Since its murky inception in 2008, Bitcoin has crept its way towards becoming not only the world’s leading cryptocurrency but also a true pop culture phenomenon. To put it bluntly – Bitcoin is a game changer. Especially for the gaming industry itself!
Bitcoin certainly took its time to grow, and to develop into the financial force it is today. Back in 2011, the price was well under $0.50; and just 3 years later, in January 2014, it peaked at $770. The following years saw the price of Bitcoin rise and fall rather drastically, but financial experts say the future looks bright for the world’s leading cryptocurrency. Kay Van-Petersen, an analyst at Saxo Bank, the man who predicted the 2017 peak of Bitcoin price (which reached $2000 in May), suggests it could very well break the $100.000 barrier by the end of this year. These rather dramatic peaks and pull-backs have led some experts to dismiss Bitcoin as an “economic bubble;” but that has already been the case since 2011, and this comes as no surprise. The truth is that by now, all these warnings and alerts from investors have done little to dissuade, let alone halt, the obvious rise of Bitcoin.
10 years after its introduction and about a million articles and news stories later, Bitcoin still remains an enigma; at least for many among the masses. Cryptocurrencies are indeed cryptic and downright unclear, involving practices and technology that are just as mysterious to the general public, as the end of the 2017 series of Twin Peaks. From Moscow to Berlin and from Beijing to New York, streets and online sites are full of Bitcoin mining software ads. Still, even people mining new bits of cryptocurrency have no idea about how it works. To quote Wikipedia: “Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It was designed to be a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator, where bitcoins could be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network, without the need for intermediaries.” In a way, that’s the only explanation end users need. In order to acquire and use Bitcoin, one doesn’t need to possess lots of in-depth background knowledge about blockchain, scripting language, nodes, and all the various specifics of mining. Anyone who is curious is welcome to plunge headfirst into a zillion specialized cryptocurrency sites, while there are many others who are primarily concerned with the current price of Bitcoin, as well as the prognosis for the next 6-12 months.
Regardless of any concerns about economic bubbles and pyramid schemes, Bitcoin is just cash. It may be digital cash, it may be cryptocurrency, but it’s still cash. This being so, Bitcoin was destined to eventually find its way to the gambling industry; and of course, it has done precisely that! It certainly took some time to convince the industry that Bitcoin was a reliable currency; but in 2015, Las Vegas casinos started introducing the cryptocurrency as a viable payment method; starting small, but eventually moving to full-time payments, deposits, and withdrawals via Bitcoin. And those were traditional, bricks and mortar casinos – the “more conservative” type, that are generally not so keen to just jump on the bandwagon from the get-go. Of course, online casinos were soon to follow and unsurprisingly, the introduction of Bitcoin there was much, much easier. In fact, virtually flawless!
While the US issues certain “Customer Advisories,” while other countries struggle to regulate or even outright ban people from using Bitcoin, online gambling does still seem to be the Promised Land for the cryptocurrency. This includes a large number of websites that offer a great number of sports betting, gambling, and casino games; as well as different lottery-based games. Poker remains the most popular option, but it is far from being the only game you can use your Bitcoin(s) for. Currently, there are only a few online gambling sites that operate solely with Bitcoin. Actually, most deal both with traditional currencies (most often the USD), as well as several cryptocurrencies. Bearing in mind the fact that Bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular, and the price of Bitcoin is currently skyrocketing, the future will surely see a steep rise in the number of strictly Bitcoin online gambling sites.
By far the biggest advantage of online gambling with Bitcoin is the absence of transaction fees. And even when such fees are in effect, they are very close to zero; this makes Bitcoin preferable both for players and for online businesses. And apart from fees, the daily number of cryptocurrency transactions is not restricted; this means that online casinos can offer a 24/7 service; and ultimately, some great opportunities for everyone taking part!
All in all, online casinos offering Bitcoin transactions are not subject to the same regulations as traditional casinos. For example, cryptocurrency transactions offer anonymity to casino users – while traditional currency transactions do not. The absence of chargebacks is another major plus for online casino businesses. That is because Bitcoin transactions are non-reversible, meaning all deposits and withdrawals are considered final, which saves casino operators a great deal of legal trouble, communication time, and ultimately – money.
All of these gambling benefits are, of course, something of a problem for authorities, as a substantial proportion of such online games and transactions fall under the radar – most of the strictly Bitcoin gambling sites don’t even require a gambling license to operate, user registration is so simple it requires no age verification, and most of the games have been adapted/customized, and so, the traditional rules do not fully apply to them. It is likely that governments and financial organizations will not find a way of regulating and monitoring the activities of Bitcoin online gambling; thus making this business even more attractive both to users and to entrepreneurs.
The biggest players on the market currently are BetChain and mBit; both of these figures are pioneers in the business niche, and they managed to jump aboard the Bitcoin bandwagon as long ago as 2014/2015. These, in turn, are closely followed by gambling sites Oshi, FortuneJack, and bitStarz. All those online casinos offer a wide variety of games (well over a thousand variations of established classics, alongside a host of new additions), various bonus offers, around the clock customer service, and a good deal of fairness, due to their state-of-the-art encryption.
Considering the prognosis for the leading cryptocurrency prices, the coming years will only see the online Bitcoin gambling niche getting bigger and bigger. The number of customers will rise many times over, and the number of online gambling sites operating with cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.) is sure to increase as well. Legal problems will continue to proliferate as governments find it harder and harder to regulate or even influence this parallel virtual economy.
Perhaps the most important question here is – “Should I dare to try online Bitcoin gambling?” The answer is simple – if you’re into gambling, go for it. But as warnings usually go – better to be safe than sorry! Read some website reviews before venturing into gambling, be sure to check out the last cryptocurrency news, and always be aware of the risks of crypto gambling!
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