Tickets for $1.5 Billion Powerball Jackpot Now Selling for Bitcoin

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on January 13, 2016 at 18:21 BST

Mobile lottery ticket app JackPocket has officially integrated bitcoin payments into its offering, a move that allows users to buy Powerball tickets, both for tonight’s $1.5bn jackpot and future prizes, with bitcoin.

The announcement comes as the Powerball jackpot climbed to a record $1.5bn today, creating what would be the largest lottery prize ever distributed in the US. Launched in 2015, JackPocket offers a mobile app that allows New York residents to play lotteries including Powerball, Mega Millions and three New York state lotteries.

In a Medium post, CEO Peter Sullivan framed the move as part of the startup's mission to reduce friction in the lottery purchasing process, adding that his team is "very bullish on cryptocurrencies and the blockchain in general".

Sullivan wrote:

“Our goal at JackPocket is to create a more efficient lottery platform … Utilizing Bitcoin is one step in right direction to accomplishing our goal.”

Sullivan also hinted that JackPocket has been experiencing difficulties with its payment systems due to "large volumes" and "heavy regulation", forces that he said put pressure on its relationships with credit card processors, acquiring banks and card networks.

Further, the CEO suggested that the move would potentially attract more affluent and tech-savvy consumers to buy more lottery tickets, while positioning the startup to take advantage of micropayments, a long-debated but still developing use case for the technology.

Jackpot works by scanning copies of real lottery tickets for users, orders that are fulfilled by employees who physically buy the tickets. Users who win more than $600 have tickets are delivered to so prizes can be claimed.

Notably, the company’s investors include Digital Currency Group, the investment vehicle owned by noted bitcoin enthusiast Barry Silbert.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group. 

Lottery balls image via Shutterstock

Barry SilbertDigital Currency GroupGambling

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