How to buy and gamble with crypto
How to buy and gamble with crypto
Cryptocurrency is all the rage right now, but what exactly is it, where can you get it, and how do you gamble with the stuff? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to this in-depth guide, we’ll answer all of your questions and have you gambling with crypto in no time!
Let’s get started!
A short history of cryptocurrency
Back in 2008, the world was introduced to cryptocurrency by a mysterious figure known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. To this day, no one knows his real identity, but the legacy of Bitcoin has forever changed the financial landscape as we know it.
In 2007/2008, the world was experiencing a financial crisis. The resultant distrust of banks (also known as central authorities) is what’s thought to have kicked the entire thing off. Add to this the US housing bubble bursting and you’ve got yourself a volatile concoction.
Satoshi wrote a white paper explaining how you could create a new form of currency that was decentralized. He envisioned that digital assets would live across a worldwide network of computers, which would makes the whole thing free from government and bank control.
So besides being decentralized, what makes cryptocurrency attractive, especially for online gambling? Well, there are a couple of factors.
Anonymity: When you play with crypto, all you share is an address (like a web link). No one has access to any of your personal details or bank account info.
Avoid geo-blocking: Some countries don’t consider crypto as a currency (yet), so whereas it would be illegal to bet with fiat (“normal”) money, you could safely do so with something like Bitcoin for example.
Fast payments and withdrawals: Money can be deposited or withdrawn in a matter of minutes (up to a few hours at maximum).
Low fees: Casino wins can be converted to cash without the intervention of a bank, which means low-to-no transaction fees.
Choose your weapons
Right, now that we know what crypto is, and what the benefits are, the next step is to look at the various types of cryptocurrencies so you can decide which one to buy.
You’ll need to decide what you want to do with your crypto, though. In other words, are you going to gamble with it, or invest (solely or in conjunction with gambling)? If you’re thinking about investing, I’d suggest you chat with a professional who can offer you sound financial advice.
For gambling, I’d suggest buying Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOG), or Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Here’s a link to a SoftSwiss article on crypto use in gambling that shows the market share of these options. Not all casinos accept Tether (USDT), Ripple (XRP), or other more obscure ones, so while they have their benefits, you’ll find yourself limited to where you can play.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of the most popular gambling cryptos available. In terms of transaction fees, my feeling is that rather than quoting averages, it makes more sense to check what the current fees are, and what the trend says. While Bitcoin has spiked to $53.17 at its peak, at the time of writing, it’s $2.75 and from May 2018 to 2020, their fees were very low.
In other words, if Bitcoin is affordable and going through a stable patch, you can buy it now, do your gambling, and always sell or exchange for another crypto if the trend changes. It’s this flexibility that makes crypto an excellent option for what we do.
Ethereum’s fees have been exceedingly low until May 2020, so if I said their average was $4.42, you’d think that’s pretty good. Currently though, they’re at $18.24 and slightly volatile which changes the perception considerably.
|NAME||PROS||CONS||TRANSACTION FEES||BLOCK TIME|
|Bitcoin||Accepted at the vast majority of crypto casinosWorld’s biggest crypto in terms of market share||Slower processing timeHigher feesIt’s volatile, so its value can fluctuate||Click here||10 min|
|Ethereum||Has more to offer than mere transactionsAccepted at most online casinosETH is not capped2nd biggest crypto||Click here||10 – 15 sec|
|Bitcoin Cash||Fast processing times||Click here||10 min|
|Litecoin||Fast processing times (faster than Bitcoin)Cheaper than Bitcoin||Click here||2 min 30 sec|
|Dogecoin||Click here||1 min|
* Information accurate as at August 2021
There’s a clear winner in terms of block time, and that’s Dogecoin, closely followed by Litecoin and then Ethereum. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are the slowest (but that’s not to say they are slow, as you’ll see shortly).
If we do an overlay of these 5 cryptocurrencies’ transaction fees during the past year, it’s clear that Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are the winners, with Dogecoin coming in third best. Ethereum and Bitcoin are almost equally expensive, with the original crypto being slightly more pricey.
Image credit: https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/transactionfees-btc-eth-doge-ltc-bch.html#6m
So overall, Dogecoin and Litecoin are the fastest and cheapest, but Litecoin pips its competitor to the post in terms of the SoftSwiss article on the top cryptocurrencies with 4% of the market share versus 0.5%.
Our overall winner then is Litecoin, which is no surprise really considering it was created with the goal of prioritizing transaction speed (which in turn means less energy used and therefore lower costs).
However, you really can’t go wrong with any of these major cryptocurrencies when it comes to gambling. Some might take a bit longer than others, and some will cost you a bit less or more, but it’s all dependent on what you value (speed, low fees, availability on casinos, low volatility etc).
