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What is Bitcoin?
What is Bitcoin, the technology?
Bitcoin was originally released in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto as a piece of software and a paper describing how it works. Because Bitcoin is fundamentally software, anybody can run it on their computer, and therefore participate in a global economy.
One of the most important elements of Bitcoin is the blockchain, which tracks who owns what, similar to how a bank tracks assets. What sets the Bitcoin blockchain apart from a bank's ledger is that it is distributed, meaning anyone can view it. Since Bitcoin is open, no company, country, or third party is in control of it, and anyone can participate.

Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a digital currency (also called crypto-currency) that is not backed by any country's central bank or government. Bitcoins can be traded for goods or services with vendors who accept Bitcoins as payment.
Bitcoin-to-Bitcoin transactions are made by digitally exchanging anonymous, heavily encrypted hash codes across a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. The P2P network monitors and verifies the transfer of Bitcoins between users. Each user's Bitcoins are stored in a program called a digital wallet, which also holds each address the user sends and receives Bitcoins from, as well as a private key known only to the user.
The Bitcoin network is designed to mathematically generate no more than 21 million Bitcoins and the network is set up to regulate itself to deal with inflation. Bitcoins can be spent by initiating a transfer request from a Bitcoin address in the customer's wallet to a Bitcoin address in the vendor's wallet. As of this writing, one Bitcoin (also called a BTC) is worth $104 -- but just as with stocks, the value of Bitcoins can fluctuate quickly.
In the United States, Bitcoins are controversial because they can be used to anonymously transfer illicit funds or hide unreported income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Bitcoin policy now requires transactions that involve traditional, government-backed currencies to be attached to an identity.
This CNN video provides an overview of Bitcoin:
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What is Bitcoin Cash?
On August 1, 2017 the first ever hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain occurred.
The new cryptocurrency created from that fork is called Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Its existence has been hotly debated since its creation, with passionate people on both sides of the debate making compelling arguments about it. For somebody who's new to cryptocurrencies and investing in them, knowing whose opinions to value over others was, and still is, no easy task.
Plenty of animosity remains between the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash communities to this day. All things considered, it doesn't seem likely that there will be a change in sentiment anytime soon. This article, however, isn't intended to tell you who is right and who is wrong. Instead, the goal is to provide objective information, as well as to present some of the compelling arguments made both for and against Bitcoin Cash.
By the time you finish reading, hopefully you will be able to look beyond the politics in order to form your own opinions about this controversial cryptocurrency. Whether you love it, hate it, or wind up neutral isn't important. The goal is to understand why it was created, why it has such fierce support, why it has so many detractors and, ultimately, whether or not it should be included in your personal investment portfolio.
The History of Bitcoin Cash.
The obvious place to start in order to understand Bitcoin Cash is, of course, with Bitcoin. After all, the two currencies shared the same blockchain up until the date of the hard fork in August 2017.
If you don't feel confident in your understanding of Bitcoin yet, you should first read What is Bitcoin? Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin, Explained , and then come back here.
The Great Scaling Debate.
The story of Bitcoin Cash begins with the start of the scaling debate. That is, the debate over how to most effectively increase Bitcoin's ability to process transactions cheaply and quickly.
At the core of the scaling debate is blockchain block size. Each block on the Bitcoin blockchain is capped in size at 1MB - a limit set somewhat arbitrarily by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010 . That allows for a transaction throughput of less than 4 transactions per second on average.
The block size limit has some significant benefits:
Prevent DOS (denial of service) attacks: Bitcoin transactions used to be ridiculously cheap. As a result, it was once possible for somebody to affordably overwhelm the Bitcoin network with thousands of tiny spam transactions that the network was unable to keep up with, such that legitimate transactions also couldn't be processed. Ensure adequate block propagation speed through the distributed network: When a new block is mined, it must be downloaded quickly by the other miners so that they can begin mining the next block on top of it. The larger the blocks, the greater internet capacity is needed for the network of miners to stay in sync. Limit overall blockchain size: The entire blockchain must be stored by every full node in the network. The smaller the blocks, the easier it is for people to store the whole blockchain in order to mine.
