Firstly in this article, we'll look at what cryptocurrency, blockchain and smart contracts are. Secondly, we'll see how gambling games like blackjack can be improved with cryptocurrency technology. Thirdly, we'll look at some of the more interesting gambling games to emerge: Satoshi Dice - the first widely used blockchain game. CoinPoker - Decentralized Poker. Dice - Decentralized Gambling Platform (DApp) on the EOS blockchain. RocketGame - Another DApp but on the TRON blockchain. We discuss blockchain technology throughout this article. Here’s a quick a quick intro video on the topic from Blockgeeks if you’re unsure what it is.
Firstly, what gaming problems can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin potentially solve?
Lot’s of gaming sites take deposits and withdrawals from conventional providers like PayPal or Banks. Cryptocurrencies allow payments to be sent directly peer-to-peer without going through a third party. This means transactions are faster and have reduced fees. Transactions can be made anonymously too. Privacy Coins like Monero (XMR) have been specifically created to stop outside observers seeing the source, amount and destination of transactions.
A more extreme implementation of cryptocurrency payments for gaming would be the use smart contracts. Ethereum Smart Contracts are the most widely known but did you know Bitcoin has them too? It does and even has it’s own modelling language to make specifying contracts easier: BitML.1 A Bitcoin contract allows two or more participants to exchange Bitcoin according to a three phase workflow.
Advertisement: someone broadcasts on the blockchain the contract and it’s preconditions for allowing the bitcoin to be transferred.
Stipulation: if all the participants accept the preconditions, the contract becomes stipulated.
Execution: participants satisfy all the specified rules and the bitcoin is distributed among the participants. This final distribution may vary depending on how the participants completed the preconditions.
For more info on Bitcoin smart contracts and BitML check out this video from the Association for Computing Machinery.
How can this be used to improve gaming though? Well, two ways are by eliminating counterparty risk and making games provably fair.2
Counterparty risk in gaming is the risk a gaming site doesn’t return a player’s money. The 2011 Black Friday incident, is a famous example of this. The FBI shut down several poker sites. Players all over the world lost the money they had stored on these sites and had no way to recover it. Smart Contracts can’t be shut down or censored. If smart contracts were used appropriately during the Black Friday incident, players would have still been able to withdraw their funds.
If a game is said to be provably fair, it means that it’s odds can be confirmed mathematically in a transparent way. Gambling sites have been known to rig games. For example, a slot machine might pay out less than the site claims. Smart contracts can be used to prove a game is probably fair. If the contract has open source code, then the game results can be independently verified using the blockchain.
We have just had a look at some of the different way’s cryptocurrency can improve online gaming. Let’s now look at how the technology has been implemented in the real world.
Launched in 2012, Satoshi dice is a Bitcoin gambling game that was the first widely used application on a blockchain. At one point it was responsible for more than half the transactions on the Bitcoin network.3
The game is simple. You submit a number from 0 to 65,535. Next the game generates a random number in that range. If the number is below the submitted number, the player wins. The lower the selected number, the bigger the payout.
I wanted to give the game a quick try if it had a modern version. Unfortunately, a quick Google search returned a number of player accusations of shady activity and it being a scam site. I can’t confirm these accusations, but I didn’t want to take the risk and potentially lose my funds.
The original game was supposed to be provably fair. All a player needed was a Bitcoin address to place a bet. There was no need to visit a website, download software, or create an account.4 The hash of Satoshi dice’s secret seed was published to the blockchain along with the betting address. The player could then verify each of their bets to make sure no cheating transpired.
Launched in 2017, CoinPoker uses Ethereum smart contracts, its own cryptocurrency token called CHP and soon a decentralized Random Number Generator (RNG).
CoinPoker states that “the main goal of a smart contract is to enable two anonymous parties to do business with each other, usually over the internet, without the need for a middleman”.5 CoinPoker uses Ethereum smart contracts to give players full visibility of everything that happens on the network. This visibility includes player actions and the randomness of dealt cards.
Let’s now talk about CoinPoker’s token CHP. It’s meant to be a shortened version of CHiPs which fits nicely with their poker product. One reason they wanted their own currency was to let any player purchase it online no matter their geographic region.6 Although anyone can buy their tokens, CoinPoker does state they restrict players based on the gambling laws of that players country. As for the trading value of the coin, CoinMarketCap shows that after an initial increase in price, the tokens value plummeted and has not recovered.
The current RNG is a hybrid system that incorporates existing RNG techniques with blockchain technology. According to CoinPoker’s website, soon a 100% decentralized RNG will be released. This transparency will allow players to view their impact on card shuffling.
Dice is a decentralized application (DApp) that uses the EOS blockchain and is powered by the cryptocurrency EOS. Gambling applications have become so popular with EOS that you could mistake it for being specifically designed for them.7
Modern digital games require a blockchain that has a low response latency and the ability to a handle high amounts of transactions. Ethereum, the most widely used blockchain for smart contracts, fails to meet these needs.8 Enter EOS! Here’s another quick video from Blockgeeks that explains how it operates. Basically, applications on the EOS blockchain can conduct millions of transaction per second without fees.
Dice markets itself as “the first decentralized social gaming platform in the world.”9 They have several games including Blackjack. As they are on the EOS blockchain, all games are verifiable and therefore provably fair. They are also open for third party game developers to create new games.
To play any of the games you need to make an EOS wallet that let’s you create an account to use on Dice. I used the Scatter Desktop Wallet . It's like any ordinary bitcoin wallet except except you can use it for EOS transactions.
Once I got the EOS wallet set up, I simply go to dice.one on google chrome. I’m not sure if other browsers are supported with the Scatter wallet. I’m going to play a bit of blackjack. You can instantly deposit and withdraw EOS into your DICE wallet and start playing. The whole process of playing is easier than any online casino I’ve played at.
RocketGame uses another blockchain technology called TRON to power it’s DApp. Like EOS, TRON sets out to improve on Etherium and Bitcoin and has grown into one of the largest blockchain-based operating systems in the world. The cryptocurrency associated with TRON is called TRX.
RockeGame was the first Player versus Player (PVP) game on the TRON blockchain. Their PVP games include Monopoly, Battleship and Banker Bull. They have become one of the biggest applications on the TRON blockchain for user numbers and transaction volume.
To play any of the games you need to make an TRON wallet that let’s you create an account to use on RocketGame. I used the TronLink chrome extension to instantly make an account just like with the EOS casino dice.one.
Well that's it for this article. Please share the article if you like it. Also, don't forget, if you're looking for casino games that accept Bitcoin, EOS or TRX, check out our new directory pages. They list casino info, deposit bonuses and the other online gambling info you need:
Blackjack Bitcoin Sites , which lists the top Bitcoin Blackjack games on various bitcoin gambling platforms. Blackjack EOS Sites , which lists the top EOS Blackjack games on the EOS blockchain. Blackjack TRON sites , which lists the top TRON Blackjack games on the TRON blockchain.