Since its creation at the start of 2009, Bitcoin virtual currency has survived crises and attacks from all sides and still emerged triumphant. Even major financiers now suggest that it has become a major part of the financial landscape. So it's no surprise that Bitcoin is so well integrated into the world of online gambling – time for Gambling.com to explore what players should look for in a Bitcoin gambling site.
As Bitcoins stand outside of conventional currency systems, there is the potential for a much faster, safer and more cost-effective transfer of funds.
Transfers are peer-to-peer (not via a bank), which means that money transfers can be instant. As a result, they can be completely anonymous, so there's no risk of hackers obtaining personal details during a transaction.
Reduced overheads also means that casinos can, if they choose, offer their clients games with a very low house edge, as they don't have so many expenses to cover from their earnings.
The biggest win in Bitcoin gambling history was registered on a site that only offers dice-style random number betting. This is a simple format that meant the casino could offer an incredibly impressive 1% house edge, with a betting system that's clear and easy to use. Gamblers who want to bet high volumes with a good chance of winning may want to be open to this kind of opportunity if profit is the main reason for playing.
Those who look for more glitz, glamour and richness in their gameplay will be pleased to hear that there are many more Bitcoin gambling sites that offer conventional casino games. Online poker, slots and table games can all be found at established sites.
In addition, major gambling and slot software companies like NetEntertainment and Microgaming both offer compatibility with Bitcoin gambling, so if you are used to playing with conventional currency and want to stick with trusted software providers, there are Bitcoin gambling sites for you too.
There are two ways you can store your Bitcoins: in the cloud, a bit like an e-wallet, or on your computer in the form of hard data.
If you opt for the former, you'll need to ensure your Bitcoin casino supports fund transfers via Bitcoin clients like Sparecoins or Blockchain. If you have gone for the latter, you'll need to look for compatibility with the likes of Electrum.
It's also important to check your Bitcoin casino's payment policy, to make sure they take advantage of the instant fund transfer potential of the currency. Some say withdrawals can take longer. Make sure that all transactions are free too.
Peer-to-peer Bitcoin transfer is private by default, so there is no risk of losing personal information during a transfer. However, online gambling sites are required to check your identity, and therefore hold some personal information, alongside any funds you store in their wallet. So it's important to ensure it's protected.
Usually Bitcoin gambling sites will publish a security policy outlining key measures, and the footer of the page should contain a security certificate along with the logo of whichever company provides their security.
Bitcoin isn't tied to any nation state, but gambling websites are required to comply with the relevant laws of any country in which they operate. Those that operate in the UK should be registered in an EU or selected EEA country, usually indicated by a logo in the page footer, and have at least some equipment based in the UK in order to receive a valid licence from the UK Gambling Commission.
Like any good gambling site, Bitcoin sites may also publish details of tests that show their games are fair. Usually random number generator tests, these are undertaken by independent contractors like eCOGRA or Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), who will sometimes release results, or even share them on the Bitcoin gambling site. Such transparency should bode well for the quality and opportunity of the games on offer.