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Are Bitcoin Gambling ICOs a Good Investment?

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Bitcoin Gambling ICOs

Gambling is one of the most lucrative industries in the world and it is, therefore, not surprising that gambling using the cryptocurrency bitcoin is also becoming increasingly popular. In the last few years, a wide range of online bitcoin casinos have opened their doors to enable users to gamble using bitcoin. Bitcoin casinos allow their users to deposit and withdraw money at a low cost whilst remaining anonymous, which is especially useful for gamblers who are located in countries where online gambling is frowned upon or heavily regulated.

“Today, over $1 million US dollars worth of bitcoin are being wagered every day across online bitcoin casinos.” – The Bitcoin Strip

As the popularity of bitcoin as a payment method for online gambling increases, so does the profitability of bitcoin casinos. That begs the question “are bitcoin casinos a good investment?”

Now, you may ask yourself “how can I invest in bitcoin casinos?” The answer is simple: bitcoin gambling Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is an innovative way to raise funds for a new cryptocurrency project by distributing a percentage of the initial coin supply among early-stage investors. Most ICOs work in a similar manner as an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the stock market. With an IPO, you as the investor, receive a percentage share of the company that you invest your money in once it floats on the stock exchange. In an ICO, you receive a share of the initial coin supply, which then gets publicly traded on cryptocurrency exchanges once it officially launches. And much like when investing in the shares of a company, the value of the new coin linked to the cryptocurrency project will increase as the project performs well and, therefore, gains in value.

ICO’s have become a popular investment class for return-hungry investors as ICOs can often double or triple in price within the first few days of trading. On the other hand, some new coins that are released through ICOs can turn out to become near worthless within a matter of days, weeks or months after their launch. And in a few unfortunate cases, some ICOs have turned out to be outright scams – hence, investing in ICOs is a considerably high risk/high return game that needs to be handled with caution.

“Aside from some of the major players, a large proportion of online bitcoin gambling sites operate under little or no regulation. Investing in a such a scheme requires a great deal of due diligence, but as we have seen with Bitcoin in general, the opportunity to generate a huge ROI is certainly out there.” – Andreas Russell, BigcoinGambling.com

Bitcoin Gambling ICOs

This brings us to a new subsector within the ICO space: bitcoin gambling ICOs. In the last few months, several bitcoin gambling ICOs have been announced, including vDice, BetBase, BetKing and Etheroll. Let’s look at each in more detail.

vDice

vDice is the world’s first fully decentralised gambling game built on the Ethereum blockchain. On November 15th, its ICO was launched and it runs until December 15th. vDice has been live since June 2016 and has cemented itself as a popular cryptocurrency gambling game.

The vDice token, which will be sold during the ICO, is called ‘vSlice’ and will distribute profits of the vDice game to token holders, according to vDice’s press release. You can trade these tokens on an exchange immediately or keep them to receive a share of the company’s profits. vDice is looking to issue 96,000,000 tokens during its ICO and has been developed by a range of industry experts.

BetBase

Another gambling ICO that has recently been launched is that of BetBase. According to its website, BetBase is a platform offering anyone a chance to start his or her own online bitcoin casino for no costs and without any coding required. BetBase provides an API, a shared bankroll, a provably fair mechanism, and more. Every bet placed against their servers is processed using their own bankroll so you the casino owner gets paid for each bet made, no matter if the customer wins or loses the bet. For every bet placed you get paid 50% the house edge of the bet. 

Its ICO started on November 27th, 2016 and will continue until December 18th, 2016. BetBase is looking to issue 100,000,000 shares, which will be split 60% to ICO investors, 10% for bounties and 30% to the owners. The money raised will be used to bolster BetBase’s bankroll and to further develop its platform. Despite a promising sounding ICO, when scrolling through their sales page and their bitcointalk.org ICO thread, there are (as is not uncommon with ICOs) some concerns about its legitimacy as there is no real information about the company owner, only a pseudonym used in a bitcoin forum. In my eyes, this omission is a red flag that needs to be closely monitored before making an investment. Especially given the already risky nature of ICOs.

