Virtue Poker, a project started 2 years ago and backed by several poker celebrities, intends to become the first ”blockchain-based decentralized poker platform that puts players in control in a framework they can trust.” But the road to this goal seems harder than expected.
In a blog post describing the difficulties met this year, especially for scaling, the team explained that none of the existing solutions can fit the needed requirements. As of now, using the Ethereum network to record each poker hand is too expensive and would probably not be viable. ”Virtue Poker could generate hundreds of thousands of transactions per day at scale, which would create a backlog of transactions leading to potential payout delays,” the team detailed.
To address these issues, Virtue Poker will develop a sidechain. Considered as potential solutions for scaling, sidechains are essentially a way to allow tokens from one blockchain to be securely used in another blockchain and then returned to the original blockchain if needed. The Virtue Poker sidechain will be a separate blockchain attached (and pegged) to the Ethereum blockchain. For the players, the mechanism should be seamless:
”Smart contracts will be deployed on the sidechain to which players will send their buy-ins. The smart contract will escrow funds, and all players will submit transactions to the sidechain smart contract for each hand played. When a game is complete, or when a player leaves the table, the contract will pay the winning players to their address. When a player wants to access their funds held in the Virtue sidechain (for example, to transfer to an exchange for conversion to another currency), the player simply submits an exit transaction and their ETH/VPP will immediately become available on the Ethereum main network.”
This solution also presents the advantage of cost: ”The only Ethereum gas costs that will be paid by players are the network charges for entering and exiting the Virtue sidechain,” the blog emphasized.
Although the development of the sidechain is ”well underway,” the official launch of the Virtue Poker room has been postponed to March 2019. The associated token (VPP) will be listed on exchanges 30 days prior to the launch.
In addition, the team announced that it has been incorporated in Malta, where the application process for a gaming license has been started.