Parlay: Phone App to Challenge Friends and Wager Bitcoin

A pair of San Francisco-based siblings have just released Parlay, a smartphone app that enables users to “challenge” their friends and wager on the outcome. The siblings are sister Sidney Sands-Ramshaw — a betting maven and former analyst — and brother Loren Sands-Ramshaw, a coder and former NSA security engineer.

Also read: The Role of Bitcoin in Mobile E-Commerce

Example of friend-to-friend challenge and $50 wager in BTC
Example of friend-to-friend challenge and $50 wager in BTC

“I will beat you in Minecraft this weekend,” is an example of a challenge on Parlay app. The challenged friend can then choose to accept the parlay and pick a wagered item: a “defeat” pic, a charitable donation or money.

The “defeat pic” wager? The loser must submit a sad selfie after their moment of defeat. If “charity” was chosen, wagered money is donated to an organization like Watsi, Girls Who Code, or charity: water. And if the wager is just good ol’ fashioned money, the winner takes all–the Bitcoin, that is. The loser is not compelled to pay up by the app–he could technically choose not to. But as the Sands-Ramshaws say, no one would want to do that “’cause, you know, respect. . .”

Parlays between your friends are also viewable within the app, so the user can see which challenges are happening within his or her circle. The user can even comment on others’ challenges to up the rivalry factor.

Bitcoin.com caught up with Sidney and Loren to inquire about the duo’s inspiration, goals, and crypto educations.


 

Bitcoin.com (BC): What gave you the idea for the Parlay app?

Sidney Sands-Ramshaw (SSR): I bet with my friends, co-workers, and family a lot. I started hacking together a mix of Google calendar invites and Venmo requests to keep track of all my different challenges, but I wanted a better way and thought: there has to be an app for that! But, there wasn’t. So, we made one.

BC: Where did the name “Parlay” come from? I’ve only ever heard it on the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

CEO of Parlay app
CEO of Parlay app

SSR: “Parlay” also means to take something and turn it into something with greater value. The term is often used in reference to money, but can also be used in reference to situations, and we liked its connotations. However, if people aren’t familiar with that meaning and associate us with Keira Knightley instead, we don’t really mind. She’s badass.

BC: Have you two worked together on projects before, or is this the first time?

SSR: This is our first time working together professionally. We are very different people with different interests, resulting in complementary skills and a great deal of mutual respect. Thankfully, sibling rivalry has never really been a thing for us because then I would have to learn to code really, really well, which would be hard and time consuming.

BC: Did you test the app on your friends? Do you use it yourselves?

SSR: We did and we do! One of the most fun things about building a project is studying how other people use it and comparing that to how you use it, or thought they would use it. Doing that with friends is easier because they normally feel obligated to answer all your questions. I think it’s fair to say we use it for goal-setting and motivational challenges most with each other. It has become a fun way to get one another to do things.

BC: What was your first exposure to Bitcoin?

CTO of Parlay app
CTO of Parlay app

Loren Sands-Ramshaw (LSR): I have been reading The Hacker News for years, so I probably first heard of it there a while back. I believe it’s the future of money transfer (among other things), and hope to introduce more people to it through a popular app.

BC: Might Parlay accept any other cryptocurrencies in the future? Any particular ones you like aside from Bitcoin?

LSR: We’re trying to keep the app simple, and there are many other apps that allow you to quickly exchange other currencies for BTC, so we don’t have any current plans for adding other cryptocurrencies to Parlay. Certainly if any other currency comes to rival Bitcoin in market adoption, then we would consider it. In terms of what we like, we’re hopeful about Stellar.


The Sands-Ramshaws have seemingly built the app that they most wanted for themselves: an easier way to make bets among family and close friends. Parlay is currently available in the Google Play and iOS app stores.

Some say that if gambling isn’t Bitcoin’s “killer app,” that it’s a close second. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Source: Parlay