AMA Highlights: DeRace
By Daniel Dal Bello, Analyst.
July 1, 2021– 8 min read.
DeRace is creating a virtual horse racing universe — complete with breeding, racing, track management, and trading.
It connects the crypto-native audience familiar with NFT-based simulation games with the global sports betting market. Users can own and operate hippodromes, breed and race their horses and bet on race results.
We were eager to learn more details about their project as they are progressing toward launching their in-depth decentralized horse racing simulation platform.
In this post, we have compiled key questions and answers from the event.
Can you please kick the AMA off with an introduction of yourselves and DeRace?
We are founders of virtual NFT horse racing universe — DeRace!
DeRace is a blockchain-based horse racing platform that brings together billions of racehorse and gaming enthusiasts into a community where they can buy and breed NFT horses, partake in horse races and bet on their favorites.
About four and a half years ago you co-founded the digital marketing agency Media Bubbles, which is still operational.
Can you tell us more about your experience working together and how your journey and experience with Media Bubbles lead you to start your own blockchain-based project in the form of DeRace?
From a business perspective, I would say it’s totally different than working with a crypto-market. Since the crypto-market is superfast and decisions here must be done x30 faster.
But generally speaking, marketing is usual everywhere, at the end of the day you are selling a product or idea.
Having a company/team previously helps us a lot not to stumble on steps where other new, fresh projects/teams are struggling. Like full trust of dedicated responsibility, where a person takes a task and you could be sure that task will be accomplished.
And of course, just regular workflow goes way smoother, where you are guaranteed of a team with competence.
One of the biggest opportunities that we see in a (provable) trustless and randomized digital horse racing platform is attracting betters from the conventional digital/horse racing betting market to bet on DeRace horse races.
Can you tell us more about how you plan to establish links with the traditional betting market and plans for expansion to a non-crypto native audience?
Right now horse racing, in general, is the most corrupt sport in the world. Corruption and fraud are happening at every level. From bribing the jockeys to faking the odds, even drugging the horses. The only reason why people still place bets on horses (and it's massive) because of the leverage they can gain by analyzing racehorses and their family trees. So by bringing NFTs we can fully accomplish it.
Horse racing in general for the last 10 years was looking for a solution how they could digitalize it. What they have accomplished so far is a kind of dull animation of horses running on the screen where it is totally RNG based — it does not have the factor of “having a leverage” by analyzing. So far we are one of a kind and warmly welcomed by jockey clubs with who we had the pleasure to have a chat.
To step and expand into the digital gambling world is actually quite easy. Any major gambling site uses at least 98% of third-party games on its platforms. And they are even offering great deals for your game to be there. The only requirement is a license. And it's no secret.
Daniel Dal Bello
As we understand the NFT horses can breed (male and female) to form new horse NFTs with different characteristics — with an element of randomness through the genetic algorithm.
How is the balance in performance preserved to prevent overpowered horses that are nearly certain to outperform in races and underpowered horses that would effectively be useless?
We give full access for players to breed and eventually come up with their own breeds which might be better or worse.
For example, if we have a horse of a speed 20/100 and another with a speed of 30/100. their child speed can only be from 20 to 30 (with 2% variation).
Like in real-world Horse racing there is no balance — there are just limits where for example speed or stamina can be.
Racers hosting themselves will have a right to choose how races are set. So only selected criteria of participants can enter. Horses can be classified by win rate, weight, or general level (more races that horse takes, the bigger level he is) — and of course an entry fee.
Does that mean the NFT horses can actually change characteristics during their individual lifetimes (as suggested by the better performance after more races remark), would it be possible for individual NFT racehorses to be dynamic?
Horses would not be able to change over time. Otherwise, it would not be true decentralized NFT.
However — horses can increase in level (by the number of races it participates in). And level unlocks give the horse the possibility to wear items (which also will be NFTs). And items have a slight boost in some stats. For example, “Rainbow horseshoe”, which gives a 0.5% boost in speed. Or leather saddle which increases horse stamina by 1%.
But this part will be released later on, probably next year!
Daniel Dal Bello
Taking a closer look at the intricacies of the game we can draw on core similarities to Zed Run — a project built around horse racing dating back to 2018. We note that you feel there is nearly no competition.
