While it’s rise in acceptance since first introduced in 2008 might seem almost unreal, Bitcoin and its competitors have created a remarkable way to spend, invest and trade currency without any middleman (i.e. bank or merchant) and created a whole new world of virtual spending. Described as the first decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin can be used to purchase products and services online, in real estate transactions and now it is no surprise that online gaming and gambling have joined the bit coin frenzy.
Initially, the Bitcoin was suspect for some illegitimate operations and transfers, yet now the cryptocurrency has shown itself as a very viable form of currency with enormous potential for the online market and consumer. The bitcoin has proven to be a reliable and secure way of making online purchases so it is only natural to integrate it into the multi-billion dollar markets that online gaming, video gaming and gambling represent. This security is of utmost importance as Malware and DDOS attacks generally lead to the compromise of the personal information and credit card information of clients.
Bitcoin transactions utilize peer to peer technology and are digitally encrypted, so the user’s information cannot be compromised. The transaction merely needs the bitcoin wallet and the address of where the bitcoin is going. Personal information is never involved in the transaction at all. This is ideal for the gaming/gambling industry as multiple transactions are constantly occurring for each customer as they purchase in-app upgrades or deposit/withdraw finds from their online casino account.
The global video game market had a value of just under $75 billion dollars in 2016. As physical copies of video games are on the decline and more and more developers are choosing digital delivery platforms, it is only natural that currencies follow suit. Recently, esports game Beyond the Void launched the first MOBA gaming ICO, allowing players to control their own economy with direct transactions using their currency tokens, the Nexium.
These days, most players in MOBA and MMORPG must barter or purchase additional in-game content through a community marketplace, which usually includes fees from the market platform. They also usually involve transfers from a player account containing personal and credit card information. The use of bitcoin or similar currency would make this market absolutely secure and anonymous – almost like paying cash. This simplicity should cause more games to accept bitcoin.
While more complex and generally with higher value transactions taking place, online gambling is also becoming more and more accepting of digital currency. It brings up the question of whether using bitcoin as it is an international Internet currency and not the currency of any particular nation bridges the gap in countries where online gambling or some form of it is not allowed. Theoretically, the answer to that is no as online gaming organizations must abide by the rules of the nations they are played in. However, if online gambling is welcome, for the most part bitcoin is as well. Yet it’s popularity hasn’t quite caught on yet.
Traditional casinos in Las Vegas began accepting bitcoin for small purchases and other small items in early 2015, moving on later to allow it as an acceptable payment option. Online casino slots and similar games then began accepting bitcoin as a form of payment. The Isle of Man led the way for bitcoin acceptance when they determined to treat virtual currency the same as cash. This allowed for reputable online gaming operations like PokerStars and PokerStarsCasino to accept bitcoin as currency. While they have not made the move to digital currency, they could lead the way to widespread acceptance.
The security of the encrypted currency is of absolute importance to the online gambling community, but it is the instant transaction that does not always occur with credit cards or PayPal that make bitcoin even more attractive. Bitcoin is also more cost effective for both the gamer and the operator. It does not charge many of the fees traditionally associated with bank transfers and credit cards. Gamblers keep more of their winnings and the house saves money in fees.
Bitcoin was especially created for online transaction. Credit cards and bank transfers were never meant to be used online as their cost and inefficiency shows us. Now these age old institutions are no longer necessary for the online gamer and gambler, and bitcoin adds security, privacy and ease of use. This unimaginable idea of digital currency is not just the wave of the future, but of today.