CoinsPaid, one of the leading crypto payment ecosystems, has emerged triumphant throughout the year, securing a remarkable array of accolades and establishing itself as the most awarded payment gateway of 2023.
The recognition extends to both the CoinsPaid ecosystem and its flagship product, CryptoProcessing.com. CoinsPaid secured 6 prestigious awards, including EGR B2B, MiGEA, EiGE, Global Brands Magazine, and others.
Notably, CoinsPaid has also been recognized by Forbes as the “Best Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway of 2023” in the category of “Best for High-Volume Transactions.
Moreover, CoinsPaid showcased its excellence as a finalist in the Finovate Awards and received high acclaim for the “Best Blockchain Payment Initiative” by Digital Banker.
The recognition extends beyond a mere acknowledgment of achievements; it underscores the innovation, dedication, and commitment to excellence that defines the CoinsPaid team.
Max Krupyshev, CEO of CoinsPaid & CryptoProcessing by CoinsPaid, shared his perspective on receiving the highest number of awards among payment gateways this year, stating, “Each award received in 2023 carries special significance for CoinsPaid. It’s not merely about recognition; it’s a validation of the tireless efforts, innovative spirit, and commitment to excellence that define our team.
“As we understand that each accolade is more than mere honors, they affirm our mission to redefine the landscape of cryptocurrency payments.”
CoinsPaid’s success transcends industry recognition, with three remarkable individuals acknowledged in the 2023 Rising Women in Crypto Longlist by Wirex.
Alesya Sypalo, PR & communications lead; Mariia Akulenko, head of legal and compliance; and Susanna Bondarenko, content manager, received recognition for their significant contributions.
In collaboration with The Cryptonomist and a panel of six judges, Wirex, having received over 200 submissions, spotlighted the outstanding achievements of women in the crypto industry in 2023.
CoinsPaid expresses deep gratitude for the steadfast support from its clients, employees, partners, and community, recognizing these achievements as a crucial step in an ongoing journey.
Looking ahead, CoinsPaid is unwavering in its commitment to advance and continually shape the world of crypto payments with dedication and innovative zeal.
The cryptocurrency world is poised on the cusp of a potentially historic development, with the imminent approval of spot Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) filings.
While the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week delayed this approval, the consensus remains that at least some of the 12 filings could be approved in the coming months; Bloomberg ETF analysts James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas predict a 90% chance of an approval sometime before 10 January next year.
Potential price surge
The approval of these ETFs could catalyse a significant surge in Bitcoin’s price. This expectation stems from the influx of institutional legitimacy and accessibility these ETFs bring.
For institutional investors who have been on the fence, these ETFs serve as a gateway, reducing the perceived risk and complexity associated with investing in Bitcoin. Additionally, for retail investors, ETFs provide a familiar investment vehicle, potentially widening Bitcoin’s investor base.
Greater adoption of Bitcoin should lead to further investment and innovation in digital guide rails and financial infrastructure. From payment mechanisms and risk pricing to insurance tools, all of which will help to build a new digital economy.
The approval of Bitcoin spot ETFs would therefore be a monumental endorsement of Bitcoin’s legitimacy in the financial world. It’s a sign that Bitcoin is not just a speculative asset, but a fundamental component of the modern investment portfolio.
This transition is exemplified by the evolving stance of financial heavyweights like Larry Fink of Blackrock. Initially sceptical, Fink’s warming up to Bitcoin isn’t a mere change of opinion but a response to market dynamics.
His clients are increasingly demanding exposure to Bitcoin. This shift indicates a broader change in perception, recognising Bitcoin as a quality, ‘risk-off’ investment, countering its previous image as an inherently volatile asset.
A new era
As the community awaits these pivotal decisions, it may be the case that overall transaction volumes remain low, even if Bitcoin and wider crypto valuations are up as the year comes to an end.
The significance of Bitcoin, however, transcends its investment appeal. It represents the backbone of a new digital era for money.
Bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain, offers a permissionless, immutable, secure, and transparent method for transactions, challenging the cumbersome legacy financial infrastructures.
