Between November 2016 and November 2017, Bitcoin saw its market-cap increase by 1034% to a record breaking value of $128,982,906,067 on coinmarketcap.com. November 2017 also saw Bitcoin hit a new all-time high against the British Pound and US Dollar, with xe.com valuing a single bitcoin at £5889.18 and $7720.66 respectively.
With bitcoin’s market expanding, value increasing, and its near-global adoption favoured for its decentralised system, it’s no wonder that more people are looking to earn, spend, and even gamble with the cryptocurrency.
Why Use Bitcoin?
According to FortuneJack (the biggest online Bitcoin gambling casino), there are many reasons why businesses and individuals use bitcoin; these include:
Privacy and Security
Unlike online purchases using credit cards, which require you to input of all your secret information, bitcoin works on a public and private key system. Not only does this make the transaction more secure but also means you are the only one with access to your bitcoin wallet.
It Isn’t Inflationary
Unlike traditional ‘fiat’ currencies, which are run by central banks, bitcoin is not susceptible to inflation or quantified easing due to the limit of just 21 million ever being created.
Because it’s an entirely digital currency, bitcoin deposits and withdrawals are exceptionally fast and processed without delay, as opposed to traditional banking methods where a bank or transfer service will hold onto the money for several days.
Ways to Earn Bitcoin
Unlike standard currencies which have their value and number determined by central banks, bitcoin can be earned through a couple of methods:
The most popular and even encouraged form of earning bitcoin, mining involves using your computer to add transactions to the public bitcoin ledger called the blockchain.
Whether by accepting bitcoins for freelance work or at your business, you can accept bitcoin as a payment method to begin building up your balance.
How to Spend It
Every day new ways of spending bitcoin are being created. To date, bitcoin can be used in and on:
- Online e-commerce sites
- Physical Stores
- Travel and Property
- Bars and Restaurants
- Online Gambling
- Bullion Trading
- Online Auctions
- Buying Services
Other ways to spend bitcoin include:
Coinbase launched the Shift debit card, which consumers spend bitcoin anywhere that merchants accept cards, while pulling Bitcoin from their Coinbase account. Allowing suppliers and customers to spend at over 38 million merchants worldwide through using their Visa cards.
Some bitcoin users exchange their currency for gift cards from service providers like eGifter, or Giftoff, which allows consumers use 15 cryptocurrencies to buy gift cards from up to 177 retailers.
Companies like Microsoft have recently started offering games and other apps for bitcoin, with a Minecraft server even using bitcoin as its in-game currency system.
The Global Impact of Bitcoin
In 2016, bitcoin gained 126.2% against the US dollar, compared to just a 21.7% increase for the world’s next best-performing currency, the Brazilian Real.
The Netherlands has been quick to adapt to the widespread popularity of bitcoin. Arnhem, a large city in the east of the Netherlands, has been labelled as “the world’s most bitcoin-friendly city,” by a local group running the arnhembitcoinstad.nl website, and the Netherlands’ best department store even accepts the bitcoin currency.
In Japan, retailers are also staying ahead of the development of virtual currencies by accepting bitcoin, with reports revealing that two of Japan’s largest retailer groups have started accepting the currency. The POS app, AirREGI, has been even been implemented at 260,000 retail outlets and restaurants throughout the country, which allows customers to pay by simply scanning a barcode.
Cities and Businesses Accepting Bitcoin
*Figures corrected when sourced. Source CoinMap
As bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become more prevalent and profitable, we are likely to see more multinational and large businesses integrating bitcoin into the payment options for themselves and suppliers.
Bitcoin users and regular consumers are also realising that bitcoin can be used to pay for real life services and tangible products, with the two-key system and anonymity providing an additional level of security to their transactions.
Fortunejack.com is developed by a highly talented team with twenty years’ experience in the gambling industry. FortuneJack have an incredible portfolio of work, encompassing Eastern Europe’s leading casinos, including brick-and-mortar venues and online sites.
Our sites are developed and maintained by the region’s top software professionals: this allows us to offer you today’s best, most secure, most innovative games, combined with a fun atmosphere for pros and newcomers alike.
Genting partners Rightlander
Genting Group has become the latest tier one operator to partner with affiliate landing page tracker, Rightlander, as it looks to improve affiliate compliance and strengthen its responsible gambling measures.
