Fancy a little bitcoin wager? Online games are now appearing designed to let people play with bitcoins, in the hope of winning big.

Bitcoin transfers are conducted online, and rarely carry any fees. So it’s no surprise that carnival-style games of luck and skill are emerging, designed to capitalize on the easy payment mechanism while earning both winners and organizers a little cash.

Two games in particular have captured our interest recently: Bitchicken and Coinbomb.

Bitchicken is a math-based (of course!) game that relies on bids from players. It collects five bids, in the form of bitcoins, from different players. The winner is the person who bids the closest to 25 percent above the average. This person receives the majority of the payout: 98 percent. The team at Bitchicken collects a 1.9 percent share, leaving the other players to split the remaining 0.1 percent among them as proof that their bids were processed.

Bids are grouped randomly, and the Bitchicken team aims to process each game within the hour (as long as there are enough players wanting to participate).

But it’s not all luck, according to the site:

“Early on, we suspect there will be a lot of bad bids and opportunity for anyone who can see patterns or do basic maths.”

While Bitchicken is mostly a game of guesswork, Coinbomb involves a race against the clock. It’s a bit like the old children’s game, “hot potato”.

The Coinbomb site makes “bombs” available for purchase. Each bomb is a package representing a certain amount of bitcoins, and carrying a certain interest rate.

When someone grabs a bomb, they pay the initial purchase price. They must then sell it to someone within 24 hours. If they don’t, then the bomb “explodes” in their hands and they lose the game (and their bitcoins). If they sell, they receive the original purchase price from the buyer, plus extra bitcoins, paid at a predefined rate of interest.

Say, for example, that Jim buys a two-bitcoin bomb with a 15 percent interest rate. If he sells it to Julie, she’ll pay him 2.3 bitcoins, earning Jim an extra 0.3 bitcoins over his original purchase price. If Julie then sells to John, John will pay her what she paid, plus 15 percent. But if John can’t find someone to buy that bomb within 24 hours, it expires, and he will have lost 2.645 bitcoins.

“Bomb” buyers also have a chance for an instant win, which pays up to their entire purchase price. This effectively refunds the total amount they paid, while still leaving them free to sell the bomb … meaning whatever sale price they negotiate would be pure profit.

The attraction of Coinbomb is that players always stand to make more than they pay. However, the risk increases with each purchase because — as the bomb’s value increases — there will likely be fewer willing buyers. Players with a large networks of interested friends and colleagues will probably stand a better chance of selling in this game.

Meanwhile, the folks at Coinbomb presumably net the original purchase price of the bomb, conjured (like bitcoins themselves, you might say) from nothing.

With a business model like that, expect to see plenty more Bitchicken- and Coinbomb-type sites emerging onto the scene for game-loving bitcoin fans.

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