News

New Blockchain-Powered Video Game to Debut in Spring 2019

Poker and blockchain technology continue to become increasingly intertwined, we’re seeing this type of relationship extend to other areas of the gaming market. In fact, we could see a blockchain-powered video game in the near future – a unique project launched by Marguerite deCourcelle.

A Valuation Worth $13 Million

Earlier this month, Blockade Games raised $833,000 to spend developing its flagship game, Neon District, from a wide range of investors, including BlockTower Capital Partners and Horizon Digital. As a result of this fundraising, the company has acquired a $13 million valuation.

DeCourcelle is a well-known name in the cryptocurrency world. Over the years, he has created impressive fine art puzzles that reveal the keys to bitcoin and other cyptocurrency stashes worth over $1 million. His reputation and expertise is certainly the draw for investors, as well as the rest of the talent behind Blockade games – which includes professionals who have worked on Playstation 4’s Spiderman and World of Warcraft’s trading cards.

These artists and designers are coming together to create Neon District, an innovative video game powered by blockchain technology. It is an incredibly exciting idea, that is sure to change the face of the gaming world.

What Is Neon District?

Neon District is a cyberpunk roleplaying game that will be available to the public by May 2019. In the game’s narrative, the government is attempting to wipe out all previous signs of culture and independent thought by mandating preselected personalities. Anyone who refuses will be prosecuted or must go into hiding. As a player, you’re part of the rebellion, who crafts their own equipment and does battle with the powers that be to take back control.

It is an asset-based game but differs from other titles, as players’ assets become more valuable over time. This occurs as players gain experience, achieve special abilities and add enhancements to their characters. The history of assets if recorded on an appchain until a player moves them to the Ethereum mainnet. The assets use Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) from ERC721, which means that assets are unique and can never be repeated.

Although deCourcelle didn’t commit to cryptocurrencies being hidden throughout the new game, she did say, it might very well include some of her trademark puzzles with bitcoin rewards. The inclusion of “Age of Rust” creator Chris Loverme, who made one of the world’s first games with bitcoin rewards, also makes this very likely.

Neon District is definitely going to be a ground-breaking game, and we can’t wait to give it a go when it’s released in Spring 2019. There are over 8000 people signed up to Blockade’s mailing list so far, so we are in good company. As the game continues to receive more press, that number is sure to grow and Neon District is likely to have a thriving community of players upon its launch.

Floridians Now Have the Right to Vote on Poker Laws

The November midterm elections have come and gone, with Americans voting a wide range of issues. One of the most important bills affecting the poker world was Amendment 3, which offered voters in Florida the power to make big decisions about gambling laws. Now that the votes have been counted, Floridians have accepted that responsibility.

Yes on Amendment 3

One of the most important bills relating to poker in America was Florida’s Amendment 3, which would give voters the power to decide on any new gambling laws in the state. Leading up to the elections, it was a very contentious issues, as various forces attempted to sway voters either way.

Poker Alliance was one of the most vocal organizations, expressing its opposition to the bill. The group emailed over 30 000 members urging them to vote no on Amendment 3, stating that it would reduce competition in the state’s gambling market.

Its main argument was that the bill was backed by Seminole, which currently has a monopoly on Florida’s casino market, and Disney. With millions of dollars to spend and significant reasons to oppose gambling expansion in the state, the two parties could easily sway voters opinions – whereas voting no on Amendment 3 would leave the power with lawmakers who would be able to weigh any new gambling laws fairly.

Disney had already made it’s anti-gambling stance known and, now that the people of Florida can vote on gaming laws, the company may be able to sway towards a specific opinion. The Seminole Tribe has similar interests. Since the tribe is the only entity in the state with permission to offer casino games and poker, it would certainly want to keep things that way. Like Disney, Seminole has plenty of money to spend campaigning against any sort of gambling expansion and has the power to influence voters.

Giving Power Back to the Voters

However, this could be a good thing for gambling expansion in Florida. While Seminole and Disney are both very monied, there is the chance that neither group will be able to influence voters against the opening of new casinos and the expansion of online gambling.

After all, it is up to what the voters really want. As more state’s across America begin opening up their online poker markets, it’s likely that Florida residents will want in on the action. There’s no denying that online gaming regulation has the potential to bring in millions of tax dollars and create plenty of jobs.