As we move deeper into the digital age, Bitcoin and its underlying technology are poised to redefine the concept of money, offering a decentralised alternative to state-backed currencies.
An often-overlooked aspect of Bitcoin’s rise is its potential to address the financial inclusion of the unbanked billions.
By building layers on top of Bitcoin, we can create a financial ecosystem that provides digital property rights and financial services to those previously excluded from the traditional banking system.
This is not just about investment; it’s about using technology to democratise access to financial services, offering a lifeline to those in economically marginalised communities.
However, the effects will ripple beyond just Bitcoin.
Approval of these ETFs could enhance the credibility of the entire cryptocurrency sector, leading to increased investment and innovation across various digital assets. This could be the spark that ignites a new era of growth and diversification within the crypto space.
“The opportunity is potentially much greater than just enabling new capital to access the crypto market,” as ETFs “will ease the restrictions for large money managers and institutions to buy and hold bitcoin, which will improve liquidity and price discovery for all market participants,” wrote David Duong, head of institutional research at Coinbase.
Additionally, having an investment vehicle that meets “key regulatory and compliance requirements may also open the door to new products,” which could multiply the existing crypto offerings for accredited investors and expand adoption, the note said.
From fringes to mainstream
As we await the SEC’s decision, the stakes are high.
Recent months have also seen a string of SEC-led enforcement actions undertaken in the wake of the FTX collapse and ahead of founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s sentencing in March 2024.
In this regard, Gary Gensler’s SEC is adamant that it wishes to clean-house before firmly bringing Bitcoin into the fold.
The approval of these ETFs would be more than a regulatory green light; it would be a signal of a shifting financial paradigm.
Bitcoin’s transformation from a fringe asset to a mainstream investment choice reflects a broader evolution in our understanding and use of money.
In this regard, I enjoy working daily with a host of companies bringing both Bitcoin and blockchain technology into this mainstream at Yolo Investments.
The potential approval of Bitcoin spot ETFs represents a seminal moment in the digital financial era. It’s a testament to Bitcoin’s resilience and growing acceptance.
More importantly, it’s a step towards realising the broader potential of cryptocurrencies, not just as investment vehicles, but as tools for economic empowerment and innovation.
As we stand at this crossroads, the future of finance is not just being rewritten; it’s being reimagined.
Tim Heath draws upon two decades of experience within the iGaming and emerging technologies sectors as GP of Yolo Investments. An early adopter of Bitcoin in 2013, he was founder and CEO of the Yolo Group (formerly the Coingaming Group) until 2020. The group operates leading crypto gaming brands Bitcasino and Sportsbet.io, with the latter securing high-profile sponsorships with Premier League clubs Arsenal and Southampton.
Today sees the launch of XDA.io, a new platform that allows gaming and gambling firms of any global licence, to easily access crypto and fiat payments with just one application.
The new platform, built with streamlining and compliance in mind, addresses the growing demand among gaming and gambling companies for a more accessible and user-friendly banking and cryptocurrency ecosystem within the gaming community.
Launched by Andria Evripidou, a former executive at Revolut and Yapily, the new platform is backed by some of the world’s biggest correspondent banks and crypto liquidity providers, bringing a stable risk appetite to ensure an undisrupted service.
Commenting on the launch of XDA.io, CEO and founder, Andria Evripidou said, “While mainstream sectors have never really endorsed crypto currency, the gaming community has adopted it and thrived.
“With the rapid adoption of crypto in gaming, it’s time for a financial platform that caters to the unique needs for both crypto and fiat accounts in one gaming friendly place.”
According to the latest Bitcoin casino statistics, crypto gamblers bet $3m worth of crypto daily, and approximately 60% of all Bitcoin transactions are related to gambling.
Driven by a growing industry demand, early adopters are actively seeking payment solutions that enable their players to place crypto bets. CryptoProcessing.com, one of the leading crypto payment gateways in the world, is the ultimate solution for these operators.
The crypto gambling market size is $250m – a growing share of the $93bn iGaming industry. There is no denying the world of gambling is crazy, and these numbers can confirm that.
