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Celebrate #ETHSommer at Berlin Blockchain Week Bounties Network returns to Berlin to share the #ETHSommer spirit during #BerlinBlockchainWeek 5 min readIts fair to say that 2019 has taken us on a …
Celebrate #ETHSommer at Berlin Blockchain Week Bounties Network returns to Berlin to share the #ETHSommer spirit during #BerlinBlockchainWeek 5 min readIts fair to say that 2019 has taken us on a pretty wild ride across the crypto space. We began the year enveloped in the chilly Crypto Winter that froze token holders in their seats. Low prices created the perfect environment for crypto-startups to gain greater focus, demonstrating product and market fit before raising money. This climate gave way to an incubation period that #ETHSommer by numbers The Ethereum mainnet surpassed 500 million transactions on July 17th. Over 16 million unique addresses were added to Ethereum since the beginning of 2019. A record number of enterprises and governments are launching exploratory blockchain projects, and VC money has been flowing.VCs have invested just shy of $1 billion in blockchain startups in 2019, which is well on track to surpass 2018s record of $2.4 billion in VC investment. Its safe to say that ETHSommer is here.Celebrate #ETHSommer with Bounties Network The was one of those projects that sparked within the Ethereum space, going from idea to creation in just four weeks back in August 2018. The community responded with a roaring Ja! and a total of 2154 users accessed the Berlin network. There were over 120 bounty submissions for a total of 34 interactive bounties created by the different projects in our ecosystem.In the end, 52 people made it on the leaderboard having earnt exclusive BRLN coin tokens and won prizes courtesy of the team. We are reviving the network this year, bolstering the ETH community spirit as we return to one of the top international blockchain hubs.A look at the best 2018 Berlin Bounties This bounty proved to be extremely useful for first-time visitors. We found out a few hidden gems that only locals would know; for example, one submission shared the knowledge that you can do some (legal) graffiti art in Mauerpark and you could pick up gear from a spray paint shop just one block away!Attending and promoting events was a natural fit for non-technical bounties. This bounty incentivized participation while offering a practical application that attendees could get involved with.MakerDAO incentivized people to attend their Dappy hour with this bounty, offering users BRLN Coins as an immutable record of their appreciation.Best use of the BRLN Coin in under 12 hours of launchSinger Matteo Tambussi was a web3 novice when he stumbled upon the and logged on to fulfil the onboarding bounty. He then took it a step further and used the token for a very real world use case: Matteo created a bounty to sell one of his songs for 1.69BRLNWhat does #ETHSommer have in store? This year, we have a host of different activations around. Whether its incentivizing CO2 emission conscious behaviour, taking pictures with Club Mates, jumping in the ball pit at Factory Grlitzer Park or completing treasure hunts; the ETHSommer bounties will have something for the whole community to get involved with: from beginner to top devs.A key change from last year is that for 2019, the network will be multi-token, featuring DAI alongside BRLNCoin and even the newly minted WunderBlock Since the Berlin network was born from a desire to galvanize collaboration and engage hundreds of web3 loving attendees, a treasure hunt was imminent.Enter WunderBlock the perfect blend of Wunderbar (wonderful) and Blockchain a whirlwind journey created by nine web3 projects and spanning the full duration of Berlin Blockchain Week. The treasure trail will consist of three to four bounties per day, dotted across key locations of the BBW calendar and posted on the with DAI rewards up for grabs.We will be using our leaderboard to keep track of the daily scores and the top five winners overall will get web3 certified packs featuring swag, gift cards, promo perks and some sweet, sweet publicity for their projects.The famous nine collaborating on the trail are, in no particular order: , , , , , , , and the .Contributing to Berlin Blockchain Week through tangible crypto experiences creates a space for fun engagement with dapps and an opportunity to earn some Dai on the side. We encourage everyone to join us for the WunderBlock! MakerDAO Community is our focus. Adoption is our focus. Whats better than to collaborate in such an initiative in the Blockchain city of Europe and bring together mainstream users to well-versed blockchain peeps? Its Wunderbar at WunderBlock! State of the DApps When we found out that the German word for scavenger hunt is Schnitzeljagd, or schnitzel hunt, we knew we had to get involved. All jokes aside, we see WundeBlock as a wonderful opportunity to get people involved and engaged, showcase awesome real-life applications of blockchain, and give away some sleek prizes!AdEx Network #FindNarly Finally, because we love adventure and a good imaginary creature, were partnering with and for the #FollowNarly quest.Birthed from Open Source, Narly is making its debut during #ETHSommer on limited edition shirts BBW attendees can win by completing a series of bounties with rewards in BRLNCoin. Narly is a Gitcoin bot, futuristic, gender neutral, looks mechanical but is conscious, a beacon for inclusivity, Blockchain innovation, and an icon for decentralized culture.There will be daily giveaways of 50 shirts per day awarded to top bounty fulfillers, on a first come, first serve basis. Beyond #ETHSommer, Narly will embark on a world tour and its next stop will be at Devcon V in Osaka. Stay tuned and #FollowNarly in the meantime.Got ideas for BBW bounties? See you all in Berlin for a scorching #ETHSommer
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RealT to Tokenize Detroit Real EstateThis week, Max Property Group B.V. made crypto history after the issuance of the first security tokens on the Ignis blockchain. As part of the arrangement, Max …
RealT to Tokenize Detroit Real EstateThis week, Max Property Group B.V. made crypto history after the issuance of the first security tokens on the Ignis blockchain. As part of the arrangement, Max Property Group tokenized a part of its real estate holdings onto the Ignis platform as a controlled asset. The news showcases the further expansion of tokenized real estate in the EU market and increased development on Ardors commercial blockchain ecosystem.This tokenized real estate became MPGS security tokens, also known as Asset I.D. 7646766282089936451. MPGS token holders gain rights such as profit-sharing in the propertys rental income. In fact, token holders gain most of the rights afforded to company shareholders with the exception of voting rights. Additionally, each share in the property falls under the monitoring and control of STAK, a Dutch Foundation.Ignis Ignis is the public blockchain of the Ardor platform. This 4th generation blockchain features a robust design created specifically for Dapp development. Some of the most advanced features provided by Ignis include messaging, voting, and asset exchange protocols. Additionally, the blockchain can function as a data cloud.Ignis Blockchain via HomepageImportantly, Ignis utilizes a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. PoS consensus is far more efficient than Proof-of-Work systems because they dont require nodes to compete over computationally heavy algorithms. While PoS systems arent perfect, many see this form of consensus as the natural evolution of cryptos. Notably, Ethereum plans to shift to a PoS consensus mechanism in the coming months.Ardor Ardor developed Ignis with the goal to create a developer-friendly blockchain platform that could easily be built atop of. The platform is packed with tools to build blockchain applications that are cost-effective, secure, and scalable. Notably, Ardor is a BaaS platform developed by Jelurida.Max Property Group, For its part, the Max Property Group provided the real estate. This firm specializes in crowdfunding and the fractional ownership of real estate. Currently, the Dutch company possesses millions of Euros in assets under management in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Germany.Notably, the Max Property Group entered the market in 2016. The firm specializes in property sales, management, and rental activities. On top of these offerings, the company operates a popular property investment and blockchain academy.Max Crowdfund Max Crowdfund is a subsidiary of the Max Property Group. This company is the crowdfunding wing of the Max Property Group. Importantly, the platform is compliant with EU securities standards. Max Crowdfund brings together developers, investors, and regulators.Speaking on the tokenization decision, Max Property Groups Managing Director, Mark Lloyd took a moment to discuss the changing real estate landscape. He noted the care his firm takes to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. He also discussed the overall trend to digitize the sector.Max Crowdfund and Ignis Max Property is at the forefront of EU real estate tokenization. The firm continues to demonstrate its pioneering strategies in the space. This latest strategic partnership gives the company access to a host of valuable EU real estate to tokenize. It also showcases Igniss true capabilities. You can expect to hear more about Max Property, Ardor, and its Ignis blockchain in the coming weeks.Spread the loveContinue ReadingBlockchain continues to disrupt the EU real estate market. Just this week, the Tokyo-based investment bank, MBK announced plans to tokenize the sale of a property in Estonia. The news follows the greater trend of traditional financial institutions entering the blockchain space via a tokenized real estate STO.According to company documentation, MBK created a strategic partnership with the Singapore-based real estate firm BitofProperty (BOP). BOPs unique approach to the market made the firm well-known in the region. BOP specializes in fractional ownership of EU real estate.The firm breaks down acquired property rights into smaller shares that are then offered to investors. Investors receive dividends equal to the number of shares they hold in a particular property. This strategy allows investors to diversify their holdings.For its part, BOP will handle the acquisition of the properties. Then, the firm will fractionalize ownership rights and tokenize the shares. The company will work alongside MBK to ensure the tokenized shares are compliant with the current EU regulations.Angoo Fintech Once the tokenization of the property is complete, MBK will offer the new financial instruments on its subsidiary Angoo FinTech. Angoo Fintech is an Estonian company acquired by MBK a few months prior as part of the firms EU repositioning strategy.MBK Tokyo via HomepageMBK Strategic Partners Notably, MBK signed a deal with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed firm, BS Securities to further develop the companys Asian market positioning. MBK is already a business powerhouse in Japan and China, but company executives hope to utilize this new tokenization strategy to catapult the firm into the forefront of the EU market.The Growth of MBK MBK is a Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed merchant bank. In 1974, MBK entered service under the name West Japan Spinning & Weaving Co., Ltd. Since that time, the organization has grown to become a premier banking institution in Asia.Estonia Crypto Estonia continues to show the world its pro-crypto aspirations. Back in 2018, the country was among the first jurisdictions in the European Union to legalize crypto-related activities. The Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the regulator issuing crypto-related licenses, approved almost 900 firms since that time.Estonia received praise for its easy-to-navigate registration process. Some blockchain-based firms reported that they received their licensing in only one or two weeks. The only catch is that the licensed would revoke if the company did not start operations within six months of receiving approval.Two Estonian Crypto Licenses Estonia broke down their licenses into two main categories. The first was for firms which operated digital asset exchanges. Of these companies, 500 received licensing. Additionally, 400 wallet providers received approval to date.Unfortunately, the Ministry of Finance introduced changes to the licensing process on May 3, 2019. The changes extended processing times from 30 to 90 days. Additionally, it established the requirement for all companies to operate a branch in Estonia. Additionally, the registered office address and the board of directors now need to be located in Estonia. Lastly, the state fee for the emission of the license increased from 345 ($386) to 3,330 ($3,729).MBK A Tokenization Strategy to Win As it stands today, MBK has a strong position in the Asian market. The firm will soon extend that reach into the EU markets through this latest maneuver. You can expect to see more tokenization projects emerge from this innovative firm in the coming months.Spread the