Decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Hxro announced that a newly-formed studio, Bitblox Games, has been created to develop on-chain, player-versus-player (PvP) gambling games that leverage Hxro’s Solana-based platform.
In a blog post Thursday, Hxro said that Bitblox Games is where “OG degens meet crypto degens,” referring to the crypto slang term for risk-loving traders or “degenerates.” It has also appointed Hxro’s VP Business Development Brandt Page to serve as Bitblox Games’ CEO.
“Bitblox dramatically expands the scope of what igaming can be,” said Page in the announcement. “Blockchain-based gaming provides additional transparency to igaming operators while giving players the ability to bet in new and engaging ways.”
The gambling and casino industry calls online gambling “igaming.” But unlike most video games, the vast majority of gambling games are not immersive worlds, do not feature well-developed characters (if they have any characters at all), and prioritize financial betting mechanics over other types of gameplay.
Instead, the “igaming” industry offers its users flashy browser-based gambling experiences where thousands of dollars can be won or lost with the click of a button.
Hxro co-founder Dan Gunsberg called on-chain gaming—where some elements of a game involve crypto transactions or data stored on a crypto network—a “surprisingly underserved subset” of the online gambling industry.
“Bitblox will bring the online gambling industry into the Web3 era, supporting Hxro Network’s goal to be the world’s largest on-chain source of derivatives and igaming liquidity,” Gunsberg said in a statement.
While the gambling industry may see its products as a form of gaming, a number of top video game streamers and livestreaming platforms like Twitch have taken strong stances against online gambling in recent months. Twitch called unregulated gambling sites “unsafe” in a blog post, and in October 2022, banned creators from livestreaming online gambling sites like Stake, which allows users to gamble with crypto.
The online gambling industry saw $5 billion in revenue last year, according to the American Gaming Association, but easier access to gambling also makes it easier for players to encounter the potential downsides that come with such activities.
The National Association of Addiction Professionals reported that “problem gambling” is linked to a higher suicide rate than alcohol or substance abuse, while the National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that roughly two million Americans struggle with a severe gambling problem.