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What is bitcoin.

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What is bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Cash network will undergo a protocol upgrade as per the roadmap. Businesses and individuals who use the Bitcoin Cash network should check to ensure that their software is compatible with the upgrade.
Compatible Implementations:
Additional Information:
Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash.
Enabling new economies with low fee micro-transactions, large business transactions, and permissionless spending.
The Best Money in the World.
Bitcoin Cash brings sound money to the world, fulfilling the original promise of Bitcoin as "Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash". Merchants and users are empowered with low fees and reliable confirmations. The future shines brightly with unrestricted growth, global adoption, permissionless innovation, and decentralized development.
All Bitcoin holders as of block 478558 are also owners of Bitcoin Cash. All are welcome to join the Bitcoin Cash community as we move forward in creating sound money accessible to the whole world.
The campaign has successfully achieved its initial goal of raising 800 BCH. Thank you to all the contributors to the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund. We appreciate your help in supporting the technical development of Bitcoin Cash.
Read the Whitepaper.
The original whitepaper was published on October 31, 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of the world's first cryptocurrency. The title of the Bitcoin whitepaper is "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System". Bitcoin Cash aims to continue this vision of bringing sound money to the world.
The Bitcoin Cash Roadmap.
To become a solid base for application development and innovation, Bitcoin Cash must continuously improve and compete. Working together, we can build a technical foundation to empower Bitcoin Cash to be the best money the world has ever seen.
Fast.
Transact in seconds. Get confirmed in minutes.
Reliable.
A network that runs without congestion.
Low Fees.
Send money globally for pennies.
Simple.
Easy to use. No hassles.
Stable.
A payment system that's a proven store of value.
Secure.
World's most robust blockchain technology.
Join the Bitcoin Cash community.
Getting Started.
What is peer to peer electronic cash?
1. Getting Started.
Peer to peer (P2P) electronic cash is simply described as online money sent from one person to another without the need for a trusted third-party. As described in the original Bitcoin whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto, P2P cash makes use of digital signatures as part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent fraud. This makes P2P cash a trustless and safe way to transact without the need of intermediaries.
Where do I store my Bitcoin Cash?
2. Download a wallet.
Getting started with Bitcoin Cash is super easy. The first step is to download a wallet so that you can begin participating in the Bitcoin economy. Most wallets are free to download and are easy to use that have a few key features such as sending, receiving, storing funds securely, transaction lookups, and more.
How do I get Bitcoin Cash?
3. Buy or Earn Bitcoin Cash.
The two easiest ways to get Bitcoin Cash is to buy or work for it. Buying Bitcoin Cash is the most used and convenient way, where all you have to do is sign up for a Bitcoin exchange and deposit funds so you can convert it to Bitcoin Cash. The exchange will send you Bitcoin Cash after the trade has occurred.
What can I buy with Bitcoin Cash?
4. Spend Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash isn’t just for speculation. It’s intended usage is a peer to peer electronic currency, which means, it should be spent. Spending Bitcoin Cash is fast, with near-instant transactions and sub-cent transaction fees, making it the most secure and widely used digital currency on the planet.
How can my business use Bitcoin Cash?
5. Accept Bitcoin Cash.
As a merchant one of your main goals is to be able to accept and process payments as quickly and seamlessly as possible so you can make your customers happy and receive payments without any headaches. Bitcoin Cash is the solution, as it has fast and low-cost transactions. As the world goes digital, electronic currencies such as Bitcoin are becoming the go-to method for paying online and in retail shops. Easily accept Bitcoin Cash directly or use third-party providers to accept Bitcoin Cash using their platforms and convert all or part of the sale into local fiat currency.
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What is Bitcoin and how does it work?
The digital-currency has plunged over 50 per cent in the past 13 trading days.
Bitcoin is talk of town these days. On one hand, Japan consider bitcoin as a legal tender, while on the other, JP Morgan Chase CEO James Dimon calls it little more than a "fraud".
Investors or traders of Bitcoin faced chaotic situation after Shanghai-based BTCChina, a major Chinese bitcoin exchange, on Thursday said it would stop trading in the crypto-currency from September 30, citing tightening regulation, while smaller bitcoin exchanges ViaBTC, YoBTC and Yunbi on Friday announced similar closures. This sent negative signal to the world in relation to Bitcoin.
Indian government also is not looking happy with Bitcoin. The Reserve Bank of India official Sudarshan Sen on September 13 said that the central bank was uncomfortable with "non-fiat" cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The digital-currency has plunged over 50 per cent in the past 13 trading days.
What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, or a digital currency, that uses rules of cryptography for regulation and generation of units of currency. Bitcoin falls under the scope of cryptocurrency and was the first and most valuable among them. It is commonly called a decentralised digital currency.
Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.
How Bitcoin works? Hitesh Malviya, Bitcoin Expert, itsblockchain.com explains, Bitcoins are completely virtual coins designed to be 'self-contained' for their value, with no need for banks to move and store the money.
Once you own bitcoins, they possess value and trade just as if they were nuggets of gold in your pocket. You can use your bitcoins to purchase goods and services online, or you can tuck them away and hope that their value increases over the years. Bitcoins are traded from one personal 'wallet' to another.
A wallet is a small personal database that you store on your computer drive, on your smartphone, on your tablet, or somewhere in the cloud.
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What Is Bitcoin? A Quick Starter Gu data-description='Fergus is the chief editor and resident curmudgeon of Cloudwards.net. After finishing a degree in history at the University of Amsterdam he bid farewell to the cold northern climes and started a career as a newspaperman in the Far East. Realizing after a few years that online publishing is way more fun than the paper kind, he now bosses the team around over the internet and works himself into a lather on behalf of consumers everywhere. Contact him at fergus [at] cloudwards.net, though be warned that he has a very low tolerance for drivel.'>
Though normally financial news is restricted to the business pages of stuffy publications, the last few months even regular newscasters, often tripping over the unfamiliar words, have been talking about a new -- well, what is it? -- taking the world by storm: bitcoin. In this article we'll see whether we can get a little closer to what bitcoin actually is and what its future may possibly be.
However, if you're interested mostly in what it isn't, we can save you the trouble of reading onward: bitcoin is in no way, shape or form, an actual currency. Though it can be used to buy products from a number of vendors (fewer and fewer, we would like to add), the way it is traded and sold makes it more of a commodity in and of itself.
That said, we would also like to distance ourselves from the Debbie Downers who seem to think that bitcoin is the beginning of the end; though its future as a currency is in doubt, bitcoin is a herald of several exciting new developments and technologies, which is good news for everyone, as well as a way in which a handful of people have gotten very, very rich, which is good news for, well, that same handful of people.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain.
Bitcoin is a complicated subject and picking a beginning is as hard as explaining what's going on. In this article we'll start by tackling the term cryptocurrency, which is the umbrella bitcoin falls under. Besides bitcoin, there are other digital coins like Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin, to name but three of many.
In short, cryptocurrencies are completely digital coins that you should be able to exchange for goods and services purchased online. For example, several of our best VPN providers allow you to pay them with bitcoin and its ilk (though again, fewer and fewer), as did Steam until a few weeks ago.
The "crypto-" prefix is in this case short for "cryptography" rather than some derivation of the word "secret." This is because all cryptocurrencies rely on some form of cypher for them to exist and keep them from being duplicated or stolen.
Bitcoin has as distinction that it was the first cryptocurrency to make it big (more on its history later), but all the ones currently active have the same technological underpinnings, something called the blockchain. Going into the full ins and outs of blockchain is beyond the scope of this article, so let's keep it short and say it's basically a digital ledger that keeps track of how many units of a cryptocurrency have been traded.
This ledger is stored in such a way that old entries can't be wiped, nor can be manipulated by anyone else. It is a revolutionary new technology that has a lot of people besides bitcoin fans excited, including bankers, accountants, hedge fund managers and politicians (though this last group seems to mainly be interested in the "cheap" and "easy" descriptors and likely won't be such big fans of the fact that information can't be deleted).
The inherent security of blockchain is great not just to keep your bitcoins or what have you safe, but also for another reason: traditional currencies' creation and management is in the hands of central authorities (usually central banks). Because blockchain is so transparent, cryptocurrencies can be regulated by the people that own them.
Or at least in theory, but more on that later. Let's first take a look at the history of bitcoin and with it, pretty much all other digital coins.
Bitcoin Past.
The idea of creating a digital-only currency is as old as science fiction, with a lot of people throwing ideas around online ever since the geocities days. In fact, bitcoin is far from the very first of its kind, it's just the only one that was entirely internet-based and successful enough to make it past a few hundred users or so.
This is mainly because it was the first cryptocurrency to solve one very important riddle: what prevents cybercriminals from accessing your database and making off with your currency or, worse yet, stealing the code and basically creating as much as they want, turning your hard work into so many more worthless bits and bytes?
After all, most of the effort that goes into designing regular currency is to make sure that people can't copy it too easily, while banks, stores and even individuals spend plenty of time and money to make sure nobody steals their cash (installing safes, arranging armed transport, building firewalls for online banking, etc.).
The person who figured it out in this case was named Satoshi Nakomoto and that's pretty much all we know about him. Though there's plenty of speculation on who the man is -- he might not even be Japanese, his name notwithstanding, because, gasp, sometimes people on the internet lie! -- with some of the wilder guesses including Elon Musk of Tesla (he denied), as well as a host of crypto enthusiasts and maverick economists.
Nakomoto's big invention was a form of blockchain technology which made "double-spending" -- spending a bitcoin twice by exploiting the code -- impossible. His code also allowed users to "mine" bitcoin, or run a computer process that creates new bitcoin.
