Now, it may sound like a fluke or a one-time thing BUT, for the first time in history, the biggest Bitcoin wager was recently made in the Kentucky Derby.
Yep, you got that right, the KENTUCKY DERBY!
And here’s the kicker.
The bet was made by a member of a private investment firm with its head office in Boston.
The wager worth over half a million dollars (at today’s prices) was placed on Justify, who was ridden by Mike Smith.
The bettor, the horse, and the rider all got lucky.
Justify just won the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown.
So, we decided to see if we would get lucky ourselves and wanted to ask a few questions about this from BUSR, the platform where the bets were placed.
James Ross BUSR Spokesperson and Risk Analyst answered our questions.
Here is what he had to say.
James Ross BUSR Spokesperson and Risk Analyst
Congratulations on the record-setting bet! What are the implications of the largest ever Bitcoin bet in the Kentucky Derby?
From a BUSR perspective, we have a very nervous few days ahead of us- but we’re very excited about our submission to hold a Guinness World Record! The huge corporate multinational sportsbooks tend not to want to take massive bets these days- it’s an unnecessary risk that they very often have to report to the stock market, and then look to “hedge” with other companies.
These big companies have business models that rely on having a “critical mass” of millions of $10-a-week customers- and we respect that. As a “boutique bookmaker” we have a much smaller clientele but quite a high percentage of high-rollers, and there’s no time to find new VIPs like Kentucky Derby week!
What is the effect of the largest bet on the adoption of cryptocurrencies?
I’d love to think that the news coverage of this bet would encourage more Bitcoin holders to start betting with their crypto, but most already know that option is out there.
This huge bet is more of a symptom of what is happening across society- Crypto is being used to pay for everyday items from bets to Tesla cars! This very wealthy customer could have chosen to deposit his $1m with his bank card, but he chose to do it via Crypto because it’s simple, quick and secure.
But it’s not just the super-rich using Crypto as a method of payment, or even the identity of our Crypto Whale (as fun as the guessing game is)… the big picture is how widely Crypto is being adopted due to its functionality.
Do you have any idea of the identity of the bettor?
I personally do, I spoke to the Crypto Whale and his personal assistant. He’s a very well-known name in the crypto world and certainly very bullish about Bitcoin on social media- but he was a gentleman with me on the phone!
If he wins his bet on Essential Quality I hope he reveals himself to be the Crypto Whale on Twitter because it would highlight yet another great selling point of Bitcoin- its versatility as a means of payment, not just a great speculative investment for the future.
What are the implications of anonymous bets on the BUSR platform?
All customers are verified so there is no anonymity because of our high standards of compliance and KYC. Crypto is really just a method of payment, depositing through Crypto is no more anonymous than credit card because we vet our customers.
We also take responsible gambling very seriously because we’d never want to see a customer gambling more than they could afford to lose- obviously this wasn’t a concern with the Crypto Whale, for whom $1m is probably loose change!
Please, can you tell us more about the BUSR betting platform?
We offer betting on sports, racing and casino. While we’re fortunate to have a very loyal racing client base, our work in polling has brought us a whole legion of new customers who want to bet on politics, current affairs and financials.
What are your thoughts on the explosion of decentralized finance (DeFi)?
It’s a disrupter to traditional lending and banking and we feel it will pave the way for better rates of returns as well as loan rates for crypto holders
What is the relationship between cryptocurrencies and the betting space? How have the interactions between the two fare?
Until recently I don’t think there was much of a relationship. We were early adopters of Crypto as a payment method back in 2017- and the Crypto depositors back then were the cliche of the computer geek and the city yuppie… and God bless those pioneers because without them, Cryptocurrency wouldn’t be where it is today.
It feels very different now, there is no “average” Crypto holder- so the Venn diagram of people who like to bet and people who have crypto is increasingly overlapping!
Do you think bets using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will become the norm rather than the exception? Please tell us the reasons for your answer.
Without doubt we expect the sportsbook deposits with Crypto to grow, but for us such deposits are already “normal”! In the UK it’s far more common to see cryptocurrency as a payment with sportsbooks, it’s strange that more US companies haven’t gone the same way.
FanDuel (owned by gaming giant Flutter) do offer crypto payment and interestingly they’ve just invested in sponsoring/renaming Fairmount Park… maybe they’ll introduce Bitcoin betting at that race track!
Please, can you share some light on data regarding the betting activities of your platform? What are the favorite sports? What is the favorite betting cryptocurrency? Are there other data sets you’d be interested in sharing?
