The online gambling industry has a business volume of about $53.7 billion annually. From online poker to slot machines to sports betting, there are thousands of games and platforms to play for real money.
Now, with the expansion of the crypto universe, many of these services also offer crypto gaming, or a fusion of digital gambling and the world of cryptocurrencies.
What is crypto gaming?
First of all, we should not confuse crypto gaming with crypto games: the term gaming refers to online gambling and betting, while crypto games are video games related to the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. To understand it, one crypto game is CryptoKitties, an online NFT game of collectible images of the play-to-earn type. In crypto gaming, however, the games are always gambling and use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum instead of traditional ones such as the euro.
Apart from currency, there are no significant differences between classic online gambling and crypto gaming. Most online casinos also offer a browser-based version and a mobile app, so you can play anywhere as long as you have a powerful device to run the software.
Here are a few reasons to try crypto gaming
Gambling online in cryptocurrencies makes sense for those using them to make purchases or trade. The universe of cryptocurrencies is vast and complex; there are thousands of projects behind the many tokens and coins launched on the market, many of which are speculative microbubbles, i.e., outright scams. If you don’t know your way around this world (and the world of gambling), we recommend starting with the traditional versions of the games and studying the crypto universe before venturing into it. One reason why some people prefer to play legal online casino games in cryptocurrencies is that, this way, the IRS or the bank does not track financial movements. This regulatory aspect is also changing, so we advise you to inform yourself well since, theoretically, every individual must include cryptos in their tax return.
In any case, until cryptocurrencies start being used as a payment method and not just an investment asset, crypto gaming will also remain a niche phenomenon.
What do you need for crypto gaming?
From a practical point of view, getting started in crypto gaming is very easy. You need:
- A secure cryptocurrency wallet;
- An account on a gambling site that also offers crypto gaming;
- A device to play on (smartphone, tablet, or PC);
- Creating a wallet and gaming account is easy for anyone with a minimum of online experience, and there are many online tutorials.
The essential and less obvious aspects to keep in mind are others:
- The device must be recent and powerful.
- The device must be secure: install an antivirus and keep it updated.
- Accounts must be secure: use complex passwords and 2-factor authentication. This is why it is best to play on mobile to take advantage of biometric access systems (fingerprints and facial recognition).
Keep wallet passphrases carefully because, unlike passwords, if you lose them, you will not be able to recover them, and you will never be able to access again your wallet.
This last point is critical and is more common than you think. For example, it happened to Stefan Thomas, one of the first people in the world to buy Bitcoin. Stefan saved the transaction codes in his wallet and then lost the paper on which he had jotted down the passphrases. That capital would amount to about $220 million, but because he cannot access the wallet, that money is lost forever.
How to create a secure bitcoin wallet?
First, carefully how and why you will use your wallet before choosing it. For example, if you plan to buy and spend a few bitcoins regularly, you can also select a hot wallet and avoid paying for more complex services. If you want to use it to play and bet online, check that the wallet you want to buy is compatible with the gambling website. Or, again, if you wanted to try cryptocurrency trading, you could choose a hardware wallet for your income and use other online wallets for financial transactions in each currency.
Finally, we recommend protecting the smartphone and computers you use to manage and spend bitcoins with a powerful antivirus for Windows and Android.
The risks of crypto gaming
Cryptocurrencies have advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional channels and currencies, chief among them the lack of protection and insurance from lenders in case of theft or loss. If a cybercriminal were to hack your account, they could transfer your entire balance, and you would have no way to recover it. Also, cryptocurrency transactions are (almost entirely) anonymous, so it would not be possible to trace the hacker even if you wanted to.