It seems as if bitcoin and gambling are inexplicably intertwined.
With that in mind, here's a look at LeetCoin. It's a platform that allows multiplayer gamers in genres such as first person shooters to really know the score. That's because the winner gets bitcoins, while the loser gives some BTC away.
The concept of LeetCoin is simple. You sign in with a Steam account – a digital gaming distribution platform – then you are routed to LeetCoin's servers, where you play Steam-based games through a wagering system. Kingsley Edwards, the developer behind LeetCoin who decided to get involved with bitcoin earlier this year, describes his service as similar to that of a poker table.
"It's like a poker game. The servers you connect to (via Steam login) are like a table. Each server has a different wager. Right now, it is set at 0.001 bitcoin for each kill," says Edwards.
The company makes it money from a 4.95% fee on wager transactions. Edwards, based in Toronto but raised in Las Vegas, described this fee as "like a rake" in poker. LeetCoin has been in development since June, and since launching last week has signed up more than 300 beta users.
After stabilizing its Google App Engine-powered server load through this initial beta period, the company is now looking for more people to test its platform. Gamers looking for more incentives to engage in multiplayer games might see LeetCoin as a good way to make a bit of money on the side.
At the recent Bitcoin Price Index value of $133.12 per BTC, that means each kill in Counterstrike is currently worth around thirteen cents per kill, or $1.33 for ten slayings on LeetCoin's current wagering amount. Of course, it's important to keep in mind that if you die in the game, you'll pay. But it still seems like an interesting concept regardless.
In-game gambling is expected to be a big market for bitcoin as well as other decentralized virtual currencies. The reason? Unlike existing payment systems, gamers can send and receive BTC almost instantly. There's no need to wait, and as a result the user obtains instant gratification for wins (although the immediacy is the same for losses).
Artbiter is another example of this concept, but for more casual mobile games. An in-game mobile platform for bitcoin, that company recently went through the Boost VC incubator program and has partnered with a popular as-yet-unnamed game publisher to provide in-app bitcoin gambling services to them.
These developments suggest that this is a great way to encourage bitcoin transactions for enthusiasts. Although no one knows yet how large corporations like Steam might feel about decentralized virtual currencies being gambled through their platforms, if there is a high level of adoption companies will have to acquiesce. And 300 users for a platform that has only been around for a week like LeetCoin is pretty darn good.
Expect to see more companies like LeetCoin in the future, unless rules and regulations push them out the door.
What do you think about the possibilities of in-game bitcoin gambling?
Featured Image: LeetCoin