Dragon Corp’s Blockchain-Powered Floating Casino Concept Capsizes Over Unsigned Contracts, Delayed Payments

Posted on: June 22, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: June 22, 2018, 11:52h.

Dragon Corp’s plans to “integrate blockchain into the world’s biggest gambling hub” via a cryptocurrency-powered floating casino in Macau may have hit the rocks.

Dragon Corp
A digital rendering of Dragon Corp’s proposed $300 million Dragon Pearl, which is currently not being built, according to the Norwegian developer, Bova Idea. (Image: Dragon Corp/XBD)

This week, Bova Idea, the Norwegian company hired to build the $300 million “Dragon Pearl” casino, told the Macau News Agency that it had abandoned the project in November last year because of repeated alterations to contracts and delayed payments.

Dragon Corp believes it can use its cryptocurrency, Dragon Coin, to undercut the amount traditional junket operators charge for transactions, which it hopes will increase Dragon Coin’s popularity with Chinese high rollers.

Financing the project through an initial coin offering (ICO),  Dragon Corp hopes to raise around $500 million. The ICO reportedly went ahead in March of this year and it is believed Dragon Corp achieved its target, although precise figures have not been made public.

The ICO was supposed to help investors buy an interest in the Dragon Pearl, as well as Dragon Corp’s VIP junket operations, which it plans to roll out at casinos through partnership deals.

Blockchain Junkets

High-rollers use the junkets to swerve government restrictions on the movement of cash into Macau from the Chinese mainland. The gamblers pay up in China and receive tokens, known as “rolling chips,” when they hit the casino in Macau.

The junkets charge up to 7 percent for these transactions. But gamblers who buy their stakes using Dragon Coin, will pay only 1 percent.

Dragon Corp says its activities will swerve Macau’s cryptocurrency gambling ban because it says it acts only as a wallet — the casinos themselves never come into contact with any digital currency. The company will pay casinos in traditional currency for the rolling chips it supplies to its gamblers.

But a source told the South China Morning Post last September that the system would never be tolerated by the authorities.

“They are essentially trying to use an IT patch to legitimise an underground activity,” said the source.

Contract Ambush

Describing his interactions with Dragon Corp to MNA, Bova Idea chairman Milo Andric said at one point he traveled to Hong Kong to attend the company’s opening ceremony to make a presentation to possible investors.

“They asked me to sign a contract during the event on stage, but I refused saying I could only sign a contract after seeing and reading it, so we signed a pro forma contract on the stage. Afterwards, they said they would provide the final contract but it never materialized,” he said.

Also at that event, according to the SCMP, was notorious former Triad boss “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok-koi. Dragon Corp CEO Chakrit Ahmad subsequently denied Wan had any involvement in the business, but Brittany Kaiser, formerly of Cambridge Analytica, has alleged that is not the case.

The UK firm at the heart of the Facebook data scandal performed promotional work for Dragon Corp last year. Kaiser, a former Cambridge Analytica director turned whistleblower, claimed in an interview with the New York Times that documents sent in September 2017 to potential investors listed Wan as the major sponsor of the Dragon Coin ICO and even included his photograph.