The FUN talking – an interview with Jez San
The FUN talking – an interview with Jez San
Funfair.io, the disruptive blockchain-based online casino experiment which launched a successful initial coin offering (ICO) which raised $26m in a matter of hours in June, is set to launch a second offering in September, according to the co-founder Jez San.
In a wide-ranging interview conducted with GamCrowd in mid-July, the online gambling and video gaming veteran speaks about how Funfair.io is an attempt by him and his team to “rethink and reinvent online gaming.”
The Funfair white paper that accompanied the original ICO said it hoped to develop an online games platform that would be completely server-less and decentralised at launch and would solve the cost issues which have somewhat bedevilled other blockchain-based casino platforms.
To fund the development, Funfair will use a portion of the cash already raised to further invest in the technology and a suite of games. San confirms that a second coin fund-raising exercise will be undertaken in September as per the white-paper plan.
“This money will be more allocated to marketing and establishing new markets, assisting operators, perhaps investing in bankrolls. It depends how much we can raise in the second round,” he says.
The ICO market has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks off the back of total fund-raisings that total over $1.3bn according to a report from financial research provider Autonomous released in early July. Commentators have suggested there is a danger of the market turning into a bubble while others point to the lack of oversight and the potential for fraud and scams.
One such commentator is Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain who told Bloomberg last week that the ICO market was a “ticking time-bomb.” He told the newswire: “There’s an over-tokenization of things as companies are issuing tokens when the same tasks can be achieved with existing blockchains. People are blinded by fast and easy money.”
Hoskinson was speaking after the news broke of the first ICO hack when CoinDash, which bills itself as a social trading platform, said its website was hacked earlier last week and $7m was stolen from investors trying to participate in the company’s ICO.
San admits the ICO market raises questions regarding fraud. “I think it’s clear there are a few that are fraud cases and a few that are securities violations,” he says. “But on the whole many of them are genuine ventures that are receiving crowdfunding to help them startup.”
As for the FUN tokens that Funfair has issued, San is keen to stress the delineation between the token and the Ethereum network, which itself suffered a hack last week which cost holders of ether up to $31m according to some reports.
“The FUN token will live or die by its own success,” he says. “And the people will be able to convert back and forth between different cryptocurrencies, or with payment processors also do it with fiat currency. But you know, literally it will live or die by how successful it is and if people play the games then they'll be buying the tokens and then there'll be demand for it.”
With ICO fund-raisings involving gambling companies proliferating – DaoCasino has also raised money recently and esports-only betting operator Unikrn is set to follow suit in the autumn – it remains the case that it is emerging as the premier market for gambling-focused startups to gain not only attention but also cash.
“We received more seed funding at FunFair, from the crowd - with no strings attached - compared to any other company I’ve been involved with,” he says. “The benefits and transparency of running games on the blockchain, coupled with our own unique technology is compelling and attractive for the gaming industry.
“It offers ground-breaking benefits like fairness, transparency, and lowers the cost of gaming, which should appeal to all. We can’t see any downsides.”
Totally Gaming says: San is right to point out the degree to which the ICO market is proving to be fertile ground for gambling-focused startups that are looking to exploit interest in the blockchain from investors. Whether it is the ‘ticking time-bomb’ that Hoskinson suggests is matter of debate, but there can be no doubting the interest excited by blockchain.
For the full interview with Jez San visit www.GamCrowd.com