As more bitcoin are created, it requires increased processing power to make more, meaning that mining has become a very serious enterprise, indeed, especially since Nakomoto hardcoded a limit of 21 million bitcoin total into the code.
Any bitcoin added to the ledger was there to stay, and couldn't be tampered with. The bitcoins themselves were pieces of code that couldn't be copied are messed with either, meaning that Nakomoto had created a digital coin that was in some ways even safer than many of the hard currencies in use, an impressive feat.
It should maybe be noted here that once the first "block" of around one million bitcoins was mined, Nakomoto disappeared, never to be heard from again. He left it to his supporters to mine the next few million bitcoin and then things really took off. Currently Nakomoto, whoever he is, is sitting on a pile worth billions.
Bitcoin Present.
Nakomoto finished mining the first block of bitcoin in January 2009. Below we have a graph that shows the increase in price of bitcoin on the open marketplace, starting in early 2009 until mid 2017 (we'll have the figures for the truly meteoric rise that propelled bitcoin into a household term a few paragraphs down).
As you can see, the first two years pretty much nothing happened. Bitcoin was mostly seen as a hobby by many, with only a few people taking it seriously. This group were mainly privacy advocates, who saw in bitcoin a way in which to snip the last bit of identifiable information away from you.
Since in the end people need to pay for things on the internet, many purchases can easily be traced back to you by checking your payment information, usually your credit card or other banking info. Bitcoin was the first safe, anonymous payment method around and a few people could see ahead into the future, realizing it would be a great hit.
The price of bitcoin barely covered the cost of mining it (you need some pretty serious hardware for it, not to mention the cost of electricity) until late 2013, when it started seeing a small raise in price. This is despite bitcoin already having become infamous as the oil that greased the engine of the Silk Road, the illegal marketplace that flourished from 2011 until it was shut down by the FBI in 2013.
It's always hard to say why the price of a commodity goes up or down. Though there are plenty of general laws of economic that tell us when something should happen, none of them mean it will happen. In the case of bitcoin, the price going up seems to have been a combination of fame, interest and a bright future as the currency of the internet.
Higher and Higher.
That said, the vagaries of bitcoin are fairly spectacular: starting out worth less than a penny, bitcoin in late 2013 hit a high of $1,242, only to tumble once again, bounce once or twice, to settle down in the $400 to $600 range for the last five months of 2016. Then, when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2017, the real fun began.
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The above graph only shows the cryptocurrency's price from August onward, but it's basically the most interesting six months in any commodity's history. Bitcoin was gained ground for the first six months of 2017 until it was at around $4,400 at the start of August; after that it starting going all over the place, first with a massive drop from five grand to just over half that in September, then the insane price increases that have had everyone talking.
Bitcoin climbed so rapidly over the course of just a few months -- from that slump of just over $2,000 to highs of over $20,000 -- that many commentators invoked tulipmania, a social hysteria that crept over the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, when people bought and sold tulip bulbs for insane prices.
Eventually that bubble, based as it was on highly perishable goods, burst and dragged the entire economy, one of the world's strongest at the time, with it. It was one of the worst economic crisis of early modern history and has stood as a lesson in the centuries since.
However, the bitcoin bubble isn't set to burst yet, despite several nasty tumbles it took: many, including this author, thought the party was over a few days before Christmas when bitcoin fell from $20,000 to under $15,000, but miraculously it repaired itself and heralded in the new year at an almost entirely recovered price.
Bitcoin Future.
However, markets are unpredictable and we've already had several scares in 2018, and the year's not even two weeks old at time of writing. Right now it's below the $14,000 mark, though by the time you're reading this it could be far higher or lower than that.
Though this volatility could be great news for people who bought in at the beginning -- they have nothing to lose, after all -- or who have a couple of million bucks to throw at the problem, there is a fear that plenty of guys dreaming of a big score might get suckered in.
Now, speculating on a commodity is something you do on your own lookout, of course, our aim is more to provide a counterweight to the sky-is-the-limit crowd that seems to have sprung up almost overnight, some of them claiming bitcoin could hit a million. While that may be, events from the last decade should teach us that the price of an investment can fall as well as plummet, so always avoid investing money you can't afford to lose.
Besides the specter of investors getting wiped out should bitcoin crash -- and some of those investors are big enough the economy as a whole could feel the bump -- this massive rise in bitcoin's value has an interesting side effect, namely that it's attractiveness as a currency has lessened.
Bitcoin is fluctuating so badly currently that it's almost impossible to set a price on any commodity or service without it being outdated just an hour or two later. Though this may seem attractive at first, as a seller this can also work against you if the currency in question has lost a quarter of its value in just a day's time (there's also the matter of high handling fees for bitcoin).
As we said earlier, Steam has stopped taking payment in bitcoin, as have several other vendors. Though it's unclear what kind of reduction there is across the board -- before the madness started thousands of stores both digital and physical accepted bitcoin -- there seems to be a consensus that for now at least bitcoin's role as money may be played out.
Bitcoin and Politics.
Another important change this year is that now some countries are turning against bitcoin, often because they are worried that rampant speculation may destabilize their own economies, sometimes just because they don't like the whole "anonymity" thing (looking at you, China).
Right now the Middle Kingdom as well as South Korea are taking action against all cryptocurrencies, including a ban on initial coin offerings (ICO, the way in which companies try and raise money by releasing their own cryptocurrency), with rumors swirling that other countries are contemplating much the same measures.
Again, reading tea leaves is a dangerous hobby, but there's no denying we're moving into interesting times when it comes to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Conclusion.
On which note we'll end this article, as really all we can do from this point is read tea leaves, which isn't what journalists are supposed to do. Whatever actually happens with bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are definitely here to stay, as is the blockchain technology with which they were created.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest on new releases and more.
In fact, no matter what you think of cryptocurrencies, you can't deny that blockchain is a real game changer which will alter the way in which we not only store money, but also data. Though none of our best cloud storage providers are as yet using this new tech in their solutions, that day may not be far off.
Among our best online backup providers, however, Acronis has gone so far as to implement blockchain technology, read more about one product in our Acronis True Image review. You can also directly backup bitcoin, read our linked guide for more on that.
What do you think of cryptocurrencies? Are you a bitcoin investor, or do you prefer to put your money elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.
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What is Bitcoin (BTC)?
Beginner.
What you will learn.
Bitcoin is the world's first peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. It was invented by a mysterious inventor Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 and is regarded as the first digital currency to fix the double spend problem.
Bitcoin is what started it all. It was the first cryptocurrency to crack some of the fundamentals of creating digital money that can't be copied like normal files. But who invented it, and why was it so important? We'll explore this and more below.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. What does that mean? It's a new way to pay for goods and services, as well as store value online that doesn't rely on a centralized bank, government or credit provider to do so.
Built using blockchain, a fundamentally new way to transfer data and value over the internet, everything from sandwiches to houses can be bought using Bitcoin.
D >The first official purchase using Bitcoin was for pizza in May 2010. Two Papa John's Pizzas were exchanged for 10,000 BTC. May 22 is now celebrated as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
Who invented Bitcoin?
No one really knows for sure. But the person, or persons most directly responsible refers to him/her/themselves as Satoshi Nakamoto.
The inventor, or inventors go by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, a mysterious character (or characters) that many have tried to find, some more successfully than others.
A brief history.
In November 2008, a paper called Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was published on a small mailing list for cryptography fans. The author went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto and he/she/they explained how the currency would work.
A few months later, in January 2009, the software to create the currency was released, followed shortly by the first ever block to be mined on the network. This is typically referred to as the Genesis block .
The first identifiable person to get involved in Bitcoin was a programmer called Hal Finney, who downloaded the software needed to run it and received 10 bitcoin, making it the first ever bitcoin transaction, which took place on Janaury 12, 2009.
For a while, Satoshi Nakamoto and a few others mined currency on the network (read more about how mining works in our guide on mining) before mysteriously disappearing, handing over control to another programmer called Gavin Andresen.
What was so special about it?
Bitcoin did something that no one had been able to do before. It was:
Decentralized - no-one person or group owned or controlled it. Trustless (peer-to-peer) - No more third parties were needed to conduct transactions. Borderless - money could be moved easily across the world without the need for exchanges. Immutabile - It can never be changed or reversed unlike today's financial systems. Prevented double-spending - it solved the problem many digital currencies had tried to crack before but failed to do so. It was the first proof-of-concept for a blockchain in action.
D > Around 25% of all Bitcoins have been lost. In November 13, an IT consultant accidentally threw away a hard drive with the private keys to 7,500 Bitcoins. That loss is worth somewhere between $15-$20 million today. Whoops.
How is Bitcoin produced?
Imagine gold under the ground. We know it's there, but its value is hidden until a miner 'digs' it up. In the Bitcoin world, a miner discovers Bitcoin by creating 'blocks' of all the transactions going on in the network and adds them to the blockchain.
Want to know more about mining? Check out our guide to mining.
In Satoshi Nakamoto's white paper, he/she/they designated that there could only be 21 million bitcoins in existence - but not all have been unearthed yet. At the current rate of mining, all of them will be 'dug up' sometime in 2140.
How do you get hold of Bitcoins?
There are three main ways of getting hold of it:
You can buy them using fiat currencies ($, £ of € for example) at exchanges. You'll need a wallet and a set of keys to store and exchange them. You can become a miner and try to work out the secret puzzle for the current block, which will reward you with 12.5 BTC. You can win them! Gambling sites have popped up to help people spend and earn their Bitcoin.
D > Around 1,000 people own nearly 40% of all Bitcoins currently in circulation.
What can you do with Bitcoin?
