Despite the cryptocurrency industry’s recent volatility, the crypto boom shows no signs of slowing down. According to cryptocurrency investor reports, while many are selling off their lower-performing coins, crypto juggernauts like Bitcoin continue to see a strong rally. Earlier this June, Bitcoin was trading above $31,000. This relative security has been a positive sign for crypto users across multiple industries.
One notable crypto adopter is the online poker industry. Considered by many to be among crypto’s early adopters, online poker’s earliest use of crypto was in 2014 when most of the world was still wary about this very niche asset. Nowadays, online poker continues to champion crypto, with one poker provider paying out 95% worth of crypto every month.
The Rise of Crypto and Online Poker
Undoubtedly, cryptocurrencies and online poker have made some of the biggest waves in their respective industries. For starters, cryptocurrencies have often been touted as the financial sector’s most successful diversifier given crypto’s rapid success. Aside from being run digitally, a huge advantage that crypto has is its decentralized nature. As decentralized tokens largely run on similarly decentralized exchanges for crypto trading, cryptocurrencies are more private, accessible, and tamper-resistant. This means crypto doesn’t rely on third parties which eliminates the risk of monopolies or excessive fees. In mid-2022, the crypto market cap has ballooned to about $2 trillion.
Meanwhile, online poker has seen a huge increase in its player base and revenue since it emerged in the early 2000s. Over the past two years, online poker has seen a marked increase of nearly 43%. Due to its convenience and diverse playing options, first-time online poker players have also increased by almost 255%. This makes online poker one of the most lucrative in the broader gaming industry.
Why Poker Providers Are Going All-in on Crypto
Given how both online poker and cryptocurrency rely on the digital space, it was only a matter of time before the two intersected. Most online poker providers and players value lower transaction fees, speed of transaction, and remote accessibility all of which crypto provides. On top of this, cryptocurrency also provides the added benefits of anonymity and legality which are very important for poker operators. For example, it’s important to understand that most poker players would prefer not to divulge personal details on their poker profiles. With traditional means, this is nearly impossible because banks require players to provide sensitive information when connecting their cards or accounts to poker wallets. With crypto poker, on the other hand, players can use crypto to bankroll games and for withdrawals using only anonymous crypto wallets.
Secondly, crypto poker does not need the banks to intervene, so many believe that crypto can help legalize online poker in the US in the not too distant future. Currently, there are only five states that legally allow online poker because of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 which prohibits banks from processing online gambling transactions across states. However, by transacting in crypto, this eliminates banks as a whole, so there is no chance of infringing on said Act. Furthermore, since cryptocurrencies are gaining more widespread adoption, embracing crypto in online poker may help regulators to pay more favorable attention to poker providers who use it. To date, these crypto benefits have seen many major poker providers adopting digital tokens over fiat money. Some even speculate that in the near future, cryptocurrencies will be the norm in online poker transactions.
Bet or Bust? Is Crypto in Poker Worth Getting Into
While large-scale online poker providers have much to gain from using crypto, the question remains if investors and players will be similarly rewarded in crypto poker. Admittedly, there is no security when it comes to cryptocurrency, and crypto poker is no different. Crypto (even if it’s in a poker wallet) is still susceptible to rapid fluctuations in value and legitimacy. Additionally, since there are already an increasing number of online platforms where crypto poker is offered with some contingencies, this can help those who want to gain a presence in growing online communities. Such is the case in the metaverse, where up to 1,000 players at any given time are said to be playing crypto poker. Thus, in closing, while crypto poker may be a new concept, it could prove to be a winning hand with the right players.