So only time will tell exactly what kind of effect Amendment 3 will have on Florida’s poker industry. It really can go either way at this point, despite arguments that the bill will hinder the potential for any future expansion.

First-Ever Cryptocurrency Music Festival Held

Recently, we’ve seen plenty of firsts in the cryptocurrency market. We were thrilled to see the first-ever crypto-powered poker tournament, and now things are expanding even further with the launch of the first cryptocurrency music festival.

OMF – The First-Ever Crypto Music Festival

OMF, which was held in California’s Greek Theatre, was the first festival of its kind to run on blockchain technology. It even introduced its own form of cryptocurrency – the OMF Token. Attendants could purchase their tickets using cryptocurrency, as well as all sorts of goods that were available at the festival – while tokens were provided throughout the event that could be traded in for various items at the stalls.

Throughout the event, performers like Matt & Kim and Zedd, encouraged everyone to get on board with the cryptocurrency trend. The term ‘cryptocool’ was coined at the event.

3LAU was one of the biggest proponents of cryptocurrencym urging everyone to ‘get on the blockchain’. At the end of his set, a cannon shot out thousands of pieces of confetti printed with QR codes. They could be scanned on the OMF app and credited as coins that guests could use to purchase merchandise.

There are some big ideas behind all of this. Ideally, using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology could help to prevent ticket fraud and inflation – which are huge problems with regards to larger festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella.

Another Great Use for Cryptocurrency

It’s wonderful to see so many different industries ‘getting on the blockchain’. It is definitely invaluable technology. The organizers behind the event as well as the performs are passionate about enacting change.

“Those goals may sit on a distant horizon, but we need to start somewhere,”DJ 3LAU said in an interview with Forbes. “In year one, we’re enabling crypto payments for tickets and are giving all attendees their first ethereum paper wallet in the form of token cards.”

It definitely seems as though they did have quite a bit of success. There were over 8000 music fans in attendance, who made 2009 OMF payments while distributing over 60000 OMF tokens to guests.

Still, while the event was focused on promoting blockchain technology, it was more of a music festival than a PR push. Guests were thrilled with the selection of acts and, while they roster was considered a bit ‘random’, there were few complaints about the quality of the talent.

We hope that this is a trend that will continue into the future, as it is quite a novel way to enjoy a music festival. The use of blockchain also helps to solve a number of problems that the festival market is currently facing, so there is certainly plenty of room for music industry professionals to embrace this technology.

Bitcoin is 10 Years Old Today

Bitcoin is 10 Years Old Today

It seems like just yesterday that the innovative cryptocurrency called Bitcoin made its debut – but, it’s actually be a decade. Today, we celebrate the 10th birthday of bitcoin, which has made a significant impact on the world of finance.

The History of Bitcoin

It was in 2008 that that domain name bitcoin.org was registered. Then, on October 31, Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. It was sent out to a cryptography mailing list, describing a “system for electronic transactions without relying on trust”.

By the start of 2009, the bitcoin network was finally launched. The value of the first bitcoin transactions were determined by users on a bitcoin forum and one of the first transactions was used to indirectly purchase two pizzas from Papa John’s for 10 000 BTC.

In 2013, Coinbase became the first bitcoin-based payment processor. Within a month, the network sold $1 million worth of bitcoin at a cost of $22 each. Several companies even started accepting bitcoin as a method of payment, with OKCupid and Foodler putting it on the map.

The next year, we started seeing online gaming and casino companies starting to embrace bitcoin. Zynga announced it would begin accepting the cryptocurrency for the purchase of in-game assets while a few casinos in Las Vegas started doing the same. Through to 2017, there was a significant increase in the number of companies accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

Still Not a “Real” Currency

Perhaps the most surprising thing about bitcoin after 10 years is that it still isn’t a real currency. When the cryptocurrency made its debut, it was thought that it would eventually be embraced as an official way of making payments – but that simply isn’t the case.

According to finance experts, bitcoin is more akin to gold than it is to money. It is collected for its value and its rarity makes it previous. Investors trade it in order to profit from its increase in value over time. With a single bitcoin worth over $6000, it has become a very valuable commodity, especially for those who purchased it when it was just $1 10 years ago.

So, we have to wonder if bitcoin will ever become an accepted form of traditional currency. Experts believe that the bitcoin network is too technical for general consumers to understand, which means that banks and governments will have to step up and regulate the market – but that has yet to happen.