What are some of the unique features that will distinguish DeRace from Zed Run and other competitors in the space?
We’d also be curious to know if you expect more competition in your niche over the coming years.
Zed Run is a great game! But, DeRace offers wider gameplay: users can own hippodromes, make profit out of them, upgrade them, and compete against each other. Also, we’ll have horse and hippodrome levels, upgrades, and additional assets to boost your horse performance.
DeRace is not about just horses and racing, we recreate all the horse racing industry in the virtual world. That’s why we call it a horse racing universe.
Main differences between us:
- DeRace horses have different visual looks corresponding to genetics.
- Horse breeding enables a possibility to create new potentially faster and stronger horses. On most NFT games each generation gets slower — in our situation, it’s quite the opposite.
- In DeRace, like in the real world, horse racing is accompanied by betting. (Betting gives the whole industry almost 80% of its valuation).
- We allow players to become bookmakers by owning hippodromes and hosting their own races for profit.
Of course, we think it is an unfulfilled niche and we think once we get the ball rolling more similar games will step in.
One of the more novel elements of DeRace is the management of hippodromes, which are essentially split into 10,000 NFT tokens, of which owning 5,000 or more guarantees administrative rights (making you a hippodrome bookmaker), controlling the race entry fees and winner price funds. Since hippodrome profits are paid to users according to their share of ownership there is a strong incentive to run them actively.
A lot of stakeholders will come into play for a successful hippodrome race, from hippodrome owners to horse racers (holding the horse NFTs) to betters (possibly through external platforms), how will communication and coordination take place between all of them?
The whole beauty of this platform is that everything takes a place on a single platform and needs no communication between parties.
We will launch a chat on our platform just for players' entertainment. But for technical operations, no communication is needed. If you want to enter the race you can jump in on the upcoming races list.
If you want to place a bet, also jump on all upcoming filled races. And if you are interested in breeding just click on your horses.
Also, we will encourage external communication: Telegram groups, hippodrome Twitter accounts, etc. Champion horses can even get their representation outside the game.
As hippodrome races require several participants to come together at a scheduled race, how is scheduling secured to prevent participants from pulling out and compromising the races?
Is the solution to this to be found in everything taking place within the platform?
Is there an entry fee or other way to discourage joining and leaving races?
Yes, there will be an entry fee (it depends on a hippodrome and race) and once you schedule a horse for a race you can’t pull it back. No matter if the player is online or not, the horse will participate in that race.
As DeRace is based on Ethereum, do you have any concerns with scalability for the usability of your platform?
Are you exploring the integration of any alternative ecosystems or layer-2 blockchain solutions?
Very good question Ray, we’ve had many internal discussions about it. Only horses (NFT) and our platform value (DERC) token will be on Ethereum’s chain.
Provable races (RNG calculating results) will be based on other chains, cannot disclose them yet. But running each race on Ethereum would be way too expensive.
For the future, we looking to integrate a layer-2 solution or finally to have Eth2!
But for now, we focus on our MVP which will have horses and breeding and it will be based on Ethereum.
We don’t see Eth2 mentioned that often anymore, as for the RNG calculations, you’re going with Chainlink for those?
There are plenty of provable blockchain-based criteria products on the market right now. And most of the crypto-gambling sites are using them. So we are not going to develop it on our own. We will use third-party products and just make API calls to them, so later on results could be printed for the players.
So generally speaking we cannot disclose it yet. But Chainlink is on our watch list!
As a final question, as you are aiming to introduce your platform by the end of this year and fully implement all features during the next year, what are you most excited about in the near and distant future?
Our first version will contain horses and breeding of them. It should take place somewhere 2–3 months after IDO. We are working super hard on it. Even designing everything… if each horse has 17 different features and in the beginning, we are releasing at least 10 variants of these… that’s 170 3D models!
I would say breeding excites me the most. Maybe because we are focused on them right now. But the ability to give it away for the community and just observe what outcomes they are creating — it’s just something sweet to think about.
Hillrise Group supports ambitious Web3 startups with early-stage venture capital and fundamental research.
DeRace is a blockchain-based racehorse platform that joins millions of racehorse enthusiasts in a community where you can buy and breed NFT horses. DeRace is a portfolio company of Hillrise Ventures.