Rightlander’s technology scans affiliate websites, simultaneously building a list of locations where an operator’s brand is mentioned or linked to while also searching for certain events and conditions defined by the operator.
These can be inclusive or exclusive and specific to the individual operator. The technology also captures images and the content of anchor text used to link to the operator’s brands and creates a variety of custom reports and alerts for the operator
This will help Genting discover affiliate websites linking to its brands that they are currently unaware of, allowing it to ensure the affiliates sending traffic to its sites are acting responsibly.
Rightlander also allows operators to set automatic “compliance violation events” that notify these whenever they occur on any of the websites linking to their brands.
By using Rightlander, Genting can demonstrate to the UK Gambling Commission and other regulators that it is doing all it can to ensure the affiliates sending traffic to its websites are acting responsibly.
Ian Sims, founder of Rightlander, said: “Compliance is a key consideration for operators now and moving forwards. The Rightlander platform makes this process easy and efficient, and ensures operators can be confident that the affiliates they are working with are fully compliant with the rules and regulations they must adhere to.”
Robert Wakeham, head of affiliates at Genting, said: “We take compliance very seriously. This has allowed us to improve our monitoring process, and to significantly boost compliance as a result.”
The partnership with Genting comes shortly after Rightlander striking similar deals with the likes of LeoVegas and GVC, as well as with ALEA for its SlotsMillion and LadyLucks brands, the bgo Group for its roster of online casino sites and the Kindred Group.
Preparing For GDPR As An Affiliate
Data collection has become an essential part of the operations of most organisations, especially those operating online. While it is effective, it has also given rise to a number of concerns surrounding how that data can both be misused, and become the target of theft.
This GDPR is a new legislative agenda that aims to improve the safety of individuals’ data, as well as regulate how that data is collected, processed and used.
As of the 25th of May, businesses of all shapes and sizes, will need to ensure that they are fully compliant with this new legislation if they serve customers (have traffic) originating from the EU – and affiliates are no exception.
The purpose of affiliate sites is to drive traffic to merchants and operators in order to earn a commission. The more savvy of affiliates, will collect data in numerous ways in order to be able to remarket to their users, if not only to understand their users better, improve customer journey, and in turn, conversion rates.
The data collected on those users most likely falls under the realms of GDPR, and with some heavy penalties of up to €20,000,000, or 4% of annual turnover, it isn’t just another ‘inconvenience’ that should be ignored.
How to Ensure Compliance
Understand what Personal Information is
Personal information includes obvious data such as name, email address and phone number. Many affiliates won’t collect this kind of data, unless they at least have a newsletter subscription form on their website. However, it’s likely that all affiliates have some kind of website tracking/analytics software installed on their website.
Under GDPR’s definition of personal data, it includes “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person”.
It then continues to explain that “an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person”.
Note the use of the terms “identification number”, “location data” and “online identifier”. Under GDPR, collection of IP addresses and the storing of cookies could be deemed to be deserving of consent from the individual prior to collection, if that data could be used to identify them. Note also, that it doesn’t necessarily mean personally identifying them – if cookies are being used to create a ‘profile’ on an individual, which is being processed on subsequent visits or across websites, then that is deemed as identifying them.
The key to the GDPR’s vision is the role of consent. Consent must be obtained from all individuals prior to collecting data on them that could be used to identify them “directly, or indirectly”, as well as an explanation as to the purpose for processing that data.
Consent must be “clear and distinguishable from other matters” and “provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form”. This means that it can no longer be hidden away in the midst of a website’s T&Cs, and in fact it must be entirely separate and written in clear and plain language.
All affiliates should review their privacy policies (or create one if they don’t already have one), and ensure it complies with GDPR. The request for consent must explain what data is being collected, why it’s being collected, how it will be used, and how long it will be kept for.
If affiliates’ privacy policies and “opt-in” practices don’t satisfy the condition of GDPR, then reconfirmation or re-permission must be obtained.
Users should also have the ability to easily opt-out or close their account with immediate effect if they no longer wish to be subscribed or for their data to be used. It must be “as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it”.
What does this mean for cookies, and website analytics software?
If the cookies set by your analytics software are collecting data that will be used across websites (i.e. for advertising), then you must obtain consent from users before using it. The standard Google Analytics code doesn’t have Advertising Features turned on, and so technically it doesn’t even fall under the ‘Cookie Law’.
