Las Vegas has always been ahead of the curve in technological and entertainment development, so it may come as no surprise that two of Las Vegas' casinos announced this week that they will begin accepting the virtual currency known as Bitcoin for food, drink, and room payments.
The Golden Gate casino and the D Casino both plan to begin accepting Bitcoin payments starting today. However, Bitcoin payments may not be used for transactions on the gambling floor. There, hard cash is still the only currency that matters.
Owner Derek Stevens was unsure of how much revenue the move might produce for his two casinos, but seemed eager to give it a shot and find out. "For us, it's going to be somewhat exciting to see what kind of impact it'll have," he said.
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system that allows users to exchange traditional monies for virtual currency, which can then be used at any merchant or service provider who accepts it. It was first developed in 2009-10 as a means of purchasing from anyone, anywhere, with no transaction fees or middlemen to broker a transaction. Unlike other systems such as Paypal, though, the value of bitcoins can vary and there is little in the way of tracing transactions or protecting purchases or sales made through the system.
In short, it's a new frontier of finance that could be either wildly innovative or extremely dangerous.
Just like Vegas.