Bet King

Another bitcoin gambling ICO that has recently been launched is the ICO of BetKing. BetKing is a bitcoin dice platform. Since the launch in April 2013, BetKing has grown into one of the most popular bitcoin dice games with over 397,000 bitcoin wagered and earnings of over 7200 bitcoin profit according to the BetKing website.

The BetKing ICO crowdsale began on December 1st 2016 and closes on January 1st, 2017.  The BetKing team plans to raise investment so they can develop more products including casino games such as blackjack, slots, and roulette. Also, the funds are set to go towards developing a sports betting platform and poker room as well as a host of other gambling related products and services. BetKing plans to create 100,000,000 tokens to represent 100% shares of BetKing, of which 30% will be distributed to investors at the end of the ICO while the remaining 70% will remain in the ownership of Betking. After the ICO is over, dividends will be paid as a share of the total profit generated by BetKing in bitcoin every 3 months. To buy shares during the ICO period you need to sign up or log in to BetKing and deposit the bitcoin you wish to invest, or use the existing balance you have on your BetKing account.

Etheroll

Etheroll is an Ethereum smart contract platform for playing a dice game using Ether with no deposits. Etheroll is a good example of an ICO that was announced but never actually completed. In June 2016, Etheroll announced their ICO that would let investors receive a share of Etheroll’s profits. However, on June 18th the founder of Etheroll announced that the ICO will not be completed due to the DAO hack that has flagged up security flaws in the Ethereum network so all of the invested Ether was returned to the investors according to the company’s blog.

Investing in ICOs is always a high risk/high return game

Remember, when you are investing in ICOs, gambling-related or otherwise, you are putting money in an entirely unregulated sector that carries a high level of risk. That is why it is important to only ever invest an amount you can afford to lose and to always conduct thorough research before investing in any ICO to reduce the chances of you losing your money.

Having said that, if you are a gambling expert and can tell the difference between a good gambling provider and a bad one, then picking the right bitcoin gambling ICOs could generate a very nice return on your investment.

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Kenya Blockchain Event in Nairobi Records a Huge Turn Out

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Kenya Blockchain Event

December 10, 2017, saw a large number of bitcoin experts, enthusiasts, investors, newcomers, and traders converge at the Metta Entrepreneur’s Club Nairobi. The atmosphere indicated an increased desire among Kenyans to understand and discuss cryptocurrencies at length.

The four-hour discussion was detailed, explicit, and informative. Key speakers included Michael Kimani, Daniel Nyairo, Janet Kemunto, Damaris Njoki, and John Karanja among others. These cryptocurrency experts had a lot to share and plenty of advice to give. Thanks to their endless efforts, the crypto scene in Kenya is presently buoyant.

Is Bitcoin Valuable?

According to Michael Kimani, bitcoin is valuable.

“The bitcoin surge is more than just speculation. A substantial number of people are purchasing bitcoin because they believe in its future. These people are betting on the future because there is proof that the underlying technology (blockchain) actually works,” he said.

Is Bitcoin in a Bubble?

2017 has been a great year for cryptocurrencies.

“I have been in the technology sector for ten years and I have never seen anything grow as fast as cryptocurrencies have this year,” John Karanja, the founder of BitHub Africa, said.

The bitcoin price has risen by more than 1,500 percent in 2017. Surprisingly, altcoins like ether have risen by a higher percentage than bitcoin this year. Still, bitcoin is taking the lead with its current price of over $16,000. The recent surge has left many wondering: is bitcoin in a bubble?

In the opinion of Mutai, a software engineer, “Bitcoin is somewhat in a bubble because the underlying technology is being overlooked. Currently, the bitcoin price is keeping up with the pace of speculation.” Nevertheless, the self-taught tech expert believes that bitcoin is worth it in the long-term.

Where Can Kenyans Buy Bitcoins and Altcoins?

Expert recommended exchanges are Belfrics Kenya, Kraken, Bitstamp, and Bittrex. Other platforms such as peer-to-peer (P2P) markets are also great places for purchasing crypto.

