Everybody in the crypto world will be aware by now of the crash of the second most popular crypto trading exchange, FTX. The crash was caused by a lack of liquidity and mismanagement of funds by the likes of FTX and Alameda Research.
Followed by this was a significant amount of withdrawals by depositors and investors. This crash had a ripple effect on the entire crypto industry, with Ethereum and Bitcoin hitting new two-year lows.
There are many aspects to the crypto industry, from the Metaverse to NFTs. However, one of the industries seeing the largest impact from this downfall is the GameFi industry due to the close link between Solana and FTX.
Sam Bankman-Fried had planned to invest $100m into GameFi projects on the Solana blockchain, but things have turned since then.
Some of Solana’s top gaming projects, such as Aurory, saw their in-game tokens drop in value by more than 70%, and Solana’s SOL token dropped by more than 56%, according to data from CoinGecko.
The Solana blockchain has previously been criticised for outages causing unrecoverable network partitions and transaction overloads. The entire Solana blockchain is sometimes impeded by one single point of failure.
In our view, this leaves the future of gaming on the Solana blockchain in question, with Web3 projects on Solana losing investment, and some users reconsidering how they use and stake their tokens.
When it comes to the crypto sports betting vertical of GameFi, some users will now prefer to use sports betting platforms built on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) blockchain platforms to avoid certain risks. EVM-Compatible dApps are fast, reliable, have lower transaction fees, and are not dependent on any one chain to be functional.
This allows options in case a different blockchain is having issues, making it the right choice for iGaming, in our view. Solana is not an EVM-compatible blockchain, but developers from Neon Labs do have plans to implement an Ethereum-based smart contract layer on the blockchain this year.
Games built on EVM-compatible blockchains, such as Polygon and Avalanche, are proving to become leaders in the space. Some crypto sports betting apps built on these blockchains do not take custody of user funds at all, allowing players to place individual bets directly from their Web3 metamask wallets and withdraw their winnings safely and instantly.
Another factor to consider is that this bear market should predominantly affect those investing for capital gains, and not those using crypto as a form of gaming and transferring money, as they are most likely already comfortable with the risk. Those who use crypto as means of an investment may walk away in fear and panic, but gamers using it as a payment method will stay strong, in our view.
This information is a key indicator that the future of crypto sports betting and gaming remains, but it will now depend on developers making the right decisions regarding which blockchains they will build on, with investors and users following suit.
Thawfeek Ameen, CMO of Betswap.gg, is a crypto sports betting pioneer. He has years of experience in the iGaming industry in areas such as sports betting and risk management.
Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has signed a Letter of Intent to acquire rival exchange FTX following revelations that the latter is in financial dire straits.
On Tuesday (8 November), Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, known as ‘CZ’, tweeted: “This afternoon, FTX asked for our help. There is a significant liquidity crunch. To protect users, we signed a non-binding [letter of intent], intending to fully acquire FTX.com.”
“We will be conducting a full [due diligence] in the coming days,” CZ added.
This afternoon, FTX asked for our help. There is a significant liquidity crunch. To protect users, we signed a non-binding LOI, intending to fully acquire https://t.co/BGtFlCmLXB and help cover the liquidity crunch. We will be conducting a full DD in the coming days.
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) November 8, 2022
In turn, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (known as ‘SBF’) confirmed what CZ had said regarding the acquisition, telling his followers that: “Things have come full circle, and FTX’s first, and last, investors are the same: we have come to an agreement on a strategic transaction with Binance for FTX.com (pending DD etc.).”
In an ensuing thread of tweets, SBF explained that FTX staff are currently working on clearing a withdrawal backlog within the exchange – caused by a slew of traders trying to withdraw funds without the business having the requisite liquidity to process their requests.
SBF offered “huge” thanks to CZ, Binance, and supporters of FTX, calling the acquisition “a user-centric development that benefits the entire industry.
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried: “Binance has shown time and again that they are committed to a more decentralised global economy while working to improve industry relations with regulators. We are in the best of hands.”
“CZ has done, and will continue to do, an incredible job of building out the global crypto ecosystem, and creating a freer economic world,” he added.
Previously, there had been several rumours about a fierce rivalry between Binance and FTX, but SBF attempted to put an end to that idea by lauding the acquiring company’s vision.
“Binance has shown time and again that they are committed to a more decentralised global economy while working to improve industry relations with regulators. We are in the best of hands,” he said.
SBF also clarified in another tweet that the deal does not affect FTX’s American business, FTX US, which is a separate company.
The move has generated a veritable furore across Twitter, home to a large and highly critical community of cryptocurrency purists and traders.
Many took to the social network to give their two cents on the acquisition, with several alleging that CZ and Binance had intentionally tanked FTX’s proprietary cryptocurrency, the FTX Token (FTT).
CZ is a shark. Here's what he did to his biggest competitor in 24 hrs.
