The future of cryptocurrency has always been a debatable topic, with many still unsure if the digital currency can replace or improve on traditional formats.
Casino and sportsbook operators have incorporated new cryptocurrency offerings onto their platforms. But more education, closer attention to bettor preferences and regulation may be needed before crypto enters the mainstream in gambling.
Cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity, yet some companies remain sceptical about this payment option. As far as the iGaming industry is concerned, uptake has been relatively slow. But it’s only a matter of time until it becomes a fully fledged facet of the industry landscape, says Matt Sahakian, chief sales officer at Technamin, an iGaming platform provider.
“As human beings, we are always resistant to any sort of change at its beginning stages. Crypto is no different. It has only been around for 10 years or so, so we should consider it a relatively new phenomenon.
“I think one of the main reasons behind the scepticism is that crypto is not tangible and it is decentralised. You cannot touch or feel it. Perhaps this causes a sort of anxiety, further exacerbated by the fact that no one can control blockchain currencies. They are beyond the grasp of governing bodies, hence their illegality in many locations. All of these can be influencing factors, among other things.”
Lack of understanding drags on adoption
Crypto has latent potential in spades, but it has never quite capitalised on this and reached the heights it has often promised. For it to become a ubiquitous offering across the iGaming industry, there must be a more widespread understanding of its capabilities, continues Sahakian.
“The more we become aware of crypto and its capabilities, the more pervasive it will become in the online gaming sector. With everything we know about these currencies, there is still a lot to be discovered.
“The biggest tipping point, I feel, is listening to what the end user, bettors, demand. Blockchain allows for anonymous payments, and that’s why bettors appear to favour it. Their e-wallets don’t show any information unless a transaction is in progress. No private information is saved. The ability to review each user’s transaction histories greatly increases security. The fees are considerably lower. If there is demand from bettors, then surely operators and providers will begin to cater to it and crypto will become an inseparable part of iGaming.”
Looking ahead to a world where digital currency does become mainstream raises further queries: how can regulatory bodies control cryptocurrency, for example?
“I think that governments may try to impose a sort of tax on cryptocurrencies,” says Sahakian. “Right now, many cash out these currencies into fiat assets, so perhaps placing taxes on fiat assets generated from crypto wallets may be an initial step in trying to regulate blockchain currencies.
“We also have newly proposed regulations, such as MiCA, which have been devised to place some sort of control on crypto. It will place more pressure on crypto service providers and lead to additional regulatory steps. But, then again, MiCA is specific to the European market, so I think we must simply follow the trajectory of things and take steps accordingly.”
Regulatory frameworks across Europe continue to tighten, which has affected many aspects of the iGaming industry. Crypto is no different: alternative currencies will have to adapt.
Comply with regulation
“As we are witnessing these regulations form, I believe that the only way to proceed would be to comply with them,” says Sahakian. “This may be challenging, as we are trying to regulate something that is decentralised by nature. However, bucking the trend will certainly come with its own set of issues.
“The best thing that crypto service providers can do at the moment is to acquire the proper authorisation required to operate with the European Union. We will, of course, comply right along and work together as an industry to ensure that our sector is in line with cryptocurrencies in the best possible way.”
THE 300 SPARTANS:
After triumphing in key locations across Asia and Europe, AGS is flying 300 top affiliates to Malta, for an all inclusive deluxe trip. The event will happen alongside SiGMA, 14-18th November, during SiGMA Europe.
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