Hero Gaming Debuts A Faster Online Slots Interface

Hero Gaming is famous for being an innovative creator of fun gaming experiences which can be attested by its solid portfolio which includes online gaming platforms like Speedy Casino, Casino Heroes and sports betting site Betser. Now the Malta-based company is taking the next step with the recent unveiling of Blitz, a new slots interface that will allow players to spin up to six times faster than they used to.

The idea behind Blitz which was developed in collaboration with NetEnt was letting the customers play faster without having to wait for the slots to be displayed after each spin – quite a number of slot players have cited the waiting period to be time-consuming for them. Blitz further allows the players to stop the game at any time, leaving the updated account balance and remaining spins completely visible to the player.

“There’s a lot going on in the gaming world right now, and our focus is always on developing innovative gaming experiences that are both entertaining and technically in the forefront. Behind Blitz is a complex technical solution that meets the needs of today’s gamers – it should be easy and fast while the pleasure factor is high. You should not be disturbed by information and graphics if you don’t want to. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort in developing a technical platform that has both flexibility and strength. Blitz is an example of what we can create on it,” Tomas Bäckman, CEO of Hero Gaming commented. “This is a collaboration between two driven and innovative players, utilizing both companies’ strengths. NetEnt has contributed with significant insights and technical know-how in this process. My assessment is that Blitz will be a contribution to the gaming market.”

The new slots interface has been developed as an overlay on top of NetEnt’s technology, something that is already proving to be immensely beneficial to both companies. While Hero Gaming’s business will be receiving a significant boost from the technological resources that NetEnt has to offer, the operator will be bringing a set of innovative gambling offerings to the table.

“We are pleased that Hero Gaming has chosen to develop Blitz on NetEnt’s platform. Our ambition is to be at the forefront, and we welcome innovative thinking and creative initiatives from our customers. In the future, I think we will see more of this type of products and solutions – to tailor the experience to different gamers. It will be exciting to see how gamers will use Blitz and we are looking forward to following developments,” NetEnt’s chief of product, Henrik Fagerlund said.


200 ICOs and Cryptocurrencies Under Active Investigation

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), an international task force that is tasked with tackling securities violations in the cryptocurrency industry, on August 28 announced that it has opened active investigations into over 200 initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto-related investment products.

First launched in May, the operation – referred to as “Operation Cryptosweep” – has been targeting a number of suspicious crypto investment products. It is composed of regulators from the United States and Canada which makes it the largest coordinated investigation by state and provincial officials. It has also already seen through 47 enforcement actions against ICOs and cryptocurrency investment funds in the U.S. and Canada, something that has earned its praise from Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The violations the operation has uncovered range from securities fraud to failure to properly register products before offering access to investors.

According to NASAA president and Alabama Securities Commission director Joseph Borg, the regulatory operation continues to commit significant resources to ensure that retail investors are protected. This is especially because many cryptocurrency advocates and financial watchdogs are split on how the ICOs and crypto firms should be regulated. NASAA’s contribution is, therefore, one of the best developments in the sector since other than protecting the retail investors, it will also serve to raise awareness among industry participants in regards to their regulatory obligations and responsibilities.

“While not every ICO or cryptocurrency-related investment is a fraud, it is important for individuals and firms selling these products to be mindful that they are not doing so in a vacuum; state and provincial laws or regulations may apply, especially securities laws. Sponsors of these products should seek the advice of knowledgeable legal counsel to ensure they do not run afoul of the law. Furthermore, a strong culture of compliance should be in place before, not after, these products are marketed to investors,” Joseph Borg added.

Do Your Homework, Investors Told

As it stands, NASAA is the oldest international organization whose main focus is investor protection – it is based on voluntary association and boasts of 67 member states, provinces and territories across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. However, despite its far-reaching capabilities in handling irregularities in the crypto within the mentioned areas, there still needs to be some element of support from other stakeholders.

The operations president has highlighted the need for ICOs to register with the appropriate agencies or, if possible, contact regulators to check whether they qualify for exemptions or not. He further warned investors against dealing with ICO promoters claiming their products is exempt from securities registration unless of course, the claim is verifiable.

“Do your homework and contact your state or provincial securities regulator with any concerns before parting with your hard-earned money — afterward may be too late,” he pointed out.


India Considering Crypto Tokens for Financial Transactions

Indian authorities have recently revealed that the country has been exploring tokenized datasets and other cryptographic forms of blockchain technology albeit while still maintaining their rather unfavorable stance towards cryptocurrencies citing their potential role in unlawful activities such as money laundering. As such, the prevailing ban on cryptocurrencies is likely to continue regardless of the government’s interest in issuing digital tokens for financial transactions.

