ZeroEdge hopes to become the online gambling industry’s default cryptocurrency, although its chances of achieving this goal are close to, er, zero.
ZeroEdge Bet plans to commence a pre-initial coin offering (ICO) of its Ethereum-based Zerocoin cryptocurrency token at the end of this month. The token will be used exclusively on the ZeroEdge platform, which plans to offer 0% house edge casino games and fee-less sports exchange betting.
Technically speaking, ZeroEdge’s house edge isn’t always zero, as its slots carry a house edge of 0.01% while other games require players to play “a perfect strategy” in order to achieve a zero house edge. Since this scenario is unlikely, the site acknowledges that human frailty “will induce the house edge inadvertently.”
At any rate, this lack of a traditional house edge means ZeroEdge’s business model is based on the theory that, as more bettors buy and use Zerocoin – the supply of which will be fixed at 777m – the token’s value will increase, which will not only enrich ZeroEdge’s backers, but also (theoretically) players.
In fact, ZeroEdge suggests that Zerocoin is ideal for individuals who don’t actually want to use their tokens to gamble. Buy-and-forget investors are advised to get in early, as “the most inexpensive Zerocoin will ever be is during the initial crowd-sale.”
ZeroEdge also hopes to eventually spawn a network of white-label gambling sites, each of which will be required to hold a certain amount of Zerocoin tokens, further boosting demand.
By its own admission, ZeroEdge’s business model depends on perpetual growth – a rather optimistic market cap table included in its white paper tops out at 3m monthly users – which will be hard to achieve without a serious marketing campaign.
ZeroEdge says it will allocate 40% of its ICO proceeds to “mass-scale marketing” but the company appears to be betting more on the belief that positive word-of-mouth will create “a virtuous loop of more attention creating more demand” for its token.
Spoiler alert: it won’t. Launching a new gambling site is hard enough without adding the additional hurdle of requiring users to buy a proprietary token from parties unknown that can’t be used for any other purpose.
Not to mention Ethereum’s inherent security concerns, scaling challenges and its anti-dilution issues, which will make appreciation of this token an even steeper uphill climb.
What’s more, the online gambling industry already has a default cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which not only has the advantage of speedy transactions and low processing fees, but it can also be used for a host of other purposes as is, without the need for further conversion.
One final observation: ZeroEdge claims that part of the rationale behind its 0% house edge is that the gaming industry is contributing to gambling addiction without doing enough to mitigate problem gambling activity. ZeroEdge’s apparent solution to this ‘indefensible” situation isn’t to pledge money to support problem gambling treatment, but to reduce gambling operator income.
Among ZeroEdge’s long-term goals are “entering the fiat gambling market,” which seems unlikely, unless the company is willing to change its name to SomeEdge. Regardless, one hopes this shift into the traditional gambling world they despise so much will be accompanied by a suitably large contribution to problem gambling mitigation programs.
Bottom line: there are enough ‘me too’ tokens out there that are fated to leave investors licking their wounds, and the value of Zerocoin will ultimately live down to its name.