How Poker Could Boost Bitcoin’s Standing
Despite having attained record-high prices this year, Bitcoin remains a mysterious and often-discounted asset in too much of the world. And, it seems that there are those interested in Bitcoin as an investment and those who have written off cryptocurrency altogether — and not very many in between.
This appears to be the case for a number of reasons. One is that the wild price swings Bitcoin still experiences on a near-daily basis can be intimidating (even though we’ve advised that people shouldn’t dismiss the cryptocurrency on these grounds). Another is that Bitcoin is still somewhat difficult to understand for those who don’t make a concerted effort to learn about it. Maybe more than anything else tough, the problem is still that Bitcoin isn’t visible. People don’t see it used or validated in everyday life, and thus find it to be somewhat mysterious, if not entirely alien.
There are a lot of potential developments that could change this. A handful of major food or retail chains could start accepting Bitcoin. We could see more Bitcoin ATMs (or “BTMs”) sprouting up in the real world. There have even been whispers at times of Apple and Amazon embracing cryptocurrency. One change that could be closer to coming to fruition, though, is a widespread embrace of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by the poker world. And there are ways in which this could legitimately boost Bitcoin’s standing in the world.
First and foremost, it could serve as one of the most prominent examples of Bitcoin being used in the real world — if live, pro poker were in on the action. Right now, the biggest live poker tournaments in the U.S. still include prize pots of up to a few million dollars, and buy-ins that can be as high as $5,000. These are amounts at which Bitcoin can reasonably be used without seeming complex or inconvenient. In other words, a tournament could be described as one with a 0.1 BTC buy-in or a 20 BTC prize pot. These are relatable, easy numbers for the public to digest, whereas buying everyday goods with Bitcoin today means spending something along the lines of 0.0001 BTC — which frankly seems almost silly. In pro poker, viewers would see Bitcoin being used, and the numbers would make sense.
However, the real boon might come in online poker, where the inclusion of Bitcoin as a viable payment and prize option at major website platforms would get more people actually to consider using cryptocurrency. Of course, not everybody plays online poker. But millions of people around the world do, and that simple fact means that the use of Bitcoin in poker could represent one of the biggest opportunities yet to spend and earn cryptocurrency in the real world. Incidentally, this is also where we have actually seen hints of progress as well. Some smaller gaming sites have already introduced cryptocurrency, leading some to wonder if larger platforms will follow suit.
By extension, Bitcoin in online poker would also serve to put more Bitcoin into circulation. While many have rightfully come to view the cryptocurrency more as an investable asset than a form of money, the idea of untold thousands of poker gamers around the world using Bitcoin means that they’d be treating it more functionally in the first place. Rather than withdrawing poker winnings in Bitcoin form to simply reinvest it for the long term, it is likely that at least some of these gamers would begin to think of it more like currency.
None of these potential developments are guaranteed. They do demonstrate, however, that poker has the ability to boost Bitcoin’s real-world standing in a fairly significant way. Widespread adoption in the poker world would ultimately represent a more significant development than some might expect.