“There are lots of issues that need understanding and lots of studying needs to be done,” a government official who requested to remain anonymous said. “Blockchain is an interesting thing. We definitely want to milk it effectively for financial transactions. So all officials are really trying hard to understand how to separately use blockchain, without cryptocurrency. And understanding a new software takes time.”

According to local Indian news outlet, DNA India, the country’s government have been considering the applications of crypto tokens in several different areas. However, as clarified by the new outlet, the government has excluded any use of cryptography and blockchain technology for the purposes of cryptocurrencies or any other sophisticated means of money transfer and international transactions. In fact, the officials believe that the crypto-tokens, including the ones they are exploring, do not themselves hold any inherent value. Instead, they represent an underlying asset that is only accessible to the private key holders. This implies that the crypto tokens will certainly not be serving as a substitute for fiat currency but will be representing an underlying value so as to enable faster and more transparent payments.

“One will need to pay physical money to buy a token which could be stored as a code in any basic mobile feature phone. It can even be used for remittances. So, it is easy to implement from technology as well as a regulatory point of view. But in the case of cryptocurrency, one needs to allow it as a legal tender first,” the DNA India report explained.

Spearheaded by a Committee

India’s finance ministry has since set up a committee headed by the secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) for this initiative. The committee has been tasked with working on a set of regulations and a roadmap to guide the use of the proposed assets in India. A drafty of these regulations, once drafted, will be forwarded to the country’s parliament for further approval.

“The committee is studying the possibility of using cryptocurrencies or crypto technology (distributed ledger technology) for financial transactions and also what kind of regulations are needed for that [while] the currency is totally banned, the committee is discussing its other uses and how it can be mainstreamed in India,” Subhash Chandra Garg the DEA secretary, who is heading the committee, said.


Videoslots.com Signs Supply Deal with iGaming Provider Spigo

Renowned online casino operator, Videoslots.com has entered into a supply deal with independent iGaming software provider, Spigo – a deal which is expected to see to the integration of a ton of slots content. Already, in a bid to ensure that it provides its customers with nothing short of the best and the widest variety of games, Videoslots has partnered with over 70 of the most trusted online gaming software developers and providers and the newly inked partnership with Spigo is not only an extension of these efforts but also a means of expanding its already impressive portfolio.

“Spigo have made a name for themselves developing top quality, enjoyable games and we’re sure our players will enjoy the extra choice that this partnership will deliver. With an initial roll-out of proven slots titles, we hope to follow this up with the integration of further content in the coming months,” William Ahlberg, Head of Games at Videoslots, said.

The announcement was made through an official press release that revealed that Spigo’s high-spec titles brought to Videoslots customers on both desktop and mobile. All of the titles will also feature dynamic jackpots, free games, free spins as well as a variety of unique bonus games.

Spigo’s games are playable on a wide range of devices and can be played for money or just for fun. In addition to this, the software developer has also equipped these games with both single players and multiplayer gaming capabilities – this can be found on their card-based and dice-based games.

“We’re very pleased to deliver our much-loved slot machine titles to Videoslots. They’ve proven themselves as one of the most innovative online casinos around and we look forward to a successful partnership in the future. Our variety of game genres all boast premium graphics, enjoyable gameplay, and exciting bonus features and we’re sure Videoslots’ players will enjoy the titles on offer,” Caroline Maciel, Spigo’s Sales Manager said.

Videoslots.com to Offer Content from Evolution Content

Videoslots.om has also recently signed a high profile partnership deal leading supplier Evolution Gaming to integrate the software supplier’s live casino content.

“We are always looking to add high-quality content to our portfolio and Evolution Gaming has exactly that. The demand for live casino games has never been higher, so with this partnership, we are able to offer more than ever as we continue to grow our portfolio of titles,” William Ahlberg commented on the partnership.

As per the terms of the agreement, live casino offerings like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat will all be integrated by the online casino operator – the same will apply to the casino hold ‘em, three card poker and dream catcher games.

“A lot of work has gone into developing the best live offering possible, and being able to offer that through Videoslots.com is very exciting for us. Our live offerings are some of the best on the market and we are sure Videoslots.com players will love trying them out as we look to build a long relationship together,” Sebastian Johannisson, Evolution Gaming’s Chief Commercial Officer added.