loveContinue ReadingThe UK real estate sector is set for some major changes following an announcement by the tokenization platform tZERO. According to reports, the company partnered with the UK real estate developer Alliance Investments to tokenize a new luxury property located in Manchester dubbed the River Plaza. The news follows the trend of further blockchain integration into the real estate sector.tZERO The firm behind the tokenization strategy, tZERO, is a long-time blockchain innovator. The company remains a pioneer in the industry ever since its 2014 founding. Now tZERO developers are ready to demonstrate their tokenization capabilities in a major way.Alliance Investments Real Estate For its part, Alliance Investments provided the real estate. The River Plaza is set to be one of the most luxuries high-rise properties in Manchester. The 180 unit luxury dwelling is set to become an iconic piece of the citys skyline upon its Q3 2020 completion.River Plaza In total, tZERO will tokenize $25 million in value from the River Plaza complex. Once tokenized, the shares will issue on the Tezos blockchain. Also, Megalodon Advisory services will help guide and consult the project along its journey to completion.Secondary Markets River Plaza STO Notably, tZERO will host the River Plaza security tokens on a secondary trading platform. Secondary trading is a prime concern for security token investors and issuers alike. The liquidity provided by these platforms is essential to market growth. Because tZERO utilizes smart contracts to ensure their tokens remain compliant through the entire lifecycle of the asset, the company has more flexibility to offer users.This strategy allows the firm to incorporate an Alternative Trading Solution (ATS) into the River Plaza project. In this instance, the ATS will be a subsidiary of tZERO PRO Securities LLC. According to developers, the platform will see a Q1 2020 launch date.Alliance Investments CIO Rani Zahr via Twitter River PlazaDiscussing the decision, tZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi, explained the importance of the move. He believes asset tokenization has the power to revolutionize the real estate sector. He also congratulated Alliance Investments on the important milestone. Lastly, he explained how blockchain tech democratizes access to investors and enhances the overall liquidity of the market.Market Positioning Alliance Investments executives also chimed in on the maneuver. The companys CIO, Rani Zahr, took a moment to touch upon tZEROs strong positioning in the market. He explained how the firms experience helps Alliance Investments stay ahead of the innovation curve. He then spoke on the many benefits STOs have over traditional real estate sales including efficiency, and more security.Milestones River Plaza STO The River Plaza STO is important to the UK tokenization sector for many reasons. For starters, it is one of the first tokenized real estate STOs to date. Also, the plaza is just the first step in a broader strategy to tokenize $640 million in real estate across the UK over the next several years. tZERO and Alliance Investments seek to tokenize a mix of residential, commercial, and hospitality properties as part of the strategy.River Plaza Moving Forward The River Plaza project will set the pace for the upcoming digitization of the real estate market. Yet again, tZEROs innovative staff managed to raise the bar across the entire market. You can expect to see more UK-based real estate STOs as the project takes flight.Spread the loveContinue ReadingNewsletter SubscriptionRecent PostsAaron Kaplan, CEO of Prometheum Interview SeriesRealT Announces Partnership with Uniswap ExchangeTokenized Real Estate on Ignis BlockchainBlockstation Joins the IIROCA Brief Overview of the IOSCO Stablecoin EvaluationRecent InterviewsThought Leaders
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Interview with Edward Moncada, Founder and CEO, BlockfolioUziBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingJan 21Blockfolio is a must-have for any crypto investor, it’s the world’s leading network for mobile …
Interview with Edward Moncada, Founder and CEO, BlockfolioUziBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingJan 21Blockfolio is a must-have for any crypto investor, it’s the world’s leading network for mobile cryptocurrency portfolio tracking and management. Millions of people trust Blockfolio to stay connected to the pulse of the industry through market data, news, and direct updates from leaders of top crypto projects.Hi Edward. Thanks for taking time out of your schedule for this interview. Can you tell us more about yourself and Blockfolio?Sure, well I’ll start with Blockfolio. With over 5 million downloads to date, we’re the number one portfolio tracking app for the cryptocurrency / blockchain ecosystem. Also, it’s a 100% free to use app. In April of 2018 we launched Blockfolio Signal, a first-of-it’s kind communication channel that gives token teams a direct line of communication to their token base through our app. That’s our most recent initiative that both users and token teams are finding valuable.With regards to me, I grew up in Tulsa Oklahoma. My folks were both immigrants. Dad was a doctor, mom was a housewife. Came out to California in 1992 to go to study engineering at UC Berkeley. Eventually, a little after college I became a professional poker player (for 9 years from 2001 to 2010). Quit that to start a social gaming company that made games on Facebook. Unfortunately for us, Facebook changed policies that hurt small developers like ourselves so we were forced to shut down in late 2012. I should thank Zuck for this, because shortly after I discovered Bitcoin in the new free time I had.I’m sort of a guy that spends half my time day dreaming and the other half just doing or building stuff.Back in 2014, my co-founders and I realized that blockchains could alter how databases interacted, so it was pretty clear to us early on that blockchains would eventually impact every industry (how we’re seeing now).My co-founders and I were also investing a lot in other cryptocurrencies beyond just Bitcoin, so we set out to build Blockfolio as the first portfolio tracking app that would track all cryptocurrencies across all exchanges pretty much for ourselves in the beginning. Anyway, that’s basically how Blockfolio came to be. We now support over 6000 cryptocurrencies or blockchain assets across almost 300 exchanges, more than any other app out there. It’s come a long way since then.Edward Moncada of BlockfolioHow did you first break into the world of cryptocurrency?It started with a friend of mine who ran an online bitcoin poker site called Seals With Clubs. In late 2012, I would see him frequently post on facebook about it. Then in early 2013 I asked him if he could sell me “one of them bitcoin things” so that I could play on it. I bought a bitcoin off him, played on his site, and within 3 months I had turned that into around 150 bitcoins (keep in mind back then the price of a Bitcoin was around $100). I then went to sell 100 of them (around $10k worth in total) and within 48 hours it hit my bank account.Given my background in poker, I was keenly aware at how hard the US government had made it for financial institutions to move money into or out of online gambling sites (see the 2006 UIGEA laws). So when it took 48 hours for this nascent technology to show up as fiat in my Chase account (a major bank) I knew I had just touched something special. I basically then spent the next 3 months reading everything possible about Bitcoin and blockchains. I became so consumed with it, that my wife one time said to me “I remember when I used to be your Bitcoin”. I responded with “don’t worry honey, you’re my Ethereum now”. She didn’t think that was quite as funny as I did.About a year after getting into it, I came across Darkcoin (at that time the project was 2 months old and would eventually rebrand to DASH). Darkcoin was an anonymous cryptocurrency. By then I had heard rumors that New York’s Bit License regulation was on the horizon, so I suspected a lot of early Bitcoin libertarian adopters would look for anonymous alternatives. Because of this I introduced it to a few of my friends and we all invested in it. My natural behavior is to just try and make stuff happen, I hate being idle. So even before we had known anyone on the Darkcoin team, we reach out to our contacts to try and help push adoption in our own way.I would say I operate behind the scenes a lot for anything I’m involved with. The first thing we did was reach out to our contacts and help get Darkcoin listed on Bitfinex, back in Summer of 2014. A lot of people don’t know this, but that was us. Darkcoin core team had nothing to do with that initial listing. Keep in mind too, this was the first cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin and Litecoin (which they launched with) that Bitfinex ever listed. We could dedicate a whole page just to that because of the characters involved and everything that went down to get it listed on there. Anyway, after that listing I reached out to Evan Duffield the core dev of Darkcoin, and offered help. Because of what I had already done for the coin, he took us seriously and I started working really closely with him, mostly in the background.Can you tell us more about your time with Dash? What are some key things you learned from your experience there that you’ve taken with you?So shortly after I had reach out to Evan Duffield, I helped him put together the original Darkcoin Foundation. We did this in hopes that people would donate money so that we could get hire more devs to work on it. Darkcoin (Dash) at that time had about a dozen or so people working on the project. To help set up the initial foundation I reached out to Harold Boo, an attorney who I’ve worked with closely in the past.. Evan felt that it would be a good idea to have me on the board to be the voice for the investors. That’s how I became one of the founding board members of the Darkcoin / DASH foundation.It was really the wild west back then, Darkcoin at that time had maybe a dozen or so people working on the project. There were no mobile wallets for it then, and very few exchanges had listed it. Oh man that was one of the funnest things I had ever worked on in crypto, or ever for that matter. At the board level we made quite a few decisions that really moved the needle. The rebrand to Dash, for example, is something that required an immense amount of discussion, and had to be carefully executed. The board was responsible for that.A lot of people weren’t happy about rebranding to Dash. But we came to realize that was the minority group within the community. In the end, we ripped the bandaid off and eventually people came to embrace it.Today it probably feels obvious that it’s the better name, but keep in mind back then it was a different time and a lot of early crypto folks really loved the “dark” brand and it’s more overt proximity with libertarian ideals.Even after the rebrand, we went out get the trademark for Dash and it turned out there was a debit card company that had already applied for the same mark in the financial services industry. Unfortunately they applied for it prior to us ever having even used the word mark. So we were sort of in a spot where we didn’t have any claims to contest their application. One day I typed Dash on Coinmarketcap and it autofilled Dashcoin. So I looked up Dashcoin and realized it was a dead coin that had a $15k market cap (yes just $15k!). As I looked into it more I realized that Dashcoin had been around for over a year, and given it was a global protocol I suspected that it’s inherent IP rights may be sufficient to contest the debit card’s Dash mark application. I presented it to the board and they got behind the idea, so we put together a team to execute on it. We reached out to Andy Beal (who is now Blockchain Strategy Lead at Ernst & Young) to help us out, as well as another attorney who specializes in trademarks. We eventually got a hold of the Dashcoin core dev and worked out a deal to acquire the protocol. I believe we had put in a bid wall on an exchange for a period of time and allowed anyone to sell their Dashcoin to us. We eventually took over the github and protocol, and through that we were able to successfully contest the prior trademark application for Dash. We then negotiated a co-exist agreement with the prior applicant, where they could have the debit card space and we took rest of the world I believe. As far as I’m aware of this is the first crypto to crypto M&A on record. This was an incredibly fun experience. Like I said, it was the wild west back then.Edward is as Foundation Board Member of DASHOur biggest accomplishment at the board level was when we eventually came up with the Governance and Treasury system, “Governance by Blockchain”. That again is a whole other story, but to save time I won’t go into the details. The tl:dr is that we came up with the idea to shift a % of mining rewards into a fund that could be used for anything that may advance the protocol, and we could have the token holders decide on use of those funds through a voting platform. We never realized at that time how big this idea