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Blockchain betting market, Azuro, aims to tackle liquidity problems with the latest seed funding round

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The global betting and predictions market is expected to grow to over $92 billion by 2023 as new players, nations, and states embrace the industry. Huge economies such as the U.S. have long prohibited gambling but in 2018, some states legalized the practice, adding $1.5 billion to the global recorded figure of online betting revenue by the end of 2020.

Image source: Azuro

With many other states expected to follow the path, the gambling industry may surpass the predicted figure – $100 billion in annual revenue being the target by the end of 2023.

In light of the explosive rise in sports betting during the pandemic, many decentralized betting protocols have come up trying to sway users and players towards blockchain-based prediction markets. On Wednesday, Azuro, a decentralized DAO of betting and prediction markets, announced a successful $3.5 million seed funding round led by top VCs and angel investors ranging from DeFi, GameFi, traditional betting markets, and other blockchain-related areas.

The seed investment round was led by three companies namely Gnosis, Polymorphic Capital, and Flow Ventures. Other investors in the round included Ethereal Ventures, Arrington XRP Capital, AllianceDAO (a.k.a. DeFi Alliance), Delphi Digital, Meta Cartel Ventures, Merit Circle, and Clever Advertising.

Since the launch of decentralized prediction platforms in 2017, the space has rather stagnated despite the demand from players and the crypto ecosystem skyrocketing to a $3 trillion market capitalization. While many attempts have been made to make them work, most of these platforms have failed terribly in delivering on the fundamentals that Web2 betting companies capitalized on including an array of events, deep liquid markets, competitive odds, and multiple betting options. Additionally, current blockchain-based betting solutions suffer from single liquidity providers, product depth, and a bad UX for their players.

The latest capital injection into Azuro aims to solve these problems by launching a transparent, trustless, and decentralized platform. Currently, liquidity providers (LPs) on prediction markets have to start markets manually, set the odds and seed liquidity to each market they create. This means the LPs hold all the betting risks while having little incentive to do so. This has caused massive capital and liquidity exiting the decentralized prediction markets – as it happened with Gnosis, a partner of Azuro.

Furthermore, prediction markets are inefficient for bets with 3 or more outcomes. Most are bound to stick with YES/NO markets, which is dramatically insufficient especially for sports and related bets with more than two outcomes. Lastly, most of these platforms face regulatory pressure and geographical constraints, which could impact the growth of betting markets or even see them shut down.

Unlike its competition, Azuro is building a new protocol to enhance liquidity provision and minimize the betting risks for LPs on the platform. The platform employs a “pooled liquidity structure”, similar to DeFi protocols, which means LPs will not have to manually create markets and are not exposed to the betting market’s systematic risks. Instead, the risk is spread across all betting markets on the protocol, and therefore dramatically reduced for the LPs.

Additionally, the funds will be used to build a friendly UX architecture that allows for the full depth of the betting product available at centralized sportsbooks and a classic frontend, similar to traditional betting markets. Unlike most of the decentralized prediction markets today, Azuro will also allow users to easily set up multiple betting options, moving from the binary “Yes/No”, currently widely spread across decentralized prediction markets.

The decentralized betting governance protocol

Over the past year, DAOs have become the norm in the crypto industry, allowing participants on the platform to vote on proposals made to improve or upgrade the protocol. Similarly, Azuro plans to launch its DAO to reduce the external influence from regulators and authorities.

According to a statement, the platform holds liquidity as the base infrastructure layer with players and customer interactions built on top of it. This approach “outsources much of the direct-to-consumer efforts and relieves Azuro from most of the regulatory, KYC, legal and operational lift”, the statement further reads. Azuro breaks the role of traditional bookmakers into smaller roles, much more attainable for smaller participants. Azuro connects these participants in an elaborate dance thus providing players with a better experience in a decentralized way.

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Michael Owen Announced as Brand Ambassador for Punt Casino

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Michael Owen Announced as Brand Ambassador for Punt Casino
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English football icon and BT Sports pundit Michael Owen has officially joined the Punt Casino team as its new Brand Ambassador.

Michael Owen started a professional career in football with his Premier League debut in 1997 as a striker for Liverpool FC. Known as one of the “greatest living footballers” in Pelé’s FIFA 100, Owen is one of only 10 players to have scored 150 goals or more in his Premier League career.

Michael Owen has also received the most prestigious award in football, having claimed the Ballon d’Or trophy in 2001. He has played in three FIFA World Cups and even captained the England national team.

With this partnership in the bag and a true football icon on their side, Punt Casino is making 2022 a year to remember with the hottest action the industry has ever seen.

Hitting the back of the net

As a strong advocate for crypto and blockchain in general, Michael, along with his influential media presence and 3.7 million Twitter followers, will see Punt Casino secure its position as the fastest-growing crypto casino in the industry.

“Online casinos are more exciting than ever these days, but with its crypto focus, Punt Casino is doing something different – they really are changing the game,” said Owen, who has been involved with numerous crypto projects in the past.

He went on by saying “I’m a strong believer in the power of crypto, so teaming up with an innovative platform like Punt Casino feels like a natural fit.”

As a world-famous football commentator, respected businessman, and active media personality, Owen is the perfect representative to stand behind such an innovative crypto project. Digital currencies need every ounce of positive publicity they can get, and an endorsement from such a reputable name stands for a lot.

