Cryptocurrency sees over 50% spike in past month
Online poker pros normally make a chunk of their profit trapping weaker players with a better hand. Recently though, many players have seen a boost in their profit occurring off the tables – and this time it’s not via a good rakeback deal but instead by cashing in on a soaring Bitcoin price.
The cryptocurrency has become a popular deposit and withdrawal option on a number of online poker sites as players are drawn to the lower transactions fees versus credit cards as well as the anonymous nature of the currency. Fortunately for those holding Bitcoin, the most popular and widely traded of all cryptocurrencies, 2020 has been quite a profitable year.
Rollercoaster ride for those holding Bitcoin this year
Bitcoin’s price over the years has always been more volatile than a traditional currency having hit highs of nearly $20,000 in late 2017 before crashing the over the next year to a low of under $5,000. With coronavirus and lockdowns, Chinese aggression against its neighbours and citizens in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, along with most recently the disputed US Presidential election, Bitcoin has become a safe haven and its price has be soaring recently reflecting all the global uncertainty.
It’s been a rocky ride though as the chart below shows. Bitcoin started the year off well before plunging to just above $5000 amidst the wider market rout of early March but since then has been on a steady uptick. That upward price movement accelerated through October seeing the cryptocurrency jump from the $10,000 level to over $18,500 as of Friday and on pace to break it’s all time high over the couple trading sessions.
Poker one of the more practical uses of Bitcoin
While many people holding Bitcoin are either fans of the de-centralized currency or looking at it as an investment to hold and trade, there are limited options to actually spend Bitcoin on products or services. Online poker – and casinos – though have gravitated to the cryptocurrency as a payment option with a number of top sites now allowing financial transactions involving Bitcoin.
Amongst the sites accepting Bitcoin is GGPoker, the fastest growing online poker site in terms of traffic which is quickly closing in on industry leader PokerStars. GGPoker Network caters to the international poker player base, and with an eye on the Asian market, offering Bitcoin as a deposit and withdrawal method makes it easier for gamblers in tightly regulated markets to get funds on and off the poker site.
Also taking advantage of the unregulated nature of Bitcoin are many American facing poker rooms, with both the Chico Network and Winning Poker Network (WPN) accepting the cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency provides protection to both the poker sites and poker players from potential seizures by the US government like were seen after Black Friday which shut down popular sites such as Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
Surge in players choosing Bitcoin as withdrawal option
Charles Nagy, Chief Executive Office of WPN, sat down with Bloomberg Business earlier this week to talk about the impact the rising price of Bitcoin has had on their business.
“Right now 90-95% of our payouts are people asking for Bitcoin because it’s going up. We are constantly having to go out and buy Bitcoin. Lots. More than we’ve even had to before,” Nagy told the influential business site.
Normally the poker site conducts about 60% of their transactions through Bitcoin at a rough value of $100 million each month but with the increased demand, WPN and other buyers are paying premiums of up to 1.5% just to acquire the currency.
WPN has been at the forefront of the cryptocurrency market for awhile and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for awarding the largest cryptocurrency jackpot in history last year.
If you’re looking to add the potential of a bigger return on your poker winnings (along with the added risk that comes with any fall in the price of Bitcoin), take a look at YourPokerDream’s review of America’s Cardroom , BlackChipPoker or PokerKing– the three largest sites of the WPN Network – and catch a bit of Bitcoin fever.