On the other hand, 1MB blocks have a very significant disadvantage as well. When there are more transactions occurring than the network has the capacity to process, fees go up and the memepool of unconfirmed transactions grows.
In the 2017 bull run, the negative scenario above became reality. As a result, Bitcoin had higher average transaction fees and longer confirmation times than your typical bank wire transfer, essentially rendering it useless as a currency for most users and merchants.
Two Types of Solutions.
There's no question that inadequate transaction throughput is a problem that must be solved in order for Bitcoin to retain its status as the top cryptocurrency. However, the best way to solve that problem is less obvious.
There are two ways that Bitcoin can scale up:
On-chain: Increase the block size to increase transaction throughput. Off-chain: Employ second-layer solutions (e.g. Lightning Network ) to process transactions and reduce the burden on the blockchain.
Each type of solution has pros and cons. How you feel about Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash should ultimately depend on your analysis of those pros and cons.
The Hard Fork.
As it became increasingly apparent that 1MB blocks weren't going to support Bitcoin transaction volume for much longer, supporters of on-chain scaling chose to develop a protocol that would increase the block size to 8MB.
After a vote was passed to lock in the activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit), these on-chain scaling supporters made the decision to go through with the first ever hard fork of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Cash was created on August 1, 2017 after the 478558th block.
(Note: SegWit is a change to the Bitcoin protocol that results in transactions being.
41% smaller than pre-SegWit transactions, effectively allowing for more transactions to be processed per byte of data on the blockchain.)
With 8x bigger blocks, Bitcoin Cash has 8x the transaction throughput of Bitcoin. As a result, fees and transaction times for Bitcoin Cash closely resemble those of Bitcoin in its earlier years.
Importantly, Bitcoin Cash kept the same proof-of-work algorithm as Bitcoin. This means that miners have the ability to easily switch between mining either blockchain. Following the hard fork, many miners would choose to mine whichever chain was more profitable at the given time, resulting in very inconsistent hash rates for both currencies.
A few months later, in November 2017, Bitcoin Cash began using a new difficulty adjustment algorithm (DAA) to better manage the mining difficulty and the volatile hashpower situation stabilized.
Arguments Against Bitcoin Cash.
If we dive deep into the politics, it would be possible to write a short book just on the history of Bitcoin Cash. Before touching on any of that though, it's best to understand where people on both sides of the argument are coming from. Let's begin with those who are against Bitcoin Cash.
The main criticism that you're likely to hear about Bitcoin Cash is that it is more centralized than Bitcoin. There are a few reasons people make this claim. First is that the 8MB block size raises the threshold of the hardware needed to mine Bitcoin Cash, resulting in just a few miners having the majority of the hashpower.
Fortunately, there are websites like coin.dance that provide helpful statistics about Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, enabling us to easily compare the decentralization of the two currencies side by side.
Source: https://coin.dance/ Source: https://coin.dance/
From this comparison, there are two points of interest.
First is that Bitcoin mining is actually more top heavy recently than Bitcoin Cash. The top 3 mining pools for Bitcoin control over 50% of the total BTC hashpower, while the top 3 for Bitcoin Cash control just over 45% of the total BCH hashpower.
Second is that there are a lot more small-scale mining pools for Bitcoin than Bitcoin Cash. That may be because mining Bitcoin Cash isn't as profitable or worthwhile for small-scale miners, as Bitcoin Cash detractors suggest to be the case.
On the other hand, it could be that there is just much less data available about the 'Other Mining Pools' for Bitcoin Cash and the number of small-scale participants is actually more similar than these pie charts suggest.
An additional part of the 'Bitcoin Cash is more centralized' argument is based on a longer-term outlook. As touched on earlier, a downside to on-chain scaling is that the overall size of the blockchain will grow faster with bigger blocks, requiring more hardware storage capacity for miners in the somewhat distant future.
