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Binance On the Spotlight Over Ties to Betting App in India

Both crypto and betting have been enjoying massive popularity all around the world. The situation is, however, not as rosy in India. The country has been known for its rather strong stance against gambling and the burgeoning digital currency and blockchain ecosystem. Its government has been trying hard to regulate these sectors. The latest casualty of these efforts is Binance, one of the world’s most popular crypto exchanges and brands.

Recently, the Enforcement Directorate, India’s anti-money laundering agency, began a probe into Binance Holdings Limited. The investigation is meant to ascertain whether the crypto exchange had something to do with betting apps. Its executives are currently being investigated.

No official communication is available on the matter. The Enforcement Directory has not commented and representatives from Binance have denied receiving any summons.

“We have always been a proactive player in fighting crime. We comply with regulator requests all around the world and we don’t comment on any specific engagements.”

Binance’s Spokesperson.

However, sources close to the matter have shared differing information that points to some messy issues. It will certainly take a bit of time before any of these matters get settled. It is thus bound to reach the public domain soon.

What Caused the Problem?

Blockchain, digital currencies, and the businesses related to them are no stranger to controversy. Binance is no exception. The company was incorporated in the Cayman Islands and has no corporate headquarters. This raised some eyebrows and the exchange has been facing scrutiny. Many countries including India have concerns that digital currencies can potentially be used to facilitate money-laundering, drug trade, and even terrorism.

Binance’s woes in India may have emanated from its involvement with betting apps which are also still facing some troubles themselves. The operators of said betting apps used wallets with WazirX to buy, convert and transfer funds on Binance. There should be a straightforward way of dealing with this but that is, unfortunately, not the case.

As it turns out, Binance failed to take responsibility by collecting the necessary know-your-customer documents from clients in most of the transactions. In addition to that, the crypto exchange also reportedly failed to collect information as required by the Finance Action Task Force (FATF), the global anti-money laundering watchdog.

Now, this may blow over without too many implications. Still, it represents a clear need for further action concerning the regulatory framework. India in particular has a long way to go when it comes to warming up to crypto and betting.

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Crypto.com To Sponsor Formula 1’s New Sprint Races

Renowned international racing auto racing organization Formula 1 has become one of the latest entities to partner with the crypto industry. This is thanks to a multi-million-dollar deal between the organization and Crypto.com which is one of the fastest-growing crypto platforms in existence.

As per the terms of the partnership agreement, Crypto.com will now be able to enjoy a significant amount of brand presence around Formula 1 events. This will begin with the new Spring qualifying format that Formula 1 will be using to determine the starting positions of cars in some of its races.

Speaking on the new development, a spokesperson from Formula 1 said that they are very excited about the partnership. Crypto.com’s reputation as a leading crypto platform across the globe certainly opens doors for new ways of fan engagement. F1 director of commercial partnerships Ben Pincus has also confirmed that cryptocurrencies are “an area we are very interested in.”

All the Sprint races will go down in three rounds of the championship in 2021. After its launch at Silverstone, more events will likely head to Monza after which the next location will be selected. There is speculation that this could be either Interlagos in Brazil or the Circuit of the Americas in the USA

NFTs Coming to Formula 1

The idea that one of the biggest racing organizations will now be associated with the crypto industry is very exciting, to say the least. What is even more exciting is the fact that some arguably newer crypto technologies such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) will be a part of the deal.

“As F1 continues to explore new ways for fans to engage and become more immersed in the sport, Crypto.com will also become the Official Cryptocurrency Sponsor and NFT Partner of F1. Mirroring the fan-first approach F1 has adopted to engage with new audiences, Crypto.com aims to democratize the world of cryptocurrency for fans, through education and experiences in the new partnership.”

To kick things off, Crypto.com will be presenting a brand-new award. This is yet to be announced but we expect some news on it ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

All in all, this is a great step forward for the world of digital currencies. The sector is still fundamentally considered to be complicated. Thanks to such partnerships as the one between Crypto.com and Formula 1 we can expect even more growth. It is going to be very exciting to see how this partnership pans out going forward.

