Bitcoin has picked up steam as of late with more and more online operators willing to accept and promote this new kind of payment. Since the online gambling and casino industry is on its toes when it comes to new, disruptive technology, the gaming operators are ready to make the jump and introduce Bitcoin to their customers as a viable, fast and secure payment method.
For some, who already own and use cryptocurrency, this is great news, yet for the many, who paid attention in the last year or so, a leap of faith is required before using this new payment method… maybe the same leap of faith the online gambling and casino industry needed at the beginning of its journey, in the late 90s and early 2000s.
That is why the two technologies are actually not that far apart. Almost two decades ago, online casinos disrupted the way we used to think about entertainment taking the thrill of gambling to a whole new level while never leave your home. Today, bitcoin is about to repeat the same process, disrupting the way we think about money and payments. So why not try it?
Obviously, to try it though, one must first understand the technology, at least at the basic level.
And sure enough, the information is out there on the Internet with more and more websites covering this trending topic. And all are defining Bitcoin as digital cash or an online e-payment system. In fact, if we break apart this piece of information, this technology is nothing new. We have been using ‘digital’ cash since the 2000s when online payments were first introduced to the world. VISA, MasterCard, Webmoney, Skrill all use in some way or another digital, non-physical, computer-code-based cash.
Bitcoin however is fundamentally different. All the classic payment methods mentioned above use a trusted third-party that keeps track of all transactions. Bitcoin doesn’t need one: all transactions are stored in a database shared among millions of peers who are part of a global network. That database is commonly referred as the blockchain. The computer code is the judge while all members of the network are the jury.
Ok, but why actually use it and not rely on the classic payment methods?
This blockchain has a unique feature: it is based on cryptography.
Indeed, you can find cryptography everywhere nowadays, from connecting to a Wi-Fi network and sending an e-mail to your friend to speaking on your smartphone. In other words, WHEN and IF used correctly, cryptography secures data across the web.
The founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto by his/her/their online alias took cryptography to the next level thus making his/her/their invention private and anonymous.
Now, any user can create a special wallet not directly linked to his/her real-life identity and buy, send, or receive Bitcoins. The transaction will be encrypted on the network using a sequence of numbers and letters – more like a fancy password – so nobody knows who the user is and where the coins were sent.
Nevertheless, the anonymity Bitcoin offers to its users is more like pseudo-anonymity. When the wallet is linked to a real-life identity, it is not that hard to fill in the blanks. The blockchain may contain encrypted data but given enough data (wallet address linked to the real-life identity, transaction id, etc.) anyone who is crypto-capable can de-anonymize a transaction.
With most of the ‘classic’ payment methods, any player can instantly deposit funds into his/her online casino account. But what about withdrawals? A withdrawal usually takes a lot longer than a deposit, up to 3-5 business days.
That is where Bitcoin comes in.
Yes, Bitcoin isn’t the fastest deposit payment method by all means – it can take 30 minutes to several hours depending on the number of confirmation a casino platform requires, the fee levels or the network’s traffic at any given hour. Yet, it is maybe the fastest regarding withdrawals.
Like any deposit, a withdrawal can take around 30 minutes before you see your coins in your wallet. Obviously, the transaction can be processed a lot slower given low-enough fees compared to the network’s average and the number of transaction processed by the blockchain when the player withdraws his/her funds.
Bitcoin may be anonymous or pseudo-anonymous for that matter but it is by no means opaque. In fact, it is much more transparent than most of the ‘classic’ payment methods.
All transactions are stored on the blockchain, a database or ledger shared among millions of users worldwide. Anyone capable can access the ledger and verify a transaction on any given day, at any given hour, whether is Wednesday afternoon or Sunday evening.
The information may be encrypted for most, yet the player who wants to top up his online casino account has all the information required… and maybe more.
As a result, if an unexpected situation appears on Saturday such as an unprocessed deposit, the player can actually send all the details by just looking at his transaction and prove a deposit was actually made without contacting a third-party bank or other payment processor and definitely without waiting till Monday for the bank to open.
The player is his/her own bank, no waiting time, no intermediaries, and 100% flexible based on his/her own needs.
With such great power – being your own bank – however, comes great responsibility.
One can say Bitcoin is 100% bullet-proof technology. Once a transaction is stored on the blockchain, it will forever remain on the blockchain. Nobody can actually delete or modify it without compromising the integrity of the whole ledger. And nobody can compromise the whole ledger or the entire network. Since it is shared and stored across the globe, a potential attacker would have to target at least 51% of the network’s peers to completely compromise the system. By today’s standards and by the number of people and companies keeping the network alive, this is virtually impossible.
Nevertheless, since it’s a fairly new technology and like in the case with anonymity, security is more often than not user-dependent. From a simple Bitcoin user standpoint, there are many more dangerous threats all eager to profit from the user’s mistakes.
That is why it is necessary to follow a few simple steps to make sure your experience is as flawless as with any other ‘classic’ payment methods. Always double-check the address online casino has provided to you when making a deposit using Bitcoin and be sure you send the exact amount at that exact address. The same applies with withdrawals: copy and paste your address correctly and in the right box.
Volatility can become quite a problem for any player who wants to deposit or withdraw using Bitcoin and wager using a widely-used currency like US Dollars or Euros.
Luckily, the 2017 days with wild day-to-day swings seem to be over for now at least. Over the summer, the price stabilized and Bitcoin now fluctuates in fairly narrow range. This doesn’t mean though the swings are over. As with any new technology, there is a price discovery phase and nobody actually knows the intrinsic value of the asset during the phase so most obviously guess.
The volatility experienced last year and at the beginning of this year could very well return sometime in the future and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you plan to buy Bitcoin just to deposit at casino account, be sure to buy and deposit on the same day to avoid any major price downswings.
If you are a HODLer and want some online fun, DO use your funds and make a deposit. Who knows, maybe you will win the jackpot, withdraw in Bitcoins and, the very next day, the price will go to the moon.
Double Jackpot right? Who wouldn’t want that? And with Bitcoin the dream may very well come true.
Best of luck to you.