In the ever-evolving world of iGaming, a huge amount of Bitcoin and crypto casinos have emerged. For those who play on them, it’s difficult to imagine a time before they existed.
A walk through the history of Bitcoin casinos is a fascinating path to tread, a gallery of gaming that showcases innovation, pioneering adventurers, the fusion of new tech with old fun, and so much more.
Bitcoin casinos indeed seem like a natural progression in today’s era, but we often overlook the humble beginnings. Let’s dive deep into the halls of history and understand the evolution of Bitcoin gambling. After all, the wheel of progress keeps turning, and cryptocurrency casinos are not going anywhere.
The Dawn of a New Era
Back in 2008, a seismic shift occurred in the world of finance with the advent of the Bitcoin blockchain. This groundbreaking invention was akin to the creation of the primitive internet. Just like the internet, Bitcoin started as a niche interest for tech-enthusiasts and gradually permeated our everyday lives.
The initial years of Bitcoin were a time of exploration and innovation. Now, rival blockchains like Ethereum, Solana, and Tron have emerged, but none can quite match Bitcoin’s promise of anonymity and decentralisation. Not to mention its place in the public consciousness. Indeed, like a piece of great art, it only grows in value over time. Specialist sites like Crypto Lists expect some of the best Bitcoin casinos to “emerge as the predominant form of online gambling, as cryptocurrencies move to the forefront of how people transact in the online space over the coming decade”. It’s way quicker to get winnings, which is highly important to many players that hate to wait days or weeks to obtain and use any gambling proceeds.
While critics may think it’s a fad, Crypto Lists and respondents on Quora believe that Bitcoin has a long-term future. However, some doubt that it will last forever. There are already a large amount of faster and ‘smarter’ coins with more real-world use cases such as Solana and Ethereum, but Bitcoin remains dominant with significantly higher market cap and trust among institutional investors, as a store of value akin to digital gold.
iGaming: An Emerging Space
Before delving into the history of bitcoin casinos, it’s essential to understand the broader context of iGaming. This term refers to the online casino and sports betting sector, and it’s fascinating to note that the first online casino emerged in 1995.
As internet connectivity improved over the years, the popularity of online casinos skyrocketed. With the advent of smartphones, games could be accessed on the go, revolutionising the industry. The payment methods and software also evolved in tandem, with exciting innovations like live dealer games becoming available with the rise of 4G connectivity.
The Birth of Crypto Casinos
As the online casino sector flourished, cryptocurrencies started gaining traction. Naturally, it wasn’t long before these two worlds intersected. The burgeoning popularity of cryptocurrencies sparked the idea of using these digital assets as payment options in online casinos.
While it’s hard to pinpoint when exactly the crypto casino trend started, it’s undeniable that these casinos are now readily accessible to the public. Taking a tour through the Bitcoin history museum, we can see one name and one casino that stands out as perhaps the original pioneer. The first known Bitcoin casino was Satoshi Dice, founded by Erik Voorhees in 2012. It’s still live but in a tweaked form and it’s not clear if Erik still is responsible for it. Today, it’s not relevant for most players since you can only play
A Stroll Down BTC Casino Memory Lane
The evolution of the Bitcoin casino industry can be segmented into four distinct phases. Between 2009 2011, Bitcoin’s early years were marked by a lack of widespread acceptance and volatility, limiting its use in online casinos. Later in 2012-2014, the first online casinos started accepting Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency’s privacy, security, and transparency attracted players and new casinos alike.
Then between 2015 and 2017 we witnessed a surge in Bitcoin casinos, driven by Bitcoin’s low transaction fees, fast processing times, and anonymity. And from 2018 to today, despite regulatory scrutiny, the number of casinos accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has continued to rise, reflecting the ongoing adoption of digital currencies.
Satoshi Dice: A Trailblazer
Launched by Voorhees in 2012, SatoshiDice allowed users to wager their BTC on a roll of the dice. It was a pioneering venture, contributing to half of all Bitcoin transactions at its peak according to internet lore.
Voorhees explained its appeal, stating that SatoshiDice provided transparent odds and verifiable fairness. The simplicity of a dice roll game made it accessible to Bitcoin holders looking to have some fun with their crypto.
Today, SatoshiDice has evolved to accept only Bitcoin Cash since 2018, moving away from its original BTC principles. It’s a far cry from the modern crypto casino sites that offer a variety of tournaments, slots, and sports betting options.
Early Innovators in the Bitcoin Casino Space
Following the launch of the first Bitcoin casino, several others joined the bandwagon. Like an art gallery featuring the names and faces of these BTC gambling founding fathers, several stand out. Among these was bitZino, which offered a variety of Bitcoin-based casino games, including blackjack, slots, and roulette.
Another one of note was SealsWithClubs, which was known primarily as a Bitcoin poker site, although it did also offer casino-style games like video poker and blackjack. BitLotto was a Bitcoin-based lottery platform where users could buy tickets with Bitcoin for a chance to win the jackpot.
There have been debates about which platform was the first Bitcoin Casino. Some argue that bitZino holds this title, but some research suggests that SatoshiDice predates Bitzino.com by a few weeks.
Larry Tad, the owner and developer of bitZino, appeared on a popular BTC-centric forum in mid-June 2012 announcing the creation of an HTML 5 powered Bitcoin casino. However, archived records show that SatoshiDice was already active in May 2012, making it the first Bitcoin Casino.
The Evolution of Bitcoin Casinos
If we acknowledge the birth of BTC in the late 2000s and its eventual adoption by iGaming pioneers several years later, where do we look to next when exploring the history of Bitcoin casinos? Well if we look ahead several years from where we left off, in 2015 we see the emergence of Ethereum. Over the next few years, Bitcoin casinos begin to become crypto casinos more broadly as they expand their range of cryptocurrency deposit options.
Also, decentralised casinos emerge, built on the blockchain and free from centralised authority. By 2019 crypto and Bitcoin casinos have become more sophisticated, offering provably fair gaming and innovative features.The next few years see them growing in popularity, with regulatory developments and increased interest in crypto coins solidifying their place in the gambling industry.
It’s difficult to conceptualise a casino without games, impossible in fact. The evolution of Bitcoin casino games goes hand in hand with their historic passage through time. In the beginning, there was just a dice and you could bet. A classic dice game so to say.
Over time, Bitcoin casinos had slots that replicated real-world fruit machines, or were even more exciting. However, as things progressed and the crypto niche grew the games began to adapt too.
This gave rise to the prominence of crash games, including the iconic Aviator, BGaming’s exciting Space XY and the more recent Football X for football fans. In addition, people began to enjoy games such as Plinko, often created by in-house studios. These games allow players to have simple fun with their BTC in pure games of chance – often with higher return to player (RTP) compared to traditional slots. Without the development of these games, and the belief from the software developers in the crypto currency iGaming niche, we likely wouldn’t have seen the rise of Bitcoin and crypto gambling sites.
History of Bitcoin Casinos: Concluding Thoughts
The history of Bitcoin casinos is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of this industry. With thousands of crypto casinos generating billions in revenue, it’s clear that these types of iGaming sites are here to stay with new crypto casinos popping up all the time. The best site for the newest Bitcoin casinos seems to be Crypto Lists, featuring more than 70 new brands from 2023, with in-depth reviews, continuous updates and accurate launch dates. Most of the other competing review sites only showcase more dated brands that are not really from 2022 or 2023, and they are significantly slower and not as frequent to update their new crypto casino reviews.
As crypto casinos offer players the latest features and technological innovations, traditional sites will need to adapt to coexist with their digital counterparts. And as the old adage goes: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.