Since the first stablecoin Tether (USDT) was created over a year ago, it has become incredibly popular within the cryptocurrency world. In fact, the vast majority of capital invested into cryptocurrency trading now runs through the USDT stablecoin first.
USDT (and the multiple other stablecoins that are now in existence) offer investors the ability to keep large amounts of capital online in the form of a digital asset while remaining safe from the extreme price volatility that is often associated with cryptocurrency. When actively trading digital assets on a daily basis, depositing and withdrawing funds into a traditional bank account can be very costly and time-consuming. However, keeping large amounts of capital invested in a single coin like Bitcoin (BTC) is risky due to the aforementioned price fluctuations.
USDT solves this problem be giving traders the ability to keep a pool of ‘digital money’ online in a form that remains ‘tethered’ to the price of the U.S dollar. One virtual UDST coin will also be equal to exactly one U.S. dollar. Other stablecoins such as GUSD and Paxos (PAX) offer similar fiat-pegged assets that are linked to various traditional currencies such as the Euro, British Pound, and Japanese Yen. This clearly provides a very useful service to investors and has been widely and enthusiastically adopted.
Now, the online gambling industry is starting to get involved too.
The popularity of Bitcoin (BTC) within the online casino industry has exploded over the past year due to its ability to offer fast and cheap transactions. However, Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies remain highly volatile, meaning gamblers risk losing money just by having it stored on their favorite gambling site. In a similar way to trading, stablecoins solve this issue while still offering all the same benefits of cryptocurrency. Most recently the online casino Betchain has added USDT to its growing list of digital assets on offer, joining the likes of Bitstarz.
Issues and alternatives
However, the use of USDT does come with some pitfalls that may or may not concern certain gamblers. In order to maintain its collateralized status, USDT is subject to third-party auditing and as such is not as anonymous as some cryptocurrencies. For gamblers operating from conservative countries that restrict online gambling, this could pose some issues. In other instances, some gamblers may wish to keep their gambling activities private from their bank for personal reasons, which the use of USDT may compromise.
In response to these issues, the team behind blockchain project MakerDAO have developed the decentralized stablecoin DAI. Unlike USDT, the DAI stablecoin is not backed by any traditional fiat currency but rather collateralized against other cryptocurrencies. This means it is averse to government auditing and promises users the same level of privacy that other cryptocurrencies do. To mitigate the risk of volatility, DAI is over-collateralized so that in the event of a severe market drop the asset can, in practice, maintain its value. However, the model still poses significant risks in the event of a complete crypto market collapse.
The use of stablecoins within the online gambling industry certainly promises to provide gamblers with a host of additional benefits. However, with stablecoins themselves still being a relatively new instrument, it will be interesting to see how well they are implemented and adopted.
Mark is a freelance writer specializing in fintech, cryptocurrencies and gambling news. He writes for various publications on a wide range of finance and technology related topics and spends his free time traveling the world.