All this, in turn, catalyses a corresponding surge in cryptocurrency adoption among gaming enthusiasts. Yet, one might wonder: What drives these players to opt for cryptocurrency?
“Besides offering enhanced security and anonymity, cryptocurrencies facilitate faster and more efficient transactions. Players enjoy seamless, near-instant deposits and withdrawals with lower transaction fees in comparison to traditional payment methods,” explains Max Krupyshev, CryptoProcessing.com CEO.
“Overall, crypto is becoming a widely popular means of payment rather than a speculative-only asset, and as cryptocurrencies continue to blossom, gambling will follow closely behind. This trend is partially driven by the fact that access to cryptocurrencies has become easier.”
How can accepting crypto payments affect an iGaming platform?
The benefits of accepting cryptocurrency bets extend beyond the player’s experience; some of the hardest payment challenges, such as chargebacks and settlement delays, are taken off operators’ shoulders.
Along with this, one major advantage is lower transaction costs. Cryptocurrency transactions are cost-effective; this enables casinos to save money and enhance their services for players.
Moreover, online casinos can attract tech-savvy players who are early adopters of innovative technologies. This can give casinos a competitive edge and position them as forward-thinking establishments.
The growing crypto audience, with over 420 million users worldwide is another reason why companies should consider accepting Bitcoin payments. This allows businesses to tap into an extensive global client base, expanding accessibility and reaching customers in diverse regions. It eliminates traditional payment hurdles, such as the need to search for local providers.
Finally, integrating a crypto payment gateway is simple for those unfamiliar with blockchain technology. Thanks to near-instant conversion to fiat and the ability to transfer funds to a bank account, clients do not have to handle crypto directly. Moreover, crypto payment providers like CryptoProcessing.com offer round-the-clock tech support.
Crypto payments resilient amid market challenges
The casino industry is experiencing a significant surge in crypto adoption, positioning cryptocurrency as a promising future payment method.
Straits Research predicts that by 2030, the global online gambling market will reach $153bn, underlining the growing demand for crypto-related services. Remarkably, crypto payments have proven their resilience, even during market downturns.
CryptoProcessing.com, a leading crypto payment gateway, serves as a testament to this resilience. It witnessed no decline in cryptocurrency transactions during these challenging market conditions. Instead, transaction volumes doubled in 2022 compared to 2021, with a 1.9x increase.
This positive trend continued into 2023, with Q1 showing a remarkable 14% net volume growth and a 9% increase in transactions compared to Q4 2022.
In Q2 2023, the majority of transactions were conducted in BTC, USDTT, and ETH. BTC maintained its dominance at 55.8%, though its share decreased by 9.7% compared to Q2 2022. Conversely, USDTT and ETH saw slight increases of 3.9% and 1.4%, respectively.
Despite BTC’s decreased activity due to market fluctuations, it remains the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation. Concurrently, the popularity of stablecoins is rising due to their stability, and altcoin transactions are gradually increasing.
It’s fair to say that the benefits of crypto payments extend beyond the casino industry. They are considered a win-win for everyone involved, from developers and gamers to the broader gaming community.
Some players now can’t imagine playing Blackjack without using BTC, ETH, DOGE, USDT, and other altcoins and stablecoins. In fact, there are even a number of casinos that exclusively operate within the crypto space.
However, despite these positive developments, many individuals remain unfamiliar with the fundamentals and potential benefits of crypto payments. This lack of understanding extends beyond players and operators, and questions continue to surround regulation and compliance.
Regulatory bodies play a pivotal role in ensuring the security and trustworthiness of cryptocurrencies. Successfully achieving this could unlock a multitude of new opportunities for operators and players alike.
What are the risks of connecting to a cryptocurrency payment provider?
When integrating a cryptocurrency payment gateway, companies should remain vigilant about potential risks.
One prominent concern lies in the high volatility of cryptocurrency prices, subject to dramatic fluctuations without apparent triggers. Without support for instant conversion to fiat by a crypto payment provider, there exists a considerable risk of swiftly eroding profits.
