What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin (BTC) is not only an online payment method but also a digital currency. The only difference between Bitcoin and other traditional currencies, such as Dollar, Euro, British Pound, etc., is that it only exists in the digital world and that it is completely decentralized, meaning it is not regulated by one central institution such as the Federal Bank. It works by using the peer-to-peer marketplace, which means that Bitcoin is stored on computers of everyone using it.
In order to use Bitcoin assets, you first need a “wallet”, which is an open-source software that you download and install on your computer. You can obtain Bitcoin by purchasing them for real money or you can obtain them through the so-called process of “mining.” Once you have a certain amount of Bitcoin in your wallet, you can exchange them for real money at Bitcoin exchanges.
How to Get Started with Bitcoin
Since Bitcoin assets are located in the digital world, opening an account and obtaining Bitcoin is extremely easy and fast. All you need to do is follow a couple of simple steps.
First of all, you need to get a wallet. The best way to do this is to visit a site such as Bitcoin.org and choose one of the listed wallets. There is a large number of free wallets that you can choose from, so do your research and pick the one that best suits your requirements. There are different types of wallets as well, tailored to be used on mobile devices, desktop computers, hardware, and web options as well. Some of the most popular wallets today are Bitcoin Core, GreenBits, Simple Bitcoin, ArcBit, mSIGNA, and so on. After you choose your preferred wallet, make sure to also secure it and back it up in order to ensure not to lose any valuable data.
Secondly, you need to get Bitcoin. There are three ways in which you can obtain Bitcoin. You can get paid in Bitcoin for the goods or services that you provide. You can purchase it online by exchanging it for real money. And you can use your hardware for mining it. Please note though that you will need special hardware for mining Bitcoin, which is not one of the easiest options nowadays.
After that, it is time that you make a deposit and start using it at a Bitcoin poker site. Let’s see how to do that.
How to Make Deposits and Withdrawals with Bitcoin
Once you register at a poker site and choose Bitcoin as your preferred payment method, you will receive a personal Bitcoin address. This address is very important as you will use it when you are depositing or withdrawing money using your account. When you perform a transaction, your private key is combined with the poker site’s public key and the amount of Bitcoin that you want to use. After that, the result of this mathematical operation is shared on the peer-to-peer network for other users to authenticate it. As soon as this process is finished, you can start using your Bitcoin assets.
When you wish to withdraw money from a poker site, you have two options to choose from. Firstly, you can choose to send your coins directly to your preferred exchange service where they will be sold for traditional currencies and you can choose to transfer them to your bank account or an e-wallet. Alternately, you can send your coins straight to your wallet if you want to keep them. It’s worth it considering these options given that Bitcoin rates are sometimes very volatile. While you can withdraw your Bitcoins directly to an exchange, I would always recommend you to withdraw them to your own wallet first. The advantage of your own wallet is that you really own the Bitcoins because you are the owner of the private keys. If you transfer to an exchange it’s not you who is owning the Bitcoins, but the exchange, because they own the private keys.
Transaction Fees and Processing Time
Since Bitcoin transfers do not rely on an external bank or a clearing house, there is no third-party to be paid when making transactions. This means that there are virtually no transaction fees that you need to pay when making deposits or withdrawals. Generally, the processing fee is usually 0.0001 BTC, which is so minuscule that it is not even worth mentioning.
When you make a deposit or a withdrawal, before you can use your digital money, you need to wait for the transaction to be processed by other users on the blockchain. However, this processing time usually lasts less than one hour, after which your coins become fully available. This makes Bitcoin one of the fastest and most efficient payment methods for poker sites. That said, another cryptocurrency called Litecoin takes even less time, around 10 minutes.
The minimum amount allowed for the transaction by Bitcoin wallets is 0.00000001 BTC. With the current exchange rate of Bitcoin that would be a couple of US dollar cents. On top of that you will get a transaction fee. With most wallets the transaction fee will be calculated by itself already. However, poker sites accepting Bitcoin usually have their own limitations that are often higher than the ones imposed by your Bitcoin wallet. They usually range anywhere between $10 and $25.
The same goes for withdrawals. You are only bound by the amount that is specified by the poker site that you use and not by your Bitcoin wallet.
However, if you choose to make withdrawals and deposits in Bitcoin, some poker sites will give you certain incentives in the form of discounts, different minimum and maximum deposit and withdrawal amounts, bonuses, and promotions.
Things to Consider About Bitcoin
Even though using Bitcoin as a preferred payment option has many advantages, it also comes with certain drawbacks that you should consider.
First of all, this is still a relatively new payment method, so the choice of poker sites accepting it is limited compared to other payment options. If paying with Bitcoin is your absolute top priority, it means that you will need to sacrifice other aspects of your poker site experience.
Secondly, even though using Bitcoin is far from rocket science, it is still a bit more complex than using traditional forms of payment. You need to find and install a wallet on your device and you also need to frequently exchange bitcoin for real money and vice versa. Even though this is not very complicated, it still takes more time than some other options.
Finally, privacy comes at a price. The fact that Bitcoin is not regulated by most countries’ governments is both a blessing and a curse. This is exactly why the fees are that low or almost nonexistent. However, in case the poker site you played at shuts down, it might take your Bitcoins with it. If that happens, you have nowhere to turn for help, as any cryptocurrency including Bitcoin is not an official currency, and the transactions are irreversible once completed.
In case you are looking for some quick answers to questions about Bitcoin poker sites, check out our FAQ section below.