Our idea of what constitutes legal tender is fast changing. The growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies – and bitcoin in particular – is altering the way we think about money and the ease at which it travels across international borders.
Bitcoin, backed up by sophisticated blockchain technology is fast becoming the most accessible and convenient way to purchase items over an Internet connection, supplanting more traditional banking methods and eating into the commercial space hitherto occupied by the likes of PayPal. Online game vendors have begun to explore what bitcoin has to offer, and we can expect more of them to follow in due course as cryptocurrencies gain favour and secure the confidence of the business world.
One measure of this increased confidence is the growing number of iGaming sites that have recently started adding bitcoin transactions to their menu of existing payment options. For instance, Vegas Casino, like any gaming brand, has a vested interest in confidentiality and robust internet security, and the inherently anonymous nature of bitcoin is an asset to this end.
As more people learn about Bitcoin gambling, the multiple benefits of bitcoin as an international transactional arrangement become readily apparent, enabling more efficient transactions and concomitantly faster withdrawals without necessitating the input of intrusive personal details. Authentication is baked into payment processing, and thus personal details simply aren’t required for transactions to progress. These benefits extend well beyond the online casino sector, as we shall see.
In 2014, Microsoft set the ball rolling and became the first major platform holder to offer the capacity to add bitcoin funds to Microsoft customer accounts, which can then be used to purchase apps, games, music, and video content on Windows devices and Xbox consoles. This scheme was initially restricted to a test-bed of US customers only but now sees a roll-out to other markets too. Other vendors have been swift to catch on.
Just this year, CJS CD Keys, one of the largest online retailers of Steam CD keys, Origin game keys, and Xbox codes, announced an official partnership with Bitpay to enable gamers to buy serial keys using bitcoin for the first time. With a global Facebook community of over 118,000 fans and a turnover of around 5000 activation codes per day, this move brings bitcoin facilities to the attention of a broad new user group. Gamers make good first adopters as a rule, and it will be interesting to see just how many of these key activators go on to use bitcoin for other purchases.
Another online venture dipping their feet into the bitcoin pool is Humble Bundle, a San Francisco-based digital storefront that’s been around since 2010. They specialise in offering up DRM-free discounted game bundles. Generated profits are split between the software devs and charity organisations. Bitcoin payments are accepted for transactions over $2.50, a move that highlights the low transaction fees that are a major bonus to bitcoin trades and encourage a healthy culture of micro-transactions.
In many ways, it makes perfect sense that many of the first commercial adopters of bitcoin trading should themselves reside primarily in a data-rich digital space where transactional immediacy is judged to be just as important to the operational business environment as database security and customer confidentiality. Online game vendors seek to provide a seamless service and payment structures that seek to facilitate such will always be welcomed.