ETC Labs Presents: Slips
The Dynamic Duo Behind the New Social Betting Platform
What is Slips?
Slips is a platform where you can challenge your friends and other gamers whilst watching the streams you love. The challenges are made using cryptocurrencies. Unlike many others projects, there is no native token for Slips, so challenges are made using Ethereum Classic and players can make custom and complex challenges to each other using a simple interface.
Integrated with Twitch, Mixer and YouTube
Slips currently lets you embed existing streams from services like Twitch and we’re launching a browser plugin with tools that streamers use everyday, like StreamLabs OBS. This will allow users to watch, chat and challenge others from the platforms and communities they already use!
On-demand moderation workforce
If a challenge made on the Slips platform is disputed, it can be settled by an on-demand moderation workforce. Moderators who join the Slips platform to help settle challenges are asked to stake Ethereum Classic into a smart contract. As long as they maintain a good reputation, the more they stake, the greater the volume of moderation jobs available.
For streamers our platform is a game changer. Streamers that don’t have huge sponsorship deals rely on donations and tips, so we’re giving them a whole new way to make money: challenge your audience!
If a challenge is disputed by any of its participants before being settled, moderators can be requested. Disputers will be able to upload evidence supporting their claims, and a number of moderators will be assigned to help settle the challenge. The amount of moderators attached to the challenge is dependent on the fees the participants are willing to pay. An open blockchain based reputation system allows users to rate moderators for their moderation work.
We have three classes of users:
- Gamers who watch streams on platforms like Twitch
- Streamers who are trying to make a living by streaming their games
- Moderators who help settle wagers
For the gamers, we provide a better experience. Most eSport betting happens on professional events on matches between professional players playing only a small selection of games.
The bets are also restrictive — one of reasons why betting on sports is so lucrative is the myriad of options offered: first goal scorer, next corner, how many red cards etc. But due to restrictions in the APIs provided by popular games, the bets on eSports matches are usually just Team A vs Team B.
Not to mention the sites are ugly and clunky and usually take the user away from sites like Twitch where they usually watch the action. A large portion of gamers simply don’t have any interest in hardcore “gambling”. We offer a fun alternative — instead of making bets, we ask users to make challenges and our innovative consensus system lets them get really creative with what challenges they come up with!
For streamers our platform is a game changer. Streamers that don’t have huge sponsorship deals rely on donations and tips, so we’re giving them a whole new way to make money: challenge your audience! They also have to entertain their users and keep them engaged to grow their audience and stand out from the competition. Everything is a little bit more fun when there’s a little bit of money riding on the outcome so we have created an environment that helps streamers produce a whole new level of interaction with their fans. Music to any creatively challenged streamer’s ears!
How did you come up with the idea for your project?
One thing that we always find amusing is telling people that we met on 4chan! The /biz section on 4chan can be a cesspit of hate and self loathing at times but during the hottest periods of 2017’s bull run, it was as good a place as any to get an idea of what people were looking at and even a breeding ground for breaking stories!
Both Kyle and myself stumbled on the same advertisment post on there for a Discord community and ended up becoming active members. I noted that Kyle was, to put it politely; “a shit hot designer!” when he started contributing to the cryptocurrency research platform I was attempting to build with members of the Discord channel. In turn, he must have noticed I organised people and projects efficiently and had a huge mouth on me.
Shortly after our research project failed, I paid Kyle to design a few graphics for a personal project. To my dismay he delivered an ugly set of icons but we ended up staying in touch and a few months later we were discussing ideas for a business and our group of friends converged on the idea of eSports betting. Kyle informed the group he’d come up with a few ideas and a few days later he delivered both a presentation and a PDF containing mockups for the entire UI of a potential app! Suffice to say I was gobsmacked! His efforts galvanised us and we started turning our idea into reality.
Tell us about your team and their experience
In contrast to a lot of other teams, we are actually just a two man outfit, but whilst we currently lack manpower, we do pack quite a punch!
My partner Kyle is a highly sought after graphics designer and UX specialist. Whether it’s designing a logo, creating an icon, producing and editing a video, designing a user interface or even drawing a storyboard for a video to entice John McAfee into doing a video with us, Kyle has got us covered! I’m forever thankful and flattered that Kyle rejected a very lucrative offer from IBM to work with me instead because IBM’s loss is Slips’s gain and that’s one sliding door moment I really lucked out on!
We share a similar drive for success, have the same work ethic and possess the same glass half empty yet still relentless optimistic outlook
As for myself, I’m a fairly competent programmer. I started my career as a full stack developer and then progressed to application development. Whilst I love long days spent in front of an IDE, I’ve always found that most of my pleasure is derived from entreprenual persuits and I have an aptitude for managing large scale projects from start to finish. It helps that I’m a meticulous planner and obsessed with details — who knew the things that make my closest friends crazy would come in so handy!
Anyway I have to say that it’s extremely rare to meet someone that you blend so well with. Kyle and I have complementary skills. He’s able to communicate our ideas and give them a polished look that bowls people over and I’m able to take our ideas and turn them into actual working prototypes. That we share a similar drive for success, have the same work ethic and possess the same glass half empty yet still relentless optimistic outlook is quite amazing. Our success together is more surprising when you consider the fact that we do not live on the same continent!
