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Exclusive Interview with Peter Gal, co-founder of Bethereum

Niji Narayan

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Peter Gal: Co-founder of Bethereum
Peter Gal: Co-founder of Bethereum
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Peter Gal is a co-founder of Bethereum, the fast-growing blockchain based social betting platform. Here he talks about his career, how the idea of Bethereum was born and how blockchain technology is going to change the betting industry.

You might be pleasantly surprised to hear that his passion for football has indirectly led to the creation of a path-breaking technological platform. In this interview, he clearly outlines Bethereum’s objectives and vision. He also explains in detail what makes Bethereum special by being “provably fair”.

I’d first like to ask you to begin with a few words about yourself. It’s always nice to hear top-class professionals say a few words about themselves for our audience.

Peter: I have 16 years’ experience leading strategic initiatives in Telco, IT, and banking. I was responsible for some of the most successful product launches in the CEE region, in the areas of big data, cloud computing, IoT, and e-commerce. My biggest passion is to combine technology with business strategy, to deliver something which is truly innovative and serves a real purpose.

You started your career as a teacher for a brief while. Then you moved to marketing, telecom, banking and life insurance. Now you are heading a blockchain based social-media betting platform. Tell us more about the job shift. How easy was your navigation from the traditional industries to a relatively new industry?

Peter: I worked as a teacher during my alternative military service. It was a really great experience, which gave me some valuable insights for example in how to coach a team for success. Further in my career, I was always responsible for delivering new products and solutions to customers. I tackled every business challenge by focusing on delivering innovation and tangible business results to each company I worked for. I had the opportunity to cooperate with a number of startups and being deeply involved in their community. The latter truly inspired me, along with the potential a project like Bethereum offers, to start my own business.

How did the idea of Bethereum – a block-chain-based social betting platform – happened. Is there any interesting background story? Tell us more about the name “Bethereum”.

Peter: The idea originated over one year ago. I am a passionate football fan and occasionally placed some bets online or with local betting agencies. From my own experience, I was not convinced that conventional betting offered the intuitiveness, security and user-friendliness that bettors deserved. So I involved a development team and started to design their our application. The head of the development team soon became one of Bethereum’s co-founders. Along the way, we realized that blockchain and especially Smart Contracts offered the perfect solution to execute our vision, and Bethereum was born. The name Bethereum is simply a combination of the words “Bet” and “Ethereum,” which is the infrastructure on which we’re building our social betting application, platform, and betting protocol.

 How is the response from people towards Bethereum? Could you offer some recent stats on user engagement?

Peter: We are only as good as our community. A project like Bethereum, which aims at putting betting in the hands of MILLIONS, needs a team that can create strong social engagement. And our growing community is proof that we can do just that. We have over 55 thousand Telegram members, 20 thousand twitter and 18 thousand Facebook followers. We achieved all that organically, through innovative bounty systems, events, and competitive games. Most of this base is regularly active and we feel lucky to be part of such an amazing community. We now have a number of fan bases in different countries, who became true ambassadors of the Bethereum project.

There are several companies focusing on blockchain based social betting platform. There are  likely to be many more, once the popularity grows. What makes Bethereum really stand out? How do you rate the chances of the big traditional betting companies entering into the competition?

Peter: First of all, we already have a prototype: many other projects are just about an idea. As per other differentiators, we worked hard to carve a unique position within the space. Most other blockchain-based betting solutions 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). Some focus on football or sports, some on eSports, others on fantasy sports, for example. This is all perfectly valid…but difficult to differentiate and in case of anything but sports, restrictive in terms of potential market size.

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 developing some own platform, most of the effort is placed ongrowing the adoption of their digital token.

We think both directions are too restrictive. Just making something which is already available off the blockchain more secure and transparent is a great and necessary improvement, but not enough to give a betting operator an edge. Having a vision of establishing a widely adopted betting currency is certainly alluring but hard to execute if there are no powerful drivers driving such adoptions.

We aim at delivering the most intuitive and innovative betting application in the market, supporting content ranging from sport betting to eSports, fantasy, and even third-party games (e.g., casino). And to combine it with powerful gamification elements, so to deliver players with a truly rewarding experience. But we’re not limiting ourselves to a “fancy” sportsbook on the blockchain. Our vision is to develop a broad B2C and B2B ecosystem and to establish our Bether token as a global betting standard. For this reason, we are creating a platform catering to the needs of a broad consumer and business base: casual bettors, high rollers, white-label customers, conventional betting operators, third-party game providers, and marketing affiliates – all fueled by our ERC20 Bether token and running on our BetherNet betting protocol.