First Fully Regulated Cryptocurrency Exchange Goes Live

Crypto has been on a roll with a ton of new developments popping up every single day. While the nascent industry is certainly headed towards the right direction, achieving full regulatory approval is a very big deal, especially for cryptocurrency exchanges – it is even harder for them to get regulatory approval before they launch. Well, not anymore.

Liechtenstein-based Blocktrade.com has just been approved by the Finance Markets Authority and is set to be the first digital currency exchange to be open for testing – the Financial Markets Authority is a member of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). In a press release, the company confirmed that is in the process of obtaining a multilateral trading facility (MTF) license courtesy of the European Union’s MiFID II framework.

Blockrade.com’s launched the beta version for testing last week – this trial period is set to end on August 25 and will be followed by the full launch though the actual date of the launch is yet to be revealed.

“I hope early adopters will provide us with valuable feedback so that we can improve the platform even further. I believe its capability, as well as its user experience, are impressive, so I am convinced the word about our beta release will be spread widely. We are already setting up interviews with major financial, fintech and business media, so I will get a chance to talk about our development and vision for the future of finance,” Blocktrade’s CEO Luka Gubo said in a recent interview.

During the aforementioned initial testing phase, Bolcktrade.com will be offering Ethereum, bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple’s XRP trading pairs. Once the platform is fully launched later this year (around September), it will offer Security Tokens, Crypto Traded Indices and Tokenized Assets.

“We believe that if you operate an exchange and if you have an orderbook with a matching engine, you should also be regulated as an exchange. This removes the hurdles for traders (retail and institutional alike) to access the new asset class as the full MiFID II compliance makes us more transparent, reliable, trustworthy and enables equal access for all,” Gubo added.

The State of Crypto

Unfortunately, many institutional investors still regard the unregulated exchanges that dominate the crypto market as risks due to the lack of transparency. In fact, as it stands the European Union is yet to come up with a unified position and regulatory requirements for the cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the territory.

As for the MiFID II which came into effect at the beginning of 2018, the licensing process is quite explicit and will certainly do for now. To put this into perspective, it requires that the companies seeking its license prove that they have operated fairly, honestly and professionally in the best interests of the users of their platforms. The institutions also have to comply with a number of reporting, transparency and capital requirements.


Bitcoin Increases 5 Percent to $7,700. Is This It?

Bitcoin, the world’s largest and most popular digital currency continued its rally yesterday, shrugging off the hoard of regulatory and security worries that have significantly dragged down its price this year. According to data from CoinDesk, the cryptocurrency’s value increased by 5 percent on Monday, July 23, to a high of $7,770.58. This further represents a 20 percent increase in value from what was recorded a week ago.

Bitcoin broke above the $7,000 mark last Tuesday for this time in over a month after news surfaced that BlackRock, an asset-management company, was planning to set up a working group for the purpose of exploring digital currencies and the underlying blockchain technology. Similarly, in a report that was written last week, Grayscale, which manages $2 billion in assets said that more institutions are beginning to take interest in crypto. This, as affirmed by Matthew Newton, an eToro analyst, adds to the long-term upside for both bitcoin and the entire crypto industry.

“In the long-run, all of these points are very bullish,” said Newton, an analyst at eToro. “Technically, on the charts, what happened last week was very positive, but getting through these levels will be critical in the short term action.”

Matthew has also expressed the immense excitement and anticipation surrounding the approval or a bitcoin ETF, which is due to be decided in August by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Largest Bull Run in History?

Bitcoin has been inspiring bullishness as it breaks resistance levels and steadily moves towards the $8,000 mark – there is already a lot of anticipation that this might turn out to be the largest bitcoin bull run ever. Spurred by news of interest from major institutions, the bullishness that has been hitting the crypto market lately is not without merit and a number of experts are beginning to weigh in on all the possibilities.

According to Romal Almazo, the cryptocurrency lead at Capco, tier 1 banks are beginning to weigh their options in regards to crypto.

“Any signs of the big players entering the market will cause huge waves. Though my personal belief is that we are still a few years away from reaching this tipping point, we are in what I would refer to as an exploratory phase when it comes to institutions and crypto,” Almazo said in an interview with Express.co.uk. “Right now, as Tier 1 banks and financial institutions explore their options, the two main things that are holding them back are the lack of regulatory oversight and the numerous risks associated with digital custody and storage. This will also mean a huge opportunity for insurers to get into the market and partner with digital custodians and digital storage providers.”