For the time being, total blockchain size has zero impact. Bitcoin's blockchain is just about 170GB large, while Bitcoin Cash's blockchain is approximately 160GB large. For reference, affordable laptops these days typically have between 0.5 to 2TB of storage capacity. But with Moore's Law projected to reach its physical limits in the 2020s, it's not realistic to expect technological advancement to outpace the growth of these blockchains forever.
It's a real concern for some people that a blockchain with much bigger blocks might grow so large that it becomes infeasible for everybody to store the full blockchain and mine, leading to centralization. Obviously, we are still a very long time away from that, but it's something to consider nonetheless.
Arguments In Support of Bitcoin Cash.
There is one major argument in favor of Bitcoin Cash that is critical to understand. That argument is that Bitcoin is meant to be a currency first and foremost, not merely a store of value.
With the high fees and slow transaction processing speeds of Bitcoin during its 2017 surge, merchants had little reason to transact in the currency. And in fact, many merchants that used to accept Bitcoin stopped doing so in 2017 .
Those who supported keeping blocks small prioritized making Bitcoin a decentralized store of value over it being widely useful as medium of exchange.
The outspoken proponents of Bitcoin Cash - most notably Roger Ver , Gavin Andersen , Craig Wright , and Jihan Wu - believe that Bitcoin is supposed to be more than just digital gold. They anticipate that Bitcoin Cash's utility as a currency will help it achieve far more significant adoption among merchants and consumers, ultimately fostering greater decentralization in the process.
Satoshi's Vision.
Another piece of the block size debate is wondering how Satoshi Nakamoto intended Bitcoin to scale when it achieved higher levels of adoption. Bitcoin Cash supporters claim that Satoshi always intended the block size to increase, and they have some past communications from Bitcoin's creator that support that claim.
When discussing the block size with early Bitcoiners who expressed concerns about the limit, Satoshi is quoted as saying:
We can phase in a change later if we get closer to needing it.
if (blocknumber > 115000)
It can start being in versions way ahead, so by the time it reaches that block number and goes into effect, the older versions that don't have it are already obsolete.
When we're near the cutoff block number, I can put an alert to old versions to make sure they know they have to upgrade.
There isn't much need to interpret Satoshi's vision for scaling from those messages. He quite clearly did not expect the 1MB block size limit to be a permanent feature, nor did he foresee changing the block size being such a politically charged debate.
Whether you like the guy or not, Roger Ver made some fair points when he called attention to what Satoshi has said, as he did in the tweet below.
Ultimately, Satoshi Nakamoto isn't infallible. It's entirely possible that his vision for scaling Bitcoin isn't the ideal roadmap to actually take.
That being said, it's hard to dispute the Bitcoin Cash supporters who claim that Bitcoin Cash is 'the real Bitcoin' according to Satoshi's vision. The better debate is whether Satoshi's vision is actually the best path to follow.
The Alternative to Bigger Blocks.
As briefly mentioned earlier, there are two categories of scaling solutions: on-chain and off-chain. Bitcoin Cash has on-chain scaling, while Bitcoin is being scaled through an off-chain solution called the Lightning Network. For a quick explanation of the Lightning Network in (mostly) layman's terms, read How the Lightning Network Can Resolve Bitcoin's Scaling Issues .
Generally speaking, Bitcoin Cash supporters do not believe that the Lightning Network is a good solution. With off-chain scaling, they fear that Bitcoin will lose a significant amount of decentralization and censorship resistance. To understand the trade-offs the Lightning Network makes and why they are potential dealbreakers, you can read Bitcoin's Lightning Network WIll Likely Fail Due to Several Possible Reasons .
However effective Lightning Network may become in the future, any cryptocurrency enthusiast can appreciate it from a technological perspective. Politics and social factors aside, the versatility of programmable money is one of the reasons so many people are attracted to the blockchain rabbit hole.