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Update: Atari Crypto Casino Finally Launches with Virtual Party

Last Thursday, renowned Japanese video game company Atari followed through with its plans to launch a cryptocurrency casino. This was through a virtual launch party that was hosted in Decentraland. Needless to say, the launch was a pretty huge milestone for the company as it doubles down on its efforts to become a huge player in the world of crypto gaming.

One of the biggest highlights of the launch event was the amazing performance of Dillion Francis, one of the world’s most popular DJs, record produces, and accomplished electronic musicians. He performed a DJ set via a live stream in the Casino Quarter of Vegas City on Decentraland. Atari was so impressed with this performance that they have gone on to say that it broke every record for a launch party.

The NFT Sale

Dillion Francis was one of the people that were behind the special non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that were auctioned off during the launch event. For that, the DJ and musician teamed up with MERDA, a popular visual artist. They then created three amazing NFT’s all of which were inspired by Gerald the Pinata

Dillon’s and MERDA’s NFTs were auctioned off on OpenSea and other platforms during Atari’s launch party. One of them featured a “3D Pixel Gerald,” and it sold for 6.42 ether (ETH) – this is the equivalent of $17,788 as of the time of this writing. Also worth noting is that the launch party began with a doubled prize pool which then brought the total prize pool for the launch to a whopping $20,000.

More to Come

Atari also recently announced plans for the formation of a blockchain division known as the Atari Blockchain. This move further solidifies the company’s venture into the world of crypto. Likely, the move will also nudge other companies to work towards similar initiatives.

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Atari Crypto Casino Coming in 2021

In March, renowned video game developer Atari announced that it has plans to launch a crypto casino. Known as Atari Casino, the new crypto casino would allow users to enjoy playing the company’s iconic gaming titles such as Pac-Man, Pong, Space Invaders, and Asteroids among others using digital currencies like Bitcoin. While the game developer is yet to provide any information regarding a specific launch date, it is anticipated that the launch could be as early as May or even April depending on various factors.

Still, this is a very exciting move for Atari. Last year in October, the company launched its first digital currency. This was shortly followed by the announcement of its plans to join the Ethereum virtual reality game Sandbox. Needless to say, these were the first indicators of Atari’s growing interest in expanding its presence in the crypto space. It is safe to say, an Atari-owned crypto-based gaming site was inevitable.

Lucrative Collaboration

For this venture, Atari partnered with Decentral Games on the Ethereum blockchain. The two partners have been working on several Atari-themed games as well as Atari non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – players will be able to leverage the latter to earn more digital currency. NFTs have grown very popular over the past several months and it is not surprising to see that big brands such as Atari are trying to capitalize on it.

Atari Casino will be based in “Vegas City” which is a gaming district in Decentraland, the Decentral Game’s metaverse. For anyone who is not familiar with the concept, Decentraland is simply a virtual world where visitors can visit using their avatars.

“By combining our expertise in building crypto casinos with Atari’s decades of experience in developing video games, we are excited for our community to immerse themselves in an innovative and new gaming experience,” Decentral Games’ statement read.

Some of the amazing things that players can look forward to on Atari Casino include games of luck as well as several titles that require both skill and luck. Anyone familiar with Atari’s classic offerings will be very happy with the nostalgia-inducing games that will be available on the platform.

High Hopes

According to the joint statement from Atari and Decentral Games, they expect to see bets of up to $150 million in 2021. This is further expected to rise to a whopping $400 million over two years. These are some pretty ambitious projections but they are pretty confident in being able to pull it off. For now, we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

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Bitcoin Boom Prompts New Developments for Financial Institutions

The past couple of months have been quite monumental for the world of crypto. Bitcoin, in particular, managed to scale to even greater heights and broke records it had set before, something that has a ton of impacts on the way individuals and institutions perceive crypto. Already, we are seeing several new developments with the most notable ones being by leading financial institutions. It is not just gambling operators anymore.

