An announcement was made over the weekend by officials at Seals With Clubs, a poker site well-known for accepting deposits and play in the virtual currency Bitcoin. This announcement included a strong recommendation that Seals With Clubs players request withdrawals for their funds immediately while simultaneously banning any further play on the site.
What's really scary about this announcement isn't so much of what they said as what they didn't say. In short, there were mostly only vague references to "several events" that happened on and about February 11 of this year. However, here's what we do know:
Apparently they're also looking at opening a second version called SWCPoker, according to their chairman Bryan Micon. This isn't exactly reassuring, though Micon has mention he may release more details in the future about what's going on with them.
As we've recently covered, the Winning Poker Network is accepting Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. As we also mentioned, player balances aren't kept in Bitcoin. This single fact is what makes the WPN way so much better than what Seals With Clubs was doing.
It's also important to point out that WPN doesn't force players to deal with the fluctuations of the virtual currency while it's a part of their account balance. These fluctuations are often stronger than the swings that come with playing poker.
As cool and interesting as virtual currencies seem, they're still in their infancy, and there are still a lot of security risks that can come with holding them if they aren't handled correctly. Since Bitcoin are only used to convert to US dollars at the time of deposit, you don't have to deal with that risk while you have funds in your account.
A lot of the features of Bitcoin are liabilities in the online gambling world even though they have been tauted as potential advantages. The anonymous nature of this currency puts poker rooms in a position where they have to take a bit of extra risk. There's also a long list of Bitcoin exchanges and other companies that have been victims of fraud, and online poker doesn't really need another big scandal on its hands right now.
For Bitcoin online poker to work in the future, here's a short list of some of the things that will have to happen:
Do you think that Bitcoin poker can happen in today's environment, or do you prefer sites like WPN that keep your balance in other currencies like the US dollar? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think about Bitcoin poker.
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