Fantasy sports has always seemed like a promising area for Bitcoin acceptance. An industry dependent on online payments with over US$1 billion bet in the U.S. each year on fantasy football alone, much of it pooled in leagues stretching across the nation, fantasy sports would benefit greatly from the ability to send money without being subject to PayPal fees or worries about credit card fraud. However despite these advantages, fantasy football with Bitcoin seemed to be limited to a custom BitcoinTalk league with escrow services provided by NitrogenSports.
That is no longer the case. Just in time for the 2014 NFL season daily fantasy sports has been introduced to the world of Bitcoin through the new site Victiv.com. Following a trial period, they announced the launch on /r/Bitcoin and have since been active on Twitter and Reddit offering promotions and technical assistance.
Showing the potential of this industry, Victiv was able to raise US$2.7 million in seed funding to launch their website. While that’s an impressive haul, they do have some stiff competition. Industry leader FanDuel recently raised US$70 million in venture capital. CEO Matt Primeaux is nonetheless confident in his company’s future, saying “our concentration will stay the same — build the best product, build the best user experience.”
Since Bitcoin seems to be an important part of accomplishing this mission, I contacted Matt to get his thoughts on the advantages of cryptocurrency and the community which surrounds it.
Cointelegraph: Why do you like accepting Bitcoin?
Matt Primeaux: There are so many great things about Bitcoin and the Bitcoin community, but there’s one major underlying reason we wanted to, and did, launch with Bitcoin as a deposit and withdrawal option.
If our goal and concentration truly is to build the best product available in the market, then we need to provide the most up-to-date and forward thinking features possible. Not only does the Bitcoin community overlap well with our target demographic, but we believe our users will appreciate a business that has their best interests in mind, and that just wouldn’t be the case if we didn’t accept this exciting currency.
CT: What inspired you to start Victiv?
MP: The daily fantasy sports space is one I’ve been keeping an eye on for years. Prior to co-founding Victiv.com, I was living in Europe with my wife and working in the online poker industry. Throughout that time, I watched this industry from afar as a few sites and a concentrated user base grew into the mainstream following it’s becoming today.
We believe that daily fantasy sports currently sits on an inflection point that will propel the popularity of this niche industry, and could see much more than US$5 billion in contests played annually. Our goal at Victiv.com is to provide a better, more engaging daily fantasy sports product. Everything we do — from the 15-person team we have here in Austin, TX to the technology stack that we’re working with — is geared towards building the best experience for our users.
CT: Were you always planning on accepting Bitcoin? Or was it something you decided upon as you developed the site?
As a long-time follower of Bitcoin, including my fateful decision not to invest US$5,000 when it was trading for a few cents back in summer 2010 (one of my co-founders talked me out of that investment — it’s been a long road to forgiveness), I’ve always been a fan of the alternative currency movement.
In my office in Gibraltar, I had a conference table set up with 2 monitors — one with the major indices and the other with Clark Moody. As the conversion price of Bitcoin continued to rise, and as the Bitcoin community continually demonstrated their support of businesses that accepted Bitcoin, we knew that it was an absolute necessity to launch Victiv.com with Bitcoin acceptance.
We partnered with Coinbase to make the transactions process simple, and are extremely thrilled with our decision thus far.
CT: Are you planning on adding other sports? And if so, what does the timeline for that look like?
MP: Yes, we have partnered with STATS LLC to provide us NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA, and NCAA football and basketball. We’ve launched with NFL, and are currently in the process of building our algorithms for pricing NBA and NHL players, which will launch here in October.
Our team has been great in building a platform that’s more-or-less sports agnostic. Our CTO, Steven “Mick” Giles, was previously a senior director at Electronic Arts and SonyOnline where he concentrated on platform architecture and technology.
Add our CIO, Earl “Mitch” Mitchell (yes, they both go by similar names, neither of which are their actual names!), who was a Director of Technology and predictive analytics wizard at Wolfram Alpha’s consulting arm, and we’re able to use some of the most cutting edge technologies and analytics platforms to provide not only a better website for our users, but the sharpest, most predictive athlete pricing in the market.
CT: You’ve said there have been more Bitcoin deposits than any other form of payment so far. Can you go into further detail with hard numbers or percentages?
MP: I can’t share the details, but I can re-emphasize that we’ve been extremely proud to be one of the first mainstream daily fantasy sites to offer and operate with Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. We have seen a significant amount of support from the fantasy sports playing Bitcoin community, and know each time there’s a deposit of more than US$1,000 on Victiv.com, it’s likely from a Bitcoin player.
CT: Do you offer any promotions for customers using Bitcoin?
MP: Right now, all of our new players receive a 100% drip-in deposit bonus up to US$1,000. We also ran US$20,000 worth of free and guaranteed contests in NFL Week 1, and are running US$27,000 worth of contests for NFL Week 2.
We have a few special plans in the future for Bitcoin players, but don’t want to tip our hands too early.
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