Goldman Sachs to Reopen Its Cryptocurrency Trading Desk

Beginning next week, Goldman Sachs Group Inc will be reopening its crypto trading desk. It is the second time that the banking powerhouse will be pursuing a piece of the crypto market. The previous attempt was in 2018 and was abandoned following the crash of bitcoin at the time. Now, there has been a change of heart for the company which is without a doubt a result of the mind-numbing bitcoin surge recorded over the past several weeks.

Goldman Sachs’ new crypto trading operation will see it deal bitcoin futures for clients. In addition to that, it will also be trading non-deliverable forwards which are already quite popular in foreign exchanges and commodities markets. This move has been equated to decisions by investors and companies to use bitcoin as a hedge against inflation especially as governments and central banks turn on various stimulus taps.

Coinbase’s Impending Listing

Riding on the back of a very strong 2020 and a solid first two months of 2021, Coinbase which happens to be one of the world’s most popular exchanges is finally taking another leap forward by becoming a public company. This will not only enable it to raise capital publicly but also push forward its plans to give more people access to crypto. If you missed out on the crypto boom, this will be the perfect opportunity to jump onto the bandwagon.

An official offering date is yet to be announced but if the ongoing rumors and speculations are anything to go by, we should expect some developments very soon.

Robinhood Records Massive Surge in Crypto Activity

Robinhood has also recently reported seeing growing consumer interest in crypto trading – the volumes have already risen significantly which goes to show just how lucrative the sector is becoming. To put this into context, the company saw a whopping 6 million new crypto traders at the beginning of 2021, a number that is still growing.

Perhaps the next move will involve the expansion of its crypto portfolio. As it stands, it only supports seven digital currencies which is a rather small number when compared to other trading platforms. This should, hopefully, change very soon.

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India’s Parliament Proposes Crypto Ban

Last week, news broke of a proposal by the Indian parliament to ban what they termed as “private” cryptocurrencies. Now, crypto has always been on the sights of several governments around the world but not a lot has been done to threaten the sector in most jurisdictions. India is, on the other hand, a little different hence the attention.

As it stands, the country’s ruling party has control over both houses of Parliament which implies that there is a huge possibility that the proposed bill could become law. Known as the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021, the new proposal seeks to outlaw the use of crypto in India.

However, this does not mean that India will be completely cutting ties with crypto. Instead of the so-called “private” cryptocurrencies, the Indian government will be shifting its focus to providing a framework for creating an official digital currency. This will be overseen by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which will not only distribute the currency but also regulate it.

The Industry Reacts

This is not the first time that India has made controversial proposals with regards to the crypto sector and, as expected, the move has generated some buzz. Both local and international crypto investors have already weighed in on the issue.

To begin with, many members of the crypto industry have been very open to the idea of the government developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). This not only affirms the strength of crypto as a worthy replacement of fiat currency.

However, crypto stakeholders are not too happy about the plans by the country’s parliament to term certain digital currencies as “private”. In essence, any cryptocurrency that is not sovereign, including bitcoin, may be prohibited.

It is worth noting that, as it stands, there is no certainty about which specific digital currencies will be affected. This is because the government is also considering some unspecified exceptions in a bid to promote the underlying blockchain technology.

“The digital currency bill to be introduced in the Lok Sabha is a welcome step. Its success will depend on the details, particularly the definition of what the bill calls ‘private cryptocurrencies’. This is not a common term. Bitcoin is not privately owned by anyone. It is a public good, like the internet,” said Rahul Pagdipati, CEO of ZebPay.

A consensus among industry stakeholders is that these crypto-assets and the government’s digital currency are more than capable of coexisting. Hopefully, more consultations will be conducted to ensure that the new laws can adopt a more forward-looking approach.