really was. We were just solving problems, and the problem at the time was “How do we accelerate the build out of the infrastructure of a protocol while fairly distributing the risk among all token holders?” Anyone out there who knows Dash well knows that their governance and treasury system was the game changer. A lot of other protocols are adopting similar platforms now, Decred, Pivx, Tezos, Icon, etc. Soon there will be a lot more too. Helping co-originate that idea is probably the biggest contribution I’ve ever made to the crypto ecosystem. More so than Blockfolio or even Blockfolio Signal. I’m incredibly fortunate to have been a part of that.So I would say what I’ve learned is you just have to get off your ass and go do sh*t. It’s not just about sitting at home and thinking “how can I make my money work for me”. It’s sort of ironic that I’m the one preaching this, given our app is used to track your investments and mostly about price speculation. But seriously…. it really should be about “how can I go work for my money after I’ve invested it”. Crypto is a very unique place where incentives are aligned much differently than the real world… actually I should say better. The people utilizing the tokens are also the investors. And now with the creation of these interesting governance systems, people will be able to go make soft contributions through things like voting. Through voting you can still contribute without having to go out there and hustle behind the scenes like we used to. With it anyone who holds the token can make an impact. Don’t believe me, go buy some Dash and get involved in their voting. Check out www.dashnexus.org if you want to track what’s up. It’s super fascinating, and you can make a real difference in the process.Could you tell us about how the idea for Blockfolio originated?Mentioned that above, we basically built the app to scratch our own itch as we were investing in all kinds of coins by mid-2014. We also thought the space had a very promising future, and that there would be a need for a tracker that tracked all cryptocurrencies on all exchanges. We felt back then that one day (like today) there would be 10,000 crypto assets to keep track of. So crazy looking back on it, because back then there were like maybe 150 or 200 of them.Blockfolio 1.0What does a typical day in your life look like working with Blockfolio?Oh man, it’s fun. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Feels like 7th grade summer camp, where I love the people I work with and look forward to seeing them each day. We’ve not only built a world class team, but we have a very high culture bar and have made sure that everyone involved in the company has a deep passion for crypto and at least 2 years in the space. My day starts the minute I wake up which is usually somewhere between 5am and 7am. I get up and usually start out responding to emails. My assistant lines up calls for me throughout the day, so I typically start taking those even on the road while coming into the office around 8:30am.The first thing I do when I have some free time is check in with Jonathan Chu our VP of product. See what’s new, where we are on our roadmap, if we need to have any meetings for immediate issues. Typically the next person I speak with is our VP of operations, Naveen Malloy to see what pressing issues the company has from an operations perspective. I’ll then take calls through the rest of the day with everyone from other major projects in the ecosystem, to attorneys, other businesses that reach out for partnerships, existing partnerships, investors, etc. I try and eat lunch with the team whenever possible, but often I find myself taking it while on a call. I don’t leave the office until around 8pm. Head home, hang out with my wife for a bit. I try and give her some quality time to make sure she doesn’t fire me. Lol. Been trying to go to the gym in the evening lately, then take a few more calls before I go to bed. Sometimes I’ll take evening calls with our advisor Ming Yeow in Singapore or Asia based projects as it’s mid afternoon over there at that time. Crash out and do it all over again the next day. I love it.Can you tell us where are your current team members located? How do they collaborate with each other?2/3 of our team is based in our HQ in Santa Monica. We’ll work with some people remotely, but that’s usually non-critical roles like customer support. We’ve got a pretty sweet office space on the promenade in Santa Monica, Los Angeles area. It’s a couple blocks from the beach. It’s 6000 sq. ft fully furnished for $12k a month. Best negotiation I’ve ever done in my life. It’s great to have such a nice place for the team that came at such a bargain.What do you consider your biggest accomplishments with Blockfolio so far?Man, I hate to think of things this way. First of all, I’ve just done my part towards building what we have and I don’t want to take away from anyone else on the team. My job as a CEO is really mostly two things: vision and recruitment, nothing else. If you do those two well, then the money finds you. We all have our skills and super powers, I’d say those are mine. Identifying the need for this kind of crypto app feels like the easy part in hindsight after all that we’ve been through. The hard part is actually building it and growing it. Maybe it just feels like I have an easier job than it really is because I love what I do. The idea of Blockfolio Signal was another contribution that I’m proud off. Again, we launched a first-of-it’s kind communication platform built from the ground up for the crypto ecosystem. But it was the team that actually built it, not me.So now that I think about it, I can honestly say my biggest accomplishment so far is putting together the team we have. It’s pretty amazing.Brian Dilley our CTO, was previously Co-Founder and CTO of Flipagram which touted 200M downloads and 36M MAU, and where he served on the board alongside Naval Ravikant and Micheal Moritz. Jonathan Chu our VP of product was previously running product at Flipagram as well, and prior to that he was a PM at Google.We also recently hired Naveen Molloy, who passed up an offer to be Sr. Director of Operations at Nike Innovation Labs to join Blockfolio. Our design director Brent Akamine passed up an offer to lead a division of 100 designers at Bytedance to work with us (for real). The whole team deserves credit, not just those mentioned here. I would also say we have a fantastic investor team, and board members as well. They are all both honest, talented, and genuinely good people. I’m proud of all of people we work with at the company, from top to bottom. You can easily see this in our day to day. You don’t have to spend much time with them to see that the team is super tight, and this is one of those things that I’m super proud of.The latest version of Blockfolio, 2.0In the current cryptocurrency ecosystem, how did Blockfolio stand out from the rest of the pack and become one of the leading cryptocurrency apps?I’d say we’ve stood out most due to of being first to market at what we do. Not just with Blockfolio but also w/ Blockfolio Signal (and even prior with my work at Dash w/ their governance system). It’s scarier than most people realize to really try and innovate, because you’re essentially doing something no one else has done and making a big bet on it. Our innovations have been substantial bets, shifting the whole company in a direction. Not just some trivial feature. When you’re a start up you don’t have many bullets in the chamber so if you are wrong on a big bet your company can go up in smoke. As you get larger you can mitigate those risks by making multiple bets.At our core is a real desire to be unique. We don’t care to follow anyone else’s lead, and really I just don’t think you can copy your way to the top. Being a cover band doesn’t interest us. So far we’ve been fortunate to find green pastures that no one else sees.I’m definitely excited about where we see the ecosystem going from here, and I think our users are gonna love what we’re creating behind the scenes to help get us there. I think we’ve come up unique ways that we think can help the crypto ecosystem advance in 2019.What did you think was the biggest problem Blockfolio was trying to solve and why was the problem important to solve at the time?Back in 2015 when we launched what we were trying to do was super simple. Let’s just make tracking crypto easy. Let’s make an app where you could track all cryptos on all exchanges and within a split second you could see how your total portfolio was doing regardless of how many exchanges you hold your crypto on.We also had a sort of secondary goal which was to legitimize crypto assets. We wanted to create this interface that gave people the feeling that they were looking at stocks or equities, but it was crypto.Keep in mind back then, no one took crypto seriously. It was a much different environment than it is now. Now with Blockfolio Signal, we’re more of a network. We’re also working to bring real value to token teams as well as to end users. The game has changed a bit, but it’s still as fun as ever.The cryptocurrency world has seen extraordinary growth in 2017 and in 2018, what have you learned in the last year that will inform Blockfolio in the years ahead?Oh man, those two years were a whirlwind. Each of them for different reasons. 2017 was crazy growth for us. Things moved and changed so fast. 2018 was the year we launched Blockfolio Signal. We then raised a significant amount of money in our Series A. I guess I would say things change so fast and you always have to keep on your toes. My background as a poker professional felt like great training for this. You’re always getting new information and have to constantly reconsider everything you do in light of any new info to try and make the best decision. You try and forget about the regrets of prior hands, or the anxiety of the future and be as zen as possible about your decision making. Then there are other things, like there are times where it’s worth it to lay down a strong hand, and other times where your marginal hands become great and it’s worth it to shove in your entire stack.There are times where it’s worth it to lay down pocket Aces later in a hand, and other times where your marginal hands become great and it’s worth it to shove in your stack.Earlier this year, Blockfolio launched a new communication feed called Signal, and the reception was very well from the users. Can you tell us some of the goals you’re looking forward to accomplishing the most with Blockfolio in the next year?Blockfolio SignalsBlockfolio Signal really re-positioned us in the ecosystem. We went from being an app that connected speculators with exchanges to being a network that connected the major groups of the ecosystem: token teams, speculators and exchange information. It really is working at bringing everyone together, and this proximity is valuable for everyone involved. We’re looking to roll out more and more innovations that will benefit everyone, and these will come through the Blockfolio Signal feed. I would share what these are, but I don’t want to ruin the surprises that we have in store for 2019.Looking back from where Blockfolio first started to becoming the dominant market leader in mobile portfolio tracking for the blockchain industry, What do you feel was the biggest challenge or obstacle Blockfolio had to face?I would say that some of the biggest challenges were our server issues early on. We weren’t ready to be embraced on that scale. We eventually leveled up the team and managed to move past that. Also in more recent months we’ve seen campaigns against us claiming that we sell user portfolio data. I guess there are shady people or businesses out there that feel the need to spread these claims or rumors. Maybe they see it as sort of a growth hack and feel it will pull users away from us this way. This was an especially painful thing to experience to go through, because nothing could be further from the truth. The idea of selling user portfolio data is just so not the type of people that we are at Blockfolio. Before going any further, I want to be very clear here, Blockfolio has never sold any user portfolio data, and we will never sell any user portfolio data in the future, period.The reality is those of us that came into crypto back in 2012/2013 were attracted to it because it really resonated with our libertarian ideals, no one was getting mega rich off it back then.We were attracted to things like blockchain’s censorship resistant nature, or the fact that banks or governments would have a much harder time controlling it. So getting accused of selling data was insane to me, because it’s completely against my personal ethos and the culture and ethos we’ve embraced as a company. Let’s put it it this way, if I ever found out a Blockfolio employee was leveraging user portfolio data for their personal gain or the company gain they would be immediately fired. No questions asked. That’s just not who we are, and definitely not who we ever want to be.Where do you see cryptocurrency economy being in years to come?I don’t know for sure, but I can say this. I suspect it will be focused more on distributed ledger technology and those applications rather than on cryptocurrencies as a form of digital currency. I mean it’s been almost 6 years since I’ve been involved in the space and I still can’t go buy a slice of pizza down the street. Decentralized tech is still clunky as ever, and people in this space have undervalued user experience far too long, and it’s a real problem because the mainstream cares much more about user experience than they do decentralization.How will Blockfolio change the landscape of the cryptocurrency space in years to come?Ooh, I wish I could share more on this. But you’ll have to just see what we roll out this year. Let’s just say if my daydreams come true, we’ll be creating something pretty special… like no one has ever seen before.What are your thoughts on the crypto market, short-term and long-term?Short term sideways. Prob won’t be a bull trend til at least the end of 2019. Long term: Bullish. I’ve got a bigger bet than most through my stake in Blockfolio. It’s a bet on the whole ecosystem, that’s how I link to think of it.I want the space to win.Somewhat off topic, but what are some things you do outside of crypto that keep your mind sharp and keep you focused on the goals for the day?Poker. I love the game, I love games in general. I’m also a foodie. Wife an I love to hit up restaurants and invite friends to join. Recently we went on a double date to a bomb place called Superba in Venice, CA. We went with Tony Sheng (of Decentraland) and his fiance. That place never ceases to deliver.If people want to stay updated with Blockfolio, where should they go?Super easy, to download or all the info you need, you can go to www.blockfolio.com. Or you can follow us on twitter through twitter.com/Blockfoliotwitter.com/liluzivertcoin
