The Grandaddy of Crypto Gambling: Satoshi Games
It is often said that the cryptocurrency revolution that begun with the launch of Bitcoin in 2009 has created a world of entrepreneurship and innovation. This was certainly in the case of SatoshiDice, a simple, yet substantially popular gambling platform, who netted its founders a highly respectable 126,315 BTC when it was sold to an Irish buyer in 2013. Otherwise known as Satoshi Games, the idea was relatively straightforward. Players simply need to predict the outcome of a cryptographically random number, which could range anywhere between 0 and 65,535. Based upon certain pre-defined parameters, which will be discussed shortly, the player would either win or lose the amount of BTC that they staked.
The history of SatoshiDice
Before delving in to the fundamentals of the Satoshi games protocol, it is highly relevant to have a quick look at the platform’s history. SatoshiDice originally opened its door in April 2012, with its founder know only his FireDuck username from the BitcoinTalk forums. The platform itself was unlike any other online casino, not least because all it offered was a simplistic dice game on a rather unsophisticated interface. Users could stake BTC in real-time, without having to open an account. Essentially, the gambling transaction was initiated once the user had selected their pre-defined betting conditions and transferred their stake to a static BTC address controlled by the SatoshiDice developers. The Satoshi games protocol took the cryptocurrency community by storm, which at one point in 2013 was generating more Bitcoin transactions that any other vendor, marketplace or exchange. As a result, the Satoshi casino was ultimately sold to an undisclosed buyer for a fee worth $11.5 million at the time of the sale in 2013. Not bad for casino platform with just over one year’s worth of trading!
The Satoshi games framework
So how did the SatoshiDice framework actually work? Although the terminology “dice” is interchangeable used, there were actually a total of 65,535 numbers, as opposed to the six found on a traditional dice. The odds of each roll would ultimately depend on the associated risk that the player wanted to take. For example, the player could predict that the outcome would be lower than 40,000, or alternatively higher than 40,000. The pre-defined odds would be displayed to view, and essentially the player could adjust these parameters to meet the odds that they wanted to achieve.
Independent verification of fairness
The most important unique selling point to the Satoshi games framework was that each gaming outcome could be independently verified. By utilizing the generation of cryptographically secure random numbers, the outcome could not be manipulated or pre-determined by the SatoshiDice developers, thus guaranteeing that the game was fair. It did so by blending both the hash from the player’s initial BTC stake address with 512-bit SHA2 technology. Those from within the blockchain community greatly appreciated a platform that could completely revolutionize the online gambling industry. The regulatory burden of excessive identification demands from traditional online casinos were no longer a requirement, no doubt one of the main factors behind the SatoshiDice platform’s success.
Over saturation of the Bitcoin network
Nevertheless, the Satoshi game casino journey did not go without controversy, with many arguing that the micro-transactional framework was spamming the Bitcoin network. This was because each individual bet would require two transactions. If the player won, the second transaction would return the winning bet plus the original stake. However, if the player lost their bet, they would also receive a second transaction in the form of a minute percentage of the house edge. This was a fundamental requirement to allow the dice game to function seamlessly, without requirement human interaction. It is common knowledge that the Bitcoin client is technically limited in the amount of transactions that the network can process. As the protocol has become more mainstream, transaction fees and block time capabilities have ultimately suffered. However, the aforementioned double-transaction framework allowed users to receive their winnings within a reported 30 seconds, which was a stark contrast to withdrawal timeframes seen in the traditional fiat casino sector.
Satoshi games in 2018 and beyond
The original SatoshiDice platform no longer operates in the online casino industry. Nevertheless, its brief successes have spurned a wave of new Bitcoin dice operator’s to enter the market. Most commonly, the dice betting framework now forms part of a wider range of casino games offered by online operators, rather than specializing in just the one product. Nevertheless, market leaders includes the likes of Fortune Jack and Betcoin, who each have a full suite of casino games on offer, including provably fair dice. The interfaces available on such platforms are much easier to the eye, without compromising on the fundamental ideology of the Satoshi game; create your pre-defined betting parameters, send your BTC and roll the dice!