We seem to be getting close, though. Recently, Goldman Sachs has started to register clients for its brand-new bitcoin trading desk. With an official bank recognising the cryptocurrency, there is still hope that bitcoin will soon become an accepted and mainstream payment method for consumers around the world.

First Blockchain Casino Being Planned for Macau

Blockchain technology is already being integrated into the online poker market, with many sites now accepting cryptocurrency payments. Now, there ate two companies that want to take things a lot further by expanding the reach of blockchain into land-based gaming world, as DeClub and Wide Rich Global makes plans to launch a blockchain casino system in Macau that will link online and land-based gaming destinations.

Together, Wide Rich Global and DeClub will build a blockchain-backed casino with funds from an initial coin offering (ICO) that aims to raise $1 billion. Once the sale of DEC tokens is completed, DeClub will apply for a Macau Junket Promoter license and aim to acquire several land-based casinos in Macau. 35% of the total has been raised so far, and the companies plan to expand their reach to acquire land-based venues in other Asian countries and across the Caribbean.  Over time, the network will include a wide range of land-based venues that are all linked across a blockchain network.

The DEC coin will then be launched as a way to carry out transactions at both online and land-based casinos. Players will be able to convert DEC into other types of cryptocurrencies, and stablecoins will be offered as a way to help power the online casinos that are integrated with the online casinos.

This isn’t the first time that a land-based venture has attempted to make blockchain gaming technology work. In 2017, Dragon Corp’s ICO aimed to raise $500 million for its Dragon Coin. The money raised was to be used to build a floating casino. While it looking like a promising idea, the main contractor pulled out and the plan fell apart.

Since Wide Rich and DeClub aim to raise $1 billion, they are taking twice the chance and they could be setting themselves up for a big fall. However, since they are already over a third of the way to their goal, it may be a more successful venture than Dragon Coin.

Why Blockchain?

Blockchain is considered a great match for the online gaming market, as it presents players with a way to interact with venues in a transparent manner. The same pros can be applied to the land-based casino market, as well, which would also link the two types of gaming in a “pan-gambling business ecosystem”.

Should a gambling site run on blockchain technology, all transactions must be verified using a public ledger. The ledger cannot be edited or manipulated which means that no fraud can take place on the network, adding another layer of safety to the gaming world.

There is definitely huge potential for blockchain technology to change both the online and land-based gambling markets. DeClub and Wide Rich are taking the first step towards this revolution, and only time will tell if they will be successful.

Bitcoin Cardroom Launches “Green” High Five Tourneys

America’s Cardroom is taking advantage of the expanding legalization of marijuana with a new set of tournaments themed around the drug. With the news that Canada has joined states like California, Nevada and Colorado in allowing the recreational use of marijuana, now seems to be a good time to appeal to poker players who enjoy the occasional toke.

High Fives All Around

It’s called the High Five Tournament, and it will take place from October 31st to November 4th. Every day that week, players will be able to take part in events with a total prize pool of $1.5 million. During the main event, the guaranteed prize pool is – you guessed it – $420 000.

It’s an interesting way to promote an online poker tournament, and we’ve never seen it done before. However, it is known that poker players do enjoy some recreational marijuana use while grinding it out online, so this event is sure to appeal to a niche market. In fact, the taglines are pretty catchy:

  • Stock up on munchies, Smoke the tables
  • Trick or Treat – It’s munchies time
  • Instead of candy, we are handing out the green’.

How could you resist? There is even going to be a “courtesy break” at 4:20 each day.

A Popular Cryptocurrency Poker Site

In addition to being popular with marijuana smokers, America’s Cardroom and other sites within the Winning Poker Network are also the first choice for cryptocurrency users – enhancing their appeal with two niche markets.  In fact, over 60% of users at WPN sites use cryptocurrency to make their deposits.

In 2015, WPN sites were some of the first to embrace cryptocurrency technology. They have always promoted the use of it in the online poker world, and are now beginning to reap their rewards. With more and more poker players preferring the use of bitcoin when playing poker online, sites like America’s Cardroom are well-positioned to become leaders in the gaming market.

Cryptocurrency has continued to gain popularity among online poker players thanks to its ease of use, anonymity and speed. Players don’t have to worry about any of their personal details being shared when their make deposits, and the standard processing times for credit cards and e-wallets don’t apply so players can have their withdrawals processed instantly.