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the bed mates of the IRS more data on your finances? That’s, like, so 2008. Bitcoin’s got your back. Here’s what you need to do: Step 1: Visit the poker site’s cashier and click withdrawal. Again, …
the bed mates of the IRS more data on your finances? That’s, like, so 2008. Bitcoin’s got your back. Here’s what you need to do: Step 1: Visit the poker site’s cashier and click withdrawal. Again, I’ll use Bovada Poker as an example because they’re simply better at Bitcoin (and most things). Step 2: Click the Bitcoin icon in the poker cashier. Let’s do a $45 Bitcoin payout. Step 3: Open your Bitcoin wallet. If you don’t have one yet, see my dedicated section above on how to do that. It’s easy as pie. Step 4: You want to find the “Receive” section, which is clearly marked in every sensible Bitcoin wallet. You’ll then see your wallet’s latest Bitcoin receiving address and QR code. Step 5: Highlight and hit CTRL-C (or just click/tap on many wallets) to copy this alphanumeric address. Since I’ve yet to see a poker site cashier that allows you to scan QR codes (weird), I recommend having both the poker room and your Bitcoin wallet open on the same device so you can copy-paste. Step 6: Paste your Bitcoin address into the poker room cashier, cross-check it, and submit it. Step 7: Depending on the poker site, you’ll receive Bitcoin to your wallet in about 12-48 hours. This particular example from Bovada took exactly 16 hours. With Bitcoin, the waiting time from the poker site is cake compared to any other method. If your Pavlovian response to poker payouts is to think “now the cryptic waiting time begins”, you’re in for a treat. I’ve never waited more than 72 hours for a Bitcoin poker withdrawal and the sweet spot seems to be about 18-24 hours. The best poker sites will even beat that. You’ll receive the Bitcoin exchange rate of your fiat currency poker withdrawal, which will go straight to your Bitcoin wallet. If you’re sending to a wallet on your mobile, I recommend having push notifications on so you know as soon as the poker site sends it over. You’ll also usually receive an immediate email from the poker room when they send your Bitcoin. I recommend that anyone playing poker worldwide switch over to Bitcoin for deposits and withdrawals, but it’s particularly convenient for USA players whose banks may not process poker transactions Now that you’ve got that sweet Bitcoin sitting in your wallet, what can you actually do with it? If you used the Glidera service within a supported wallet like Bitpay to buy your Bitcoin, selling it is incredibly easy. Even if you aren’t, follow the “Buy or Sell Bitcoin” link in your wallet and follow the prompts to sign up with Glidera. Once you’ve verified your ID and linked your bank account, you can sell your Bitcoin to Glidera and they’ll send USD directly to you within 2-3 days. It’s sort of a mini-exchange without all the extra bells and whistles. This is the other option If you want fiat money back in your bank account as easily as possible. Log in to your exchange account and you’ll find an option for depositing Bitcoin. Copy the address or scan the QR code into your wallet and send it over to your exchange account. You can then trade the Bitcoin back into USD or other fiat through the exchange and then withdraw it directly to your bank account. I’ve done this numerous times with Kraken and have only good things to say about them. No holdups and received my funds between 4-72 hours. The fees are also tiny, with a $5 wire fee and fractions of a percent for the Bitcoin-to-USD trade. Compare that to possible interrogations and 1.5% or more from the putrid Coinbase. Another way you can immediately turn your poker winnings (via Bitcoin) into funds usable in the real world is through a gift card service such as eGifter. They sell virtual gift cards and accept Bitcoin as a payment method. Most importantly, Amazon is on the list. You also earn about 5% back in rebates. I’ve used eGifter for maybe a dozen Amazon gift cards paid for with Bitcoin and, while it may take up to an hour for delivery, it worked fine. If you use Amazon as often as I do, a gift card there is as good as cash. If you use the Bitpay Bitcoin wallet, you can also convert it to Amazon gift cards right within the app, which is even easier. I’ve done it many times and it couldn’t be simpler. You also get your gift card voucher right away without waiting for Bitcoin confirmations. There are also a number of of smaller online retailers that accept Bitcoin directly, with Overstock being the biggest name thus far. Bitcoin ATM cards are a brilliant idea, providing a direct link from your Bitcoin to the “normal” financial world. It’s the perfect way to literally get cash or make purchases as soon as the same day you requested a poker cashout. Bitcoin ATM cards give you a physical card you can use to withdraw cash, make in-person purchases at merchants, or use online. My favorite provider of this is Bitpay. You can integrate right into your Bitpay wallet, which lets you load the card in seconds. The ATM limits are excellent, allowing you to withdraw up to $3,000 per day and $750 per ATM transaction. There are no extra fees for any of it, although you’ll pay about $1 in Bitcoin miner’s fees per transaction. The only disadvantage is having to give your Social Security number to get the card (which can take up to a month to arrive in the mail), which is required for anyone issuing debit cards in the United States. Bitpay has also recently started incorporating mining fees into card loads, which is a big drag. Need to get your poker winnings into a bank account ASAP? Skip the exchange and a couple of days. Just send it over to your Bitpay wallet, load it onto the card, withdraw it from an ATM, and deposit it into your bank account as cash. Easy peasy. This probably goes without saying, but with Bitcoin loaded in your wallet you’re empowered to deposit with any other poker site that accepts Bitcoin. That kind of tears down that mental wall of apprehension and dread that normal deposit methods create to stop us from trying something new. With Bitcoin ready to go, you can poker site hop almost as quickly as you can copy-paste those address lines. I’ll go into more detail on how investing with Bitcoin in the next section, but if you want to start earning the best returns that (almost) no one knows about, you literally don’t have to do a thing from here. This isn’t investment advice, but Bitcoin has increased in value more than 10 times in the past 2 years, blowing away returns on every traditional investment. Cryptocurrency is only for the strong-willed, but if you can leave it alone, the value of Bitcoin has only increased long-term. For an idea of what to expect, read this excellent experiment by a Forbes writer who performed two stints of living exclusively on Bitcoin. It perfectly encapsulates the disconnect between rising Bitcoin values and stagnant real-world adoption. Even though it was written in 2014, not much has changed in terms of actual businesses accepting Bitcoin. In short, be prepared to hang around a big city, make friends, and risk skipping lunch if your Bitcoin payment doesn’t confirm in time. Heck, who’s going to pay for anything with Bitcoin these days thanks to the exorbitant mining fees? I salute you if you stay off the mainstream financial grid entirely and I wish you all the needed luck in the world. Disclaimer: I am not qualified to give investment advice. These personal accounts about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should not be taken as financial advice. Do you own research and make up your own mind before investing in Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, or anything else. As online poker players, Bitcoin is incredibly useful as a currency. It’s faster and more private than any other method to date. It’s perfect for deposits and withdrawals, which makes it easy to overlook Bitcoin as an asset. That’s what’s unique about Bitcoin: it’s both a medium of exchange, like a $100 bill, but it has its own speculative value, similar to gold. Its one-day value fluctuations can trigger emotions ranging from hitting a one-outer on the river yourself to watching your opponent suck out on you with a runner-runner straight. What Bitcoin has done long-term can’t be argued. If you’ve held onto Bitcoin from almost any time in the past, you’ve made money. If you’ve held onto it for a while, it’s a lot of money. The first 3 companies that come to mind when I think of big-name stocks that have done well in recent years are: Amazon, Apple, and Google. Fair enough, right? Three of the most profitable companies in the world that have had exceptional recent years. Look at the great performance they’ve had over the past 5 years: Amazon’s stock price has increased an amazing 300+% over the past 5 years. Apple has had strong, but not astronomical gains of 60+% over the past 5 years. Google has returned its shareholders nearly a whopping 150% over the past 5 years. Yup. Bitcoin has risen in value over 30,000% over the past 5 years and I’m actually shortchanging it since I made this image before recent gains pushed it over $10,000. The first documented real-world use of Bitcoin was a trade of $30 worth of pizza for 10,000 BTC. Today, that would be the equivalent of over $55 million. –New York Times To me, the most beautiful part of investing with Bitcoin is that online poker players can be and have been a part of it by complete accident. You just might be making some deposits and cashouts between sites, but that one day you decided to let your Bitcoin sit in your wallet? You became an investor, and probably a smart one. Like it or not, there’s no way to separate Bitcoin from its change of value. If you have Bitcoin, your value is going to change one way or another. Long-term? That’s been a one-way street. What would you do in the middle of a crash like this? There’s no shame in wanting to bail out. A lot of people did at this point and I would have earlier in my Bitcoin days. Unfortunately, it’s like playing 7-2 from the button and then folding before you’ve even seen the flop. When I first started using Bitcoin for my poker cashouts, I dabbled in the market of it. I was absolutely awful at it. My “strategy” consisted of letting my Bitcoin sit for a little while after it hit my wallet from the poker site. Sometimes I would have lucky timing with the Bitcoin market and it would be on a rally in the midst of when I got my cashout. I would watch the price, let it ride, and as soon as it went back down 1 or 2% I would sell it all and withdraw it. Sure, I sometimes made a profit when I got lucky with the timing. Other times, those crazy poker sites had the nerve to send my Bitcoin while I was sleeping. I would wake up and see I had lost 7% of my payout before I even know I had it, and panic-sell. I was unwittingly “buying” high with my poker site cashouts and selling low more often than not. My strategy was really just getting lucky or unlucky and poker players know what happens to those who rely on luck long-term. It only took a month for Bitcoin to not only recoup the losses from the crash, but actually hit all-time highs. Bitcoin tends to do that. If you’re going to invest some of your poker bankroll in Bitcoin, you should be doing it long-term. It only took a month for Bitcoin to not only recoup the losses from the crash, but actually hit all-time highs. Bitcoin tends to do that. If you’re going to invest some of your poker bankroll