Cryptocurrencies and gambling
Cryptocurrencies and gambling

Cryptocurrencies and gambling

By Eleonora Spagnolo - 1 Jul 2020

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Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly important in the gambling world, which has distinguished itself as an innovative sector. Cryptocurrencies are very much part of this process.

Gambling requires fast, secure, and preferably anonymous payment methods. Cryptocurrencies meet these requirements perfectly. 

A bit of history

One of the first uses of Bitcoin has been in poker. In March 2010 the BitcoinFX exchange organized the first Bitcoin-based poker tournament. BTC was just over a year old, and it was worth a few cents.

It is worth mentioning that BitcoinFX operated trades between Bitcoin and fiat currencies commissioned via email. In short, it was far from the platforms we have today. 

Anyway, it’s worth looking at the figures of the tournament: 1000 bitcoins were put up for grabs, today equal to about 10 million dollars. To get in, it was necessary to pay 55 bitcoins, which amounted to 10,000 chips. 

The association between Bitcoin and gambling also involves Paul Le Roux (by some suspected to be Satoshi Nakomoto), a computer programmer, arrested for drug trafficking in 2012 in the United States. One of his activities was gambling. 

Cryptocurrencies and gambling today

There are currently numerous online sites where it is possible to play and bet using Bitcoin. Some also use other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. 

For those who want to enter this world, it is good to always keep in mind at least these two things:

  • Gambling is a risk
  • Cryptocurrencies are another risk due to their volatility.

How to navigate? Taking Italy as an example, there are regulations concerning gambling. Online sites must have a license issued by the State Monopolies. This license must be visible on the website and is useful to distinguish it from other sites. 

Unlicensed online casinos are in fact illegal and risky, as gamblers have no guarantee that they will receive the money from any winnings. 

In Italy, online casinos do not accept cryptocurrencies directly. However, some of the best-known brands do accept wallet payments that support Bitcoin. 

Other legislations, such as the one in the UK, are more open as they equate cryptocurrencies with traditional coins. 

In conclusion, gambling with cryptocurrencies is a double risk: it’s like playing twice, not only in the game itself but also with the price of cryptocurrencies. The crypto market sees strong fluctuations, so a “bet” can be winning but paradoxically it can make less than expected if the wrong time is chosen. Just as it can increase if one is lucky and has the skill to play at the right time. 

However, it’s good to always pay attention to the website where one chooses to bet and rely only on those legally recognized by the legislation to which they belong. 


Eleonora Spagnolo

Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.

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