Bethereum ICO CEO Exclusive Interview – The New Age of Social Betting
We had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Bethereum CEO, Giacomo Tognoni, about his company’s upcoming ICO.
Bethereum is a decentralized social betting platform that allows individuals the opportunity to bet friends or colleagues using smart contracts. Users are able to customize their own bets using Bether tokens and the results aren’t able to be manipulated. Instead of verbally betting on a sports game with friends and having to track payouts manually, you can do it with ease on the Bethereum platform where it facilitates the winner and payment for you. Here’s what Tognoni had to say about his project.
Giacomo, as the CEO of Bethereum, what is your background?
I have over 20 years’ international experience, primarily in executive positions in Telco, IT, and gaming. In my latest corporate position, I was a board member for a Telco operator. In the past three years, I gained experience in startups by founding and leading a mobile gaming company. With Bethereum, one of the founders knew me and he initially asked me to help as a strategy advisor. After a couple of months spent on the project and advising the team, I became so convinced that it would be a success that I accepted the founders’ offer to join Bethereum as CEO.
Where did this idea originate from?
The idea originated over one year ago. The founders are passionate football fans and occasionally placed some bets online or with local betting agencies. From their own experience, they were not convinced that conventional betting offered the intuitiveness, security, and user-friendliness that casual bettors deserved. So they involved a development team and started to design their own application. Soon, they realized that blockchain technology and especially Smart Contracts offered the perfect technology to complement their idea, and Bethereum was born.
Why use the blockchain and smart contracts?
Conventional betting is plagued by a number of industry challenges (covered in detail in our whitepaper: see pages 8-9) – part of them are due to the centralized nature and lack of transparency of conventional operators. Blockchain and Smart Contracts enable us to offer a fully decentralized betting platform, essentially cutting out the middleman (the booker). In addition to generating cost savings vs. traditional centralized solutions, the BASIC advantages are as follows:
- A (secure) decentralized solution is virtually immune from internal or external manipulation
- Blockchain technology enables maximum transparency: all transactions are recorded on the blockchain
- Smart Contracts protect funds and bets and automatically distribute winnings, in accordance with pre-determined rules. This eliminates the risk of manipulation or human error
But we didn’t limit ourselves to harness technology to create a safe, transparent betting platform. We added a number of innovative features, some of which borrowed from the mobile gaming and social media sectors, to offer a truly rewarding and satisfactory customer experience.
Why build a Bether token instead of just fiat?
Smart Contracts do not support Fiat money, hence the use of our own digital token to provide a truly secure and transparent betting platform. We designed our Bether token to be the fuel behind the entire platform and as part of the ecosystem, we plan to deliver the Bethereum solution. Bether offers a number of key features and advantages, both in terms of functionality and as future value holder. Please check this short page dedicated to our token for more information:
Will users of Bethereum need to get a specific wallet to use your app? Is it compatible with Metamask?
The Bether token is fully compliant with the most popular token standard in the world: ERC-20. This makes it compatible with a broad list of wallets (not just MetaMask but also MyEtherWallet and many others: for a more comprehensive list please see the screenshot below, taken from our FAQ section). We will, however, release also our own Bethereum Wallet, an open-source wallet app for iOS, Android, PC, and Mac. In addition to strong fund protection and other exclusive features, the Bethereum wallet will allow users to easily obtain Bether tokens, as the app will be interlinked with third-party exchanges via their APIs.
Who is Bethereum for – target audience?
Bethereum betting applications can be used by anybody interested in betting. But we are designing our solution to be particularly attractive to casual bettors, including those players who never placed bets before as they were intimidated by the complexity or trust issues of conventional betting solutions. With our High Roller Club, we’re also going to cater to high rollers. We know that massive wagers are placed in the underground betting world because conventional operators cannot afford the risk of matching too high bet amounts (so, they impose relatively low maximum bet amounts). Within our social betting solution, every bet needs to be matched by somebody else…so high rollers can easily, safely, and legally bet as high amounts as they wish. There is more we plan for High Rollers but we’re keeping this part of the roadmap confidential, as we consider it a strong competitive advantage for our platform.
What makes Bethereum stand out against all the other betting blockchain apps arising on the market?
First of all, we already have a prototype: most token sales are just about an idea. As per other differentiators, please see below.
It really depends on which “competitors” we’re talking about. Most other blockchain-based apps are focusing on developing something which is already available in a conventional form, but leveraging blockchain technology to provide this “something” as a safer, more transparent, and cheaper solution (no middleman). So, we see various players promoting their “blockchain-powered Sportsbook”. Some are about football, some are about eSports, some are about gambling games. This is all perfectly valid…but easy to replicate by other blockchain based players.
Other operators are focusing on developing a betting currency, which will then be used by “everybody else” in the betting industry. This is their main focus and while they are interested in their own platform supporting the currency, most of the effort is placed on growing the adoption of their digital token.
We think both directions are too restrictive. Just making something available online more secure and transparent is a great and necessary improvement, but not enough to give Bethereum an edge. So we plan on introducing truly innovative social and gamification features that can make the platform and experience special and unique. See pages 19-20 of our whitepaper for a list of competitive benefits. And pages 22-24 for what we call the “Gamification Advantage”. That’s where I believe team’s experience from mobile gaming will really help.
About the direction of creating a global betting token – yes it’s extremely important. But Blockchain-powered social betting on its own is not enough to generate the kind of adoption that can make that happens (or even the kind of returns we expect for the company). This is why, unlike other competitors, we are aiming at growing a broad ecosystem centered around our platform. For example, by creating a core framework of our solution that can be easily tailor-made into white-label propositions for other companies and operators. Or by offering third-party developers the opportunity of creating games they can “plug in” into our solution. Page 21 of our whitepaper explains the basic use cases for our solution in more details.
To answer your original question: what makes us truly special is the combination of a superior, innovative and user-friendly social betting B2C front, with a powerful effort and technical solution to grow a successful B2B ecosystem. And when we do this, then that’s when our token can truly reach very high value. Ambitious, yes. Easy to copy by others? No.
Bethereum currently has a working iOS app prototype but is the rest of the roadmap still on schedule?
We made the roadmap to keep the milestones, not as a PR element. However, it is true that we decided to take a bit more time to bring the token sale to market: in order to make sure we do gain the resources we need to deliver on the roadmap and vision. So perhaps we’ll have a bit of catching to do just after the token sale…but I don’t expect any significant deviations from the roadmap by the end of the year.