The history of gambling amongst humanity is as long as the history of humanity itself. Drawing straws, casting lots, and rolling die to name a few. Gambling was revolutionized by the advent of the casino, where the allure of money brought gambling to the forefront of the “betting” man’s mind.
The origin of gambling was more about groups of individuals letting the “fates” decide who would have to take on any given task, as opposed to a long chance of winning large amounts of money. The psychology of gambling has slowly transferred to those with a get rich quick mentality and those who are looking for entertainment and thrills. Casinos are known for their windowless rooms, flashing lights, lack of clocks, cheap drinks and fun games. And then there is online gambling. Online gambling brings all of the thrills of the casino to the user without the environmental draws. Many users enjoy sports betting, traditional casino games, poker, digital slots and otherwise.
The only drawbacks to the digital gambling arena are the lack of regulatory clarity and ease of use for funds transfer and monetary functionality. For this reason, many believe that cryptocurrency could be the next step in popularizing and streamlining the gambling industry as a whole.
The basis upon which the Bitcoin Proof-of-Work protocol was created, denotes a major purpose of the asset to be a peer to peer cash system. For this purpose, it stands to reason that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies alike would be an excellent candidate for realtime betting and online gambling of various kinds. Vitalik Buterin in his 2014 white paper explains the benefits of the Ethereum protocol to validate and promote the ease of use for DAPPS or decentralized apps and smart contracts (1). These coded functions provide the framework for seamless digital betting and peer to peer cash transfers. Another potential boon for the future of cryptocurrency gambling is pool mining. With users consent, the host or “casino” of the crypto games can use portions of the gamblers computing power to mine cryptocurrency, and share the mining profits, by providing a “faucet” for the users to use as betting tokens. A “faucet” is a timed or achievement-based source of micro-crypto payments to its users in exchange for their time, information, or computing power most normally.
Understanding the cryptocurrency market as a whole and blockchain at large is important for grasping the unique positioning cryptocurrency holds in efficiently bringing digital gambling to the center stage for consumers. Additionally, the overlap between gambling populations and those who own cryptocurrency lends itself to be a positive relationship in the growth of the industry. Those who are avid gamblers tend to own cryptocurrency and vice-a-versa (2).
Now that it has been established that cryptocurrency is uniquely positioned to influence the digital gambling space, let us take a look at the history of cryptocurrency gambling for context. Cryptocurrency gambling first came on the scene in 2011 with switchpoker.com where the site operated as normal, yet payments were made in Bitcoin. Following this pioneer, active crypto enthusiast Erik Voorhees created and lunched the infamous Satoshi Dice in early 2012 (3). Since then, the crypto gambling industry has exploded, not only from fresh offerings within the industry for innovators and users alike, but a burgeoning interest in the asset class as well. As interest in cryptocurrency grows industries that use the currencies will grow as well.
The crypto gambling industry has hundreds if not thousands of constituents that advocate for the use of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, and many more, occasionally including a “casino’s” native token dependent on the project. For those who are looking to try their hand at some of these sites, there is a great poker website which acts as a faucet for users, and allows them to use Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV. Blockchain.poker was largely popularized by Charlie Lee, Charlie Shrem and other long term crypto players who stream their weekly games on twitter for fans or fellow enthusiasts to watch and listen to their crypto-related and largely technological conversations.
As this space has expanded over the last nine years, there is truly a place for everyone at the metaphorical or digital table. For those with no skill, wanting to roll the satoshi dice, to those who want to play BlackJack for the chance to win Bitcoin, to those who just want to observe some long time crypto developers play a few rounds of Texas Hold’Em, the industry has something for everyone.
(1)Buterin, V., et al.: A next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform. white paper (2014)
(2) Gainsbury, S.M., Blaszczynski, A.: How blockchain and cryptocurrency technology could revolutionize online gambling. Gaming Law Review 21(7), 482–492 (2017)