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Cloudbet Unveils New Suite of Games Under Arcade Tab

Renowned crypto-firsts online betting platform Cloudbet has had a pretty busy 2020. The operator has over the past year been able to launch several new and innovative products all of which were heartily welcome by its massive customer base. However, that is not all that the company. To round up the year and give its customers a gift to bring to 2021, Cloudbet has recently unveiled a suite of exciting, provably fair games. All of these titles are now available under the newly-created Arcade tab on the operator’s website.

One of the things that Cloudbet is popular for is the outstanding quality of the games that it offers its customers. The same applies to its new selection of provably fair arcade games which will include some amazing titles like Aviator, Mines, Dice, and Plinko.

Already these games are getting a lot of attention from crypto and arcade game enthusiasts. Most people within the crypto community will probably already be familiar with the particularly because they are all timeless favorites that have received praise from the crypto community since their launch a little over ten years ago. For instance, Aviator is just an updated taken on the classic crypto game Crash – if you loved this game then you will probably really enjoy Aviator.

A Long Time Coming

As it turns out, the launch of the new arcade games is partly in response to customer feedback – apparently lots of people had been looking forward to the return of these arcade games. According to one of Cloudbet’s spokespeople, their customers had been asking for the inclusion of class crypto games that were available elsewhere.

The move is therefore not too surprising especially considering that the company has said time and time again that it is very committed to bringing in content and features that matter to its customers. As a result, the crypto-powered iGaming platform has been able to grow big enough that it is now considered to be the ultimate one-stop-shop for those looking for an amazing experience while playing their favorite crypto games.

More Developments

In addition to bringing several new features such as better sports odds and a state-of-the-art betting platform, Cloudbet has also been extending its reach in the crypto space. In 2020, the company added a record six digital currencies to its portfolio. This brings the total number of currencies currently supported by the platform to a 9 and summed up, this accounts for nearly 80 percent of the total market capitalization of all digital currencies.

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Hamster-Powered Marble Races Come to Ethereum

Crypto gambling continues to grow thanks to several innovative developments that have been causing quite a stir in the gambling industry. We have already seen lots of amazing innovations but, as it turns out, there is so much more to come. The latest development in the sector has come in the form of a new model of gaming.

Referred to as “Mia & the Marbles” the new model of gambling that is now available on Ethereum has been in development for over two years. It is a pretty ambitious project that has the potential to shake up the crypto gambling sector in many ways.

How Does It Work?

Mia & the Marbles (M&M) is powered by Mia, a female Djungarian or “winter white dwarf” hamster, and her trusty hamster wheel. With the help of a group of accomplished developers, Mia and her wheel make some very fun and engaging marble races possible. The result is a very unique and surprisingly robust marble-racing and wagering platform.

Needless to say, this is a rather unusual form of gambling but it is implementation has proven that there is indeed room for such extraordinary ideas. Speaking on the project, the developers behind Mia & the Marbles affirmed that participants can rest assured that they will be treated to all the benefits that come with Ethereum. That is, all the marble races are provably fair, provably live, and easily-verifiable.

“We can guarantee that the races are taking place in real-time and are not pre-recorded. We do this with our provably live video stream that shows the first 8 bits of the current Ethereum blockhash physically on the race track with 8 movable pegs. A high peg stands for a 1, a low peg for a 0.”

Also integrated into the new model of gambling is a compensation service. This has been put in place to sort out any races where accurate results cannot be introduced after two days.

More to Come?

Many ambitious projects are currently being pursued in the crypto gambling space but, as expected, not many of them see the light of day. The M&M project’s success is, however, proof that with the right kind of push, just about anything is possible. Even though the form of gambling the new game introduces stands out quite a bit for being unusual, the strong push for fair gambling was certainly bound to turn some heads.

That said, there are lots of opportunities in the online gambling and crypto sectors which means that M&M is probably just the beginning of even more launches.

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Cloudbet Now Allows Betting with Gold

Pioneering crypto casino and sportsbook Cloudbet has been known for pushing some of the biggest developments in the crypto betting industry. The company has been working very hard to push its business forward and in mid-October, it debuted yet another significant feature that has sent ripples through the sector. Cloudbet customers will are now able to bet online with gold.

