One of the most interesting aspects associated with modern digital technology is that new options and features are rolled out on a regular basis.
We’ve learned to adapt to this frenetic pace and as a result, we often take major breakthroughs for granted soon after they’ve come to light. One shining example of this tendency can be seen in casinos that accept Ethereum (or Ether as it’s technically known) as a payment option.
Although this might not seem like that big of a deal at first glance, we need to remember that the ETH coin itself is rather new when compared to other assets such as Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Originally introduced to the public on 30 July 2015, Ethereum is currently the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market value. So, we’re not overly surprised that online casinos have taken notice. Let’s delve a bit deeper by taking a look at the history of Ethereum casinos.
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- 1 The Birth of the Online Casino
- 2 On-the-Go Options
- 3 The Bitcoin Boom: A New Player Joins the Game
- 4 The Practical Side of Cryptocurrencies Begins to Emerge
- 5 A Brief History of Ethereum: Rolling Back the Clocks
- 6 From Digital Ether to Reality
- 7 Why Was Ethereum Initially Attractive to Online Casinos?
- 8 Decentralized Ether Casinos: A New Frontier
- 9 Ethereum Casino History and Crypto Wallets: A Match Made in (Digital) Heaven
- 10 When Was the First Ethereum Casino Introduced?
- 11 What is the Future of Ethereum Casinos?
The Birth of the Online Casino
Before taking the plunge into an examination of Ethereum casino history, we should begin with a bit of background. The presence of online casinos can be traced back to 1994 with the launch of InterCasino; the first fully fledged digital wagering platform.
While the games and utilities at the time were relatively simple when compared to modern sites, this platform still ushered in an entirely new era. It was now possible for members to use e-wallets and fiat currencies to become involved with the exciting world of virtual casinos.
During this “golden age”, players were still faced with a number of hinderances. Internet speeds were a prime example, as dial-up connectivity (remember those days?) limited the amount of information that could be sent or received at any given time. Even with the introduction of broadband services, issues such as buffering still plagued the industry.
Still, the fact of the matter is that casino enthusiasts had already become hooked. This led to a massive increase in competition and as a direct result, even more choice for those who were looking to become involved for the first time.
The next major transition took place when mobile apps were introduced to the general public. Thanks in no small part to Steve Jobs and the revolutionary iPhone introduced in 2007, it was now possible for users to substitute a standard laptop computer for a hands-on and portable smartphone.
It didn’t take long for application developers to see the potential and this was just as true in terms of the iGaming community. As a result, 2008 is considered to be a watershed year thanks to the release of numerous first-generation, historical casino apps.
Imagine how users must have felt when accessing their favorite games with a device that could fit in the palm of their hand even when away from home!
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The Bitcoin Boom: A New Player Joins the Game
Anonymity and security were nonetheless both very real concerns during these early stages. This is why market experts and investors alike took notice when Bitcoin (BTC) came to light in 2009. After all, why not offer a payment option that was just as streamlined and exponentially more secure?
It didn’t take long for a handful of innovative casinos to jump aboard the bandwagon and Bitcoin casinos were born. SatoshiDice was the first crypto-powered gaming portal (launched in 2012). This was soon followed by other brands such as Bitzino (later in 2012), Cloudbet (2013) and Bitcasino (2014).
We still need to remember that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole were relatively unknown to the general public at the time. Although the average individual might have heard of these strange types of digital assets, the very prefix “crypto” tended to conjure up images of complicated coding, HTML alchemy and technical mumbo jumbo.
Even those who had already become crypto investors were skeptical (at best) that coins such as Bitcoin could ever serve a utility within the iGaming community.
Part of this hesitance involved the fact that most online casinos were limited in terms of their point-of-sale (POS) interfaces. While they certainly accepted fiat transfers, credit cards and e-wallets, they weren’t yet equipped to handle crypto alternatives.
Issues included potential volatility, understanding the role of blockchain technology and from a practical standpoint, whether or not players would even accept this form of payment. We can now begin to appreciate why large-scale adoption wouldn’t happen overnight.
See our full list of Bitcoin casinos.
The Practical Side of Cryptocurrencies Begins to Emerge
Similar to any innovative asset that enters into the marketplace, cryptocurrencies required a bit of time to establish their validity. Things soon began to change for several reasons.
As mentioned in the previous section, consumers were becoming aware of the risks posed by hacking, phishing and similar online hazards. This was even more relevant when we remember that online casinos were often targeted due to the sheer number of players.
Brands needed to find a way to bridge the proverbial gaps between security, transparency and efficiency. It also stood to reason that the first portals that were capable of offering crypto payment solutions to the mainstream public would have a massive edge over the competition.
However, another hurdle needed to be overcome. This involved explaining to the general public exactly how crypto casinos functioned as well as their unique benefits.
