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How does cryptocurrency link to problem gambling?

14th September 2018

Catherine gets to grips with cryptocurrencies and trading in this week’s blog.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies which are not produced by banks or governments, but which can be exchanged online for goods and services, as well as traded like a commodity. They use encryption techniques to regulate how many units are produced, (so they are quite hard to make), and to verify the transfer of funds. An example is Bitcoin.

The value of crypto-currencies fluctuates according to many factors, and they are mostly seen as an investment in tech stock. Just as with other stocks across different markets, people investing in cryptocurrencies can lose money as well as making a profit.

Just as with any other investments, capital is at risk if the markets take a downturn. Crypto-currencies have gone up and down in value substantially since their introduction in 2009.

Trading of any kind can provide very similar reactions to gambling activities. Additionally, the market for crypto-currency doesn’t shut down like the regular stock market, and can be updated across multiple online platforms at any time.

Access to this market 24/7 means that those people already struggling with compulsions like gambling, or may be vulnerable for a number of reasons, could find that their preoccupation is jeopardising other areas of their lives.

There is also an additional risk, in that there is no legal minimum age for buying and selling crypto-currency. Some trading sites do mandate that users are 18 or over as a precaution to make sure that those investing are likely to be financially sound to do so, however as this is a global market, essentially anyone can access it at any time.

The impacts that people experience when they are preoccupied with trading can be very similar to other types of gambling activities, and therefore GamCare is able to offer free services to help. Have a chat with our Advisers on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via our NetLine, and we can work with you to find the right support.

We also have new self-paced resources available which may be helpful.