Exclusive Interview with Tomas Draksas (Co-founder of Edgeless.io) speaker at Vienna International Gaming Expo 2018
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Our latest interviewee has an impressive gambler background. Tomas Draksas is the Co-founder of Edgeless, Professional Poker Player & Gambler.
In 2008 – 2013, online poker was on the rise and a lot of new players were jumping into the game. At that time, Tomas decided to study the math of probability and poker. Later on, his direction changed to investing, cryptocurrency and digital marketing. He is the CEO of a conversion rate design company (Convi Design) which provides solutions to start-ups in the field of conversion rates and sales funnels. Additionally, he is investing into other start-ups. Right now Tomas is a Co-founder of Edgeless.io first fully transparent decentralised Ethereum casino.
Tomas will be among the speakers at the second edition of Vienna International Gaming Expo, held on the 31st of May at Melia Vienna. More details about the event can be found here.
Thank you very much for answering our questions. First I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself and tell us when and why you started working in this industry.
Tomas: Hey, I am Tomas, co-founder of Edgeless blockchain based casino. Well it’s not a coincidence for me to be in such an industry. In 2011 I used to play online poker professionally as my full time occupation. Even before my poker career, gambling was an activity which I love and have positive relationship with. So naturally I collected decent amount of knowledge on entire online gambling industry.
And what about blockchain?
Tomas: I am millennial. Personal computer was introduced to me in an early childhood. I got hooked immediately, spending tons of time learning how to use it. After my poker career, I launched an IT and digital marketing business which is still running up to day. It happened to be that most of my friends are into IT and computers too. So we tend to follow latest IT sector trends. In 2012 a friend of mine introduced me bitcoin as ‘something cool in IT”. Since then I follow everything related to blockchains up to day.
So here you go, that’s how I got into blockchain gambling industry.
You are the co-founder of Edgeless.io, a first fully transparent decentralised Ethereum casino. What makes this casino different and what services does it offer?
Tomas: There is a decent amount of online gambling customers who do not trust casinos they are playing at. And not without a reason – casino industry is full of cheating scandals. If player loses, they immediately assume that casino is cheating.
We solve this problem connecting our casino infrastructure to Ethereum ‘smart-contracts’. Using this system we entirely get rid of a ‘trust-problem’.
“Smart-contract” automatically uploads random number inputs a blockchain. That becomes publicly visible. After that people can take these inputs and recreate an outcome of past games.
That means our casino cannot cheat without being spotted on a blockchain. And that makes us incredibly transparent gambling service provider.
In a long run we aim to build most transparent and user-friendly online casino brand.
You are very much interested in investing, cryptocurrency and digital marketing. Please tell us more about the state of gambling industry in Europe considering these important issues you have experience in.
Tomas: In last 5 years, online gambling has its own peak/ prime moments. It expanded rapidly to almost every country making it incredibly profitable industry. However, more than half of an industry operates illegally breaching most gambling laws. That creates huge problems for local governments. So now the trend is: heavy regulations on gambling industry and no mercy for operators. Local governments create local gambling laws and prevent outsiders from entering the market.
As an operator I understand that, because most of these shady gambling platforms offer incredibly poor service, no transparency and allow minors gambling.
From tech perspective: gambling industry has many new interesting products such as fantasy sports and e-sports betting tournaments. There games have much more interesting gaming experience that classical casino games such as roulette. It seems like in the future we will have more advanced games and betting element.
It is believed that cryptocurrencies are digital gold. Sound money that is secure from political influence, money that promises to preserve and increase its value over time. Cryptocurrencies are also a fast and comfortable means of payment with a worldwide scope, and they are private and anonymous enough to serve as a means of payment for black markets and any other outlawed economic activity. Do you agree with this? How secure do you think is paying with cryptocurrency?
Tomas: It depends. As an industry insider, I can easily see that blockchain tech is just in its infant state. It’s not ready yet and still being under development. I think that it went viral slightly too early than it should.
So now it is NOT fast enough to fuel dapps at a large scale. It is not comfortable to use, crypto service payment infrastructure is not developed yet. It doesn’t provide the anonymity everyone thinks it has. And it is HEAVILY influenced by political environment.
However blockchain developers are addressing each issue and improving blockchains every day. Keep in mind that is incredibly complex programming challenge. My guess would be that after 2 – 3 years, we will have something more tangible which can have all benefits you mentioned.
Can this method of payment have huge effect on the gaming industry, either positive or negative?
Tomas: Yes, it gives incredible improvement on a service. Gambling operators tend to abuse payment methods to trick people into trapping their assets. Let’s say a player wins 10k USD. Most small operators would freeze their money and say something like “it might take 2 – 4 days to withdraw your money”.
Gladly with a cryptocurrency, we do not have this ‘2 – 4’ days’ withdrawal conditions for “some reasons”.
I would say now players will feel more secure depositing assets to an online casino.
What is your opinion about the perspectives the use of cryptocurrency can mean for the industry? What advantages would this bring to the industry?
Tomas: Most important: fast deposits/ withdrawal systems and casino transparency using ‘smart-contracts’.
If you could change anything in the world of gambling what would that be?
Tomas: Now gambling industry is living in some sort of a ‘shadow’; having incredibly negative outlook from environment, being blocked from banking services and marketing networks. Secondly gambling activities get tons of judgement from average citizens.
That’s pretty sad. I gamble from time to time, having no issues what’s so ever. That’s one of oldest forms of entertainment humankind enjoyed. Games combined with betting have existed since a start of human civilization. And it will not disappear.
I would love to change overall ‘image of a gambling’ industry into something more transparent, consumer orientated and capable of providing high quality entertainment products without being judged by environment.
Which were the most difficult periods in your career so far and what do you consider your biggest success and what are your future plans?
Tomas: Most difficult part was to program a scalable mass consumer product on a blockchain infrastructure. We launched our 1.0 version in 2018 Q1. As I mentioned before, today blockchain does not have the necessary functionality which we need to deliver our promise. During our journey, we had to make a ‘lot of work-arounds’ and compromises.
Gladly blockchain tech is improving allowing to move forward, even if that is just by small incremental steps.
I still laugh at other ICO promises and their ‘road-maps’. It seems like most newcomers have no idea at what state blockchain technology is and what problems it has.
If you want to meet Tomas in person or networking with the biggest names of the Sports betting, Casino, VR/AR, Marketing, eSports, DFS, Virtual Sports and Crypto industry, make sure your attend the Vienna International Gaming Expo.
Source: European Gaming News