As Bitzino owner Larry Tad stated, this often involved convincing consumers that the games being offered were “provably fair” and the payment methods were just as user-friendly as other options. While Bitcoin was considered to represent one of the first pioneers of such concepts, a new asset was soon to join the fray in the form of Ethereum.
A Brief History of Ethereum: Rolling Back the Clocks
Ethereum was the brainchild of a handful of programmers including Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin and Vitalik Buterin. However, the chances are already high that the name Buterin might ring a bell; he was the youngest-ever crypto billionaire at a tender 27 years of age.
The initial concept of a Bitcoin alternative was “coined” in 2013 and development on the Ether (ETH) coin began in 2014 with the help of crowdfunding. ETH was finally introduced to thee general public on 30 July 2015. Here are some other notable milestones that have occurred since then.
Ethereum development timeline
- 2016 – The year of the famous DAO Hack. Due to bugs within a single piece of code associated with a smart contract, roughly $50 million dollars was stolen from the Ethereum blockchain. This eventually resulted in a “fork” and the creation of the mainstream ETH chain. Still, it’s nonetheless possible to become involved with the original Ethereum Classic coin.
- 2017 – An ETH-based game known as CryptoKitties is introduced. This is one of the first times that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are directly linked with Ethereum. It could also be argued that CryptoKitties paved the way for later ETH casino models.
- 2019 – Two upgrades known as Istanbul and Constantinople are enacted to increase scalability and to reduce ETH gas fees that were notoriously high at the time. This also made it much easier for Ethereum to transition to a proof-of-stake consensus. PoS is one of the main reasons why transactions can occur at a breakneck pace; leading some to wonder if these coins and tokens would be useful within the online gaming sector.
- 2020 – A unique ETH blockchain known as the Beacon Chain goes live. This completely replaced the older proof-of-work consensus and allowed shareholders to earn staking rewards.
November 2021 – Ether coins reach an all-time high of €4,891.70 euros; a major milestone for investors as well as those who were looking for a viable alternative to altcoins and the Bitcoin blockchain.
- September 2022 – The now-famous Ethereum Merge occurs. This move linked the remaining PoW blockchain to the Beacon Chain. Energy consumption was reduced by over 99%, daily coin issuance rates massively increased and ETH gained the enviable reputation of being one of the most eco-friendly blockchains.
- August 2023 – Rumors begin to circulate that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could soon approve ETH futures trading.
Let’s still point out that this is only a quick overview of some of the most impressive milestones that Ethereum has enjoyed since its inception. In order to appreciate the history of Ethereum casinos, it’s just as important to examine why this coin has become so attractive.
From Digital Ether to Reality
Now, we need to remember that Ethereum only emerged from the “ether” in 2015. Bitcoin unquestionably dominated the ecosystem and yet, there were some drawbacks that ETH promised to address. One simply involved a lack of alternative investment opportunities.
Others included potential volatility (natural with all cryptocurrencies) and more importantly, the need for smart contracts. Once again, the eggheads took notice and proposed taking a closer look at the Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum is similar to Bitcoin in terms of how it employs blockchain technology as well as how it can be used as an investment opportunity as well as a means to make everyday transactions. There are nonetheless some major differences. In terms of its applications within the iGaming landscape, these include:
- Ethereum blocks can be created much faster when compared to Bitcoin.
- It’s capable of handling up to 30 transactions per second (Bitcoin supports approximately seven per second).
- There is an infinite supply of Ether – the native coin – while BTC is capped at 21 million coins.
OK…so you might be wondering exactly what to make out of these observations. Let’s simplify things a bit by doing away with the technical jargon.
Why Was Ethereum Initially Attractive to Online Casinos?
Casino operators always want to provide their members with variety in terms of games, payouts, and bonuses. This is just as true when referring to crypto payment options. Including Ethereum within a point-of-sale system was just what the doctor ordered in this sense.
Speed is a crucial concern. Due to the number of transactions that ETH can support within a given period of time, it offers a greater sense of on-the-spot flexibility when compared to BTC. After all, players are hardly willing to wait up to ten minutes (or more) for funds to appear within their cash balance.
Secondly, many feel that Ethereum is more adaptive when compared to Bitcoin. This offered a scalable solution for casinos and players alike. Such flexibility has also allowed ETH to be associated with other applications such as NFTs and smart contracts. However, what exactly are smart contracts and how can then benefit casino enthusiasts who choose to pay with cryptocurrencies?
Decentralized Ether Casinos: A New Frontier
We need to clarify some things. On the one hand, ‘Ethereum casinos’ can refer to any casinos that allows you to deposit and/or play with Ether (ETH) on the site. On the other, if we’re talking about casinos that are actually built on the Ethereum blockchain then these fall under the decentralized casinos umbrella.
