Cryptocurrencies are rarely out of the news. Just last year, El Salvador decided to become the forerunner of countries accepting bitcoin as a legal form of payment. No doubt other countries will be keeping an eye on the progress there, with the possibility of adopting the same policy.
Crypto though has suffered from some serious ups and downs. Statista’s bitcoin price history chart shows how volatile this particular cryptocurrency can be. There have also been data breaches and thefts even though crypto is supposed to be extremely secure.
Some people have unwittingly thrown away HDD cold wallets with millions of dollars on them. Exchanges have been robbed. And, bitcoin is also linked with some of the darker elements of the web.
However, crypto and now NFTs have grabbed the interest of the general public, and many industries are looking at ways to use them. This includes the gaming world.
Has crypto ever been used in online gaming?
The huge gaming platform, Steam, introduced bitcoin as a means of payment back in April 2016. They saw the potential for allowing secure crypto payments online, and also the opportunity to attract more players.
Offering more payment options is a good method of attracting more customers. In ecommerce, many consumers will use vendors that are convenient to them. This may mean that they ship to their country, or it might simply mean that they accept their preferred payment method.
However, the Steam experiment didn’t last long. About a year and a half after bitcoin was introduced as a payment method, it was removed.
This was apparently due to three reasons. One was the volatility of that particular cryptocurrency, with its valuation changing rapidly. Another reason it was removed was due to the transaction fees involved. And lastly, due to fraudulent transactions.
It was said that up to fifty percent of all the bitcoin transactions on Steam were deemed to be fraudulent. So, where does this leave crypto today?
How is crypto currently being used in online gaming?
Probably the main area where online gaming and crypto meet is in the pay-to-earn sector with gaming coins.
There are now several of these types of games running with Axie Infinity being the most popular and the most successful. Many people have adopted these games and work in teams to make money while playing.
When you consider the best ways to use cryptocurrencies and their advantages, it is anonymity and security that enter the mind. So, another area where crypto is being used in gaming is with online casinos.
Has crypto entered the online casino world?
There is now more than one traditional casino accepting bitcoin in the world today, but they remain a true novelty. Some casinos have bitcoin ATMs, and they can be used to withdraw real cash to use on the gaming floor or in the resort.
With online casinos though, the story is different. There are plenty of online casinos that accept bitcoin, and other varieties of cryptocurrency.
Interest in online casinos has boomed in popularity in recent years, and joining one can bring many advantages. Registering on a new site will often see the player receiving a casino boni or other bonuses that can be used to gamble with.
Nevertheless, online casinos have suffered when it comes to trust in the past. Some players simply believe that online casinos are not safe to use. Including varied payment options is one way to help gain a player’s trust. And many people like the option of paying with cryptocurrency.
Is crypto a safer option when gaming online?
While investing in crypto brings its own risks, especially with the huge price fluctuations, using this form of currency online is generally safe.
The biggest risks come from scammers and phishing techniques. Some people cause problems with their own investments by losing their keys to their wallets.
Making transactions online using crypto shouldn’t be as risky as, say, using a credit card. Although crypto is decentralized, its very nature makes it anonymous, and difficult to steal.
The biggest risk with using crypto in online games would be if the platform itself wasn’t regulated properly. There are important things to consider when choosing a bitcoin casino, and one is to check they are licensed.
Some early bitcoin casinos, and indeed some today, are not properly regulated. This is where one of the biggest concerns in using crypto in any type of online gaming comes from.
Where is the danger of using cryptocurrencies in online gaming?
Bitcoin and other crypto are not recognized as legal tender in the majority of countries. Indeed, places such as China have outright banned any crypto transaction including trading.
Therefore, as it is not recognized as a legal tender or fiat currency, crypto gaming operators may not be subject to the same laws as others.
Effectively, it could be possible to set up a gaming site that accepted crypto without having to be licensed in the same way that someone taking regular currencies would. Some bitcoin casino operators have taken advantage of this.
Nevertheless, the possibilities of crypto and NFTs in gaming exist, and this year could see the gaming world open up to them more.
What areas of online gaming could be touched?
The most obvious way that gaming could use crypto is by accepting it as payment for in-game purchases, and downloads.
Games involving the trading of NFTs already exist, and this area looks like expanding as interest rises. Then there is the possibility of decentralized gaming.
Yahoo! Finance believes that decentralized gaming is the future, and casinos are already exploring how this could work.
By using blockchain technology, online casinos could operate with complete transparency and true anonymity for their players. There is also the possibility of being able to transfer in-game purchases to other games.
Imagine if gaming existed in the metaverse. You could purchase a weapon in Call of Duty, and then through blockchain technology hold it in your wallet. This could then be called on to use in CS: GO. Okay, this is a long way off, but the possibilities with blockchain are interesting, to say the least
It is likely that the largest use of crypto this year will be through games such as Axie Infinity. There is a keen interest in the play-to-earn market, and more titles will surely appear.
Then there is the way NFTs are making their way into gaming. This will also continue. It would seem though, that it could be a while until blockchain technology is properly utilized in online gaming, and it could be the casino industry that emerges as the forerunners.