The rise of eSports has put it squarely amongst the most exciting emerging sports in the world. Millions of fans around the globe now tune in to watch elite fixtures online, as well as packing out stadiums in their tens of thousands.
ESports audiences are forecast to overtake both the global NBA and MLB audiences by 2021, with popular eSports like Dota 2 and League of Legends continuing to attract new fans in their droves year on year.
Popular with the 18-34 year old age demographic, eSports has a lot of crossover with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In many ways, the rise of eSports is fuelling demand for bitcoin for betting purposes, which could be a factor in supporting bitcoin prices.
A new generation of bookmakers is now offering crypto betting on a range of eSports markets to capitalise on this opportunity. But how does crypto fit within these growing eSports betting markets, and what does this mean for the long-term price of BTC?
The Rise of Crypto Betting
There’s the convenience and speed of transaction – crypto transactions are near-instant on some blockchains, and with no third-party payment processor involved the process is usually quicker. This applies to both deposits and withdrawals.
Then there’s the lower cost to operators, which translates into better odds. Because operators have a lower cost base (due to reduced processing costs and transaction fees), this usually manifests as a slimmer house edge for better value betting.
But there’s also the elephant in the room – provably fair betting. Gambling transactions written to and settled on the blockchain allow for operators and players to guarantee fairness, as well as improving the auditing process. By removing the cloak of transparency, crypto betting inspires more confidence in both gamblers and operators.
This has historically been one of the main stumbling blocks, especially for casino gaming, in encouraging uptake. Gamblers need to trust they’re getting a fair deal, and demand a level of transparency operators couldn’t provide – until betting on the blockchain emerged.
With crypto betting now increasingly available on eSports, as with other betting markets, its rise to prominence looks set to continue in the coming years. Likewise, as more people turn to using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin for everyday payments, the rise of crypto betting looks like it’s here to stay.
How eSports is Driving Demand
eSports is the perfect fit for crypto betting, given the demographic crossovers. Fans of eSports are overwhelmingly more likely than the average punter to be au fait with cryptocurrencies. They tend to be young men with an advanced knowledge and understanding of computers and technology – an unsurprisingly close match with those most engaged in actually using cryptocurrencies in the here and now.
Yet while eSports may have historically been seen as a niche interest, it is now moving increasingly into the mainstream consciousness. Certainly within its core demographic, eSports is becoming big business – and if the trends are to be believed, it’s becoming bigger every day.
At the same time, cryptocurrency is gaining in popularity, reaching wider audiences with every passing day. So while demand for cryptocurrency from eSports and betting is already a factor, this is likely to continue to grow in tandem as both continue to reach new audiences.
As always, buoyant demand means buoyant prices. For bitcoin in particular, the growing demand for crypto for betting comes against a backdrop of diminishing supply, and an increasing complexity for miners in uncovering new blocks. This means there’s a dual effect of a supply squeeze, coupled with strengthening demand, which looks set to continue to shore-up BTC prices.
A Promising Future
Both cryptocurrency and eSports have their fair share of naysayers. Even today, there are those that would decry both as merely trends, passing fads that won’t stand the test of time. But within their core audiences and beyond, both are already making an impact – with eSports betting through cryptocurrencies like bitcoin very much at the frontline.
As more gamblers pick up on eSports, or turn to cryptocurrency as their preferred payment method for gambling, this will only continue to fuel the appetite for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. And for bitcoin bulls, this means another source of support, likely to push bitcoin prices north.