Furthermore, companies must contend with the potential receipt of digital assets implicated in illicit activities such as money laundering or terrorism financing. Such an occurrence not only damages a company’s reputation but also invites legal repercussions.
To avoid these challenges, it becomes imperative to safeguard the integrity of incoming transactions. CryptoProcessing.com possesses solutions to efficiently address and mitigate the above mentioned risks.
The FBI has released a statement confirming the perpetrators of the theft of $41m in cryptocurrency from Stake.com earlier this week.
According to the law enforcement agency, a group of cyber criminals operating from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) called Lazarus Group was behind the attack.
The group, which is also known as APT38, is comprised of North Korean cyber actors, according to the FBI.
An investigation undertaken by the agency showed the group had stolen the funds associated with the Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), and Polygon networks.
The FBI has published a list of the specific cryptocurrency addresses that funds were directed to on its website.
Lazarus Group has been “responsible for several other high-profile international virtual currency heists,” the FBI added.
In 2023 alone, cyber criminals in North Korea have stolen more than $200m worth of cryptocurrency, it said, including around $60m from Alphapo and CoinsPaid in July, and $100m from Atomic Wallet in June.
The US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) previously sanctioned the Lazarus Group in 2019.
The FBI further advised private sector entities to review previously issued cybersecurity advice and to be vigilant in guarding against transactions associated with certain addresses.
It also requested anyone with further information to contact their local FBI field office or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
“The FBI will continue to expose and combat the DPRK’s use of illicit activities to generate revenue for the regime, including cybercrime and virtual currency theft,” it concluded.
In a post shared on Medium, Stake co-founder Ed Craven sought to reassure the operator’s users following the attack.
In the post, Craven shared Stake’s preliminary findings on the matter but stressed that investigations are still ongoing.
“Within 20 minutes of the unauthorised transactions occurring, the incident was spotted and reported internally,” he wrote.
The source of the unauthorised activity was identified and containment measures implemented within four hours, he added, before reassuring customers that their personal data remains secure.
Critically, Craven added: “At no stage were any user funds ever compromised. Only a small portion of Stake’s bankroll to support large winning customers was affected.”
Two games affected by the attack remain disabled with the investigation ongoing, he added.
“While such events are rare (especially owing to our advanced security measures in-place), they can unfortunately happen to any company regardless of their size,” Craven continued.
“Cyber threats are a real risk in our tech-driven world and are only continuing to grow over time.”
He added that following the attack, several fake accounts on X offered refunds to customers, hiding malicious phishing links and providing fake updates on the matter.
Craven therefore urged users to always follow Stake’s official social media channels for accurate updates.
A more technical breakdown of how the exploit unfolded is expected “in the near future in order to help aid other companies protect against the same type of attack,” he concluded.
Amazon-owned livestreaming platform Twitch has added two more online casinos to its list of websites users are prohibited from streaming.
In September last year, the platform announced it would ban users from streaming content from four gambling websites, namely Stake.com, Rollbit.com, Duelbits.com and Roobet.com.
Now, that list has been expanded with the addition of two crypto-focused, Curaçao-registered operators in Blaze and Gamdom.
In addition to the ban on those websites, Twitch has also updated its community guidelines to explicitly prohibit the promotion or sponsorship of skins gambling websites for esports such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Twitch originally implemented its ban on the first group of offshore operators after a controversy on the platform saw a streamer accused of scamming users on the platform to fuel a gambling addiction.
In response, Twitch vowed to ban online operators that weren’t “licensed either in the US or in other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection.”
This week, in a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), the company said: “Our goal now, as it was last fall, is to protect our community, address predatory behavior, and make Twitch safer.”
Twitch has also claimed that after implementing the new gambling policy last year, its viewership in the gambling vertical had fallen by around 75%.
It has also, however, “observed some new trends,” it said, and is in the process of updating its policies to better protect users.
Twitch continues to allow streaming from websites that focus on sports betting, fantasy sports and poker.
