What Is a Bitcoin Casino?
You may already be familiar with online gambling sites that work by taking payments by credit card, PayPal, or other digital forms of payment that are based on government-issued currencies like USD, EUR, and JPY.
Traditional online casinos allow players to do anything from play poker to try their luck across a wide variety of online games that pay out rewards to winners.
Bitcoin casinos change this paradigm by replacing the acceptance and use of government-issued currencies with bitcoin, the world’s leading digital currency based on a new technology called blockchain. Instead of paying with your credit card or PayPal account, gambling with bitcoin requires you to deposit BTC to the casino’s payment address (otherwise known as a wallet).
Bitcoin transactions are highly secure, so once you’ve sent your payment into the casino, you simply wait for the bitcoin network to confirm the transaction – a process which typically takes no more than 30 minutes. Once your deposit has been received and confirmed, your wallet on the casino’s website will update to confirm your balance.
Now, all there is left to do is gamble with bitcoin. Gambling with bitcoin works just like gambling with traditional currency. The main difference between the two is that that your winnings will be paid in BTC. Because of this, it’s important to keep your bitcoin wallet address handy so that you can make withdrawals from the casino when you’re ready.
What Is Bitcoin?
Now that you know how to gamble with bitcoin, it might help if you knew a bit more about what bitcoin is.
Bitcoin is a digital currency based on cryptographic algorithms that run on a blockchain. It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. Basically, blockchains are giant ledgers, like accounting books, that are maintained not by one person, but many people, all around the world. Distributing the ledger in this way makes blockchains decentralized, which is great because it means that no single entity or group of interests can take control of the network.
Governments, corporations, and other powerful organizations can’t own, control, or otherwise modify the digital currencies that are issued on blockchains such as bitcoin.
In this sense, bitcoin is a sovereign form of currency that exists between people instead of between governments.
Why Is Bitcoin Good for Online Casinos?
There are many advantages when it comes to bitcoin gambling over traditional gambling.
- Bitcoin is global. When online casinos go live, there is always the sticky issue of which currency to accept. Depending on where an online casino is based out of, the answer will vary, and accepting other currencies will incur exchange fees that are very costly to both parties. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is a global currency with extremely low transaction costs that can be bought by anyone and sent anywhere in the world without needing third party intervention by institutions like banks.
- Bitcoin is fast. Bitcoin confirmations take anywhere from a few minutes to a half an hour which is a very reasonable amount of time to wait for a form of payment that doesn’t require intermediaries to process. An update called the Lightning Network is due to launch soon which will upgrade bitcoin’s transaction speeds, make bitcoin deposits and withdrawals nearly instantaneous.
- Bitcoin is secure. Bitcoin transactions are more secure than credit card transactions and other forms of digital payment. The reason is the blockchain. Blockchains are immutable, meaning they can’t be hacked, and because they are decentralized, you don’t need to worry about the network becoming corrupted.
Are there any disadvantages to playing casino games with bitcoin? There certainly are a few.
- Lack of bitcoin casinos. Since gambling with bitcoin is relatively new, there are less casino options than when gambling with USD, EUR, JPY, and other major currencies.
- Traditional payments are still faster. Even though bitcoin payments are more secure, credit card and PayPal payments are still faster, though this will change when bitcoin releases the Lightning Network.
Playing in online casinos with bitcoin looks to be the next generation of gambling. As cryptocurrency technology matures, it will be great to watch its effect on the gambling space and to witness the way online casinos roll with the changes.