In the simplest of terms, a smart contract is a self-executing agreement that automatically clarifies terms between the buyer and the seller. This is directly written into the code of the contract itself. This vastly improves transaction speed and transparency.
Also, smart contracts won’t require the use of any type of intermediary; reducing the chances of fraud during a transaction. It’s now clear to see what gaming enthusiasts and casinos alike were keen to explore what Ethereum could offer.
A final benefit that can’t be denied involves ETH fees. To be sure, these were relatively high in the past and this convinced many players to stick with the tried-and-tested nature of Bitcoin. Thankfully, this has changed in recent time and ETH fees are often lower when stacked up against BTC transactions.
Although players on a budget might choose even cheaper alternatives such as Litecoin, the fact of the matter is that the ETH blockchain supports a host of altcoins; making it an extremely attractive option for casinos that want to broaden their digital horizons by offer numerous different crypto payment solutions.
Ethereum Casino History and Crypto Wallets: A Match Made in (Digital) Heaven
Crypto wallets have existed since the halcyon days of cryptocurrencies. While there is some debate on this topic, many experts agree that the first viable wallet was the mobile-only Mycelium platform (launched in 2008 and even before Bitcoin went live).
However, relatively few traders are currently aware of this platform and it has been largely replaced by more flexible and user-friendly alternatives.
When the notion of Ethereum casinos began to gain ground, these portals were obviously looking for ways in which players could explore smart contracts as well as perform everyday deposits and withdrawals. While there are many wallets to choose from, MetaMask tends to be the most popular and recognized on decentralized casinos. And, you can use it to sign up anonymously.
As always, note that accessing these wallets can also depend on the location of the casino in question as well as other issues such as the residency of the player. Still, there are many options to choose from and the use of crypto wallets is yet another reasons why ETH casinos have been gaining ground over the past few years.
When Was the First Ethereum Casino Introduced?
It’s now only logical to get to the heart of the matter after discussing the utility of ETH coins as well as why they are sometimes preferred over traditional Bitcoin transactions. Which casino was the first to implement Ethereum payment options? Which sites are the OGs in the historical Ethereum casino niche?
This question is a bit similar to “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” in terms of portals claiming to lead the pack. After performing a fair amount of research, the team at Crypto Lists agrees that Edgeless makes the top of the list.
Still, there’s a caveat to mention here. Edgeless casino claims to be the first casino in history that solely supported ETH transactions. There was also a sister site ‘Ether slots’ that advertised itself as the world’s first ETH online slot machine.
Although Edgeless was founded in 2016, it actually only began introducing Ethereum-ready games in the third quarter of 2018. So, there is an argument to make that Ether Slots was the real pioneer.
While originally focused around ETH alone, other coins and tokens such as Tether, DAO and USD Coin have become additional altcoins that are now accessible within the Ethereum blockchain.
In terms of the history of Ethereum casinos as it pertains to today, Edgeless is still around now and offers a small amount of provably fair titles built and run on Ethereum.
Ethereum casinos timeline
- 2016: The very first Ethereum casinos begin to arise. Built on the network and often accepting only ETH for deposit and play, the first ones included Edgeless and Ether Slots.
- 2017: Ether Slots presents itself as the world’s first ETH online slot machine, opening a new frontier in iGaming.
- 2018: Edgeless, arguably the first of this new breed of casino begins offering games on the Ethereum blockchain after a few years of fundraising.
- 2019: Stake (review), one of the most mainstream crypto casinos launches in June 2017 offers Bitcoin from the offset. By summer 2019 it’s added Ether too, setting a precendent for other big brands in the industry.
- 2023: Historical Ethereum casinos such as Edgeless continue to operate with freshly designed sites and newer games, meanwhile many more new casinos have opened that include Ether alongside other coins as a means of banking and playing.
What is the Future of Ethereum Casinos?
Now that we’ve analyzed the past, it’s only logical to look into the future. Are Ethereum casinos here to stay? There is little doubt that ETH is one of the most popular blockchains and we’re confident in stating that this cryptocurrency should represent a mainstay of the online casino community for some time.
We should also point out that this review has mainly focused on Ether coins in terms of their utility and the benefits of smart contracts. Let’s remember that this very same blockchain supports a host of additional altcoins.
So, it can be viewed as a “one-size-fits-all” ecosystem for gaming portals that wish to offer their clients a wide array of alternative transaction solutions.
Finally, there is little doubt that the cryptocurrency community as a whole will experience its fair share of ups and downs in the coming years. If we can take away anything from the history of Ethereum casinos, it’s the simple fact that this blockchain is perfectly capable of weathering any digital storms that may emerge.
Whether you’re an avid fan of online gaming or you were curious to appreciate the hype surrounding Ethereum, we hope that this historical overview was highly informative.