in Bitcoin, you should be doing it long-term. Each Bitcoin could be worth $100,000 within 10 years. –Financial analyst Kay Van-Petersen for CNBC Guess what I learned after a few of those curse-laden panic sells? Every. Single. Time. The price not only bounced back to what it was when I received it from the poker site, but then shoot way past it. The Bitcoin market moves in fast-forward so it literally usually only took a week or two to make me look like a fool. Many Bitcoin wallets will actually show you how much your Bitcoin was worth at the time it was received and then, of course, what it is worth at current prices. If you do transactions over time, it can be staggering. I was tired of seeing the money I would have made by simply letting it sit there. Finally, I woke up and had a long think looking at the lifetime value graph of Bitcoin. The darn thing was only going up since the crash in 2013, and going up significantly – even with individual days of 8-10% losses that caused people like me to panic. Why not just try to go a week or two weeks without even looking at the Bitcoin charts and see what happens? Bitcoin’s value has always gone up over time. If you’re the type I used to be: if an 8% or 10% loss in a day convinces you that it’s never coming back up, then you shouldn’t hold on to your Bitcoin. Just cash it out onto a debit card or through an exchange as soon as you get it. You’ll avoid the volatility almost entirely. However, if you’ve got the nerve for it, simply holding onto Bitcoin could be one of the easiest opportunities for passive income you’ll ever see. Sure, Bitcoin is a perfect currency for online poker, but it’s also mostly used as a store of value these days thanks to investment speculation Whew. Congrats on getting through all that with your eyes still open. You deserve an avocado ice cream and a few (hundred) satoshis. I absolutely understand if you’re overwhelmed, intimidated, confused, or are enjoying a cocktail of all three right about now. It’s unlike any money system that we’ve grown up with and become accustomed to for our entire lives. It’s got numbers and letters, QR codes, wallets, no government oversight, and its own lexicon with big words like decentralization and cryptocurrency. I also get that Bitcoin is better for online poker than anything else ever. I have a habit to overexplain things that I’m passionate about, but I’ve done it for players interested in playing online poker with Bitcoin because it’s that important to me. Bitcoin is that much better than any other government-controlled scam fiat system out there. Bitcoin is 100% better for online poker sites than anything else we’ve ever seen. It literally solves every problem online poker has ever had with deposits and withdrawals. No one can tell you where to spend it, there’s no bank looking over your shoulder, and you’ll never see a declined transaction. At the end of the day, Bitcoin for poker players is really as simple as: acquiring it in your wallet and sending it to a poker site using long codes you can copy-and-paste or scan. Want to cash it out? Send it back to your wallet and do what you want with it from there. You’ll choose how you want to get Bitcoin, where to store it, and how to cash it out. I’ve gone into detail on options for each step so you can choose what’s best for you at each step. Learning Bitcoin is like learning to ride a bike or change a lightbulb for the first time. You can read all about it, but the only way to really learn is by actually doing it. Once you do it a few times, it couldn’t be simpler. Spending a few hours of your time to get set up with Bitcoin will fix everything when it comes to your online poker banking and could open your eyes to a lot more. That’s a +EV use of a half a day. A couple of years ago, a poker site told me that they would only give me my money in Bitcoin. I had never used Bitcoin in my life and, not mincing words, I was pissed. Today? I would rather have Bitcoin in my wallet than dollars in the bank. It turned this skeptic into a Bitcoin missionary. Learn Bitcoin, embrace it, use it for poker, use it for everything, make money with it, and, yes, it might just change your life, too. Have any question about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, or how to use it at poker sites? Is anything still unclear? HODLing on your hardware cold wallet like a boss? I could talk crypto-shop all day and, unlike the usual suspects like Reddit, no condescending elitists allowed. Post a comment below and, if I’ve recently had a cup of coffee, you’ll get a response from me within a few hours. "888 Poker is the only one I've played (real money) on and I have no complaints. Very easy to set up and start playing." The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. Improve your win rate 100% or more with my 6-part series. "You've helped my game tremendously. BTF's content is second to none." Taras Mokhurenko Your free book will arrive in your Inbox within seconds.If every online poker player would bother to learn how to use Bitcoin, deposit and withdrawal troubles around the globe would be solved tomorrow. I hate to go all Ron Popeil on you, but if you’re a regular player, using Bitcoin at poker sites will change your life. Bitcoin’s got all the answers. Got the declined credit card blues at your favorite purveyor of online poker? Bitcoin will wash them away with the ferocity of a thousand fire hoses. Nosy banking hucksters shutting you down because you had the audacity to deposit and withdraw your own money for your own leisure activities? Bitcoin’s got you covered like a decentralized warm blanket out of the dryer. Do you think moving your money from online poker to investing involves a suit-clad broker, management fees, and returns that need a microscope to measure? Bitcoin will empower you with the blockchain-fabric cape, crushing middlemen like ants and effortlessly making you the smartest investor in the room. Bitcoin is as easy and as powerful as you want it be. Seriously. Only interested in making deposits and withdrawals at poker sites like a boss? Totally embrace the tech, ready to take back power from The Man, and want to make money doing it? We’re like Bitcoin brothers in the ether. There’s a lot of lazy FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) out there when it comes to Bitcoin and online poker, mostly coming from lazy folks who don’t know a Bitcoin wallet from a hole in their pockets. Poker affiliates are some of the biggest offenders. I’m confident I can show you everything you need to play online poker using Bitcoin by the end of this page and, perhaps, open your eyes to something that could change your life more than a food dehydrator. Lofty goals, I know, but I feel like it’s my duty as a Bitcoin missionary. The best way to deposit and withdraw we’ve ever seen is at hand. Learn it, use it, and you’ll never back. Before I get into the nitty and cryptographic gritty of Bitcoin, let’s first get something straight: I only list Bitcoin poker sites that have earned my personal trust. To be clear, I’ve personally used Bitcoin for multiple deposits and withdrawals at every poker site I even consider listing here. I’ve also done massive poker site reviews on each one of them. Each Bitcoin poker site on this page has: The best analogy I can use is that Bitcoin is like a combination of gold and PayPal. Like gold, it’s a valuable commodity that has a limited supply. Like PayPal, you can use it to pay for goods and services, like deposits and withdrawals at Bitcoin poker sites. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, released in 2008 with the first open-source Bitcoin wallet launched in 2009. It’s also the most successful and widespread cryptocurrency to date with a market cap exceeding $100 billion. Unlike traditional government-issued currency (fiat), Bitcoin only exists in digital space. No government, company, agency, or individual controls the Bitcoin system, making it totally decentralized. Bitcoin payments, including those used for poker sites, take place directly between users without a middleman. Bitcoin also doesn’t require any personal information to function. The original Bitcoin whitepaper, which outlined the goals and mechanisms of the first cryptocurrency, was published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 Bitcoin is both an asset and a currency, which, like traditional money, can be used for the purchase of goods and services. The value of Bitcoin can fluctuate significantly based on supply and demand, although it has risen exponentially since it was first released. When you make a deposit or withdrawal at a Bitcoin poker site, it will be based on its US dollar value at the time of transfer. Bitcoins are created and transactions are proofed via cryptography, hence its cryptocurrency moniker. Each Bitcoin transaction is recorded publicly on a ledger, which is updated and mirrored on computers around the globe. This is what’s known as the blockchain. Bitcoin was the first widespread implementation of a blockchain system. Since its launch, the value of each Bitcoin has gone from a fraction of a cent each to an all-time high of $20,000. That’s an appreciation of over 20,000,000%. Bitcoin is honestly only as difficult as you make it. You don’t really need to know all the terminology or even how it works in order to use Bitcoin, especially just for poker sites. If all you want to do with Bitcoin is transfer money to and from poker sites quickly, it doesn’t need to be much more different than using PayPal. Take it from someone who’s dealt with Bitcoin almost daily for several years. Still, let’s go into each piece a little deeper to explain what each piece of the Bitcoin puzzle means. You’ll have a leg up when you see these words around and, you know, for when Bitcoin eventually takes over the global economy. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which is a type of digital money that uses cryptography to record transactions and complex math problems to create new units of currency. Basically, a bunch of numbers and complex math formulas replace the banking records and printing presses behind traditional money. If Bitcoin transactions are public, how can you make sure no one steals or tries to spend your Bitcoin? Every time Bitcoin is sent, it must be signed by its matching private key. Private keys are automatically handled using your Bitcoin wallet. They’re like the ticket to spending Bitcoin. Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology, which can also be called a distributed ledger. Instead of using a central database that could be hacked, manipulated, or compromised, updates to a blockchain are mirrored on software records around the globe. Unlike fiat currencies, which only lose their value over time as more of it is arbitrarily printed and released, Bitcoin’s value is constantly changing according to supply and demand. In that way, Bitcoin functions more as a stock holding or commodity. Daily gains or losses can exceed 15-20%. Overall, Bitcoin has increased in value more than 10x over the last 2 years. A Bitcoin address is a long alphanumeric string that represents a destination. You provide your address to others in order to be sent Bitcoin. Addresses are automatically handled by your Bitcoin wallet software. Your Bitcoin is stored, sent, and received using a wallet. There are dozens of software Bitcoin wallet options. Addresses and private keys are automatically handled by your wallet. A backup phrase can restore your Bitcoin wallet on a new device if yours is lost or stolen. Decentralization means that there is no central authority behind Bitcoin. No government controls Bitcoin, no conglomerate makes up the rules for Bitcoin, and no one server hosts it. That makes Bitcoin invulnerable to government corruption or banking manipulation, which is commonplace in the world of “normal” currencies. There are currently around 16 million Bitcoin in circulation and its maximum supply is 21 million, which will be reached around the year 2140. That rate of “inflation” is minuscule compared with the amount of printed currency that is added in to bank reserves daily to prop up the traditional economy. Unlike fiat, there is a limited supply of Bitcoin that can ever exist. Head spinning already a little bit? Don’t worry… mine would be if I didn’t know a thing about Bitcoin either. You don’t need to remember much of the terminology to use Bitcoin and use it properly. That’s especially true if you just want to move modest amounts to and from online poker rooms once in a while. Bitcoin can be intimidating – until you actually do it. It’s a learn-by-doing kind of thing. Once you do it, you’ll see how simple it can be. If you’re still interested in the mechanics of Bitcoin, this is a pretty well-written summary and here’s a decent ELI5 video: Dollars. Pounds. Euros. Yen. Quetzal. It’s all the same. Printed money controlled by a central government. You’re under someone’s thumb and subject to whatever sadistic game of Simon Says they want to play on how you can spend it. Bitcoin? It’s decentralized, meaning no one governs it. Short of shutting down the internet, no one can yank your Bitcoin away from you, tell you how to spend it, or print more of it at will and decrease your