As CEO and founder of BetVIP, the world’s first licensed bitcoin-only sportsbook and poker gaming site, I have grown a business operating in a currency that was initially unknown to many, but is now part of one of the most exciting developments in sports and betting in recent years.
When I first encountered bitcoin, I was struck by the vast global opportunities it offered. Here was an online currency which was easy-to-use, capable of fast, safe transactions with no chargebacks and a common market for a worldwide, online audience.
Having one currency enables BetVIP to offer our customers from across the globe the opportunity to wager on sport, poker and casino games in a safe, central location offering a secure and reliable platform for bitcoin holders.
For the uninitiated, bitcoin is a digital currency that exists in an encrypted state online – a cryptocurrency. It was launched in 2008 into a world where the financial crisis was in full flow and offered a fresh alternative to traditional currencies, each with their own economic and social drawbacks that were feeling the full weight of global turmoil.
Bitcoin is an anonymous currency, with no all-powerful third party to handle exchanges and charge astronomical fees to do so.
That was its initial appeal to me. A global currency with low fees and strong identity protection as well as rapid, simple and safe payments. I see bitcoin as the future of the online gaming industry and, more than that, I see it becoming a major player in world business.
In the years following its launch, bitcoin grew into the public consciousness, which prompted much head-scratching by governments across the globe. It was an unknown entity, so why should they trust it?
For the average punter, it initially posed a similar problem. We’ve worked hard with BetVIP to provide transparency and accountability to gaming in bitcoin. We’re operating to strict guidelines, adhering to the regulations laid out by our ruling bodies and are fully licensed. Our gaming license and strict bet acceptance policy demonstrate our commitment to the longevity of the currency which, with increased government awareness, will only get stronger.
While BetVIP, as a responsible gaming company, has always operated under gaming and betting regulations, it is only now, as cryptocurrency has developed to a point where it is knocking on the door of the mainstream, that world leaders and financial institutions are taking notice of bitcoin on a regulatory level – and in a big way.
In August, UK chancellor George Osborne announced a consultation into the role that digital currencies had to play in the UK financial sector, stating that he’ll “ensure Britain’s financial sector continues to meet the diverse needs of businesses and consumers [in the UK] and around the globe.”
The results of that consultation were announced late in March, establishing the need for digital currencies to come under anti-money-laundering legislation and promising £10million (not bitcoins, yet) into digital currency research in the coming year.
This is great news for bitcoin businesses such as BetVIP, who are flying the flag for digital currency both in the UK and globally. We want to see bitcoin succeed and grow into everyday use.
Regulation and investment at a governmental level adds another layer of security and stability that can only be good for our business and our players. It legitimises an area of currency that is a leap into the unknown for many, while offering safeguards against those who perhaps aren’t the most honest traders, in any currency.
More people are using bitcoin – we see that in the success of our site – more people are dealing in bitcoin and, as highlighted by PayPal’s announcement that they’ll accept bitcoin payments, more people are purchasing in bitcoin.
Our business is riding the wave of increased trust in bitcoin. Following BetVIP’s launch of the first licensed bitcoin-only sportsbook in June last year, we then added virtual and casino products, before launching the first licensed bitcoin-only poker room last month. Our rapid growth over the past year stems from the fact that users want a trusted, licensed bitcoin betting and gaming environment. We only see that need increasing.
I’m passionate about the future of bitcoin. Gone are the early days of fluctuating values and false dawns. Bitcoin offers a fantastic opportunity for the betting and gaming industry to continue to grow, we’re pleased to be right at the sharp end of that opportunity. Bitcoin is the global currency of the future.
Daniel Schwartzkopff – Founder & CEO – BetVIP