Poker face is on for Jez ‘Argonaut’ San for El Reg
One of the main brains behind one of the most successful Nintendo games called Star Fox is in the limelight again with soon to be launched blockchain based online gambling facility, which would astonish the regulators. He also mentions that he has raised over $200,000 from the public who are supporting him in the launch.
The whole idea by Jez San, the founder of Argonaut software, was to put online gambling onto blockchain, which will effectively solve any problem that arises.
Blockchain was initially conceptualised by Satoshi Nakamoto, who also created the famous online currency Bitcoin under a pseudonym. A number of spin offs have been released since, including Ethereum, that powers San’s latest venture.
San said to El Reg ‘The main problem the public has is one of trust, whether it’s true or not, most people have the perception that they don’t want to trust online casinos with their money… online casinos have screwed people in the past”.
In one of the stories San narrated to us, employees of an online casino website, took advantage of their admin privileges to illegally look at the cards of players on the site and then tip off other accomplices, who were involved in the game too. Through blockchain, he aims at dealing with such problems, where any transaction that is made by the player will be recorded on a ledger that can be inspected and audited by anyone.
Sam, who also created one of the very first 3D graphic chips that were used for gaming, also stated that this level of transparency is possible in Funfair, through the use of ‘smart contracts’, that are within the blockchain. Among its other usages, one of the things that it can do is separate players stake money from the stakes won by the house so that they can gain trusts of their customers.
Influence on the House and Regulators
What does the house have for them, among these talks of ‘fairer for gamblers’? After all, all of these casinos are based on a module that favours the house, so that they can make more money.
“There’s a lot in it for the operators. Using our tech – we think it’s a selling point, we can have a fairer game – it absolutely can’t cheat” quoted San, who shifted focus and began angel investing after traditional gaming lost its charm. He also mentioned that the cost of running the business is lowered, as there is no need to hire big people to run it.
The reactions of regulators, on the other hand, is still unknown. Usually, online gambling is restricted to locations that are offshore, so that regulators don’t care about the companies much.
Sam added “I think there’s going to be two types of regulators, forward thinking, learning about blockchain, about what tech can do to help them. The regulator’s job, as I maintain, is to make sure the game plays fair and players are not being screwed. The regulators will like this tech because it’s self-regulating, it’s transparent, players cannot get screwed”.
Crypto-Masses and Gambling
What about consumer’s point of view? “Completely browser-based, no install, no download, even on mobiles and tablets,” mentioned San. “It’s so borderless, frictionless, to get into it, [operators] can use viral means to market it. You can be sent a link, click on it and you’re in a game”.
But so far, none of the customers have signed up as Funfair still looks to take its game off the ground.