Bitcoin is having a moment. In fact, it’s likely that Bitcoin won’t stop having a moment any time soon. The crypto-currency has been slowly gaining traction since it’s creation in 2009, yet more recently bitcoin has been breaking into the mainstream. With more people using it, the worth of the currency has risen exponentially, which only makes it more appealing to traders and buyers alike.
For online gamers, the current bitcoin climate is important, as it could influence how we bank and play at casinos in the very near future. There are already several bitcoin-focused casinos around and mobile giants such as Apple are getting involved in the action too. However, if your’re still fairly confused about what bitcoin is then don’t worry as this guide will cover everything you need to know as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using the currency.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin, as mentioned above, is a crypto-currency that was created in 2009. It was constructed by an anonymous programmer (or group of programmers) and whilst their identity remains unknown, they do use the fake name of Satoshi Nakamoto.
A cryptocurrency, by the way, is a digital system of money that uses encryption techniques to verify transactions and to allow it to operate independently of a central, traditional bank. This means that it isn’t managed by any government or company and that payments do not need to be handled by a middleman. Instead, they’re sent peer-to-peer, with no need for a depositing service, no fees and no registration.
You can buy bitcoins at a bitcoin exchange site, such as Coinbase. However they are actually created through a process called mining. ‘Mining’ uses a mathematical formula to produce the bitcoins, and it can be done from your own computer as the software to do so is readily available. This allows you to avoid the exchange markets, however it is a little more complicated.
When we refer to ‘mining,’ it may seem like you can just create bitcoins freely, thus getting your hands on free money! This is true in part, but bitcoin is not unlimited. A maximum of 21 million bitcoins can be in circulation, to prevent inflation of the currency. At the current rate that bitcoins are being mined this quota will be met in 2140. However, due to the rising popularity of the currency, it could be met much faster.
Once you’ve acquired some bitcoins, you’ll also need to create a bitcoin wallet to complete transactions. Every time a bitcoin is spent, the payment is recorded on the ‘blockchain.’ The blockchain is an online ledger and it shows the time and amount of every transaction, but no personal information. The blockchain allows the programmers who created the currency to keep tracks on what’s happening to it, but it is also public, allowing users to see their transaction history at any time.
The Advantages Of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular for various reasons. It has several unique characteristics that make it very different from traditional currencies and these make it highly appealing to all sorts of people.
One of the most appealing things about bitcoin is that it’s decentralized. This means that it isn’t controlled by one central authority, like a bank or government, and so you could say it’s an anti-establishment currency choice. Furthermore, as it isn’t subject to the agendas of companies or politics, there is no reason for the structure of bitcoin to ever change.
Similarly, bitcoin users also love the fact that the currency is anonymous. In modern times, people are increasingly worried about data collection, and government interference in their online business. However, with bitcoin, you never need to any of your payments being tracked, as you do not supply any information that may identify you. On the other hand, bitcoin is also incredibly transparent as every single payment is noted in the blockchain. These two things, in combination, mean that for many, bitcoin is one of the most trustworthy financial options around.
Aside from the more complicated advantages, bitcoin also benefits from being easy to set up, free and fast. Unlike e-wallet services, such as PayPal, there’s no complicated processes involved in obtaining a bitcoin address. It can be done in seconds, with no questions asked and without fees. Furthermore, when you send money via bitcoin, it arrives seconds later. As the currency is totally online, there are no delays when transferring money to a different country either.
The Disadvantages Of Bitcoin
If bitcoin was as great as it sounds above, they we’d all be using it by now. However, as with any currency and payment method, it does have some drawbacks.
Unlike traditional currencies, which are relatively stable in value, bitcoin is volatile. This means that your bitcoins can be worth different amounts, in relation to other currencies each day. This is one of the biggest downsides of using bitcoin, as there’s no assurance that your investments will retain their value.
Another massive disadvantage of using bitcoin is that it’s not yet universally accepted. Whilst it is being accepted by more and more retailers, it could be years before it’s treated as a ‘proper’ currency. This isn’t such a drawback if you’re only using bitcoins to play at online casinos. However, it’s something to bear in mind — chance’s are the pub wouldn’t let you pay for a pint with your bitcoins!
Lastly, bitcoins can be lost. Just like normal cash, bitcoins are susceptible to being stolen by thieves. As the currency is online, we’re actually referring to hackers and viruses here. Yet just like having your real life wallet pick-pocketed, there isn’t much you can do about it. That being said, the security surrounding the currency is one of the most advanced systems in existence.
Bitcoins At Casinos
The online gaming market has been significant in the growth of bitcoin, as gamers are constantly looking for secure ways to make deposits. This year, there are more bitcoin casinos and bitcoin sportsbooks around than ever before, and it doesn’t look like more will stop being launched any time soon.
That being said, the currency is still young, and not without issues. This means that most of the bigger casino brands and operators have yet to adopt bitcoin. We can’t say whether this will change in the future, but as the need for new payment methods grows, the casinos have to do what they can to satisfy their customers.
Furthermore, the more bitcoin grows, the more it’s worth. This means that those who have bought bitcoin will see a profit on their investment and that more people would buy bitcoin in the future too. This forces retailers to take the currency seriously and this would help it to become more universally accepted.