In the past few years, cryptocurrencies have made headlines across the globe, especially thanks to Bitcoin’s rise to prominence. Viewed widely as the flagship digital coin that is credited with introducing altcoins to a mainstream audience, Bitcoin paved the way for a range of other cryptocurrencies, each offering their own unique take on what digital coins should provide to users. Nowadays, cryptocurrencies are not only valuable for traders, but they have gradually become the focus of online and tech companies looking for new ways to connect to consumers and maximize profit, as the recent example of Facebook shows.
Secure payments for online casinos
One of the major advantages that cryptocurrencies have to offer is increased privacy and security when it comes to transactions. Industries that by definition handle a large number of payments over a large volume of transactions each day, like the online gambling industry, are extremely interested in tapping into that potential. Online casinos see a fortune exchange hands every day on their most popular games, like poker, roulette, blackjack and craps. They also usually provide monetary incentives, like no deposit bonuses and free spins to appeal to newcomers, which increases the chance of a win even if a gambler has not bet any money.
The industry is no stranger to harnessing tech to accommodate and engage clients. Online casinos have lately turned to augmented and virtual reality to offer VR roulette and augmented reality online slot games, while video poker and video slots have been around for years. As the video poker payout calculator shows, the game is preferred by many punters thanks to its good chances of cashing out and entertaining nature. Online casinos have also partnered up with pioneering companies like PayPal and Neteller to offer more secure alternative payment methods. Turning to blockchain tech could help make the payout process even more secure. After all, online casinos are no strangers to cryptocurrencies, as many of them already offer the option to place your bets in well-known cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ripple.
Facebook launches Libra
Now, Facebook seems ready to kickstart another trend. While many high-profile tech companies, including Microsoft and Amazon, have been involved with their very own blockchain projects lately, none of them has yet grappled with launching their own altcoin. Facebook has earlier this year acquired the development team behind blockchain start-up Chainspace. The firm, which was established by researchers affiliated with University College London, was focused on smart contracts as well as implementing blockchain solutions beyond payments in areas like polling. The Chainspace team was reportedly underway with raising almost $4 million of initial funding when the acquisition took place and they have been attached to Facebook’s project of launching its own cryptocurrency.
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Unveiled earlier this summer, Facebook’s Libra will harness blockchain tech to allow Facebook and Whatsapp users to transfer money or make purchases from their Calibra wallets, integrated into the social media apps, with fees that will approximate zero. The news was received with skepticism by some governments, but if the project succeeds, it could turn the tables in terms of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption. Crypto adoption by consumers is currently relatively low – presumably also due to the fact that the cryptomarket is associated with some risks, like market volatility, hacker attacks and lack of regulation. Currently, Turkey ranks first in use of cryptocurrencies at 20%, while the US lags behind at 5%, and France and Germany at 4%.
It remains to be seen whether Facebook’s plans will shake things up among its competitors.