Karolina Pelc on ‘Hashing it Out’ Episode 10: Blockchain for super-powered gamification
Forward thinkers in the gambling space have already identified blockchain as a technology that is going to change the way we do things. The smart ones, such as Karolina Pelc, have already begun the process of exploration and education on how blockchain can better their business.
Pelc, who was named one of the most influential women in iGaming by iGB, featured on Facebook’s “She’s Got Game” and most recently nominated as Entrepreneur of Excellence at UK National Diversity Awards, has been working in the gambling industry for over a decade. Her vast experience spans from Casino Dealer to Head of Casino to consulting with C-levels to starting up her own company, SharedPlay.io, where she now serves as the Founder and CEO.
SharedPlay is in that “exciting pre-product” stage as Pelc describes it, where she’s hiring people and putting together the product road map to fulfill “big dreams.” During this process, Pelc has been studying the latest trends and technology surrounding the gaming space and blockchain is at the top of her list.
“I heard about blockchain years ago…but I think all those speeches and presentations at conferences for many years were falling on deaf ears because people didn’t really understand and they were scared to ask questions,” Pelc shared.
“But I have to say, it’s in the last year and a half, and especially this year, where it all exploded and you can’t really not be interested in this anymore,” she said.
“And the more I read about it, the more I realize that for the first time this year, I think people are starting to see the revolutionary impact that blockchain can bring to the industry and especially to gaming because it is gaming where it’s currently booming,” Pelc added.
Pelc’s vision at SharedPlay is to redefine how people gamble and she plans to do this through introducing a community element into a real money gaming offering, allowing people to interact with each other.
“This application of blockchain and NFTs in the metaverse sort of environment is just making me think constantly that if this has such success and such application in gaming industry—as the traditional gaming industry—it must be applicable to our industry,” she said.
“We must find a way to tokenize certain things and take advantage of all these benefits of transparency and transferability of things,” she added.
Using blockchain tech to simplify player referrals is another area that Pelc is studying. The traditional way of inviting a friend is too slow and complex and Pelc wants to facilitate urgency with referrals at SharedPlay. NFTs and proprietary tokens have also piqued her interest and she sees huge value in these blockchain-powered innovations for her product.
“Looking at how for the first time ever, the sort of collectible elements of collecting soccer cards or loot from video games and so on, it goes back to the old times where you actually could hold a physical asset and make sure it’s yours and you could exchange it and you could play with it. You could give it to other people,” Pelc explained.
“I think that was lost when we first entered the online industry and now people are realizing that the NFTs element, the token element, brings this back,” she said.
“I think my product would be the perfect application, it’s just I am missing that in-depth expertise or research time to figure this out. But I totally plan on doing that,” Pelc added.
The amazing news here is there are professionals already bridging the blockchain and gaming space who are happy to share their knowledge on elements such as referrals and NFTs and/or tokens using blockchain tech. Some of these professionals even have products available for someone such as Pelc to learn from or even work with—take Haste Arcade with its player referral feature or CryptoFights with its NFT marketplace, for example.
Speaking of BSV-powered Haste, a leaderboard concept like they have is also part of Pelc’s vision for SharedPlay, along with creating as much of a gamified experience as possible for players.
“For our product, we want to go towards more collaborative gamification rather than competitive and we want to create leaderboards or some type of a contest between groups rather than between individual players,” she explained.
“We’ve always been talking about this whole concept of achievements, and they’ve been a little bit useless because players change the brands so often and they abandon their achievements at one and then they have to start over in another one,” she said.
“And the whole just high-level idea of players being able to trade their achievements or sell a missing achievement for someone to attain a special status or whatever,” Pelc added.
NFT marketplaces, similar to what FYX Gaming offers its CryptoFights players, are a perfect example of how Pelc could facilitate the exchange of “achievements” between games. The BSV blockchain, in particular, features incredibly low fees as in a fraction of a penny, so referring friends and selling items becomes an easy and instant process, totally possible at any price, from anywhere in the world. It’s worth noting that BSV is now the world’s largest public blockchain in terms of major utility metrics, including data storage and daily transaction volume, scaling ability and average block size.
While all of these blockchain-based solutions—in addition to the whole idea of storing player data on the immutable blockchain—sounds simply fantastic in theory, the perception of blockchain by regulators and operators in the gambling industry is still tainted from the past and education is needed to turn the dial.
“Any time you mention that you want to try something like this, because people don’t know it, they assume that this is something they shouldn’t be diving into…a lot of myths are being repeated over and over again or misconceptions, so I think education would be useful to all of us,” Pelc confirmed.
More education on blockchain for all stakeholders in the gaming industry and curious minds like Pelc’s will accelerate the adoption of the technology. For those who wish to jump ahead of their competition, the discussions about blockchain’s application in gaming must start happening now.
“I’m open for expertise exchange because I do believe in solution specialization. I’m not going around claiming that I’m a blockchain expert and I’m not going to try to build all these things by myself,” Pelc shared.
“If someone is interested in exchange of ideas, I know the real money gaming product pretty well, I’ve spent 10 years in product roles, so I can probably inspire some people what they can build,” she offered.
“But I would also want to understand if there’s anything they could contribute and help me brainstorm what is it that we could do with this specifically for my project, which is already a quite innovative space for this to be different. I’d be open to talk and I encourage anyone to reach out,” Pelc added.
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