It’s likely that you’ve walked into a bookie, got your card out and placed a bet, but how on earth do you do it with cryptocurrency?
It might seem like a minefield, but we've broken down everything you need to know about gambling, online casinos and cryptocurrencies.
The concept of cryptocurrencies has captured a level of imagination that was unexpected after the use of traditional money. But, even the inventor of the first and still most important cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, never actually intended to create it.
Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto tried to build a digital cash system without a central entity. This was an important step in order to solve the double spending problem – where a central server that records balances runs a high risk of transactions being recorded twice.
Ever been refunded for an online order twice? Exactly.
However, creating cryptocurrency allowed Nakamoto to solve this problem.
In a decentralised digital cash system, every single entity in the network double checks the transactions (or entries) against one another, and voila! It’s a way to see if transactions are valid, or if an attempt to double spend is made. This created the system we now know as a blockchain.
Technically, it is and it isn’t. When it boils down to it, cryptocurrency is limited entries in a database no one can change without fulfilling specific conditions.
That makes it no different to traditional currency, with its “conditions” letting us turn it into notes and coins, exchange it, and so on.
However, Bitcoin has no inherent value, i.e., neither you or I can just go into a shop and redeem Bitcoin for other products. It also has no physical form and its supply isn’t controlled by a central bank.
What makes it money is the value that people think it has, which is determined by how hard it is to come by Bitcoin, and how useful it is – just like any traditional currency.
There are some benefits when it comes to gambling with cryptocurrency.
For one, sending Bitcoin across jurisdictions of online casinos is virtually free, whereas international transfers of traditional money are expensive.
It is also anonymous, and doesn’t need any documents to be provided in the process, so players’ identities remain safe.
Compared to traditional bank transfers, which can take as many as 7 working days to go through, transferring cryptocurrency, such as Ether, takes the better part of 30 seconds. Boiling the kettle would take longer.
It is also worth mentioning that in the case of certain games such as online poker, it is illegal in some countries, most notably in the US. Cryptocurrency allows players to gamble in different areas as it’s not a government-issued currency.
As with any currency and gambling, uncertainty is inevitable. With cryptocurrency, however, there are a few things that can reduce risk.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency created and is still the strongest in the market. In comparison, using cryptocurrencies that haven’t shown a solid path to value can add the risk of ending up with less or more winnings than you first planned.
That’s where the difference lies – trading and gambling with Bitcoin also run the risk that its inherent worth may be over or undervalued anytime.
Regardless, as with all currencies, there are corrections to their value along the way, so it’s best to gamble with Bitcoin, using a reliable operator.
Changing laws and economies are showing the strength of cryptocurrencies.
For example, Malta has recently announced its intention to legalise Bitcoin gambling, following on the heels of the Isle of Man, the first jurisdiction to recognise Bitcoin gambling.
There is movement on the side of gambling platforms as well, with Gamble.io launching a website to bring safe Bitcoin gambling options to users, based on reviews from players.
ZeroEdge.Bet is also a new online casino around cryptocurrency where, as a result, all games have a 0% house edge, meaning players’ odds to win is the same as the house’s.
With all the moving pieces around cryptocurrency the last 12 months, players should aim to have their finger at the pulse of everything cryptocurrency; with reliable operators and review websites against the fluctuation of coins, everyone should be well-equipped to make an informed and responsible decision.
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