by P. H. Madore
Gambling with Bitcoin is, well, a gamble. One has the overwhelming feeling that, no matter how “provably fair” something claims to be, in the end, the house is going to win. Given this, it was surprising earlier this year when Gambit, the skill-based Bitcoin gambling website, changed its business model completely and began to disallow paid gaming. Instead, they converted to a more common model wherein people purchase points from the site and gamble with those, the points having no actual value. Meanwhile, there seem to be more slots and dice sites than ever, and skill-based gaming is a rarity.
Enter Chopcoin, which incorporates Bitcoin as a core feature. Chopcoin is an Agar.io clone. If you’re not familiar with Agar.io, it is a browser-based game wherein the player aims to become the largest blob on the map. If you’re larger than another player, you can eat him or her. The rest of the time, you try to avoid being eaten and go about gathering up tiny dots to build your mass. There are other pitfalls as well, such as the gears that will break you into numerous pieces if you’re large enough. You can voluntarily break yourself into smaller blobs by pressing space, which is useful when you’re trying to capture smaller blobs, since they are able to move faster than you.
While game play is similar to Agar.io, it also differs in crucial ways. For one thing, rounds only last 10 minutes, or the typical time between Bitcoin blocks. For another, you can bet real money on yourself in the form of bitcoins, or, supposing you don’t want to take that risk, compete with others on the “faucet” game for free prizes (which recently doubled, according to the Chopcoin newsletter). The game creators claim to have done a number of other changes that make the game more fair than Agar.io, such as players automatically losing mass after they reach a certain amount, which means competition for the top slots is more fierce.
The game has only been around for a few weeks, but so far reception by the community has been positive. They offer a referral program for getting new users to sign up. For the most part, only the faucet map seems to be populated, but this writer has personally played a couple of times on the paid versions, even winning a nominal amount of Bitcoin.
The way the gambling side of the game works is, everyone playing invests the same amount. The top three players will each get a portion of the total pot. If you are eaten while playing, you’re out, and you’ll have to pay another entry fee for another chance to get it back. This part of it makes things more interesting, since this increases the “pot” of available winnings. The site takes around 3% of the winnings, according to their FAQ.
Skill-based gambling is inevitably the fairest kind of gambling, and Chopcoin.io represents one of the few such games available right now.