Localbitcoins, Paxful, and Remitano Kenya are suitable P2P markets.

Tips On Cryptocurrency Investments

Advising clients on cryptocurrency investments is a full-time job for George Mang’eni, an experienced trader at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). “Keep calm & HODL,” he advised attendees at the event.

Bitcoin investments are made through mining, trading, and HODLING (Holding On for Dear Life). Mang’eni recommends investors to conduct a fundamental analysis and create a portfolio before investing in cryptocurrencies. “Always invest in an asset that is higher than the inflation rate,” he said.

A fundamental analysis involves looking into the following:

  • Real-world application of the cryptocurrency
  • Researching the reputation and achievements of its developers
  • The big investors involved
  • Liquidity
  • Crypto supply limits
  • Transaction processing system

Security is a Priority

Any person who owns crypto knows that security is everything. The crypto scene has attracted a lot of scammers, hence the need for caution.

Daniel Nyairo, a cryptocurrency freelancer stated, “Scammers use social proof to steal from unsuspecting customers.” The social proof marketing technique is often used to make customers feel like they are missing out. “A person selling bitcoins to you while trying to influence your emotions should be a red flag,” Nyairo warned.

With regards to ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), attendees were advised to research thoroughly before investing. “Investigate the authenticity of the names and images of those behind the project,” Nyairo stated. Furthermore, he emphasised the need to carefully scrutinise business models, business descriptions, and business processes of the companies launching ICOs.

The Three Kenyan Women Thriving in Cryptocurrency Trading

Kenya Blockchain Event NairobiAccording to Damaris Njoki, Juliana Mwangi, and Janet Kemunto, bitcoin trading is a rewarding employment opportunity. “We do not work for the money; the money works for us,” Kemunto said.

Juliana and Kemunto both left their jobs to take up bitcoin trading as a full-time job. “Cryptocurrencies are the future. I love what I do,” Juliana asserted.

Trading bitcoin requires two things: trust and 0.2BTC. “My job is not about meeting the margins; it is about the client,” Kemunto said. “My goal is taking care of the client and in turn, the client takes care of me.”

The main challenge that these women face is a low supply of bitcoins. Other than that, the demand for bitcoins is huge. “We have markets not only in Kenya but also in China and the UK,” Damaris said.

Meet Kenya’s Popular Miner Eugene Mutai

Mutai has been making headlines as the only crypto miner in Kenya for a while now. The millennial states that it took him two months to put his mining rig together. “For a non-tech savvy person, it might take longer,” he said.

Mutai mines Zcash and other altcoins. “I began with a modest budget and it took me around 8 months to break even,” he explained. Cloud mining is one and a half times more expensive than mining individually,” he added.

Two-thirds of what Mutai mines are his profits. The rest goes into electricity and Internet costs. Nevertheless, he faces two challenges that result in the loss of two months of mining yearly. “I need to back up my Internet in case my main connection fails me. On the other hand, I experience electricity blackouts on average twice every week,” he said.

Kenyan Regulators are Lagging Behind

Cryptocurrency regulation in Kenya is still a major topic mainly because little is taking place. “Kenyan regulators will find themselves playing catch up,” William Mutiso, a crypto trader said. Kenya has lost the business from startups such as Kipochi and BitPesa because of poor regulations.

“There is need to keep these conversations going to show regulators the extent of crypto interest in Kenya,” Eddie Ndichu, a cryptocurrency enthusiast, noted.

Upcoming Startups and Events

Despite regulation setbacks, the Kenyan crypto space is taking in new startups as fast as new ideas are conceivable. Some of the startups under the works are JijiPlan and Pesabase. Other startups like ChamaPesa are also about to launch.

Besides startups, Kenyans should watch out for upcoming crypto events such as a mining class that Mutahi will be teaching. The mining class targets those interested in mining as individuals as well as cloud mining.

