Cryptocurrencies saw a sudden boom in popularity in recent years, but a recent crash in the market has left investors scrambling. For instance, the most popular crypto Bitcoin fluctuated between $18,000 and $22,000 over the past few weeks — a far cry from its peak of $68,000 in November of last year. Aside from shaking investors in their belief that Bitcoin is a hedge versus other asset classes, crypto's bearish trend could affect a number of other industries with poker being one that could see impacts.
For the past few years, crypto has played a key role in the online gaming industry. While physical establishments do not allow people to pay with crypto, many websites have started to accept different coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum as a mode of payment. In fact, the crypto casino market is growing, with around 70 crypto-friendly sites currently in operation. The industry has reported $2.8 billion in revenues so far this year, as users tend to opt to use digital currencies on gaming platforms due to the safety and anonymity the technology provides.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have also been used in the industry as different online casinos are entering the metaverse. Pioneered by Gambleswap – an NFT marketplace and community – there is a rising trend in producing highly immersive gaming spaces to give players a better experience. This decentralized form of gaming also aims to ensure the user privacy and safety, similar to what blockchain technology can offer.
As cryptocurrencies are actively used in different ways within the poker industry, it makes people ask the question: "How will a crypto crash affect the online gaming world?"
The crash is expected to affect online poker negatively. Many providers are looking to increase their minimum cash-in fee for players who use crypto to ensure that their platforms don’t lose money. A minimum cash-in fee will mean that digital currency has the same fiat money equivalent, to be fair to those who are paying through more traditional means. This change may either discourage patrons from continuing to use the sites, or force providers to disable the crypto payment option completely. Most likely, crypto's crash could also affect the progress in which metaverse casinos grow, as investors will continue to try and wait for a bullish turn before continuing to use the currencies and blockchain technology.
The market crash could also affect how many states legalize online poker. Some experts consider cryptocurrency as the key factor in making internet casinos operational under the eyes of the law because cryptocurrencies make funding easier; its decentralized nature can circumvent specific banking laws that prohibit monetary transfers across states that don’t allow online casinos operate. A little over 10 years after the Black Friday incident, providers are working diligently to adhere to gaming laws so that they can continue servicing their patrons. Crypto’s growth contributed to the rise in online poker sites, encouraging legislators to legalize the platforms. But with the crash detracting people from using these sites, lawmakers will find fewer reasons to keep certifying different providers, slowing down online poker's legalization.
Avid players and investors alike continue to wonder if there is any hope in bringing crypto back to its former glory.
As the crypto crash continues, investors are still hoping that digital currencies are able to bounce back. A similar situation happened in 2017, which some thought would be the end of crypto, but it managed to regain its footing and come back stronger than ever. Investors and online poker players consider this an important reference point, and hope that the crash will stop soon enough. Given how the situation is affecting the online gaming industry as a whole, it is probable that stakeholders will do everything in their power to get the cryptocurrency market back on its feet in no time.