The use of crypto currencies in online betting has taken a huge leap over the last year. The gambling industry is adapting quickly even as the fate of private digital money in India remains in a legal limbo.
Asian Gamers Push Up the Market Share of Crypto Assets
Crypto currency payments account for 26 per cent of total global betting turnover in March, as revealed by SoftSwiss Game Aggregator’s corporate report for Q1 2021. Just a year earlier, digital money was used in merely 6 per cent of gambling payments worldwide. Crypto currencies have quadrupled their share in the segment at the expense of fiat money (issued by government banks) – down from 94 to 74 per cent.
The positive trend for digital currencies is caused mainly by betters from Asian countries and the increase of crypto casinos in the region. India, together with Indonesia and the top performer Japan, are the main forces behind crypto’s positive momentum.
India is also the trendsetter for the rise of popularity of Ethereum. In early 2021, EHT has officially become the most widely used digital coin in Bharat. Globally, Bitcoin still holds the number one position, preserving a dominant market share of 83 per cent (down from 90 a year ago). Litecoin records a slight drop to 3.5 per cent, while Bitcoin Cash and Dogecoin both rise to 1.5 per cent from under 1 per cent in late 2020.
Online Gamers Pay Close Attention to Financial Aspects
In his recent feature presentation at SEOCon Indonesia, Mattias Bergehed – co-founder and CEO of ENV Media and SevenJackpots – illustrated the importance of payment-related matters in the online gaming industry. Financials are followed closely by legislation and licensing issues, historical gambling background, game types and availability, as well as device compatibility.
Payment aspects are among key decision-making factors for most gamers when they choose where to play. Security of financial and personal data, user friendly deposit and withdrawal procedures, as well as transparency regarding possible currency conversion – these are all frequent questions posted by online players.
Crypto Money Is Widely Used by Online Casinos
Most of the top ranking online casinos offering Andar Bahar real cash games work with digital currencies. Gaming operators like PureWin.com are keen to provide payment flexibility to users, allowing them to use their preferred deposit and withdrawal methods. Numerous crypto currency wallets and mobile apps complete the more traditional fiat money options.
Regulatory Hurdles Did Not Stop the Rise of Digital Currencies
The Indian regulatory environment concerning crypto currencies has been characterised by indecision and inconsistency for years. In April 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a notification banning all trading with crypto currencies by financial institutions. Prominent crypto operators like Zebpay, Kali Digital and Koinex were among those forced to shut down operations.
Two years later, in March 2020, the Supreme Court decided that the circular lacked proportionality and struck it down. According to the apex court’s 180-page verdict, the RBI had failed to prove any damage or threat posed by crypto currencies to the Union’s banking system.
Nevertheless, a number of banks – including ICICI, HDFC, Axis and Yes Bank – refuse to work with crypto to this day following an informal request by the RBI to do so. Anonymous sources from the financial industry reveal that their hands are tied until the regulator changes its stance on digital currencies.
Earlier this year, the Central Government announced that a Digital Currency Bill will be brought before Parliament for its Budget Session. The Bill’s aim was to regulate and launch an official digital currency controlled by the RBI, contextually banning all privately-issued crypto currencies in the Union. With the potential of blockchain technology in mind, some exceptions limited to research and study purposes would be permitted.
The current version of the Bill caused an uproar and was never introduced to Parliament. The Finance Ministry announced it is having talks with the RBI in order to develop “a very calibrated position”. Crypto lobbies – including the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee of India (BACC) and others – are also in constant communication with finance ministry officials. Business circles urge for clarity, transparency and accountability to be finally brought into the Indian crypto ecosystem.