We’ve looked Cryptocurrency bettors’ action and there are very few differences between their wager behavior and traditional debit/credit card depositors- the stereotype that Crypto holders only bet on e-sports is just not true!
Why has the BUSR platform been identified with celebrities and star power?
Sponsorship of sports events and word of mouth. We hope they choose to stay with us due to our customer service, delighting our customers is something we take extremely seriously.
We are very proud of how we look after all of our valuable customers- including our “VIPs” who are quite rightly demanding in the service they expect- so we work exceptionally hard to deliver the gold standard of customer service to anyone who trusts us with their hard earned money.
How has star power helped cryptocurrency bets?
I’m not sure star power has helped cryptocurrency bets. Since we’ve gone semi “public” about this exceptionally big Crypto wager, the reaction of many people is “wow you can bet with crypto?!”. Let’s hope that changes follow the Crypto Whale’s bet!
What are your thoughts on the regulation of cryptocurrencies?
We look forward to regulation of cryptocurrencies because it’ll encourage more people to get involved.
We have great faith as a company in the future of crypto generally and in the legitimacy of it as a method of payment so would love more customers to have that peace of mind when considering investing.
Still on regulations, how have your experiences been with regulators concerning cryptocurrency bets?
As you know there currently is no real regulation of cryptocurrency, so we’ve had no dealings in this area.
We’re required to hold certain amounts of liquidity, adhere to KYC/responsible gambling procedures as a gambling operator- but in terms of crypto specifically, nothing.
We welcome regulation and would be keen to be involved in that conversation defining what good regulation looks like
What is the next big thing for BUSR?
We’re always working on exciting new projects… but who knows what the Crypto Whale’s plans are? He might be planning to double his takes on the other Triple Crown races!
Are there any other big events you expect whales to make big bets?
Traditionally most sportsbooks would say Super Bowl, and yes it’s a big day for us- but nothing like the US Election! We saw exceptional bet numbers of bets on the election, and the average bet size was almost 6 times bigger than the Super Bowl.
The largest bet we took was on Biden to win the election, a guy placing $200k to win $100k profit- thankfully though the vast majority of the bets we took were on Trump (over 80%) and we had a winning book. If it was up to me, I’d have a US Presidential Election every year!
Do you think the whales will make bigger bets as Bitcoin prices cross $60k? Please give us the reasons for your answer.
I don’t think it’s really about the whales, I think it’s about all crypto holders. There’s a reason that governments around the world like house prices to go up it makes people feel rich, confident and more likely to go out and spend their hard earned money. Crypto is no different.
If you bought Bitcoin for $10k last year, you’ll be feeling pretty rich right now- why not treat yourself to that new car, nice restaurant or better holiday than you’d normally go on?
We hope that if you’re a guy that likes to bet on the Derby, you’ll bet with a larger stake this year- which is the trend we’re seeing this year, with average stakes increasing by over 20%.
Please, can you tell us about your non-partisan polling data activities?
We’re a data company, we need data to help guide us in setting odds- but we go further than other sportsbooks because we don’t just follow the data out there, we invest in creating it!
We do our non-partisan polling based on the Qualtrics methodology on election polling and the accuracy of the work is quite exceptional- this helped us to set election odds that were very different from our competitors, and we won!
Our polling on the North Carolina polling in January was particularly interesting- especially the day that 5 members of the Trump family were sharing polling on social media!
Do you have any secrets to tell us? Care to spill the beans?
We’re currently working on polling the American public on Capital Gains Tax- particularly with regards to the impact on cryptocurrencies.
Crypto is now a normal topic you’ll hear in bars, at the water cooler or the family dinner table- the public are far more educated on Bitcoin than they were during the 2017 boom.
I think we’re going to see some very interesting trends come out, but for now you’ll have to watch this space!
Please, can you tell us more about BUSR’s performance and awards that have been won over the years?
Last year we achieved a Zendesk customer satisfaction score of 96%. To put this in context, globally if you’re at 80% customer satisfaction you’ve scored an A.
We choose to be transparent and public with our Zendesk rating but we’re proud of our performance and we don’t ever want to let our standard slip.
If you had three wishes and a genie that could make come true, what would they be for BUSR?
1. We would love for a developer to make use of Stellar for gaming transactions, particularly wallets for operators like BUSR. The extraordinary speed and minimal fees would benefit both the punter and the house (the operator).
2. Health and happiness for all our members and coworkers 3. Continued adoption of crypto by our new and existing members.
As a percentage of our total deposits, crypto jumped from 3% to 11% from 2018 to 2021 (and this was during a period of exceptional growth for the business). I would love to see that ratio of Crypto deposits increase even more- 20% next year feels achievable.