E4ROW is a group of developers who are building a series of Ethereum based games and applications. In this interview, David D. Rosen, one of the programmers based in Israel, explains the details of this project.
How would you explain E4ROW to an investor with a time horizon measured in years?
E4ROW, which stands for “Ether 4 the Rest of the World, exists to introduce Ether to the non-crypto world. We’re doing that by creating games and apps (starting with poker), running on the most popular platforms (starting with smartphones and tablets), and demonstrating the most obvious benefits of Ether and Ethereum smart contracts (fast transaction, blockchain escrow).
In term of the time horizon, one of the unique aspects of E4ROW that distinguishes it from most other crypto projects is that the product is functional now. Not many crypto projects can make this claim. So an investor who is looking years out need not wonder if the team will ever finish the product or if that product will do what the developers claim -we’ve already proven that E4ROW works and works well. If we can get sufficient support from donors, the fun part begins wherein we create more and more games that use our proven platform.
Has the team bean part of any ICOs before?
This is our first ICO, although I and others on our crew have been on the founding team of several successful startups. We are all engineers, and E4ROW was born as a passion project by a group of programmers from around the world who are in love with Ethereum. We are planning on using the proceeds of our ICO to create more free games and market them to the world. We do not benefit at all from the use of our games, other than that we are a part of the Ethereum community at large. For this reason our ICO is in fact a Contribution Campaign wherein those who contribute are not seeking returns, rather simply to support our mission.
Being engineers is part of the reason why we built and debugged our first products before raising capital.
What are the different modules of E4ROW and how will they integrate into the E4ROW catalogue of games?
Conceptually there are 3 parts to the E4ROW project:
The first is the games (or app). This is what users will see. Our idea is to create games that users already want — but with the added benefit of being able to play with Ether. For example, smartphone poker players are used to betting valueless cartoon coins — and they are used to buying those tokens as ‘in app purchases’; so we give them a solid poker app and let them buy Finney (thousandth’s of an Ether) instead of useless animated tokens. Gamers get the benefit of a real-world cryptocurrency and the trustworthiness of a secure blockchain escrow. And all of this is without the involvement of an online “casino” or other third party entity that may be illegal or untrustworthy. By contrast, these are exclusively head-to-head games between two players, much like a living room poker game.
The second piece of the puzzle is the E4ROW Escrow contract. This Ethereum smart contract accepts bets from the game app(s) and holds them until a winner is decided. At that time, the contract takes a 2% “escrow fee”, which it passes to the E4ROW Token contract for distribution to the token holders. None of this fee goes to the developers. It then sends the balance of the ‘pot’ to the winner of the game.
The third piece of the E4ROW puzzle is the E4ROW Token contract. This contract continuously distributes the escrow fees among the E4ROW token holders. The tokens are only available during the ICO period.
Even though the E4ROW project is already functional — with our first app (Uncle Finney’s Poker) already available and being played; and with the E4ROW Token contract already distributing payouts to token holders — the project is designed for continued growth: We won’t have funds to launch a marketing campaign until the successful conclusion of the ICO. At that time we plan to begin pushing the game to the far reaches of the online poker world. Secondly, we are developing several other games to bring Ether to users who may not be fans of poker. Our games deal in truly tiny amounts of Ether (Finney, which are thousandths of an Ether) so we don’t expect to attract professional gamblers who are looking to make giant sums, rather these games are fun and demonstrate the wonders of Ether.
Does the team see this as a short-term project or as a long term one, what is their incentive?
We’ve structured the E4ROW project so that we can incentivize our developers to keep on developing apps. For example, at the close of the ICO the E4ROW Token contract mints a number of “developer tokens” equal to 15% of the sold tokens. The contract holds these tokens for 12 months, and then releases them to a developer account. This process is specifically designed to reward our developers that stick with the project and continue developing more E4ROW apps.
When does the ICO start and when does it end?
The ICO begins on May 2 and ends three weeks later on May 23. Since we developed the product before raising any capital, we did not have a budget for marketing and PR (this is what we are hoping to raise in the ICO). For this reason, we did not create a major PR buzz around our ICO and we are off to a very quiet start. However, we are hopeful that more donors will discover us over the next two weeks so we can at least reach our min cap of so that we can continue developing and releasing more games.
The E4ROW is offering guarantees which I have never seen in any ICO, what was your motivation for this donor insurance?
