What Is FunFair?
FunFair is an Ethereum-based platform for online casino gaming. Targeting the $47B online gambling market, FunFair isn’t actually a casino. Instead, the underlying gaming technology is licensed out to casinos and other gambling platforms.
The FunFair team is attempting to solve some of the biggest problems online casinos face: slow performance, high operating costs, and lack of user trust. Through the use of blockchain technology and Fate Channels, an in-house built version of state channels, the products they license have the potential fix all of them.
In this FunFair beginner’s guide, we’re going to talk about:
How Does FunFair Work?
As a casino operator, you can license the FunFair technology and launch a casino in just 2-clicks. The platform is flexible and allows you to fully customize the gaming experience for your users.
Want to add a VIP room for your high-rollers? Go ahead. Looking to reward loyal users with bonuses? You can do that too. You can even choose which specific games you want to showcase as well.
Removing user friction
More importantly than providing an easy set-up, FunFair removes a lot of the friction involved with acquiring and retaining users. There’s a host of reasons why someone may choose not to use an online gambling platform, blockchain-based or otherwise.
Many users are put off by having to download an app that takes up a phone’s limited storage space. On top of that, the arduous sign-up processes involved with gambling to comply with KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations can be a stopping point in user onboarding.
All of FunFair’s games are built in HTML5 and run in a web browser – no need to download a separate app. Originally, the company was also planning on utilizing Civic identity verification to provide a simple, one-click registration process for users. However, they have since pivoted into creating their own solution, FunPass.
After submitting your age, ID, and other personal information through FunPass (and of course meeting the requirements), the network marks your Ethereum wallet as an approved player. The entire registration process takes just a few seconds.
Most Ethereum-based gambling platforms are novel concepts but have trouble with user adoption. Relying on miners and network speeds causes games to become unbearably slow whenever there’s any spike in congestion.
The gas fees associated with making bets is also unreasonably high – sometimes up to 50% of the original bet. This will only get worse as the price of Ethereum increases.
To combat these issues, the FunFair team has built and integrated Fate Channels into the platform. Fate Channels are a custom version of state channels, but we’ll get more into that later.
Lack of Trust
When you play at a traditional online casino, you have no way of knowing whether the advertised game odds are truthful. Operating in an industry that’s often in a legal gray area, it’s no surprise that casino trust is low amongst gamblers.
FunFair uses verifiable smart contracts to prove that gameplay is fair and the odds are as advertised.
The FunFair team has built a customized state channel system called Fate Channels to combat the problems involved with operating on the Ethereum network.
Each gaming session occurs on a Fate Channel. The Fate Channels provide communication between the casino and player enabling gaming sessions, random number generation for the sessions, and smart contract settlements for bets.
The only interaction with the Ethereum blockchain is at the beginning and end of sessions. Because of this, you only need to pay one gas fee even if you make hundreds of bets while you play.
Besides lower fees, gameplay is also much quicker without Ethereum congestion affecting performance.
To top it all off, FunFair had a goal of becoming completely serverless by its fourth version of Fate Channels in 2018. The team accomplished that goal. A peer-to-peer solution like this greatly reduces the operating costs for casinos using the technology.
FUN is an ERC-20 token that you use in every part of the FunFair platform. It’s the only token accepted for in-game credits, how game creators in the marketplace receive payment, what casinos must pay their licensing with and receive revenues in, and all fees on the platform must be paid in FUN.
A total of around 11,000,000,000 FUN tokens were created on June 22, 2017, and no more will be created. With a fixed supply, the token is deflationary and should experience increases in price over time as demand for it increases. Furthermore, the team is placing the FUN that they collect as fees in cold storage, at least temporarily, until they figure out their optimal use. Taking this tokens out of circulation should bring additional upward pressure on the price.
Casinos that offer high payouts (e.g. 250:1 for a Royal Flush), must stake enough FUN tokens to cover this payout.