Bitcoin Price Spikes As Crypto Market Finds Momentum

The past few days have been great for bitcoin as big-money investors have started looking into getting involved in crypto. Bitcoin, which is considered to be the mother of all digital currencies has gained close to four percent in the past day. This follows a week of stability in the $250 billion region which has contributed to a solid momentum that the crypto market has begun to demonstrate – in fact, it is possible the bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash have already initiated the rally that is required to propel the market towards and beyond the $300 billion mark.

Bitcoin’s Steady Rise

Starting from earlier yesterday, bitcoin’s rose by over $200 from an initial $6,300 and clocking in at just over $6,600. Considering its current price level, bitcoin is expected to see one of its most significant price upswings in two weeks, gaining close to 4 percent in value.

June was not a particularly great month for bitcoin, with the digital currency dipping below the $6,000 mark not once but twice thus setting a new all-time low record for 2018. However, things seemed to take a turn for the better at the start of July with bitcoin being on a bit of a resurgence that saw it peak at $6,800 on July 8. This upward trend was unfortunately interrupted by a single but significant pullback that saw it lose nearly all of the price gains it had attained during the first few days of July.

After that, bitcoin came dangerously close to falling below the $6,000 mark but this has since been evaded in the past few weeks. Therefore, amidst the steady growth we have seen since July 13, yesterday’s surge may be just what is needed to push its price higher towards the $6,900 resistance level.

Institutional Investors Trouping In

Bitcoin’s price upsurge has partly been attributed to the fact that the crypto space and bitcoin are beginning to become more and more appealing to investors especially due to the emergence of trading futures. Trading futures contracts is considered to be the safer and more advantageous options by traders since it is an efficient asset to hedge the price of bitcoin as it rises and falls.

“We see continued growth both in terms of the average daily volume and open interest,” said Tim McCourt, group global head of equity products and alternative investments at the Chicago-based CME Group. “The volume has steadily increased compared to when it was first launched in December. This is not a one-sided product because we have both supply and demand. Customer demand is strong because the relationship between the futures and cash market have a tight basis spread.”


New Paper Affirms Belief That Bitcoin Will Replace Fiat

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have always had a massive backing which about to grow even bigger thanks to a recent study is carried out by researchers at Imperial College London. According to a paper by the researchers titled “Cryptocurrencies: Overcoming Barriers to Trust and Adoption”, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be subject to massive adoption as means of paying for goods and services in the coming decade.

The study which was sponsored by eToro focused on various barriers to trust and mainstream adoption of crypto within the current setting. It further listed three main criteria that would propel bitcoin and other digital currencies towards mainstream adoption, that is, ability to act as a store of value, a medium of exchange and a unit of account. While cryptocurrencies have already fulfilled one of the criteria as they are used by millions of people around the world as a store of value, the researchers said they will have to overcome setbacks such as regulation and scalability if they are to fulfill the other two criteria.

“The world of cryptocurrency is evolving as rapidly as the considerable collection of confusing terminology that accompanies it. These decentralized technologies have the potential to upend everything we thought we knew about the nature of financial systems and financial assets,” said Professor William Knottenbelt from Imperial College London. “There’s a lot of skepticism over cryptocurrencies and how they could ever become a day-to-day payment system used by the man on the street. In this research, we show that cryptocurrencies have already made significant headway towards fulfilling the criteria for becoming a widely accepted method of payment.”

eToro, the brokerage firm that facilitated the research believes that bitcoin already exhibits all the important characteristics of money and all that is left is advocacy for mainstream use.

“The first ever bitcoin transaction took place a little over eight years ago, and today we are already seeing it begin to meet the requirements of everyday money. Given the speed of adoption, we believe that we could see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the high street within the decade. There are of course barriers to mainstream adoption, but they are far from insurmountable,” Iqbal Gandham, the managing director of EToro UK commented on the research.

Regulation Is the Final Step

Many experts agree that even though bitcoin has already evolved well enough to be considered as a standard means of performing transactions, regulation is the only thing holding it back. If bitcoin and other digital currencies are to become the medium of exchange we are all hoping they will become, then favorable regulations are more than necessary. This is particularly of grave importance since some governments have taken negative stances towards cryptocurrencies especially because they have been used to facilitate criminal activities in the past. With regulation, though, this should not be much of a problem.


Facebook Reverses Ban on Some Cryptocurrency Advertisements

Amid the bitcoin frenzy of January this year, social media giant Facebook Inc. made a decision to ban all cryptocurrency advertisements citing the concern that many of the companies in the crypto space at the time were not “operation in good faith.” Since then, it has been a considerably interesting time for Facebook as it struggles with coming to terms with the rapidly growing cryptocurrency market.

