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If you have been gambling online for a while you may have heard about Bitcoin casinos. This is an area of gambling that debuted a few years ago, starting off as an underground method for players to gamble on sports to casino games. As the years have gone on and Bitcoin is becoming accepted as a legitimate currency, many established online casino operators have begun to accept Bitcoin as a lucrative way to get more customers to come through their doors.
If you are new to the world of Bitcoin gambling, I have assembled the following guide to help you understand the world of this currency, and address the potential issues that players using Bitcoin may encounter.
A History of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a completely cyber form of currency, using a series of characters to build up a unique identifier to make the cryptocurrency unique. It was created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto (which could be a real person, an alias, or a group of people), and has grown to become the world's most popular virtual currency. Bitcoin is created through a process known as mining, where computers use their computing resources to try to form the Bitcoin, and there are many benefits to owning and possessing Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has grown in popularity over the years thanks to its Peer to Peer use, anonymity, and fact that the currency is decentralized, meaning that it can't simply be taken away from you by a government entity. Unfortunately though, Bitcoin has recently been breached by hackers, who found a way into Bitcoin wallets and put the currency at risk of being stolen by criminals.
Conversely, Bitcoin has been seen as a front for a lot of criminal activity that isn't stable in terms of inflation. Prices for the currency have fluctuated wildly, starting at a few cents when it first popped onto the market before skyrocketing to more than $1,000 per coin before suffering a series of crashes and currently sits at roughly $265 a coin.
The ebbs and flows of this currency have brought Bitcoin into the news, as the 2013 run on banks in Cyprus ended up seeing many residents of the island country pulling their money from the banks and investing in the currency, as the financial stability in the country was teetering. This exposure brought about the conversation as to whether Bitcoin was a fad or a lasting trend, a conversation that continues to this day.
Moving forward, it is difficult to gauge exactly what Bitcoin will look like going forward. It is becoming more difficult to mine Bitcoin, and the fluctuations in price are a definite concern. With that being said, it does appear that the casino industry does believe in Bitcoin and there will likely be spots to play with this currency in the near future.
How to Buy a Bitcoin
It can be a bit intimidating to buy your first Bitcoin, but there are plenty of ways to discover how to purchase this virtual currency. The registration process for buying Bitcoin looks something like this:
- Register for an account with a Bitcoin wallet. There are many choices out there, including Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Wallet, Airbitz, Hive, and Electrum.
- Link your bank account to your Bitcoin wallet.
- Purchase your Bitcoins through the wallet solution you have chosen to install on your card.
How to Deposit Using Bitcoin
Depositing at a casino using Bitcoin is pretty simple process, and not dissimilar from what you would experience if you deposited via an e-Wallet. Players will have to enter in their wallet information and enter in the amount they want to transfer to the casino.
The withdrawal process is very similar to the deposit process, and would see the casino paying your Bitcoin wallet in that currency.
Benefits of Bitcoin Casinos
When it comes to online gambling, Bitcoin is an attractive currency for the above-mentioned benefits. Bitcoins can be split into any number of sections, allowing players the chance to get in on the action. For players in countries that restrict internet gambling, Bitcoin casinos provide the benefit of anonymity as well as the lack of fees attached to using the currency.
Downsides of Bitcoin Casinos
There are a few downsides attached to casinos that use Bitcoin as their primary source of funding. Many of the sites that had operated in the past did struggle with being unlicensed or scams, and even some reputable spots like Seals With Clubs were not stable and collapsed at the first sign of trouble.
A big downside of Bitcoin Casinos is that not many mainstream software developers had jumped in to support them until last year. Because of this you will see that while there aren't many Bitcoin casinos to begin with, there are fewer that offer the big games from quality developers like Microgaming.
Software Developers Supporting Bitcoin
Although there aren't as many gambling software developers out there supporting Bitcoin casinos, there are some high quality names that do offer games to players using the virtual currency.
The biggest proponent of Bitcoin gambling thus far appears to be BetSoft, whose 3D slots have popped up on more casinos than any other software. Other big names that are prominently seen as providing Bitcoin related gambling services are Microgaming and Aristocrat. There are a handful of smaller software providers who also provide their games to casinos using Bitcoin, but for the most part these casinos are lacking licensing and they do not make themselves open to independent audits to ensure fair play.
Although casinos are generally just starting to come into their own when it comes using Bitcoin, online poker is a bit more established in this market, and you will find some bigger spots offering Bitcoin transactions for poker. The largest of these is America's Cardroom, which targets the American gaming market although players from other jurisdictions are able to log in and play as well.
Just like with older casinos, the most popular Bitcoin poker rooms were sites that operated in a grey market of sorts. The previously mentioned Seals With Clubs was very popular among Bitcoin users until its recent closure, showcasing the lack of stability that can come with using a virtual currency that is not backed by a national treasury.
There is a lot to like about Bitcoin, but there is also a high amount of uncertainty when it comes to its value against traditional currency such as the Dollar, Pound, or Euro. While it is great to see big betting names such as Microgaming and Aristocrat beginning to support this cryptocurrency, it looks like there will still be some time before the Bitcoin gambling world reaches maturity.
With that being said, there are still some quality, regulated online casinos that do accept Bitcoin, and if you are the type of player who wants to use your Bitcoins to gamble, there are good places to do so. We urge players to exercise caution if they are planning to play at casinos that use Bitcoin, making sure to read reviews, study the licensing of the operator, and using common sense while playing.
Written by: Michael Shackleford