What is Ethereum?

Here’s the technically accurate description of Ethereum: a decentralised platform upon which “smart contracts” are run. Smart contracts are supposed to allow you to run applications exactly as they are programmed to. Theoretically, Ethereum smart contracts prevented downtime, fraud or third party interference.

Its creator, Vitalik Buterin, a Russian cryptocurrency programmer, developed Ethereum in late 2013 with his vision of the Internet. A “cencorship-proof planetary scale computer” whose users kept control of their funds and personal information.

Much like Bitcoin, ETH uses a blockchain technology and is used as a currency. However, Ethereum is much more used like an open source platform for developers to build decentralised apps and deploy them. While Bitcoin was specifically built as a peer-to-peer digital currency, the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running programming code. While bitcoins are mined on the Bitcoin blockchain, Ethereum miners work to earn Ether, a “token” that fuels the network.

But without a need to delve into the technological complexities of Ethereum, you can consider it to be an alternative cryptocurrency. In this case, ETH is one of the most used cryptocurrencies or alts, and is increasingly ubiquitous to online gambling with crypto casinos. In fact, in 2017, ETH value rose more than 60 times its USD value, leading many to think that the “flippening” was about to happen – an event where ETH would displace BTC as the currency with the largest share of crypto market capitalisation. While this eventually did not happen, ETH is constantly second behind BTC in this aspect and continues to be the most popular alt in use.

What’s unique about Ethereum?

As mentioned, Ethereum’s main focus is the programming for applications, through a collection of smart contracts, on its blockchain. One unique ability is that it can be used to build “decentralised autonomous organisations” (DAO), which are fully autonomous without leadership. They are run completely by programming code designed to replace the rules and structures of conventional organisations, eliminating people and centralised organisations. In theory, DAOs are owned by token holders who achieve voting rights instead of equity and ownership.

Apps on the Ethereum network in theory are “censor proof”, meaning that they cannot be corrupted, changed or tampered with. They are also supposed to have zero downtime, in that they can never be switched off.

Nevertheless, coding is only as good as the coders who write them, so these benefits have not been fully realised in reality. Today’s ETH is in fact the result of a “hard fork”, a split from the original Ethereum blockchain triggered by a hack on “the DAO” in 2016, during which millions of ETH were stolen. To restore the funds lost to the theft, a decision was made to “rewind” to the time before the hack and continue on another chain, effectively erasing the hack.

All at once, this disproved Ethereum’s immutability, tamper free and censor proof claims. Did the Ethereum founders make a right decision because it was “too big to fail”? Was this as unethical as bank bailouts? Many believed so. Some saw it as bowing to pressure from wealthy investors and opponents of the decision continued on the original blockchain, today known as Ethereum Classic (ETC).

How does Ethereum compare to other cryptocurrencies?

Ethereum’s innovative introduction:

A decentralised platform for apps running on smart contracts.

Ethereum’s boom in 2017 caught a lot of people by surprise after years of languishing below $20 in value. But when the Bitcoin network caught itself up in political standoffs with regards to its scaling issue and users became frustrated with transaction delays and spiralling fees, the next big alt was a logical choice.

Ethereum’s quicker confirmation times (approximately 15 minutes between each block) and cost effective miner fees started the ball rolling to its heights past $400. Then the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) boom started, with scores of projects offering ICOs issuing tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and accepting ETH as payment. Bitcoin lost a fair share of its dominance in this period, and ETH strengthened its challenge for the crown.

Relatively few crypto casinos supported ETH in the beginning, although there were some notable attempts to use smart contracts on the Ethereum network to test out gambling concepts. The likes of Winsome Casino attempted a trustless ETH-only casino built on smart contracts, while EtherPot tried to run an ETH-only lottery app. Both are today defunct.

However, the recent popularity of ETH means that it is likely to remain in online casinos for a while and newer entrants in the gambling business are still keen to develop Eth casinos such as the recently concluded Funfair ICO and the Dao Casino.

It is also a popular trading pair on many exchanges, allowing you to buy other alts with ETH instead of the typical BTC. This makes ETH easily obtainable.

Comparative factors Cryptocurrency
BTC ETH DOGE LTC XMR
1. Ease of use 8.5 7 9 8 6
2. Development 9 9 5 8 7
3. Adoption 9 7 7 5 4

 1. Ease of use

Those familiar with Bitcoin usually find no problem making transactions with other alts, as all have a similar wallet and spending structure (you specify 2 addresses to and from, set the amount and set the fee).

However, if you are using a proper wallet where you control your own private keys or access, then transacting in ETH works a little differently so may take some time getting used to. Basically, when contracts are executed, this triggers intruction on every node of the Ethereum network, bearing a cost. This cost, basically the fee, is expressed in a number of “gas” units.

When you spend in some wallets, you specify the price (or a range) in ETH you will pay for the gas used. Depending on the gas used for your transaction, the final price is also removed from your ETH balance.

Most wallets now support an automated maximum estimate for gas price, while site and exchange wallets as well as some GUI ones implement a flat fee, so this extra calculation is not necessary for most ETH users.