Michael Owen’s stamp of approval

The announcement comes with exciting news for crypto gaming enthusiasts, as Punt plans to take the industry by storm with huge prize-packed competitions.

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup fast approaching, Punt players can expect unique Michael Owen merchandise and football-related giveaways throughout the year in the build-up to the tournament.

Speaking on the announcement, Alexander Bowring, Head of Marketing at Punt Casino, said: “Michael Owen is a football icon in every sense of the word, so to have him come on board as our brand ambassador is a major moment for us. Since launching last year, Punt Casino has been changing the game, delivering exciting crypto casino action that our rivals just can’t match. Expect big things from Punt Casino in 2022 and beyond.”

Punt Casino is revolutionizing crypto gaming

Punt Casino has quickly become a strong player in the crypto casino scene with its super-powered giveaways and outstanding online casino platform. Players also get to take advantage of 24/7 customer support available instantly from the site to answer any questions or queries.

With a next-level gaming experience delivered by over 200 crypto-friendly (and handpicked!) casino games, Punt offers its players the advantage of using leading cryptocurrencies to deposit, withdraw, and play.

As crypto enthusiasts know, this allows for faster, safer, and totally anonymous transactions, which is yet another reason why Punt has become such a prominent online casino destination.

#OWEN10 has arrived at Punt Casino

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Kinguin Launches NFT Marketplace in Partnership with Immutable X

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Kinguin Launches NFT Marketplace in Partnership with Immutable X
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Kinguin is launching its NFT marketplace, in partnership with Immutable X. Featuring 40+ collections and over 200,000 unique NFTs, it will give gaming and esports customers access to a vast array of exclusive NFT offerings.

The marketplace, built on top of the Immutable X protocol, is mixing the familiarity and practicality of web2 with the freedom and potential of web3. Kinguin offers its users the stability and security of an established digital goods marketplace. Some top NFT games like Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians, PlanetQuest and Habbo Hotel will all offer NFTs on the marketplace, with more to be announced in the coming months.

But there’s more than just the high-quality content that will appeal to Kinguin’s vast community. Immutable X, created by Immutable and Starkware, is the technologically leading layer 2 scaling solution for NFTs on Ethereum. The combination of Immutable’s deep knowledge of blockchain technology with Starkware’s cutting-edge ZK-rollup technology, means the Kinguin NFT Marketplace will be lightning fast (at 9,000 TPS) and carbon-neutral, without compromising on security.

The partnership presents mass adoption opportunities for both developers and end-users. By combining Kinguin’s 13 million registered users with Immutable X’s scaling solution, you don’t have to compromise your assets’ security, transaction speed, gas fees and negative impact when diving deeper into NFT, making it easier to scale the game and NFT industries together.

Other features include a dedicated search option, making it easy for everyone to buy and sell NFTs. Users can also connect their MetaMask crypto wallet with the Kinguin NFT marketplace, a free hot wallet service available as a smartphone app or web browser extension. With that, every user can buy NFTs or deposit Ethereum for purchase purposes and also check their NFT balance.

Robert Kalbarczyk, Chief Operating Officer & Acting CEO at Kinguin said “We remain focused on our community’s interests and passions. With Play and Earn on the rise, this felt like the natural next step for us. We’re thankful to have partners that share our vision and we’re looking forward to working with Immutable X to offer our customers a range of exclusive NFT gaming assets.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome Kinguin’s 13 million users to Immutable’s open order book, and help power the next generation of mainstream gamers to truly own their in-game items,” said Robbie Ferguson, Co-Founder at Immutable. “This is an incredibly significant move — one of the powerhouses of digital goods trading from web2 is expanding their offering to NFTs, and they’ve chosen layer-2 Ethereum as the way to do it. We look forward to helping Kinguin scale this marketplace across hundreds of games and millions of players.”

The NFT marketplace may still be in early stages but long term plans are being considered to ensure its continuous evolution. As well as collaborations with big marketplaces, Kinguin also hopes, in time, to develop its own NFT games.

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Global Esports Federation Convenes Knowledge Leaders to Shape the Metaverse Council

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The Board of the Global Esports Federation has established the GEF Metaverse Council, aimed at convening thought leaders and creators around the Web3 space. In addition, the Metaverse Council will focus on shaping tangible metaverse development initiatives for our global community, blockchain technologies, NFTs and more.

“We’ve established the GEF Metaverse Council to cultivate ideas, voice, and shape to our metaverse reality; and to access the limitless opportunities for our entire #worldconnected community,” Paul J. Foster, CEO of the GEF, said.

The Metaverse Council will be Chaired by Hugo Philion, CEO and Founder of Flare – GEF’s Global Partner for Blockchain Ecosystems. Melvin Kuek, Senior Advisor of the GEF, has been appointed Vice-Chair.

The GEF Metaverse Council is powered by a collective hive mind comprising global subject specialists including crypto and NFT project developers, creative directors, domain experts, and social influencers within the space.

Some of the members of the newly established council are Oxskellymode, NFT influencer and co-founder of Enigma Ventures; Sabertooth, director of Tiger Vision Global Pty Ltd and founder of NFT project Attack Tigers!; Melty Tanti, founder and creative director of Play & Earn (P&E) metaverse project Jambo Mambo; and MingWeiRocks, one of Asia’s top TikTok creators with over 22 million followers.

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