We’re only going to see bitcoin gain an even larger presence in the online poker market in coming months. As sites like America’s Cardroom continue to promote the use of cryptocurrencies in the online gaming world, we’re sure that bitcoin will soon become a staple at poker rooms across the web.

World Poker Tour Teams up with Blockchain Sportsbook

The worlds of gambling and cryptocurrencies and bitcoin are colliding once again, as the World Poker Tour has teamed up with FansUnite Entertainment, an innovative new sportsbook that is powered by blockchain technology. This will be the WPT’s first foray into the blockchain market, while providing FansUnite with more exposure through a leading international poker brand.

A Multi-Pronged Partnership

We’ll be seeing FansUnite and the World Poker Tour collaborating in a number of different ways. Firstly, the two companies will be engaging in cross promotion on social media and international TV distribution will be provided to FansUnite through the World Poker Tour’s programming. FansUnite will also provide the WPT with promotional tie-ins from the Leicester City Football Club, the sportsbook’s official partner.

Another aspect of the deal will be in the introduction of “Plays of the Week”, on Super Channel’s Heads Up Daily. The show broadcasts news and features related to the eSports market, so this will be the first time the WPT will get involved with this emerging sporting industry.

As you can see, this will be a mutually beneficial partnership. Both the WPT and FansUnite will be able to expand their reach across new markets, promoting themselves to viewers who are currently unfamiliar with their products.

“The sports betting and blockchain industries continue to provide applications to the gaming world, and the World Poker Tour is proud to name FansUnite as an official partner,” says Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour.

According to Darius Eghdami, the World Poker Tour has been on the forefront of gaming entertainment for the past 20 years, gaining instant name recognition and making it the perfect partner for the cryptocurrency-powered sportsbook. Pliska is just as thrilled with the deal, excited about introducing FansUnite to the millions of WPT fans and players around the world.

Poker and Blockchain, Working Together Once Again

This year has seen plenty of interaction between the blockchain and poker worlds. In September, the World Crypto Con at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas hosted a blockchain poker tournament. It was only the second time that the world markets interacted, after a similar blockchain poker tournament was hosted at the Blockchain World Conference.

Blockchain technology continues to be a be perfect fit as a partner in the poker market. The technology offers both online and land-based players a new way to experience their favourite game, and there is plenty of opportunity for more interaction between these two industries. The recent deal between the World Poker Tour and Fans Unite will only serve to strengthen the bond and make way for many more similar partnerships to be formed in the future.

“Imminent” Drop of Bitcoin on the Horizon

Bitcoin is known to be volatile, but things are about to get really crazy for the popular cryptocurrency. According to experts in the field, the price of bitcoin is about to drop drastically and they warn of an “imminent slump” in its value.

Why Has a Slump Been Predicted?

Yesterday, the price of bitcoin was $6571, which was the highest we’ve seen in quite some time. Over the course of 24 hours, the price dropped by 2% to $6436. According to experts, a drop below a key price point is called “horizontal support” and it may be a sign of bitcoin’s value dropping significantly in the near future.

Cryptocurrency expert Nikola Lazić states that the situation “could get really bad”, and bitcoin could reach a “lower low” below $5767. However, bitcoin still has a healthy floor price, which means that the market is invested in the growth of the cryptocurrency. So, while a slump may be on the horizon, it is likely that bitcoin will be able to bounce back quickly, or that it won’t be a huge decline in the first place.

Still, some investors are confident that bitcoin will see a positive end to 2018. Tom Lee of Fundstrat believes that bitcoin has been holding, which could mean that the decline will start to reverse. It’s all speculation, however, and we won’t know for sure until bitcoin starts to move either upwards or downwards later this year.

A Very Volatility Year

Over the course of the past year, bitcoin has seen some huge ups and downs. Back in December 2017, the price of bitcoin nearly doubled to $19 800 but quickly dropped by 45% back down to $14 300. Yves Mersch of the European Central Bank compared bitcoin to buying flowers and having them wilt immediately.

Since then, bitcoin has seen plenty of movement in terms of price. In September 2018, the price of bitcoin plummeted about 10% from $7300 to $6300 and it has remained around that price for the past month. Now, we could be looking at an even further decline in the value of bitcoin.

