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Created by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, bitcoin is a digital currency – otherwise known as a cryptocurrency – which has steadily been gaining traction as a legitimate form of payment since its inception. It’s different from traditional currencies in several ways. It exists only as a digital currency and has no physical counterpart – unlike regular credit stored in a bank – which is withdrawable and tangible as paper money. It’s entirely based on software running on the internet, making use of complex encryption techniques to maintain its financial infrastructure on the web.
Bitcoin is also decentralised, meaning that there is no one entity or institution controlling it. This differs from federal reserves and central banks – the purpose of which is to regulate the supply of credit in a given nation. Due to this, the supply of bitcoin cannot be controlled by a singular establishment, and is regulated through the very nature of its system.
There are a fixed number of bitcoins that can ever come into circulation – the exact number being 21 million – and this limit can’t ever be modified. In this respect, bitcoin is quite like gold, in that it has a finite supply and can’t be created arbitrarily, so it’s therefore significantly stable as a cryptocurrency. One bitcoin is equivalent to 1,000 millibitcoin (mBTC) and 100,000,000 satoshis – the smallest unit within bitcoin. Apart from its full name, bitcoin is denoted as BTC or ฿.
While still considered an experimental banking method by industry-at-large, bitcoin is now breaking into the mainstream in the online casino industry. There are several casinos with a UK licence which accept bitcoin for making deposits and withdrawals. The cryptocurrency has also been endorsed by the UK Gambling Commission as an acceptable payment option for online casinos and is currently regulated just like its cash equivalent.
In practical terms, bitcoin’s strength lies in making instant withdrawals with lower fees in online casinos, when using other methods could result in a longer, costlier process. This is especially true for players situated in certain countries where withdrawal options for online casinos are limited.
The first thing you have to do to start using bitcoin is to choose a wallet. Bitcoin wallets can be created specifically for desktop or mobile devices, although it’s possible to use the same wallet across both your desktop and mobile devices. There are several different Bitcoin wallet operators, with more emerging as time goes by. You can convert some of your regular currency – whichever that may be – into bitcoins, which will be stored in your bitcoin wallet.
Transaction times and fees vary according to the different bitcoin wallet operators and online casinos processing your transactions. In general, bitcoin deposits and withdrawals are instant unless there are delays in processing the transaction from the online casino’s end, or delays due to the design of the blockchain technology which bitcoin operates on. Bitcoin transactions are final and can’t be recalled once they’ve been verified by miners. Bitcoin miners are the people or organisations responsible for adding transaction records to bitcoin’s public ledger of past transactions.
Bitcoin is renowned for its alternative capacity for security and privacy due to being pseudonymous. This is achieved through the unique addresses used for individual transactions, although you should bear in mind that if your identity is linked to the addresses you use for transferring bitcoin, your full anonymity is lost. However, personal and financial information is never shared across the bitcoin network itself. This makes it a desirable banking method for players concerned about their personal data protection when making money transfers in online casinos.
While its unique set of benefits and drawbacks is still being absorbed by the global community, bitcoin provides a solid case for a strong cryptocurrency that does away with the disadvantages of traditional currencies – such as high transaction fees and slow processing times – while being as safe and secure as a digital payment experience can currently be.
Once you’ve created your bitcoin wallet, depositing bitcoins into online casinos that accept the cryptocurrency is straightforward. The casino accepting bitcoin will generate a private depositing address for you to deposit bitcoin into, and you’ll use this to transfer bitcoins from your wallet into the casino.
Deposits usually take around 10 minutes to be cleared. This is because bitcoin requires multiple confirmations of the transactions through the mining process. Fees also range from zero to a small percentage of the deposit value. Depositing fees normally occur when transactions draw bitcoins from many addresses, which requires a large amount of computational work and mining.
Bitcoin deposits are extremely safe and there’s a very low risk of system vulnerabilities. The safety and security of bitcoin wallet operators, on the other hand, is trickier to assess, so make sure you choose your wallet wisely and educate yourself about this innovative banking method as widely as possible.
Withdrawing bitcoins from online casinos is quicker, easier and more convenient than many traditional withdrawal methods. When you request a withdrawal in an online casino, bitcoins are sent from your player account to your bitcoin wallet address. None of your personal or financial information is shared at any point of this process, making it a highly secure withdrawal option.
Withdrawals can be free but frequently incur a small charge, depending on the transaction amount and how quickly you’d like the transfer to be made. Bitcoins may take up to 12 hours to reach your wallet due to the mining process and clearing times on behalf of the online casino.
Bitcoin transactions are supported by mobile devices and be easily be made as long as the bitcoin wallet operator offers a mobile-friendly service. Most bitcoin wallets have mobile apps downloadable from their website, iTunes or Google Play Store, which allow you to make bitcoin payments in a matter of seconds from your smartphone or tablet.
For support regarding bitcoin transactions you make, you should refer to the bitcoin wallet operator you’re using to carry out transactions. You will normally need to get in touch via email, but phone or live chat support might occasionally be available. More relevant information can be found on the operator’s website or social media channels.
Bojoko recommends the original bitcoin independent open source project website, Bitcoin.org, which has a community that provides many resources for bitcoin users. Other non-official communities found on Reddit and other platforms might also prove useful, but remember that this kind of support is not verified by any official source and might not always be reliable.