Bitcoin Gains Spark Huge Interest From Online Poker MarketNovember 22, 2013 4:25 pm
At present just a few online poker sites offer Bitcoin as a payment processing option, but that may all be about to change after a U.S. Congressional hearing signaled a more positive attitude towards the internet currency.
Up until now, U.S. lawmakers seemed more concerned about highlighting the potential for illicit activities stemming from Bitcoin use, such as money laundering, with The Economist reasoning in 2012 that its popularity was due to “its role in dodgy online markets.”
Recently, however, the value of the digital currency has sky-rocketed after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, said that the use of virtual currencies could hold “long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.”
As a result, the value of Bitcoins soared from $400 last week to $900 earlier this week, before settling down to its current exchange rate of $777. The latest figures are even more impressive when one considers the value of Bitcoin was just $70 around five months ago, and that in 2011, two years after Bitcoin became operational, the value of one Bitcoin was just $0.30.
As well as sparking wider interest in Bitcoins, the three-hour long Congressional hearing on the currency also helped the digital currency gain a certain degree of legitimacy, which may bode well for online poker sites which accept Bitcoins.
Case in point, US-friendly poker site SealswithClubs has witnessed a huge surge in traffic lately and now enjoys a seven-day average of 130 cash players, which is well above the numbers reported by PokerScout only a couple of months ago.
At present there is believed to be around 12 million Bitcoin in existence, with over 50,000 being transacted each hour. It has even been suggested that Bitcoin is also gaining popularity in countries suffering from weak currencies and inflation, such as Argentina, for instance, where Bitcoins are used by some people as an alternative to the country’s legal tender.