Blockchain technology and Bitcoin are very quickly evolving the online world, and online gambling is a huge part of this. With the crypto currency steading after suffering its heaviest fall since 2015, now is the perfect time for fans of gambling to turn to this new opportunity. While gambling fans in the US can take advantage of the casinos in the big cities like Las Vegas and Reno and there are plenty of sports betting facilities in a number of states, there are certain restrictions when it comes to online gambling. Here, we’re taking a look at whether Bitcoin is providing a new way for US citizens to safely participate in online gambling, taking into account the legal constraints, benefits and risks associated with Bitcoin.
Legal Jurisdictions In The US
Since the introduction of the Wire Act in the US, there has been certain confusion circling whether or not it is legal to carry out any online gambling or online sports bets in the country. The Wire Act became the justification for government to put a tight leash on online gambling, despite there being a relatively large market it for it in the States. While there are a number of infrastructures potentially being put in place in a certain states such as New Jersey and Nevada that could lead to the legalisation of online gambling, it is still risky for US citizens to place funds into online gambling accounts, which could potentially be seized by the law. This is where Bitcoin comes in.
Bitcoin provides an anonymous way for US citizens to play online, as the Bitcoin itself cannot be linked back to an identity. This provides a safety net for those situated in countries where online gambling is restricted or puts the player at risk of having their funds seized.
Identification With Online Casinos
One of the biggest downsides to using online casinos, whether inside or outside of the US, is having to verify your identity by uploading personal documents or copies of your identification in order to open an account or deposit/withdraw any money. This provides a strong link between the account and the player’s identity. While this requirement has been put in place in an attempt to protect against fraud and adhere to the ‘Know Your Customer’ protocols put in place by various regulatory bodies, this could provide a security breach. There is a risk that accounts could be hacked and personal documents stolen or copied, despite the safety regulations and encryptions that online casinos have in place.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, provides a much safer online gambling option for people looking to place bets. Whether players are looking to sign up to trustworthy Bitcoin blackjack sites or they’re trying to find a Bitcoin poker room to suit their style of play, there are a huge number of options to choose from that require little more than a username, password or email. This means that no sensitive information is stored anywhere online and the only information people can extract from your online activity is your Bitcoin wallet address – not your identity. Bitcoin wallets themselves can be as secure as you want them to be and have a number of encryptions put in place to protect your Bitcoins. With a private and public key keeping your Bitcoins secure, there is no better or safer option for those looking to gamble online.
How Anonymous Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is known as an anonymous form of crypto currency, but term can be somewhat misleading. In fact, Bitcoin is more of a pseudo-anonymous currency, as the lifetime of a Bitcoin can actually be tracked – it just can’t be linked to a person’s identity. To put it simply, the transactions in Bitcoin are like using a pseudonym, and while it cannot be linked to you directly, certain transactions can be linked to your pseudonym. Every transaction will be stored in the blockchain forever and there is a minor possibility that your identity could be linked to your Bitcoin transactions provided you weren’t careful enough with your information or someone tenacious enough managed to find links between your Bitcoin activity, your Bitcoin address and your identity. However, there are ways to ensure the security of your identity when using Bitcoin, which are of particular importance in the US.
The original Satoshi whitepaper stated that Bitcoin users can use a new address for every transaction that they do in order to avoid the aforementioned situation. Using multiple wallets is one of the easiest ways to ensure your anonymity. This way, you are potentially gambling online with several different identities, making it difficult for your activity to be tracked and identity realised. Some Bitcoin wallets such as Multibit are actually set up to allow you to do this in a simple manner.
Protecting Your Privacy
The easiest way to protect your privacy and remain as secure as possible using Bitcoin when gambling online is understanding how traceable Bitcoin is. Adopting good privacy practices is the best way to ensure that you are not only using Bitcoin correctly, but also taking advantage of the pseudo-anonymous payment network.
Firstly, it is imperative that you understand that the Bitcoin network is based on a peer-to-peer system. Transactions’ relays are possible to listen to and it is also possible for others to log your IP address. This means that you can find the source of any transaction, so you may want to consider using a proxy in order to hide your computer’s IP address which will provide extra security and privacy if needed.
In addition to this, it is exceptionally important that you are using a private internet connection – not a public one – in order to retain your Bitcoin wallet’s privacy. Publishing any information about your Bitcoin wallet, such as on a website or social network, is also something you should avoid as this way people can link your Bitcoin address to your identity.
While Bitcoin remains a safe and secure way for gamblers in the US to place wagers on online casino or sports betting sites, there are a number of ways that you can personally make your privacy even more secure. Understanding the different ways that you can do this will provide you with a safety barrier when using the crypto currency, keeping your personal past times as anonymous as you want them to be.