Bitcoin is the world’s most famous digital currency born back in 2008. Thanks to Mr. Satoshi Nakamoto, we can now take advantage of a peer-to-peer payment solution which uses cryptography and complex validation mechanisms to operate without a central authority or a bank.
As an open-source system, it has no owners; Bitcoin is issued and transactions managed collectively by the network.
Recognising multiple benefits of this unique payment system, the market has responded by creating numerous other cryptocurrencies which can be used to conduct fast and secure online money transfers.
Bitcoin still remains the one most frequently offered as a deposit and withdrawal option at casino sites, and the online gaming community increasingly chooses it over traditional “fiat” currencies such as Euro, British pound and US dollar.
You may have heard of miners, individuals who use computers to validate Bitcoin transactions and create new currency units. They run decentralised servers that together form the Bitcoin network. The word “mining” is used to describe mathematical calculations which need to be done for the network to confirm a transaction and add it to the so-called blockchain - a permanent record of all cryptocurrency movements in chronological order.
Because a transaction has to be confirmed by the network before currency changes ownership, it’s impossible for anyone to pay with same Bitcoin to two or more different recipients simultaneously. Miners are compensated in newly created unites and transaction fees.
To start using Bitcoin, you’ll first have to set up an online or offline wallet. It’s not all that different to a physical wallet one uses to store cash, except that a Bitcoin wallet also contains your private key(s) allowing you to spend the funds.
Keys are used to digitally sign a transaction and act as evidence of ownership. Signed transactions are broadcasted to the entire network and its members can verify that the signature matches Bitcoin which is being spent. Make sure not to lose your keys; there’s no other way to prove stored funds are rightfully yours. Mobile users can pay with a simple two-step process.
Rather than having to sign-up, swipe a card, type a PIN or a password, one can receive Bitcoin payments by displaying a QR code via Bitcoin wallet app and offering the one who pays to scan it.
Bitcoin can be bought and exchanged for other currencies at Bitcoin Exchanges. There are more than a few to choose from but keep in mind they vary in terms of safety and privacy. Bitstamp, Coinmama and Kraken are some of the international ones, European users frequently opt for AnyCoin Direct, Bitcoin.de or BitPanda, while residents of the USA tend to go with Gemini or itBit.
In order to send Bitcoin, users need the aforementioned private key plus a public one which is also known as a Bitcoin address. The address is a randomly generated combination of numbers and letters and can be freely shared, unlike the key which has to be kept secret.
When a player chooses Bitcoin as a deposit method, they’ll be typically given an address for the gambling site in question, after which they’ll need to go to their Bitcoin wallet, paste the address and authorise the transfer. Deposits are pretty much instant regardless of the fact that each transaction needs to be confirmed by the blockchain.
When ready to collect gambling profits, you’ll simply request a withdrawal to your Bitcoin wallet, and later on dispose of the funds with the help of your private key.
Bitcoin is one of the safest online payment methods enabling instant money transfers to and from an online casino, to play online slots and games for cash, and as long as you properly protect your wallet, nobody can take control of your funds; military-grade cryptography takes care of that. Bitcoin is also far more flexible than any of the more traditional alternatives. It travels across borders just as easy as if you were paying your next-door neighbour. Unlike banks, it won’t make you wait for days, there will be no international transfer fees to pay, and rather than cope with minimum and maximum transaction limits, one can send as little or as much digital currency as they want. There is no need to own a bank account and Bitcoin-related transactions come with a minimal fee, if any. Bitcoin network works 24/7, running on weekends and holidays same as on any regular business day.
Though Bitcoin can provide an unparalleled level of privacy, this is at the same time one of the most transparent payment systems around; all transactions are public and remain stored forever within the cryptocurrency network. However, the only information showing movement of the funds are Bitcoin addresses created by individual users, or rather their wallets. If you use a new address for each payment and / or multiple wallets, nobody will be able to make the connection between them.
The main disadvantage is that the list of online casinos accepting Bitcoin is still relatively short, though more and more operators recognise its increasing popularity and add it to the list of available payment options.