value of it. The Antarctican government got you down again about the new online gambling ban? The Martian kingpins blocking your Visa Intergalactic again? Bitcoin’s got your back. Bitcoin isn’t controlled by any one entity so no one can block its usage. In fact, you don’t even need to state your country or even your name to create a Bitcoin wallet and make Bitcoin transactions. That often blows the minds of folks used to traditional banking. Your bank might as well have a camera in your wallet. They know everywhere you shop, how much money you make, and everywhere you travel. Do you want them to know you play online poker regularly? With Bitcoin you are your own bank. Bitcoin wallets don’t need a scrap of your info to set up and transactions only exist as a long alphanumeric string. At worst? Your fiat currency bank sees you doing business with a Bitcoin exchange – not an online poker site. The FUD and lazy reporting on Bitcoin mixed with online poker is real. I’ve seen plenty of Bitcoin poker pages (and even poker site operators themselves) try to sell players on Bitcoin because it’s anonymous. It isn’t, as drug-pushing scumbags have found out the hard and high-profile way over the years. Bitcoin is pseudonymous, which is a helluva lot more private than credit cards, bank wires, or any other type of fiat transaction. By nature, every Bitcoin transaction is public on the blockchain. That’s how Bitcoin ownership can be established and transactions can be confirmed. Fortunately, Bitcoin addresses are a long alphanumeric string, which is gibberish to onlookers. However, if a third-party can tie any person to a Bitcoin address, that starts the trail. That long alphanumeric string is a Bitcoin address, which you’ll copy and paste to send Bitcoin to and from online poker sites If James T. Nobrain posts his Bitcoin QR code as his Facebook profile photo, every transaction made to and from that address can tied to Mr. Nobrain. Anyone can try to fill in the gaps from there. Hence, Bitcoin is as private as you make it. Each user is responsible for his or her own privacy. By its nature, Bitcoin transactions don’t need your name, address, birth date, or galaxy of residence. That’s a different world of money than most are used to. The further Bitcoin transactions get from any wallet address that can be tied to you, the use of a VPN, and refraining from posting your Bitcoin address publicly all make your Bitcoin more anonymous. Printed money and coins issued by a central government Cryptocurrency that only exists digitally If I didn’t know better, I would assume that Bitcoin was created for online poker players. It all fits together that well. Okay, so Bitcoin is awesome and the money of the future. Why should online poker players care? Because Bitcoin is tailor-made for the online poker market. Honestly, it’s a match made in cyber-heaven. Sure, your government might forbid its banks from sending money to and from online poker sites, but guess what? Bitcoin doesn’t use banks. When you send Bitcoin to a poker site it’s a direct transaction between you and the poker site using a currency they don’t control. Bitcoin poker sites love the king of crypto because they don’t have to pay anyone to charge your credit card or cut you a check. They might be paying a lot on Bitcoin mining fees, but they don’t pass it on to the players. Compare that to $50-100 to get a bank wire or paper check from some poker rooms. Since it’s so cheap and easy to send and receive it, Bitcoin poker sites always give the lowest minimum deposits and withdrawals. Think $20 minimum Bitcoin deposits, which is at least half of what you’ll see if you use an archaic credit card. Bitcoin poker sites don’t have to set up a check to be mailed out to you or hire a monkey paid in bananas to visit the nearest cash transfer office. No reputable poker room takes more than 2-3 days to get your Bitcoin to you. The usual timeframe? Within 24 hours. No other withdrawal method can touch that. You could pay for poker and life with a credit card, PayPal, checks, or bank wires. As soon as you make a deposit you’ve now told your bank or ewallet, “Hi, my name is John Q. Hackee. I play online poker. Please feel free to close my account whenever you feel like it and block any transactions on a whim.” Even if you buy Bitcoin with your bank account, they never see any transactions with poker sites. Playing poker with Bitcoin never blocks anything. You are your own bank with Bitcoin. The easiest and most necessary first step in playing online poker with Bitcoin is to choose a Bitcoin wallet to install Who needs a Bitcoin wallet: everyone making any transaction with Bitcoin Why you need a Bitcoin wallet: a Bitcoin software wallet is where you spend your Bitcoin from and receive your Bitcoin to. It’s what you’ll use to deposit to online poker sites and it’s where you’ll receive payouts from poker sites. Warning: I do not recommend the Bitcoin exchange/wallet formula almost every other poker affiliate site and forum is recommending. If you’ve read Bitcoin poker guides from any other poker affiliates (and even on the poker Reddit), you’ll probably see this combination recommended: Coinbase to buy Bitcoin and Blockchain.info to make the transfers. Yuck. That will get the job done if you don’t mind making a deal with the devil, but they both have big flaws that people who aren’t very familiar with Bitcoin don’t even notice. Neither of them are my first choice – especially for poker – and I’ll explain why below. What you need: An iPhone, iPad, Android device, Mac desktop, Windows desktop, or Linux desktop Best for: Anyone new to Bitcoin who wants a one-stop shop or advanced users looking for a secure hot wallet Download: Links to all platforms available on Bitpay’s website The Bitpay app is my easy wallet recommendation for new Bitcoin poker users because it marries 3 essentials in one attractive package: a secure and popular open-source wallet in Copay, the ability to buy Bitcoin in-app, and the integration of the Bitpay ATM card. Bitpay is also available on pretty much every desktop and mobile platform, so no matter what you like to use you can get it. Download it, follow the tutorial, and you’ll have a functioning wallet to send and receive Bitcoin in seconds. The UI is designed well so that Bitcoin newcomers aren’t intimidated. If you’re buying Bitcoin somewhere else, simply click the big Receive button to see your wallet’s address and QR code. Create as many wallets as you want, name them whatever you want, and even choose different colors for them. More advanced Bitcoin users can create multiple addresses and/or wallets to give to multiple poker sites at once, if necessary. Bitpay is a hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet, meaning it will automatically create new receiving addresses for each new transaction. That also means a single 12-word recovery phrase can restore all your addresses within a wallet if you lose access to your Bitpay app. The one-tap ability to reload your Bitpay card, get Amazon gift cards, and buy Bitcoin without going through an exchange are the cherries on top with this wallet. The best part of Bitcoin is also its most dangerous: With no middleman, bank, or government oversight, there’s no one who can get it back for you if it’s stolen or you make a mistake. Anyone who can access your Bitcoin wallet can drain it. That’s what makes Bitcoin wallets that are stored online (like Blockchain.info or your exchange) so vulnerable: they can be hacked and stolen from much easier than offline software wallets. There are dozens of stories online about that very thing happening, but I still see poker players using online wallets in spades. Also, if your Bitcoin is stored online, what happens if the wallet provider’s server goes down or the entire company goes under or gets hacked? That exact scenario literally happens to Bitcoin providers several times per year. Further reading: This excellent Forbes feature on the dangers and personal stories behind SMS verification. Bitpay actually creates an offline Bitcoin wallet on your device, rather than making you log in to a third-party server. That means there’s no online account for anyone to hack. You also should protect and encrypt your wallet with a “spending password” and protect any access with a required fingerprint scan on mobile devices. You absolutely must write down your wallet backup seed phrase for every Bitcoin wallet you own. You can find it in Bitpay by going to Settings-Your Wallet Name-Backup. This allows you (or anyone with access to your phrase) to rebuild you Bitcoin wallet and its contents for each address if you change devices, lose it, or can’t access it for whatever reason. Even offline wallets like Bitpay aren’t truly hack-proof because they still live on a device that can connect to the internet. It’s what’s known as a “hot” wallet. Still, the possibility of your device being compromised by malware specifically targeting your Bitcoin is very low. Instead of being stored entirely online with a wallet service like Blockchain and protected only by a username and password, Bitpay actually creates wallet files on your device. It would take a dedicated hacker specifically targeting your device and somehow breaking the encryption to rob you of your Bitcoins. That being said, you absolutely shouldn’t ever store large amounts of Bitcoin or Bitcoin intended for long-term storage in a hot wallet – Bitpay included. After being prompted to record your 12-word wallet recovery phrase, the first thing you should do with your Bitpay wallet is set a “spending password”. Besides requiring a password before sending Bitcoin or exporting your wallet, this will actually encrypt the private keys on your device, which Bitpay doesn’t really make clear. That means that even if someone stole your hard drive, they couldn’t access the private key files without the password. What you need: An Android device, Mac desktop, Windows desktop, or Linux desktop Best for: More advanced Bitcoin users who want a secure wallet Download: Links to all platforms available on Electrum’s website Electrum is one of the most popular and widely trusted desktop Bitcoin wallets, thanks to its open-source nature and appeal to power Bitcoin users. I do not recommend Electrum for new Bitcoin users, since you’re likely to make a mistake, get confused by the ’90s-era interface, or both. If you’re new to Bitcoin, I still strongly recommend just getting Bitpay. It’ll do everything you need. Once you’ve been around the block and made a few dozen transactions, then I might recommend Electrum if you want to do things like import paper wallets, private keys, or set up multi-signature wallets. If your eyes are starting to glaze over at this point, just avoid Electrum for now. Electrum actually stores your Bitcoin private keys in encrypted files on your hard drive, so you aren’t relying on an online service to keep your funds safe, like the Blockchain.info online wallet service a lot of poker players settle for. Your Bitcoin private keys are never uploaded anywhere with Electrum so it’s nearly hack-proof, but it’s remotely possible that a very targeted hacker could intercept them from your device. Electrum is still a “hot” wallet. That’s the highly-improbable risk with storing a wallet on any device that is connected to the internet. Best for: Poker players who won’t keep Bitcoin in their wallets and want an easy setup Website: You can sign up for an online Bitcoin wallet at Blockchain’s website The number of poker players and sites recommending online wallets is staggering. They’re less secure, open to hackers, and transfers to poker sites could potentially be tracked. You don’t need to look far to find poker sites recommending that Bitcoin noobs get a wallet from Blockchain and, if you’re willing to get an online Bitcoin wallet, it’s the only one I would consider using for short-term transfers I used Blockchain for more than 2 years before I learned enough to realize it isn’t smart to store any form of Bitcoin private keys or logins online. If you still want to go the online route, they’re easily the largest provider of online Bitcoin wallets. They host more than 16,000,000 wallets and have raised more than $70 million in funding from some of the largest investment groups in the world. All you need is an email address to sign up, so no personal information is required. It also has a very straightforward interface, which I think is extra important if you’re new to Bitcoin. If you need to switch between multiple computers, phones, and tablets to manage your Bitcoin, Blockchain is easy to use since it isn’t tied to any device. You can log in to Blockchain from anywhere you have your credentials – and therein lies its fatal flaw. The convenience of Blockchain is also it’s biggest flaw: it lives online. Do you want to rely on a third party to store and protect your Bitcoin? That means your wallet account could conceivably be hacked and drained of its Bitcoin contents as easy as your email account. If that happens, you’ll have no recourse since, by its nature, Bitcoin transactions can’t be reversed or reported to any law enforcement. You absolutely shouldn’t even consider using Blockchain unless you set up two-factor with Google Authenticator