Neteller Announces Bitcoin Deposits in Online Wallet

One of the world’s largest online wallet systems and prepaid Mastercard providers, Neteller, announced today that they have integrated Bitcoin as a deposit method to fund accounts. The feature has been spoken about for days, but was not officially confirmed by Neteller until today, where the feature was also integrated.

Neteller was founded back in 1999 in Canada, but have since then moved a large part of their operations to the Isle of Man. They were the biggest online wallet system after PayPal for many years, having a huge amount of American customers who used Neteller to deposit and withdraw from gambling sites.

All of that changed in 2006 when the US Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which made online gambling in the US illegal. This led to Neteller having to ban all of their American customers and a huge decline in revenues. Neteller has been working hard to go back to their prior strength, which was partially succeeded after they became a payment method for the regulated market in New Jersey.

Optimal Payments, the company behind Neteller, has proposed an acquisition of their main rival Skrill for €1.1 billion. Skrill has a huge market share in Europe, where gamblers, traders and people who wants to transfer funds instantly use the service every single day, having around 35 million members according to their own numbers.

Should Neteller’s acquisition of Skrill be successful, they will become the second largest online wallet service provider in the world after PayPal and have more than 50 million customers worldwide. This will only be positive for the Bitcoin, as more people will be aware of the possibility to deposit to their online wallets complete free of fees through the Bitcoin.

This may lead to a demand increase for the Bitcoin and thus boost the value significantly over a longer period of time. With regular deposit methods costing up to 3.95% in fees, many will probably want to save those fees by using the Bitcoin to deposit with, as it can save large amounts for the average user every single year.

Bitcoin integrated as a payment method at Neteller
Bitcoin integrated as a payment method at Neteller

For those of you who aren’t completely familiar with what you can use Neteller for, it is basically an online wallet where you can hold funds that you can transfer instantly to other users of Neteller, use it to deposit and withdraw from gaming and trading sites as well as shop online with it. Furthermore they are one of the biggest processors of prepaid Mastercard’s in the world, working as a sort of online bank but without all the hassle.

The possibility to deposit with Bitcoins will make it so much easier to use Bitcoins every day, as you can easily deposit the Bitcoins at the daily exchange rate and use your Mastercard to go shopping, pay for bills or whatever else you would like to do. This also provides an opportunity to quickly exchange your coins for cash if you are looking to do so, without the hassle of having to go to an exchange site and wait for someone to buy it at the daily rate.

“Neteller already provides merchants and customers a broad and diverse set of online payment options and the addition of Bitcoin gives them another valuable payment method to help convert more transactions” said Joel Leonoff, president and CEO, Optimal Payments. “We recognise the important role that crypto-currencies play in the future of payments and we look forward to working with BitPay as the acceptance rate grows.”

“Bitcoin’s popularity is growing rapidly and has established itself as the most secure, most widely accepted digital currency” said Sonny Singh, chief operating officer, BitPay Inc. “This relationship with Optimal Payments will help us to drive merchant acceptance on a global scale.”

The only negative things so far in regards to the Bitcoin deposit method is that it will not be available for Americans just yet and the fact that you cannot withdraw to Bitcoins. Neteller will wait until there’s a regulatory framework in place for the different states before offering the possibility to deposit for them, but has not mentioned anything about the possibility of withdrawing in Bitcoins.

It may also lead to more competitors realizing the potential of the Bitcoin as a deposit method, which again would lead to more people knowing about the payment method. Overall this is a huge step in the right direction for the Bitcoin and it gives lots of hopes for the future.

Darknet Drug Marketplace Evolution Runs off With $12 Million – Bitcoin Price Plunges

The Bitcoin has had a rough year in terms of value. After reaching levels of $1,200 per Bitcoin in the end of 2013, the Bitcoin has since then plummeted in value due to multiple different factors, the primary ones being caused by the underground drug markest who has been involved in several scams as well as having been closed down by federal services.

Cases like the now closed down SilkRoad, where the FBI closed down the Darknet drug marketplace and confiscated all funds on the platform, took a rough hit on the Bitcoin. Around 144,000 Bitcoins were confiscated by the FBI and auctioned off to people willing to buy the coins around the world, which initially made the Bitcoin value decrease, but later on began stabilizing.

