Provably fair (PF) Bitcoin gambling is a system that makes it impossible for the player, or the casino to cheat in a game. Proving the results of a game is something that has never been achieved before in brick-and-mortar gambling venues, or traditional online casinos. Now, it is possible to bet online, and confirm that the results were actually calculated fairly. This innovation is one of the many ways that Bitcoin is changing how we use the Internet.
How does provably fair gambling work?
Provably fair systems rely on cryptographic hash functions, which make it possible to turn data into a string, known as a hash. A property of these functions is that it should be very difficult to derive the original data from the hash, or find two data strings with the same hash. It is nearly impossible to crack strong hashes with the technology available today, and evidence of this is in the Bitcoin network. The cryptography behind the network has not been broken, and likely never will be.
Cryptographic hash functions are ideal for Bitcoin gambling. They allow the casino to prove to the player that they did not change their seed throughout a game, without actually showing the seed to the player.
There is no single formula or algorithm for provable fairness. For example, the result of a blackjack game would be calculated in a different way than that of a dice game. In addition, each Bitcoin gambling site may have its own method to come up with results. To ensure that you are not being cheated, you should thoroughly research how the results are calculated, and verify the results.
For many Bitcoin dice sites, fair dice rolls are calculated as follows:
- The server creates a secret random seed.
- The server seed is hashed and sent to the player.
- The player provides his own random client seed.
- The two seeds are used to calculate the result of the roll.
- The server seed is revealed, so the player can check that it matches the hash.
Some dice games use a daily secret, which is used as a replacement to, or in combination with the server seed. The daily secret is similar to a server seed, in the sense that it is unknown to the player when a roll is performed. The difference is that the daily secret is revealed at the end of each day (hence the name), and it is used for every roll that takes place in a day.
Provably fair poker
Provably fair poker has been something requested by many Bitcoin users. It is possible in theory, using a cryptographic protocol known as mental poker. Mental poker is a theoretical game that would allow for players to play a game of poker over a long distance. It would allow cards to be dealt out in a way so that neither the players nor the operator can see each others’ cards. However, it would be impractical to implement the scheme in reality. Since mental poker requires each player to decrypt the cards, it would not be possible for cards to be dealt if a player disconnects. The game would come to a halt, until the missing player returns.
Is it possible for a provably fair Bitcoin gambling site to cheat players?
Some casinos claim to have provably fair results, but in reality, they only have provable results. The difference is that the casino knows the result of the game, when the player does not. The casino could cheat by delivering only losing results to the player, since the games aren’t actually fair.
In theory, a Bitcoin casino’s software could disconnect from the player in the event of a winning bet. They could blame connectivity issues, and refuse to pay the player. If a casino were to actually do this, the community would catch on to it very quickly, and stop playing.
Another problem that could arise is when a rogue casino does not allow players to withdraw, effectively stealing their money. Winning a game would not mean much, if you are not able to claim your winnings.
How do you know if a Bitcoin casino is provably fair – PF?
One of the first things you should look for on any Bitcoin casino is an explanation of its provable fairness. You should be able to see how the results are calculated, so you can check them by yourself. Most sites feature a form which can be used to verify the results after a game. You should ensure that the data is not being manipulated, by making sure the results are calculated locally.
You should also record your client seed, server hash, and outcome of the roll. If a rogue casino were to try and manipulate this data during a game, you would be safe against it.
In conclusion, provable fairness provides players with something that has never been possible before. It is now possible to verify the honesty of a gambling site, without relying on the site’s random number generator (RNG). Bitcoin users should keep this in mind by picking a site that has provable fairness when gambling.