Disruption by Blockchain Part 5: Tal Zander – FundFantasy

  • 15 February 2018
  • Expert Insights

Our new Disruption by Blockchain series aims to highlight companies that are leveraging the incredible potential of blockchain technology to disrupt and revolutionize their industry. Through one on one interviews, we'll speak directly with industry leaders to cut beyond the hype and get directly to the heart of practical use cases and examples of how it will change the world, one industry at a time.

The following is an interview we recently had with Tal Zander, CEO of FundFantasy.

1. What’s the history of FundFantasy? How and where did you begin?

TZ: FundFantasy started when Daniel Vaisman and I, longtime friends with a shared passion for entrepreneurship, gaming, and online trading, became dissatisfied with the situation customers face in the online trading world, where many conflicts of interest and major moral hazards exist. We decided to present an alternative. By applying the fantasy model to financial speculation, and by applying smart contracts and blockchain technology to the platform, our growing team has created a web platform that allows users to profit from economic analysis without the counterparty risks that are presently involved. The platform has everything I have ever wanted for myself as an online trader: its fun and social rather than serious, it's transparent and probably fair, and it can pay out just as well. It's perfect.

2. Who are the founders and key team members?

Tal Zander, CEO & Co-Founder

Tal has over 10 years of business experience in a variety of fields; Finance, Business Management, Online Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Project Management, Accounting and Sales are only a few.

Expertising in Economics (of the Viennese/Austrian school of economics) and Finance, Tal brings his online trading background, as well as his drive, creativity and vision to the FundFantasy team.

Daniel Vaisman, COO & Co-Founder

Daniel is a cryptoeconomics specialist and blockchain enthusiast. He is a successful online trader of over 8 years, has 10 years of IT expertise and programming experience. Daniel has successfully completed dozens of web projects in a variety of fields such as finance, gaming, insurance and more. As our Chief Operating Officer, Daniel likes to get things done and belongs to the “get things right the first time” school.

Tzahi Kanza, CSO & Co-Founder

Tzahi is the CEO at Titanium Technologies – a global full-scale software R&D company focusing on IT entrepreneurship/startups as well as Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Tzahi has 17 years of experience as founder and CEO managing global companies,  and is an expert in strategic planning, international business activity, products planning and design, logistic planning and implementation, general management & HR, business networking and marketing & sales.

Asaf Yosifov, CTO & Co-Founder

A blockchain freak, Asaf has 16 years of experience managing complex projects, using both local and offshore development teams.

Expert in developing products in diverse fields such as telecom, education, gaming, networking, travel, finance and more. Founder and co-founder of startups, leading the CTO, R&D and operations activities.

Vladimir Murzac, Head Developer

Vladimir is a full-stack developer with years of experience in programming. Albeit his young age, he has already lead teams in large-scale web-development projects involving a variety of programming languages including C#, Python, JavaScript, PHP and more. Vladimir’s ambition, drive and perfectionism make him such an important part of our team.

Avri Rotem, CMO

18 years of specializing in digital marketing, from small to global companies. Expert in mobile apps marketing strategy and execution, with vast network to business opportunities and investments. Founder and co-founder of digital marketing company and ad-networks. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Digital Strategy, Online Gaming, Mobile Advertising, and User Experience. Strong marketing professional with a B.A. focused in Economics and Management from The Academic College of Tel-Aviv, Yaffo.

Shay Tiram, Digital Marketing

Shay is our in-house digital marketing out-of-the-box specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in digital marketing, Shay unlocks the full potential of the world wide web in his work.

 

Or Reznik, Business Development

Entrepreneur and Crowdfunding specialist. CEO and founder of hardware companies.

Vast experience with Creative, Marketing, PR, Product Development and more. Crypto-currency enthusiast.

 

Guy Zinder, Business Development

Guy is a passionate crypto-economics specialist and business developer with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and experience.

An excellent strategist, Guy’s experience in crypto, gaming, his critical point of view and his strong drive towards excellence make him an important part of our team.

Nicoleta Anton, Chief Designer

Nicoleta is a gifted artist and a very professional designer. Her expertise is best demonstrated by her work, which we at FundFantasy admire.

Nicoleta has a unique style and can adapt quickly to the audience of choice.

Advisory Board

Marc Kenigsberg, CEO at Jamworx, Founder at BitcoinChaser

A firm believer in Bitcoin since 2013, Marc operates various Bitcoin websites and projects, and regularly attends and speaks at industry events, as well as contributing to leading publications.

Being a veteran of the gambling industry with 15 years experience, Mark has an extensive background in online gambling and marketing both as an operator and affiliate.

Eric Benz, Managing Director at CryptoPay

Eric has over 10 years of experience working in and around Financial Technology. has delivered innovative SaaS systems for some of today’s biggest institutions around payments, identity, and banking infrastructure.