Despite the difficult year that bitcoin has had, there is still no telling how the cryptocurrency will perform in coming months. We have plenty of arguments on either side, but bitcoin is known for being quite unpredictable.

So, if you have any bitcoin in your online poker account, it might be a good idea to hold onto it for the next little while. Consider keeping it in your account until a little more information about whether or not bitcoin will continue to decline is confirmed.

 

Virtual Reality Poker Product on the Horizon

Bitcoin isn’t the only new technology to take the poker world by storm. Virtual reality has also made quite the impression on poker operators – so much so that PokerStars is currently developing a new product that allows players to take part in poker games using a VR headset.

PokerStars VR

The new VR poker software provides players with the chance to play online poker games using virtual reality technology. By donning a headset, players will be able to transport themselves to unique locations and compete in cash games and tournaments with other virtual players.

Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations at PokerStars, says:

“PokerStars VR is a chance for us to take this amazing technology and bring something totally unique to poker players. Poker is about interaction. It’s been bringing people together for well over a century. We’re really excited to invest in the next generation of the game and to give players the opportunity to meet in a brand new virtual reality dimension.”

There will be some unique modifications that players can make to their gaming experience. For example, they can customise the look of their 3D avatar, and they can choose to play in all sorts of interesting locations, like a yacht in Monte Carlo or an Old West saloon. They can also engage in other activities like order drinks or even throwing food at their competitors.

Currently, the technology is being tested by over 100 players around the world. It is able to use on Steam with either Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headsets. At the moment, there is no word on when PokerVR will be made available to the public.

Virtual Reality in the Wider Gaming Market

Virtual reality has been gaining ground in the wider gaming market for a couple of years now. We have seen large gaming development companies experimenting with this technology to create a wide range of immersive video games. There are puzzle games, shooters, arcade game and all sorts of different titles that use virtual reality to engage players in a brand new way.

Even the slots market has embraced virtual reality. NetEnt is one online slots developer that has been working hard to bring VR slots to life. Several of the company’s most popular games, including Gonzo’s Quest and Jack & the Beanstalk, have been given the virtual reality treatment, immersing players in the characters’ worlds while vying for the chance to win generous prizes.

While virtual reality is becoming a big hit in the larger, video game market, there is no telling how it will fare in online poker rooms and at online casinos. It will be very interesting to see how players respond to being able to play poker games and tournaments while wearing VR headsets.

UK Treasury Committee Says It’s Time to Regulate Bitcoin

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom feel that it’s about time that bitcoin is regulated. They have highlighted the potential risks of trading and spending cryptocurrencies, and believe that the next step is to develop a framework that would protect users.

Protecting Consumers

A committee of MPs have come forward to urge London’s Financial Conduct Authority to supervise “crypto-assets”. They are concerned about the number of risks involved for investors. For example, the price of cryptocurrencies is incredibly volatility and there are few consumer protection protocols in place. There is also the potential for cryptocurrencies to be hacked and there is also the danger of it being used to launder money.

There are major concerns that individuals who choose to invest in cryptocurrencies are putting themselves in danger. While it is becoming more widely used around the world, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done in order to protect investors and ensure that bitcoin and other crypto-assets are safe to trade.

Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Committee says:

“It’s unsustainable for the government and regulators to bumble along issuing feeble warnings to potential investors, yet refrain from acting. At a minimum, regulation should address consumer protection and anti-money-laundering.”

The Right Decision

There are varying opinions in the debate of cryptocurrency regulation. Some experts state that regulation could help cryptocurrencies grow while other believe that it would stifle their growth. There are many different sides to the debate, and it is time for regulators to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

Some experts argue that cryptocurrencies won’t be able to grow without regulation. This is because many potential investors are wary of putting their money into bitcoin without knowing that they are protected.

There are others, however, that are concerned regulation could stop further development of cryptocurrencies. If regulators try to apply traditional rules to bitcoin, then there is the chance that it may limit the ways in which cryptocurrencies could branch out and innovate.

It will be interesting to see how the UK government plans to go about regulating bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, if they decide to go that route. There are plenty of opportunities to help protect consumers using regulation but, at the same time, it would have to be done in such a way that cryptocurrencies can continue to grow and develop.

Plenty of work needs to be done before a working regulatory model is introduced. Lawmakers will need the input of developers, investors and bankers in order to create a framework that benefits all parties involved.