Bitcoin and Crypto-Currency Make Poker Players Millionaires3 years ago
When it comes to money there are very few areas in which poker players don’t dip their toes in the hope of making a quick buck, or even a million bucks! Crypto-currency, the newish digital version of real money of which Bitcoin is probably the best known, is no different - and its recent highs have seen a lot of players getting rich quick.
If all the crypto-currency jargon is like double-Dutch to you, then Kncminer.com’s explanation might make things easier: ‘Think of Bitcoin like a hack-around - not like a basic currency which involves banking. It operates in the P2P (peer-to-peer) atmosphere, like the latest Nicolas Cage straight-to-video release. But it doesn’t take a mind able to comprehend Bitcoin to understand how it's changing the game of poker.’
Now this was written a while ago, at the very peak of the crypto-currency boom in 2013, but the markets have hit the roofs again, with sharp and rapid drops too – and poker players are in the perfect spot to cash in.
Why would poker players be at the forefront? For a few reasons actually…
1) They understand variance, and crypto-currency as a fair amount of it! If you’re trading in crypto-currency, you need to understand both the long-haul and the short-term opportunities available – which sounds a lot like poker.
2) It’s also about as anonymous as it gets, and in many ways just as safe as things like PayPal. At Bitcoin poker sites you usually only need a valid email address in order to play right away and an identity check is not required. In the USA, at least, it allows players to get around the Government’s inability to deal with, or dislike of, the money generated in online poker.
3) Poker sites which accept Bitcoin (and there are a lot of them) have very small or no transaction fees. Likewise, withdrawals are much quicker than more usual methods – always a big factor when playing poker.
There are a number of other factors, of course, and one of them which saw a lot of people get rich very quickly was...
4) Bitcoins, before they became huge, were just sitting around in poker players’ e-wallets or online accounts – crypto-currency they had won online but which made little sense to cash out. Until recently, that is…
Network and security expert Chris Ferguson (no, not that one!) has a keen interest in all things to do with crypto-currency, and has an idea as to why the market is so buoyant at the moment, telling me that:
“It could very well be partly due to factors such gamblers etc. wanting to evade tax or make anonymous transactions. Personally I feel it’s more an indication of peoples’ confidence in our global currencies as a whole. We never truly recovered from 2008, so people are seeing it as a potential safe haven.”
“It would make sense, savers get next to no return on their money, and stock markets are gambling in itself. As there is a finite number of Bitcoins that can ever be in circulation, it isn’t subject to currency devaluation. However, as it’s not backed by anything, it is subject to the usual market forces our normal currencies are - specifically confidence in its ability to perform.”
Of course, there have been serious crashes in the value of crypto-currency in the past, and a number of these currencies have ‘vanished overnight’, so how would an investor know what to look for when it comes to security?
As Chris explains it:
“Anyone can in theory make their own crypto-currency. The only way to have a good sense of security in that respect is to look at the history of the currency, how long it’s been around, how many exchanges accept it, does it have a good track record etc. At the end of the day there is always that risk. It just comes down to the person doing their research so that they feel confident it’s not going to vanish overnight - it is just a bunch of 1s and 0s. There is nothing tangible backing it up, (in most cases) no financial guarantees, so if for some reason everyone dumped their currency overnight, there goes the value of your crypto."
Although poker-playing crypto-millionaires are yet to come out publicly (for obvious reasons!) there are some rather famous names in the crypto-currency world who are well-known, perhaps the most obvious being the Winklevoss brothers.
According to Altcointoday.com, the twins famous ‘for their dispute against Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook…' adopted Bitcoin in the very early days. ‘They invested $11 million in Bitcoins which makes them two of the richest in the Bitcoin club. In 2013 they claimed to hold 1% of the total existing bitcoins. Their net worth is over $400 million.’
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