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Online console gaming has grown by 35% from 2019, while popular US games like poker have also seen significant growth in a short space of time, mainly due to land-based establishments having to close. This has driven more people to play poker online, both with their friends and competitively. And one major effect of more people playing both consoles and casino games like poker online has been the integration of cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currency systems that allow for secure payments online. Secured by cryptography, cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology — a distributed ledger stored across thousands of different computers — which enables it to be free from a single regulating authority. Because it’s become a popular payment method, many online gaming providers now allow cryptocurrency; in fact, there is even a crypto casino that allows users to play using cryptocurrency.
Crypto’s Impact on Online Gaming
Moreover, crypto is expected to create a lasting effect on online gaming, particularly due to its promotion of blockchain technology. Here are three ways online gaming has changed thanks to crypto:
Keeps payments transparent and safe: Security is a crucial factor in making in-game purchases, and crypto improves security and transparency by allowing convenient negotiations, preventing illegal trades of digital assets, and providing players more freedom. Aside from supporting payment mechanisms, blockchain can also help terminate hacking and key-stealing by creating an immutable ledger, which eliminates duplicate keys.
Allows for game modifications: It’s likely you’ve heard of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) already. These are pieces of digital media with the ownership recorded in a blockchain, so characters and items in some video games can be stored in NFTs. It’s possible that when you earn an item in one NFT game, you can still use it in a completely different NFT game. The item could be permanently “yours”, increasing its value. Some games, like Age of Rust, even allow you to earn cryptocurrency with real-world value while solving puzzles.
Enables instant exchanges worldwide: Gaming has rapidly become a global phenomenon, with players all over the world engaging one another through digital platforms. However, buying or transferring digital assets across the globe is a difficult, time-consuming process. Cryptocurrency eliminates inefficiencies like trade embargoes and other constraints, allowing for almost instantaneous payments across the world, without any issues regarding security or exchange rates.
Potential Downsides to Crypto and Gaming
Despite all the promise that crypto holds for the future of gaming, there are still plenty of bumps in the road to smooth over.
Lax identity checks: With online gaming, your money could be secure, but your personal information is not. Cryptocurrencies allow you to make transactions anonymously. However, this could also be a double-edged sword. Lax identity checks could make it difficult for law enforcement to track down culprits in case of illegal or fraudulent transactions.
Regulatory issues: The anti-establishment ethos of crypto makes it difficult to regulate. By its very nature, it’s not beholden to a specific country’s border or to specific agencies within a government. Cryptocurrencies are tricky to class as an asset, so they can’t be taxed accordingly. There are no policies to address high speculation, artificial pricing, scalability issues, and market volatility to ensure crypto’s long-lasting use across industries.
While plenty of questions persist regarding the application of cryptocurrency in gaming, it’s clear that it wields the potential to change how the gaming industry develops and manages their games. Crypto challenges existing bottlenecks in gaming, and allows users to call the game something truly their own.
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