Bitcoin is a word that none of us were aware of just a decade ago, but fast forward ten years, and the virtual currency is one of the hottest topics in many industries around the world.
As always, the online casino industry did not hang about when it came to incorporating this new and innovative, if often controversial currency.
There are now many several online casinos aimed primarily at Bitcoin players, while many more offer Bitcoin amongst their other, more traditional payment methods.
But what exactly is Bitcoin, how does it work, and is it a safe and reliable choice of payment method for the online casino player?Read More
The History of Bitcoin
To truly explain Bitcoin, we must go back to the very beginning.
Bitcoin is not trusted by many from inside the financial industry, and that is probably partly to do with its almost mythical history, having been created by a mysterious character who is only known by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto.
While a fair few people have come forward over recent years to claim that they are in fact the enigmatic Nakamoto, evidence has never been conclusive enough for them to be believed, so the identity of Bitcoin’s creator remains unknown.
Apart from the fact that Nakamoto was living in Japan at the time of creating Bitcoin, and was born in 1975 (facts that have been released but not proven) nothing else is known, and as the secretive Satoshi stepped away from Bitcoin in 2011, it’s likely to stay that way.
Bitcoin Pizza Day
Satoshi Nakamoto is arguably not the most ridiculous part of Bitcoin’s history, that position may well belong to Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer from Florida who offered 10,000 bitcoins in exchange for pizza in the summer of 2010.
The offer was taken up by a British bitcoin enthusiast, who ordered the pizza on credit card to be delivered to Hanyecz’s residence, and was reimbursed with 10,000 bitcoin, which is now worth in just shy of $100 million!
As a result of this epic and historical transaction, the Bitcoin community refers to May 22nd as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
Alternative in More Ways than One
Part of the appeal to Bitcoin for many is its existence as an alternative, not only as a currency, but as an attitude.
The likes of Bitcoin Pizza Day show the fact that Bitcoin is a currency that is defined by the online community, separate from the corporate world, or at least it was, for a while.
In early 2013, the value of all bitcoins in circulation made it to $1 billion, and at this point, the currency got the attention of venture capitalists.
The Winklevoss Twins
The Winklevoss Twins are no strangers to controversy, having failed a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook was their idea, and that the founder of the social networking site stole it from them.
The payout the twins received was worth $65 million, but they demanded it in Facebook shares, and once the social network went public, they used that money to build a Bitcoin fortune that is estimated to be worth well over $1 billion at this point.
The Winklevoss Twins also own a majority share in Gemini, which is a virtual currency exchange that was created by the twins after they discovered how difficult it was to trade Bitcoin.
The twins were certainly ahead of the curve, as Bitcoin trading is now a huge business, although there have been some issues.
Mt. Gox was a virtual currency exchange that saw real problems after a meteoric rise, ending in the company filing for bankruptcy and claiming to have lost 850,000 bitcoins in total, with 750,000 of those belonging to account holders.
Due to Bitcoin being untraceable, those bitcoins cannot be recovered, they amounted to 7% of Bitcoin at the time, this saw the price of Bitcoin fell by 36%, due to Mt. Gox having been responsible for the facilitation of around 70% of Bitcoin at one point in time.
While many assumed that would be the end of Bitcoin, a few years on the currency is booming more than ever, and is slowly becoming recognised as a major currency choice for online transactions.
Bitcoin for Online Casino Transactions
Bitcoin transactions can be made anonymously, which appeals to many in the iGaming world.
Most other payment methods involve giving some level of personal information to an online casinos, something which can cause concern for many, Bitcoin takes away that issue.
That isn’t the only benefit for players, however, as Bitcoin also allows rapid withdrawals and deposits.
Back in 2011 when the first Bitcoin Casinos started to arrive on the market, the games playable with Bitcoin were limited, but as the industry has advanced and the currency has become more widespread, you can now play slots and various table games at most casinos that accept the virtual currency.
The peer to peer nature of Bitcoin means that the money you spend or trade does not go through any middle men like banks or financial institutions, which is something that made Bitcoin so popular to begin with, but it does mean that there is less regulation for Bitcoin.
Is it Safe to Play with Bitcoin?
As long as the online casino you are playing at is trustworthy, then the currency you play with should not affect that.
However, there is the issue that Bitcoin, while able to make huge leaps up in value, is also capable of falling hard, so it’s possible that your Bitcoin will become worth substantially less while you play.
While this is not expected to happen any time soon, as the MT. Gox debacle showed, it’s possible, and while Bitcoin has always bounced back so far, that doesn’t mean it will continue to.
Bitcoin is an interesting payment method, we will neither recommend nor discourage its usage, but what we will say is make sure you are very familiar with Bitcoin, how it works, and how it can be affected by trends, before beginning to gamble using this currency.