What is Slips’ competitive advantage?
Well first of all it has to be said that we do have a lot of competition! Goes with the territory of being in a hot niche. However we know about all of them and we pride ourselves on the fact that our intelligence gathering is so good that our competitors cannot even sneeze without us finding out about it!
The first thing that differentiates us from them though is the simple fact that we actually have a working product! Some of our competitors have nothing to show, months (and in one case a full flipping year!) after raising a huge amount of funds.
Our approach is different. For example we started building a resource / community for aspiring streamers — the effort and financial investment continues on delivering. It’s cheaper to reach aspiring streamers, just a chance to free pair of headphones is enough to get their attention! It’s also possible to get critical mass and go viral without spending a small fortune.
Why Ethereum Classic?
The cliche — what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is relevant here, ETC’s immune system is only getting stronger and that’s a good sign for anyone thinking of building on it!
Anyone that has worked for a company in the gambling or adult industry will know that banks and payment processors have an aversion to working with what they consider ‘high risk’ companies. As a consumer, if your country of residence does not support PayPal or they impose lots of restrictions on obtaining an account there — you’ll find yourself cut off from services that you should have a legitimate right to have access to.
It’s completely reasonable to want to work on technology that you believe in!
So firstly even though the main USP of Ethereum Classic is not “money for the world”; we do take advantage of the fact that ETC is fast, uncensor-able and has attractive, easy-to-use fiat on-ramps. Many cryptocurrencies actually designed to be used as money do not have ALL of these features! No matter where you live, you can use our services regardless of how a pesky middleman might feel about the idea! (as long as you are of age and it’s legal to gamble online where you live)
ETC also offers us turing completeness in the same package. It is one of the reasons (aside from high fees) that we did not end up using Bitcoin in our project. We could not build the parts of our app that uses smart contracts on Bitcoin (which intentionally hobbles application developers). Bitcoin Cash whilst more welcoming is mired in internal strife and instability.
Every project is only as good as the community that surrounds it and ETC’s community has a reputation for protecting the core tenets of ETC at all costs.
It’s important to note that we do not have decentralisation fetish unlike some in the cryptocurrency community! It is simply a means to an end for us and not something that we design the entirety of our app around. That is to say we do not store all of our data on the blockchain — every challenge on Slips does not get executed through a smart contract. But arbitrators do stake money via a smart contract and we do record the results of their arbitrations and the ratings they receive publicly because that’s one area where users would absolutely benefit from some transparency.
It goes without saying that most people are aware of what led to the creation of ETC. The decision the ETC community made a few years ago resonates well with us. Every project is only as good as the community that surrounds it and ETC’s community has a reputation for protecting the core tenets of ETC at all costs.
Whilst we appreciate the amazing work that gets done on the Ethereum chain, there’s a reason that Nakamoto Consensus and PoW was so ground breaking and ETH’s inability to transition fully to PoS is telling. We’re fully on board with ETC’s roadmap to continue with on-chain scaling with PoW. It’s completely reasonable to want to work on technology that you believe in!
It was fairly unlikely that we’d ever find ourselves in a similar position with that level of access to the Core dev team of any other blockchain project
What made you turn to ETC Labs for support, and what are your expectations from this collaboration?
Working on ETC would mean getting all the benefits of working on an Ethereum network. In addition there would be ETC-only projects like the recently released Emerald SDK available to us. There were lots of perks on offer including free office space, workshops, an extremely structured incubation process that leads to a demo day and connections to the rest of the ETC ecosystem (including DCG, IOHK etc).
A lot of the developers who were formerly working for ETCDev have been hired to work on ETC as part of ETCLabs. Startups in the incubator have access to the team and some of the devs actually work within the same office! It was fairly unlikely that we’d ever find ourselves in a similar position with that level of access to the Core dev team of any other blockchain project so this was quite a compelling reason for us to work on ETC.
In terms of what we expect from the collaboration. We have a single minded vision in terms of what we want to achieve with our business. But we’re also mindful that as first time founders, we have a lot of areas where we are inexperienced (business operations, legal, financial) and areas where a strong network and support system will be of real benefit to us (partnerships, introductions, fundraising).
We hope that participating in the ETC Labs incubation program will help us turn what is currently a promising idea and a working proof of concept into a business in it’s own right.
What is the next big milestone coming up?
With the devs working round the clock to beat out every last bug and kink in the system, we’re aiming for our next big milestone to be the official launch of Slips! Alas Uncle Sam has something to say about that and because we are not the sort of team to risk ending up in a ‘Ross Ulbricht’ type situation, we are working with an army of lawyers (boo!) to make sure we are fully compliant before we hit the big green switch.
What this means is that we will most likely launch with an invite-only beta (if you are part of the ETC community and subscribed to the ETC Labs newsletter, you will probably be one of the first to get your hands our product!) and we will have a fully stocked shop in which to redeem Slips winnings. Sneak preview of what that will look like is below. If you have any suggestions on what we can call the shop, put your answers on a postcard… ehhh or pop into our Discord and let us know!
ETC Presents is a series focused on the projects at the ETC Labs incubator in San Francsico. The projects are all based on the Ethereum Classic Blockchain and contribute to growing the ETC community. If you are interested in getting involved, join our telegram, discord, or sign up to the incubator on our website