by Daniel Smyth, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
Imagine a financial world where money can't be physically held and a single government body doesn’t hold the purse strings. It sounds impossible. Perhaps it isn't, as Bitcoin, a new virtual currency, is rapidly growing in popularity. Bitcoin's financial exchange system has become increasingly appealing to potential users recently, and now it has found its way to the poker world thanks to independent poker room SwitchPoker.com.
Implemented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the peer-to-peer (P2P) monetary system uses virtual currency, known as Bitcoins, which are both created and traded via the internet. Each Bitcoin is made through a process known as Bitcoin mining, which takes place using a software program attached to a user’s computer.
The software acts as a cog within a larger matrix, using the computer’s CPU and GPU to anonymously verify and publish transactions to the network. Because this process is extremely resource hungry, providers are rewarded with Bitcoins, which they can then use for trade.
Used mainly by computer companies, Bitcoins are quickly becoming a viable alternative to credit cards for purchasing online services across the world. Indeed, as the currency has grown, a series of exchange markets have emerged - www.mtgox.com for example - through which people can buy and sell Bitcoins. The current value of one Bitcoin is $2.30 or €1.75.
While there are certain reservations about Bitcoins - most notably that the system’s anonymity makes it possible to launder money more easily - the currency seems to be flourishing. Indeed, with the poker industry now starting to take notice, it could soon become the preferred currency of online players in the near future.
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