It has only been a couple of weeks since Bitcoin value plummetted to as low as $451 after China’s crackdown on the currency. Today, 6th January 2014, saw the value of Bitcoin rise above $1000 again. The gain could be attributed in part to the recent announcement by Online Games giant, Zynga to begin accepting payments for in-game items, bonuses, etc., via Bitcoin. This could be huge and significant in many ways for the virtual currency.
Zynga had posted on reddit.com about its plans to integrate Bitcoin payments. This was later confirmed by its spokeswoman, Dani Dudeck. “Players will be able to pay via the BitPay payments service for players of FarmVille 2, ChefVille, CoasterVille, CastleVille and other games,” said Zynga. “We look forward to hearing from our players about the Bitcoin test so we can continue in our efforts to provide the best possible gaming experience,” they added.
Zynga’s adoption of Bitcoin really comes as no surprise. The virtual currency has been making waves in the Gaming and Gambling Industries with more and more merchants beginning to get onto the BitWagon (Bitcoin Bandwagon). Zynga is backed by investors such as Founders Fund and Chinese Billionaire, Li Ka Shing who recently made news with his investment in Bitpay.
Gambling and Gaming with Bitcoins, Some of the Players:
Infiniti Poker: In December 2013, US facing online poker room Infiniti Poker launched for real money play. Deposits can be made in Dollars or Bitcoin. Withdrawals however are currently restricted only to Bitcoin.
SealswithClubs: This is a Bitcoin-only website that offers an online poker room to US players that exclusively use the virtual currency rather than cash. The rake at NL (No-Limit) tables is set at a relatively low 2.5% with a cap of 0.005 BTC (the lesser of 3 big blinds).
Bit777: It is a full-service casino of the Bitcoin industry. It has a full list of online casino games, such as European, American, No Zero, French and Card Roulettes; Standard Blackjack, as well as SnapJack; Table games such as Caribbean Stud, Craps, Let Em Ride, Pai Gow, 3 Card Poker and others.
Island Forge: Island Forge is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) that's all about player-created content. You can Design islands and author interactive stories (with quests). Publish them to the world for everyone to play. Island Forge accepts Bitcoin payments for its virtual in-game items as well as donations.
Dragon’s Tale: Dragon's Tale uses Bitcoins in the place of casino "chips". Players can either import their personal bitcoin balance into the game or they can gather small amounts of Bitcoins that are given for free within Dragon's Tale.
Steambits: SteamBits.com enables users to buy Origin, Steam, Retro, Uplay, & Xbox 360 games (among others) with Bitcoins. Users need to choose their game, send Bitcoins to the provided address, and Steambits will send them the game code via email.
LeetCoin: LeetCoin provides a competitive gaming platform wherein gamers can battle each other for Bitcoins. It currently supports Counter Strike: Source, but the company says that other popular games (maybe Dota or League of Legends?) are in development. LeetCoin is legal in 36 out of the 50 US States, Canada, most of Europe, Asia, and South America.
Bitcoin can also be used in malicious ways that destroy the gaming experience:
Recently, E-Sports Entertainment agreed to a $1 Mn settlement for essentially converting its 14,000 users into a Bitcoin mining community without their knowledge. E-Sports developers were reported to have created a ‘Botnet’, using the computers of its users and mined around $3500 worth(at the time – April 2013) of Bitcoins.