Operator talk: Bitcoin engagement will pay dividends

Operator talk: Bitcoin engagement will pay dividends

Thursday, October 1, 2015 Totally Gaming
Tim Heath said that Bitcoin will become the currency of choice among mobile users

Bitcoin is becoming the currency of choice for millennials, who consider it the most convenient method of making transactions. Here, Tim Heath, chief executive of Coingaming.io, the software provider for white-label Bitcoin casino and sportsbook solutions, tells TotallyGaming.com what the exponential growth of this crypto-currency means for the iGaming industry...

Bitcoin continues to grab the media headlines. Its usage and adoption by the connected generation - also sometimes referred to as 'digital natives', or 'millennials' - continues to preoccupy businesses both locally and globally.

An example of this is the recent announcement that Barclays, one of the UK's largest retail and online banks, is going to allow Bitcoin before the end of this year. If the implementation goes to plan, Barclays will become the first major bank in the UK, US and Europe to accept Bitcoin, while Swiss bank UBS recently opened a London-based FinTech research lab to look at the mainstream usage of blockchain and crypto-currencies. On the back of this, perhaps the UK Gambling Commission, the national regulatory body, may have to review its recent stance on Bitcoin as an unregulated currency in the UK.

Indeed several first-world nations, including the UK, US and most of Western and Northern Europe, have now generally arrived at the consensus of opinion that Bitcoin is a legal currency. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Barclays, BBVA, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, State Street, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS are collaboratively working on plans to design a "distributed ledger" technology based on the blockchain that facilitates Bitcoin transactions, further demonstrates the acceptance of Bitcoin within the traditional fiat-based financial world.

So why is Bitcoin the natural choice for these millennials? Simply put, the connected generation wish instant gratification via the multitude of apps and on-demand services that inhabit their smartphone. For the connected generation, everything is on-demand and almost immediate. Don’t feel like hailing a taxi in the rain in London’s West End? No problem, use the Uber app and it's there in minutes.

If you need more convincing, Cisco has predicted a 66 per cent increase in the market every year for the next four to five years with expectations that there will be two billion smartphone users in 2015. Indeed, the mighty Google has forecast the app market to be worth over £30bn (€40.75bn/$45.42bn) to the UK economy by 2025. That’s a huge amount of on-demand customers seeking instant services.

If iGaming operators are to capture more market share of this mobile-connected, on-demand consumer, they need to be thinking about Bitcoin as the mobile digital currency of choice and then the opportunities abound.

Bitcoin provides that adjunct for a truly on-demand gaming experience and gratification, with transfers of €0.01 or €1m instantaneously, with zero or low fees. Discreet methods mean gaming players don’t have to worry about bank holidays or jackpots won at the weekend taking several days to appear in the player's fiat bank account. Furthermore, Bitcoin allows a payment from anyone, anywhere within the online gaming ecosystem and is truly a borderless fulfilment.

Therefore Bitcoin is the ‘digital chip’ payment protocol to service this growing consumer market and if an iGaming operator’s platform supports Bitcoin, it could mean the ability to convince and convert the connected generation that is interested in on-demand gambling entertainment services.  

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