Before moving on, one other point worth mentioning is the potential for better off-chain scaling solutions than the Lightning Network. One such example is Bolt - a version of the Lightning Network that is essentially the same but with the added feature that transactions can be completely anonymous. Anonymity is especially significant for off-chain scaling because it better preserves the censorship resistance quality of on-chain transactions.
Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash: Similarities and Differences.
The graphic below summarizes some of the key similarities and differences between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, with some extra information beneath it.
Note that with the activation of SegWit, the Bitcoin block size is no longer restricted to 1MB. For that matter, the block limit isn't based on the number of bytes at all, but rather a different parameter known as Block Weight. You can read an in-depth explanation of it in Understanding SegWit Block Size , but the gist of it is that blocks with SegWit transactions can theoretically be up to 2MB in size now.
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You'll also notice that the Bitcoin blockchain is larger than that of Bitcoin Cash, while there are more blocks (and therefore a larger circulating supply) for Bitcoin Cash. This is partially a result of the volatile mining difficulty for Bitcoin Cash when it first went live using the Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA) algorithm. Difficulty stabilized when Bitcoin Cash employed a new Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm (DAA) on November 13, 2017.
The other reason for the discrepancy between the number of blocks and total blockchain size is that Bitcoin still has much higher transaction volume than Bitcoin Cash, meaning that each Bitcoin block contains more data.
Real World Adoption of BCH and Recent Transaction Data.
In an episode of the Unchained Podcast with Laura Shina , CEO of Shapeshift and longtime Bitcoin supporter Eric Voorhees explained how problematic Bitcoin's increasing fees and transaction wait times were for merchants.
Voorhees makes an important point, which is that businesses that used Bitcoin for commerce lost a lot of money in 2017 because of the scalability issues. It's relatively easy for somebody who only holds or occasionally uses Bitcoin to patiently wait and see what effect SegWit and the Lightning Network will have on transaction capacity. But for merchants, the issue was far more urgent because it was directly impacting their bottom line.
Not surprisingly, many merchants have since begun accepting Bitcoin Cash . In fact, BitPay also recently added Bitcoin Cash support , significantly bolstering potential use of BCH in the real world. Additionally, a growing number of exchanges are introducing Bitcoin Cash trading pairs , a factor that should lead to higher transaction volume in the future.
However, the major correction in the cryptocurrency markets has also allowed time to empty the Bitcoin memepool and bring fees back down, making it usable as a currency once again. Meanwhile, SegWit adoption has been gradually increasing, as documented in a recent study by BitMEX .
The study revealed that about 30% of Bitcoin transactions use SegWit now, and that number should continue to gradually grow in the coming months. With total transaction volume dropping steeply, it's still too early to know what the long-term effectiveness of SegWit will be.
Don't Trade or Invest Emotionally If You Want to Maximize Profits.
During the months following the hard fork, the majority of mainstream profiles on crypto-Twitter advised people to sell their BCH and either keep the profits as cash or reinvest it into Bitcoin. Most of those people were ideologically against bigger blocks and preferred Bitcoin to be optimized as a store of value.
Unfortunately, that advice was quite often emotional rather than rational, as just about everybody seemed to be politically invested in the outcome of the fork. And when emotional sellers meet technical buyers - as was the case for Bitcoin Cash in October and early November 2017 - the trend is likely to pivot from negative to positive.
Around that same time, a lot of traders who weren't emotionally involved in the politics began to favor Bitcoin Cash, like in the example below.
From a pure investment standpoint, the story of Bitcoin Cash in late 2017 was a perfect lesson in why you should always do your own research . Those who did their due diligence to understand the dynamics of hashpower switching between BTC and BCH were able to 2x, 3x, or even 4x their holdings.
All of this isn't to say that you should invest in Bitcoin Cash now. But if you are somebody who read time and time again that Bitcoin Cash was a scam, hopefully getting exposure to fresh perspectives will enable you to make your own decisions from a more informed place. It's true that many people dislike and distrust guys like Roger Ver and Jihan Wu - who are the faces of BCH - but the coin itself isn't a scam and doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon.
