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Against the IFP

Centralizing control over a currency’s infrastructure is a seemingly obvious mistake.

One would think any Austro-libertarian worth their salt would be able to see thru such a charade. Yet here we are, again. Face to face with economic illiteracy. Not garden variety lefist economic illiteracy, but one far more stinging and painful - one which comes from within our own community, rather than from without. 

First, Bitcoiners faced the economic illiteracy of maximalism and small blockers. Attempts to masquerade money’s primary function as value storage (Ammous) or rejecting Menger’s Regression Theorem altogether (Szabo) are luckily demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the shock of our fellow Bitcoiners illiteracy was like an unexpected slap in the face. Suddenly, we were forced to confront the fact that the ignorance of our allies in the fight for sound money, had led them astray. Yet, thru BCH we were thankfully able to keep Satoshi’s dream of peer to peer cash intact. 
Well, crypto anarch…

Sports Betting & Blockchain

The sports betting industry is huge - Soccer alone attracts 250 million people willing to put money on what team is going to win or who is going to score. The industry is also extremely regulated in most of the world and heavily relies on money that can be traced and taxed. Sounds ripe for innovation, right?

There are hundreds of projects out there that seek to be your next blockchain-bookie and competition is fierce, which is a good spot to be in if you are like me and like to do some gambling. It's not as good as it could be though - This post is going to be a wish list; A small injection of ideas of things that would really open my wallet (and hopefully others in the same swing). But before that, let's start with taking a peek at what's currently going on in the niche.

Looking at some of the Current Ways to do Sports Betting with Crypto

I don't see the point of places like BetOnline, who allows you to gamble with crypto but also follows all US regulations, paragraph for paragraph. If the authorities wanted your financial data they could just squeeze BetOnline hard enough and they'd surrender it all. Placing bets with crypto under circumstances like that is just a gimmick, which is fine and better than nothing, but what I'm looking for  (and hopefully you too) is something spicier.

While the Costa Rican based Nitrogen Sports keeps things more anonymous in-house, but their platform only accepts Bitcoin which puts a lot of pressure on you to cover your own traces. This adds some non-trivial steps for the game-hungry people that are concerned about security.

The most promising site I have come across so far is SportBet, an Etherium-based platform that uses a betting industry-standard for settling bets and you only need an EOS account and wallet to start betting, so the site itself doesn't hassle you with any account creation - Just plug yourself in and play. I haven't used the site quite enough to give a proper review, but so far I am impressed. Except for the gas-price, that one is a bit iffy.

It's going to be hard to give a fair overview of all the projects floating around there, but I think these three examples I gave here represents the most typical ways people have gone about these things. Even though I really like bits and pieces of 2 of the ideas, I'm sure we can do better than that.

Putting some Thoughts into the Blender

Time to thought-test some ideas for potential components I'd love to see as features for any new or current blockchain-friendly betting software. The technical stuff I'm writing about here is far above my measly skills in coding, I'm writing up these ideas so that hopefully someone good at these sort of things can pick them up and run with them.

Decentralized and permissionless transactions are the two heavy hitters when it comes to blockchain technology and it fits the sports betting niche perfectly in many ways - With these two components, there is not a single door for cops to kick in and raid to stop the activity like they can do with the regular illegal bookie. The network is our bookie and the bookie can be copied and streamed everywhere we choose.

This also means security for the users, the players. If nobody can track your activity, how is the taxman going to find out whats going on? This is why I bailed out of BetOnline fairly early in my tests to write this article - I had no guarantees for my data to be private or bullied out of the hands of the platform! I also don't want to risk my account being frozen because the guys running the betting-platform gets compromised. If I wanted my local tax revenue office to know how big my winnings where I'd just log in to something like Betsson instead and play with fiat.

Transparency and no need to be worried about the code is another amazing future of, for example, Bitcoin and all its siblings - The open-source idea and verification of the network itself is absolutely beautiful. When money is on the line it's important for this trust to be as solid and see-through as possible to nip any scammers in the bud.

These three components (Decentralisation, Permissionless, Transparency) are the main ingredients that I'm looking for.

The Finer Details

How a Betting Gods newsletter looks like: short, sweet and to the point. And free!
Data mining odds, with the potential to adjust them for the players themselves before taking bets, and broadcasting them for players are one of those too-technical-for-me things to give a helping hand with, besides passing out the idea. But speaking from experience, some of us players are odds-surfing, hunting for good odds on several platforms so it would be very convenient if we as players could set our own odds and see if someone bets against us, under one umbrella UI (where the "house" network take a small claim from the betting for the service of being the network). Imagine if betting-odds services like Betting Gods could not only provide the service of giving you tips on what to play, they could also give out their own odds their experts set, or guide you to good bets on the internet. The only limit is the developer's imagination!

Speaking of UI, are you familiar with the Dissenter web browser? The browser itself is so-so but it has a fantastic idea baked into it that would fit us gamblers perfectly if reconstructed: Dissenter adds a comment-section layer to any news article, Youtube video and so on that anyone that is part of the Gab/Dissenter network can access - A censor-free way to interact on content with others without the content creator or publishers having any say. It's basically a digital version of talking with your friends about topics, but here you can actually do it at the source of what you are talking about.

Imagine doing this on sports articles about a certain game, but also have access to the odds on the network for this game, or even set up your own game and broadcast it through the network to anyone interested in that particular game - With the added bonus that the new game you setup can be associated with the article you just read or video you just watched. Someone trash-talking your favorite team in a comment section? Send them a bet and let them put their money where their mouth is! The on-ramp potential for Bitcoin with that sort of thing has huge potential.

Peace and Profit

- Alex Utopium, Editor at Utopium.


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