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What Does Blockchain Have to Do with the Kentucky Derby?Posted on Tuesday 5th June 2018 @ 13.59

Bitcoin seems to be the word of the minute, and with the latest developments in all areas of blockchain technology, that's not very surprising. Bitcoin refers to the way in which blockchain technology ‘mines’ money digitally to create a new form of cryptocurrency that doesn’t rely on a central lender as a bank would. Therefore, payments can be made that forego the need for the middleman and offer greater digital protection. But what’s that got to do with horse racing? Well, the Kentucky Derby has opened up their gambling in order to allow Bitcoin to be seen as legal tender. With the Kentucky Derby being one of the most prolific and anticipated horse racing events in the calendar, introducing Bitcoin betting is a huge move. This move is not only unprecedented, it also showcases where the future might go for horse racing - but also for all sports and even the world’s financial organisations.

Bitcoin at the Kentucky Derby

Choosing the Kentucky Derby to host Bitcoin betting is somewhat of a clash of culture, given how steeped in history the tournament is and how Bitcoin reflects the fintech start-ups of the modern day technophile. The Churchill Downs features dozens of people dressed as they would back in 1875, when the tournament began – and some of them are opting to pay via ‘imaginary’ money. The opening up of blockchain for the Kentucky Derby stems from the tide of early adopters in blockchain cryptocurrency and the fact that these are most likely to be wanting to bet on the races. So, by offering their preferred modern method of payment, those who use Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin are free to use it - so says Tim Maxwell, operations director for US Racing.

Bitcoin Popular in Horse Racing

Those involved with the Kentucky Derby will have paid heed to the fact that horse racing and Bitcoin already have a strong relationship, which explains the addition of the blockchain into the races. Betting on the horses using cryptocurrencies is popular among those who follow the sport online and have their finger on the digital pulse. Although Bitcoin is the most popular option here, as in other industries, it is not the only one. The next stop in the general improvement of betting online will be to have a vast range of payment methods to choose from, so those companies offering horse racing markets need to stay on the curve in order to offer the best possible experience.

Why Blockchain Cryptocurrency?

What are the benefits of blockchain cryptocurrency and why does this fit in with horse racing? Cryptocurrencies have better protection against fraud and cannot be counterfeited, while also protecting the personal data of the sender of the blockchain cryptocurrency. While standard banks operate on a pull system of taking the money, blockchain works on a push system of only sending information pertaining specifically to the transaction, thus protecting your identity. Blockchain sets itself as open to more people than traditional banking, as more people have internet access than easy access to banks. One of the most striking arguments for Bitcoin is the lack of intermediaries to slow down the process and take fees. The blockchain miners are reimbursed and the transaction fees are a lot lower than they would be in other payment methods. While blockchain does have its drawbacks, after creases are ironed out and it is taken up by more users, it looks to be the way of the future, especially as so many are flocking to invest in it.

The Ethersportcoin Platform

Blockchain doesn’t just come in the form of Bitcoin and its namesakes. ESC tokens or Ethersportcoin tokens are being developed by the EtherSport platform, which offers a multitude of sports betting opportunities using cryptocurrencies. By branching out into their own form of blockchain, those who want to utilise the latest blockchain technology can do so. The market for cryptocurrency betting is as yet untapped and companies have a wider scope before it becomes as saturated as other digital markets have become. Gradually, more and more sports and ways to engage with sports will emerge that rely on the advancements made in technology and the ways in which technology can take something people love and make it even better.

The use of cryptocurrency for betting at the Kentucky Derby is symbolic not just because the horse race represents the best of the best in horse racing, but that it represents the traditions that technology is allowing to be broken. The move may not be for everyone, but the Derby is showing that it is happy to embrace new technologies that its punters opt for and that it will facilitate positive change while keeping its roots firmly set in. Fans of the old world style of horse racing and fans of the fastest and latest technologies can coexist harmoniously. And this ripples outwards for the rest of horse racing, sport, and almost every pastime, as blockchain cryptocurrency will catch on.

Article Posted on Tuesday 5th June 2018 @ 13.59

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