Rahul Sood is the Founder and CEO of Unikrn, an esports betting platform. In this brief interview, Rahul goes over the potential of Esports and the future of blockchain.
1. Thanks for doing the Q&A Rahul! Could you briefly tell everyone what you’ve been working on?
Unikrn recently became the first company to launch a fully-functional crypto and fiat esports wagering platform with Isle of Man regulatory approval, and we’re spending the end of 2018 rolling various products out across countries on four continents. It’s an exciting time to be an esports fan!
2. Most companies within the fantasy sports betting space aren’t leveraging blockchain technology. What triggered Unikrn to implement blockchain technology in its platform?
Mark Cuban, who invested in Unikrn, originally flagged it as something we should consider. We developed a non-crypto website token called the Unikoin which we used to test products, and our users turned over more than a quarter-billion in just two years. We we inundated by fans asking for more utility, and by then we knew that much of what we wanted to do required blockchain-based tech.
When we launched the Unikoin, it was with historic engagement for an esports and gaming token, and we launched it to give our platform the best, most straightforward functionality boost we possibly could. Having UKG has allowed us to reward our users in ways we never could without it, and building the systems for the token sale helped in developing our industry-leading, blockchain-based betting backend called Unikrn Jet, which is currently unrivalled in its automation, KYC & AML, functionality and processing speed. Regulators were really dazzled by the tech under our hoods, and it’s possible because of that blockchain inspiration.
3. What would you say are the biggest challenges for esports and blockchain adoption?
In blockchain, one of the biggest issues is speculators, to be honest. Blockchain will hit the next stage in its evolution when tokens derive their value from their functionality and not from speculation. At the same time we need certain exchanges to drop their requests to “drive volume”, instead they should be helping to build the ecosystem and not charge massive listing fees. It’s beyond ridiculous how some of these exchanges operate.
We launched UnikoinGold to give our platform more functionality, and it does that beautifully, but diamond projects like ours have an uphill fight pushing aside mountains of dirt that scammers and speculators are calling gold.
Fixing this problem is going to require smart regulations and better community awareness, but jurisdictions like Malta who are putting in the effort to support smart projects while protecting consumers are going to benefit from the upcoming technology and economic shifts that blockchain is bringing.
4. Esports betting and gambling, in general, is in a highly regulated industry. Do you have any plans to expand outside of the USA?
We already are! Unikrn has offices in Berlin and Sydney, and smaller satellite outposts around the world. We’re in the process of rolling out regulated betting products on four continents with regulatory with gold-standard licenses including one from Malta and one from the Isle of Man.
5. What are some strategies that Unikrn has used to get users to continue betting on Unikrn versus other platforms?
Our job is to expose fans to our platform, which is light years ahead of competitors.
We offer patent-pending skill-based betting, world-class esports content, more esports book titles and markets, a cleaner interface, free prizes and giveaways for gamers (even those who don’t bet) and Esports Bingo, which is a unique way to win prizes as you actively watch esports. Add that to our upcoming projects such as casino, betting expansions and platform improvements and the decision to stay is a no-brainer for most fans.
6. A while back we saw that Unikrn partnered with Dash Radio to launch an esports broadcast. What was the main reason behind the partnership?
This was actually a crypto & blockchain broadcast and not an esports broadcast. Dash Radio was impressed by our knowledge of the space and wanted original content, which we could provide because we have full in-house content teams. For us, it was an experiment in test-driving other forms of multimedia and building a relationship with a wonderful content outlet, which we expect will come in handy as our esports team continues to grow.
7. When do you think major platforms like Steam, Epic games etc. will be willing to accept Bitcoin as a payment method again?
If you want to see crypto accepted as payment by gaming companies, show them that crypto users are gamers. Go to Unikrn today and sign up for Connekt, earn free crypto every time you play your favorite games (including Dota 2, League of Legends, Fortnite among others). Use UnikoinGold to enter giveaways of amazing gaming prizes. If you’re in a regulated region, you can place bets on your own games or on esports matches.
Show publishers that fans have crypto, like crypto and, most importantly, use crypto. Unikrn is the best platform on Earth for proving this use case because it’s designed explicitly around this concept.
When publishers see platforms like Unikrn succeed, they’ll realize the crossover between gamers and crypto enthusiasts is too big to ignore. Once they see that upside, that’s when they’ll begin to adapt payment methods.
8. What do you see as the future for esports and cryptocurrency?
Esports is disrupting entertainment in a way similar to how cryptocurrency is disrupting online commerce and fintech. Together, they’re helping democratize the world’s largest sectors. Neither of these fields is going away or getting smaller, they’re just going to continue to grow until everything they touch adapts or dies.
9. What are some future plans for Unikrn’s platform and growth that the community doesn’t know about yet?
We believe in transparency because our users need to know what to expect on our platform. When something is ready to announce, they know it. Unfortunately, that also means I don’t have a big secret to share, all I can say is stay tuned because we haven’t closed the 2018 off yet — there’s still more coming.
10. Thanks for doing the interview Rahul! Please tell everyone how they can contact you?
Hit me up on social media @rahulsood on Twitter, or reach out to Unikrn (firstname.lastname@example.org) and inquiries will be forwarded to the right person in the company!