Bitcoin sportsbook and casino Cloudbet has gone from strength to strength since its inception, and has recently passed its milestone fifth anniversary.
Acknowledging the early engagement of the bitcoin community as integral to its success, CasinoBeats spoke to the organisation’s spokesman Mirio Mella who addresses successes, challenges, industry wide adoption and what its recent landmark tells us about bitcoin’s resilience.
CasinoBeats: Cloudbet is now five years old, how much of a landmark is this in the world of bitcoin casino and sportsbook operators?
Mirio Mella: Even though bitcoin gambling has become more professional and seems a lot more solid today than back when Cloudbet started, crypto is still in its infancy. The technology itself is being iterated like there was no tomorrow, and business people are frantically toying with it and trying to come up with innovative businesses models to take advantage of its raw potential.
There is so much happening that it’s humanly impossible to keep up. It’s like bitcoin ages in the digital equivalent of dog years, the pace of change in the space is just dizzying.
And the betting industry has been pretty good at recognising the potential behind bitcoin. In fact, gambling has been one of the first and best use cases for crypto up until now.
The stats are not as comprehensive, but some reports estimate that gambling may be responsible for a great chunk of all bitcoin transactions.
That is perhaps one of the reasons why bitcoin gambling has quickly become such a competitive space, with Cloudbet regarded as one of the pioneers.
For Cloudbet, to have crossed the five year-mark and joined the select few that have succeeded, is both a great honour, and the ultimate proof of bitcoin’s strength and potential to transform the way we transact.
CB: During this period what are some of the biggest changes undertaken? And what major challenges have you had to be overcome to ensure sustained success?
MM: First of all we had to create a new infrastructure practically from scratch. Back when we started, there were no established standards or references for bitcoin gambling, so the launching of our bitcoin sportsbook – and shortly after our bitcoin casino – was, in a way, breaking new ground for the industry.
As pioneers, we had to build our platform with the utmost care to make sure it would not only work seamlessly, but also – paramount to us – that it would be absolutely secure.
This included securing funds on cold storage from day one, and implementing 2FA early on (May 2014) without sacrificing our players’ privacy.
Also, our vision has always been to offer the easiest way to bet with bitcoin. Even though it’s much easier now than it was five years ago, using cryptocurrencies can still prove challenging to less tech-savvy players.
So one of our key challenges has always been to smooth their journey and make it as friendly as possible to everyone.
To achieve that, we strive to provide users of all levels with comprehensive educational content on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. We believe that in the long run crypto will grow and play an increasingly important role in the economy, and the gambling industry – as one of the pioneer use cases – can not only help accelerate that, but also benefit from educating new people into the space.
“Gambling depends on trust, players must trust that their funds will be protected.”
Finally, we were one of the few – if not the only – platforms to honour the bitcoin cash hard fork, so players who had BTC in their accounts at the moment of the split can to this day claim their corresponding BCH.
CB: One of the ways which Cloudbet states it achieves success is by addressing the shortcomings of fiat bookmakers, how is this achieved?
MM: Gambling depends on trust. Players must trust that their funds will be protected, that their wins will be paid out in a timely manner. Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) are an incredibly powerful tool to ensure that.
By using bitcoin, we are able to cut out all intermediaries. This means payments in and out happen much faster, and are not limited by working days or banking hours. Also, there is less uncertainty for both operators and players.
On the one side, credit card (or PayPal) charge-backs are impossible, ensuring the deposits’ finality and that dishonest actors can’t reverse transactions – bitcoin solves double-spend.
Not only that, but players don’t need to worry about having their funds inexplicably frozen by payment providers during payout. All transactions are censorship-free and can be easily checked on the blockchain. Plus, there is always the chance of winning twice when gambling with bitcoin through rising value of the currency.
“The revolution is already under way!”
This ties into another feature: privacy. Bitcoin transactions offer a higher degree of security and privacy, and no third party has access to players’ individual expense history.
Finally, bitcoin transactions cost only a fraction of traditional fiat transactions – that is especially true for cross-border payments.
Players know beforehand how much their transaction will cost and how long will it take – unlike with traditional systems like SWIFT or VISA, where hidden fees can add up to tens (or even hundreds) of dollars.
CB: Should the industry be more welcoming to embracing Bitcoin? Could it revolutionise the sector?
MM: The revolution is already under way!
The gambling industry was arguably one of the first consistent use cases for bitcoin and it still is a strong driving force in the space. Estimates suggest that from 2014 until 2017 over 3.7 million BTC have been wagered.
“As pioneers, we take it as part of our responsibilities to set the highest standards”
After Cloudbet, several players have joined in, and bitcoin betting has quickly turned from a niche market to a professional and competitive space, on par with established fiat platforms.
As the rate of adoption increases, we will see more established operators turning to crypto – especially because increased liquidity and adoption should lead to reduced volatility, which has been one of the main drawbacks of bitcoin’s use as a currency.
CB: Looking ahead, what do you believe will be the next steps for bitcoin operators such as yourselves?
MM: As we move ahead, we aim to expand our vision of offering the easiest, friendliest bitcoin betting experience even further. There are several implications to that:
- We are continuously investing on creating and updating our educational resources to promote crypto adoption – both via our website and the Cloudbet Blog. And not only for our players, but for everyone. We understand that by growing the pie, everyone wins.
- We’ll continue to update our infrastructure to keep up with advances in the space, improving security and user experience.
- We are also looking into new ways we can leverage the power behind blockchain technology in other aspects of the business.
The crypto market is still in its infancy, so things move in an astounding pace. There are over 2,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation, and this number is changing almost on a daily basis, with some failing while new ones are launched.
As this market consolidates, we are looking to add support for other currencies, so players can use their coin of choice to place bets on Cloudbet. However, we are going about this very carefully, as security is paramount – and our vetting process reflects this concern.
As pioneers, we take it as part of our responsibilities to set the highest standards for the crypto gambling industry, so as to foster trust between players and operators.