taking this approach:

1. Transaction fees- Every transaction taken place on the Ethereum platform costs gas(Ether the cryptocurrency of the platform. So even if the sportsbook wanted to take its own fee, for every bet taken they would still have to pay Ethereum a fee to process that transaction.   

2. Speed- You are at the mercy of the speed of the Ethereum platform. Currently there are over 1,000 Dapps being run. If one of those dapps becomes wildly popular (Cryptokitties), it will slow down the entire network.   Ethereum can currently only handle about 15 transactions per second so if the app or any of the thousands of applications on the platform become much more popular it will not be able to handle all those simultaneous transactions.   

3. No Power- You are at the hands of the Ethereum platform. If they want to make a change to their blockchain that could negatively affect you, too bad. At the same time if you want to make a change to improve the blockchain specifically for your application you cannot. Vitalik Buterin is an incredible genius for creating Ethereum and is the face of the platform and development team. Unfortunately while one person has so much power and influence also takes away from its aspect of being decentralized.  

4. Difficult exchanging- Each DAPP on the platform also has its own cryptocurrency token. That token is what you need to be able to place a bet. In order to get some of that token you will have to first exchange your fiat for Ether and then ether for that token. So if you want to bet a certain amount of USD you have to worry about USD to Ether exchange rates and then Ether to Token exchange rates, making it a bit complex and confusing to the gambler. Then if you want to cash your $ out, you then have to convert the token to Ether to fiat. Headaches  

For those reasons I am not a big fan of sports gambling projects that are started on the Ethereum platform like Edgeless, FansUnite, DecentBet, XWin, BetterBetting, BlitzPredict, the list goes on… I would much rather have a project who is running their own created Blockchain where they have full control on updates, developments, and fees on their blockchain. After much research, discussion with developers, and reading, my two favorite Blockchain Sports Gambling projects are Wagerr and Peerplays (Bookie). Both of these have created their own blockchain, have their own cryptocurrency, and are both working on releasing their head to head betting platforms. 


There are some big differences between them though which I’ll go into, but lets start with the numbers:

|                     | Wagerr  | Bookie       |
| Market Cap(mil)     | 33.6    | 17.8         |
| Volume (USD)        | $12,000 | $4,000       |
| Block time          | 60sec   | 3sec         |
| Transaction Per Sec | ~50     | ~3000        |
| Fee for H2H bet     | 2%      | Undetermined |

Market cap just tells you how much money has been put into the Project it is the current price x number of coins. Obviously Wagerr has a lot more capital which is definitely a benefit for the team when it comes to being able to spend money for development, salaries, advertising, ect. Peerplays has an advantage in transactions per second, but that really doesn’t matter much as 50 tx/sec is plenty for now. Both are working on releasing an application which allows head to head betting(H2H). This is basically an exchange which facilitates matching bets between two people. The app will display all the open bets others have placed and allow me to take them, or place my own bet. This is different from a traditional sportsbook where you are typically betting against the house. Wagerr has betting against the house planned in its roadmap but that is a long ways away (probably 2019). Both Wagerr and Bookie rely on decentralized oracles to gather the sports related data(scores, stats) from multiple data sources and use that data to verify who wins a bet. Although they both appear largely similar, there are some big differences I have noticed as I have looked further into them.   

Peerplays is similar to Ethereum in that it encourages multiple DAPPs to be run on its Blockchain. Bookie is the first major app that they are developing which is their H2H sports gambling app. However they also plan to have other gaming, casino, and wagering based apps run on their blockchain as well. Because they utilize a Graphene Blockchain that can handle 3,000 transactions per second, it would be hard for them to ever have a demand which would slow down their network. Wagerr on the other hand, has a blockchain that it took from another cryptocurrency called PIVX and is exclusively used for its sports gambling application. Wagerrs blockchain has a feature called zerocoin protocol, which makes it impossible to track a users transactions or bets.  Bookie will not have this option, so I would say Wagerr has the advantage when it comes to anonymity.      

Another big difference between these platforms is that with Bookie you bet using Bitcoin and with Wagerr, you have to use their cryptocurrency which is also called Wagerr. Right now there isn’t even an decent exchange to buy Wagerr on, but rumor has it the team is in talks for it to be put on an exchange soon, which is vital for adoption. If new gamblers can’t buy it, they certainly can’t use it to wager. In that regard Bookie has an advantage right now. It’s 100xs easier to exchange fiat for Bitcoin than fiat for Wagerr. Bookie also plans to allow betting in other cryptocurrencies in the future, while Wagerr does not. For these reasons I believe it will be easier for Bookie to become more easily adopted for the average gambler. 

Road Map is another differentiator between the two projects. Wagerr has been more thought out and  has a longer roadmap with plans to offer multiuser and direct chain betting as well as a concept called value coupling which aims to stabilize its currency. I have not heard of Bookie planning to add any of these right now, and it seems they are focused on successfully releasing their head to head before promising anything else. In the end a roadmap doesn’t mean much as it can be easily changed and all that matters is what is actually delivered. 

 Lastly I have to discuss the two teams, as a great idea is nothing without the ability to act and execute it. I have no idea which one is working harder, further along, or smarter, but I can tell you that the Bookie team is better at communicating with its community. Bookie releases a newsletter every month with updates on the teams progress, has a steemit account with relevant information, and recently had a Reddit AMA. Wagerr has a Medium and a news section  which I wish they updated more frequently. Wagerr does have a discord which is great for asking questions, which are usually answered by members of the community. They did put out an update on their twitter of their teams recent accomplishments  so it does seem like they are getting better at communicating, but recently their blockchain explorer has been down for a week with no explanation. From what I have seen in the past months, this lack of communication has caused a lot of FUD and people to lose hope in the project.  

Ultimately out of all the Blockchain gambling projects I have researched, Wagerr and Bookie show the most promise due to their true decentralization, current progress, and plans moving forward. It’s going to be exciting to see which releases their head to head platform first and then which one becomes more adopted. At this point either one or both could become incredibly successful. One thing I would bet on is that it is just a matter of time before blockchain forces traditional sportsbooks to become obsolete. 

I created this post to be informative and to ignite discussion, so any comments or thoughts are more than welcomed. If you enjoyed this Follow Suit.

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