In the recent decade or so, the world has started to open its eyes to the allure of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Its built-in anonymity, transaction speed, and overall convenience are the factors that make it an attractive payment processing solution for online gambling purposes as well. But the online poker community, for some reason, has been a bit slower to adopt it and still prefers to pay with plastic. But why is this so and what does its future look like? Let’s find out!
The multi-million dollar pizza
We all know the story from 2010 when someone decided to order a pizza and pay for it with Bitcoin, believing it wasn’t worth holding anyway due to its low value. At the time, a single coin was worth around $0.01. A mere three years later, Bitcoin crossed the milestone of $1000, effectively making it the most expensive pizza order in the history of mankind.
Although the fate of Bitcoin is still not set in stone (it’s well over $10K at the time of writing), one thing is for certain: the one who paid for pizza with it on that unfortunate day will never forget it. Had they held onto the crypto coins, they would have been a multi-millionaire by now!
The emergence of crypto gambling
Ever since cryptocurrencies took the main spotlight (partially due to the pizza story), people have started looking for ways to get their hands on more, even if it comes at the expense of putting their entire collection at risk. This is when crypto casinos started gaining traction as paying in this manner yields numerous benefits.
Anonymity is one of the main contributing factors to the phenomenon. Despite the fact that gambling is by no means as taboo as it used to be in the past, certain cultures still look down on it, and in certain cases, it may even be forbidden by law. Cryptocurrencies are the perfect solution in this regard, as every transaction only concerns the sender and the recipient; no other third-party can track it and snoop in on it. Another reason why someone may decide to value anonymity so much is due to the prying eyes of the government – in this case, protecting one’s public image becomes the priority.
The ever-increasing value of Bitcoin can also be hard to pass up. Professional gamblers are all about increasing their winning percentages and gaining an edge by using a poker calculator and similar tools (to the extent allowed by the casino). Since most cryptocurrencies have a tendency to go up in value, it’s not at all surprising why that would factor into their appeal. Keep in mind there is a finite number of Bitcoins in existence; more will not be produced.
Of course, low fees associated with crypto transactions are just the icing on the cake. Every time an online casino takes a processing fee away from one’s winnings, this diminishes the player’s returns. It’s a numbers’ game after all, which means that the only reliable way for skill to prevail over chance is through a large sample size. Every single force that chips into one’s profits means that a player will have to put in more time to obtain the same kind of awards. Taking all of this into account, it’s easy to see why the low-fee, high-speed crypto transactions outshine every other payment method.
The obstacles ahead
Despite its numerous advantages, the world of poker has yet to accept the concept of cryptocurrency in its entirety. Keep in mind that it hasn’t been around for long and the traditionalists still have a hard time trusting it. Before it can become the preferred poker and casino payment method of choice, there are obstacles to overcome.
First and foremost, bear in mind that cryptocurrencies are a digital entity. As such, there is the perceived notion of it being susceptible to hackers and other cyber threats. Despite it being based on blockchain technology that is as secure as it gets, there are other ways hackers can get past the defenses. For instance, if you choose to store your precious crypto coins in an online wallet, you’re putting them in danger if there’s ever a breach (and it has happened before). So even though there is almost zero chance of someone stealing them if you go the hardware wallet way, people in general don’t know the subject matter enough to be willing to put their savings on the line.
Next, there is the problem of being constantly bombarded with new forms of cryptocurrency that are flooding the market all the time. Every new kid on the block is now trying to become the next big thing by following in the footsteps of Bitcoin and creating a new crypto coin. While all is fine and well with experimenting, the problem lies in creating more competition for everyone. So instead of working in conjunction with one another, everyone is butting heads by fighting for their slice of the crypto pie.
Whatever the reason may be, poker sites in general do not yet offer crypto payments as a widely accepted form of payment. While there are a couple of notable exceptions to the rule, for the most part, you’d have to initiate a targeted Google search if you wanted to find one in 2020. And that’s not good for the industry as a whole.
Tying it all together
If there is any hope of cryptocurrencies becoming the golden standard of payments when it comes to poker, these challenges will need to be overcome in one way or another. Only then can we ever expect to see them standing alongside the likes of Paypal, credit card payments, and the good old wire transfers.
On the bright side, Bitcoin and other cryptos are not only getting increasingly popular, they’re also growing in value. The more successful they become, the more people will know about them, and any remaining trust issues will gradually fade away. The concept of a decentralized currency is what the world wants to see with a fiery passion, and as cryptos become a valid for of payment not only for gambling but across a multitude of online retailers worldwide, change is on the horizon.