All things considered, while the ban may have been a genuine gesture of goodwill by the company to protect its users, the cryptocurrency space has proven time and time again that the potential it has as far as ad revenue goes is too significant to ignore. To this effect, Facebook made yet another big decision on Monday, June 26 when it announced that it was going to reverse the cryptocurrency ad ban immediately.

As expected, the period between the initial announcement of the ban on January and its eventual reversal on June 26 gave the social media platform a lot of time to review a great number of things the most important being how they would ensure that only legitimate crypto businesses get to market their products. Seen as more of caveats, the new ad policies says that the company will only allow advertisements and related content from “pre-approved advisers.” Ads promoting binary options and initial coin offerings (ICOs), on the other hand, will still remain on the not so favorable end of the company’s new crypto ad policy – they will not be allowed.

How It Is Going to Work

Facebook’s plans to only allow the so-called “pre-approved advisers” mentioned earlier by putting interested advertisers through an application that is tailored to determine whether or not they are eligible to advertise on the platform. As part of the application process, the advertisers will be asked to include the licenses they have obtained, whether they are public traded companies as well as other relevant background information regarding their businesses.

As the reversal of the crypto ad ban is still in its earlier stages, the company is yet to make it clear how thoroughly they will fact-check the information that will be provided by the advertisers. However, the company made it clear during the announcement that they would still be relying on users to pinpoint some of the content they do not allow. In essence, this implies that at least a few of the restricted crypto ads are going to make it through the screening process.

“We’ll listen to feedback, look at how well this policy works and continue to study this technology so that, if necessary, we can revise it over time,” Rob Leathern, Product Management Director wrote in Facebook’s announcement.

While many cryptocurrency users have lauded the development, the reversal of the crypto ad ban has also been subjected to some level of skepticism especially because the company has previously announced plans to venture into the cryptocurrency market.

“The reasons for Facebook reversing its decision to ban crypto ads are not clear, but the motivation could have something to do with its own strategy regarding the evolving crypto space. The cryptocurrency ecosystem is expanding rapidly and is growing its footprint in mainstream society, introducing new economic opportunities. We are also seeing regulatory authorities taking steps to provide security to the ecosystem that will, in turn, give strength to the global economy,” says Olyseum CEO, Carlos Grenoir.


The Best New Online Slot Games in 2018, So Far

As it has always been, there is yet to be a casino game that can beat the sheer variety and range of slots games. There are always more and more online slots games of different varieties and themes being introduced each and every month. While there are always some disappointing variations of the games that disguise themselves in well-worn themes, you will always find a decent number of great online slot games if you look hard enough. The online space has made it very easy for these gems to be accessed from anywhere and therefore all that slot machine enthusiast have to do is to pick a reputable site to play on.

Naturally, considering how vast the online space is, it is something of a challenge in itself to find a great game as well as a great site to play on. Alongside the new slot games that are launched every month, there is also a plethora of online casinos that go live as the online casino market continues its meteoric rise.

Still, slot games are becoming more and more varied and engaging which implies that you are guaranteed of all the perks that you would get to enjoy when playing at a land-based casino. So, today I am going to give you pointers to some of the newest and the best online slot games of the year. This may, of course, change as the year progresses and more innovative and technological improvements are made – but for now, you will not go wrong with these ones.

Wrecking Ball

At first glance, this will not look like a slots game to you. The reels are arranged in four columns, with each column spotting different symbols. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the game is the eponymous wrecking ball that swings across the screen leaving behind a trail of destruction which, fortunately for the player, unravels symbols that usually amount to some huge bonuses.

In addition to this, Wrecking Ball also features a bonus game in which a player can navigate a crane and directing the wrecking ball to different buildings and uncovering more hidden goodies.

Monopoly Hot Shot

There have been several different slot versions of the popular Monopoly board game, for years but this particular variant offers something much different. Monopoly Hot Shot gives you a hybrid package of monopoly and slots while still remaining true to the conventional slots gameplay that we all know and love – it features three reels, nine pay lines as well as “hot shot” mini reels.

Beat Square

This is arguably the best slots game in 2018 – in fact, the skill-based game slots game has already scooped a number of awards including the Best Slot Product for 2018 in the Global Gaming Business magazine-sponsored Gaming and Technology Awards.

It is also the most unique game I have seen so far. This is because it does not even have reals, at least not the traditional ones that we have grown accustomed to. In place of the reels, Beat Square has 16 buttons arranged in a four by four grid that light up to music. The player’s task is to get with the rhythm of the music that will be playing in the course of the game. Hitting the right buttons results in a big payout.