** This article has been retrospectively corrected by the editor.

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The State of Bitcoin in Botswana

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Bitcoin in Botswana

Botswana may not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking about bitcoin and blockchain innovation but the Southern African country is home to a small but active bitcoin economy that encompasses startups, meetups, a blockchain hub, and bitcoin trading WhatsApp groups.

To receive local insight into the current state of bitcoin in Botswana, Bitcoin Africa spoke to Satoshicentre founder and Botswanan bitcoin thought leader Alakanani Itireleng.

The Local Bitcoin Community

According to Ms. Itireleng, the introduction of bitcoin cloud mining and multi-level marketing schemes has been a key driver of bitcoin adoption in Botswana. There has been a lot of interest in these types of make money online schemes in Africa and this interest has also helped to boost bitcoin awareness in Botswana. 

Meetups held by the blockchain hub, Satoshicentre, have also helped to spread awareness about the benefits that digital currencies and blockchain technology can provide.

Bitcoin Trading in Botswana

There is currently no bitcoin exchange in Botswana and at the time of writing, there was only one offer on the global peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins to buy bitcoin using the Botswanan pula. Not surprisingly, therefore, most bitcoin trading occurs through bitcoin trading WhatsApp groups and in dedicated Facebook groups.

Some Botswanan bitcoin users prefer to use South African exchanges such as AltcoinTrader, which allows direct bank deposits, and those with friends or relatives in South Africa often use Luno to buy and sell cryptocurrency.

According to Ms. Itireleng, Botswana is still in search for a local bitcoin exchange that can meet local demand. Bitcoin exchange, Belfrics, which recently launched in Kenya, has announced that it would launch in Botswana as well at some point in the future. Having a local exchange would likely boost adoption and help to grow Botswana’s bitcoin economy.

The Bitcoin Startup Scene

Currently, there are three notable blockchain startups in Botswana. The Satoshicentre, a blockchain hub run by Ms. Itireleng, Plaas, a blockchain-based farming platform provider, and Kgoboko, a blockchain-powered financial services platform for the unbanked launched by IndieStudio Africa.

The Satoshicentre is a blockchain hub that was founded in 2014 by Ms. Itireleng with the mission “to provide disruptive Innovations with the sole purpose of changing the way we carry out our daily routines and processes with ease through the help of the Blockchain.”

Plaas is a startup launched under Satoshicentre, founded by Alakanani Itireleng, which is working with various blockchain experts around the world, including BitcoinTracker and Bitsoko, to develop a mobile application that enables farmers and farming cooperatives to manage their daily farming productions and stock on the blockchain.

IndieStudio Africa launched Kgoboko, a financial services ecosystem that aims to address the needs of the unbanked in emerging markets. The startup aims to solve the problem of restricted access to funding and investment as well as low uptake and awareness of cryptocurrencies in Africa.

Cryptocurrencies Remain Unregulated

Currently, the Bank of Botswana (BoB) has not issued any regulations in regards to cryptocurrencies or the use of blockchain technology. According to Ms. Itireleng, the central bank has stated that it currently has no intention of regulating or studying cryptocurrencies. However, she believes that as more blockchain startups will launch in the country and more businesses will start to accept digital currencies, the regulator will be forced to take a closer look at this new technology.

When talking about bitcoin in Africa, Botswana should not go unmentioned. While the country does not have the sizable bitcoin economies of Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, it has developed an active bitcoin community that is working on local blockchain solutions and is spreading cryptocurrency awareness. 

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12 Facts About Bitcoin You Were Probably Not Aware Of

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facts about bitcoin

2017 was the year that the digital currency bitcoin officially became mainstream. Thanks to its impressive price rally throughout the year, which was extensively covered by global media, most people will have at least heard of bitcoin at this point in time. However, there are things about bitcoin that not everyone knows about. In this article, you will discover 12 facts about bitcoin that you were probably not aware of.

1. The Inventor of Bitcoin is Unknown

“Satoshi Nakamoto” is the pseudonym that was used by bitcoin’s creator(s). The mysterious identity of the bitcoin creator(s) has led to a lot of speculation but no conclusive evidence of the identity has yet been published.

