Andrey Starovoitov: “Crypto gambling will occupy a significant place in the igaming world”
Andrey Starovoitov, COO at SOFTSWISS, gave Focus Gaming News an exclusive interview to talk about cryptocurrencies, their development and perspectives for the iGaming industry.
Exclusive interview.- Cryptocurrencies are revolutionizing the world including the gambling community. More and more casinos started adding crypto to their existing fiat currencies and the growth of crypto gambling is reaching new markets.
Andrey Starovoitov, COO at SOFTSWISS, talks about the perspectives of the cryptocurrency world for the iGaming industry and what we should expect for the future.
When you first started at the company, how much did you know about bitcoin, blockchain and digital currencies?
Nothing at all. I came to work at SOFTSWISS from a completely different field, which had nothing to do with crypto or gambling. It just so happened that I joined the company at the very moment when the first crypto boom occurred.
It was 2017 and bitcoin broke the $10,000 mark for the first time, which attracted interest from all over the world, including the gambling community.
Of course, it would be an exaggeration to say that at the time, casinos weren’t using cryptocurrency at all in their operations. However, it was not as widespread as it is now.
What made you realise that crypto in gambling wasn’t just a fad, but it was here to stay?
The turning point was precisely 2017 when more and more casinos started adding crypto to their existing fiat currencies. At its peak, the number of crypto wallet holders grew very fast but gradually reached a steady plateau. Now we are seeing strong growth again.
This is evidenced by both the increase in crypto bet count and the gradual player base growth, which has only grown larger with time. People have maintained their interest in cryptocurrencies, despite all the fluctuations.
So for us, the trend is clear. There is no doubt that more and more young people will use blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in their everyday lives. The only question is who will be the first to offer them the opportunity to pay with bitcoin as freely as with dollars or euros.
This year you said that we should expect the rise of crypto gambling in Asia and LatAm, how are you enabling clients to work with these markets?
It is worth realising that attitudes towards cryptocurrencies still vary widely from country to country. It’s hard to say what the reason for that is.
The spread and availability of cryptocurrency itself, the growth of closed communities, cultural backgrounds– we can’t say for sure what the key factor is yet. But nevertheless, we can see that there are certain countries where cryptocurrencies are more developed than others.
For example, Canada, Brazil, India, Asia, and the CIS countries like Ukraine and Russia. We, of course, help our clients to develop their crypto projects in these regions. First and foremost, by providing the expertise that SOFTSWISS has earned over the last eight years.
Few companies in the market can offer such an in-depth understanding of blockchain technology and how to work with it.
On a more technical note, with the SOFTSWISS Online Casino Platform, the client receives a comprehensive solution, including the Crypto Solution designed and adapted for cryptocurrencies: not only bitcoin processing but also the ability to add new cryptocurrencies.
Our arrangements with CoinsPaid, one of the most reputable payment systems, ensure that crypto transactions are fast and secure. To sum up, at the moment SOFTSWISS is not only helping its clients develop crypto solutions, but is also a leader in the B2B crypto gambling segment.
The pandemic is well into its second year and last year was a year of growth for the company, and crypto certainly played a role. Has there been a change this year?
The pandemic has served as a trigger for the rise in the value of cryptocurrencies around the world. Macroeconomic and financial changes in the global economy have led to the price of bitcoin now $60,000. Most interestingly, as a result, cryptocurrencies have attracted interest not only from the gambling community but also from ordinary people as a way of storing savings or as an investment tool.
Of course, this opens up huge opportunities for us, as our potential audience grows along with people’s interest in crypto. However, going forward, I think bitcoin’s popularity will be less about the pandemic and more about its volatility. The lockdown period will no longer have such a direct impact on the gambling audience.
How is the market reacting to the growth of crypto gambling at the moment? Are we seeing an increase in the number of new players in this sphere?
Yes, there is some growth, but it is not significant yet. We see a lot of interest in the topic of crypto gambling, but the market is only at the development stage.
There are already examples of young and successful companies that came into crypto gambling just a few years ago but are already showing incredible results and huge GGR figures.
Obviously, more and more big players and international casino networks will turn their attention to this niche.
This is primarily due to the opportunity to attract a younger audience that will use cryptocurrencies for online casino games.
For large casino networks, it is also a great opportunity to diversify their markets in the face of tighter regulation and country closures. Crypto is a new market that is currently out of regulation.
Those who don’t realise this in time and fail to adapt to the new crypto reality risk being left on the sidelines of the online gambling world.
How do you see the future of crypto gambling?
It is clear to us that crypto gambling will occupy a significant, if not key, place in the iGaming world. This trend is sure to remain relevant and will only grow in the coming years, at the expense of people who will more often use cryptocurrencies in their daily lives and, in particular, for betting.
This will happen regardless of price volatility. I am almost certain that every major casino brand will soon have a crypto casino in its portfolio.
Right now SOFTSWISS is consistently making deals with at least two crypto projects every month. And we see a trend that the number of referrals with this demand is only increasing. You can imagine what the future has in store.