or Authy, but, even if you do, what happens if there’s a system-wide hack of the entire wallet database? That happens seemingly every day to massive companies in larger sectors than Bitcoin and, in fact, it has happened multiple times specifically to Bitcoin exchanges. Sometimes it has a (kind of) happy ending and other times it doesn’t. What if there’s a massive server outage or DDoS attack on Blockchain? The mental loop of potential catastrophes for an online company holding the only access to your money is endless. I wouldn’t even consider using Blockchain without Two-Factor Authentication and second password enabled. You’ll find them in the Security section. SMS codes are useless and can be easily hacked these days. Use the authenticator app option and get Authy on your phone. That way, even if someone has your wallet ID and password, they can’t log in without physical access to your phone. The second password option also adds an extra password prompt before any Bitcoin is allowed to be sent. If you’re going to store Bitcoin long-term, there’s almost nothing safer than a hardware wallet like a Ledger Nano S What you need: A desktop computer with a USB port and the Chrome/Chromium browser for the wallet management apps Best for: Long-term hack-proof Bitcoin storage Website: I may be paranoid, but I will only purchase these from Ledger’s official site The Ledger is the ultimate Bitcoin wallet. It’s a hardware wallet, meaning it’s a specialized physical piece of hardware only used for storing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency private keys. It’s about the size of a pack of gum and looks like a fold-out USB flash drive with a small screen and a couple buttons. The Ledger Nano S is one of the most popular hardware Bitcoin wallets out right now along with the Trezor. I like the Nano S a little more because it’s a little less expensive, looks cooler, and never shows your recovery phrase on your computer screen. If you want to send Bitcoin to an online poker site – or anywhere else – you’ll need to manually approve it using physical buttons on the Ledger Nano S The Ledger Nano S is true “cold” storage, which is technically the only safe way to store Bitcoin long-term. It’s cold because it doesn’t sit on a device that can be connected to the internet and the actual architecture of the chips inside it makes it impossible to hack. Even if the Ledger could be hacked electronically (it can’t), you have to physically input your PIN (which can be up to 8 numbers) with real buttons on the device and accept transactions via a cool built-in screen with a blue LED to process them. Ledger even states that you can use it on a malware-infected computer and it will still keep your private keys safe. To access your Bitcoin wallet you insert a mini-USB cable into the Ledger Nano S and the other full-sized USB side into an open USB port on your Windows, Mac, Linux, or Android-based computer (think Chromebook). You then use a Ledger Chrome (or Chromium) browser extension to access the super-simple wallet interface to send or receive your Bitcoin. My ideal Bitcoin wallet combo: use Bitpay on your phone as your hot wallet loaded with “walking around money” and keep anything more than that on your Nano S. The Ledger Nano S is true “cold” Bitcoin storage since your private keys only reside on a separate offline device I recommend the Ledger Nano S because I’m paranoid about security and it allows you to safely hold Bitcoin long-term. It also supports alt-coins like Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Dash among others once you get to be a cryptocurrency boss. True, it’s a bit of a hassle to have to physically plug it in every time you want to send or receive Bitcoin from poker sites or other merchants, but the peace of mind is worth it to me. If you plan to leave more Bitcoin in a wallet than you’re willing to lose, you need a hardware wallet offering true cold storage like the Ledger Nano S. Getting a Bitcoin wallet set up is the easiest part of the Bitcoin poker process. The one you choose is going to depend on what you want to do with it. My personal recommendation? Bitpay as your hot wallet and Ledger Nano S if you’re holding Bitcoin long-term. A good guideline to keep in mind is that a Bitcoin hot wallet is like the real cash wallet you walk around with. You keep enough money in it to do business, but your life savings is somewhere safer. In the Bitcoin world, that’s cold storage. Why don’t you walk around with all your money in your pocket? That’s an incredible risk. The same goes for a Bitcoin hot wallet. If you only plan to use your Bitcoin wallet to quickly transfer modest amounts to and from poker sites, exchanges, and/or your Bitcoin ATM card, you’re probably safe with a “hot” wallet like Bitpay. It’s like small amounts of cash going in and out of your worn leather wallet. If you get robbed, you’d be mad as hell, but not financially devastated. If you want to HODL Bitcoin long-term and actually make a savings out of it, you’ll need to get a hardware wallet. So you’ve got a Bitcoin wallet set up now, but now you need to actually put Bitcoin in it to send to the poker sites. Fortunately, you’ve got a lot of choice on how you do that. Requires: Existing funds in an account at a Bitcoin poker site or the ability to get funds onto one using another deposit method such as a credit card. Do you already have money at a Bitcoin poker site? If so, you’re standing on the precipice of the beautiful horizon of Bitcoin ownership. No one really talks about this method, but existing online poker players can obtain Bitcoin perhaps easier than anyone. Online poker sites hate to be used as “banks”, but they’ll never really know that’s what you’re doing if you don’t take it too far (e.g. making frequent credit card deposits, not playing, then requesting Bitcoin payouts). Step 1: Create a Bitcoin wallet. More on how to do that here if you skipped that part. Step 2: Find the Bitcoin button in the poker site cashier’s withdrawal section. My top 2 choices for playing poker with Bitcoin are Bovada Poker and BetOnline Poker. Step 3: Type (or preferably paste) in your Bitcoin wallet’s receiving address at the poker site. Step 4: Wait about 12-48 hours depending on the poker site and – BOOM – you’ve got Bitcoin in your wallet ready to go. You just turned your poker money into Bitcoin. You just turned your online poker money into Bitcoin. You can now send it to another poker room or do whatever else you’d like with it. See my recommendations here for what to do with your shiny new cryptocurrency. If you already have money at a poker site that supports Bitcoin, then you already have Bitcoin. Your original deposit method at the poker site doesn’t matter. You can still make a Bitcoin poker withdrawal directly to your chosen wallet regardless of if you used a credit card, cash transfer, or bottle caps as your original deposit method. The poker sites would rather send you Bitcoin instead of a check anyway. It’s cheaper, easier, and unregulated for the poker room just as it is for you. You know what I like best about making the poker sites be your Bitcoin exchange? You never have to create an actual Bitcoin exchange account, charge you bank account, wait for ID verification, or give away all your personal information. Besides, using Bitcoin for online poker withdrawals is faster, more private, and more convenient than getting your money as a check, cash transfer, or wire. You can deposit it right back to another poker site, withdraw it using a Bitcoin ATM card, make purchases with it, or hold onto it and make yourself money. This method will work at the following poker sites, which I’ve used for multiple Bitcoin withdrawals and trust: What you need: A Bitcoin wallet on your phone and fiat cash Best for: Players who need a modest amount of Bitcoin immediately Step 1: You will likely have to confirm your mobile by giving the Bitcoin ATM your phone number in order to receive an SMS code. In the United States, you’ll also probably have to allow the ATM to scan your ID. Step 2: Open your mobile Bitcoin wallet to the receive screen, which will also display the QR code. For mobile Bitcoin wallets, I prefer Bitpay or Breadwallet. Step 3: Hold up your QR code to the ATM’s scanner. Step 4: Choose how much Bitcoin you’d like to purchase. Step 5: Insert your cash into the ATM. Your cash is exchanged into Bitcoin and sent right away to your Bitcoin wallet. It will likely complete confirmation is 15-30 minutes. Note: If you don’t have cash on hand, withdraw what you need from your bank account at a standard ATM first. which is probably right next to the Bitcoin ATM. Bitcoin ATMs are simple enough to use to buy or sell Bitcoin, but their availability is limited and they give awful exchange rates If you have the Bread Bitcoin wallet app on your phone (and everyone might as well, even if it isn’t your primary one) there’s a built-in tool under the Buy Bitcoin option to show you the nearest Bitcoin ATMs. You can also use the map at CoinATMRadar to find the nearest one. As you would expect, major metropolitan areas may have dozens of Bitcoin ATMs, whereas rural areas may not have any. CoinATMRadar shows that almost all Bitcoin ATMs are in major metro areas in first-world countries Thanks to the pervasiveness of Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering (KYC/AML) regulations in the United States and other countries, you’ll probably have to either have your ID scanned by the ATM, have your fingerprint scanned, or both. This will depend on the ATM type and how much you’re depositing. With the ID checks at almost every Bitcoin ATM, you might as well just sign up at a real online Bitcoin exchange Although Bitcoin ATMs are convenient to buy your poker funds, you pay a premium for it. The price you’ll pay for Bitcoin is about 5-7% worse than what you’d pay at a reputable quality exchange like Kraken or Gemini. For example, .1 BTC would cost about $550 at Kraken at the time of this writing. You would pay $600-625 at a Bitcoin ATM. That might be negligible for smaller Bitcoin purchases, but could be massive for larger amounts. If you can wait a week or so to get your Bitcoin, it’s always a better deal to buy it from an exchange or from within a supported wallet like Bitpay. Bitcoin ATMs scan your ID anyway. You might as well just send it to an exchange and get a better deal. Best for: Players who need to buy occasional Bitcoin at fair rates Most Bitcoin users think of Bitcoin wallets like Bitpay, Breadwallet, Mycelium, or Airbitz simply as storage, but within the last couple of years they’ve picked up an incredible useful function: you can now buy (and usually sell) Bitcoin in-app. You can’t get much more convenient than that. About a dozen Bitcoin wallets now use Glidera, which is now operated by one of my favorite Bitcoin exchanges – Kraken. Simply click the “Buy Bitcoin” button on the home screen or menu of your wallet to be guided through it. After sending Glidera a scan of your ID, you input your banking details from an impressive list of partnering banks. Currently, only ACH transactions are supported, meaning you cannot use credit cards. The fee is very reasonable at 1% and you should have Bitcoin delivered right to your wallet in about 5 days. Bitcoin exchanges are the biggest Bitcoin parallel to PayPal. They’re regulated and used to link your real-world bank account to Bitcoin purchases and withdrawals. A growing number of Bitcoin wallets, like Bitpay, Bread, and Airbitz allow you to buy Bitcoin right from your wallet What you need: A web browser, your personal information, and the ability to send in a photo of your ID Best for: Players who need a steady option to buy Bitcoin and withdraw fiat right back to their bank accounts Kraken has become my favorite Bitcoin exchange for their lack of BS or controversy. That isn’t to say that Kraken’s interface is great for new users. Just read their guides well and you’ll get the hang of it. The Bitcoin exchanges I recommend are regulated companies who turn standard currency from your bank into Bitcoin. They also turn Bitcoin back into fiat currency (USD, EUR, GBP, etc.) and transfer it to your bank account. