In July 2010, an article on Slashdot.org “News for Nerds” appeared extolling the virtues of Bitcoin to its readers. The cryptocurrency’s market value it said, was ‘above the value of the energy needed to generate them’.
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In the article, readers were urged to get on board with Bitcoin, which at the time cost $0.0008 per token. On November 5th, 2021 Bitcoin reached an all-time trading high of $68, 521 – an 85.6 million percent increase.
It’s safe to say then, in the last 11 years cryptocurrency has gone on to have way more of an impact than anyone could have predicted back in 2010. It’s not just investors and Wall Street executives that have benefitted from the growth of crypto though.
A whole host of industries have been impacted by the rise of crypto. In this article we take a look at the online gambling industry in particular. How has crypto integration changed online gambling? Is crypto gambling a good thing? Read on to find out the answers to those questions and more.
How Crypto is Impacting Online Gambling
Whilst Bitcoin may take up all of the headlines, it has now almost ascended cryptocurrency and just become a commodity. Way back down on earth there are thousands of more reasonably price cryptocurrencies, many of which are being increasingly used in day to day transactions.
Many online casino providers and sportsbooks for example are now beginning to accept payments via crypto and are updating their services in the process. In summary what this is doing to the online gambling industry is modernising it and opening it up to a new market of potential players.
To delve down a little deeper into the why, rather than the how let’s take a look at the…
Benefits of Crypto Gambling
There needs to be something of substance behind crypto gambling to make it something more than a novelty. So, why are people choosing to gamble with a crypto currencies rather than depositing and withdrawing funds in a more traditional way? Here’s 3 great reasons:
- Safety: Ever logged onto your online banking and seen a transaction you don’t recall making? If you have, you know how difficult it can be to convince the bank that you were the victim of fraud and most importantly, get your money back. No such trouble with crypto transactions as the Blockchain technology behind it allows every transaction to be publically tracked down.
- Ease: It’s generally far easier to make a purchase or transaction with cryptocurrency than it is to pay on card. Using a digital wallet, a purchase can be completed in seconds. No more scrambling around to find the last three digits on the back of your card…
- Price: When you buy something online someone, somewhere is getting a percentage of that money for doing relatively little. Whether that be Visa, PayPal or another payment processor, those little ‘cuts’ add to the overall price that we pay as consumers. Crypto transactions in theory, lead to lower costs overall.
Downsides of Crypto Gambling
Just like everything, there are downsides to consider when it comes to crypto currency, here are some of the most pressing:
- Niche: No matter what your friend with the neckbeard says, cryptocurrency is still pretty niche – not many people use it. As a result the options for so-called ‘crypto-casinos’ are fairly limited.
- Value: If you live in a western country with a solid economy you have never had to deal with the fear of your savings being worthless tomorrow. In countries with less stable economies that is a very real possibility as the value of non-dollar/pound/euro currencies can be extremely volatile. Cryptocurrency values are notoriously more volatile, so there’s a possibility that the $10 crypto deposit you made yesterday could be worth $100 today.
- Regulation: The cryptocurrency market is not currently regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so it can be a risky business for a company to accept crypto transactions in the first place. If a company is accepting crypto are they doing it for altruistic or nefarious reasons? It’s hard to say.
Some of the above flaws in cryptocurrency payments explains why some casino providers have opted not to include cryptocurrency as a payment option. There are still many well-established casino providers who still only accept traditional payment methods of debit cards and e-wallets such as PayPal.
The Future of Crypto Gambling
Well, with all of that in mind, what does the future hold for crypto gambling? Is it something we can expect to see more of in the coming years? Unfortunately it’s too hard to say right now. Crypto remains incredibly volatile and it is an industry that regulators are struggling to keep pace with.
For crypto to become more mainstream, in online gambling and in general, there will need to be a sustained period of consistency in terms of values to assuage the anxieties of regular consumers. In addition to that, legislation needs to be updated to inject more trust and certainty into the market.
If all of this happens then it is a very real possibility that the gamblers of the future will be making the majority of their withdrawals and deposits in crypto. Predicting when this might happen is a difficult business though.