In June, CEO Dan Clancy insisted the company had “no problem” with users streaming regulated gambling activity.
Britain’s financial services minister Andrew Griffith has firmly rejected the proposal to regulate cryptoassets under the same framework as gambling.
The suggestion to classify cryptocurrencies as gambling, as recommended by the UK Treasury Committee in May, has been met with strong opposition from Griffith.
One of Griffith’s main concerns is the potential discord this move could create between the UK and international regulatory bodies, including those in the European Union.
He also argued that such categorisation would not effectively address the risks associated with the crypto sector.
In his reply, Griffith stated that he “firmly disagrees” with the Committee’s recommendation to regulate “retail trading and investment activity in unbacked cryptoassets as gambling rather than as a financial service”.
He emphasised that globally agreed-upon recommendations from organisations such as the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the G20 Financial Stability Board (FSB) support the current financial regulatory approach.
Griffith explained that these recommendations follow the principle of “same activity, same risk, same regulatory outcome”.
In other words, any cryptoasset activity with similar functions and risks to traditional financial systems should be subject to regulations ensuring equivalent outcomes.
He warned that the proposed approach could lead to confusion and overlapping mandates between financial regulators and the Gambling Commission.
The UK government further clarified that the Gambling Commission is well-equipped to safeguard consumers in the context of gambling activities but lacks expertise in overseeing financial risks akin to those present in financial markets.
As the cryptoasset industry is highly globalised and borderless, the UK’s unilateral adoption of a different regulatory system could “push cryptoasset activity offshore”, exposing consumers to residual risks.
Instead of classifying cryptoassets as gambling, the UK government believes that a financial services regulatory framework is more appropriate for addressing the risks associated with unbacked cryptocurrencies while fostering safe innovation.
Measures are being taken to mitigate consumer risks, including the risks of misinformation.
To this end, the government has introduced a dedicated financial promotions regulatory regime for cryptoassets, with legislation set to come into force by late 2023.
Cryptocurrency and online casinos have become an intriguing combination, captivating the attention of online casino enthusiasts seeking innovative and secure ways to enjoy their favourite games.
However, the allure of digital currencies is only part of the equation when it comes to player retention.
In this article, Casino Online author Angel Petkov delves into the world of crypto casinos, uncovering the truth behind their limitations, and highlighting the multifaceted factors that truly make a difference.
Join Angel as he explores why currencies alone can’t keep players engaged and discover how Casino Online puts crypto casinos to the test, providing users with accurate and comprehensive reviews.
The limitations of cryptocurrency in player retention
Cryptocurrency, with its decentralised nature and secure transactions, has undoubtedly revolutionised the world of finance.
However, relying solely on this aspect for player retention in the realm of online casinos is an oversimplification.
Players seek immersive experiences that extend beyond the digital coins they use.
While the use of cryptocurrency may be a distinguishing factor, it is not enough to sustain long-term engagement and loyalty.
A crypto casino must go beyond relying solely on currencies and address the limitations associated with using cryptocurrencies, and that includes:
Lack of regulation: The absence of regulatory oversight poses a significant concern for players, as it becomes difficult to ensure fair gaming practices and protect against fraudulent activities.
Without proper regulations, players may feel hesitant to trust crypto casinos.
Limited acceptance: Although the acceptance of cryptocurrencies is growing, it remains relatively limited compared to traditional payment methods.
This lack of availability restricts players who prefer using cryptocurrencies, leading to reduced options when selecting online casinos.
Volatility challenges: The volatile nature of cryptocurrencies introduces additional challenges for players.
Price fluctuations can impact the value of players’ bankrolls, making it harder to manage funds effectively.
The unpredictability can also affect winnings, as players may experience fluctuations in their cryptocurrency values before they can cash out.
By acknowledging these limitations and addressing them, crypto casinos can improve player retention and offer a more satisfying gaming experience.
Beyond currencies: the importance of slots, table games, and customer relations
To truly captivate players, crypto casinos must offer a diverse range of high-quality slots and table games.
