BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag, the two U.S.-friendly skins of the Chico Poker Network, have just begun accepting the crypto-currency Ethereum for deposits. Withdrawals are also supported but only for those customers who have previously made an Ethereum deposit. The price of one unit of Ethereum is currently approximately $306 according to coinmarketcap.com.
Making an Ethereum Poker Deposit
Funding your account with Ethereum is a pretty simple affair at the two Chico Network sites. After you log into the poker client, open up the cashier and then click “Deposit.” Choose the “Ethereum” option from the menu. You'll then see something like this:
Input the value of your transaction in U.S. dollars (between $20 and $25,000), and enter in any BetOnline promotional code or Sportsbetting.ag promotional code that you wish to use. Then press the blue “Next” button. The next screen will tell you the amount of ETH you'll have to send and the address to ship it to. This address will be shown in text form and as a QR code, so you can either copy-paste it or scan it with your phone, whichever is most convenient. You'll also see the exchange rate being used along with a timer. Right now, the timer is for 24 hours, and the exchange rate can change during this period. Whatever the rate is at the moment your deposit goes through will be applied and the corresponding USD funds placed in your account balance. The network will shortly deploy a 15-minute timer with a fixed exchange rate. Send your coins before the timer runs out; otherwise, you'll have to re-initiate the depositing process.
After you send the appropriate amount of crypto-currency to the correct address, your account will be credited within five minutes of a single network confirmation being received. You'll get an email informing you of the success of the deposit at this time, but you can also verify your deposit by clicking “Next” and going to the subsequent screen.
The ETH that you put into your account won't remain as blockchain currency. Instead it will be converted to USD at the market rate shown on the deposit page. This is because all games at the Chico Network are denominated in dollars, and so this is the currency you'll use to play. Then when you request a payout later on via Ethereum, your dollars will be converted back into virtual coins and sent to your Ethereum wallet.
Chico's Reasons for Adding ETH
The Chico Network added Bitcoin to its payment options in March 2015. After evaluating its popularity, the network decided to permit Litcoin transactions as well in April 2017. Both of these moves gave it a competitive edge over other internet poker sites, but the Winning Poker Network fought back by expanding its crypto-currency offerings just a few weeks ago to include more than 70 digital coins. We can thus view Chico's rollout of ETH funding mechanisms as the latest attempt to secure for itself the adulation (and rake) of crypto coin enthusiasts.
With Bitcoin still making the transition from plaything for tech geeks to mainstream fintech instrument, you may be wondering whether there's enough demand for Ethereum in the world of poker. Well, although Bitcoin is clearly still the leading decentralized currency, Ethereum is solidly in the #2 spot. The market cap of BTC at the time of this writing is around $90.5 billion while ETH has about a third of this at $29.1 billion. Both of these numbers comfortably dwarf the figure for the third-largest crypto-currency, Ripple (XRP), which is only worth a total of about $8.1 billion. Ethereum therefore makes sense as the next crypto coin for the Chico Poker Network purely from the perspective of how much it's worth.
There are other advantages to Ethereum that might allow it to make gains at the expense of its big brother Bitcoin. While BTC blocks take about 10 minutes, more or less, to be written to the blockchain ledger, blocks for ETH are almost always completed in less than a minute. Money movements are thus much quicker on Ethereum. Furthermore, ETH miners fees are typically much lower than those associated with Bitcoin. These fees are paid to miners who use their computers to verify the details of transactions and thus keep the crypto-currency networks operating smoothly and honestly.
Ethereum also contains a framework for smart contracts and user-created tokens that expand the role of what blockchain technologies can bring to the table. Another poker site, called Virtue Poker, is preparing to launch a card room that will supposedly leverage these capabilities to enhance game security and eliminate the possibility of insider cheating. It's too early to tell if this effort will ultimately pan out the way its founders hope, but it does highlight the possibilities inherent in using Ethereum for real money online gaming. The Chico Network hasn't indicated that it will implement anything this newfangled into its product offering. Still, if these kinds of applications drive the use of Ethereum for internet poker, BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag will benefit as two of the few places where poker fans can use ETH for the games they enjoy.
Play at the Chico Poker Network Today!
Whether you have some Ethereum you wish to spend on poker or you're interested in just using normal currency, you can snag a 100% up to $2,500 poker bonus at either BetOnline or Sportsbetting.ag upon your first deposit. This bonus clears at a rate of 33% rakeback regardless of whether you sit in cash games, SNGs, or tournaments. Find out more about the network's flagship site in our BetOnline Poker review. For information on the other CPN room that's open to Americans, head over to our review of Sportsbetting.ag. Both sites also have tons of other gambling action, like casino games, sports-betting, and financials. If you're looking for other poker sites that serve residents of the U.S.A., check out our guide to U.S. online poker sites.