Now there’s a new case with an underground Darknet drug marketplace closing down, but this time it was not done by any federal government, but instead by the owners. Evolution was the leading drug marketplace on the Darknet, having many thousand customers and dealers selling their stuff there every day and was the best marketplace so far according to Mike Power, Author of “Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That’s Changing How the World Gets High”:

“Evolution was the best-designed, best-coded and best-administrated of all the darknet markets. It had the look and feel of a legitimate website – pages loaded quickly and uptime was very solid. The guys behind it were old-school hackers and carders from the Tor Carding Forum, and had good technical expertise.”

The owners of Evolution decided to run off with the funds that they held for both customers and dealers, funds that would usually be available for daily cash outs in an automated system. Initially they turned off the automatic withdrawal system but later on it came out that they had decided to scam everyone and run off with the money. It is estimated that a total of $12,000,000 in Bitcoins were stolen from the users, Bitcoins that will now be available for others to purchase.

While all of this sounds like bad news to the Bitcoin, it might be positive for the overall perception of the Bitcoin. The Bitcoin is becoming an increasingly popular method of sending funds to other people without having to pay massive fees as well as a popular payment method for companies for exactly the same reasons.

With more and more of the illegal underground marketplaces shutting down, the criminals may be forced to look elsewhere for a way to sell their drugs, illegal services or even just launder money. This will lead to a better public perception of the Bitcoin, as well as for governments, and increase the amount of users and value in the long run.

So while the Bitcoin took a plunge in terms of value after the scam, going from around $295 in value to $260 at the time of this article, it will bounce back. The Bitcoin and all the backers are determined to make this a success, investing heavily in making it as safe and secure as possible and comply with international verifications and regulations.

Within a distant future the underground markets will no longer be able to have any effect on the value of the Bitcoin and it will instead be controlled by the civilized markets, who are working hard to bring the Bitcoin to new emerging markets, to third-world countries and to the mainstream public. The future looks bright for the Bitcoin, despite the many hick-ups on its way.

Bitcoin Bookmaker BetVIP Launches Independent Poker Room

BetVIP became a Bitcoin house-hold name back in June of 2014, when they became the first licensed Bitcoin bookmaker, licensed in Curaçao under its laws and gambling regulations. Now the company has decided to branch out from their sportsbook and casino game offerings and offer their own independent poker room.

The poker room has been launched a few days ago and is Bitcoin only, just like with all other products offered by BetVIP. To ensure as many players as possible will have access to the room, BetVIP released both a Mac and Windows version of the software, which has been provided by Enterra Gaming.

Traffic has yet to pick up, which is natural from a newly opened room, but BetVIP will be offering players the chance to win some free Bitcoins through weekly freerolls. For those who are looking to deposit and play, BetVIP has integrated ‘instant’ deposits which means that once it has received three confirmations of the deposit it will credit it your account. This process will commonly take around 10 minutes or less and your Bitcoin will be exchanged at a ratio of 1BTC to 1,000mBTC.

BetVIP will also provide their fast cash out times known from their sportsbook and casino to the poker platform, allowing players to cash out within hours. Players will have the ability to be almost completely anonymous, having only to fill in an email to be able to create an account.

“The rapid growth of our business over the past year stems from the fact that users want a trusted, licensed bitcoin betting and gaming environment. The launch of BetVIP Poker enables players to enjoy an even wider selection of market-leading cryptocurrency wagering products on both Mac and Windows platforms,” Chief Executive Officer and Founder of BetVIP, Daniel Schwartzkoppf said.

“We have seen many users convert to BetVIP from fiat money currency platforms for the numerous benefits bitcoin offer. With low fees and strong identity protection, as well as rapid, simple and safe payments, bitcoin is the future of the igaming industry.” Schwartzkoppf added.

BetVIP’s launch of their own independent is coming at a great time, as the Bitcoin poker industry has seen its by far biggest poker room (SealsWithClubs) shut down, due to raids made by the Nevada Gaming Commission. While their board member and professional poker player Bryan Micon went ahead and launched a new site for the players (SwcPoker), it has not been able to collect anywhere near the traffic the old site had and many players are currently looking for other places to play these days.

At the same time the Bitcoin has regained some strengths in its value, having reached a value close to what it had three months ago. Currently the Bitcoin is valued at around $270-$290, having been down to around $200 which was the lowest since the beginning of 2013.

The Bitcoin is currently seeing massive growth in its amount of active users, with industry experts believing that it will reach five million active users by 2019. If the amount of active Bitcoin users continues to rise, so will the value and so will the Bitcoin gambling industry naturally, as more and more gambling sites and players continue to discover the benefits of using the cryptocurrency as a payment method.