Acebusters Isn’t Bluffing When It Comes To Poker – Or Its ICObr>
Acebusters is a decentralized poker app that aims to increase fairness. It deals cards and settles bets through a series of smart contracts, seeking to eliminate the barriers that have killed more traditional platforms. The company started an ICO in late September that continues on.
Johann Barbie, the CTO, discussed the company and its plans with Block Tribune.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell me what the problems are with other poker sites and how you aim to solve them.
JOHANN BARBIE: Poker started out as big hype when it came online. The online poker problem was basically solved by the existing players. They take a counter-party. They are a counter-party in terms of banking. They hold your money. And they are a counter-party in terms of shuffling, they shuffle the cards. And you have to trust them with both of this. And we’re solving this by using blockchain technology, and by using cryptocurrency so the user basically holds his bankroll always in his wallet. It only leaves his wallet when he finds a player, and the shuffling that happens then happens on the client side as well.
So, it’s an encrypted shuffling where the deck moves from one player to another, everyone shuffles the encrypted card, and if at least one player shuffled fair, then we know that the game was fair.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Walk me through how this process would go. You log into the site and then what happens?
JOHANN BARBIE: You open an account with our website, like with any other website. You provide your email and a password, and what we do is we generate a private key for you, which is your identity and your wallet. And for that identity you can basically visit the tables that we have. On each table is a smart contract, only if you’re in blockchain, and when you want to join a table, you send a selection and send some coins or tokens over there. That is the only transaction that you need to do. So, once that deposit arrives in the payment channel, we use the same technology that you would know from Raven, for example. You can do as many bets as you want with your opponent, play as many hands as you want. There’s no cost to it in terms of blockchain, and then that money is always safe in the smart contract. Then when the game is over and you want to stand up and leave that table, then there’s a netting going on.
So, it’s evaluated how much you earned, lost, and then the tokens are transferred back into your wallet and you can see it has a balance.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What cryptocurrencies can you play with on the site?
JOHANN BARBIE: So, we have our own cryptocurrency. You can deposit with any, but what you receive in the moment when you deposit is AceBusters, so that’s the play currency. And that currency allows you to join tables, and to use this payment channel with multiple opponents. We actually run a two-token system, so there is not only the players token, but there is also Ace Buster Power, which is the community or the investor’s token. So, there is a process that allows you to convert that to power, which we call Power-Up. In that moment, you lock in a percentage of the total economy. And then, there is a process, which is called Power-Down, which converts power back. You can’t do that immediately, that takes about three months in 10 equal payments.
And then you kind of lock out of your percentage, and during that time when you hold power you basically participate in the growth of the economy, and you can do loads about different parameters of the economy. So, for example, how much the rakes should be on the table. The community, the players themselves vote on this.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What restrictions do you have as to who can participate?
JOHANN BARBIE: In general, we follow the blockchain ideology that everyone can have a wallet, pretty much the same like everyone can use a browser. But, of course, as you might know, online gambling is regulated, and the regulation stems from basically protecting the consumer, right? So, we don’t take a counter-party in managing your money, or shuffling the cards, so in that way, we don’t need to restrict anything. Or we cannot actually block payments of our users, but what we have is an identity system that allows us to filter out if someone is not the right age, so minors, or if someone has a profile that show’s a gaming addiction. You could still make an account and hold our currency, but you would not be able to join the tables to actually do the game.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is that a proprietary ID system or are you using something else?
JOHANN BARBIE: We’re pretty much implementing the ID system that U-Port project proposed. So, there is an identity contract and then you can do attesting about your identity. So you have a permanent identity as a smart contract on the blockchain, and other players, or, in our scenario, someone that ensures that you’re old enough, can do attestations about you. So, imagine like e-Bay, where you see stars for different sellers, it’s pretty much similar here. When you join the table, the other players see how much reputation as a poker player you have.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: You have an ICO underway right now.
JOHANN BARBIE: We started out about nine months ago as a pure team up, like engineers. We seemed quite ignorant on how to run the crowd sale. So, we one day we just decided to have one. Because, we have a working product, so we built the product first. We are not actually selling a security, but we’re selling an app token for an app that you can use already. But, we underestimated the marketing side of it. So, we started on the 21st of September and announced out crowd sale, and honestly, we haven’t collected much yet. And the crowd sale will go on for another 20 days, and we haven’t had a pre-sale on that, so we started with a crowd sale right away because we had this community idea in mind where the players owned the platform. So kind of like a corporate cooperative.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay.
JOHANN BARBIE: But, we noticed that without a strategic investor that kind of, you know, kicks it off and shows a big investment, we will probably not be able to close the crowd sale. And that is what we’re on right now. So, we are talking to VCs and we have special conditions for these guys.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: So what are your plans for the funding?
JOHANN BARBIE: So, right now we are rolling with the simple agreement for future tokens. Basically offering to investors a certain discount and a future promise in future tokens. And then we want to fill that up with like a community investment. We’re talking to different parties from the cryptocurrency space, from the e-gaming space, from poker networks and so on, and are trying to get the right partners on board. Last minute.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are your plans for the future? Are you going to be adding any games to the platform? Or will you dabble in sports betting or anything like that?
JOHANN BARBIE: Okay, so we have a road map as define in our white paper. The next step on the road map and what we are actually raising money for is to improve the security of the poker protocol. The mental poker protocol problem is something that has been stated in literature since the beginning of the 80’s. But hasn’t been fully solved. It basically involves multi-party computation, kind of the next generation of cryptography. And it’s all about the fact that people can shuffle the decks without actually knowing the cards. We’re able to do that, and we provide that securely. But, we don’t have drop out tolerance. That means that one of the players goes offline, the game stops for all the other players, and that is unfortunate. So, that’s the first thing that we want to kind of tackle, after the crowdsale. And then we have a few more milestones.