Is Bitcoin Set to Revolutionise the Gambling Industry?
There is no doubt that over the past couple of years, the cryptocurrency called Bitcoin has gained in popularity and become a significant disruption to the eCommerce industry. As a result, the iGaming industry has had to sit up and take notice in order to understand this new online payment system and currency, and possibly embrace it and its associated community. So how exactly did Bitcoin come about, what are its potential benefits for the gaming industry, and what opportunities are there for traditional online casinos, like Mummys Gold, to integrate it? Let’s take a closer look…
A Brief History of Bitcoin
In August 2008, an encryption patent for Bitcoin was requested by Charles Bry, Vladimir Oksman and Neal Kin. In the same month the trio registered the site name, Bitcoin.org. While the creator of the Bitcoin concept was rumoured to be the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto, the trio denied any connection with him. Nevertheless, in October that same year, it was Nakamoto who released the idea about his version of electronic cash that is based on a purely peer-to-peer system, thus solving the issue of copied money, and delivering a solid foundation on which Bitcoin could expand and evolve around legitimately. Since then, Bitcoin has become one of the most unpredictable currencies in the world.
So what exactly is Bitcoin? It is a digital payment and asset structure that operates on a peer-to-peer system – in other words, users transact directly with one another and no intermediary is required. Bitcoin is also referred to as the world’s first and leading cryptocurrency, or as a decentralised virtual currency. In spite of its volatility, thousands and thousands of Bitcoin transactions take place every single day, and that volume is simply growing and growing, thanks to the underlying technology that powers it known as blockchain.
This technology serves as a public ledger and its purpose is to record each and every transaction made using Bitcoin. The maintenance is accomplished by a series of nodes that communicate in a networking-type fashion, while running the software. Transactions are therefore validated and added into the ledger, then broadcast to the nodes. By owning bitcoins it is implied that you can spend in association with a particular address that requires a corresponding key, which in turn is private and is used by you to digitally sign. Without the key, bitcoins cannot be used and no transactions can be signed for. While any and all transactions made using blockchain are public, the actual owners of the addresses are not clearly identified. In other words, as a currency it can also be referred to as pseudonymous. As all history is registered, as well as made public, users can reject bitcoins that come from contentious transactions.
The Possible Future of Bitcoin
As Bitcoin continues to move into the mainstream, there are a few possibilities as to where it can go. What everyone does seem to be agreeing on is that with tighter regulation, Bitcoin is set to be adopted by more and more institutions. The latest reports on digital currencies have included anti-money laundering, technical standardisation, and consumer protection, and will likely go a long way
towards encouraging increasing volumes of financial institutions in engaging with digital currency businesses. At the same, it is likely to fast-track the incorporation of the blockchain technology within these institutions. Today, the financial world has redressed its opinion of Bitcoin to such an extent that it considers it a significant innovation that will change the way we transact payments. That said, the volatile nature of Bitcoin is still a stumbling block that will need to be considered.
Bitcoin and the Gambling Industry
When it comes to the world of online gambling, it has always been in a constant state of growth. And with the increasing popularity of digital currencies like Bitcoin, this is likely to cause a few rumblings in the online casino industry too. If you consider the fact that the online gambling industry is often subjected to stringent regulation all over the world, it’s no wonder that something like Bitcoin might appeal. After all, it allows sites to side-step certain restrictions, while at the same time offering players the chance to enjoy their online gaming. Every day, new sites are being created that offer cryptocurrency users the opportunity to play and win. And as the technology behind Bitcoin eradicates the capability for any type of cheating or fraudulent behaviour, it can be considered a trustworthy option for online casinos and players to take advantage of. Today, there are several online casinos with workable models as to how Bitcoin can fit into its structures. Plus, Bitcoin is decentralised and virtually anonymous, while not being subject to the same protocols and rules that traditional currencies are.
That said, Bitcoin only accounts for a miniscule percentage of the total revenues of the online gambling industry, even though there are a huge number of Bitcoin users that love to gamble. And while Bitcoin’s advantages lie in its low cost and super-fast effectiveness, traditional online casinos are still testing it out due to its volatility. In other words, there is enormous scope for Bitcoin in the gambling industry, even though a significant portion of today’s gamblers prefer their tried and tested online casinos and payment options.
Bitcoin is here and it looks like it’s here to stay. Incredibly innovative, this trailblazing currency could very well be the next big thing, and the gambling industry would do well to take note of where, when and how it can be used to their benefit, and their players’ benefit too. Educating the public is probably Bitcoin’s biggest hurdle at the moment, but if it takes off in an even more significant fashion that it has so far, then it’s very likely that traditional online casinos and their players will start engaging with it and adapting to it more and more.