Betting pools and houses have long been both a point of attraction to many people and a principal foe to nearly equal number of legislators.
On the one hand, it is a simple game of chance that could potentially reward the one lucky person with an immense amount of money. The entire economy of betting is built around the hope of people to be that one lucky human being who takes it all. In practice, however, this industry has rapidly become one of the most controversial and even surpassed casinos in this capacity.
Hard Luck of Betting
Betting probably started off as a fun pastime and restricted to just a few people. However, it soon evolved into a real business model. In many countries, sports betting is completely illegal and entails serious consequences. Some other countries haven’t moved to delegitimize it completely, yet even there the public opinion doesn’t favor such endeavors.
The reason for that is quite simple. Betting houses are most commonly associated with organized crime and every other notion related to it: non-transparency, debts and chasing them up, violence, and misery. There have been many attempts on the government’s part to tackle those issues, however, in most cases, it just resulted in complete bans.
Still, betting evolved alongside the laws and took many other forms, from lotteries to fantasy football leagues in the U.S.. Often presented as games of skill rather than games of chance, those betting mechanisms are usually quite legitimate and rarely involve any questionable undertones; however, they are just as non-transparent as their less legitimate peers.
Still, transparent or not, betting still attracts lots of people, and the recent innovations in technology, such as blockchain, make things better for those who wish to participate in it. With its utter transparency and accountability, and completely virtual nature, blockchain could remove all those problems from betting and reduce it back to what it had been in its early days: a somewhat friendly challenge.
New Blockchain-based Solution
While there are numerous projects that, to some extent, use blockchain technology to revolutionize gambling and the games of chance, there is only a handful of those dealing with actual sports bets.
Is it actually possible to make sports betting transparent and fair? It is, according to Cryptocup, a cryptocurrency-based project that specifically focuses on the forthcoming FIFA World Cup and offers its users to make their bets using blockchain-powered technology.
In particular, they use ERC-721 Ethereum-compatible tokens. While the other standard of ERC-20 is well known and possibly too much embraced by the community, especially its ICO-holding part, this standard is quite different.
In a few words, ERC-721 is also compatible with the Ethereum blockchain. However, that’s where its similarities with ERC-20 end. Each ERC-721 token is unique and irreplaceable, and it can be transferred only as a whole. For those reasons, it’s often used to store unique and collector’s items, and cannot act as a means of payment.
What Cryptocup offer to their users is to create their own ERC-721 tokens that hold all their predictions. Those prediction tokens will be transferable, meaning that a user will be able to buy and sell those tokens to other users as the World Cup progresses. Finally, the tokens that contain correct predictions will be the winners, and their creators will be rewarded.
Essentially, this model retains the good old betting mechanism while removing the non-transparency and risks from the equation, and allowing those willing to put their money on a certain outcome to do that in the privacy of their own homes. No gangs involved.
For the bigger part of its history, betting has been associated with easy money and criminal activities and involved utter opaqueness. Still, there are lots of blockchain-based projects that seek to do something about it and make betting fair and accountable.
While the industry of betting has known its ups and downs, the desire of people to believe in sheer luck and bet on outcomes of sports events is a phenomenon to be dealt with. With the blockchain’s immutability and transparency, this industry might finally get the kickstart to enter into a new paradigm where everything’s fair.
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