Becky Liggero discusses cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in gaming with veteran gaming lawyer Jeff Ifrah as they go through various topics, from NFTs to regulation and the things operators should be on the lookout for.
Ifrah on the Adoption of Crypto in Gaming
Jeff Ifrah has ample experience in American gaming law. He is one of the foremost authorities on anything that concerns regulation in the sector, and specifically emerging technological trends, such as skill-based gaming, esports, and blockchain.
In a recent interview with Becky Liggero on CoinGeek Conversations, Ifrah spoke about the successful implementation of blockchain technology as a more permanent part of the gaming and gambling landscape.
Taking it from the top, Ifrah touched on various subjects, including in-game tokens and how tokenization can allow developers to extend the game time and enable players to skip levels or even acquire certain powers.
It all feels right as game developers have already been eagerly exploring new ways of monetization. FunFair Technologies, for example, has launched the company’s first layer-two game based on the xDai blockchain, Payloads.
Just a few weeks back, FunFair presented AstroBoomers: To the Moon, debuting yet another interesting and trend-defying title to the growing family of innovative gaming solutions. The same family that blockchain technology and digital currency wallets are part of.
NFTs and Regulation
Ifrah went on to discuss the recent flurry of excitement surrounding non-fungible tokens or NFTs for short, which have had a bit of a slump recently. He didn’t hesitate to confirm its potential, arguing, “It’s a very exciting space right now, and I really hope the regulators don’t ruin it.”
Regulatory scrutiny is naturally something that can easily throw a spanner in the works. Take, for example, PokerStars, which is facing a lawsuit in Kentucky, even though the original case was closed years ago.
As Ifrah argues, regulation in the United States will vary from one state to the next. So, the success of wider adoption in crypto and blockchain would come down to individual jurisdictions rather than a decision taken on a federal level, Ifrah explained.
Cognizant that cryptocurrencies in the context of gambling are a bit of a grey area, Ifrah explained that there is no written law against paying in various digital assets. However, if you were to accept such payments as a business without an adequate license, you risk getting in trouble with regulators.
On the plus side, Ifrah believes that regulators will most likely only need the “lowest level of licensing,” so obtaining one shouldn’t be too much of an issue in the first place. The opportunities post-adoption are endless.
Companies priding themselves on building products that are “provably fair” would get a big chance to enter the mainstream if mass legalization is allowed.
To circle back to FunFair Technologies, the company is departing from traditional gambling technologies in some of its games to create a more engaging crypto experience, which should also help with regulation.
Mind the Bad Actors
Once regulators are okay with crypto, though, this could spur a new wave of developments in the gaming space and bring fresh products of new entertainment value.
One thing that companies should be wary of, Ifrah argues, is that if an operator is licensed to run its business in a jurisdiction outside the US and accepts US players, the operator is putting themselves at risk. The right way to avoid this would be to obtain a license in the US or block players in the first players.
The point here is that casinos that try to accept payments from jurisdictions they may not have a license to operate in may turn them into “bad actors.”
In fact, this is what Kentucky stipulates, more or less in its case against PokerStars.