Pax Gold otherwise referred to as PAXG, will be one of the many forms of payment that will be available to the platform’s users. Every unit of PAXG is backed by one fine troy ounce of a gold bar. The physical gold assets are in this case held in custody by the Paxos Trust Company. For many people, this makes the gambling platform more attractive since the virtual currencies in use are tied to physical assets and are therefore inherently more stable.

The historical decision to allow crypto users to bet using gold is, without a doubt, a very unique milestone for the evolution of the crypto sector especially with regards to the tokenization of physical assets. This simply means that gold has been made divisible, tradeable, and much easier to exchange on the online space thanks to smart contracts and blockchain technology.

According to a spokesperson from Cloudbet, this decision is definitely customer-centered in as much as it is also going to benefit the company significantly. The goal is to allow their users to “express their spending habits through the assets they choose to hold, rather than having to use currencies to which they hold no philosophical or economic attachments.”

The Stablecoin Revolution

PAXG is not the only stablecoin that Cloudbet customers have access to. The online gambling platform has already integrated USD Tether and USD Coin which are by far the most popular stablecoins on the planet at the moment. Clearly, Cloudbet is going all-in on when it comes to these rather special virtual currencies.

The reason for this is pretty simple. As hinted earlier, while stablecoins also offer all the best traits of cryptocurrencies, they are most popular because they are tied to physical assets or fiat currency. This makes them a much safer bet for just about anyone. Newbies are more likely to trust these than opt for other forms of cryptocurrency that are infamously volatile.

All in all, since they are the fastest-growing types of digital currencies at the moment, it will not be too surprising to see Cloudbet and other iGaming operators integrate even newer stablecoins in the near future.

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The Rise of Crypto Online Casinos During the Lockdown

The online gambling sector is already a pretty big deal with its value expected to rise to a whopping $125 billion by 2025. Needless to say, these are some pretty huge figures but considering all of the developments that have been going on in the sector, it is hard to dismiss these claims. If there is a time where online gambling showed its might it is during the lockdowns and shutdowns that followed the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.

The gambling sector is pretty huge but nearly all sectors saw tremendous plunges in revenues and operation. Online gambling, on the other hand, actually rose quite significantly. An uptick in iGaming traffic was expected but no one would have imagined that would to the extents that we have witnessed.

As always, crypto and blockchain are playing a huge role in this transition. Innovation is an important aspect of the sector’s growth and one of the areas where we have seen some of the most developments is in the utilization of digital currencies and related technologies.

One of the things that have been key to the developments in the sector is the concept of the casino of the future. The pandemic and all of its impacts have fast-tracked a number of things. Now, rather than just thinking about the casino of the future, we are pondering over what gambling and entertainment will look like post-COVID-19.

Decentraland and Post-COVID Gambling

There are tons of ways that crypto has been used in casinos but perhaps the most exciting development as of this writing is the emergence of Decentraland which is essentially a crypto-centric version of Second Life. It is the very first Ethereum-powered space that is a fully user-owned virtual habitat where the currency used is referred to as non-fungible token (NFT).

This very ambitious project stands particularly because it exists in perpetuity. This means that it cannot be shut down and since it is virtual, it cannot be impacted directly by such things as pandemics. In fact, the virtual habitat already has space for all things casinos and entertainment. Crypto Valley, its large virtual business district has a casino and even virtual conference facilities that are working exceptionally well despite the project is just beginning to catch our attention.

Everything is divided into quarters in Decentraland and each serves a purpose. Speaking on the development, the masterminds behind this innovative venture pointed out how “each quarter presents a different context for gaming, from the out and out glitz of the Casino Quarter, to sophisticated gaming rooms with Las Vegas-style stage shows in the Entertainment Quarter.”

Clearly, the casino of the future is going to be a very fun place to go to, and maybe it might arrive sooner than we expected.