Bitcoin is a form of digital currency and online payment system that first emerged in January 2009, with Bitcoin gaining initial popularity among underground users. For some time, Bitcoin was widely associated with transactions on the illegal Silk Road marketplace.
However, Bitcoin has since been legitimised and is now gaining mainstream popularity, and some casino sites even launched with the cryptocurrency in 2013. And while some players have had Bitcoin casino options for a couple of years, the UK Gambling Commission only approved the concept in August 2016.
Moving forward, the Bitcoin UK market will be opened to casino sites from 31 October 2016, with the Gambling Commission having completed its assessment of the cryptocurrency.
Understanding How Bitcoin Works
Bitcoin is described as a cryptocurrency because it is based on the mathematical technique of cryptology in order to ensure security for users. However, all you need to know is that Bitcoin is incredibly secure and that you have public and private addresses to further strengthen security.
How to Get Bitcoin
To obtain the currency, you need set up a Bitcoin wallet, which is similar to e-wallets like PayPal and Neteller. Basically, this is a platform on which you will send and receive the currency.
After installing a wallet to your laptop or mobile device, you will have a public and private key for making transactions. This will let you visit a Bitcoin currency exchange to use traditional payment methods to acquire Bitcoin that can be sent to your wallet.
How to Use Bitcoin
Now that your wallet is filled with the cryptocurrency, you can visit a Bitcoin casino and create an account. Having created the account, you can visit the cashier/banker and choose Bitcoin as the payment method to transfer the funds.
Bitcoin Casinos in Action
Although the concept is still in its infancy, a number of distinct segments have emerged within the Bitcoin casino sphere. To help you understand them, you can find details on each within this section.
There are Bitcoin-only casinos that will not accept standard payment methods or currency. Among these sites, the common trait is that they are not licensed in traditional jurisdictions and will accept players from countries where online gambling is illegal. Always make sure to see if your casino has a UK or European license before joining.
Casinos are categories because they combine mainstream payment methods alongside Bitcoin, and this is what British players can expect from UK licensed sites. Look for the larger online casino brands to start embracing the newly legalised method en masse from late-2016 onwards.
Ultimately, this is a good thing for UK players because it will give them even more choice. E-wallets can be vulnerable to consumer scams if users make poor decisions, so Bitcoin can make things even more secure. Another implication is that players can expect much quicker deposits and withdrawals when the method is fully implemented.
How a Bitcoin Wallet Works
Quite simply, a wallet is used to acquire, store, and transfer Bitcoin. Fundamentally, it requires a public key (such as your email address) and a private key (a complex password). For most basic transactions, you can use the public key and a pin-code, but the private key is needed to complex transactions.
Some online casinos will only work with specific Bitcoin wallets, so you should check with your preferred sites before choosing a wallet. This will ensure you have the most efficient setup in place.
Comparing Bitcoin to Other Payment Methods
Bitcoin’s strengths are that the method is incredibly secure and that the private key helps casino players to preserve their anonymity. The method is also quick and efficient, with transaction times often quicker than e-wallets and e-vouchers. However, it is worth looking for any potential drawbacks.
The likes of PayPal and Neteller do not use cryptology and can be targeted in email scams. Nevertheless, they do protect smart consumers from sharing sensitive information. These methods can also be quick compared to credit/debit cards, but they are actually slower than Bitcoin transactions.
At present, however, e-wallets are the better option for players who want a large selection of casinos to choose from. Considering the Gambling Commission only approved Bitcoin in 2016, time will be needed before it becomes widely accepted.
After Ukash was purchases, paysafecard is now the dominant e-voucher that players will most commonly encounter. And while Bitcoin’s strength is security, paysafecard is arguably stronger because the e-vouchers can be bought offline and away from the internet. But where e-vouchers fall short is in claim winnings, as the majority of casinos do not create new paysafecard pin-codes for players to make withdrawals.
This guide will let you get a head start with the latest payment method to hit UK casinos. Check back for more details whenever you need them.