Bitcoin At The Center Of US Online Gambling Revival
The US is considered to be the largest online gambling market in the world by many analysts, and that comes at a time when the country does not even have clear laws regarding the industry. While lawmakers grapple with different ways to regulate online gambling, industry insiders believe they may have the key to re-opening the US market.
Bitcoin has been developed and is still in its early stages of development. The way that Bitcoin works is similar to BitTorrent, where no US banks are used to transfer money. Instead, it is completed as a user to user transaction, one in which demand quantifies how much Bitcoin currency is worth at any given time.
The concept is being used by merchants around the world, and recently has made its way into the online gambling arena. Gamblers can exchange their countries monetary unit for Bitcoin currency at various locations, the most notable in the US being WalMart and 7-Eleven stores.
The funds from the Bitcoin are stored in a cloud, and on the buyers home computer. That is where some of the technology has not caught up with the premise. Buyers are responsible for their own Bitcoin funds, so if a computer crashes and the contents cannot be recovered, the funding is lost.
"It's still a pretty raw technology," said Gavin Andresen, chief scientist for Bitcoin Foundation. "It's pretty obvious that it's been designed by geeks for geeks. It's not easy to use yet, but it's getting easier to use all the time."
Infinity Poker has been designed by Michael Hajduk. The Canadian-based company will accept credit cards and other forms of payment from countries where online gambling is regulated, but will only accept Bitcoin from US players.
Not all online sites are openly accepting of the premise that Bitcoin is legal in the US.
"I'm an American, and the guys who help me with this...lawyers, part-owners, guys I've known since high school, they're American," said Josh Strike, founder of Strike Sapphire, an online gaming site based in Costa Rica that accepts Bitcoin, but does not accept US customers. "I don't want to get anyone in trouble."