The cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin has seen its value drop to $209 as of this writing, with a number of industry experts sounding the alarm that the end may be near.
The virtual currency’s appeal to the world of online poker and gambling is evident in the ability to process transactions anonymously, yet that appeal also brings with it a fear of illegal activity. A push to increase the use of Bitcoin as a payment processing alternative on poker sites began in the new year, but that push may end up falling off a cliff if those financial experts are to be believed.
The U.S.-friendly Winning Poker Network added Bitcoin for deposits last week. That followed the announced launches of Bitcoin-only poker rooms Get Lucky Poker, BitnPlay and Burnturn Poker, the latter two preparing to enter the market later this year and the former currently in beta testing.
Bitcoins have no physical form and must always be converted into another currency. Their acceptance remains a niche market at best, with mainstream acceptance seeming more unlikely as time moves on.
2015 to mark the end of Bitcoin?
“Remember Bitcoin,” DoubleLine Capital money-manager Jeffrey Gundlach recently told investors, “It’s pretty much on its way … to the ash heap of alternative currencies.”
In the last six months, Bitcoin lost roughly two-thirds of its previous value, USA Today reported. And the fact that the digital currency is unregulated without the support of a central bank means it can tumble even further.
Bitcoin advocates point to the fact that big companies like Expedia, Dell and Microsoft accept the cryptocurrency. But Time.com cautions that those companies technically do not, as partnerships with companies such as BitPay and Coinbase are used as middlemen who convert Bitcoin into cash.
One of the world’s most influential investors, Warren Buffet, included a nugget of wisdom regarding Bitcoin in his 2015 investment projections. “Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically,” the Oracle of Omaha told CNBC.
Some critics believe that Buffet, whose success in the world of finance is staggering, may not fully understand Bitcoin. His advanced age has been cited as a reason for perhaps being a bit less than tech-savvy.
In any event, the future of Bitcoin remains uncertain. The handful of online poker sites and networks that use the digital currency, whether exclusively or as a payment option, are hoping that the doomsday predictors are wrong. As do the few online poker rooms that have lined up 2015 launches.
Confidence in Bitcoin certainly is not high at this point. Whether a recovery is in the cards, only time will tell.