Despite Bitcoin having gained its own emoji on Twitter over the weekend, many members of the public and the mainstream media still see it as a passing fad with a short shelf life.
Plenty of Bitcoin die-hards, though, believe that what was once a small community of cypherpunks could one day take on the might of the US government.
There are, among those ranks, swathes of speculators who enjoy the ups and downs of the crypto markets and see it as a quick way to make more money.
Early cryptocurrency gamblers
One of the first sites to see potential in this market was SatoshiDice, created by cryptocurrency entrepreneur Erik Voorhees. The game is rather simple but provided a quick and easy way for Bitcoin holders to gamble their crypto in an attempt to make more.
Considering that Bitcoin, at the time, had barely made a scratch in mainstream news or public knowledge there were many Bitcoin holders with little to do other than play and experiment with the cryptocurrency.
As such, SatoshiDice became a popular website as one of the first places to provide such a service.
Since then there have been numerous cryptocurrency betting sites with many priding themselves on “provably fair odds”. Compared to your typical and corporate gaming website or client these can often look amateurish in style. However, for cryptocurrency enthusiasts this is often the easiest way for them to gamble.
Benefits and negatives
These sites make it much quicker for consumers as they can deposit cryptocurrency instantly. To access a standard gaming website, a user has to convert their cryptocurrency to fiat and then proceed to fund their regulated betting account.
Other benefits of cryptocurrency-based gaming websites are an increase in personal privacy and speed of payouts.
There are many trade offs to consider for the consumer as well. The legitimacy of these gaming websites are hard to verify – as is their security. With traditional and regulated gaming companies these fears are much less of an issue. On top of this, the lack of regulation surrounding cryptocurrencies coupled with the strict regulation of gaming websites means that cryptocurrency gaming websites fall into a grey area. One that could be viewed with a lot of scepticism from governments.
For now, the sheer popularity of traditional gaming websites means their market share has not been affected by cryptocurrency gambling. However, as they continue to expand this is a market they could begin to branch out into.
Purchasing and selling cryptocurrency is inherently a gamble due to the ongoing volatility of the price. There are winners and losers to both sides of a trade. Those who placed a bet on Bitcoin in the early years have clearly won so far. On top of this, and before the astronomic price rise of Bitcoin, people used to play with it a lot, whereas many more have now chosen to merely hold their digital assets and wait for the price to rise once more.
The risky nature of cryptocurrencies has created a new breed of gamblers willing to continue to bet on the rise of cryptocurrencies in value but there is not yet enough evidence to show this has moved into the traditional gaming market.
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