We’ve read about other ICO’s that seemed like they were peddling snake-oil and vaporware. I’m sure many are legit — but to our team of hands-on programmers all the hype was a turn-off and something we just didn’t want to participate in. We’re more comfortable building products than hyping ideas. So we felt that it would only be right to offer guarantees of functionality if we are going to ask for donations. At this point the code has been running and it’s been debugged. we’re confident that it won’t fail — so we’re proud to offer a proof-of- functionality guarantee:
At the close of the ICO only 10% of the funds raised will be released; if the code fails to process at least 5,000 games within 90 days of the close of the ICO, the remaining 90% of the funds raised will be returned to the contributors (this is written directly into E4ROW Token contract).
Our tokens are sold at a price of 1 Token per 1 ETH. Our maximum cap is 200,000 ETH. We chose that as the maximum as with that amount we can launch an aggressive global marketing campaign to the massive online gaming world. If we raise that amount, then we will indeed be able to bring Ether to hundreds of thousands of new users. The minimum cap is just 5,000 ETH. We chose that low figure because we’re a dedicated team, and we’ve worked on a shoestring up until now — so we’re sure we could continue… however in that case our marketing would be much more modest and our development schedule much slower.
If we fail to reach the min cap, all the raised funds will be refunded to the donors via the Token contract. If we raise more than the min cap, then the 15% developer tokens will be generated and held for a year. After we pass the proof-of- functionality threshold, the raised funds will be split the funds between the international development team and a marketing fund. At that point there will be no more tokens generated.
What happens to earnings and in particular what happens if users do not withdraw them?
Your payouts never expire. The contract holds them in perpetuity until you withdraw them.
How will E4ROW sustain itself once the ICO funds run out?
The E4ROW Escrow contract was designed with additional games in mind. These games, some of which are already in development will feed bets to the E4ROW Escrow contract to supplement returns to the token-holders.
The developer tokens, which will be released to the development team in 12 months serve to incentivize the developers.
Yes. token payouts never expire. Token holders can withdraw their accumulated dividends at any time, and as often or as rarely as they like.
In terms of return to contributors, it’s difficult to project accurate figures these things are so often pie-in- the-sky — but looking at the current adoption and usage of Uncle Finney’s Poker *with zero advertising*, we think it will be a positive return.
Once we achieve some success in distributing our games, there may be ample opportunities for our company. For example, in-app- purchases, and advertising revenue. After our initial marketing and development push, these profits by themselves should be sufficient to sustain the company.
Can you tell us more about Uncle Finney’s Poker?
It’s difficult to project what the average bet-size will be once we begin distributing the games to different markets. Many smart-phone online gamers are used to playing with worthless cartoon coins, and so one might presume that they will not be big betters.
For the past week, we have had a little over 1,000 games played, with approximately 47 ETH bet. That equates to an average bet per game of 47 Finney (about $4.50). But bear in mind that this is with zero advertising, and a large number of those games may have been potential contributors just trying the app to see that it works.
There is no ‘house take’ in the traditional sense since there is no casino. Uncle Finney’s Poker is just the first E4ROW app. It is strictly a 2-player head-to-head poker contest. Additional games, such as Texas Hold ‘Em (Heads Up), are in our plans.
What other apps do you have on the drawing board?
We started with poker because it’s the most popular card game in the Google-Play store. But we will follow up with other apps, including a head-to-head shooter game and other poker iterations already in the works.
Part of success is branding, marketing and advertising what channels are you using to advertise the ICO and Uncle Finney’s Poker?
As I said, we have not yet invested in marketing, with hopes that our code will speak for itself to investors. With a successful ICO we hope to have the resources to invest in marketing –the more we raise the greater our outreach can be and the more channels we can leverage. Depending on how much we can raise, our production schedule will either accelerate or slow. In terms of recruiting, we are a hard-core heads-down nerdy bunch of programmers. After the successful completion of the ICO (or before if you’re willing to work for peanuts), in order to join our team you simply need to be able to mesh with our group — you can’t put your ego into your code, and you need to be obsessed with creating cool Ether products.Most of our programmers deal with us remotely from around the around the world via anonymous handles, so they are not seeking glory, just a super fun project that demands wicked coding skills.
If you think that’s you, send us a note on Slack.
Uncle Finney’s Poker: https://www.unclefinneyspoker.
We thank David D. Rosen for the interview