According to legend, Satoshi Dice (renamed to MegaDice in 2017) runs on an old Nokia mobile phone abandoned in a Tokyo subway station. The device supposedly contains an artificial intelligence that feeds off the ghost of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s creator. While that is no more than a fun story, the casino really is recognized as a classic within the Bitcoin community. It was created in 2012 by a well-known early adopter and investor, Erik Voorhees. It was later sold to and is still held by an unknown entity.
Probably the most unique feature at MegaDice is the ability to place bets directly on the blockchain. No special client is necessary to gamble – not even a web browser. The only required software is a Bitcoin wallet. Placing a bet is as simple as sending money to any of the addresses on a list published by the casino. Each address has specified odds that range from about 0.8% to 97.7%. Each has its own win multiplier too, which is based on a 1.9% house edge.
After a transaction containing a bet receives one confirmation on the blockchain, the outcome is determined and any winnings are delivered to the address from which the bet was sent. Keep in mind that some web-based Bitcoin wallets use addresses that are shared among numerous users, and these wallets should not be used for on-blockchain gambling. They might not credit you with any money that you win. There is also a 10 mBTC minimum for wagers of this type, which is a little high.
For anyone who might prefer to gamble smaller amounts, roll faster, or wager less publicly, MegaDice offers an off-blockchain experience. This version is also a little nicer because of the more robust interface that it offers. It is accessed through a web browser and is similar to most other mainstream Bitcoin dice sites.
Upon visiting the casino’s website, an account is automatically created for you and is stored in your browser’s cookies. This makes it easy to return to the site at any time and pick up where you left off. If you want to use the service from a different browser, you can also login using a unique, secret URL that is provided for you. You will also be assigned a Bitcoin address that you can use to add funds to your account. Deposits are credited after just one confirmation.
The web-based gambling experience is quite standard. Players simply select their odds, choose the amount that they would like to wager, and then roll the dice. The user interface for all of this is designed well and runs smoothly, but it is nothing that will blow your mind. Some statistics like recent bets, rare wins, and losing streaks are provided for anyone who might be interested. The house edge for this version is also 1.9%.
Both versions of MegaDice offer provably fair gaming. On the blockchain, the lucky number for each bet is determined using several pieces of random data. Some pieces come from the actual Bitcoin transaction containing the wager and one piece is a secret string that is kept by the casino. These secret strings change daily. Hashed versions of them are published in advance and are revealed when they are no longer in use. This allows players to verify that their past outcomes were not manipulated.
Off-blockchain wagers work similarly, except that the server secrets change for every roll as opposed to daily. These secrets are also delivered to the client in a hashed form before each roll and are revealed immediately afterwards, for verification purposes. Players can also add their own data to any roll. This increases randomness so that even the server cannot determine an outcome in advance.
Unfortunately, MegaDice has a few drawbacks that might turn off some players. For one thing, IP addresses originating from the United States are blocked from using the casino’s website. This means that players in the US cannot use the web version unless they possess the technical skills necessary to mask their IP address and are willing to do so. Gambling on the blockchain, however, is available to anyone. This is because it is fairly difficult to accurately determine the source of a Bitcoin transaction.
The absence of a built-in gambling bot could be another issue for some players. Most dice sites these days have great tools that allow you to automatically use martingale strategies, but MegaDice does not. Third-party software probably exists for automating bets both on and off the blockchain, but that would be much less convenient than using a built-in bot.
Although MegaDice is certainly a viable Bitcoin casino, it does not hold up too well when compared to many of the newer gambling sites out there. Aside from Satoshi Dice’s reputation as a classic, it has surprisingly little to offer. The 1.9% house edge is nothing special and it would be nice to have some extra features like a gambling bot and better accessibility from the US. The casino is provably fair, which is great, but most others are too. The best feature is probably the ability to place bets on the blockchain, although even that is hindered by relatively high minimums and more cumbersome gameplay.
Satoshi Dice / MegaDice might be worth trying out, if only because it is a part of Bitcoin history, but I suspect that after a short time, you will find yourself looking for something more.
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