Bitnplay is a new European Bitcoin site, hoping to make a splash in the fledgling e-currency poker market when it goes live on February 1.
Bitnplay offers a way for players to avoid the standard issues with funding online gaming accounts, a typical plus of going with a Bitcoin-powered site.
And like any emerging poker site, Bitnplay is hoping to use a few unique hooks to draw in players.
Using the increasingly popular Bitcoin as the primary form of funding allows Bitnplay to help players feel at ease when handling their money. Though the site will need to prove itself with good software and fun poker experiences, interested players will likely appreciate the fact that no money is deposited on the actual Bitnplay site itself.
Buy-ins for tournaments are made directly from the player’s Bitcoin e-wallets, with the winnings sent directly back to the those wallets as well. Not having to deposit or fund through a cashier at Bitnplay should put players at ease when wondering how secure their money will be.
Being a startup, Bitnplay is attempting to grow a pool of investors using what’s called Bitnpartners. Intended as a kind of crowdfunding method, Bitnplay is offering 200 “partner tokens” available for purchase. One token is available for two Bitcoins each, setting the current value at around $630. As of this writing, only one token has been sold, but if all are purchased, Bitnplay could generate around $125,000 in seed money.
Any player or would-be investor holding the token will then receive 100 percent rakeback on Bitnplay for life. The partner tokens are generally free from restrictions. Though they can only be associated with one account at a time, the tokens can be traded or sold. One person could own multiple tokens spread across different accounts or even trade tokens with a small group of friends.
Whether or not a system is in place to keep groups of players from abusing the rakeback advantage remains to be seen. Bitnplay suggests on its Bitnpartners site that the tokens could also be used for affiliates. An affiliate could essentially offer its own kind of rakeback in exchange for attaching the token to a player’s account and generate revenue without even having to play.
An Emerging Market
For a high-stakes grinder, the chance at a lifetime of rakeback-free play is hard to turn down, especially if Bitnplay were to draw in a large player base. However, no Bitcoin poker site has proven to be capable of drawing in the thousands of necessary players for such an advantage to be worthwhile.
At the moment, SealswithClubs is the largest Bitcoin poker site, and is ranked as the 43rd-largest poker site, according to PokerScout.com. A seven-day average of 110 cash players come to SealswithClubs, and it’s hard to imagine Bitnplay reaching those numbers in its early days.
At first, Bitnplay will offer Texas Hold’em, along with Sit and Go and multi-table tournaments. Even with the promise of new formats down the line, the initial offerings are fairly limited compared to established poker rooms.
The concept of the partner tokens and the security of Bitcoin does make Bitnplay fairly unique among the pack, but will it be enough to separate it from other Bitcoin rooms like Breakout Gaming and SealswithClubs?
Bitcoins: Cutting Edge or Problematic?
Bitcoin is a form of decentralized electronic currency. Since Bitcoins are not controlled by any institution or government, they are easier to trade and manage, while also avoiding the restrictions put in place on Internet gambling in the United States. Bitcoins can be generated through “mining,” or high volume computing processes.
However, the lack of regulation over Bitcoin also creates its fair share of problems. With no banks or government involved, Bitcoins aren’t insured. Whether through theft or computer error, if a person’s Bitcoin’s are lost, there is no way to recover them.
As the value of Bitcoins constantly fluctuates, a number of fraud and investment schemes have been created as well to trick those who are less educated in the emerging market.