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3 Ways the Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are Transforming Poker

As the world closed down because of the pandemic, people flocked to the digital realm to continue with their lives as much as they could. With most establishments closed, digital shopping and consumption rose. This extended even to the way people entertained themselves — and even more so with poker and casino games. In April 2020, online poker betting reached an all-time high, with New Jersey and Pennsylvania leading the record with $79.9 million and $43.1 million, respectively, in revenues.

The field of online betting is not the only one that enjoyed a significant boost despite the global health crisis. Cryptocurrencies are also on the rise, with Bitcoin’s average price increasing by 113% from December 2020 to May 2021. This boost can be attributed to an increasing number of Wall Street investment firms, financial institutions, and companies like PayPal expressing faith in cryptocurrency. As a result, more and more industries are gravitating towards and being disrupted by blockchain technology — and of course, online poker is no exception.

So with that in mind, here are three ways the blockchain and cryptocurrencies are transforming poker.

Anonymous transactions
Because cryptocurrencies run on blockchain technology, its decentralized nature allows information to be securely recorded and transferred. With every transaction record only visible to the parties directly concerned, there is no interference from banks or even government entities. Consequently, the anonymity of the players will be protected, and they can continue depositing and withdrawing without a third party snooping around.

Easier account funding
As corporations and financial institutions gradually adopt cryptocurrency, a change in the financial system is to be expected, with a new set of products and services innovating to support consumers’ changing needs. Similarly, the use of different cryptocurrencies will be accepted in funding online poker accounts.

This trend is much more than just a novelty — it is actually quite practical, given the current limitations set by US laws. Poker analyst Jon Sofen points out that under the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, gambling sites cannot legally accept online bets from certain areas of the country. This makes it illegal for banks to process online poker payments in most states. But because cryptocurrencies operate outside of traditional banking systems, online poker players can enjoy their games wherever they may be. This is why it is widely believed that cryptocurrencies might just be the key to legalizing online poker in the US. With banks no longer involved when it comes to transferring funds between the player and the poker site, there are less archaic boundaries for online poker to truly flourish in the country.

Reduced likelihood of cheating
At this point, the worry over rigged software in online games is nothing particularly new. This is why it is a valid concern for online poker players. However, with blockchain technology, the likelihood of cheating is reduced significantly. By implementing the technology as a payment method, the ledger is automatically updated, and players will be prevented from modifying or even hacking the public record. It also allows users to see the calculations used to determine the odds, as well as their winnings and losses in real-time.

Of course, despite the potential cryptocurrencies can bring to poker and other online games, there are still challenges that need to be overcome, especially since cryptocurrency is not yet widely available and accepted. However, as more financial institutions embrace cryptocurrencies, they become more popular, and their value will only continue to increase. One can only expect more industries to be revolutionized by this technology. Change is indeed on the horizon, whether the world is ready for it or not.

Elina is New York based writer and media consultant. Currently she is involved as an advisor in several ICOs. In addition to her professional interests, she loves jazz, modern art, coffee, and yoga.

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