Another bitcoin book has taken the money and ran. StakeBTC.com is now offline, owing thousands of dollars to its clients.
StakeBTC first made it’s presence known last month with an initial post on Bitcointalk.org. They promised instant deposits and withdrawals, top-notch customer service, wide-ranging lines, standard juice, and extensive live chat with its representatives.
They also gave a 25% bonus on a bettor’s initial deposit, requiring a three times rollover before withdrawal. That was just the beginning, however. They soon offered juice free wagering; each winning bet received an additional 10% bonus. Another bonus offer rewarded a bettor .5 BTC for winning three straight bets, with the minimum wager being .1 BTC.
Then the “free money” began to be handed out. StakeBTC’s next bonus offer was a gift to gamblers, a clear red flag: 100% bonus requiring just 3x rollover. That brought in a nice chunk of money. They next offered the same 100% bonus with just a 2x rollover. Still in effect was the juice free wagering with winning bets receiving a 10% bonus. The ponzi scheme, paying off early investors with new money, was well under way.
The first sign of trouble occurred on Thursday. A long-time forum poster, known to many as Doc Dekay, reported on Bitcointalk.org that a Wednesday payout request still hadn’t been processed. He then stated StakeBTC was taking a shot at him:
-Last night at 12:53 am Eastern I made a withdrawal request for 15 btc
-This morning my request had yet to be fulfilled.
-Since live chat was down i asked at 932 am est what the status was in this thread.
– at 1014 am est a reply on here said my account was entirely pending.
– these bets were made at 1012 and 1015 est.
– the three bets were on cbb moneylines. I have never once bet cbb MLs and have never bet this much. All my bets range from 500 credits to 2500 credits. i give this book a lot of action and have never once bet more than that (500 credits = 1btc).
StakeBTC replied that the withdrawal request had come in that morning, not the previous night. This was shown to be a lie when Doc Decay produced an email from him to StakeBTC requesting the payout from the previous night.
And that was the last we heard from StakeBTC. The site is now offline. Emails are bouncing. Reports of other thefts are starting to trickle in as well.
“Most bitcoin sportsbooks have no history,” says Adam Hart, known as Raiders at PeepsPlace.com. “The anonymity that makes bitcoins popular also allows bitcoin sportsbooks to be anonymous as well.”
Hart is in the process of rating these new books specializing in bitcoins. “The benchmarks are different from regular post-up sportsbooks,” says Hart. “Payout speed is the key determination. With post-up books, it might be a week before a bettor has his check in hand. A good bitcoin sportsbook will pay out in hours.”
They will also be unknown to all. “We know who runs Bookmaker. We know who runs 5 Dimes. But we don’t know who runs Bitbook.”
That’s not entirely a bad thing, as anyone familiar with The Greek and Legends sportsbooks know. It does, however, increase a bettor’s risk. “There’s going to be a lot more StakeBTC’s crawling out of the muck,” says Hart. “That’s the nature of the business. The key is to shine a little light on these guys before too many players gets burned.”