Buy things - everything from a Tesla, a house, a hol >
D >In 2013, the FBI made $48 million by selling 144,000 Bitcoins it had seized from criminals using the currency.
What is a Bitcoin wallet?
Like a regular wallet, it's a place to keep your valuables. When it comes to Bitcoin, those valuables are your keys held on a piece of software you can store on your phone, the web or a computer.
In order to buy and sell Bitcoin you need a private and a public key.
A public key is what you share with people to trade it.
Your private key is something you keep to yourself. When you trade, you send someone your public key, and your private key is used to authenticate that it's you who is requesting to send or receive Bitcoin.
Find out more about wallets in our handy guide.
D > Bitcoin uses a lot of electricity. So much so that one transaction consumes nearly 4,000 times the energy used when processing a credit card transaction.
The Future.
We know that all Bitcoins will be mined sometime in 2140. In the meantime, the future of Bitcoin and its value is uncertain.
The limitations of the cryptocurrency - has lead to the creation of dozens of other altcoins that are more specialized. We've done a whole article on it's limits.
There are some that argue it could become a store of value, like gold is in the real world. Others meanwhile, want to keep it as a way to buy goods and services and developers - find out more about that by reading our piece on the Lightning Network.
Bitcoin's future is uncertain. However, blockchain's potential is just getting started.
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What is Bitcoin?
Everyone's talking about Bitcoin. Here's what it is and why it's important.
Bitcoin. It's a word that was once merely discussed as an academic idea among technology enthusiasts, then became a hushed mention among law enforcement tackling online drug trades -- and most recently it was craze for those looking to make a quick buck. But what is Bitcoin? Why are people so interested in it?
A Guide to Bitcoin.
How to buy Bitcoin How to sell Bitcoin How to mine Bitcoin What is blockchain? People buy Bitcoin for all sorts of different reasons. It's a store of value, a transactional medium, and an idea that some claim could change the future of economics entirely.
Most notably, it's not a real, physical thing, but an entirely digital entity (no matter what the header image may suggest) with no middle-man controlling its use. To put it simply, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency.
A crypto-what?
A cryptocurrency, of which Bitcoin was the first and still the foremost, is an entirely digital form of currency. Think of it like the way you operate your online bank account or use credit cards. You never have to physically have that money to own it or use it. The same is true with Bitcoin -- it's just numbers in a wallet -- but you can do a lot with them.
Bitcoin sits atop the public ledger that is blockchain technology, and is gradually created by a practice called "mining." Although the specifics of mining go beyond the scope of this article (this one explains it in more detail) in effect, powerful computers run incredibly complicated mathematical formulas to provide the verification for Bitcoin transactions, and at the same time create new Bitcoins. The difficulty of this formula creates scarcity.
There's also a hard limit on how much can ever be produced -- 21 million Bitcoins, to be specific. While we're a long way to that happening, that limit makes Bitcoin quite different from the dollars and pounds we are so used to. Many successors to Bitcoin have decided not to use a hard-coded limit, so this trait is somewhat unique.
Independent, for better and for worse.
Bitcoin differs from traditional currencies, like the U.S. dollar or British pound, in an important way -- it isn't backed by any central organization, or a physical item, like gold.
The value of a single Bitcoin is based entirely on what people consider it to be worth. Much of that is related to what you can use it for and the quantity of product or service you receive in return. Of course, money's value has long been based largely on a perception of worth. That's why economic panics can cause a run on a bank, or inflation can go out of control. Yet there's always been some underlying guarantor -- usually a government -- offering the promise of stability.
Bitcoin doesn't have that. It was created independent of any government, and remains independent. Its value is dictated entirely by the market for it. It has soared to incredible heights, but has also experienced huge price shocks, and there's been many accusations of insider trading, price manipulation, and other dubious tactics. Governments have strict measures to prevent these problems in their currency -- though they don't always work -- but Bitcoin, being independent, can't implement such checks, and attempts at regulation are largely doomed to fail.
Bitcoin as a transactional medium.
One of the core purposes of Bitcoin, from its original creation, was as a transactional medium. That is, it's used in place of traditional currency. When stored in a digital wallet like Coinbase, it can be sent to another wallet anywhere in the world to pay for goods or services, and over the years it's been used for just that.
For those who don't have the time or computational resources to mine Bitcoin themselves -- today you would need to spend thousands on hardware to hope for even a modicum return on your investment -- they can buy it. There are a number of ways to do so, but typically it involves sending an amount of traditional currency to a person who owns Bitcoin, who in turn sends the relevant amount of currency to your wallet.
One of the most highly publicized ways Bitcoin has been used for transactions over the years has been for darknet drug sales. Thanks to the anonymous nature of the cryptocurrency, it's been utilized to pay for illicit substances and other items over Tor-accessible websites like the infamous Silkroad. It's also facilitated the rise in ransomware.
That's not to say that Bitcoin is used exclusively for illicit transactions, though. Indeed, it can also be used to give to charities, pay for gift cards, pizzas and airline travel, and it's even found usage as a day-to-day way of paying for goods in countries with terribly collapsed or inflated currencies of their own.
Bitcoin as a store of value.
Back when Bitcoin was first created, individual "coins" had no intrinsic value. What they were worth was negotiated, with one person once offering 10,000 Bitcoins for a couple of pizzas. Over time, though, as more uses for the currency have been created and it's grown more popular, Bitcoin's value has risen in turn. While a single Bitcoin was worth pennies in 2010, today it's worth more than $6,000, having peaked at more than $19,000 at the end of 2017.
For this reason, over the past few years and most notably in 2017, people have begun to see Bitcoin as a store of value. Although extremely volatile compared to more typical systems like stocks, shares, or gold, Bitcoin has become a popular way for people to invest their money and for some, it's paid dividends. Those who purchased Bitcoin at the start of 2017 saw a near 20-fold return on their investment throughout it, leading some to suggest that Bitcoin could be worth seven figures by 2020.
It is important to note that this extreme optimism has given rise to a lot of uninformed investment in what is still a relatively unproven digital medium. It is far closer to gambling in terms of its potential for financial gain and loss, and there have been many sad stories of people losing huge sums during big downturns in the currency's value.
The lasting legacy.
There are many people who have a lot to say about Bitcoin, both bad and good. Some see it as a way to make a quick buck as it jumps up and down in value, while others see it as an entirely new economic model. It's also possible that Bitcoin itself, as impactful as it has been, will be most successful as the progenitor of underlying technologies like the blockchain and newer altcoins like Ethereum.
The future of Bitcoin is far from guaranteed, but its impact on the world of finance, online transactions, and on many people's bank balances, cannot be denied. It's been a force for good, for bad, and everything in between -- and it will be well remembered, even if it doesn't reach the heady heights that so many predict.
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What is Bitcoin - Gu > By Magnus Sandqvist access_time 1 year ago chat_bubble_outline 0.
Bitcoin has gathered so much interest and enthusiasm since it came into the financial scene nine years ago. Over the years, the opportunity and potentials in the market has continued to increase in bounds. As a matter of fact, positive conversation that Bitcoin has generated since its inception has been massive. Many people have bought into it and have become millionaires within a short time. Unfortunately, not many people really understand what it is all about and how it works. There are still a great number of people who are still very skeptical about the crypto-currency business. If you are among this group of people, this topic has been designed for you. This content has been put together to help you understand what Crypto-currency is all about and how you can invest in it to change your financial fortune.
So what is Bitcoin all about?
It was introduced as open source software in the year 2009 and has been dubbed the first cryptocurrency in the world. It is a digital currency as it can only be used electronically. Bitcoin does not have a central issuing authority neither is it controlled by any institution. Although it is decentralized, the platform is as organized as any world-class financial institution. The process of transacting in Bitcoin is quite easy and very organized. As a holder of Bitcoin, you can transfer Bitcoin through a peer to peer network. The transfers are usually tracked on a platform known as Blockchain, which is usually referred to as Giant Ledger. The Giant Ledger keeps the records of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been made on the platform. Each of the blocks on the Blockchain is made of data structure that is based on encrypted Merkle Trees. This process makes it easy to detect scam or corrupted files on the platform.
As opposed to the world's financial currency where people have to rely on the government to print and release new currency, Bitcoin's Blockchain software controls the process of creating and releasing Bitcoin. In addition to this, the software keeps records of the locations of Bitcoins and ensures that all transactions on the platform are accurate and without any error.
Currently, there are more than 17 million Bitcoins in circulation and the total supply to have ever been produced is pegged at 21 million Bitcoins. As indicated earlier, there is no central regulatory authority or political institution controlling the production and supply of Bitcoins. This means that its provision is controlled by design. Many people believed that the system of Bitcoin was intended to act as a deflationary currency against the use of hidden taxation to reallocate wealth by the government.
How Bitcoin Works?
One of the most interesting features of Bitcoin is its thorough verification procedure which has helped to reduce the risk of fraud to a very large extent. As mentioned earlier, Bitcoin is decentralized. Therefore, miners, who are volunteers are regularly verifying and updating the blockchain. As soon as a set of transactions have been verified, another block will be included in the blockchain and business transaction continues.
What does Mining mean?
Since there is no single central server for verifying each transaction on the platform, each person on the platform verifies each transaction. To make the process a little bit clearer, understand that miners are faced with a complicated mathematical problem and the first miner to solve the problem will add the verified transaction block to the giant ledger. The calculations are done based on the Proof of Work (POW).
It is important to mention that the job of solving the math problem and verifying transactions are not done by real humans working on computers. Rather, a set of hardware has been programmed to perform the Bitcoin mining. There is a built-in reward system that recompenses successful miners with a lump sum of Bitcoins. This reward system changes over a period of time depending on its programming. Usually, the block reward halves around every four years and currently, the reward for each of the new block of a confirmed transaction is placed at about 12.5 Bitcoins. The mining process is becoming increasingly refined. The most well-known technique uses ASICS (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) for the mining process. ASICS are sophisticated hardware systems that are similar to computers' CPU. These ASICS are created solely for Bitcoin mining.
