July 17, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Crypto

Play Games and Earn Bitcoin with THNDR Games CEO Desiree Dickerson

Company Name: THNDR Games

Founder: Desiree Dickerson, Jack Everitt, Greg Flor and Rafal Gawel

Foundation date: Originally founded in 2019 | Relaunched in 2021

Headquarters Location: London, UK with remote team members

Amount of Bitcoin held in Treasury: “It’s not enough” (Dickerson said jokingly)

Number of employees: 6

Website: https://www.thndr.games/

Public or Private? Private

Desiree Dickerson believes gaming is a powerful way to get people on board with Bitcoin.

She posits that, in recent history, games have been used to accustom people to using new technologies.

“They put games on the original PCs to get users familiar with the mouse,” Dickerson told Bitcoin Magazine.

“This is similar to Snake and Nokia,” he added, explaining that the Snake game was added to the first Nokia phones “to get users familiar with the Nokia phone.”

Dickerson believes games play a similar role in getting people used to using bitcoin on the Internet. lightning network.

That's why, in 2021, he helped launch a revamped version of THNDR Gamesa company that has developed a set of mobile games through which users can win he sits just to play.

And she was the perfect person for the job considering both her experience as a gamer and her experience working with the Lightning Network.

Dickerson's history with games and lightning

Dickerson has been playing since she was a child.

“I grew up playing with my dad,” he said. “He had NES and I grew up playing Duck Hunt with him.”

While she has been exposed to a variety of different games throughout her life, as her father had “all the game consoles,” she said she currently considers herself a “cozy player”And that she doesn't like more consuming (and scary) games like HALO.

“It just has to be absolutely absurd, like picking weeds in Animal Crossing,” Dickerson said with a smile about his current gaming preferences.

Dickerson not only has a long history in gaming, but has also been involved with the Lightning Network since its inception.

She started working in lightning laboratories in June 2018 and stayed there for three years before starting at THNDR Games.

Dickerson met THNDR’s original founder, Jack Everitt, while she was still at Lightning Labs. She realized that gaming was a way to spread bitcoin, and Everitt, a game developer, was already hard at work developing THNDR.

The two began working together on a project called MintGox (a play on the defunct Bitcoin exchange mount gox) in which they showed what companies like ZBDSatoshi's Games and Donner Lab were building in the Bitcoin gaming space.

As of October 2021, Dickerson was CEO of THNDR.

Building THNDR games

In the following years, THNDR released 6 games, all of which were more like cozy games than extended-play first-person shooters or other types of games that required longer engagement.

These games included Bitcoin Club: Solitairea classic solitaire game; Tetro Tiles, a combination of sudoku and tetris; and Bitcoin Snakea version of the aforementioned Snake.

As of September 2022, Club Bitcoin: Solitaire was number 21 (the numerical meaning of which did not go unnoticed by the THNDR team) the most downloaded application in the Apple App Store.

In October 2023, River Lightning Network Report highlighted the fact that THNDR was responsible for 3% of Lightning Network transaction growth.

But even with this success, Dickerson and the THNDR team were still concerned that it might not be enough to make the business as profitable as they wanted.

“I think the problem we saw was that we had launched these mobile games and they were partially successful, but does this really scale as a venture-backed company?” Dickerson shared.

“We started thinking, 'Hey, we've created this new genre of Bitcoin reward games, but does it really solve a problem?'” he added.

As they pondered these questions, Dickerson and the THNDR team looked at the broader online gaming space and found a dimension that was ripe for disruption.

Skill-Based Gambling and Betting: Clinch and the Next Frontier of THNDR

In their research, Dickerson and the THNDR team found that the payment system for virtual casinos and online sports betting was outdated and full of friction.

“Payments in those spaces are completely interrupted,” Dickerson explained. “There are super slow withdrawals, high fees, and little flexibility with purchase and withdrawal thresholds, and Bitcoin solves that.”

THNDR then shifted its focus to developing a system that leveraged the Lightning Network’s near-instant settlement time as well as its ability to process microtransactions in an effort to solve the payment issues it had discovered.

In October 2023, THNDR released Clinch, an API that facilitates instant, borderless, low-cost, peer-to-peer betting on Lightning. By using Clinch, online casinos, sportsbooks and competitive gaming platforms could improve their payment systems.

THNDR also created its own version of skill-based betting Lonely which allows users to bet large sums of money.

“You couldn't become a millionaire playing our (original) Solitaire game, but now you can if you start making skill-based bets,” Dickerson said (without necessarily encouraging users to bet more than they can afford to lose).

“85% of our users actually requested it, and it really reveals the monetization potential of not just Solitaire, but a host of different games,” he added.

(To provide some context on the monetization potential this unlocks, Dickerson shared that the most successful company with a skill-based Solitaire game makes $25 million per month from that game alone.)

THNDR is also looking beyond the business-to-customer (BSC) model as it works to create white label solutions (pre-built products that one company develops and then sells to another company that then uses the product under its own name), especially for sports betting platforms.

“It's an engagement and retention tool specifically for sports betting because between games, users just leave the app because they think, 'Okay, this game won't end for another two hours.' I'm going to close the application. There's nothing to do,'” Dickerson explained. “They want to keep people on the app and get them to bet on more things.”

Beyond Bitcoin

The THNDR team is also looking at what other assets they can use in games.

“We would love to explore Taproot assets or other assets and we like stablecoins,” Dickerson told me.

However, don't expect to see THNDR using tether (USDT) on Tron anytime soon.

“Users don't actually need to see the Bitcoin piece,” Dickerson began.

“They can bet in fiat currency or dollars, and everything happens in Bitcoin. “I would love to expose them to bitcoin, but it is really the properties of Bitcoin that are solving the payment problems in sports betting and skill-based betting,” he explained.

That said, Dickerson and the THNDR team have hardly become fiduciary maximalists. They are Bitcoiners at heart and one particular element of THNDR's design proves it.

Disappearing Sats: For Your Own Good

Dickerson said many THNDR users end up falling down the proverbial Bitcoin rabbit hole, in part because THNDR asks them to.

“We have a three-day expiration on prizes, and if you don't collect them, you lose them,” Dickerson said.

“You have to download a wallet (Lightning) if you want your prizes. We're getting people partially into the process of getting a wallet on their phones. This is a big step, because 80% of our users are totally new to Bitcoin,” she added.

Dickerson added that THNDR will gladly refund sats to those whose sats expired. He mentioned that users can contact THNDR to make this request.

That said, he also pointed out that THNDR could very easily have written in the terms and conditions of their service that sats that disappear after three days are gone forever. However, the reason it doesn't is because it wants its users to learn how Bitcoin and Lightning actually work, not just maximize profits.

“We just want people to withdraw their money and keep the sats,” Dickerson said. “That's not a commercial move, it's a Bitcoiner move.”

    Leave feedback about this

    • Quality
    • Price
    • Service

    PROS

    +
    Add Field

    CONS

    +
    Add Field
    Choose Image
    Choose Video
    X