Step 1 Publicly sowed doubt
Step 2 Sold tons of their token to create a bank run
Step 3 FTX has a liquidity crisis
Step 4 CZ come in as the hero and get all their assets for pennies on the dollar.
INSANE https://t.co/ucCkUjAZuo pic.twitter.com/ePH2RZr7jr
— Coffeezilla (@coffeebreak_YT) November 8, 2022
The upcoming deal is the latest in a string of upsets in the cryptocurrency world, which is currently experiencing a severe bear market.
Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trading at $17,660, its lowest price since around November 2020, and a far cry from its highest ever valuation at over $65,000 in November 2021.
In related news, another cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, recently revealed that revenue was down more than 50% year-on-year to $576m in Q3. In addition, the number of monthly transacting users on the platform was down on a quarter-on-quarter basis, to 8.5 million.
Trading volume on Coinbase in Q3 was down to $159bn which, despite being a mammoth volume of assets changing hands, still represented a 51.4% decrease year-on-year.
Here's the 30 second summary of the FTX drama that is blowing up in crypto.
1/ How FTX (a multi billion dollar co) almost died overnight
2/ And why this is a god tier strategic move by @cz_binance
— Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) November 8, 2022
Questions now abound for what lays ahead in the world of cryptocurrency. While it is impossible to predict the future with any certainty, experts point to potential upcoming changes in crypto regulation, which may provide additional stability to the market.
Increased buy-in from mainstream companies and institutional investors could have another major impact on the sector, while broader adoption of crypto as a mainstream payment method is expected to bring about more use-cases for everyday users.
In the meantime, however, it appears that the near collapse of FTX has had a major negative impact on investor and consumer confidence, driving crypto hoarders to sell off their holdings in droves.
Australian sports betting technology company PlayUp has quietly revealed that a potential sale or merger is back on the cards.
Last year, the company hit the headlines when a planned $450m acquisition by Bahamas-based crypto firm FTX never materialised.
What followed was a public blame game which ended with a series of lawsuits between then-US CEO Laila Mintas and global CEO Daniel Simic.
PlayUp accused Mintas of telling FTX-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried that PlayUp had systemic issues and was “not a clean company” while Mintas alleged that the deal fell through because Simic made unreasonable and unethical demands.
PlayUp is currently expanding its business in the US market and included the information about its renewed sale process at the end of a press release about its technology platform, which is currently working through completion of the certification process by Gaming Labs International (GLI).
The company said it has initiated a process to evaluate strategic alternatives and “intends to consider a full range of alternatives, including strategic partnerships, a sale of the company or other possible transactions”.
Innovation Capital LLC has been retained as its exclusive financial adviser to assist with the strategic review process.
PlayUp is already live in the US with a presence in New Jersey and Colorado with sports betting and across more than 25 states with its pooled betting real-money gaming product, Slots+.
The company’s betting, entertainment and sports technology (BEST) platform will allow users to have a single account, single wallet and single app in the US or Australia to make bets across all supported products. All BEST intellectual property is self-developed and owned by PlayUp.
A United States district court judge has sided with PlayUp in its decision to pursue a temporary restraining order against CEO Dr Laila Mintas.
The restraining order was granted after judge Gloria M. Navarro agreed with PlayUp’s claim that Mintas was in breach of her contract.
The breach related to her conduct during contract renewal demands, and her alleged retaliation when these contractual conditions were not granted by PlayUp.
The lawsuit – called PlayUp, Inc. v. Mintas and filed in a Nevada court on 3 December – reveals that Mintas demanded a 100% increase in annual salary from $500k to $1m, as well as an increase in her PlayUp shareholding to a net 15% non-dilutable stake.
Mintas also requested to be made global chief executive of PlayUp and for the termination of employment of current global boss Daniel Simic.
PlayUp and Mintas – the defendant and the plaintiff in this case – did not reach an agreement over the terms of her renewal.
Following the rejection, PlayUp alleges that Mintas engaged in conduct directly in violation of their agreement while discussing a potential $450m sale of the business to crypto exchange FTX.
The case file states: “During the negotiations, the defendant purportedly informed FTX Limited that “there is conflict within management of PlayUp, there are systemic issues, and that the company is not clean.”
PlayUp alleges these comments ultimately caused the FTX sale to fall through.
The New Jersey-licensed operator also claimed that Mintas threatened to damage PlayUp’s reputation to gaming regulators, commercial partners and customers after her demands were declined.
Mintas also allegedly threatened to “burn PlayUp to the ground”, according to the case file.
Having examined the evidence provided, the court said the issuance of a temporary restraining order was appropriate.
PlayUp has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to be heard in a Las Vegas courtroom on Thursday 16 December.
Mintas has served as PlayUp’s US CEO since July 2020. She was previously deputy president for the US arm of data provider Sportradar and chairwoman of the strategic advisory board at Bally’s-owned sports betting tech provider Bet.Works.