One of the first types of truly successful businesses that cropped up in the Bitcoin space was, pretty-well naturally, gambling. Bitcoin and gambling have a lot to offer each other: there’s the ability to transfer money anywhere, anytime for practically nothing; then there’s the fact that no bank, credit card company, or (maybe) spouse is monitoring what you’re doing, suspending your account, or knocking down your door with guns drawn.
For Bitcoin, gamblers brought home the first real proof-of-concept: Bitcoin could be a way real way to transfer value. And, if it works for gambling, it would work just as well for anything else you spend money on online.
Daniel Schwartzkopff is the founder of BetVIP, a gambling site he created right when the FIFA World Cup was kicking off in Brazil and has been going strong since. Daniel was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about BetVIP by email. Enjoy the read:
The copyright on the site is for 2014. What were you folks doing prior that?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, having founded a telecoms start-up in 2010 and a financial consultancy 2013 – both of which have been successful. Through those ventures, I quickly saw the changing landscape of currency and the rising demand for bitcoin solutions.
Launching BetVIP shortly thereafter in February 2014 was the product of three years of hard work and development and we are delighted with the progress we’ve made in such a short time.
**Get started with Bitcoin at Coinbase.**
Where are you from and why do you have your address in Malta? What advantage is there in running BetVip from there?
Malta is the centre of the gaming industry so, much in the same way you might expect financial institutions to flock to London or Frankfurt, it made sense for us to base ourselves where the infrastructure is proven to suit our business requirements. Being close to that industry expertise and other internet gaming contemporaries, as well as benefitting from a territory that understands iGaming was a no-brainer for us.
On your site, it says you’re licensed. What kind of license and what does that mean to the people using your service?
BetVIP is the world’s first licensed bitcoin-only sportsbook and poker room. We hold a gaming license in Curacao, deal exclusively in bitcoin and only accept bets in regulated markets.
Our gaming license and strict bet acceptance policy provides a secure and reliable platform for bitcoin holders as we support the growing movement of people that want to normalise the currency and bring it further into everyday use.
We offer complete transparency and accountability in order to build up trust with our players.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin regulations? How do they impact you and what steps are you taking to be ready for them?
Bitcoin is a successful, growing currency which is now causing governments to sit up and take notice. With that comes regulation, which we absolutely welcome. Bringing bitcoin more and more into the mainstream will only dispel any public concerns and myths about digital currency and, in turn, see BetVIP flourish alongside other bitcoin-only businesses.
We’re excited for what the future holds with bitcoin.
Now, one of the big problems with any Bitcoin business where someone else holds the private keys is that there is nothing to stop the owners to just up and disappear with the proceeds. We just saw this with Evolution, the dark market. What guarantee do you have for the folks using your site that this won’t happen?
In the past there may been an element of mistrust in bitcoin, with anonymity being one of the real barriers to players and consumers feeling safe.
BetVIP decided it was time to bring transparency and legitimacy to this industry, so we became the world’s first fully licensed bitcoin operator. This means that players know exactly who we are, where we are registered and they can put a face to the name of this company.
With our license comes responsibilities and legal repercussions for any illegal or fraudulent activity. We’re absolutely open with all of our customers so they can be guaranteed a safe gaming experience.
What’s your 30-second elevator pitch describing to someone skeptical of Bitcoin why they should bet with you?
BetVIP offers a trusted, licensed bitcoin betting and gaming environment which is going from strength to strength. Bitcoin cuts out the exorbitant banking fees that traditional currency is subjected to, which means we can offer better odds to our clients. We recently launched a poker room due to huge demand from players who are tired of losing out on expensive currency conversion fees and want to benefit from instant withdrawals and deposits. The poker room sits alongside the world’s first licensed bitcoin sportsbook which hasn’t looked back since the 2014 World Cup.
Bitcoin is the global currency of the future.
It’s often said that VCRs got their first big push from porn and the fledgling Internet got hit its first growth through porn and betting. Do you think the same thing is happening with Bitcoin and how do you think people will be using Bitcoin in five to ten years?
Bitcoin is growing because the global, online world needs a global, online currency. BetVIP’s success over the past year demonstrates that bitcoin is a flourishing market to do business in. Whether it’s in gaming or any other industry, bitcoin will only get stronger and we’ll see more people using bitcoin with more businesses operating in the currency.
Bitcoin has had a lot of great news, VC investment and progress with a lot of businesses associated with Bitcoin, yet the price doesn’t ever seem to rally, but rather continue seems to take a beating. Why do you think that is?
I think that, as bitcoin comes ever more into the mainstream, the currency will stabilise further and find its value. The dollar value isn’t necessarily the driving force in cryptocurrencies, it’s the function of bitcoin – as an efficient, safe and quick currency – that is its appeal. Massive entities, such as Paypal, have now announced that they will accept bitcoin payments. As the marketplace opens up to bitcoin, it will get stronger and BetVIP will be there to ride the wave.
BetVIP is the world’s first licensed bitcoin-only sportsbook and poker room.