Poker Network reports spike in demand for Bitcoin payouts. An increase in demand for Bitcoin (BTC) payouts was reported by Winning Poker Network, an online network supporting several online poker websites around the world.
In a Nov. 19 report from Bloomberg, the CEO behind Winning Poker Network, or WPN, said that up to 95% of poker players are currently requesting to be paid in Bitcoin.
While many cryptocurrencies have been sponsored by the poker network since 2014, WPN CEO Phil Nagy said that because of demand induced by the recent price movement past $17,000 and $18,000 in a matter of days, the business needed to make more BTC purchases than ever.
“We are constantly having to go out and buy Bitcoin — lots,” said Nagy. He estimated that even before this recent price surge, the WPN was paying out more than $100 million in BTC every month, roughly 60% of all transactions on the network. Extrapolated to the 95% of payouts Nagy reports is currently occurring, and assuming the same volume, that would equate to roughly $158 million in Bitcoin each month.
According to Nagy, the majority of customers playing poker on the network reside in the United States, which may help explain their preference for crypto as a medium of exchange given that online gambling is legal in only 11 out of 50 states. The CEO, who is based in Costa Rica, admitted to not checking whether players file their winnings for tax purposes.
“It’s a work around to flout the law, not really the adoption Bitcoin should be after,” said Reddit user u/HighFivePuddy. “Not exactly great PR.”
Bitcoin and online poker have a long history together, with many parallels between the popular card game and crypto trading, right down to the terminology of “Know when to HODL.” Former and current professional poker players have been heavily involved with the crypto space, including Blockfolio co-founder Ed Moncada and Doug Polk, who also runs a crypto YouTube channel.
One of the biggest crossover moments in crypto and gambling came last year, when WPN set a Guinness World Record for the largest crypto jackpot for online poker winnings — $1,050,560, or roughly 106 BTC at the time.
[image: Damir Spanic]