This strategy is not only providing us with more revenue streams and lowering risk via diversification: it is also boosting the potential for widespread token adoption. And giving us a competitive edge which is difficult to replicate.

As for the blockchain market entrance by traditional betting operators, in general it may be a difficult cultural leap for an operator whose core mentality has always revolved around a centralised, confidential solution to move onto a completely different decentralised paradigm offering full transparency. We expect that at first conventional operators may start by accepting cryptocurrencies. If they eventually decide to enter the blockchain space it may be more likely to happen in the form of partnerships with new blockchain-based players. Our B2B proposition for conventional betting operators is designed around this very belief and business opportunity.

Now let’s talk about legislation. Previously, the betting industry had to – and still has to – deal with legislation regarding betting and gambling. Now you have added blockchain, which has its own problems with legislation across countries. Don’t you think you are further adding to the legal burden, when you embed betting on blockchain?

Peter: Bethereum combines betting and cryptomarkets, in a peer-to-peer platform where the relationship is established directly among bettors. Broadly speaking, this gives us an advantage in licensing requirements vis-a-vis conventional centralised operators. As the regulatory environment changes rapidly (an example is the recent US Supreme Court ruling which could lead to sports betting legalisation in many US states), we’ll deep dive into individual markets when we’re closer to the platform release. However, as a general standpoint we can say that there exist a number of markets that can be served with one common license or even without a license, some that may require an individual license for the territory, and others where betting is illegal and we will not be able to operate (for example China, and that is one of the reasons why we exclude China from the token sale).

We have already looked into the cost and obtainability of betting licenses for our particular type of operation. In most cases we will obtain them directly. In the most difficult cases we will look for partnerships with operators which are licensed for the relevant territory. We have an experienced legal team advising us on this matter and we’ll always look for the best solution in terms of cost, compliance, and time.

 Finally, one last question – more out of curiosity. Your website claims Bethereum is “provably fair”. Could you elaborate a bit more on practical terms what exactly you mean by “provably fair”?

Peter: The online betting industry is plagued by a number of key challenges. In a nutshell, over time the House always wins. Among other considerations, odds are vastly in favour of the bookmaker, payouts are not always honoured, and regular winners are restricted or banned. There is a lack of transparency and security, high fees and low returns, and low social involvement. These factors alienate asignificant number of potential bettors from taking part in such systems.

In Bethereum players bet with other players, not against a bookmaker, and all bets have a winner. With us, the House doesn’t win because there is no House. Players set the odds and all transactions are visible on the blockchain.

Each bet is handled by a Smart Contract. The Smart Contract records the conditions for the bet, keeps the fund in escrow, verifies the bet outcome via the use of Oracles, and automatically pays out the winnings. All this without any human intervention or possibility for manipulation. Furthermore, we will always welcome winners and run the platform with the utmost integrity. So in this way, Bethereum is a provably fair solution.

Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.

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Interviews

Hyperion playing hard for a win-win all round

George Miller

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Hyperion playing hard for a win-win all round
Stav Zilbershtein, CEO and founder, Hyperion
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Stav Zilbershtein will be unveiling Hyperion’s new iGaming integrations team shortly and as a sneak preview of what the industry can expect from this pioneering development the phrase ‘creating powerful technology driven solutions’, gives a pretty good idea of where Zilbershtein is heading.

Hyperion is launching the iGaming integrations team – what is the service about and how does it benefit brands and platform providers?
We realised that many platform providers are constantly being approached by their clients with integration requirements. These can range from implementing game providers to payment providers and other custom 3rd party services. Most platform providers don’t want to occupy their core technology team with such requests because they are not setup to support their clients in the form of an agency. On the other hand, the reality is so that platform providers that can’t cooperate with the requirements of their clients and cannot provide them with the freedom and flexibility that they need will lose their clients. This is where our team comes into play. We allow platform providers to partner with us and leave this particular type of work to the Hyperion iGaming integrations team. This is a win win for all platform providers in the industry and for their clients.

How successful is it proving to be?
It feels like the most natural step for us. Being based strongly in the iGaming sphere we developed the expertise through our experience in the past years. For platform providers that don’t have such custom services unit it makes total sense and we get highly positive responses. Partnerships form fast and without much effort. For brands that we come across that are new or in the process of fast growth we see it as the fastest and most economically efficient solution.

