Bitcoin has decreased by around $1,300 in value over the past week and that could spell bad news for several sports bettors. Many now prefer to wager in BTC than in dollars due to the speed, anonymity and ease it offers. Payout times are way quicker and there are no middlemen taking a cut, meaning an end to annoying handling fees and theoretically sharper lines. Yet the popular cryptocurrency’s volatility has always presented bettors with a bit of a headache.
In 2017 it was not really a problem, as Bitcoin’s price soared from $900 to almost $20,000 during the course of the year. In 2018, it was prone to wild fluctuations and it had dropped back below the $4,000 mark by the end of the year. Yet Bitcoin went on a tear this year and its strong performance erased the greatest downside associated with betting in BTC. Bettors were not forced to worry about their winning margin being eroded in the time it took for a ball game to take place, as the only way was seemingly up for Bitcoin.
It climbed back above $13,000 earlier this month after a prolonged bull run delighted BTC advocates, and sports betting in Bitcoin had proved to be a very successful enterprise. But then it was time for the US Senate to conduct hearings on Facebook’s Libra project. That sparked a number of comments from senior American politicians that were not just negative about Libra, but critical of crypto in general.
Even President Trump slammed the movement. “I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,’ he Tweeted. “Unregulated crypto assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity. Similarly, Facebook Libra’s ‘virtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other banks, both national and international.’
It is worth noting that Bitcoin is very different to Libra, and there is nothing the US can actually do to shut it down. It can clamp down on US crypto exchanges, while the IRS can investigate Americans with crypto assets, but decentralised exchanges are thriving and BTC is a global currency. Yet these naysayers carry huge influence. The POTUS said “we have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States dollar.’ US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has warned that bitcoin will not be widely used in ten years’ time.
This sort of negativity is bound to impact Bitcoin’s performance, and sports bettors should brace themselves for some short-term pain. It is advisable to bet in Bitcoin and then covert any winnings back into dollars as quickly as possible. Despite the correction, Bitcoin retains a bullish medium-term outlook. Bull market corrections are always to be expected, and assets that rise too quickly crash and burn the fastest, so a target of $15,000 by the end of the year remains realistic. But it might be an idea to practice caution when betting in Bitcoin over the next few weeks, as there is a distinct lack of stability right now.