The mining operations of Bitcoin take quite some effort and the stiff competition sometimes makes it hard for new traders to join the race and make gains. As a new miner, apart from having an adequate knowledge of how to compute, you must also know how to outwit the competition. You will also need enough capital to fund your operations on the platform.
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How to maintain and keep track of your Bitcoins?
Before we talk about how to keep or maintain your digital currency, it is important to have some background knowledge of some terms used on the platform. Below are the detailed definitions of some terms you need to be familiar with before you start using your cryptos.
Exchange Platform.
This is where you trade your money for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Apart from regular money, it is also possible to trade one cryptocurrency for another.
Wallet Platform.
This is like your bank account where you keep your cryptocurrencies.
Private Cryptographic Key.
This is the key that allows you to transact with your cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. This key is very important and must be guarded jealously. If someone else has access to this key, they can withdraw or transfer all your Bitcoins.
Public Cryptographic Key.
This is your account number. It is quite similar to the physical bank account number that you keep with your financial institution. The same way you give your account number to someone to enable them to make a transfer of money to you, you can also give your public cryptographic key to someone to transfer cryptocurrency to you.
With this understanding, let us move further to discuss all about Bitcoin wallets.
When someone talks about Bitcoin hacking, what they meant is that the exchange platform is hacked. As explained earlier, the Bitcoin Blockchain structure is well protected making it highly impossible to hack. However, exchanges are quite a different story. In 2014 for instance, there was a massive exchange hack that resulted in the disappearance of 850,000 Bitcoins valued at over $350 million. This hack, known as the Tokyo based MtGox hack, was perhaps the most popular hack so far in the business. It is important to point out that this does not mean that Bitcoin itself was hacked but rather the exchange platform.
The fact is that industries around Bitcoin are still relatively new and definitely not without their twists. Although most of the wallet platforms are believed to be very secure, the possibility of being hacked still create fear in the mind of the users. This is where hard wallets come in. Hard wallets simply refer to a USB that lets users store their cryptographic keys off of exchanges and offline. When your cryptographic key is stored on your hard wallet, the possibility of hacking into it is impossible, except of course, someone actually steals your hard wallet.
Hard wallets are very secure and no one can access it. There have been stories of users who carelessly misplaced their hard wallets and are not able to recover their Bitcoins because of this. Many people have reported their inability to recover thousands and even millions of Bitcoins due to the loss of their hard wallets. To prevent this, many users opt for the use of 'paper wallet' which is basically having your cryptographic keys on a paper that is stored in a safe such as a bank vault. It is important to mention that paper wallets are not advisable but they can be handwritten or done through an online key generator. Using online key generator is risky because of threats from malware.
What is the purpose of using Bitcoin?
There has been a general consensus in the market that Bitcoin is the future of the financial world. This statement is not without reasons. In fact, there are numerous reasons why this is believed to be the case.
It offers freedom.
Bitcoin offers freedom to currency holders. The fact that you can actually hold millions or even billions of dollars in Bitcoin across the world and practically purchase anything, anywhere and at anytime without having to face the usual bank delays is a strong selling point for cryptocurrencies.
It is highly decentralized.
Its giving people power over their finances. Due to the potentials it has, Bitcoin has attracted people from all over the globe who view the current financial system as very unsustainable. Launched about a year after the financial crises in 2008, the strong selling points of this cryptocurrency has won many hearts, especially the hearts of those who do not believe in the government to maintain sanity in the world's financial system. Currently, there is a large community of ideologists who are actively building, working, and buying into the cryptocurrency world.
Low Transaction Fees.
Financial institutions and organizations like PayPal charge certain fees to transact money on your behalf. With Bitcoin, you only have to pay a little fraction of the 2.5% transaction fee charged by the likes of PayPal.
You don't necessarily need to have your Bitcoin payments and transactions tied to your personal information. This is because personal information is not required when making transactions. Therefore, you don't have to worry about exposing yourself to external threats like identity theft. In addition to this, it can also be encrypted and backed up to ensure total security of your funds.
Immutable Ledger.
The public Blockchain of Bitcoin is very objective. Users trust the platform to be fair because it is founded on pure maths and cannot be affected by human error or corruption from dubious politicians.
Cons of Bitcoin.
There is no doubt that Bitcoin has many advantages. However, in spite of its numerous advantages, there are still some significant issues that are associated with it. For instance, it seems one of the biggest reason why everyone has not yet joined the Bitcoin troupe is because the price is masked in uncertainty. There are many issues that give rise to concern among potential users of the platform.
Unclear Legal Gray Area.
Top governments have remained largely uninvolved in the platform which has created a sense of great potentials and apprehension for proponents and critics of Bitcoin. There is no regulatory agency that is backing Bitcoin and by supporting a decentralized currency, a government would be seen to be technically relinquishing power in this regard. Its concepts and activities have not been addressed by any government. However, the prices of Bitcoin have been very susceptible to any news regarding the United States government's opinion about cryptocurrencies. For instance, the Stock Exchange Commission (SEC) denied its approval of Bitcoin-based exchange traded products in 2017. This is essentially Bitcoin backed-assets in the stock market. The implication of this denial resulted in a drop in the price of Bitcoin by 18%. It is intriguing to know that although the opinion and action of the governments have a great effect on Bitcoin; governments have not been able to criminalize the activities of Bitcoin. As a matter of fact, the US and China government have made an investment in it to some extent.
This is arguable because currently the price of BTC is pegged at $47 but users still sweat it out. It is very unlikely that the price of Bitcoin will crash and users will not be able to take any action. In spite of this indication, many users are still very unsettled. As more users are investing into the platform, the issue of illiquidity is becoming a negligible factor as there will always be a Bitcoin buyer waiting on a regular basis.
Exchange Hacks.
As mentioned earlier, the issue of exchange hack has absolutely nothing to do with the reputation of the Bitcoin system. In spite of this, the market still feels unsettled. This unsettlement seems to have reduced over time as many users see that there is steady recovery from the hacks. As exchanges evolve and get more secure, the threat of hacks becomes a minimal issue among traders. In addition to this, external investments channeling into exchanges are making capital available for the market to grow stronger by the day.
This is one of the biggest reasons why many users are attracted to Bitcoin. This same reason is why many prospective users are reluctant to join the business. Bitcoin business is viewed as a speculative investment that involves a lot of gambling in the process. This is basically because the future price of Bitcoin is unknown. There have been predictions that one Bitcoin will be equivalent to $500,000 within the next three years while some estimate that it will be worth pennies in a couple of years. The fact is that the more investors get involved in the business, the stronger it will become and the cap will continue to grow which invariably will stabilize the price of Bitcoin.
Lack of Adoption by Organizations.
The biggest reason for this is the volatility of Bitcoin prices. Many businesses are yet to adopt the concept of Bitcoin as a means of payment due to its price fluctuation. It is believed that the more people invest and adopt the concept, the stable the prices will become and this disadvantage will be reduced.
Lack of understanding.
Although many have heard of Bitcoin but only a few understand what it is all about and how it operates. With widespread information about it, many people will come to understand it and be able to invest in it.
The strength of Bitcoin is in its networking effects. The more people know about it and join, the bigger the community and the better the Bitcoin platform.
How to Purchase Bitcoin?
Currently, many companies have grown to help facilitate the sales and purchase of Bitcoin. Prior to this time, it was quite hard to find a reliable company to buy cryptocurrency from. These days, however, many exchanges have gotten massive investments from renowned capitalists. The sale and purchase of Bitcoins are now more regulated with strict measures in place, especially for organizations located outside of the United States. If you are looking for top organizations that help facilitate the purchase of Bitcoins, we have highlighted two of them below.
This organization was established in 2015 by Bitcoin gurus, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Although the organization was recently launched, the cryptocurrency exchange has built an excellent reputation for itself in the crypto community. The organization is based in New York and is currently doing amazingly well in the crypto business.
Coinbase was launched in 2012 with the aim of providing simple and easier platform to users to make their Bitcoin transaction. The organization is based in San Francisco and it is usually recommended as a better option for Bitcoin purchase for newcomers coming into the business.
Who invented Bitcoin?
The design of Bitcoin was attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto asserts that he was born on the 5 th of April 1975 and currently lives in Japan. However, there have been speculations that the brain behind the cryptocurrency is an individual programmer or a group of programmers who are versed in cryptography and computer science in Europe or the United States. Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to have developed the first blockchain database and was the first to resolve the double spending issue that other digital currency platforms have failed to do. Although there have been a lot of mysteries surrounding the creator of Bitcoin, the digital currency has continued to grow in popularity among businesses and government organizations.
The Popularity of Bitcoin.
According to Google Trends structure, 100 is the highest popularity when it comes to the term 'Bitcoin' and a value of 50 implies that it was half as famous at that particular time. Over the past few years, the popularity has peaked making it one of the most searched for term on Google. When it was initially launched in 2009, the early adopters were majorly programmers and technical people. However today, a lot of people have ventured into the business and the prices have grown over the years. The popularity, first mover advantage, and network effect has further solidified its position as the most popular cryptocurrency with the biggest market cap.
Learnings from the Popularity of Bitcoin.
When you understand what makes this cryptocurrency so famous, you are also able to not only conceptualize the future of Bitcoin but also the module operating of other cryptocurrencies.
The Network Effect.
The network of Bitcoin validates its high net worth to new users and offers Bitcoin the rate of viral growth it currently enjoys.