Has been a part of the Blockchain space since 2012 and is involved in a number of blockchain and fintech businesses.

George Kimionis, CEO of Coinomi, Founder at Cryptean, Author of BitcoinLib. Special Forces Veteran

George studied Computer Systems Engineer at UMIST and served as a Special Forces Commando in the Army. He has a good expertise in the creation of Financial and Trading software, having participated in large-scaled projects since day one, such as the creation of real-time Trading, Analysis and Risk-Management software for Banking & Brokerage Institutions, Anti-Money-Laundering software for Banks and Brokers, Live Results' software for the Olympic Games, Trading and Exchange software for Forex Brokers, Online Betting software for Bookmakers and Betting Exchanges, Image Processing units, Automated Task Allocation units for Universities and interactive e-learning software for handicapped people, to name a few. He participated in the making of 4 start-up companies (co-founded 2) before his 30s and is now working passionately on his new venture.

Joseph Borg, Senior Advisor at WHpartners

Joseph Borg is currently a Senior Advisor to WH Partners and mainly provides advice to the Gaming, ICT, Real Estate and Financial Services industries. Before joining WH Partners, Joseph was the Chief Regulatory Officer at the Malta Gaming Authority (formerly the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, Malta)

Ilan Rosenberg, CEO at Arbitrage Family Office

Ilan Rosenberg has 20+ years of experience in the Financial markets. Ilan is the CEO of Arbitrage Family Office, which specializes in personal financial management for high net-worth clients.

Before that, Ilan was the CEO of “priority” Asset Management, and a senior manager at the private banking division of “Leumi Bank” in Israel.

Ilan has an ultra-professional approach which has helped the FundFantasy team and project reach its current stages.

Melissa Blau, Director at iGaming

Experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the gambling & casinos industry.

Skilled in Business Planning, Analytical Skills, Customer Acquisition, and Corporate Development. Strong professional with a MBA focused in General Management & Finance from Harvard Business School.

Ishai Smadja, Product Manager at King

As a Product Manager Ishai is responsible for the game's commercial performance as well as business and product development in the areas monetisation, engagement, retention, loyalty, and virality. Ishai has lead multidisciplinary task forces of designers and data scientists to optimize game content for revenues and retention. Ishai has developed a content optimization framework, provided tools and best practice guidance, directed the implementation process and achieved a 10% uplift in overall revenues. Ishai has also directed a hypothesis-driven approach to develop and test monetization and retention hooks for casual games. Worked alongside design teams to develop features and game economies allowing for quick iterations and go/no-go decisions.

Robert Rottman, FinTech and Market Data Advisor at BarChart

Providing clients with reliable bitcoin and other crypto data feeds for enterprise-class solutions. Robert works with anyone from start-ups to larger exchanges by introducing the technology and data feeds that Barchart has perfected over the past 30 years, now geared towards the cryptocurrency markets, but includes everything in the futures, equities, mutual funds, and forex space as well. Robert leverages his my financial market intelligence and extensive global network to increase revenue, brand recognition and strategic partnerships. Robert’s approach has assisted in reducing data management, exchange fees and research costs in the FundFantasy project.

3. What problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for?

TZ: The online trading market is notorious for its wide variety of scandals and many accusations of fraud. Owing to the fact that it is one of the largest online markets, it stands out as one of the thirstiest markets for blockchain based solutions. While trading most financial assets on the blockchain is still not operational and streamlined, the vast majority of traders on foreign-exchange, stock and commodity exchanges are amateurs who buy and sell financial assets for the sole purpose of netting capital gains. Most retail traders only hold financial assets in order to sell at a higher price, and derive no benefit from the actual ownership of those assets.

4. What is your solution to this problem?

TZ: A peer-to-peer, blockchain-based simulated-investing platform that relies on real market data will allow retail traders to continue practicing financial analysis for profit, without the major counterparty risks that are presently involved.

5. Why is your industry ripe for disruption?

The Online Trading Market:

People who engage in active, self-directed investing are now a regular part of the social scenery. According to a 2015 Celent report:

“The self-directed investor segment is growing faster than the nonself-directed segment (4.9% and 1.4% respectively)… The US self-directed population is rebalancing away from traditional investors and more toward the active investor and active trader…. Women and millennials will continue to enter the self-directed market at all customer segments, slowly changing the average self-directed investor profile.”

This means that the market is already educated (and becoming more so) in the art of capital allocation, which is precisely what the core of FundFantasy is about. Users can engage the FundFantasy platform with an intuitive ease.

It is also widely known that retail online trading is a very large market, to say the least. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)7

“volume from retail foreign exchange trading represented 5.5% of the whole foreign exchange market ($282 billion in daily trading turnover)… foreign exchange markets averaged $5.1 trillion per day in April 2016.”

And in emerging markets:

In Hong Kong, “Retail online trading accounted for 47 percent of total retail investor trading, compared to 44 percent in 2014/15”.

