Online gambling has long been a driving force behind the bitcoin economy, though one that remains both shrouded in secrecy and hampered by a lack of regulatory clarity.
However, an attempt to launch one of the first major regulated bitcoin-powered gaming platforms is struggling to alter this narrative, despite backing from a slew of international gambling stars.
Breakout Gaming, announced on 16th September, boasts former World Series of Poker champions Johnny Chan and Huck Seed as marketing partners and will be powered by its own decentralized cryptocurrency, breakout coin (BRO). Gaming pros Jennifer Harman, Ted Forrest, Todd Brunson and Vladimir Shchemelev have also signed on to support the platform.
The project completed its first initial coin offering (ICO) period this week, raising just 387 BTC (roughly $136,000 at press time) toward its 1,000 BTC ($350,000) goal. The ICO began on 21st October and formally ended at midnight on 19th November.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Breakout Gaming’s head of marketing Gian Perroni and CEO Billy Chung framed the struggles as being more indicative of poor market timing than a disinterest in the project itself.
Perroni and Chung said:
“When we first launched our crowdsale, bitcoin was in a free fall, which cast a chill with potential purchasers – not only for our project but for the crypto community in general.”
Breakout Gaming said it views its ICO and its gaming platform as complementary services and that, should the ICO fail to reach its goal in another planned fundraising round, private sources could be tapped to bring the project to fruition.
Both Perroni and Chung remain convinced of the project’s ultimate success. Unlike past cryptocurrencies aimed at specific verticals, like potcoin for the marijuana industry or titcoin for adult entertainment, Perroni suggested that the Breakout Gaming ecosystem will add value to its preferred currency by providing a built-in marketplace.
“The difference is that we’re building a gaming property whose sole purpose is to support the value of the coin. What will make the coin successful is if the gaming is successful, and what makes the gaming successful is the fact that we have a blend of excellent products and very, very good experienced personnel.”
The platform will accept breakout coin, bitcoin and fiat currencies for breakout chips – the individual tokens that enable gaming on its platform.
Emphasis on gaming
Breakout Gaming intends to use 7m BRO to incentivize new players to its games, which will include real-money and free poker and casino gaming, fantasy sports leagues for major US sports and fantasy games for electronic sports (eSports) like League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients (DotA).
These games, Perroni argues, would give the platform an edge, even if it wasn’t focused on promoting the platform through an online currency.
“There’s no one who’s running the traditional poker and casino and also blending that in with fantasy e-sports,” he said.
The platform will also feature a unique ‘fantasy crypto’ property that will allow players to pit whole lineups of cryptocurrencies against one another.
The firm’s 7m BRO will be distributed to customers over two years, Perroni explained, through a series of giveaways and guaranteed prize pools that he hopes will entice new players into Breakout Gaming and, by extension, the digital currency space.
“Breakout coin will give a lot of people the opportunity to being able to use a cryptocurrency, people who may not have had the opportunity or the trust to find out what this is all about,” he added.
Though many forum members have expressed interest in the platform’s planned gaming options, other aspects of the project have been greeted with less fanfare or with skepticism.
Breakout coin uses a unique mining functionality called ‘Proof of Bergstake’, a form of proof-of-stake mining that ensures only individuals who participate in the initial coin offering will be able to mine the currency in the future.