Know The Coin: Interview with Edgeless' Co-Founder Tomas Draksas
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Know The Coin with ChangeNOW! Today’s guest is Edgeless' Co-Founder Tomas Draksas, who was very nice to sit down with our marketing manager Pauline and talk about the blockchain gambling industry and all things Edgeless!
Thank you very much for joining me today, Tomas!
Thank you very much for having me!
Could you please tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and your background? How did you come to crypto, and was Edgeless your first rodeo in it?
I was introduced to cryptocurrency in 2011. A friend of mine, a developer, was speaking a lot about what’s called a "Darknet". He was like “Oh, Tomas, you know that 90% of the Internet can’t be accessed using a usual browser?”. And he also said that the dark side of the Web had its own currency, Bitcoin at that time. I was keen on learning more, but I didn’t do much besides some basic reading. Then, in 2015 smart contracts were created, and a friend of mine created a slot machine using them.
To my knowledge, you used to be involved in digital marketing before. So, back in 2011 that is what you were doing, and then you made it into crypto, right?
In 2011 I was actually playing poker on Pokerstars.net professionally. After a couple of years, I realized that it was nice, but I wanted to do something more. So, I switched from poker to business in marketing. We had a marketing agency providing services to other companies. I had a slot machine, so I just used my marketing expertise to promote the product to the market.
Actually, the fact that you have a previous experience in digital marketing really shows with regards to Edgeless, as Edgeless had a pretty solid marketing and PR foundation. So, you’ve been to ICE London, and you did a talk there, could you please tell a couple of words on what it was about?
It’s fun, because I’d been on ICE in 2018 as well, and back then we had many panels on blockchain. This year, from all those panels we had only one, and maybe 10 people listened about the blockchain stuff. It’s curious how the interest to the technology and product fluctuates. On that panel we talked mainly about what we do with the blockchain today, best tools to create your own application, and in particular — should you create your application using private blockchain or public one.
What do you think about blockchain-based gaming? We all know that the phenomenon has been on the rise recently. CryptoKitties got so popular one day that they basically broke the Ethereum blockchain. Do you think that blockchain-based gaming will be the new and the dominant entertainment in the near future?
The answer is “yes”. The gaming industry is the one where blockchain succeeds. Actually, 95% of functioning blockchain projects are about gaming. Products in this sphere can be monetized directly, and it makes them attractive as a business. For example, such games as World of Warcraft has its own economy, the gold is fully controlled by the company, and it can be moved outside the ecosystem of the game. This kind of a concept had a lot of users even before the blockchain. This concept has long existed in the market.
I used to play lots of them, and I’ve seen this in-game economies where the price of gold to dollar would constantly fluctuate. I think it accelerated that demand, as it taught a lot of people that even in online games there could be serious money. I think that’s cool and that’s why blockchain games are on such a rise right now.
Yes, that’s what I mean — the demand for such games existed long before the blockchain.
Let’s talk about Edgeless. You’re the co-founder of Edgeless, the first fully decentralized Ethereum-based casino. Could you say a couple of sentences about Edgeless for our readers that have not heard about it before?
Edgeless uses Ethereum smart contracts. They provide transparency and extra benefit to the platform. Users can easily track the withdrawals and deposits, track all the funds which are dedicated to the jackpots, and make sure that the casino really has them.
That’s nice, because people tend not to trust casinos and believe it is impossible to win there. In a transparent casino you really know you have a chance to win.
Right. We even have zero-house-edge games such as Blackjack, the most popular one.
House edge is when a platform takes a certain percent of the winning, right?
Basically, yes. In a winning case, a usual casino does not pay you as much as our casino. For example, $198 instead of $200.
Could you tell a couple of words about the Edgeless team? For example, what are your criteria of choosing of people working on the project?
We are a startup company, so we face a lot of challenges, we need to learn a lot of new stuff, such as how to program smart contracts, make sure they are secure, and how to deal with a legal side of the question. So, we expect these people to take this kind of responsibility, proactive when it comes to learning, curious people.
What does implementing fairness checks mean when it comes a gambling platform?
Fairness is a kind of an old question, and it does not need a blockchain to be solved. When we play Blackjack together, we need to put some information as an input, so we need to take info from the casino side and player side. So let’s say you need to choose a number from 1 to 100. Just pick any random number -- that’s what people basically do for the fairness check.
You’ve mentioned that one doesn’t need a blockchain to have a fairness check. Does that mean that all online gambling platforms have that implemented?
Right now, most of the platforms use that method for the fairness check, yes.
What about the legal status of the gambling industry nowadays?
It’s tricky, because online gambling is quite a new phenomenon. There are countries where it is OK to have a license from the other country, and we have countries such as Turkey, where gambling is forbidden in general. The legal area of the industry is still in a development stage, and right now the most countries are only realizing the beat ways to legalize it.
As far as I know, gambling is the most common blockchain use case. Do you think that services like Edgeless will pave the way to crypto mass adoption?
Yes, now crypto gambling is growing really fast. When you register to use a usual online casino, you need to connect your real bank account, and in case of winning you have to create a withdrawal on your real account. These payments are incredibly inefficient when it comes to this industry. With crypto you do all of that really fast. That’s why people love it.
What do you think of your possible rivals, FunFair — are there any similarities between the platforms or are you totally the same?
The similarity is that we both accept cryptocurrency deposits. But in general, they are more like B2B approach-oriented, they want to develop the solution. We on the other hand want to have the strong brand. We use two different strategies. The B2B approach takes more time — they need to find a person who wants to use their platform, and it takes more time to enter a market like this.
A couple of questions on the EDG token. Do you have any plans for switching from Ethereum blockchain?
No, we will probably never consider this as an option.
Can EDG be used anywhere beside your platform?
Yes, it can be used when some project integrates the possibility to deposit in EDG. But distributing the token is not our priority. We want to develop a better service.
What do you think about this crypto winter, will it clear up anytime soon? Maybe there are any services and projects you have faith in as market growing points?
I have no faith in 90% of ICO projects, as their token models, their solutions and everything that is written in their whitepapers is nonsense. But the thing I love about the market is that you can easily start a real client. ICO flooded all the communication channels. If you wanted to take an interview, to buy an ad, — everything was about ICO. And most of the coin didn’t make any sense, and now these projects are basically disappearing, and their further fall is expected. Now they all went down, and real clients are there, competing for traffic.
What are your plans for the future?
Our product is developing as we have more games and features coming. We want to gain more and more traffic to the platform. Crypto market in general is growing, and more and more people use crypto, and we want to participate in crypto economy more actively. I think we have a very good position to establish in gaming/betting market.
Will we be able to see Edgeless updates anytime soon?
T: In a couple of weeks we are releasing a new game and a new jackpot, so yes. In fact, we released a sneak peek video recently, so feel free to check that out!
Thank you so much for reading – stay tuned for more Know The Coin episodes soon!