2. Development

Thanks to its incredible potential as a platform for decentralised apps, Ethereum is probably the most developed when compared to other cryptos. While it has a much smaller “core” team than say, Bitcoin, Ethereum has hundreds of developers working on countless Eth-based applications, each somehow contributing to the overall network’s development.

While other cryptos may be encumbered by philosophical ideals such as individual sovereignty and the privacy, Ethereum development focuses on future finance and business applications. Therefore, it is keen to go ahead and test out new ideas in a less conservative approach.

Because of this less strict attitude, virtually anyone who can code can run an app on Ethereum. The downside to this cavalier approach means that the coding is less than perfect (some estimates say 10% of the code is buggy). The relatively frequent hacks and exploits of Eth smart contracts is proof of this.

3. Adoption and popular support

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum users and supporters tend to be less driven by ideology than by profit and commerce. Because of this pull, it is garnering more and more support from financial institutions and big businesses happy to put their faith in the founders or core developers of Ethereum such as Buterin. This was proven during the DAO hack of 2016.

How does Ethereum compare in terms of gambling use?

Transaction speed

Transactions are a lot quicker than Bitcoin with 15 seconds average of block solving, although most exchanges require many more confirmations on deposits. Despite its apparent capacity to scale better than Bitcoin, ETH is also vulnerable to network congestion. The network was completely crippled several times in 2016 due to spam transactions, and most recently in 2017 amid the ETH token ICO fever pitch.

Transaction cost

Gas prices or fees used to be virtually nothing but this changed when ETH price rose in value manyfold. Nevertheless, it tends to be cheaper than Bitcoin fees. You can also set a very low maximum price for gas and wait for miners to accept it, similar to Bitcoin pricing.

Anonymity

In terms of data tracking, ETH operates differently from Bitcoin. With BTC, outputs are consumed as inputs on future transactions and are easily associated. With ETH, your balances work like how a bank does, where the balances on the sender and receiver accounts are changed. There is no output/input trail to follow.

However, on addresses, they can all still be followed and linked. Hence, when gambling, you are still as pseudo-anonymous with ETH as with BTC.

OK I’m interested! How do I start?

First, you need a wallet to store ETH. If you’re a complete newbie, you can simply choose to use site wallets at the casinos you want to gamble ETH at. Otherwise, we suggest a multi-currency wallet like Exodus or Jaxx, which lets you store ETH right next to your BTC, while controlling your own private keys.

If you’re looking to be a serious ETH user, with ETH-based tokens to store on your ETH address, you’ll want to use MyEtherWallet. It’s one of the most secure wallets which also lets you view and send ETH tokens. Hardware wallets Trezor and Ledger also support ETH.

Where do I get Ethereum from?

Second only to Bitcoin, most cryptocurrency exchanges offer you ETH for your fiat or BTC. Here are some other exchanges you can obtain ETH from:

  1. Coinbase.com Credit and debit card
  2. Poloniex.com Credit, debit card (converting to USDT, to buy ETH), BTC
  3. Bithumb.com Largest volume ETH, Korean bank deposits
  4. Bitfinex.com Most major cryptos
  5. Cex.io BTC, Bank Transfer, credit and debit card (USD and EUR)

Show me 5 gambling sites that accept Ethereum today!

Ready to roll some dice, shuffle the deck and spin that wheel for some ETH? ETH is accepted at more and more online casinos, the list is growing but here are five for you to try out.

In no particular order:

1. Bitsler.com

Accepting Bitcoin and three major alts (Litecoin, Dogecoin and ETH), Bitsler offers the familiar dice game, roulette, as well as two unique games: Multicolor (roulette-like) and caraYcruz (three coin flips). There’s a good Jackpot on offer winning you a minimum of 0.25 BTC or equivalent for a 77.77 dice roll on a Bet ID ending in 77. With faucets and a loyalty programme, the potential to win lots of ETH here increases as you wager.

2. Betcoin.ag

Betcoin offers incredible variety in terms of gameplay. You can choose the casino staples of slots, and table games like black jack and roulette. Or you can opt for multiplayer poker provided by Winning Poker Network. Bored of games? Bet your ETH on sports with hundreds of sidebet options on a host of global sports like football, tennis and F1.

3. Luckygames.io

There are fewer better places to try wagering ETH than at Luckygames, especially if you’re just a casual gamer on the look out for something new. They’ve got two beautiful graphic games in Balls and Cells, although Dice and Roulette are also available. You won’t be spoilt for choice here, but if anonymous play, faucets and chatting are your thing, head on over.

4. vDice.io

Win massive amounts of Ether! At least, that’s what the website says. It also has a massive claim of being the most popular Ether betting games site in the universe, so you probably should check this out. Dice bets function on a smart contract where you deposit ETH and your winnings are automatically returned to you. In fact, you will still get 1 Wei if you lose.

What’s that, you say? It’s ETH’s equivalent of 1 satoshi.

5. etheroll.com

Like the concept of vDice but want about half the house edge? Then head on over to Etheroll for a 1% house edge dice game. It’s a bit limited, thanks to only 100 outcomes per roll, but the option of using a slider does add a degree of simplicity to the game. It works exactly as vDice, where your winnings, if any, are returned automatically each bet, reducing the chances of you getting scammed.