By Steven Buchko
This article first appeared at Coincentral.com
What is FunFair?
FunFair is an Ethereum-based platform for online casino gaming. Targeting the $47B online gambling market, FunFair isn’t actually a casino. Instead, the underlying gaming technology is licensed out to casinos and other gambling platforms.
The FunFair team is attempting to solve some of the biggest problems online casinos face: slow performance, high operating costs, and lack of user trust. Through the use of blockchain technology and Fate Channels, an in-house built version of state channels, the products they license have the potential fix all of them.
How does FunFair work?
As a casino operator, you can license the FunFair technology and launch a casino in just 2-clicks. The platform is flexible and allows you to fully customise the gaming experience for your users.
Want to add a VIP room for your high-rollers? Go ahead. Looking to reward loyal users with bonuses? You can do that too. You can even choose which specific games you want to showcase as well.
Removing user friction
More importantly than providing an easy set-up, FunFair removes a lot of the friction involved with acquiring and retaining users. There’s a host of reasons why someone may choose not to use an online gambling platform, blockchain-based or otherwise.
Many users are put off by having to download an app that takes up a phone’s limited storage space. On top of that, the arduous sign-up processes involved with gambling to comply with KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations can be a stopping point in user onboarding.
All of FunFair’s games are built in HTML5 and run in a web browser – no need to download a separate app. The company is also planning on utilising Civic identity verification to provide a simple, one-click registration process for users.
Most Ethereum-based gambling platforms are novel concepts but have trouble with user adoption. Relying on miners and network speeds causes games to become unbearably slow whenever there’s any spike in congestion.
The gas fees associated with making bets is also unreasonably high – sometimes up to 50% of the original bet. This will only get worse as the price of Ethereum increases.
To combat these issues, the FunFair team has built and integrated Fate Channels into the platform. Fate Channels are a custom version of state channels, but we’ll get more into this later.
Lack of Trust
When you play at a traditional online casino, you have no way of knowing whether the advertised game odds are truthful. Operating in an industry that’s often in a legal grey area, it’s no surprise that casino trust is low amongst gamblers.
FunFair uses verifiable smart contracts to prove that gameplay is fair and the odds are as advertised.
The FunFair team has built a customised state channel system called Fate Channels to combat the problems involved with operating on the Ethereum network.
Each gaming session occurs on a Fate Channel. The Fate Channels provide communication between the casino and player enabling gaming sessions, random number generation for the sessions, and smart contract settlements for bets.
The only interaction with the Ethereum blockchain is at the beginning and end of sessions. Because of this, you only need to pay one gas fee even if you make hundreds of bets while you play.
Besides lower fees, gameplay is also much quicker without Ethereum congestion affecting performance.
To top it all off, FunFair is working to become completely serverless by its fourth version of Fate Channels scheduled for sometime in 2018. A peer-to-peer solution like this greatly reduces the operating costs for casinos using the technology.
FUN is an ERC-20 token that you use in every part of the FunFair platform. It’s the only token accepted for in-game credits, how game creators in the marketplace are paid, what casinos must pay their licensing with and receive revenues in, and all fees on the platform must be paid in FUN.
A total of 11,000,000,000 FUN tokens were created on June 22, 2017, and no more will be created. With a fixed supply, the token is deflationary and should experience sharp increases in price over time as demand for it increases. Furthermore, the FUN that’s paid as fees will be burned for the first two years which should further drive price upwards.
Casinos can also stake the FUN tokens in their bankrolls to receive additional dividends.
FunFair team & progress
The 30+ person FunFair team is based out of London and is led by Jez San, OBE. San’s entire career has revolved around entrepreneurship and the computer gaming industry. He founded Argonaut Software as a teen and created the first chip to power 3D games like Star Fox and Harry Potter. Rounding out his resume, San also founded the 3D online poker room, PKR, and is an investor in one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken.
Other members of the team are just as impressive. Jeremy Longley, founder and CTO, co-founded PKR with San and has over 15 years of experience managing development teams. FunFair COO, David Greyling, was previously the International Director of William Hill – a worldwide betting and gaming company.
The company already has multiple games available that you can test out here. A full launch and complete licensing availability are expected for Q2 2018.
FunFair has a few crypto-based competitors but is far ahead of the competition in terms of market cap and product development. With the popularity and sheer size of the market potential, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more and more competitors enter the space.
Decent Bet, Edgeless, and Dao.Casino are some of the blockchain-based casinos. However, by licensing out their technology to casinos, FunFair isn’t in direct competition with these projects. Instead, FunFair faces competition from platform providers in the traditional space such as Kambi, Gig, and EveryMatrix.
FUN started trading at the end of June 2017 settling in at a price of around $0.011 (the BTC price fluctuating wildly between 0.000004 and 0.00001).
In August 2017, the price rose to ~$0.034 and stayed between there and $0.015 for the following four months. This increase can be accredited to the announcement of three additional games being added to their platform. These additions demonstrated that the development team was making steady progress and consistently hitting milestones.
Starting in December 2017, the token has followed most alt coins in rising sharply at the end of the year while now declining for a good portion of January 2018.
Some events that may trigger a bump in price include the main net launch in Q2 2018 and news of casino partners who will be using the product. Fee token burning and, of course, an overall increase of demand on the platform should also lead to price increases.
Where to buy FUN
FUN is available on several major exchanges including Bittrex and Binance. On these platforms, you can only trade Bitcoin or Ethereum for FunFair. If you don’t currently have either, you should first trade for some using U.S. dollars on Gemini and transfer them over.
A complete list of supported exchanges is available on the FUN token page.
Where to store FUN
As with most other ERC20 tokens, we recommend using MyEtherWallet to store your FUN. And, if you’re looking for more security, you should consider a hardware wallet. Both the Ledger Nano S and Trezor are trusted and secure options for offline wallets.
Exodus is another good online wallet option that’s capable of holding multiple different coins, including FUN.
FunFair is attempting to enter the gigantic online gaming market by providing a solution that’s unique to the blockchain industry. Instead of acting as a casino, the company is licensing out their technology to other casinos which helps to mitigate their liability and risk.
The project already has a working product and plans to launch early this year. With the wealth of experience that the team has in the gaming space, it’s hard to see this project failing. If FunFair can overcome the market domination of current incumbents using traditional technology, blockchain-based casino games could be the new industry paradigm.