Affiliates should limit the features and data they collect to an absolute minimum. E.g. if they don’t need or use demographic reports in Google Analytics, then they should disable Advertising Features. Relying on consent should be avoided at all times where possible.
Provide Access to Data
Individuals will have the right to request a copy of the data held on them under GDPR. Requests must be fulfilled within 1 month, and the data supplied free of charge, in an easily accessible, understandable, and electronic format. They also have the right to correct or amend any information they see as inaccurate.
Affiliates should therefore prepare for the eventuality that one of their users exercises such a request.
Right To Be Forgotten
Individuals will also have the power to request that any information held on them be deleted. This will most certainly include personally identifiable data held in affiliates’ databases and 3rd party tools, but will also include any data which is ‘linked’ to from affiliates’ systems. For example, Google Analytics has a feature allowing the linking of User IDs and tracking cookies. The purpose is to track users across devices, and count them as the same user, rather than 2 or more unique users. Google have announced a tool which allows deletion of any data linked to such User IDs.
Security should be a top priority anyway, even a before GDPR was on the horizon. Nevertheless, affiliates should review their website security and ask themselves what they are doing to prevent a breach, as well as the ways in which data could be stolen/abused in the event of a breach. Historically only passwords were encrypted, however there is now more of a case than ever to encrypt other data too.
If an affiliate is unfortunate enough to suffer a breach, they will need to make the appropriate Data Protection Authority (DPA) aware of it. All organisations have 72 hours to report the breach, and organisations acting as data processors will be required to notify their customers (data controllers).
Appoint a Data Protection Officer
A DPO will only be required if your organisation handles a large volume of data, or is involved in monitoring this data on a large scale. In most cases this doesn’t apply to affiliates, however, they will still need to act responsibly, review their internal record keeping, and ensure that consent and data collected is auditable.
Be Paranoid about Privacy
Under the GDPR, failure to implement adequate precautions when it comes to data protection and privacy will result in the most serious penalties they have to offer. And this doesn’t only relate to online privacy.
Affiliates should review the existing safeguards they have in place to prevent data getting into the wrong hands, both online and offline i.e. in their home office or work premises. Staff should be restricted to accessing information that is absolutely critical to their role and thought should be given to what physical data would be at risk in the event of a physical break-in.
This article contains general information for affiliates to make their own informed decisions about the upcoming GDPR. You must not rely on the information in this article as an alternative to professional legal advice. The article has been contributed by Pavlos Sideris of Cashbacker – the leading gambling cashback community.
Kindred Affiliates improves affiliate compliance with Rightlander
Rightlander will help Kindred Group strengthen affiliate compliance through its innovative landing page tracker.
Rightlander, the ground-breaking affiliate landing page tracker, has partnered with Kindred Affiliates, the affiliate program of Kindred Group, to help the operator strengthen affiliate compliance and boost its responsible gambling measures.
The technology scans any website and builds a list of locations where an operator’s brand is referenced or linked to. It follows each link to its final destination on the website and records data including affiliate tags, anchor text and creative materials being used to link to the brand.
This will help Kindred Affiliates monitor affiliate websites linking to all of its brands, including Unibet, 32Red and Roxy Palace, allowing the program to further confirm the affiliates sending traffic to its sites are acting responsibly.
The platform also allows Kindred Affiliates to set “compliance alerts” that notify both the program and any Rightlander-registered affiliate automatically when specific criteria defined by the operator is found on affiliate websites during scans. By using Rightlander, Kindred Affiliates is taking additional steps to ensure the affiliates sending traffic to its websites are complying with supplier agreements and corporate values.
Rightlander founder, Ian Sims, said: “We are pleased to have joined forces with Kindred Affiliates, helping them strengthen affiliate compliance and responsibility across all of its online gambling brands. In the eyes of UK regulators, operators are responsible for the affiliates acting on their behalf, but keeping track of their activity is complex and time consuming. We make that process much easier and far more effective.”
Ryan Henderson at Kindred Affiliates, said: “As a licensed operator in multiple jurisdictions, Kindred Group puts Responsible Gambling and Sustainability at the very core of our business. Our affiliate partners are expected to share these values, while remaining compliant with the regulations and rules issued by the relevant authorities.
Rightlander adds an additional layer of oversight to our existing processes. The technology provides automated reporting that allows the Kindred Affiliates team to quickly identify where and how our Brands are being promoted, ensuring that all partners are aligned in their marketing approach.”
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