Online poker site, Switch Poker, which focuses on mobile devices running Apple’s iOS and the Android mobile operating systems, announced today it’s added the controversial virtual currency Bitcoin as a deposit and withdraw option.
For those not too familiar with the term, “bitcoin” is a digital currency for online transactions. Customers purchasing bitcoins for real money can do so at bitcoin exchanges and once in an online wallet, can be transferred to and from merchants such as Switch Poker. Users can also cash them out to dollars at the exchanges – just like a foreign currency exchange service.
Calling itself “the world’s first real money online poker site for use with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch mobile device” – Switch Poker is now said to be the first site of its kind to adopt bitcoins alongside its traditional online payment methods. In a report by Pokerfuse, a spokesman for the company, Conor McCarthy, said: “The advantage of the bitcoin currency is that it has the ability to remove all payment processing related barriers of entry.
“It would allow any person to play for real money completely anonymously. Players will be able to now send us funds directly without a 3rd party being privy to the transactions, and we will be able to send funds directly back to the user.”
However, the virtual currency has its controversies. And why? In 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) apparently stopped accepting bitcoins for donations because of “legal concerns”. In the same year, with the reporting of Silk Road, a bitcoin-supported site was referred to as the “Amazon.com of illegal drugs.” Now that sounds pretty controversial. But with the age old term, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” – we now wonder if, in time, the additional virtual payment method of bitcoins can only do poker sites a favour?