Those with an interest in cryptocurrency have long kept an eye out for altcoins that could conceivably challenge the supremacy of Bitcoin. Somewhat surprisingly given the extent to which the crypto market is still developing though, we really haven’t seen a serious short-term competitor emerge.
One way that people tend to look for potential challengers is by identifying features in altcoins that have the potential to make them preferable to Bitcoins in the eyes of consumers. This in fact was the basis for our discussion on the potential of DigiCoin to exceed Bitcoin in the long run. In that post, it was pointed out that features like greater speed than Bitcoin, greater scarcity than DOGE, and 100% customer satisfaction could set DigiCoin apart. And that may well be the case! It’s not illogical to assume that the field of cryptocurrencies is so large that one of them with user-friendly features will ultimately rise to outstrip Bitcoin.
In addition to favorable features though, cryptocurrencies also need opportunities to shine. And that’s where poker comes into our discussion. Save for sudden adoption by major retailers or other large companies, there are surprisingly few areas in which one could reasonably expect cryptocurrency to break through in a meaningful way. In poker though, there have long been whispers of crypto adoption, either through online platforms or at real-life tournaments. And there are a few reasons to expect this could represent a major leap forward specifically for a Bitcoin competitor.
Competitors Are More Convenient
For all its dominance, Bitcoin has a lot of issues. For some, it’s too expensive to invest in already. For others, the energy consumption behind Bitcoin is a problem. But perhaps the biggest barrier to Bitcoin’s actual use as a currency is that it’s somewhat inconvenient to use. The method of using it isn’t difficult. But the fact that day-to-day transactions require tiny fractions of Bitcoin can be off-putting to some.
Consider for instance that a $10 lunch, as of this writing, would cost 0.00018 BTC as of this writing. Or, more relevant to the poker discussion, a $25 buy-in to an online tournament would run you about 0.00046 BTC. These are simply inconvenient numbers to deal with, and may keep some poker platforms or tournament entities from ever embracing Bitcoin. But they could still embrace the crypto concept more generally, providing an opening for a given altcoin to break through as a more useful, player-friendly option.
The Legalization Issue
The point above speaks to why an altcoin, and not Bitcoin, could become a preferred option in poker. Even this, however, would likely be a fairly small development at first. It might be a single online poker provider, or one event on a pro poker circuit, embracing the altcoin in question. What might just help to make all of this a bigger deal, however, is the potential for cryptocurrency’s entry into poker to more or less bypass the legalization issue.
There have actually been discussions about cryptocurrency and poker legalization of late, with the basic idea being that because cryptocurrency isn’t legal, government tender, people may be able to use it for poker betting where they aren’t permitted to use ordinary money. It’s something of an unsettled issue at the moment, but if it’s determined that crypto poker is allowed — and if an altcoin has already made its way into the poker world — there could be a significant boom in attention. It’s not an exaggeration to say that millions of poker players, both online and in person, could swiftly gain interest in playing the game via the altcoin in question.
One of the most interesting things about Bitcoin is that to some extent it’s more of a trend than anything else. Its gains are often sudden, and seem to reflect passion and excitement among investors rather than sound financial projection or logic. Some investors openly admit to a lack of understanding regarding the leading cryptocurrency. And yet there it sits atop the crypto charts by a wide margin — one of the trendiest assets in the world.
We’re not suggesting that would happen with a given altcoin that took the lead in the world of poker. But there would likely be a kind of snowballing publicity. An altcoin proving itself as useful currency in the wide world of poker might just have the potential to enter other areas of the gaming industry, and perhaps other markets altogether. It’s a reasonable path toward functional appeal rather than investment appeal.
Whether or not this scenario ultimately plays out, it’s interesting to consider. We spend a lot of time comparing the features of different altcoins as we seek for good investments or potential Bitcoin competitors. But opportunity matters also, and poker represents a big one that isn’t talked about enough.