The price of Bitcoin is on an upswing this week, but the sharpness of the change brings up a problem unique to Bitcoin gambling—namely, volatility.
Bitcoin is still in its early days, and the price is dominated by nervous speculators who are prone to both mad rushes of investment and crazy panics. The result is that when you set out your gambling budget, it can be hard to know exactly what you’re going to be getting.
Buying Bitcoin can feel like gambling all on its own—specifically, a really boring, noninteractive kind of gambling, characterized by sweating and hair-tugging. The first time I ever got paid in Bitcoin, it took me a few days to cash it out, and I spent the entire time watching the price like a hawk. By the time I cashed it out, I’d lost sixteen cents and a full night’s sleep. Bitcoin can be stressful.
So, how do you, as a gambler, weather the ups and downs of the markets elegantly?
The good news is there are a few options available to you.
The simplest is just to keep as little money on the Bitcoin market as possible, buying bitcoins as you need them at current market rates. Unfortunately, this requires a little setup. Bitcoin ATMs aren’t universally available, and the delay in buying from major Bitcoin banks like Coinbase can be substantial enough to be a problem, if you want to know exactly how much money you’re getting.
There are a few services that allow you to buy bitcoins quickly using a credit card, though they tend to come with a significant premium due to the risk of chargeback fraud. Examples include Trucoin, Coin.mx, and Bitcoin Insanity, all of which generally offer turnarounds in under a day.
If you don’t want to pay the premium and are willing to do a little legwork, LocalBitcoins can be a good way to quickly and cheaply buy bitcoins, although the actual exchange process can be a little sketchy.
However you do it, though, by purchasing your bitcoins shortly before gambling with them and then liquidating them quickly afterwards, you can keep your total exposure to Bitcoin volatility minimized.
This approach works pretty well, but can be a little labor intensive, particularly if you choose to forego the fees and go with the LocalBitcoins option. If you’d like to try to take a lower-energy option, something else you can try is to buy your Bitcoin in larger quantities less frequently, and use Coinapult’s ‘locks’ feature to avoid volatility until you intend to spend the coins. This requires a measure of trust in Coinapult, but offers more convenience than the other options.
Between these choices, those of you who are concerned about Bitcoin volatility getting in the way of your gambling, in a mobile Bitcoin casino for instance, will be well served. Volatility need not be a concern for a cautious Bitcoin user, even if the price continues to fluctuate—you just need to be careful and aware of the right tools. Hopefully, this will give you a good start to spend using bitcoins or wager on your favorite Bitcoin casino games online.