Having been granted a coveted Isle of Man gaming licence for its innovative esports betting platform this October, Unikrn has confirmed its reputation as one of esports’ trailblazers. The company now boasts the world’s first regulated esports betting platform to offer live crypto and fiat wagering – and according to CEO Rahul Sood, they’re more than ready to revolutionise the landscape.
Securing regulatory approval for new products can be notoriously tricky, particularly if you happen to be the first of your kind.
For esports wagering firm Unikrn, the challenge was a sportsbook back-end powered by the blockchain technology could offer unprecedented security and compliance, while also delivering a thrilling live betting experience for players.
Since October, however, the firm has found its natural home on the Isle of Man, working with a gaming regulator that has long recognised the benefits of blockchain powered gaming.
Following a gruelling series of tests and audits, the firm was granted a licence for its blockchain-based esports wagering platform, giving the operator access to markets across three continents and a segment of the global games sector worth around $300bn.
According to CEO and co-founder Rahul Sood, who described the news as “Unikrn’s biggest launch since 2014”, the firm’s IOM licence has set the operator on a path to transform the way esports wagering is done, allowing the business to scale and develop at an even greater pace. It has also set a precedent for the benefits that blockchain can bring to the industry at large, transforming processes like AML and KYC and boosting transparency across the board.
“As the first live betting platform approved for fiat and crypto wagering by the Isle of Man, Unikrn had to pass extensive, unprecedented audits
which had not been passed by any other organization,” explained Sood.
“Fortunately, we have an amazing team with a full understanding of wagering and blockchain, and we designed a first-of-its- kind blockchain inspired backend called Unikrn Jet which can process 9000 bets a second, perform fully-automated KYC, AML & respond to regulator queries, as well as creating unprecedented smoothness and being currency-agnostic across crypto and fiat options.”
Having built up a name for itself for its open-minded approach to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the Isle of Man was in many ways an obvious choice for Unikrn. As well as embracing innovations in crypto, the jurisdiction has recently been carving out a reputation for itself as a burgeoning esports hub, with its gaming licences enabling start-ups to reach a truly global audience of fans.
For Sood, it was crucial that the regulator was robust on consumer protection while appreciating the new ground that Unikrn was trying to cover by offering a unique blockchain-based live betting experience.
“Our Jet system is far and away the most advanced wagering back end in the industry, and we quickly passed all audits without addendums,” he said.
“Working with the Isle of Man regulators was amazing for Unikrn because we know they’ve performed the diligence needed to protect consumers without shutting out innovative platforms like Unikrn.”
Having already built up a buzz around their own crypto, UnikoinGold, through a US$28.6m ICO last year, the esports operator was convinced of the benefits crypto could bring to the community from both a customer experience and a regulatory perspective.
“Crypto itself allows us to provide a more universal experience without being held back by banks or financial institutions. Crypto wagering is, in almost all ways, a better customer experience, and we expect customers to begin to shift when they see the advantages and ease,” explained Sood.
“Our own cryptocurrency, UnikoinGold, has also allowed us to give more back to our community of gamers and esports fans by providing a wider reward experience, allowing users to earn crypto for playing the games they love and turn their crypto into unique experiences or wagers. UnikoinGold is at the centre of our ecosystem, customers can earn, redeem, and bet with UKG across our platform, it drives loy-alty like no other.”
Now, having secured one of gaming’s most prestigious licences – and with it, the accolade of having the world’s first fully licensed live crypto-betting platform -it’s set to be a busy year ahead for Unikrn. Abiding by a mantra of “esports first”, the firm will be focussing on enhancing and expanding its product range, running its own international esports tournaments and building an even broader community on its site, says Sood.
“Right now we’re very focused on perfecting the user experience we have, with several products in the pipeline for widespread launch,” he explained. “These vary from enhancements on live wagering, exotics, game titles to the full release of our patent-pending Esports Bingo, which is currently on display as esport’s first full second-screen experience for every game of United Master’s League, a CS:GO tournament we’re sponsoring over the upcoming months.
“We also have a live skill-based wagering product which we’ll be making exciting updates to in the upcoming month and 2019, as well as a full online casino division coming up. There’s a lot more that we can’t really talk about yet, but we’re excited for 2019 to be the year Unikrn rewrites the book on esports and wagering.”