Unikrn Video Game Betting Platform CEO Talks About Surviving the ICO Bubble and eSports Future
Cryptocurrencies have long been seen as an alternative to the regular banking system. It is also seen as the perfect digital playground for more niche ideas. One such idea was Unikrn, an online game betting token that has been around since 2015. It is more pertinent today with the like of FIFA and Fortnite taking center stage.
The idea is simple, Unikrn platform is used to generate the odds and lets the players bet on themselves. Depending on the regulations, in different parts of the world, it even lets spectator participate in the betting. Since the bets themselves are made in tokens and not “real” money, they cannot be managed by traditional financial institutions.
A Survival Tale
TheBlock had a recent conversation with the firms CEO, Rahul Sood, the story of the company's formation was discussed. “We were struggling to get banks to pay attention to us. We put a call out to investors and within a couple minutes, Mark Cuban said ‘you should start building on the blockchain.'” he remembers.
Talking about the reputation of both betting and cryptos he points out, “We’re in a highly regulated business. We didn’t go on blockchain to skirt the law, in fact, it gives us a number of ways to spot cheating, or people playing the system.” This was a deliberate effort that saw them move to a private blockchain in 2016, to provide better access and safety for the 4 million users that they have.
For their in-house economy, the company started off by using Unikrn Silver which were free credits earned by playing and winning. These could later be redeemed for prizes. By the time 2017 rolled by, the company introduced their own ERC-20 token, Unikoin Gold. This was effectually an upgraded and monetized version of Unikrn Silver, which could be cashed out.
A Road to Perdition
Taking a shot at others in the crypto-sphere he says, while his company raised over $30 million, ” generally the ICO space in 2017 was driven by greed and false promises. Unfortunately, even the good companies got caught up in the noise of it all. Of the 2,000 coins that were created, I’d estimate around 90-95% will amount to nothing.”
Clarifying his statement, he says that people are good at adding hype, not structure and further noted,
“I think the crypto space got too much money. It had too many young, unseasoned people.I meet people speaking at conferences and I just think ‘why are you here?’.”
Having said that, the former Microsoft executive acknowledges that while surviving 2018 was their baptism by fire, there is still a long way to go. Having to constantly deal with technology and regulations, interacting with investors, partners and journalists. All the while painstaking mulling over the details of their token, takes its toll.
Confirming reports that Unikrn has indeed been sued, for issuing unregistered security. Sood though didn't seem too perturbed and responded, “Someone is attempting to sue us and we are fighting it. We’re in a good position to defend ourselves, and we continue to focus on our business.”
The Bright Rays of Promise
Talking about his take on the space, in general, the League of Legends fan feels there are 3 sure-shots: Ethereum, token economies and Esports.
Though online gambling is prohibited, users betting on their own gaming performance is not. Thus his platform has moved to sponsor teams and mega gaming tournaments. In fact, the crypto-based firm has found a lot of admirers in the betting and casino business as well. Yet the prime focus remains on Esports, explaining the rationale Sood says, “Skill-based slot machines are not going to work. Esports is the future.”
This is just another example of what dedication and technology can yield. While the idea is being used to target a small audience the concept can be implemented in a host of situations. One hopes that that is exactly who things will pan out as time progresses.