How to Buy and Store Bitcoin Cash.
Whether you want to own some Bitcoin Cash as a hedge for your Bitcoin holdings or because you support on-chain scaling, buying and storing BCH is straightforward. As one of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the market, just about every exchange out there will support BCH.
Information about wallets is readily available on bitcoincash.org . The two most popular hardware wallets, Ledger and Trezor, both support Bitcoin Cash. There are also well over a dozen software wallets that you can use to store BCH.
A free BCH wallet is also available at Bitcoin.com , the popular website owned by Roger Ver. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the site and wallet, stemming from concerns that people who are just learning about Bitcoin will be confused by the prominence of Bitcoin Cash on the site.
Last Thoughts.
At the end of the day, the vast majority of us are not online merchants and we don't frequently use cryptocurrencies in retail transactions (yet). Instead, we mostly speculate on the future value of various coins and tokens. The question, then, is whether or not there's reason to speculate that Bitcoin Cash will become more valuable in the future.
If you understand cryptocurrencies well and have strong convictions about which side of the scalability debate has more merit, it makes sense to invest more heavily into whichever coin you believe is superior between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
To the contrary, if your primary goal as an investor is to optimize your risk to reward ratio, it's more rational to own some amount of each and ensure that you'll profit if either coin achieves mass adoption.
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Bitcoin UK.
Bitcoin is a digital currency, also known as a cryptocurrency. It was invented in 2008 by an anonymous person or group named Satoshi Nakamoto.
Unlike fiat currencies, bitcoins are not physical objects. Instead, they exist in the virtual world as snippets of code. This hasn't stopped people from imagining what a bitcoin might look like in reality, and the crypto space is filled with artistic renderings of gold coins emblazoned with a B!
How does it work?
Bitcoin has no central point of control, as with most currencies, and is sustained by individuals in the widespread cryptocurrency community. Simply put, Bitcoin operates for the people by the people.
Instead of banks, Bitcoin users visit exchanges like Bitcoin UK to buy or sell their coins. When their coins are not being used, people keep bitcoins in virtual wallets for safety.
Sometimes hacks occur when bitcoins are not stored properly. The most famous example is the Mt Gox hack of 2014, when thieves stole more than 700,000 bitcoins. This was a key moment in the crypto space, and has since gained near mythical status.
New bitcoins are being created every day through a process called mining. Big computers work hard to solve complicated equations, and each correct answer produces a coin. However, there is a limited number of bitcoins to be found. Once 21 million coins have been produced, we won't be able to make anymore!
What is the Blockchain?
Without blockchain technology, it would be impossible to use bitcoin. The Blockchain is a secure and anonymous way to move ideas and money anywhere in the world!
By recording all transactions made within the cryptocurrency network, blockchain technology removes the need for a middle-person like a bank or payment app. Moreover, the Blockchain prevents any transactions being removed, modified or tampered without permission. This creates a chain of transactions, known as blocks.
Bitcoin vs bitcoin.
As you become more familiar with the world of Bitcoin, you might come across Bitcoin with a capital 'B' compared to bitcoin with a lowercase 'b'. This isn't a typo! Bitcoin refers to the network as a whole and bitcoin to the currency.
Now, test your bitcoin knowledge with a quiz!
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What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a virtual or digital currency also known as a cryptocurrency created by the mysterious (and unknown) Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is like other currencies: it can be used to purchase items locally and electronically. However, bitcoin differs from conventional money in that it is decentralized and fully independent. No institution controls the Bitcoin Network and it is not tied to a country like the US Dollar. The entire network is maintained by individuals and organizations referred to as Bitcoin Miners. Bitcoin miners process and verify bitcoin transactions through a mathematical algorithm based on the cryptographic (hence the name cryptocurrency) hash algorithm SHA256.
Bitcoin is Decentralized.