FunFair Team & Progress
The 40+ person FunFair team is based out of London and is led by Jez San. San’s entire career has revolved around entrepreneurship and the computer gaming industry. He founded Argonaut Software as a teen and created the first chip to power 3D games like Star Fox and Harry Potter. Rounding out his resume, San also founded the 3D online poker room, PKR, and is an investor in one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken.
Other members of the team are just as impressive. Jeremy Longley, founder and CTO, co-founded PKR with San and has over 15 years of experience managing development teams. FunFair’s final founder, Oliver Hopton, has over 15 years building gaming products including 10 years as Software Development Manager at PKR and 18 months as CTO at EveryFan.
The company already has multiple games available that you can test out here. They released the beta platform in May 2018, started a closed beta for FunPass in August 2018, and launched the first casino, in-house built CasinoFair, on the FunFair platform in September 2018.
The project has formed partnerships with several gaming companies including RakeTheRake, Big Wave Gaming, and Spike Games.
To round out 2018 and start 2019, the project team plans to launch a second casino on the platform, go live with third-party content, and continue to get the proper licensing is jurisdictions around the world.
FunFair has a few crypto-based competitors but is far ahead of the competition in terms of market cap and product development. With the popularity and sheer size of the market potential, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more and more competitors enter the space.
Decent Bet, Edgeless, and Dao.Casino are some of the blockchain-based casinos. However, by licensing out their technology to casinos, FunFair isn’t in direct competition with these projects. Instead, FunFair faces competition from platform providers in the traditional space such as Kambi, Gig, and EveryMatrix.
FUN started trading at the end of June 2017, bouncing between $0.011 (the BTC price fluctuating wildly between 0.000004 and 0.00001).
In August 2017, the price rose to ~$0.034 and stayed between there and $0.015 for the following four months. This increase can most likely be accredited to the announcement of three additional games being added to their platform. These additions demonstrated that the development team was making steady progress and consistently hitting milestones.
Starting in December 2017, the token followed most alt coins in rising sharply at the end of the year with a subsequent decline for almost all of 2018. At its heyday, the price hit about $0.186 (~0.000012 BTC). The price had a short upwards burst in May coinciding with the beta release but fell shortly after and currently seems to have found a floor at $0.013.
It’s a little concerning that with a ready-to-use product, that the only casino utilizing FunFair is the one that FunFair itself owns. That being said, the team is currently busy at conferences promoting the platform and working on additional partnerships. If the platform truly lives up to the hype, then plenty of casinos should be on board shortly. This adoption will clearly be a positive influence on the price. So, be on the lookout for any more large partnership announcements.
Fee tokens leaving circulation and, of course, an overall increase of user demand on the current casino platform should also lead to price increases.
Where to Buy FUN
FUN is available on several major exchanges including Bittrex and Binance. On these platforms, you can only trade Bitcoin or Ethereum for FunFair. If you don’t currently have either, you should first trade for some using U.S. dollars on Gemini and transfer them over.
A complete list of supported exchanges is available on the FUN token page.
Where to Store FUN
As with most other ERC20 tokens, we recommend using MyEtherWallet to store your FUN. And, if you’re looking for more security, you should consider a hardware wallet. Both the Ledger Nano S and Trezor are trusted and secure options for offline wallets.
Exodus is another good online wallet option that’s capable of holding multiple different coins, including FUN.
FunFair is entering the gigantic online gaming market by providing a solution that’s unique to the blockchain industry. Instead of acting as a casino, the company is licensing out their technology to other casinos which helps to mitigate their liability and risk.
The project already has a working product that you can try out today. With the wealth of experience that the team has in the gaming space, it’s hard to see this project failing. However, the lack of adoption so far is somewhat concerning. If FunFair can overcome the market domination of current incumbents using traditional technology, blockchain-based casino games could be the new industry paradigm.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated by Steven Buchko on 11.08.2018 to reflect the recent changes of the project.