Cryptocurrencies took off in a big way in 2017. At the forefront of the movement was Bitcoin (BTC), but nipping at its heels was Ethereum (ETH). Founded by Vitalik Buterin among others, the Ethereum blockchain is a huge project which encourages the use of ERC20 tokens within its network. Each one has a different use, meaning that the potential of ETH is extremely widespread.
Among the many projects that use ETH are a multitude of gambling propositions, from casino games to poker, including revolutionary ways to ensure no game is rigged. With this in mind, it is clear why ETH is frequently being accepted at more and more online casinos.
Why should I use Ethereum?
One of the main advantages to using ETH is the fact that it’s totally anonymous. Many online casino gamers like to keep their finances away from prying eyes. Using ETH is an easy way to do this, as neither withdrawals nor deposits are directly linked to your bank account.
It also gives you the chance to make money even when not playing at the casino. By simply holding ETH, players can enjoy profits if the cryptocurrency’s value increases. In 2017, the value of the coin increased by around 100x at one point. This represents an opportunity to passively make profit. Of course, the counter-risk is that the currency falls in value, which could well happen.
Is Ethereum safe?
If you’ve never used cryptocurrencies before, you may have come across horror stories about people losing all their money. But in reality, Ethereum can be a very safe currency to use – as long as you take the correct precautions.
There are several ways for you to store virtual coins depending on how you intend to use it. By default, once you’ve purchased ETH, your coins will be kept on the exchange on which you bought them. This is preferable for many people because it means you can easily transfer coins onto a casino or other wallet with just a few clicks. However, several exchanges have been hacked in the past. Notably, Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck had $425 million of digital currency stolen by hackers in January 2018.
Instead of storing ETH on an exchange, it’s safer to store it in a wallet. There are several options here. You can make a free wallet on sites like MyEtherWallet.com. It only takes a minute or two, and you can create as many wallets as you like. A long and complex private key makes it difficult for anybody to hack your account. So, your main job is simply to keep this information safe.
If you want to keep things even more secure you can invest in hardware to store your ETH. The Nano Ledger S is a popular choice for ETH owners. It allows you to plug in a USB device to digitally take your ETH off of its online wallet and onto the device itself. This means that, unless a hacker was able to get their hands on your physical device, it would be completely safe.
However, one key aspect of cryptocurrencies in general is that they’re not authorised by a central authority, like a bank. This means that, in the event you do lose your coins through fraudulent activity, it may be difficult to reclaim them. The onus is largely on you to keep your coins safe by following the correct procedures.
Making deposits and withdrawals with ETH
If you’ve never made an Ethereum deposit, it can be a confusing prospect. But once you’ve got used to it, the process is quite straightforward.
To make a deposit with ETH, the first thing you need to do is sign up to a crypto exchange. This allows you to change your regular, fiat funds – such as GBP, USD or euros – for a cryptocurrency like ETH. Once you’ve done this, you can send it on to a wallet. And from there, you can easily transfer it to the online casino of your choice.
Making an Ethereum withdrawal is the same process, just reversed. You can send your ETH back to your wallet using the public address or hardware. Then, you can put it back onto the crypto exchange. From here, you can withdraw it to your regular bank account by converting it to fiat.
What documentation is needed to use Ethereum?
A large part of the appeal of using cryptocurrencies such as ETH or BTC is that the currency is built on a decentralised system which does not require a bank account. Instead, users can create a wallet with almost no personal details whatsoever, except for a working email address.
There is no need to provide any kind of ID or even enter your name when making a transaction. Instead, to make an Ethereum transfer you just need the address of the payee. Once you begin the transaction, it’s uploaded to the blockchain where it will be verified before being fully processed.
You don’t need to provide any ID or documentation to use ETH. However, if you want to make large deposits of fiat or withdraw funds back into your bank account, many exchanges will ask you to verify your ID. This is not relevant to using ETH itself, but will apply to many online casino players who want to eventually withdraw their ETH winnings at GBP, USD or euros. In this case, the ID criteria will vary depending on the exchange’s own requirements.
What other options are there?
If you want to use something similar to ETH, there are many options. The most common alternative to ETH is Bitcoin (BTC). Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency ever created and is therefore very commonly found at casinos that accept ETH. In fact, providers have created loads of online slot machines which can be played using this type of virtual coin.
Bitcoin uses a similar process to ETH in terms of uploading funds to an exchange, or creating a wallet to store them in. Another alternative is Bitcoin Cash (BCH). BCH derives from BTC but has a different value. It also uses a much larger block size – 8MB versus BTC’s 1MB – which was designed to help the project scale.
As well as these, there are many other options, known as alt coins (or alternative coins). Neo (NEO), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and NEM (XEM) are a few that are currently quite popular, but there are hundreds more that many betting sites will accept.