There is one thing to bear in mind if you’re wanting to play at a casino with Bitcoin Cash. I had an issue in the past (twice actually) where I was trying to deposit BCH and kept getting the error message: “No feasible strategy”.
This apparently happens when wallets were set up prior to a hard fork on the Bitcoin blockchain. Now mine was not set up then, but whatever the reason, I was unable to complete the transaction. The solution though is pretty simple. All I had to do was copy the BTC depositing address into this website and scan the resultant QR code. Problem solved.
What’s a crypto exchange and why do I need one?
By now you should have an idea of which crypto you want to play with, so the next step for us is to discuss exchanges.
What is an exchange? Well, this is a place where you can buy and sell crypto using your fiat / normal currency. The top choices here are Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, and Gemini.
|EXCHANGE||NO OF CRYPTOS||FEES||SELLING POINT|
|Kraken||50||0.16%||It’s never been hacked|
|Coinbase||25||0.50%||Most popular exchange by volume|
|Binance||500||0.10%||Was the largest in 2018|
|Gemini||40||0.25%||Said to be the most secure crypto exchange|
When making up your mind as to which exchange to go for, it’s a good idea to first check that they support the crypto you’re after, and that they support your local currency. Trust me; I’ve made this mistake in the past! I went to the trouble of setting up an account and getting verified, only to discover they didn’t offer the crypto I wanted, despite representing a whole whack of them! Ugh, rookie error!
I’ve decided to go with Kraken, so here’s how to set up an exchange account with them.
Head on over to Kraken and hit the “Create Account” button. Weirdly, it did nothing when I tried it (maybe it’s a Safari thing) so I tried the “Get Started” button and that worked. Now fill in your email address and a robust password.
You’ll then be sent an email with a verification code, which you’ll need to enter. The next thing you’ll see is the dashboard and handily, on the top are links to the IOS and Android apps.
The next thing you’ll need to do is verify your account so that you can start trading. You’ll then be asked to choose between 3 options: Starter (which takes 1-2 minutes), Intermediate (4-5 minutes), and Pro (a few days). We opted for Intermediate, as the Starter package was a bit limited (and as I always say, you never know where this journey will take you).
After clicking on the link, I had to input my personal details such as my address, passport / ID, a selfie, and proof of residence. Within a minute or two of doing that, I got an email saying it was all done! Seriously easy!
The next thing to do was to set up the 2FA security level for both the sign-in and funding process. For that, you’ll need an authenticator app (Google has one that I use). You scan the QR code from the authenticator app, enter the code you see in Kraken’s pop-up window and you’re done.
Now we’re ready to buy us some crypto!
Click on the “Buy Crypto” button at the top of the page and see a box in the center of the page. Here you’ll need to select “Buy”. Enter your local / fiat currency and the crypto you want to purchase.
There are two options available to you now; you can either deposit via bank transfer or you can add your debit/credit card details.
We opted for adding a payment card and this is a very easy and intuitive process. Once you’ve added all of your info, simply enter the amount of euro, dollar etc that you’d like to spend, select your cryptocurrency of choice, and click “Preview Buy”. There you’ll see how much crypto you’ll get after the fees have been taken off. If you’re happy, just go ahead and buy.
The transaction can take up to 150 minutes to be verified, but ours took only 20 minutes or so.
Crypto wallets for the win
Now that we’ve bought our crypto, we need to transfer this to a wallet. Wallets store your valuable cryptocurrency and allow you to send and receive the stuff. While some exchanges also offer wallets, I’d advise that you move your crypto off-site for a few reasons.
Some exchanges won’t let you transfer to an online casino and also, you should be the only one to control your crypto. If your BTC, LTC, or whatever is sitting in an exchange, they also have access to your private keys (the password that gives you access) and that’s not ideal.
You get different types of wallets; namely hardware or online wallets. Hardware wallets are physical devices, like the Nano Ledger for example.
These offer better protection as they’re stored offline and are thus more difficult to gain access to. The downside is the lack of convenience – you need the device to be in your physical possession in order to do transactions.
Online wallets still offer excellent security, but you can then do your thing from anywhere and at any time. I’d suggest using an online wallet that comes in the form of an app for your mobile phone. I say this because when you want to make a deposit at a casino, it’s a lot easier to just pick up your phone, scan the QR code and do the transfer.
And again, you might use crypto for things other than gambling so having access to it on your mobile device – as you would a banking app – just makes more sense.
