Play Games, Win Bitcoin With THNDR Games CEO Desiree Dickerson

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THNDR Games: Betting on Bitcoin for the Future of Gaming

Desiree Dickerson believes that games are more than just entertainment; they’re powerful tools for onboarding people to Bitcoin. Like how games such as Snake on early Nokia phones helped users familiarize themselves with new technology, THNDR Games is aiming to make Bitcoin and the Lightning Network accessible and mainstream through casual mobile games.

A Gamer’s Journey to Bitcoin

Dickerson’s journey began with a shared passion for gaming with her father. Growing up playing classic games like Duck Hunt on the NES fostered a lifelong love for the medium. However, Dickerson’s gaming tastes have evolved towards what she calls "cozy gaming," favoring games like Animal Crossing for their relaxing and mindless gameplay.

As her career progressed, Dickerson dove into the world of Bitcoin, joining Lightning Labs in 2018 where she spent three years immersing herself in the intricacies of the Lightning Network. It was during this time that she realized the potential of games to democratize Bitcoin adoption.

Meeting Jack Everitt, a gaming developer already working on THNDR Games, led to the creation of MintGox (a playful reference to the defunct exchange Mt. Gox). MintGox served as a showcase for the emerging Bitcoin gaming scene, highlighting projects like ZBD, Satoshi’s Games, and Donner Lab. This collaboration laid the foundation for what would become THNDR’s primary focus: building Bitcoin-powered games accessible to everyone.

THNDR Games: Building a Bitcoin-Powered Gaming Ecosystem

In 2021, Dickerson took the helm as CEO of THNDR Games and spearheaded the launch of a series of mobile games. These games, designed for casual play and centered on simple mechanics, offered a gateway to engaging with Bitcoin:

  • Club Bitcoin: Solitaire: A classic card game with Bitcoin rewards.
  • Tetro Tiles: A blend of Tetris and Sudoku, offering a brain-training experience with Bitcoin prizes.
  • Bitcoin Snake: A modern twist on the classic Snake game, rewarding players with Bitcoin for their skills.

By September 2022, Club Bitcoin: Solitaire soared to the #21 spot on the Apple App Store, achieving a significant milestone for the team, with 21 holding special significance in the Bitcoin world.

The team’s strategy went beyond casual games, however. THNDR recognized the potential of Bitcoin to revolutionize the payment systems within online casinos and sports betting platforms. The current model, plagued with slow withdrawal times, high fees, and limited flexibility, offered a ripe opportunity for disruption.

Clinch: Bridging the Gap between Gaming and Bitcoin

In October 2023, THNDR launched Clinch, an API (Application Programming Interface) designed to integrate Lightning Network capabilities into existing digital gambling platforms. Clinch leverages the Lightning Network’s near-instant settlement times and microtransactions to offer a seamless and cost-effective payment system.

This shift towards skill-based wagering was specifically driven by user demand. THNDR found that 85% of its users requested the ability to wager significant sums on their games, highlighting a strong desire for competitive and high-stakes gameplay. This move unlocks a vast monetization potential, with successful skill-based Solitaire games generating $25 million per month.

Clinch isn’t limited to individual users. THNDR is developing white label solutions for businesses, offering pre-built products that companies can integrate into their own online casinos and sports betting platforms. This "plug-and-play" approach presents a streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective way for businesses to adopt Lightning-powered payments.

Expanding Beyond Bitcoin: A Multi-Asset Future?

While the focus currently remains on Bitcoin and the Lightning Network, THNDR is open to exploring other digital assets. Dickerson expresses interest in incorporating Taproot assets and stablecoins into their games. However, she acknowledges that the underlying technology is what truly enhances the gaming experience:

"Users don’t actually need to see the Bitcoin piece. They can bet in fiat or USD, and it all happens on Bitcoin. I’d love to expose them to bitcoin, but it’s really the properties of Bitcoin that are solving the payment issues in sports betting and skill-based wagering."

Dickerson and her team prioritize a seamless experience for players, ensuring that adoption is driven by user-friendliness and value, rather than forcing users to navigate the complexities of various cryptocurrency ecosystems.

Disappearing Sats: A Bitcoiner Move, Not Just a Business Move

THNDR’s approach to Bitcoin adoption extends beyond simply offering rewards. The company incorporates a three-day expiration period on prizes, which encourages users to download a Lightning wallet to access their winnings. This strategic approach subtly guides players towards engaging with the Bitcoin ecosystem, fostering organic adoption and engagement.

Dickerson emphasizes that THNDR is committed to helping users understand and utilize Bitcoin, even if it means sacrificing some potential revenue:

"We just want people to cash out and have the sats for themselves. That’s not a business move — it’s a Bitcoiner move."

This commitment to fostering Bitcoin literacy speaks volumes about THNDR’s mission. It’s not simply about utilizing Bitcoin for profit; it’s about empowering players to take ownership of their crypto assets and become active participants in the decentralized financial landscape.

The Future of THNDR Games: A Bitcoiner’s Playground

With a growing suite of games, innovative payment solutions like Clinch, and a commitment to user education, THNDR Games stands poised to revolutionize the gaming industry. By leveraging the power of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network, THNDR offers a unique and engaging gateway to the world of cryptocurrencies. This approach not only benefits individual players but also creates a more efficient and accessible ecosystem for the gaming industry as a whole.

As Desiree Dickerson aptly states, "We want to make Bitcoin ubiquitous. We want people to be able to use Bitcoin every single day, and so gaming is a fun way to do that." THNDR’s commitment to merging gaming with Bitcoin is paving the way for a future where digital entertainment is seamlessly integrated with decentralized finance, opening doors to a new era of gaming experiences.

Article Reference

Rebecca White
Rebecca White
Rebecca White is a cryptocurrency journalist and editor for Bitcoin Magazine. She offers in-depth analysis, information, and commentary on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Rebecca's expertise is highlighted through her articles, podcasts, and research, making her a prominent figure in the crypto community.