The entertainment value, exciting themes, and engaging gameplay are critical elements that keep players coming back for more.
Furthermore, exceptional customer relations and support services play a vital role in ensuring a positive gaming experience.
Prompt and reliable assistance creates trust and fosters loyalty among players, transcending the digital currency aspect.
Putting crypto casinos to the test
In the realm of crypto casinos, the importance of reliable and unbiased reviews cannot be overstated.
Casino.online, an independent online source dedicated to providing comprehensive reviews of crypto casinos, takes the responsibility of evaluating these platforms seriously.
Our team of experts puts each casino through rigorous testing, considering factors such as game variety, user experience, customer support, and security measures.
With Casino.online, you can trust that our reviews are based on a thorough and objective assessment of the overall casino experience.
The role of quality in crypto casino reviews: Quality reviews act as beacons of trust and guidance for players navigating the world of crypto casinos.
At Casino.online, we prioritize delivering accurate, transparent, and unbiased information to empower players with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.
Our commitment to quality means that our reviews go beyond a surface-level examination of currencies. We dive deep into every aspect of a crypto casino, offering valuable insights that extend beyond the initial attraction of digital currencies.
Unlocking the potential of crypto casinos: In conclusion, the allure of cryptocurrencies alone cannot sustain player engagement in the realm of online casinos.
Crypto casinos must recognize the need for a comprehensive approach that includes high-quality games, outstanding customer support, and a secure gaming environment.
Casino.online stands as a reliable resource, providing you with in-depth reviews that cover every aspect of a crypto casino.
By prioritizing quality, transparency, and objectivity, we equip players with the knowledge to choose the best platforms for an exceptional gaming experience.
Quality reviews: the key to your crypto casino experience
As the popularity of crypto casinos continues to rise, it is essential to rely on reliable and accurate reviews to guide your decision-making process.
Casino.online serves as a trusted platform, emphasizing the importance of quality reviews and comprehensive evaluations.
By going beyond the currencies and considering factors like game variety, customer support, and user experience, players can discover the most rewarding crypto casino experiences.
Angel Petkov was born in Bulgaria. He has extensive experience in the iGaming industry and has authored many pages and articles related to casino games and sports betting. Before turning to writing, Angel was a manager in the retail sector. He spent two years in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he rediscovered his inspiration for the iGaming industry. For more than five years, Angel has built his experience as a writer in the direction of casino games and betting.
The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has suggested that more fines against unlicensed operators will be forthcoming this year.
In a H1 2023 update provided by the regulator, it said that almost €30m in fines had been issued to unlicensed operators at the end of 2022, which were made public in the spring.
“Various fine reports are currently being prepared,” it added, suggesting that more penalties are still to come this year.
A busy year for the KSA
Among the fines already issued to offshore operators was a demand for €900,000 from Malta-based operator Shark77 in January, and a further €900,000 in fines issued to each of two operators behind the Orient Xpress Casino brand in February.
In March, it issued a €4.4m penalty to MGA-licensed Gammix for failing to comply with an order to cease offering its services in the Netherlands.
Then, Videoslots was hit with a whopping €10m fine (among the largest ever issued by the KSA) for allegedly offering its services to Dutch customers without a licence.
The operator denied the allegations and vowed to contest the fine, after describing the regulator’s investigatory actions as “unlawful”.
And it’s not just operators bearing the brunt of the regulatory action. Affiliate group Red Ridge Marketing was also slapped with a €675,000 fine in March, after it was found to be promoting unlicensed operators to Dutch customers.
In addition to issuing fines to operators for offering services in the Netherlands without a licence, the KSA has also been focused on preventing this at source by clamping down on the ability of offshore operators to advertise in the country.
“In many cases,” it said, “this advertisement targets vulnerable players, for example by providing information about how to circumvent Cruks, the exclusion register.”
At the end of 2022, the KSA began an investigation into “the eight most visited websites that, aimed at the Dutch market, advertised unlicensed online casinos and commented on the circumvention of Cruks.”
The investigation remains in progress, it added, but violations have been found at four of the eight websites, and the regulator will take enforcement action against them as a result.