Best digital wallets for iPhone and Android
|Jaxx Liberty||Good wallet for beginners You get unified dashboard so you can see all of your currencies in one place||Uses AES-256 security encryption (the only cipher approved by the US National Security Agency)||BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, Dash, ZEC, DOGE, USDT and more|
|BRD||While it’s called a “Bitcoin” wallet, BRD supports BTC, ETH, BCH, ERC-20 tokens and other cryptosIt’s open sourcedAllows fiat payments and in-wallet transactions||The app has an additional layer of security which allows the creation of custom PINs||BTC, BCH, ETH, are the only “popular” cryptos supported ERC-20 tokens|
There are many more wallets out there, but these two seem to be the best rated across the two most popular mobile phone operating systems.
I opted for Jaxx Liberty, as it offers way more “popular” cryptos than BRD, and after all, you never know where your crypto journey will lead you so it’s better to have options. I then downloaded the app, and accepted the terms and conditions.
Next, I selected my language and hit “Get Started”. I was then greeted by a message saying that I needed to back up my wallet in case my phone was stolen, lost, or broken and I needed to back up my Jaxx account. Makes sense.
After choosing to do the backup, the app gave me a warning to say that I should do this in private – when no one was watching – as anyone with the 12-word backup phrase could access my wallet.
Then you literally get 4 random words across 3 screens that you have to write down (don’t forget to destroy any paper trail later and preferably enter the info into your password keeper, if you have one. Which you really should).
Lastly, I was prompted to enter the words in the correct order by clicking on the options that were surfaced at the bottom of the screen.
Transferring crypto to your wallet
We now have crypto, and we have our wallet set up. The next thing to do is transfer your crypto to your wallet.
In order to link your wallet to your Kraken account, go to the “Funding” tab and select your currency (BCH for me). Select on the “Withdraw” tab and hit “Add Bitcoin Cash address”.
Next, open your wallet app and select “Wallets”. Choose your currency and hit “Receive”. This will bring up a QR code and address. Select “Copy Address” and insert that into the Kraken pop-up window.
Following this, Kraken will send you an email to confirm this address. Then when you’re ready to transfer your crypto from your exchange to your wallet, you’ll select the address in the withdrawals drop-down menu, select your amount (eg 100%) and away you go!
When you select to withdraw, you’ll see a pop-up window that will confirm all of the information. We paid $100 (around 81.03 Euro) and got 0.13942 Bitcoin Cash at the exchange rate on the day. The fee amount to transfer to Jaxx was 0.0003 BCH ($0.20 or €0.17) which left us with 0.13912 BCH.
After you’ve confirmed this, Kraken will fire off an email to you for another round of checks. It literally took a minute or so before the BCH was reflecting in our Jaxx account!
Playing with crypto
The Bitcoin Cash is in our Jaxx account so now we’re ready to get our gamble on. While there are a good few crypto casinos that offer excellent services, my favorite is BitStarz so I headed there. On the landing page, there’s a pop-up window (or you can also go via the “Deposit” page) where I entered the amount to deposit, and the currency (BCH).
In the little drop-down window, I selected the bonus offer (thanks BitStarz!) and clicked on the green button at the bottom. If you go via the Deposit page, you’ll need to add the cryptocurrency to your account, and then click “Deposit”. Now, you’ll see a page with “Deposit” on top, your various cryptos (make sure the correct one is highlighted), an invitation to read the Terms and Conditions, and at the bottom is a QR code.
The QR code is your deposit address, so whether you see this from the pop-up window described above, or via the Deposit page, this is what you’ll need to complete your transaction.
Now I opened my Jaxx app, selected BCH, and chose “Send”. In the Amount section, I opted for “Max” and clicked on the QR code icon under “Send To”. Remember that if you get an “invalid” message, just copy the BCH address into the converter and scan that.
In my instance of sending 0.13912 Bitcoin Cash, the mining fee was 0.00000384 BCH (which amounts to zero dollars or euros, really). Now I hit “Send” and after the confirmation, the crypto wings its way into my BitStarz account.
Six confirmations needed to happen on BitStarz’s side before the crypto reflected (this is not up to the casino so it can happen quickly or take some time; it all depends on how fast the BCH is mined). I sent the BCH from my Jaxx wallet at 09:36 am and it was confirmed as sent by Jaxx at 09:49 am. The crypto was in my BitStarz account at 10:13 am – so it took a mere 37min from start to finish and with no fees so to speak of! This is the glory of betting with crypto!
Now we’re ready to play! BGaming games are the ones that accept various forms of crypto so we went to “Game Studios” and decided on Elvis Frog in Vegas slot. You’ll see my BCH currency at the bottom of the screengrab, on the left-hand side.
And that, as they say, is that!
So we’ve completed our journey from deciding which crypto to buy, buying it and transferring it to a wallet, and sending it to a casino. I hope this article has been informative and that you agree that crypto is a far superior way to play.
All that’s left to be said now is good luck, and may the crypto be with you!
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- When choosing an exchange, make sure they accept your local currency and that they have your preferred cryptos before signing up!