Speculation moves the Number.
Many people dealing in Bitcoin try to hold on to their Bitcoins with the hope to sell them for a huge profit sometime soon. This is not strange as past events have shown the wisdom in this. For instance, if you bought 2,000 Bitcoins for $5 in 2010, today, they worth over $5 million USD.
The Huge Market Cap is reassuring.
The massive market cap of Bitcoin offers users a high sense of stability and security. With over $100 billion market cap, Bitcoin is definitely a more secure crypto investment.
No doubt, Bitcoin is still a very young currency but over the years, it has attained significant growth and user adoption. The network is growing stronger as many people are coming to term with its fundamental technology and the potentials that come with it. Being the flagship of other cryptocurrency platforms, Bitcoin is believed to be the leading cryptocurrency in the world. Understanding the full potential of Bitcoin is the first step to knowing the critical solutions being offered in the cryptocurrency world.
The future of the financial world is dependent on cryptocurrencies and equipping yourself with the right tools will ensure you benefit from it. Become a part of cryptocurrency communities to explore all that Bitcoin has to offer.
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Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: transaction management and money issuance are carried out collectively by the network.
The original Bitcoin software by Satoshi Nakamoto was released under the MIT license. Most client software, derived or "from scratch", also use open source licensing.
Bitcoin is the first successful implementation of a distributed crypto-currency , described in part in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list. Building upon the notion that money is any object, or any sort of record, accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context, Bitcoin is designed around the idea of using cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money, rather than relying on central authorities.
Bitcoins have all the desirable properties of a money-like good. They are portable, durable, divisible, recognizable, fungible, scarce and difficult to counterfeit.
Bitcoin can also be a store of value, some have said it is a "swiss bank account in your pocket".
Stored Bitcoins: Cannot be printed or debased. Only 21 million bitcoins will ever exist . Have no storage costs . They take up no physical space regardless of amount. Are easy to protect and hide . Can be stored encrypted on a hard disk or paper backup. Are in your direct possession with no counterparty risk. If you keep the private key of a bitcoin secret and the transaction has enough confirmations, then nobody can take them from you no matter for what reason, no matter how good the excuse, no matter what.
Topic central.
A. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new money or tracks transactions. These tasks are managed collectively by the network.
Q. How does Bitcoin work?
A. Bitcoin uses public-key cryptography, peer-to-peer networking, and proof-of-work to process and verify payments. Bitcoins are sent (or signed over) from one address to another with each user potentially having many, many addresses. Each payment transaction is broadcast to the network and included in the blockchain so that the included bitcoins cannot be spent twice. After an hour or two, each transaction is locked in time by the massive amount of processing power that continues to extend the blockchain. Using these techniques, Bitcoin provides a fast and extremely reliable payment network that anyone can use.
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What is the next Bitcoin? Here are 4 possible candidates.
Nobody knows for certain what the next Bitcoin will be. However, Ethereum, Ripple, NEO, and Bitshares have the potential to take the throne.
Ethereum is considered by some to be the next Bitcoin. It ranks right behind Bitcoin by market and is chipping away at the market domination that Bitcoin has.
The qualities of the next Bitcoin include: next generation architecture, exponentially disruptive use-cases, original code and implementations, and a network effect of adoption.
What is the next Bitcoin?
Wow. That's ballsy to even ask what that is. Is Bitcoin not good enough for you?!
So, you think you're ready for the next Bitcoin eh? Well, let me be frank, the next "Bitcoin" better be so earth shatteringly awesome that it breaks the universe's time continuum. (For real tho.)
What I mean is it better be truly innovative beyond functionality and protocols where Bitcoin has already filled the gap. But hey, this is one of the most common questions asked by cryptocurrency newcomers... So here we are.
Let's start by reviewing what makes Bitcoin so freakin' awesome first.
What is Bitcoin, man?
Bitcoin is a digital money ecosystem with units of currency (Bitcoin) that are used to store and transmit value among participants in this glorious distributed and decentralized computer network. The Bitcoin protocol stack is available as open source software and can run on many devices including mobile phones, tablets, desktops and even a Raspberry Pi .
Users communicate through the Bitcoin protocol via the web or other mechanisms (like bluetooth or even radio). It's a peer to peer system with no central server or point of control.
Bitcoin is created through a process called mining. This involves computers competing to find solutions to a mathematical problem (think a race to solve a giant Sudoku puzzle) which produces 12.5 BTC per block found. Miners also process and validate bitcoin transactions to ensure no double spending or other fraudulent transactions.
So let's review, Bitcoin (and its Blockchain) is composed of:
A decentralized peer-to-peer network (the bitcoin protocol) A public transaction ledger (the blockchain) A set of rules for independent transaction validation and currency issuance (consensus rules aka mining) A mechanism for reaching global decentralized consensus on the valid blockchain (Proof-of-Work algorithm)
It's the Internet of money! It's insanely innovative is what it is.
So, what's the next Bitcoin already?
Dude. Bitcoin is a new asset class. That's a pretty hard show to follow. This means it has created a whole new category of digital "property" which is a whole can of worms and use cases it will open. Even the IRS, IMF world bank and many other governing bodies are still scratching their heads quizzically about what to do with this tech.
Below is a super basic rubric on what would make something the next Bitcoin (which will apply to the coins considered).
The "next Bitcoin" must:
Have next-generation market leading architecture - They must evolve the blockchain construct in a big way to be considered 'the next thing'. Ethereum for example created a platform that has spawned dozens of top notch projects built on top of its network. Be exponentially disruptive in use cases - Disrupting the financial system, fintech and creating a new asset class is a hard show to follow, they must innovate beyond this. Leverage original code and implementations - Bitcoin is composed of previously published concepts (e.g. Hashcash) but evolved those creations into something original, new and robust, they must have a similar accomplishment. Have a network effect of adoption - A "coin" is just an idea without a working product and more importantly, people using it, the more users the better.
Think of these following "picks" as possibilities based on what is known today. We won't know what the next (or next next) Bitcoin is in the short-term. (If at all, since some might argue nothing could top the ground Bitcoin broke)
Ethereum.
As discussed in this guide, " What is Ethereum?" , you'll learn more details about the whole. However, I would like to still touch on some of those points to add a context for why Ethereum could be the next Bitcoin.
Ethereum is a protocol, smart contract platform, code base, and even has an operating system ( ethOS ) designed for miners. Ethereum facilitates building decentralized applications (dApps) through a blockchain with Turing-complete programming language which allows user to write smart contracts and customized dApps.
This Turing-complete computing addition allows a more powerful blockchain due to customizable smart contract scripting (which Bitcoin does not have). In addition, there is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) which runs on Ethereum and allows all Ethereum users to execute smart contracts locally on their device running a node.
A DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization which is a virtual entity that allows for decentralized governance and management. Once over a certain designated majority threshold (e.g. 51%) shareholders can decide how to spend, allocate funds, and even modify code. The DAO has all the mechanisms of traditional corporations or nonprofits but instead using cryptographic blockchain technology for enforcement.
Ethereum contracts can facilitate a decentralized file storage network. (Where users can earn tokens for renting out their hard drives and unused space) Think: A decentralized Dropbox or Google Drive.
The Ethereum Team.
Vitalik Buterin - Inventor of Ethereum, co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine Gavin Wood - Co-founder of Ethereum, Lead C++ developer Jeffrey Wilcke - Lead Go developer.
Recent developments include adding privacy features and reducing blocktimes (Plasma)
Some big projects on Ethereum's platform include:
Status.
Status is a mobile Ethereum operating system (OS), browser, messenger and open-sourced platform. If Ethereum was a Global Computer Network, Status would be similar to the Windows OS with user friendly interfaces that brings Ethereum code and smart contracts to life. The team also has a greater vision around decentralization and rebuilding the Internet as it was intended.
TenX.
TenX is a network, rail, and payment method (through a debit card) with 0% spending and exchange fees. TenX supports various blockchain assets across multiple blockchains including Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum ERC20 Tokens (REP, CVC, OMG) with more in the works to be added soon. In addition, users get rewards from transactions and card holding (.5% per transaction and .1% for being a card holder)
TenX Debit Card.
Why could Ethereum be the next Bitcoin?
It has a superb team of not only veterans of Bitcoin but programming and development. They have evolved the technology, functionality and needs provided by Bitcoin. Their network, protocol and smart contract platform has been such a leader that they have become a go to source for the majority of ICOs which have equally impressive teams and use cases.
Based on the rubric mentioned earlier, Ethereum is a definitely leader of the pack by offering original code (smart contracts, ethOS, EVM) and leading architecture which countless organizations are building upon. The impressive startups and use cases built on top of Ethereum are numerous and top notch.
Finally, they have an absolutely insane network effect and acclaim from Crypto enthusiasts, speculators and even institutional investors. This will be hard to replicate for incumbents.
Ripple.
XRP is the Ripple token which is used for settlement but is a separate component of the protocol, (the rails called RippleNet). The whole of RippleNet encompasses a settlement layer, remittance, API and currency exchange functionality. Ripple had early iterations as early as 2005 and eventually became backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Google labs in 2011.
In addition, there is a RippleNet Advisory Board that has been working with industry leaders in banking to build an industry reviewed and accepted "rulebook" or set of standards that ensures operational consistency and legal clarity for every transaction.
Ripple has offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Sydney and Luxembourg with over 75 customers across 27 countries.
The problem with payments today.
Rails are slow and full of many intermediaries adding to both time and cost. Cross-border settlement is also expensive and cumbersome to manage. There is a great need for these systems to be upgraded in this digital age. Ripple aims to tackle these issues.