In Thailand, “Online retail trading surged 239 percent to 1 trillion baht ($30.72 billion) in February from a year earlier.8

Unfortunately, the online trading industry has been plagued by many accusations of misconduct and outright fraud. One would imagine that these sorts of practices would become a historical relic in the age of the internet, which has so far been characterized by massive flows of information and a relative increase in transparency. This, however, is yet to be the case. A recent example is FXCM9. From Wikipedia:

“On February 6, 2017, the CFTC imposed a penalty of $7 million on FXCM for defrauding its retail customers. The Commission found that a closely related company was acting as the main market maker for its trades, and that FXCM lied to its customers about the market maker. FXCM received $77 million in “rebates” from the market maker… [The CFTC] prohibited the company from registering with CFTC, effectively banning it from the US commodity brokerage industry”

It is a very unfortunate case, as FXCM was the first publicly traded foreign-exchange broker, and for many years has been the largest retail forex broker10. What is more surprising is that this wasn’t the first time. Again from Wikipedia:

“In December 2010, FXCM went public and began trading on the NYSE, becoming the first forex broker in the US to issue stock to the public…. The following year, in February and March 2011, several class actions lawsuits were filed against FXCM, alleging fraud and racketeering from deceptive and unfair trade practices, and misleading shareholders during the 2010 IPO. In August 2011, the NFA fined FXCM $2 million for slippage malpractices.”

These types of behavior were also exhibited in the UK, where, according to the FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime, Tracey McDermott11:

“Between August 2006 and December 2010, the FXCM Group kept profits from favourable market movements between the time the orders were placed by FXCM UK and executed by the FXCM Group, while any losses were passed on to clients in full – a practice known as asymmetric price slippage.”

It is important to note that the purpose of this analysis is not to slam FXCM specifically, but to pose a number of questions:

1. How could such misconduct and such grave breaches of trust go on for so long and on such a large scale? Is this alleged disregard of fiduciary standards exclusive to the above-mentioned companies, or do they permeate the entire industry?

2. How effective is society’s current method of dealing with these issues? Should we wait until the next scandal erupts where millions of dollars in savings will again be lost?

3. Should all retail traders, who own foreign currency for the sole purpose of netting capital gains, put themselves at the mercy of predatory mediators?

The answers proposed by the FundFantasy team are three resounding ‘No’s.

1. Even under the assumption that other industry giants are acting in good will, a transparent and trustless platform would certainly improve the conditions of retail traders.

2. The post-bust “slap-on-the-wrist” approach has failed tremendously for years.

3. Investors who are looking for dividends can always purchase dividend yielding stocks or bonds – but the truth is that majority of retail traders in both the currency, commodity and stock markets, are doing so for the sole purpose of speculation for capital gains, i.e. gambling.

The online trading market is ready for a casual, fun, straightforward and fully transparent platform for financial speculation, without the massive counterparty risks which are presently involved.


The online gaming market represents one of the fastest growing segments of the gambling industry. According to KPMG12:

H2 Gambling Capital, a leading supplier of data and market intelligence on the global gambling industry, puts the size of the global online gaming market at about US$21 billion, hitting US$30 billion by 2012. But that may be just a drop in the ocean… As the popularity of both gambling and online entertainment continues to grow, the online gaming market is without a doubt an attractive area of expansion for software developers, casinos and other land-based gambling operators, related suppliers, and industry newcomers and investors alike.

According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association13:

Daily fantasy players have doubled in the last two years. 56.8 million people play some form of online fantasy sports in the United States and Canada. 57% have a college degree or higher, and 47% report a household income of $75,000 and above. 66% enjoy full-time employment.

The online gaming market has currently hit a temporary plateau, as new games have not been introduced since the rise of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). The expansion of the fantasy model from the sports betting industry to the financial speculation market is very natural and intuitive, some say even more so than in sports.

FundFantasy leads the battle for fully-transparent and provably-fair gaming. As is the case with any Fantasy gaming platform; access to the user-submitted portfolio database gives an unfair advantage14. While both major US-based DFS providers have implemented a ban on their own employees and those of their rivals, portfolio data on FundFantasy is fully encrypted and inaccessible by the FundFantasy team and employees. Portfolio data is only published once the contest starts. With the backwinds of transparency and fairness provability, FundFantasy has a great shot at positioning itself as the first provider in an untouched market and thus gain a massive foothold, for the benefit of our ERC20 token holders, and the FundFantasy community as a whole.

6. What’s the future of your industry?

Prediction #1: People are, and will continue, being deterred from online trading brokerages because of financial misconduct and fraud.

Prediction #2: People will continue looking for fast online investments that can pay in multiples.

Prediction #3: FundFantasy will become a major player in the cryptocurrency space – having developed an operational and exciting game platform, FundTokens (FUNDZ) will be in the Top 100 list of utility tokens.

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