SBC News Bringing crypto back through betting: Varun Sudhakar on BetDEX’s real money debut

Bringing crypto back through betting: Varun Sudhakar on BetDEX’s real money debut

All the world’s a stage, a certain playwright once famously penned down, and in contemporary society, the FIFA World Cup is arguably one of the biggest. 

This viewpoint was not lost on Varun Sudhakar, CEO and Co-Founder of BetDEX Labs, who outlined how such tournaments can provide a strong PR boost to crypto-betting firms, and other actors in the wider crypto sector.

In a joint interview with SBC News and Payment Expert, Sudhakar acknowledged that following the collapse of crypto-exchange FTX three weeks ago, public confidence in the multi-billion dollar crypto industry has taken a hit.

The fallout from FTX’s rather rapid demise, which saw the exchange approach major rival Binance about a buyout, has led to ‘an overall chilling on the crypto markets’, Sudhakar observed, adding that ‘there’s no denying that’.

However, with crypto betting having accumulated a degree of popularity in recent years and the World Cup boosting wagering interest and volume in general, the event could provide blockchain-based sportsbooks an opportunity to restore player confidence.

“The World Cup is one of the largest betting events, and any event with this many global eyes on it is a good tentpole to showcase crypto-based sports betting,” the CEO explained.

So how can these operators go about this? In Sudhakar’s view, the best way for crypto-operators to strengthen faith in their products and the market in which they operate is to focus on the customer experience.

As consumers see reports of falling crypto prices, and regulatory and law enforcement investigations of crypto companies and individual stakeholders, the sense of turmoil in the market is hard to avoid.

Sudhakar continued: “I think the best way to solve that as it relates to the general public is to find different ways to showcase applications which benefit users, and provide something different for users compared to what they currently experience in day-to-day life. Betting is definitely one of those avenues.

“If people are having a better experience betting with crypto versus without crypto, for a variety of reasons, then that benefit will help put crypto as a whole in a more positive light..

“That same logic applies to all the other use cases which are being built in crypto as well, whether it’s gaming, NFTs or payments.”

Having launched last month after operating for some time in open beta, BetDEX made its real money debut amid the global betting extravaganza of the World Cup.

Explaining the exchange’s approach to its commercial roadmap, Sudhakar said BetDEX would initiate operations with a pre-match offering, focusing on ‘high liquidity markets’ such as match winners, over/under options, corners and outrights.

He continued: “Following the World Cup our focus  in terms of product functionality will be on launching our in-play offeringand expanding our sports coverage beyond football.”

Much like the sport of football, cryptocurrency and crypto adoption is a global phenomenon, with exchanges and shareholders based from the US to Europe to the Far East, whilst last year the government of El Salvador made headlines by adding Bitcoin as national tender.

As betting too is a global industry – both crypto and betting are becoming popular in Africa, whilst the latter is now expanding across the US state-by-state – where do BetDEX’s market interests lie following the World Cup?

Crypto adoption is universal and across the board, Sudhakar argued, pinpointing Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia as all posing opportunities – and as an Isle of Man-licensed company, BetDEX is able to operate ‘in around 40%’ of global markets, the CEO said.

“In general, when you look at the markets and where a lot of gambling volume comes from, a lot of it does come from Asia and Europe,” he continued.

“Thinking about BetDEX and our target market, initially we are targeting those who are familiar with both gambling and crypto. Next year, as the product evolves and the Web 3 onboarding journey is simplified, we will be expanding to the mass market.” 

Founded by Sudhakar alongside Nigel Eccles (Chairman) and Stuart Toner (Chief Technology Officer) – all three having previously worked in some capacity at FanDuel – BetDEX is striving to establish itself as a leading exchange in the crypto-betting space, built on the Solana blockchain.

As FTX was a leading participant in a major funding round in BetDEX last year, and its collapse has had a deep impact on Solana’s value, it could be assumed that the firm was impacted by this month’s news more than other crypto-operators – Sudhakar asserted that this is not the case.

“There were no repercussions to BetDEX as a business,” he explained, noting that BetDEX’s cash and treasures are held in traditional fiat banks, and its runways remain the same.

On Solana, he added: “We decided to build on Solana because the technology has the potential to provide a really differentiated use case for users and a much better consumer experience. Specifically, the technology offers very fast transaction speeds at a fraction of the cost, both of which are very important in betting exchange use cases.”

Despite the hurdles posed by recent market developments, Sudhakar’s confidence in the company’s objectives and vision, as well as his faith in the Solana blockchain in which it is built on, remains unwavering.

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