Specific Ripple products include:
xCurrent - A enterprise software solution enabling instant bank settlement, cross-border payment and end-to-end tracking. xRap > - A exchange mechanism creating low cost liquidity for many world currency pairs xVia - A simple Application Programming Interface (API), requiring no software install, that facilitates seamless transparent payments sent across their global network.
The xCurrent software solution works by banks sending a message to each other in real time to confirm payment details prior to generating the transaction. It is confirmed once the delivery arrives and is settled.
The settlement steps include: (1) Payment Initiation (2) Pre-Transaction Validation (3) Cryptographic Hold of Funds (4) Settlement (5) Confirmation.
xCurrent's Flow of Funds.
Payment providers, financial institutions and almost any entity leveraging cross country transactions can now exchange into currencies instantly and inexpensively. Emerging markets typically require pre-loaded local currency accounts around the world, which gets expensive. xRapid increases liquidity and lowers the need for costly currency reserves.
xRapid creates low cost liquidity for many world currency pairs.
This Application Programming Interface (API) is for corporations, payment providers and banks who need a standard interface to send payments globally. This means transparent tracking and rich data included such as invoices attached.
Ripple is an A player and I would argue a veteran in the FinTech space. Not only were there earlier Ripple iterations than Bitcoin (circa 2005) but they also have top VCs including Google Labs guiding their efforts.
In addition, they are tackling the legacy banking system which is in the trillions of dollars managed. To be able to speed up the efficiency, reduce cost and increase trackability and compliance is a true recipe for success.
Here are some of Ripple's client's to date:
Even Crypto purist OGs can agree that more opportunities for people to access and be on-boarded into their favorite digital assets is a good thing. Ripple helps that in a big way by making banks ability to move funds cheap, more efficient and liquid across currency pairs. While many may not like that reality, it is the world we live in currently.
Regardless of ethos, it's hard to make the argument that banks are going away, that's why Ripple is a definite candidate for being the next Bitcoin. While Crypto OGs may never fully accept it, it's almost guaranteed to be Bitcoin-level cool (if not moreso) in the eyes of the banking establishment.
Ultimately, Ripple is acting as a bridge for legacy banking systems leveraging these new digital rails, blockchains through RippleNet and their other product suites.
Originally released as Antshares, NEO is a distributed "smart economy" network that combines digital assets, digital identities and smart contracts. Founded by Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang NEO has close ties with another privately run and funded company called OnChain which is also led by NEO's founders. In addition, OnChain was recently voted as a Top 50 FinTech company in China by KPMG which indicates industry adoption and awareness.
Back to NEO, it is comprised of two native tokens: NEO (symbol NEO) and NeoGas (symbol GAS) which acts as a "fuel" token to use the NEO network and services. This is China's first widely adopted Cryptocurrency which has allowed NEO to proliferate greatly. Ultimately, NEO employs a myriad of original technologies for its "smart" economy and network infrastructure.
NEO has a total supply of 100 million tokens which represents the right to manage the network, vote for team members and network parameter changes. Blocks are generated every 15-20 seconds and cannot be revoked, rolled back or forked once validated. Transaction throughput can handle up to 1,000tx/s with the potential to reach 10,000tx/s with optimizations and development.
One of NEO's most noteworthy features is support for more codes bases than Ethereum including: Java, Kotlin, .NET, C #, Visual Basic, JavaScript, Typescript, Python, and Go. This bridges many more of the 18.5 million software developers out there into Blockchain development with drastically shorter learning curves.
The NEO system includes: mechanisms for Consensus (DBFT), Cross-chain operability (NeoX), Smart contracts (NEO Contract), Distributed Storage (NeoFS), and Quantum Resistance (NeoQS).
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GAS is generated by holding NEO.
GAS operates as a Proof of Stake (PoS) reward associated with holding NEO and is generated with each new block. The total supply of 100 million GAS will be released over approximately 22 years. Each block interval is 15-20 seconds with 2 million blocks generated annually.
The initial release will be 8 GAS per block reduced each year by 1 GAS (per block, per year). When it reaches 1 GAS after 7 years, it will be held at 1 GAS per block for the duration of supply estimated at 22 years. After the 44 millionth block and total GAS reaches 100 million supply there will be no new GAS distributed.
The Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerant (dBFT) Consensus Mechanism.
The dBFT stands for Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerant, a Byzantine fault-tolerant consensus mechanism, facilitates agreements through proxy voting. Voters who hold NEO could choose a person for a specific position, voting in real time.
With digital identity technology, any party can be a verified individual or institution. This facilitates the registration of compliant financial assets and instruments in the NEO network. This could then allow freezing, inheriting, and other ownership transfer functions.
NeoContract allows interoperability and compiling of multiple code bases.
NEO's smart contract system (NeoContract) consists of three parts:
NeoVM - NeoVM is a lightweight, multi-use blockchain virtual machine (VM) with a similar architecture to the JavaVM and .NET Runtime. InteropService - Used to load the blockchain ledger, digital assets, digital identity, persistent storage area and underlying services. DevPack - Compiler and >- This smart contract compiler and IDE plugin reduces the learning curve for developers and includes support for: C#, Visual Basic, .Net,F#, Visual Studio, Java, Kotlin, Eclipse, C, C++, GO, JavaScript, TypeScript, Python and Ruby on rails.
NeoX allows cross-chain interoperability.
NeoX facilitates this with (1) a "cross-chain assets exchange protocol" and (2) "cross-chain distributed transaction protocol":
1. Cross-chain assets exchange agreement.
Allow multiple participants to exchange assets across different chains and to ensure that all steps in the transaction work in sync. Other blockchains can be compatible with NeoX as long as they can provide simple smart contract functionality.
2. Cross-chain distributed transaction protocol.
Cross-chain distributed transactions mean that multiple steps of a transaction are scattered across different blockchains and that the consistency of the entire transaction is ensured. It's also possible for cross-chain smart contracts where a smart contract can perform different parts on multiple chains.
NeoQS creates quantum-proof technology.
Quantum computers threaten RSA and Elliptic Curve (ECC) based cryptographic mechanisms. NeoQS integrates a Lattice-based cryptography which provides difficult for quantum computers to crack.
The first decentralized application (dApp) on NEO's platform:
Called a "next generation intelligence and content ecosystem" for Chinese markets Red Pulse has introduced a token, RPX. This token powers a platform which manages content production and distribution focused initially on China's capital markets. The goal is to incentivize research by compensating producers for their insight. Red Pulse leverages market intelligence, machine learning and traditional research practices to provide top data to users.
On the front end, consumers can access the research that is most relevant to them to make informed decisions. Red Pulse maintains the quality of information with oversight of the platform, incentive structure, and vetting of expert-level contributors.
NEO is like seeing Ethereum before it became so popular. With its Asian roots and network effect, NEO could take us to new highs and levels of adoption. (Not to mention being in the Asia Pacific region puts them near upwards of 4 billion people).
It has similar features that made Ethereum popular but they greatly exceeded that by allowing support for new code bases. This reduces the learning curve for developers vs having to train on completely original code bases.
As we've seen, there is a huge bottleneck in having enough Blockchain developers to meet the current market demand. That's why NEO allowing many more codes based allows them to pick from the 18.5 million software developers out there vs the 5000 estimated developers out there for Blockchain.
With having a close alliance with OnChain which is already acclaimed in China's FinTech industry, NEO is poised for significant growth and integration with the Asia Pacific region and beyond.
Bitshares.
Bitshares (Symbol BTS) is a "crypto-equity", business engine, decentralized exchange (DEX), software, network, ledger, exchange, bank, currency and idea, whose time has come. Based on a delegated proof of stake (DPOS) algorithm, Bitshares was created by visionary Dan Larimer, founder of Steemit, EOS and Cryptonomex. Bitshares boast powerful features and use cases that take on some of the biggest global markets and industry needs.
First off, your user name acts as your wallet address (think your email login as an example) vs long cumbersome strings of letters and numbers. They have a smoking fast blockchain with 1.5 second block times and throughput potential of 180,000 tx/s (which is more than Visa, Mastercard and Amex combined).
A Decentralized Exchange (DEX) offers a trading floor built on the blockchain.
The DEX allows users to buy and trade Cryptocurrencies without a central authority or single point of failure. This eliminates the need for a clearinghouse. The DEX has growing Chinese market penetration and popularity due to stiff and uncertain emerging government regulations.
Smart Coins are market-pegged assets backed by real world value.
This built-in feature and are pegged to assets such as bitUSD mirrors the USD fiat value. This allows collateralized shorts and options opening the door for Bitshares to take a bite out of the estimated $1 quadrillion derivatives market . The assets retain price parity based on Bitshares decentralized market.
Decentralized Autonomous Companies (DAC) are given a platform to exist.
As one of the first DACs, Bitshares provides a framework for other entities to organize themselves in a similar way and offer the tools, community and rails to do so in a legal and compliant manner creating an environment of trust.
100% Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) removes the need for power hungry Proof of Work (PoW)
Similar to NXT and Peercoin, the Bitshares architects felt that the sole purpose of transactions should be for propagation and confirmation. Proof of Work as seen with Bitcoin chews up a significant amount of energy using computing resources to solve math problems. Some consider this unsustainable long term. Bitshares leverages the framework from proof of stake so holders can delegate their vote to a key.
Network fees and transaction costs are shared among members.
Bitshares offers membership subscriptions which will range from annual to lifetime memberships and allow a reduced fees for using the Bitshares rails. Shorter term subscriptions have a designated time frame for getting the the reduced rate. In addition, there is a referral program for members that is one level deep which allows them to receive reduced fees and a percentage of the fees that are paid by those they refer.
