Compounded by the downfall of FTX, crypto volatility and prices last year will have left investors feeling pessimistic.
Varun Sudhakar, Founder and CEO of crypto-betting exchange BetDEX, explained to SBC News that in spite of this, crypto-betting continued to buck this trend, particularly from a customer-relations standpoint.
Appealing to the crypto confident customer
In an interview ahead of the expansion of the offering, Sudhakar outlined that the solana blockchain-based BetDEX exchange has found success by tapping into crypto-wagering’s loyal customer base.
“Crypto betting has been one of the few bright spots of the general bear market, which started wellbefore FTX,” he said. “Crypto-betting is one of the few verticals that has done quite well and has seen significant traction.”
A month after the FTX fallout, crypto prices began to slowly recover, albeit at much lower levels than in previous years, but the collapse across the general market has had ‘a chilling effect on the investment environment’, which has in turn hit valuations.
This is not in dispute, Sudhakar added, but crypto-betting has remained steady not because of external investors but from the continuing appetite for its services from an already established customer base.
He added: “The target customer for us is people who are already familiar with crypto and for them the appetite has remained steady and has continued to grow. We’ve seen that in terms of numbers and volume through the platform.
“What you’ll see is that the companies that can deliver true differentiated products built on chain will win out in the long run, and we are one of those.”
The main USP for crypto-betting which has held the sector up against a fierce storm in the markets last year is that, for its web3 savvy customers, the product offers something materially better than the WEB2 alternative.
Sudhakar emphasised that the ultimate key to success is, as with any other sector, to ‘build a very good consumer product and prove you can attract people to it’.
He summarised: “The product needs to deliver benefits that are truly unique to what the blockchain enables it to do. People will recognise the true value and that you are trying to disrupt the ecosystem.”
Taking blockchain betting to the global market
Observing stability in global crypto-betting, BetDEX has identified two core geographic markets in Asia and Oceania, where the firm’s CEO noted the company has been experiencing the most traction.
South America is also an area of interest – the latter has caught attention across betting and gaming as a whole as it seems increasingly likely that President Luiz Inácio Lula will regulate the national market this year.
“We’re closely following the regulation and making sure we will be compliant with all laws there that we need to adhere to. It’s a massive market, especially for football,” Sudhakar said.
For now though, around the majority ofBetDEX’s betting volume comes from Asia, hence why the addition of IPL markets to its exchange is such a ‘key milestone’, the CEO explained.
“It helps us reach a broader audience,” he continued. “In the US people love the NFL, but in say, India, people will not be as familiar. As a regulated entity we are focused on international markets, and in those markets sports like football and cricket are the more popular sports.
“The IPL itself is one of the biggest sports events globally. In some cases viewership numbers are even greater than or on par with the Premier League, and that’s why we chose to launch with the IPL. We will have additional cricket market offerings throughout the remainder of the year with this being the first.”
In a previous discussion with SBC, Sudhakar had highlighted the then-upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar as an ideal opportunity for crypto-betting to showcase its potential to customers, particularly following the uncertainty which swept the markets in November.
Whilst emphasising in his more recent conversation that the World Cup was far from ‘free marketing’ for BetDEX, the firm’s CEO noted that the tournament provided a ‘lot of publicity’, driving engagement to its platfom.
Having launched across international markets ahead of the globally-viewed tournament, the time was definitely right for BetDEX, Sudhakar explained.
“I think it really brought in the reach of crypto-betting, or at least the awareness of it. It brought in users to the platform who were perhaps not as familiar with what we were doing or what we’ve been building. For us, it was definitely positive and a successful launch.”
After establishing its exchange during the tournament, BetDEX next steps are to add additional sports to its platform – moving forward with this ambition by hitting a six with IPL markets, but also eyeing up tennis and golf – and ‘unlocking’ in-play betting to complement its existing pre-match offering.
Having shown an optimistic attitude towards crypto-betting in the face of last year’s market turbulence throughout his call with SBC, Sudhakar displayed confidence in the ability of BetDEX to maintain momentum throughout 2023.
He summarised: “If you look at the products and growth since launch, we launched with just football markets in November exactly four months ago, since then we have launched basketball and cricket and have expanded to Canada and India.
“We’re very proud of this achievement and expect a lot more to come throughout the remainder of the year, both in terms of additional sports and markets.”