No central authority controls Bitcoin or its network of transactions. A community of Bitcoin miners make up the network, processing the transactions. If any changes are made to Bitcoin by a developer or developers using GitHub, a 51% majority of the miners hashing power must agree upon it. This insures that, in theory, no individual can steal your bitcoins or print (create) more.
How Can One Change Bitcoin and Bitcoin's code?
Everyone can contribute to and edit the Bitcoin source code since the Bitcoin protocol is open source. The Bitcoin protocol is viewable for all making it easier to spot weaknesses and provide suggestions for improvement. However, if a developer edit the Bitcoin code, that edit has to be accepted by more than 51% or more of the Bitcoin miners that runs the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin can be seen as a democratic currency where the majority always decide what will happen next with the Bitcoin source code.
Bitcoin Wallet and Transactions.
Though each Bitcoin transaction is recorded in a public log called the block chain, names of buyers and sellers are never revealed - only their Bitcoin wallet addresses. Each wallet address is unique and can't be linked to anyone unless the creator of that specific bitcoin address reveals himself.
Bitcoin's status as an uncorrelated asset is about to be revoked, as a scarily close...
It's safe to come out now, says Andreas Antonopoulos, the threat posed to bitcoin by...
1Lst6Ro8r5C7QrxAuoZg1LJAuQtP3W9uV2 is an example of a unique bitcoin address used for receiving and sending bitcoins.
To send, receive and create Bitcoin addresses you must have a Bitcoin wallet (Learn how to chose the correct Bitcoin wallet here) . A Bitcoin wallet is a software that's essentially your bank account for bitcoins. Your wallet can hold as many bitcoins and Bitcoin addresses you'd like, and you can own as many wallets you want.
While bitcoin can be anonymous, that doesn't mean it is. If you purchase your bitcoins on a Bitcoin trading platform or exchange that has your information, the bitcoins you buy can be tied back to you.
Bitcoin is Transparent.
Every Bitcoin transaction that has ever happened is stored in detail in the public ledger known as the block chain. By using the block chain, anyone can see how many bitcoins are stored on a particular address, and they can see the deposits and withdrawals to that address, but they will be unable to know who owns the address.
Bitcoin Transactions Can not be Reversed.
When you send bitcoins to a Bitcoin address, you can not reverse the transaction. Unlike credit cards where transaction can be disputed or reversed, bitcoins are nonrefundable. Bitcoin can not be replaced either. If your wallet is stored on your hard drive and not in a "cloud", you could lose your bitcoins if you are hacked, get a virus or if your computer dies. These lost bitcoins can never be retrieved. That's why it is so important to take regular backups and implement measures for Bitcoin wallet security.
Furthermore, merchants cannot initiate charges on you as they can and do with credit cards. Each transaction must be initiated by the wallet holder, further underlining the advantages of the Bitcoin system.
Bitcoin is Secure.
Proponents of Bitcoin tout its formidable security, and with good reason. In theory, unless 51% of the system is controlled by one party, Bitcoin is virtually unhackable. For instance, in order for someone to change a transaction or double spend a Bitcoin, they would have to obtain majority control of the system and modify every miner in this majority. When there is a disagreement in the block chain, the system overrides the minority with the data agreed upon by the majority.
However, there have been concerns that different mining companies and mining pools should be able to reach 51% of the Bitcoin hashing power and perform a so called 51% attack on the Bitcoin network.
How are Bitcoins Created?
Bitcoins are created through a process known as mining . Mining is the term used by those who contribute to processing transactions. Miners process and secure the network using specialized hardware that "mine" for new bitcoins. As "payment" for their contribution, they are awarded new bitcoins. This is how new bitcoins are generated.
New coins are created at a fixed and decreasing rate that is predictable. The number of coins created each year is halved over time until 21 million bitcoins are in circulation. At this point, bitcoin miners will be rewarded by transaction fees.
When a miner has successfully created a new hash, the block is sealed off and added to the block chain. 25 bitcoins are awarded to the miner who discovered the new hash. The number of bitcoins rewarded per block is cut in half every four years. Blocks are solved an approximate rate of 6 per hour.
