Cryptocurrency sportsbook Cloudbet has placed bitcoin at the forefront of its March Madness competition, as it seeks to maximise user engagement and widen the audience of digital currency.
The NCAA March Madness tournament is an annual knockout basketball competition, featuring the top college teams from across the US.
Cloudbet’s new ‘Cloudbet Madness’ product will combine a tipping competition with two lucky draws, with bettors predicting which NCAA teams will make the Sweet 16 round of the competition.
The best forecasters will be eligible to win Bitcoin out of the US$5000 prize pool, directly paid into their Cloudbet accounts. This will then be followed by lucky draws in the next two phases, in which participants will compete to win an Elite Eight team jersey in addition to more bitcoin bonuses.
“We welcome anyone who’s into March Madness bitcoin betting,” a Cloudbet spokesperson commented. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Gonzaga or Michigan fan.”
Cloudbet’s announcement comes at a time when Bitcoin’s value has increased dramatically throughout 2021, reaching an all time high of $61,556, and currently standing at $54,558 according to coindesk.
Additionally, Bitcoin SV’s (BSV) Scaling Test Network (STN) reported a record number of transactions in the third week of 2021, totalling 9,000 transactions per second on 26 January.
As a consequence of increased interest and value in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the prospect of gambling and betting with this new monetary method is beginning to enter the mainstream.
Crypto-sportsbooks have begun to make their presence known in the sports sponsorship sector, for example, with Sportsbet.io forging partnerships with Watford FC of the EFL Championship as well as the Aston Martin Formula One team.
However, although the prospect of betting with Bitcoin may appear lucrative, the cryptocurrency has faced some criticism from established financial organisations.
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), called for greater global regulation of Bitcoin, insinuating that the cryptocurrency was used to finance criminal operations.