Decentralized & Trustless Gambling

Getting rid of all the scams in the gambling industry.

Whether it’s online poker, betting with a friend, or entering the lottery, gambling is pretty common in everyday life.

When you make a bet with your friend it’s not too hard to enforce. For instance, if my friend and I bet $10 on who would win the NBA Finals, the only worry with the transaction is making sure that the loser pays.

However, when it comes to online gambling, everything get’s a lot more complicated. When it comes to using larger sums of money and betting on platforms you’re not sure about it requires a lot of trust.

You need to have a lot of trust that you’re not being cheated, that the odds are fair, and a lot more.

There are many millions of transactions carried out between players and platforms each day. Whether that’s stakes being laid down, money being put in, or winnings being collected.

That’s a lot of trust being used and money being moved around.

There are a lot issues users face while gambling online:

  • Identity theft and stolen information (anonymity).
  • Fees, especially withdrawal ones.
  • Unfair odds.

Imagine making gambling trustless and removing the friction users face in payment and anonymity. This is where blockchain and dApps come in:

dApps = Decentralized Applications

dApps or decentralized applications are open source platforms that self execute and can run without a third party.

Which means nobody owns a dApp, all functions are coded on a smart contract and put on the blockchain. Since smart contracts can store value, nobody needs to intervene or act as the intermediary. So when a dApp is used for gambling users can be certain that the odds are fair and nobody is on the other end trying to steal their money.

Using blockchain and cryptocurrency would also solve some of the issues regarding anonymity and fees.

Decentralized Gambling dApp.

In order to see how decentralized gambling would work out, I built a dApp on the Ethereum test network. For this game, a user can choose a number between 1–10, and bet Ether. If the user is correct they get a percent of the total pool on the smart contract, otherwise they lose and get nothing.

Above you can see a short demo of me setting up the test network and using the gambling dApp. In the video I use Metamask, a chrome extension which allows a browser to read and interact with information on the blockchain.

Through the process of making the dApp, a few things became pretty obvious when relating to the gambling industry. Although, blockchain and gambling would make a great fit. There are still a lot of issues that need to be addressed, besides the really ugly user interfaces.

Blockchain Gambling

Gambling gives the user a sense of instant gratification, and people are used to really fast speeds (literally milliseconds). So when gambling on a blockchain network, it wouldn’t be very enticing if you had to wait 30 seconds for the results. Luckily there are solutions being actively developed for blockchain scalability and user interactions. One of them being Ethereum state channels.

TL;DR:

Gambling is risky because it involves a lot of trust, so blockchain makes a great solution by removing the middle men. However, as seen in the demo a lot of progress needs to be made with scalability and UI/UX.


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