Crypto Gambling: Bursting Bubble or Bright Future?

three coins representing cryptocurrency sit on a keyboard next to a pair of dice and some playing cards.

Regardless of what you think about crypto (or cryptocurrency, to give it its full name), it’s undoubtedly made a mark on society. Some casinos have adopted it as a way for people to make secure deposits so they can play online casino games. Here, we unpack what this financial technology is, and what role it has in the future of online casino gaming.

What is cryptocurrency?

Business website Investopedia defines cryptocurrency as:

“…digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology – a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.“

In a nutshell, cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency, but it’s not just a digital version of the money we use in our day-to-day lives. It exists entirely online with people either buying into cryptocurrency using real-world money or through a process known as “mining,” which allows you to generate cryptocurrency using computers that are connected to a blockchain network. In exchange for helping sustain the network, users are rewarded with different types of cryptocurrency.

Here are just a few of the types of cryptocurrency that you can buy or “mine”:

  • Bitcoin – Bitcoin is the world’s first-ever cryptocurrency. It was designed by an individual or group who went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It aimed to provide a completely decentralized currency that was cheaper and faster to use on a global scale, while also providing a system secure enough to prevent people from manipulating its value.
  • Cardano – Cardano is one of the newest cryptocurrencies and one of the first to diverge away from others. It uses a system known as “proof of stake” (PoS,) which limits how much cryptocurrency users can mine to a certain percentage of bitcoins they own. This is aimed at addressing the massive amounts of power that other cryptocurrencies consume.
  • Dogecoin – This cryptocurrency was originally started as a joke, and is based on the “doge” meme. It was designed by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. However, it became quite valuable in early 2021 due to rabid interest in it on the investment subreddit, WallStreetBets.
  • Ethereum – Considered by many to be the second most popular cryptocurrency, Ethereum’s blockchain network is primarily used to support smart contracts. It’s also much faster to “mine” Ethereum than it is to mine Bitcoin.
  • Litecoin – For all intents and purposes, Litecoin is a clone of Bitcoin, serving the same function, with the only major difference between the two being their worth.
Three coins representing cryptocurrency are visible next to a gold bar and a roll of US dollars.

While cryptocurrency is still a long way from being accepted as a mainstream form of payment, some online casinos are experimenting with using it as a form of payment.

What is crypto gambling?

Crypto gambling, short for cryptocurrency gambling, refers to the use of cryptocurrency by online casinos and other online gambling houses. Cryptocurrency is used to buy casino credits and helps address some of the financial issues at casinos, including slow transactions that could sometimes take multiple days and high fees for withdrawing or depositing your money. It also provides additional privacy, which may be important to certain online gamblers if you’d like to play at a casino anonymously.
However, players should know that crypto gambling may not be legal in their country. Some of these online casinos operate in legally gray areas, while others simply ignore the legislation entirely. These virtual casinos can be incredibly risky for players, as they have no recourse against the casino if it were to commit an illegal act, such as denying you access to your winnings. So while the idea of playing online casino games using cryptocurrency might sound appealing, you need to be extra careful of which sites you choose to play at.

Will crypto gambling boom or bust?

The success or failure of crypto gambling largely depends on the acceptance of such cryptocurrencies by mainstream society, particularly by governments. Here are some examples of how different countries, organizations, and people view cryptocurrencies:

  • China banned cryptocurrencies in 2017, followed by a reiteration of that ban in 2019 and 2021 – China took a hard stance against crypto in 2017, initially banning local cryptocurrency exchanges. There were further attempts to shut down or restrict access to local and foreign exchanges in 2019. This was followed by a ban on any banks and payment companies offering crypto-related services.
  • The US government responds positively to Bitcoin, as do Canada and Australia – On the other hand, Western countries seem to be more welcoming towards cryptocurrencies. American companies, including Microsoft, PayPal, and even Starbucks all accept Bitcoin. Canada even offers Bitcoin ATMs, while the Australian government recently announced that cryptocurrency is a valid but high-risk asset.
  • Elon Musk stated that Tesla will accept Bitcoin in February 2021, only to turn around in May 2021 and say that will no longer be the case – In February 2021, Musk announced that Tesla would start accepting Bitcoin, followed by the company investing $1.5 billion into the cryptocurrency. Just over two months later, he announced that he had changed his views on the cryptocurrency because of its environmental impact.
A coin with the Bitcoin symbol on it rests on a roulette wheel.

Judging from these examples, society’s response to this new technology is undoubtedly mixed, at best. Suppose governments embrace this new technology, and crypto finds an accepted place in society alongside existing financial systems. In that case, it could turn out to be one of the greatest advancements we’ve ever made in currency terms. 

However, considering some governments have banned crypto or are pushing to ban it due to the inability to regulate it the way they do regular currencies, it remains entirely possible that this new financial technology will simply be swept aside.

Unfortunately, this leaves crypto gambling enthusiasts in limbo, as we still don’t know whether this will become the standard for payments in the future or if it will simply fade away into obscurity.

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