You may have seen Bitcoins mentioned in the news recently, they are indeed a hot topic and this looks set to continue as it’s not everyday a new type of currency begins to make its mark on the financial world. Here we’ll take a look at the basics of Bitcoins, what they are, how they are created and what use they have, and more importantly do they have a future that can benefit the online casino games player. Without delving too much into the technical side of Bitcoins (and it can get quite technical) we’ll try and explain all that you need to know about this new virtual currency.
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What are Bitcoins?
Bitcoins are a virtual currency, they are not the only virtual currency but they are by far the most popular and widely used currency of this type. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by a developer called Satoshi Nakamoto who used cryptography to ensure that Bitcoin transactions were secure, hence the name cryptocurrency. All transactions are verified by a decentralized peer to peer network and more recently they have started to become accepted by many mainstream companies as a form of payment. Now you may pay for goods and services at places such as Reddit, Wordpress, OKCupid and the huge Chinese company Baidu, and more and more smaller establishments are now welcoming them, in fact there are bars and delis in the US where you may pay with Bitcoins.
To pay with Bitcoins you will of course need to own a quantity of them and you may either purchase them with real currency or mine them yourself, however to mine Bitcoins you’ll need a powerful computer. You may then buy and sell Bitcoins on many of the Bitcoin exchanges available, the largest of which is MtGox, however you will need to store your Bitcoins in a Bitcoin wallet of which there are many around. Paying with Bitcoins is a very simple process and all you need is the receiver's details. The funds take around 10 minutes to clear while the transaction is verified on the network, and the advantage of paying by this method is that the fees are extremely small compared to credit cards.
The pro’s and con’s of Bitcoin
Bitcoins allow total user anonymity and for this reason users have come under suspicion as to the type of purchases that may be made with them, and websites such as Silk Road and Sheep Marketplace have recently been shut down by the FBI for the type of goods on offer on them. Many people are also concerned with the security of Bitcoin as there are many stories of Bitcoin theft and this tied in with the rapid fluctuations in value have put many people off using them. It would be pointless for example to give their current value here in this article as the price and value changes extremely quickly.
Bitcoin does however offer an alternative payment type however until it is accepted by more mainstream companies, or you can use it for everyday shopping and purchases it may stay in the shadows and be used more of a trading currency, however this may change. Recently a US court has ruled that Bitcoin is in fact a legal currency and due to its popularity growing so quickly banks and governments have started to take notice of it with many believing that it is only a matter of time before it is in some way regulated as other currencies.
Do Bitcoins Have a Future in Online Gaming?
The debate as to whether Bitcoin has a future in online gaming is continuing and only time will tell, however there are Bitcoin casinos and online poker rooms now available for US residents, Seals with Clubs being the largest at present. As yet no major online gaming operator has begun accepting Bitcoin and this is in part due to the reasons mentioned above, ie. the security and the wild fluctuations in value. Many however do see a future in this new currency and believe that it’s only a matter of time before it becomes widely used in online gaming.