2017 has been a fascinating year for two industries in particular. Blockchain technology and its Bitcoin (BTC) counterpart experienced unprecedented heights in more ways than one. Not only did BTC reach a remarkable $20,000 in price, but the entire cryptographic phenomenon took the media world by storm. Those who had never previously heard of digital currency certainly would have done by the end of the year. However, bitcoin was not alone in its most successful period to date. Esports, the competitive video gaming battle ground, has since become a multi-million dollar industry. Stadiums in the Far East are now packed without a seat to spare, all to watch supreme players display their gaming skills amongst their fellow rivals. So all things considered, it is no surprise there has since been a boom in Esports betting, with Bitcoin as the currency of choice.
What is Esports?
Esports is the Olympics of multiplayer video gaming, allowing two or more users to compete against one another on popular titles such as League of Legends, Call of Duty and Dota 2. Internet capabilities has now made it possible to play your favourite games against anyone in the world through a wireless connection. However, Esports has taken things one step further. Official tournaments held in major arenas are now a thing, whereby elite competitions are witnessed not only by spectators, but by audiences all over the world on TV. Those who are victorious are accustomed to some significant prize funds, the biggest to date – a pool of more than $20 million at the recent Dota 2 International. In 2017 alone, revenues from the Esports industry grew by more than 41% to an astonishing $696 million. The industry is confident that this figure will increase to more than $2.3 billion by the year 2022.
So Esports betting is now a thing?
Betting on the outcome of sporting events is a recreational activity that has been around for over a century. From the early days of Horse Racing, to Soccer, Basketball and Tennis – sports wagering is an industry that has experienced year-on-year growth since its initial inception. Esports betting is not immune from this, with a substantial amount of online bookmakers now offering both pre-match and in-play odds on the outcome of a particular game, tournament or competition.
So what has Bitcoin got to do with Esports betting?
Good question. So far we have discussed the exponential growth of Esports as an industry, and the fact that consumer demand to bet on the outcome of gaming events is also on the rise. However, there is also significant growth in the crypto-casino sector too. In a nutshell, the traditional online casino industry has become fairly stagnant over the past decade. Technological has allowed players to gamble through a variety of new platforms, such as through a laptop or mobile device. However, government interference has subsequently led to an overly regulatory experience, whereby players have to jump through hoops just to open an account. Furthermore, the withdrawal of winnings has also become a burden, forcing players to sometimes wait weeks until their funds are returned. Nevertheless, crypto-casinos have created a sea-change in the industry, allowing players to bypass the centralization of online gambling. The leading currency of choice is BTC, which has allowed users to deposit, stake and withdraw funds in a matter of minutes.
So there is a correlation between the growth of Bitcoin and Esports betting?
There certainly is. Innovation within the FinTech sector has resulted in what can only be described as industry disruption. Most notably, the capabilities of decentralized technology has changed how society views money. The target market of those interested in the individual characteristics of cryptocurrency and Esports are one of the same. This has created a sense of rebellion against global financial institutions, whereby people no longer want to hand over control of their wealth to a third party intermediary. Bitcoin ultimately solved this issue by operating on an open source, peer-to-peer framework, whereby no single authority has control over the network. The same can also be said for crypto-casino platforms, as by accepting Bitcoin as its main payment method, users do not need to rely on expensive banking fees and excessive withdrawal delays.
So how does Esports betting with Bitcoin work?
The significant growth of the aforementioned industries has results in highly competitive consumer choice. There are a select few traditional fiat casinos offering Esports betting that have now installed Bitcoin as an available payment method. However, the most popular avenue for Esports fans to bet on the outcome of games is through a crypto-casino. Essentially, users need only visit the operator’s homepage, quickly register an account, deposit bitcoin and then within a few minutes they are ready to go. This prevents players from having to submit sensitive financial information such as a debit or credit card. It also allows ultra-fast withdrawals back to a player’s wallet, without having to wait for a banking institution to process it.