Bitshares offers banking services including collateralized loans.
Bitshares collateralizes your BitAssets with capabilities to loan you up to 33.33% of your total BTS holdings allowing for a much more conservative reserve of total loan (over 200%). This decentralized banking model is creating a robust and safe alternative to traditional banking. The fact there are actual 2x the collateralized reserves is a great improvement on the current fractional reserve banking system which requires a meager 10% reserve of assets.
Founders of Bitshares have previous experience from creating EOS and Steemit.
Bitshares the company has made a point to separate themselves as a third party consulting firm https://cryptonomex.com/ that serves the network based on the wishes put forth by the members, committees and witnesses. T his was to ensure that there was no centralized control or biases as we've seen with other big name coins while still making their expertise and skill sets available to the community in a professional manner.
They bring significant experience from building and promoting previous Crypto projects which gives them experience and hard knocks to draw from which will potentially speed up their progress and expertise to grow Bitshares.
Ultimately, Bitshares is cray cray you guys. The fact that they are tackling the derivatives market (estimated at $1 QUADRILLION...that's a trillion x 1000!) with their SmartCoins being pegged to assets is just nuts. I can't think of a bigger market for them to target.
In addition to that, there is a great movement toward creating a DEX (decentralized exchange) which is truly a next generation need of the marketplace. Problems with centralized exchanges include hacks, breaches, theft and even market manipulation. Single points of failure along with zealous financial regulators is a great premise for needing a DEX.
In particular, as a result of recent worry about regulation in China, there has been a lot of adoption in the market of the Bitshares DEX which bodes well for their network effect.
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What is Bitcoin Cash?
Last updated: 28 April, 2018.
On August 1, 2017, the bitcoin protocol underwent a hard fork which split the network in two and gave birth to "bitcoin cash."
Why did this happen and what are the consequences?
Tired of the infighting and perceived lack of progress on bitcoin's scaling debate, and unhappy with the decision to go ahead with the SegWit upgrade (which would increase block capacity - but not its size - by restructuring how transaction data was stored), a group of community participants developed an alternative bitcoin with different characteristics. The new version increased the block size from 1MB to 8MB.
It also excluded SegWit, which some felt was no more than a temporary patch to bitcoin's scaling problem. Some were also worried that the second layer networks that SegWit enabled (at time of writing these are still in development) would deflect transaction volume from the main network and diminish bitcoin's importance.
A further difference in the bitcoin cash protocol is the difficulty adjustment mechanism. To maintain a relatively even flow of blocks, the bitcoin protocol adjusts the difficulty factor of the hash puzzle (how hard it is to find the nonce that produces a hash within the specified parameters) every 2016 blocks. With bitcoin cash, the difficulty adjustment is much more agile, adjusting every 600 seconds according to the amount of computing power on the network.
This gives the new protocol a fighting chance at survival. If miners don't mine a coin, it dwindles away. With bitcoin's price so much higher than that of bitcoin cash, the latter would only be profitable to mine if it were much easier to do so . In other words, the value of the coin may be lower, but a miner would successfully process blocks more frequently, and collect more bitcoin cash tokens as a reward.
Trading.
Bitcoin cash can be purchased at a wide range of big-name exchanges, with Bitfinex, GDAX, HitBTC, Bitstamp and Poloniex handling over 90% of the US$ volume.
After some initial confusion, most exchanges have settled on the ticker symbol BCH, although a few still use BCC (which is also used to denote Bitconnect, even more confusing).
At time of writing, over half of bitcoin cash volume comes from trades out of bitcoin. Most of the demand from fiat currencies comes from the US dollar and the South Korean won.
You can follow bitcoin cash price movements on CoinDesk's price tracker.
Upcoming fork.
On May 15, bitcoin cash's protocol is due to upgrade via a hard fork (which means that the whole network will need to enable the new version to be able to continue participating).
The upgrade will further increase the size of the blocks, from 8MB to 32MB, and will introduce a more sophisticated smart contract capability as well as other features such as the expansion of its time stamping, asset creation and rights management function.
Now what?
As with all digital tokens, whether bitcoin cash lasts or not remains to be seen. However, market acceptance has been increasing since the launch, with some large retailers accepting payments in the cryptocurrency. What's more, key industry participants such as Coinbase and Circle have recognized that demand has exceeded their expectations. And an increasing number of crypto hedge funds are including BCH in their holdings, in response to investor demand.
CoinDesk will keep you informed about news and updates on bitcoin cash - you can follow them here.
Authored by Noelle Acheson; Bitcoin cash flag image via Shutterstock.
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What is Bitcoin?
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In 2010, financial history was made when someone bought a pizza. If you haven't heard about this groundbreaking event, don't worry, you're not the only one.
The pizza wasn't the important part of the transaction - it was what was used to pay for it. The meal cost 10,000 bitcoins and was the first time the virtual currency was used to buy something in the real world. The day is now celebrated every year by bitcoin enthusiasts as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
Things have come a long way since then. Bitcoin's use and value have soared. If that diner had held onto those 10,000 bitcoins they may not have made history, but they would be around $20 million better off today.
In March this year, the price of one bitcoin climbed above the price of one ounce of gold for the first time.
Bitcoin's increasing value is due to the fact that its popularity has rocketed in recent years. In 2009, there were fewer than 10,000 transactions in bitcoin. By January this year that number had trebled. Analysts put this down to the fact that investors think it will hold its value better than some other investments, as well as the fact that it has become increasingly popular in Asia.
But let's take a step back. What is bitcoin?
It's a cryptocurrency, which means it exists only in the digital world.
It was developed in 2009 by someone - we still don't know who for sure - using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and is based on a payment system that allows one person to pay another, without the need for any middle parties, such as banks.
There is only a limited number of bitcoins in circulation and new bitcoins are created at a predictable and decreasing rate.
How does it work?
A person holds their bitcoins in a bitcoin wallet - in a mobile app or computer - and can send and receive bitcoins through it.
They get the bitcoins in the first place by accepting them for a good or service, or from an exchange, where they swap real money for bitcoins at the prevailing exchange rate.
Every bitcoin user has their own address - a bit like a bank account number - and controls all the bitcoins coming in and out of that address.
The bitcoin transactions run on a system called blockchain. This is a public ledger, which holds a record of every single transaction.
The other person receives the bitcoins once the transaction is verified. This verification involves solving a complicated mathematical problem, a process called "mining", and anyone with a powerful enough computer system can do it.
What do I do with my bitcoins?
You can spend them, either on the internet at places such as WordPress and Reddit, or at establishments that accept the currency.
When you want to turn your bitcoins into real money, you trade them on an exchange.
Whilst you're unlikely to be able to use them at your local grocer yet, some say it is only a matter of time. There is now a Bitcoin Visa Debit card which makes spending them easier.
You don't have to understand the process of bitcoin in order to start using it, after all, few understand the inner workings of a bank.
The problems.
But not everything is rosy in the bitcoin world.
There is a limit to how many transactions can be processed in a given time-frame, and the increase in transactions has meant a slowing down of payments.
For years, those involved in bitcoin's software development have argued over how to overcome its capacity problems. That problem is still not solved.
But there are more mundane problems, like the fact that it suffers from price fluctuations.
And, like any software based system, it's also vulnerable to attack.
Then there is the matter of how different countries treat the currency. Some treat it as a commodity, like oil or gold, but others treat it like money. Some prohibit its use entirely.
Governments don't like the fact that bitcoin users are anonymous, and they have concerns over its use for criminal activity and money laundering.
Their worries aren't unfounded. In the recent ransomware attack, WannaCry hackers demanded bitcoins as payment, and so far $80,000 has been paid out.
The EU wants to be able to identify bitcoin users in the name of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.
In addition, the whole system is not highly regulated. Partly, this is because any developer in the world can verify exactly how bitcoin works. The bitcoin protocol itself cannot be modified without the cooperation of nearly all its users, who choose what software they use.
Even where regulation exists it is not always clear.
Some say that the uncertainty over regulations will get in the way of bitcoin growing.
Is it here to stay?
Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency, lots of others have entered the market - over 200 of them. Whilst bitcoin is still the leader, Ethereum, Ripple and NEM and many others also exist.
The Economist thinks that we're in a cryptocurrency bubble from where the only way is down.
Even some of those who work intimately with bitcoin say it is going to be a failure.
But according to a website that tracks bitcoin "obituaries", the currency has already "died" - ie been predicted to fail - 106 times. And a newly published study says that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are no passing fad.

What Is Bitcoin? A Quick and Dirty Introduction.
You've heard about Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all those other altcoins. Everyone's talking crypto, but it's no clearer to you.
What is a Bitcoin? What's it have to do with a chain of blocks? And who is this Satoshi bloke everyone keeps mentioning? In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know to be caught up on this thing called Bitcoin.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that's secured using cryptography. Bitcoin, and other digital coins like it, are called cryptocurrency .
Bitcoin users "mine" and "store" individual units of the cryptocurrency, and all units of Bitcoin are linked together by a central ledger (i.e. record of transactions). That ledger is a core Bitcoin feature called the "blockchain." The blockchain validates and records every single transaction made using Bitcoin, ensuring the integrity of the Bitcoin network.
However, unlike regular fiat currency, there is no central Bitcoin bank or government. The creation and regulation of Bitcoin is controlled by an algorithm and is entirely digital. You cannot hold a physical Bitcoin in your hand, but you can hold physical hardware that contains data that corresponds to the Bitcoins you own.
Bitcoin is expensive. There aren't many who can afford to buy one entire Bitcoin outright; instead, most people buy fractions of a Bitcoin. This is possible because Bitcoins are divisible to eight decimal places, meaning you can own as little as 0.00000001 BTC. You can't do much with it, but you can definitely own it.
