The 2018 World Cup could see the highest limits available only to punters betting with cryptocurrency.
Although Bitcoin remains popular, restrictions on the amount placed have made it less popular in the gambling industry. But that could be set to change, as various operators look set to up their threshold for crypto-based bets.
Although cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are known as volatile and unstable, they are ultimately much safer from a fraud point of view, although there are issues with money laundering. With a Bitcoin register in the public domain, it is easy to verify each transaction which makes an event of relatively short duration, such as The World Cup tournament, look appealing to increase the cap.
In fact, for those looking at betting with Bitcoin, it could become a historic World Cup in which the highest betting limits are only available to those with the currency. Compared with fairly low fees and super fast transactions, watch out for Bitcoin highs during the World Cup as users take advantage of up to 140BHC (£4,868; $6,525) for each group phase and a whopping 700BHC (£528,000; $708,000 at today’s exchange rate) for the final.
Why bet with Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is popular amongst certain users due to the degree of anonymity it offers thanks to its encrypted nature. In a previous article, we interviewed Steve, who admitted his gambling went from £10 to £1,000 ($13 to $1340) a week in parts due to the lack of responsibility it afforded him in his home life.
With Bitcoin, the standard identity checks that are carried out when registering with a gaming site using most currencies are not carried out. It is effectively easier for the operator to process the transaction, but comes with a risk that the currency will crash, which is why holding large amounts is not a great idea. But with a time limit of the World Cup, this might be a great opportunity for users of the cryptocurrency and operators to work together, boosting the platform of crypto once again.
Is it only Bitcoin?
Several sites are offering betting options for other cryptocurrencies too. CryptoCup is a game in which players predict the outcome of fixtures in the hope of winning Ether (ETH). The top 10% of players of the game will share 42ETH which equates to around $22,500 (£16,411) at the time of writing.
Litecoin is also a popular cryptocurrency for gaming and will be used by many people placing bets throughout the upcoming World Cup too.
Bitcoin could come out on top
Bitcoin isn’t only being used for betting though, with Visa and MasterCard currently blocked from use in the Kremlin, traders have been seeking a way to process visitors’ payments. Some hotels in the World Cup’s host town of Kaliningrad are accepting the currency as a method of payment. Anna Subbotina, manager at the Malina Apartments hotel chain, said: “Cryptocurrencies are now enjoying increased interest. Gradually they will come into use as a means of payment. And we decided that the fans should be able to pay for our services with the help of this innovative technology. It may very well be that other hotels are awaiting our example for the forthcoming football holiday.”
It is the first time the currency will be used to buy off-line products at a World Cup, and speculators are predicting that the currency’s move into the real world could lead to it seeing its value rise throughout the tournament. According to Forbes, airlines and travel agents have also been accepting cryptocurrency in the run-up to the event.
Wirex, one of the sponsors of the event, is also offering customers the option of loading Bitcoin onto a Visa debit card.
The Bitcoin price has struggled in 2018. Despite reaching heights of almost $19,000 (£14,173) late last year, following the crash in January, it has slumped again in recent weeks, and investors are certainly worried over this downward trend.
But could the 2018 FIFA World Cup be a defining moment for cryptocurrency making a leap into the real world? Watch this space.