‘Sports betting and Bitcoin a perfect match’ - Tim Heath
Bitcoin is shaking things up in the world of sports and to that effect, we've taken you through the basics of bitcoin as well as ran you through the use of bitcoins and rounded up the top bitcoin sports betting sites.
Now, it’s time to get upfront and personal with one of the men at the helm of bringing about the Bitcoin revolution in sports. We caught up with Tim Heath, CEO of the Coingaming Group for an exclusive conversation about where he sees the road heading for Bitcoin in sports betting as well as the various finer points involved.
1. Where is the future of Bitcoin, especially in sports betting?
I would argue the future is arriving as we speak. Bitcoin is now used by millions of people around the world. This number has increased rapidly, particularly over the past couple of years, and the trend is clearly continuing. Bitcoin is well and truly stepping into the mainstream.
In regards to sports betting, Bitcoin is a perfect match. The Bitcoin community is always looking for real-world use cases, and sports betting is one area where users are enjoying a better experience when they use their BTC (ticker symbol for Bitcoin) to play than when they use a traditional, fiat currency.
Our sports betting brand Sportsbet.io has been at the centre of this movement. By using Bitcoin, players are able to withdraw their winnings faster than they otherwise would with a fiat currency.
Our sponsorship of EPL team Watford FC is really helping us spread the word, not just of Sportsbet.io, but also Bitcoin more widely; we placed the Bitcoin logo on Watford’s shirt sleeve to help the brand reach a global audience of hundreds of millions of football fans.
2. Why has Bitcoin emerged as the cryptocurrency of choice for most?
Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency and has the strongest brand, and this has counted for a lot. Of course, there are many cryptocurrencies with fantastic, innovative functionality.
Many of these, such as Ethereum, Tron and Ripple, we have added as payment methods to our gaming brands. But Bitcoin is the number one because it has managed to engage users beyond the crypto community. Your mum has probably heard of Bitcoin, but it is unlikely she knows anything about Monero.
Ultimately, a cryptocurrency will only succeed if people buy into the idea of it, adopt it, and begin to use it regularly. No other cryptocurrency is close to Bitcoin on these metrics.
3. How does a sports-betting platform that allows players to bet with cryptocurrency differ from those platforms that don't?
With Sportsbet.io, we didn’t set out to build a cryptocurrency sportsbook. We simply wanted to build the best sportsbook. And we soon realised that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies had an important part to play in that.
We deliver all the fantastic functionality that sports bettors expect, but we have found that using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method enables us to build upon this.
For instance, our sportsbook can take deposits from players who don’t have access to a traditional bank account, which can be a challenge in certain regions around the world.
Because of the low fees associated with many cryptocurrencies, we can set minimum deposit levels below industry standard, opening up our product to a wider audience.
And best of all, the speed of cryptocurrencies means we don’t leave our players waiting. They can deposit and withdraw far more quickly than with traditional sportsbooks; no more waiting three to five days to receive your winnings into your bank account.
4. Is there any other sport’s fanbase where you see quick adoption of Bitcoin for sports betting over others?
Via our work with Watford FC, we are seeing football fans particularly open to Bitcoin. It is obviously a huge pool of users, but their willingness to try something new is refreshing. And most don’t go back when they see how Bitcoin works.
Another interesting one is esports. Obviously, the fanbase of esports is young, tech-savvy and innovative. So, cryptocurrencies are a logical fit for these users.
5. What do you see as factors that are expected to drive sports betting interest in India?
India is a country of sports fanatics. While cricket will always remain number one, we are seeing huge support across several other sports, including football. And this passion means the market is already there for sports betting.
6. On a broader note, how do you see the future of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin shaping up amongst the population at large? After all, a larger adoption by the public has trickle-down benefits for sports-betting as well.
It is an on-going process. Remember, Bitcoin is only a little more than a decade old. And it only really entered the mainstream public consciousness over the past three years.
The progress in this short time has been nothing short of staggering. The question we now face is how we take things even further. Our partnership with Watford is certainly helping this, not just in a sports betting context, but also in terms of general awareness.
Beyond that, we will continue to work tirelessly to create world-class products that give people a reason to use their Bitcoin.