For example, let's say you have $1,000 USD and want to buy some Bitcoin. As of this writing, that much cash would net you around 0.15 BTC. If the price of Bitcoin were to rise, so would the value of the Bitcoins you own, and vice versa should the price of Bitcoin fall.
In this sense, Bitcoin has morphed from a fledgling digital currency into a commodity--or perhaps it's more accurate to say that Bitcoin straddles the line between a digital currency and a traded commodity. While there are many vendors who now accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method, cryptocurrencies are still primarily used for investing and trading.
The Pros and Cons of Using Bitcoin.
I'm not going to sit here and wax lyrical about the positives of Bitcoin without giving you the other side. Like all technology, Bitcoin has its pros and cons. Here's are few for you to consider:
Bitcoin Pros.
Freedom: Users can send and receive Bitcoin anywhere in the world, irrespective of local currency. Decentralized: There is no central bank to control new Bitcoin. As we'll explore in a moment, users mine new Bitcoin using computers, meaning the users are in control of the network. Transparent: The blockchain ledger underpinning Bitcoin is available to anyone who wants to download it. It currently stands at over 173GB. There are, however, numerous sites you can use to double-check transactions while keeping personal information hidden. Privacy: While there are ways to trace Bitcoin transactions back to their source, Bitcoin is largely anonymous. In addition to privacy, Bitcoin transactions protect against identity theft and credit/debit card fraud by using only digital wallet IDs, never your actual details. Supply: There is a finite supply of Bitcoin; only 21 million Bitcoin will ever exist. Several million are already presumed irretrievably lost, increasing demand for the rest. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is the baseline for almost all other cryptocurrencies measure against. Protection: Unlike regular currency, you cannot counterfeit Bitcoin. Sure, there are scams out there to steal Bitcoins, and unscrupulous individuals will try and sell fake Bitcoin, but you cannot fake a Bitcoin.
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Bitcoin Cons.
Fees: In the early days, Bitcoin transaction fees were minimal. In December 2017, the average transaction fee peaked at $55, up from November's high of $19. Fees could continue to rise, too. While $55 is extremely high and likely involved a large sum of Bitcoin, many balk at general fees. Instability: Price instability makes Bitcoin difficult to use as currency. Many vendors are unwilling to risk their incoming payments decreasing in value by the time it processes. Unlike a regular US dollar, the value of your Bitcoin could disappear overnight, leaving you with nothing (jibes at centralized currency, quantitative easing, and inflation aside). Refunds: One of the positives of Bitcoin is payment privacy. Unfortunately, is also a downside. If you send money to the wrong Bitcoin address, there is no way to claim it back. Similarly, if you purchase something using Bitcoin and it never arrives, there is no charge-back function. Competition: Some argue that competition is healthy for the cryptocurrency markets, and I agree. Bitcoin holds the most value and is still the most attractive investment opportunity, but other cryptocurrencies offer more regarding privacy, security, and functionality. They cost less, and could eventually overtake Bitcoin. Unregulated: Similar to the lack of refunds, some Bitcoin-related scams are essentially impossible to recover from. Law enforcement can do nothing once your coins are gone, other than commiserating and filing a report. Loss: It is possible to irretrievably lose Bitcoins, be that through destruction, encryption, or similar. Adoption: For most of the reasons above, Bitcoin has low adoption rates among businesses, and will continue to struggle for many years. In conjunction, Bitcoin is slow to process payments, processing a theoretical maximum of seven transactions per second (compared to regular banking systems like Visa that processes thousands every second).
Regarding the final point on Bitcoin adoption rates, this situation is slowly changing. More vendors now accept bitcoin for goods and services than ever before, but it is still a fraction of those accepting regular payments.
The Future of Bitcoin.
The future of Bitcoin is difficult to predict. Most people want to know if their investment will rise to the moon once more, but the interim is full of uncertainty. There are absolutely no solid guesses.
What is clear, however, is that looking at a chart doesn't make the picture easier to understand. Bitcoin price predictions are a dime a dozen. For instance, here are some predictions made by high-profile entities:
Saxo Bank: $60,000 in 2018, before crashing back to $1,000 before 2019 John McAfee: $1,000,000 by 2020 James Altucher: $1,000,000 by 2020 Masterluc: $40,000 to $110,000 by 2019 Gavriel Shaw: $10,500 by January 1, 2019 Tim Draper: $250,000 by 2022.
The true future and legacy of Bitcoin isn't in the individual coin value, but the underlying blockchain technology. Blockchain is, at this point, a buzzword. Listed corporations can bounce their stock a few points by merely mentioning their product in conjunction with blockchain research.
For example, US-based Tulip BioMed changed their name to Bitcoin Services and saw their stock rise 42,500 percent , while China-based JA Energy switched to UBI Blockchain Internet Ltd and received a 20,445 percent stock increase for their troubles.
If you look past the hype, name changes, stock manipulation, and the laughably strange proposed applications of blockchain, you find a technology with deeply interesting credentials for lasting change.
Bitcoin "Layer 2" Protocol.
One of the biggest issues facing Bitcoin is sustainable growth. Simply put, the Bitcoin network cannot process enough transactions to compete with fiat currency solutions or the expansive pressure on the existing infrastructure. Several proposals would mediate this issue.
One such solution lies with "Layer 2" Bitcoin network protocols. Layer 2 protocol solution aims to increase network capacity and decrease transaction times without requiring a hard fork. Instead, a Layer 2 protocol sits atop and interacts with the existing Bitcoin network. The most notable example is the Lightning Network.
There is even discussion regarding another protocol layer between the main Bitcoin network and Layer 2 protocols to increase transaction speed further.
Bitcoin Power Consumption.
Bitcoin isn't all good clean fun, mind. You might have read about the appalling amount of power the Bitcoin network consumes. There's no beating about the bush: the global power consumption of the Bitcoin mining network is staggering. At the time of writing, in September 2018, Bitcoin's power consumption has quadrupled in a single year. Check out the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index chart below:
Even countries like Iceland that run almost exclusively on renewable energy are struggling to cope with Bitcoin mining demand. Iceland has long had extensive power consumption issues through its aluminum smelting industry (using more than 70% of the country's entire power), but now Bitcoin mining is sucking up more energy than the entire population uses to power their homes for a year.
There is another downside, too. While geothermal and hydro plants have a smaller environmental impact than a fume-spewing Chinese coal plant, it isn't neutral. Furthermore, most of the Bitcoin mining requires no staff, returns very little in taxes to the Icelandic people, and isn't worthwhile to the country. To the world, yes, renewable energy for Bitcoin mining is excellent. But for the host nation? Not so much.
Global Bitcoin Mining Dominance.
Cheap power doesn't necessitate bitcoin mining dominance, either. For all the energy Iceland expends on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining operations, it isn't a) the cheapest place to mine, and b) doesn't mine the most cryptocurrency.
The cheapest country in which to mine bitcoin remains Venezuela. For all of Venezuela's considerable societal problems, energy to mine cryptocurrency remains cheap due to the country's vast oil reserves (recognized as the largest in the world). Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro even attempted to launch a national cryptocurrency, the "Petro," as a method of skirting international sanctions.
But the country mining the most Bitcoin? That title belongs to China. China has a colossal amount of electrical output and as such is home to several of the largest global mining pools. Chinese power companies allegedly direct excess power toward cryptocurrency mining businesses at even cheaper rates than usual to ensure as little power waste as possible. China is, therefore, the largest miner of bitcoin, as well as the world's largest exporter of cryptocurrency. It is no wonder Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets react strongly to negative cryptocurrency regulatory news from the Chinese government.
And in case you're now wondering, South Korea is the most expensive place to mine Bitcoin.
What Is Bitcoin? The Future.
Bitcoin's journey is still in its infancy. Bitcoin might not last the distance, but it has set the cryptocurrency and blockchain ball rolling. We're thankful for all it's done, and we're excited to see where everything goes from here.
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'What is Bitcoin' Tops Google Questions Category for 2018.
Interest in Bitcoin around the world isn't waning, according to the latest data from Google Trends, as many people are interested in finding out 'What is Bitcoin' with BTC price down over 80% from its all-time high.
What is Bitcoin - Most Searched Term in US and UK.
Despite a 15 month Bitcoin price low, interest towards the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization seems to be rising. Bitcoinist recently reported Bitcoin hitting a 6-month high in Google searches.
According to the latest data from Google Trends, the search term "What is Bitcoin" tops the charts in the "What is...?" category in both the UK and the US. The interest in cryptocurrencies doesn't end with the market's forerunner, though. "How to buy Ripple" is the fourth most searched phrase in the "How to..." category in the US.
"What is Bitcoin" is also the number one search term for 2018 in Romania.
South Africa Most Interested in 'Bitcoin'
The term 'Bitcoin' seems to be most popular in South Africa at the moment likely due to political and economic uncertainty. According to Google trends, the interest there is higher than any other country in the world.
In the US, the island of Hawaii tops the charts, followed by California, Washington state, and New York - all known to be hotspots for cryptocurrency-related activity.
2018 has been far less favorable for cryptocurrencies as the market has entered a prolonged bear market. The year saw around $700 billion dollars wiped off the market's cap, while Bitcoin (BTC) 0 0 has lost around 80 percent of its value.
Naturally, people become more and more curious about whether or not the cryptocurrency will restore its previous highs. Google trends confirm this, as one of the most popular related queries to "bitcoin" is "will bitcoin go back up," which has soared 1,800% in the last 12 months.
Will lower prices attract more buyers and interest to Bitcoin? Don't hesitate to let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Google trends, Shutterstock.
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