“Satoshi Nakamoto” is currently worth about $13 billion and is a nominee for a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. He last made a public post in 2011.

2. No One Actually Controls Bitcoin

Bitcoin is not owned by any government or central bank and thereby gives its users the freedom to be their own bank. However, governments can declare the use of bitcoins illegal like countries such as Ecuador and Bangladesh have done. As a matter of fact, anyone caught using bitcoins in Bangladesh can earn themselves time in prison.

In light of this fact, some countries might ban bitcoin but users can still go about and buy and sell the digital currency regardless as governments cannot stop the decentralised peer-to-peer network that bitcoin is built on.

3. Bitcoin Has a Limited Supply

There can only ever be 21 million bitcoins in circulation thanks to the way that bitcoin has been coded. The 21 million coin limit will be reached at around 2140. Currently, there are around 16,725,000 million bitcoins in circulation.

This limited total supply is one of the reasons why bitcoin has increased in value so much as it is a scarce asset.

4. There are over 20,000 Bitcoin Millionaires

According to Bitcoin Rich List, there are over 20,000 bitcoin millionaires. In fact, some millionaires have turned into billionaires. According to CNBC, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have become the first bitcoin billionaires thanks to the recent surge in the bitcoin price.

5. Bitcoin is Actually Highly Transparent

The media often claim that bitcoin is anonymous but that is far from true. Bitcoin transactions can actually be very transparent.

“If I have all my bitcoins in a single address and keep reusing it, everyone I ever interact with can follow everything I do. This makes bitcoin the most transparent money system ever created,” said Marco Carnut, founder of CoinWISE, highlighting how transparent the bitcoin system can be when it is being used in a particular way.

6. Supercomputers Have Nothing on The Bitcoin Network

500 supercomputers combined are less powerful than the bitcoin network. Presently, the bitcoin network has a hash rate of over 14,867,776 TH/s, which is way more than the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

7. The Bitcoin Network Uses More Energy Than Most African Countries

report compiled by UK-based energy comparison platform, Power Compare, states that the power consumption from bitcoin mining is currently estimated at over 30 TWh per annum, which is more than that of 159 individual nations in Europe, Africa, and America.

In fact, only Algeria, Egypt and South Africa use up more power than the bitcoin blockchain.

8. Bitcoin Transactions Cannot Be Easily Refunded

Your bitcoin wallet is so precious that if you lose it, you could lose your coins forever (unless you have backed up your wallet!). What’s more, bitcoin transactions are non-refundable so if you make a mistake about the amount or the recipient wallet address that money is likely gone forever. Unless, of course, your counterpart is so friendly as to refund you the amount.

9. You Can Live Solely on Bitcoin

Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham created a documentary called “life on bitcoin” to prove the statement: “man can live on bitcoins alone.”

The documentary illustrates that a married couple can actually live on bitcoin for 90 days.

10. The FBI Was a Major Bitcoin Holder

The FBI once possessed around 1.5 percent of the world’s bitcoins. After shutting down the dark web marketplace Silk Road in 2013, the FBI confiscated 144,000 bitcoins, which were later auctioned. The US government made $48 million from the auction. Unfortunately, its shutdown did not prevent more black markets from cropping up. Google search results depict the existence of a Silk Road 3.1.

11. Several Major Corporations Accept Bitcoin Payments

You can make payments in bitcoins to companies such as Dell, Microsoft, and Overstock. That means that you can pay for laptops, hotels, and throw pillows with bitcoin.

In Africa, there are also several online retailers that have started accepting bitcoin as a payment method.

12. The Early-Bird Advantage

If you had invested $100 worth of bitcoins in 2010, you would be a bitcoin millionaire in 2017. For example, Barry Silbert, the founder of Digital Currency Group, bought 48,000 bitcoins from the Silk Road auction in 2014.

At that time, one bitcoin was worth $350. In 2017, Silbert’s investment has increased over 16 times and has made him a very wealthy man.

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