What can brands achieve from working with the Hyperion integrations team?
No matter which platform provider the brand is based on, we can always assist with integrations of any 3rd party solution that the platform supports. Some brands have ideas for various mobile or web based apps and all of those visions require a fast agile provider that can manifest these apps in reality. With the knowledge and experience we have accumulated in the iGaming niche it is the path of least resistance for any fast growing brand.

Who do you look to partner with moving forward?
We constantly talk to all active big and small platform providers. From casino and game providers to sports betting platform providers, sports data providers and payment providers. If your solution is not mentioned on our iGaming integrations page we strongly invite you to contact us and establish a partnership with Hyperion. It’s a win win from all sides.

What do you aim to achieve this year with the integrations team?
We want to enable the flexibility to create powerful technology driven solutions to all brands and all clients of the popular platform providers. This year the market is getting much more sophisticated than what it used to be and only those that will be able to drive strong technological based solutions to their players will survive. We are here to enable that to any brand that realises that reality.

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Exclusive interview with Stuart Godfree, Managing Director and co-founder, mkodo

George Miller

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Exclusive interview with Stuart Godfree, Managing Director and co-founder, mkodo
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Stuart Godfree co-founded mkodo with Sue Yoxall in 2001, taking the opportunity to bring an innovative technology-based service to the rapidly developing gaming market. Recently, Stuart founded mkodo’s Evolve Scheme, a graduate scheme investing in the next generation of talented individuals who want to progress a career in the mobile applications technology field.

 

You offer apps and digital products to the betting, gaming and lottery sectors, what do you think is the most important thing operators need to consider in terms of their digital experience offering?

Having a strong digital offering is no longer an option but a necessity for all operators and suppliers in the gambling industry. We work with several lotteries and traditionally this has been a product popular with the older generation who would buy and check the outcome of the draw in a retail environment. But nowadays, people are using their mobile phones for everyday tasks and this includes leisure activities such as betting and gaming. People have got used to the convenience of having everything just one click away and expect an easy, effortless user experience. For the lottery industry, this could for example mean a fully transactable experience; an app that offers the functionality to log in, deposit funds, check lottery tickets and withdraw winnings without unnecessary friction.

You work with several National and State lotteries. Would you say they are falling behind in the fast-paced digital development?

Although it can be argued that lotteries were late to the party when it comes to adapting to the online environment, we’re now seeing a sizeable shift in attitudes. For lotteries to benefit from all the opportunities provided by the digital world, they must be bold in embracing new technologies and trends. This is particularly crucial to engage the mobile savvy younger generations. We have seen with our operating partners that with a slick and efficient online or mobile offering, no audience is unattainable. Of course, as with any industry, there is room for improvement and challenges remain. Regulators world-over are tightening up on legislation while Apple is following suit with its own restrictions on the App Store guidelines, troubling digitalisation. But the ambition is finally there, and that’s an important step in the right direction. We recently gained a membership to the World Lottery Association and are partnered with some of the biggest names in the industry such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. It’s great to see that implementing an innovative digital strategy is a top priority for the lotteries we work with and operators have proven that they are able to keep up with rapidly changing consumer preferences in an online world.

You have recently worked on a project together with Teesside University, could you tell us a bit about that?

This was part of our “innovate together” competition that we launched to see if we could generate solutions to one of the biggest challenges that lotteries around the world are currently facing; attracting and retaining the younger generation. As mentioned, traditional lotteries are seen to be a preferred game of choice for older generations of 55-64, where 87% of lottery tickets are still bought in retail stores. So, who better to address the challenge of engaging a younger audience than millennials themselves? We asked students at Teesside University to come up with a solution that bridges the gap between traditional lotteries and the younger generations, in line with responsible gambling regulations and charitable beneficiary obligations. We heard four presentations packed with great ideas and well-developed arguments. We’re now developing these innovative ideas with the students and we’re excited to showcase them soon.

Apple has recently started enforcing their guidelines 4.2 and 4.7, could you tell us a bit more about the implications this could have for the betting and gaming industry?

Apple’s restrictions on nativity and real money games have served as a double blow to the industry. For a lot of operators, repacking a HTML website in a native container was standard practice for their mobile applications. But that approach will no longer work under the new guidelines and has the potential to impact the industry massively in terms of app re-development time and cost.

