The continuing rise of the bitcoin in recent years has been having an indelible effect on the online gambling world, particularly when it comes to poker. Being a digital currency, Bitcoin is naturally going to appeal to online gamblers and whilst some may boldly proclaim that bitcoin is the future of online poker, others may be reluctant to make such confident assertions.
Before delving into the bitcoin benefits and drawbacks in online poker, it’s useful to gain to fuller appreciation of bitcoin itself. The exact origins of the “cryptocurrency” remain something of an enigma, however we do know that it first appeared in 2008 created by the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The idea of a ground-breaking and complex payment system which wouldn’t require banks quickly caught the attention of the financial world and gained momentum. It wasn’t long before online gambling sites took notice and some began readily accepting the new currency.
On paper, bitcoin immediately seems like the best way possible of transferring money to and from an online poker site. It can be done in seconds and there are virtually no transfer fees. Also, using bitcoins reduces the requirements for personal information, therefore allowing the potential poker player more anonymity. Players can gamble online without necessarily having to provide documentation.
There are a number of disadvantages however, not least the act of actually acquiring the bitcoins which can be something of a stumbling block. Purchasing bitcoins can be slightly complicated as the poker player will first need to go to an exchange and also get their hands on a bitcoin wallet to store them.
When considering the bitcoin for online poker idea, one can point to the correlation between the act of gambling and the practice of investment – both involve significant amount of risk assessment and speculation. The fluctuating, and often volatile, nature of bitcoin gives online gamblers the chance to become investors in a way, as their winnings may spontaneously surge in value. A bitcoin could potentially double in value in a matter of months, or by the same standard, the value could fall substantially.
Some might conclude that by just using bitcoins as their currency, online poker players are already hitting a winning streak – it’s speedy, anonymous and financially savvy, with the likely possibility of bigger returns. Those who disagree will point to the precarious nature of the digital currency’s value and the grey area surrounding its legal use. However when one is already gambling, why not increase the wager?