Bitcoin and match fixing are a match made in heaven. We don’t know about any cases of bitcoin being used for match fixing yet. But then we wouldn’t know about it would we? It would be anonymous and no one but the individual athlete would be involved, making it nearly impossible to detect.
Match fixing with government currency
To fix a match with government currency several people have to conspire together.
You need a group of bettors because one individual could not get enough money on without causing suspicion. The betting side of match fixing is normally done with betting syndicates of at least 6 people.
You need a fixer or 2 who will arrange things between the bettors and the athlete. Coordinating exactly what will be fixed and negotiating the payment to the athlete.
Lastly you need the athlete to influence the outcome of a bet with irregular on field performance. You will probably need a money launder as well.
So at least 9 people all of whom are potential points of failure. All of whom could be an informant, could get blackmailed, could commit blackmail or say too much to the wrong person. 9 people who are sending money between each other. This, is how most matching fixing with government currency has been uncovered in the past.
Match fixing with bitcoin
Bitcoin is the perfect tool for match fixing because it disintermediates all parties except the individual athlete.
An athlete can anonymously make multiple accounts at multiple bitcoin sportsbooks. Place bets that he can influence the outcome of. Perform in line with those bets and take all the winnings. No one would ever be the wiser!
Detection and prevention
If the athlete is not careful with his online privacy and bitcoin practices then authorities with the time, money and surveillance technology could uncover his crime but what are the chances?
There is no group to infiltrate, no possibility of an inside man or eavesdropping on communication or transactions between 2 members of the conspiracy.
The only way to uncover match fixing done by a lone individual would be massively intrusive surveillance on a massive scale most of which could be undermined by the athlete using a VPN and bitcoin mixers.
Dedicated teams of detectives would have to monitor every keystroke every athlete makes on every internet enabled device. Authorities would then need to monitor every athlete’s performance. Then monitor every athletes spending.
There is no need for the athlete to convert the ill gotten bitcoin to government currency or to use it to make traceable purchases. The athlete is a bitcoiner like us, so he knows that holding and using bitcoin is superior to government currency in many situations. He will be happy to be bitcoin rich and there goes the authorities chance to track his spending.
Despite the advantages of bitcoin some athletes will get caught. Some athletes are not bright, some athletes will be too conspicuous with their irregular on field performance then too conspicuous with their spending. Some athletes will get away with it and then brag to the wrong person. Some athletes will ask for help from bitcoiners to set it up and get reported.
But while some athletes will get caught it is reasonable to assume they will only be the tip of the iceberg. For every case that comes to light there are 100 that won’t.
Bitcoin match fixing is probably already happening
As someone who used to make a living predicting the outcome of sporting events I find the notion of match fixing abhorrent. But as someone who understands sports betting and bitcoin I can see no way to stop it.
The incentive and the opportunity have been there for years. Professional athletes are mostly tech and gambling savvy young men in a career that will stop paying within 10 years.
The first case of bitcoin match fixing we find out about will not be the first or last case of it happening.
Consider the fact that most of the same dynamics apply to political betting on elections!