Nigel Eccles, chairman and co-founder of decentralized sports betting protocol BetDEX Labs, doesn't want to take your bet in the usual way.
Rather than placing a bet through a sportsbook such as, say, FanDuel, where he was once CEO, Eccles said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” he wants to build a global clearinghouse for the gambling industry using decentralized liquidity pools.
Eccles said Tuesday his Scotland-based startup wants to operate as an exchange “where people can put up the bets they will take … and the bets they will meet ...”
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Eccles said BetDEX is looking to cut out the middleman and reduce counterparty risks. In the past, some betting platforms have left users stranded before they can get their payouts, he said.
Thus, to avoid the need for a “bookmaker” or centralized party, Eccles said, his company decided to build on the Solana-based protocol Monaco.
"The idea with BetDEX is that it's decentralized ... [A]nyone else can build on it, anyone else can trade on it permissionessly,” Eccles said.
The global sports betting industry is expected to grow to upwards of $182 billion in revenue by 2030, according to data from Grand View Research. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said last year it was “mind boggling” that sports betting did not happen more frequently on two-sided exchanges rather than centralized sportsbooks.
In an effort to ensure the protocol has enough liquidity, BetDEX has focused on international markets for its funding, with an emphasis on soccer. Last year, the company raised $21 million in a seed funding round.
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To build liquidity, Eccles is looking to bring on other parties to “build on the Monaco protocol,” sharing liquidity among those involved. BetDEX is also looking to expand its digital presence in Europe, Latin America and the Far East markets.
While BetDEX looks to develop its protocol and receive full regulatory approval, users can build and deploy tests on the Monaco protocol, which Eccles said has the same underlying technology as prediction markets, which are based on trading of a future event that has an uncertain outcome.
There is no clear launch date for BetDEX, but Eccles said the company’s protocol could launch around the time of soccer's World Cup, which is due to kick off on Nov. 20.