Further, the KSA said it conducted 32 investigations into social media advertising during the first half of 2023, with any violations reported to Instagram and Facebook owner Meta, after which the relevant pages or accounts were immediately closed.
Keeping an eye on crypto
Finally, the regulator explained that unlicensed operators “are increasingly accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method online.”
As a result, the KSA’s investigators have now added crypto to the list of payment methods available to help them determine whether unlicensed operators are offering services in the Netherlands.
During H1 2023, the regulator carried out six separate investigations using Bitcoin, and said that in all cases a sanction was imposed, and the operators in question subsequently discontinued offering services in the Netherlands.
Stake co-founder Ed Craven has denied the online casino giant self-funded the gambling activity of its biggest streamers and influencers.
The crypto disruptor – which counts Canadian rapper Drake as an A-list brand ambassador – faced mounting accusations before being banned from Twitch that it lined the pockets of its collaborators as a viral marketing strategy to encourage big stakes and even bigger wins.
Craven, who has since gone on to launch fast-growing Twitch rival Kick, rejected those accusations in a live video interview with YouTube channel Gamer Update on 24 June.
A bad example
“There was a lot of speculation around the money side and I completely understand that because there was incredible amounts being bet at any given moment,” said Craven.
For example, Drake joined Stake in December 2021 under the alias DeepPockets6. He is understood to have gambled more than £800m in cryptocurrency in just two months.
The artist bet a whopping £1.67m on Israel Adesanya to beat Alex Pereira in a UFC 281 title fight and lost. He also bet £837k on Argentina to win the World Cup but lost on a technicality after Lionel Messi’s side triumphed after normal time and on penalties.
“That is something that personally, I don’t believe was good for anybody,” said Craven in response to the amount of money tabled by Stake’s high-profile partners.
“I don’t condone that at all. I think that was something which attracted unneeded attention,” he added.
Authenticity is key
Despite the outrageous sums of money being wagered, Craven has maintained that Drake and his fellow Stake ambassadors were betting out of their own wallets.
“In terms of the legitimacy and the authenticity of the gambling, that is something that of course we were very, very serious about,” he said.
“This comes back to our marketing strategy. If you have an authentic use of the product, then that is what leads to it being a successful campaign.
“Using gambling as an example, having real money is the most important aspect of having an authentic experience.
“To address the speculation, I’m not going to confirm that – I will harshly deny the fact that those rumours are true.
“We wanted to keep everything extremely above board in all areas and there have been no revelations around that otherwise. I think it has always been speculation,” he added.
Stake was one of four high-profile casino operators banned from Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch in 2022.
At the time, Twitch said it would prohibit streams and the sharing of links or referral codes to gambling sites and games that are not licensed in the US or other jurisdictions that provide “sufficient” consumer protection.
Twitch CEO Dan Clancy has since gone on record to confirm that stance, suggesting the company has a problem with sites that are “unregulated”.
Stake is licensed for online gambling by Curaçao, which is currently in the process of bringing its own gambling legislation closer in line with international standards.
While answering community-posed questions on the live stream, Craven took issue with the “unregulated” definition.
“There was controversy that came out of the gambling side of things, and there still is. There is still gambling on Twitch, there’s gambling on Kick, and there’s gambling on YouTube,” he said.
“There’s gambling on all social media platforms and I think people still question a lot of what goes on.
“I do think there are some very unfair comments, though, in regard to what is defined as acceptable versus unacceptable. I’ve heard some ideas around whether it’s regulated or unregulated,” he added.
M&A on the cards
Craven then revealed that Stake could be set to enter the locally licensed online gambling space by completing a “large” acquisition for an undisclosed company in the regulated US market.
The move, he said, would give Twitch bosses a major decision to make over whether to reintegrate Stake to the platform based on their own gambling terms and conditions.
“We look forward to hopefully being able to work back on Twitch under their guidelines,” said Craven.
“But I’m not sure whether they’re going to follow through with this whole concept of regulated versus unregulated once we meet their regulations.”