On top of that, the 4.7 restriction has potential to be even more damaging, particularly for operators that have a high level of native functionality but include third-party casino games. As Apple will no longer accept games that have been ‘side-loaded’, as we call it, operators are left with a difficult decision: either abandon their iOS application and move solely to website distribution channels, or work with game developers to embed top titles with the application code. Both options come with pitfalls, however, the full extent of how these restrictions will truly impact the industry is yet to be realised.

What can we expect from mkodo in 2019?

We’ve been helping our clients and partners understand their obligations and responsibilities with the revised Apple Guidelines, as well as developing strategies to minimise the impact amongst operators in the wider betting and gaming industry. We will continue to do this and will advise on what happens beyond the September 3rd deadline. More widely, our business in Canada and North America continues to go from strength to strength and we’re looking forward to making valuable new partnerships in the region.

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Industry News

Using data to detect insights is a precise science, argues Parimatch Chief Data Officer

George Miller

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Using data to detect insights is a precise science, argues Parimatch Chief Data Officer
Rostyslav Maikovych – Chief Data Officer at Parimatch
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Rostyslav Maikovych – Chief Data Officer at Parimatch, provides an insight to his presentation at iGB Live! and the challenge of generating reliable data in a post GDPR era, the critical task of drawing as much value from usable data as possible and an exploration of the key metrics that businesses can deploy.

 

Is data like oil in so far as it has to be refined to be meaningful.  No one would put crude oil in a jet plan for example?
Collecting data is only the first stage, but it is essential. To effectively use the data in the processes of business intelligence and machine learning, it needs to be processed correctly, verified and transformed if needed to ensure that everything is correct and accurate and prepared for analysis. Data should be verified based on both accuracy and context. Machine learning requires the right set of features that can be used in ML.
Usually, for normalized data, you need to prepare a relational data warehouse where all information about clients, their behaviour and transactions is aggregated. Then from this repository, you can take data and discover insights, prepare samples for the development of predictive models such as response prediction, or churn prediction, to activate the client on time before he/she loses interest in the service.
You can collect a lot of different data. It can be structured and unstructured data from e-mail, social media, logs, client profile, history of the transaction, etc. In this regard, the search for insights – hidden patterns and features in data sets – is similar to the search for golden sand in a heap of ore. However, it’s still possible.

With so many data breaches how do we build trust with consumers?
We ask for a minimum of personal data. We save all the information we receive, and we do not pass it on to third parties. We take care of the personal data as if it is our own.  The primary source for insights is the behaviour of customers and their bets. Due to it, we divide clients into segments, and we can make targeted offers that are interesting to the particular client. Clients benefit from receiving fewer uninteresting mailings and having more exciting bonus and activation proposals that are tailored to each customer.

Do you think consumers now appreciate the value of their data?
I suspect that they do not notice how much data is being transmitted – clicks, bets, markets, teams they bet on. It is difficult for a person to remember what he/she was interested in over one or another period. Moreover, we aggregate and analyse this information to create a more efficient customer journey and relevant content. At the same time, customers get many benefits – such as less spam as well as more interesting and targeted suggestions.
They give more valuable information, for example, to Google – all the search queries and keywords they were looking for. As a result, they are persistently plagued with advertisements that are mostly irrelevant. It’s easier to feel the value of information in this case as you can see the direct result of collecting something close to you. We do not have such an effect with our data. We are only interested in their preferences towards sports and their behaviour on the site.

How do you draw maximum value from usable data and what are the key metrics?
We must take into account what the business requirements and objectives are. If the primary objective is to achieve an increase in conversion, it will be necessary to analyse which clients are better converted and why, at what stages do we encounter the most significant problems, where it is necessary to make a shorter application form or to change the location of the buttons. The metric here is the sales funnel and conversion rate on each step, namely, its increase after fixing the detected flaws in the processes.
Should the organisation want to quickly grow its share on the new market, we need to analyze what sports events and types of bonuses involve most customers, test different types of campaigns for the acquisition, analyse their effectiveness, and use the best. In this case the metrics are the monthly growth of active users, daily active users and additional profit.
Frequently an organisation’s focus is to increase retention rate. We need to identify at what stages there is the most significant outflow. The strategy would be to give customers an offer that is interesting to them or content that enhances their engagement and brings them back to us on the site. For example, the highest level of outflow appears in the first two weeks among a particular segment of clients. We assign our main activities on them, improve onboarding, send them more exciting offers and announcements. The metric here is the retention rate.

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