The world has changed dramatically since our last update. Back then, we were about to launch our next Beta round, and no one could have anticipated that, before it ended, the vast majority of us would be closed up in our homes waiting for the world to reopen.
Before we continue with the update, it's worth noting that we were very fortunate - none of our people contracted COVID-19, even though a large proportion of our developers are based in Spain, where one of the worst early outbreaks occurred. And since we all work remotely, our team's productivity was not severely impacted.
Our priorities shifted a little bit for this Beta. We have made a lot of progress with our application for a license with the Malta Gaming Authority, enough that we are now going through the audit process (one of the final stages). As a result, the Dev Team's focus has been on completing the requirements for our gaming license (more on this in the Development section).
Some metrics for this round:
- Hands played: 1,073,813
- Sit & Go tournaments played: 20,079
- Most hands played by a single player: 91,315
- Most SNGs played by a single player: 2,288
- ETH given away: 311 ETH
- VPPs given away: 2,442,000
As mentioned above, we made dramatic progress in our Malta Gaming Authority gaming license application. The MGA has never issued a license to a blockchain-based company, but they have made it clear to us that they see the advantage that Virtue Poker offers to players and want to work with us. They have allowed us to help them understand the blockchain and cryptocurrency, which has been a huge benefit to both the MGA and Virtue Poker.
In order to move the licensing process forward as quickly as possible, much of the team's focus the past few months has been on building and enhancing features that are required under Malta gaming regulations (which closely track gaming regulations in most major jurisdictions). These features include:
- Responsible gaming features (self-exclusion, self-limits, player limits)
- KYC integration and implementation
- Geolocation restrictions
- User permissions
- Financial transaction history
- Win/loss reports
- Backend game management
- Auto logout/keep alive
- Block login/force logout
- Data replication in Malta
Additional implementations and changes:
- New lobby user interface
- Updates to chat
- Game updates
- Bug fixes
The Marketing Team launched and ran a series of promotions for the Final Beta, including:
- Bankroll Builders, in which players could earn as much as 2 ETH and 100,000 Virtue Poker Points (VPPs). 220 players earned just under 2.5 million VPPs during this Beta round.
- The Sit & Go World Series, which will send one player to the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event. Over 600 people played in this tournament series, logging a total of 20,079 Sit & Go tournaments. Six of them will sit down this Sunday to play for over $18,000 in prizes, including a first prize that every poker player covets: a $10,000 WSOP Main Event entry plus $2,000 cash.
- Ivey's Table, which will give five Virtue Poker players the chance to play a 6-handed Sit & Go with Phil Ivey for over $12,000 in prizes. This final table will be run in early July.
- Daily Bust-a-Host games that gave away over 100 ETH
- Weekly drawings for 1 ETH
- Two Million Hand Celebration 10 ETH giveaway
In fact, the schedule got so packed that we decided to delay one announced promotion, Bust-a-Rast, to July so everyone would have a chance to play. The schedule for Bust-a-Rast and other upcoming promotions will be published the week of 29 June.
During the Virtue Poker Beta programs, we have given away over 9 million VPPs to 724 players, providing Virtue Poker with a solid base of players ready to play when we launch. In addition, we have given away 185 ETH in Bust-a-Host prizes and 465 ETH in other prizes during our Alpha and Beta programs.
The Support Team has been very busy getting players' Know Your Customer (KYC) approvals so they can be paid the bonuses they earned both in prior rounds and in this round. We have now integrated the KYC service into the Virtue Poker client (see Development above) and streamlined the process internally, so we expect KYC to proceed more quickly as we move forward.
Support is also responsible for day-to-day support services and keeping the Virtue Poker Knowledge Base current with new features and services we have added. The Support Team responded to over 6,000 player contacts during this Beta round.
Our management team, together with our legal advisors, has been working with the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for almost two years to pave the way towards our receiving the world's first gaming license for a blockchain-based company. Since the beginning of this process, we have employed BDO International, one of the top five consulting and accountancy companies in the world, to advise us. We have completed two rounds of mock audits, which are practice runs for the final Systems Audit. We are pleased to report that we expect to move to our final audit by mid-July, and expect to have our full application complete and formally submitted to the Malta Gaming Authority by the end of next month.
Issuance of licenses from that point can be as soon as 4-12 weeks. We are optimistic that we will be on the shorter end of that estimate because the MGA has been so closely connected with our development since last year.
Virtue Poker has its Random Number Generator (RNG) tested by Gaming Laboratories International (GLI). GLI is the certification company used by more gambling companies, casinos and gambling developers than any other. We are please to report that GLI has thoroughly tested our RNG and has certified that it is unbiased, fair and random. Virtue Poker is the first company ever to have a peer-t0-peer shuffling algorithm certified.
The question we hear the most often (by far) is "When are you going to launch?"
Virtue Poker is committed to offering safe and fair poker wherever we can do so and comply with the law. Our Malta gaming license application is the first step on this path. Once the Malta Gaming Authority completes their investigation and audit and issues our gaming license, we will be ready to launch. We can't commit to the MGA's timetable, but our sense is that we will have conditional approval of our license in August. If this happens, we plan to enabling trading and transferability of our tokens and launching on mainnet in September.
...to our token buyers, Alpha and Beta testers, who are the reason we are here today. We know it's been a long road. Now that our goal is within reach, we need a little more help from our nearly 5,000-player-strong testing community. Based on feedback from the MGA, we will run one more pre-launch testing round to ensure that Virtue Poker is ready for its debut as the world's first fully-licensed blockchain poker site. Pitch in with us one more time and we can all be part of poker history!