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get Bitcoin using your bank account. It’s also the only easy way to sell your Bitcoin back into traditional currency and dump it directly back to your bank account. Very easily, although each one has a different interface and requirements. You sign up for an account, verify your identity, which is usually by sending in a scan of your ID, and provide a bank account to link. You can then move both ways between government fiat currency and Bitcoin. Because exchanges do transfers with banks, they require various amounts of personal information to use. It starts with what’s found on your driver’s license for small transactions and escalates from there depending on how much you want to transfer. Exchanges doing business with Americans are also beholden to the IRS, FinCEN, and whichever acronym wants to know more about any of its customers for any reason. Bitcoin exchanges create a middleman and government meddling over a currency whose central culture avoids The Man like the plague. The worst Bitcoin exchange offenders (i.e. Coinbase) regularly interrogate their customers and ask for documentation beyond what even traditional banks would require. It was awful waiting for them to verify me, but it’s been smooth sailing since. They don’t ask questions, don’t add markup to prices, allow me to trade between tons of cryptocurrencies, and their withdrawals are unmatched. Learn their interface, wait to get verified, and don’t look back. Kraken is easily my main exchange. I’ve heard Gemini mentioned by a lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts and decided to test them out as a secondary exchange to Kraken. Everything has gone smoothly so far. Gemini has easy to work with and allow instant Bitcoin buys from your bank account once they check your ID. Their also unmatched with wire transfer withdrawal times. I’ve received some within hours and have never waited more than a day. Unfortunately, I also see a lot of online poker players using and recommending Coinbase. I’ve personally had an awful experience with Coinbase, which ended with me demanding they close my account just to wash off their stench. I suppose it was a blessing in disguise, however, as it forced me to find better Bitcoin exchanges. I recommend signing up and getting verified at 2 Bitcoin exchanges, even if you don’t think you’ll need them. That way all the ID garbage is done and you’re ready to cash Bitcoin out at a moment’s notice or buy it later if you need to. Remember, you don’t need to buy Bitcoin to use an exchange. You can use them simply for turning your Bitcoin poker payouts into real-world money that gets sent to the bank. If you’ve searched around about Bitcoin and poker you’ve no doubt run into the wolf in sheep’s clothing: Coinbase. Nothing beats them in terms of sharp interfaces, speed of verification, and ease of use. They even somehow managed to be the only Bitcoin exchange with a mobile wallet app that lets you buy Bitcoin directly using a credit card. Coinbase is like the smiling stranger in a nice car, luring in the lost and inexperienced before fleecing them back at the lair. A lot of poker players settle for Coinbase, which pains me. Coinbase is ubiquitous and easy to use, but they track your transactions and will interrogate you if they catch you sending or receiving Bitcoin from poker sites Check out some of the recent fiascos involving Coinbase so you aren’t just taking my word for it: A sampling of Coinbase’s ratings on customer review sites: Coinbase’s reputation among Bitcoin enthusiasts has never been lower and I hate to see them get a new customer, but they remain one exchange option if you’re desperate for simplicity and speed over privacy and better rates. If you play online poker (and even if you don’t) and use Coinbase, you’re likely setting yourself up for future frustration, interrogation, and/or financial surveillance. If you just want a “Buy Bitcoin now” button and can’t wait for ID verification at the better exchanges, then Coinbase is going to be it. They’re also the only ones that deal with credit cards. If you’re going to touch Coinbase with a 10-foot pole, absolutely don’t even think about sending it directly to a poker site from them or any other exchange. Take 60 seconds and send it to your real wallet first. If you want to just make a small Bitcoin buy, transfer it to your wallet, throw it on to a poker site, and then never use them again you’ll probably be fine with Coinbase. Anything more than that, however, and prepare to be interrogated, buy and sell at worse rates, and possibly have your trading history shared with the government. Coinbase also is allegedly silently tracking customer transactions and specifically forbids its users from doing business with poker or any other gambling site. If you bought your Bitcoin from an exchange, you’ll need to transfer it to your own Bitcoin wallet before sending it to a poker room Technically, you could send Bitcoin from your exchange wallet directly to a Bitcoin poker site as your deposit, but that would be like piloting a stealth fighter jet and never pressing the stealth button. Don’t get lazy. Amazingly, even poker sites like America’s Cardroom often skip this crucial step in its Bitcoin tutorials. Sending your Bitcoin from your exchange to a real wallet before using it at a poker site is a critical step you can’t skip. If you make Bitcoin transfers (to anyone, but especially online poker sites) right from your exchange, you’re voluntarily giving your transaction history to a company who is beholden to the government and knows everything about you short of what you ordered at Chipotle for lunch. Step 1: Log in to your exchange, whether it be Kraken, Gemini, or the dreadful Coinbase. Each interface is different, but you’re looking for a “Send” or “Withdraw” button. On Kraken, which admittedly doesn’t have a great UI, go to Funding, Withdraw, and then choose Bitcoin from the withdrawal methods on the left column. Step 2: Here is where you’ll copy-paste that long alphanumeric string shown in the receive section of your wallet, since that’s where you want to send your Bitcoin. If you’re using Bitpay, there is simply a big “Receive” button that will show you your latest receiving Bitcoin address and QR code. Step 3: Few exchanges or poker sites allow you to scan a QR code for your Bitcoin receiving address, so I like to have both the exchange and my wallet open on the same device to copy-paste. From your wallet, copy the receive address and then paste it into the exchange’s withdraw field. Step 4: Submit the withdrawal with the exchange and your Bitcoin should be confirmed in your wallet in as little as 10-15 minutes. With modern Bitcoin wallets, every time you receive Bitcoin a new Bitcoin address will automatically be created for the next transaction. This is called an HD wallet. That means that the long alphanumeric receiving address will be different every time you receive Bitcoin. This is essential to protect your privacy. Don’t worry – every single address that is created is stored in your wallet. When you send Bitcoin to your wallet, you’ll be able to see it there within about 5-10 seconds. Unfortunately, your Bitcoin isn’t really available to use for poker or anything else quite yet. Bitcoin transactions have to be confirmed first by miners processing the Bitcoin ecosystem. That’s who the fees go to. This article by CoinDesk explains the Bitcoin transaction process nicely. Now comes the anxiety for new Bitcoin poker users, as you’re probably used to a world where financial transactions happen instantly. In a perfect cryptocurrency world, Bitcoin transactions would also happen instantly, but they don’t. The infrastructure around Bitcoin wasn’t really designed to handle the load that’s been placed on it in the last few years and how to fix it is a huge controversy in and of itself. What you need to be is patient and calm at this point. I’ve had Bitcoin transfers confirm in as little as 5-10 minutes and, in one weird instance, take about 48 hours. I would estimate 90% of my all-time Bitcoin transactions confirmed within 30 minutes. The important thing to keep in mind is that, so long as you copy-pasted the address correctly, your Bitcoin isn’t being “lost” or stolen if it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Remember, there’s no one actually in charge of Bitcoin that could steal it. You’ll see your transaction immediately in your Bitcoin wallet, which should give you peace of mind. It will also probably show up as “pending” or “unconfirmed”. Just keep checking back once in a while. It’ll get there and you’ll be ready to slice and dice on your chosen poker site in no time. Once it’s confirmed, your Bitcoin is ready to be sent to a Bitcoin poker site or anywhere else you choose. As a disclaimer, I’ve never used a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange service or purchased Bitcoin from a private party. However, I’ve heard from plenty of Bitcoin enthusiasts who swear by services like LocalBitcoins. It’s essentially an eBay-like service, but for buying and selling of Bitcoin. There’s a feedback service to try to discourage scam artists. Some Bitcoin buyers and sellers go as far as to actually meet up physically if they’re both in the same area. I would never personally trust such a Craigslist-y service, but just know it’s there if you’re feeling adventurous. If you’re a veteran of a poker or Bitcoin forum, you could also ask for recommendations of a trusted member who might be able to do a personal PayPal or poker site transfer for Bitcoin transaction. Once your Bitcoin is in your own personal Bitcoin wallet, a simple copy-paste from the poker site’s cashier will get you ready to play If you’ve used an exchange to buy Bitcoin and sent it to your wallet, you’ve already practiced using Bitcoin once. You’re going to do the same thing with your poker deposit. You’ve followed the steps up to this point and your Bitcoin is ready to go in your wallet. You’ve taken the onramp, changed into the fast lane by sending your Bitcoin to a real wallet, and now you’re ready to finally to open it up. What’s next? The last step of the deposit puzzle, which is actually sending your Bitcoin to a Bitcoin poker site. Let’s use Bovada Poker as the example site, as I’ve had excellent Bitcoin experiences with them in the past. However, this process will be identical on any other Bitcoin poker site. Step 1: Open the poker software and log in. I’ll use Bovada Poker as an example since I think they do Bitcoin best. Step 2: Visit the cashier and select Bitcoin as your deposit option. Step 3: Type in how much you’d like to deposit in US Dollars. If you’d like to deposit your entire Bitcoin wallet balance, you should make this $1-2 less than you have to account for the mining fee. Let’s choose the minimum $25 for this example. Step 4: The Bovada Poker cashier will then generate the exact amount of Bitcoin (BTC is the currency acronym for Bitcoin) you need to send based on the current exchange rate. You’ll also see the Bitcoin address (and QR code for that address) you need to send it to. Here’s another example of what the Bitcoin poker deposit screen will look like if you’re playing on mobile. This is using BetOnline Poker. You can’t scan a QR code with the same device you’re using, so if your wallet is on the same device you’re playing poker on just highlight and copy the alphanumeric address. That’s what I’ll do here since I’m on the Bovada Poker desktop software. I will be using my Bitpay desktop wallet. If you’re playing poker on a desktop and your Bitcoin wallet is on your phone, just scan the QR code with your phone in the next step. Step 5: Open your Bitcoin wallet and set up a send transaction. Most wallets make doing this very clear. On Bitpay, for example, just hit the big “Send” button at the bottom. Step 6: Paste in the Bitcoin address you copied here. You can also scan the QR code given from the poker room if you’re using another device. Step 7: Now make sure the amount of the Bitcoin being sent exactly matches what the poker cashier requested. Step 8: If there’s an option to adjust the mining fee, I recommend leaving this alone for now. This has a direct effect on how long your Bitcoin transaction will take to confirm. Most wallets calculate for faster (with slightly higher fees) confirmations by default. It can be obnoxious to pay $5-15 for a $25 Bitcoin transaction, but that’s just the state of Bitcoin fees at the moment. The good thing is you’ll pay almost the same thing if you send $2,500 or $25. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to make for all the benefits of Bitcoin. Step 9: Obsessively check to make sure you’re sending to the correct address and send it away. Depending on the wallet you’re using and how securely you set it up, you should have to input a PIN, type a password, click a physical button on hardware wallets, or scan your fingerprint. You enable that level of security to make sure that, even if the device with your wallet on it was stolen, no one else could spend your Bitcoins. Step 10: Bovada Poker is pretty remarkable as they often credit your poker account within seconds rather than waiting for the Bitcoin blockchain confirmations. At other poker sites there will likely be a 15-60 minute delay depending on how backed up the Bitcoin network is on confirmations. Step 11: The Bitcoin poker site will credit your real money balance in US Dollars. It may sound like a lot of steps, but essentially you’re just copying a Bitcoin address from the poker cashier to your wallet, choosing an amount, and sending it. As you get more familiar with using Bitcoin, you can perform this whole thing in under a minute. Withdrawing your poker balance to your Bitcoin wallet is faster and more private than requesting a check or other old-school payout methods Bitcoin is easily the best withdrawal method for poker sites we’ve ever had, and that’s coming from someone who’s tried almost everything since 2004. So you’re building up your bankroll, enjoying shooting some fish in a barrel, and you’re ready for a little profit-taking. Have a check cut from the poker site, wait a week or two for Fedex, and deal with invasive questions from your local banksters? Voluntarily give
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