Why use Bitcoins?
Bitcoins are attractive to a large number of people of an equally large number of reasons. Bitcoins can be anonymous, near instantaneous and offer a level of control over your money like no other traditional currency. There are no banks that can take away your money, and Bitcoins are deflationary in nature, while e.g. USD is inflationary where your money depreciate over time. Bitcoins are also speculative in nature drawing the attention of investors.
Merchants are drawn to Bitcoin because of the low fees. Merchants typically pay 2-3% fees from credit card processors, whereas many types of transactions are free with Bitcoin. Transactions are free if several conditions are met. Any transactions that don't meet thee requirements are charged 0.1mBTC (0.0001 BTC) per 1,000 bytes. Typical transactions are 500 bytes but do not meet the priority requirement and thus are charged a 0.1mBTC fee regardless how many coins are transferred. You can view the live Bitcoin price here.
How to Obtain Bitcoins.
There are several ways to obtain bitcoins. The most common way is to purchase them on a Bitcoin exchange. You can also purchase bitcoins on Ebay locally through e.g. LocalBitcoins.com.
Bitcoins can also be obtained by becoming a part of the Bitcoin network and start mining for bitcoins. Before the days of ASIC miners, individuals could set up their computers to mine and earn bitcoins easily. Those days are long gone due to the difficulty to mine Bitcoin, the difficulty level of Bitcoin, has risen enormous making it harder and harder to earn bitcoins with the same equipment. Becoming a miner and seeing positive ROI would mean a substantial investment and is now left to the big companies and wealthy investors. For most individuals, purchasing your Bitcoin through a Bitcoin Exchange is the best option. You can also find ways to earn free bitcoins .
The Best "What is Bitcoin" Videos.
We have picked the three best "What is Bitcoin" videos that you should watch to learn more about Bitcoin. You can view them below.
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What Is Bitcoin SV and Should You Invest in it?
Bitcoin SV, which stands for Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, is the latest bitcoin offshoot to come to existence at the end of last year.
This article explores the origins of this new coin, as well as the opportunities and risks that this digital currency holds for investors.
What Is BSV?
Bitcoin SV (BSV) is a new altcoin that came into being as a result of a contentious hard fork of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. When BCH lead developer Amaury Sechet published a paper detailing the planned updates for BCH codebase in mid-2018, some members of the digital currency's community were unhappy with a certain feature included in the suggested upgrade.
The pre-consensus feature was designed to help the network settle transactions quickly and was thus seen as a small solution toward Bitcoin Cash's scaling challenges. However, some factions of the BCH community believed the feature would favor large mining groups. The fact that the upgrade was supported heavily by mining giant Bitmain seemed to fan the flames of this belief.
As a result, the BCH community split into two as the planned November 15 date approached. The two main factions were Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV. Bitcoin ABC was supported by Bitmain, Bitcoin.com, and much of the developer base at Bitcoin Cash, while the Bitcoin SV camp was led by self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto Craig Wright as well as Clavin Ayre-led CoinGeek.
Craig Wright and his camp were of the opinion that the proposed update was too much of a deviation from the original design of Bitcoin's creator Satoshi Nakamoto. The scenario is reminiscent of the events that led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash itself. Bitcoin Cash frontman Roger Ver, together with his team, forked from the original Bitcoin blockchain over claims that the network was no longer the cryptocurrency that the pseudonymous creator Nakamoto had envisioned.
Ironically, these same claims led to the BSV camp creating their own blockchain when the November 15th date came. The event had significant effects on the greater cryptocurrency community as the two opposing camps worked to gain control of a greater percentage of hashrate to establish themselves as the "real Bitcoin Cash". The switching of hash power from the Bitcoin network affected the price of bitcoin and simultaneously the entire digital asset market.
The Aftermath.
In the days preceding the November 15 date, a number of cryptocurrency exchanges temporarily stopped the trade of BCH on their platforms. The reasoning for this move was to protect themselves and their customers from any fall back that would happen as a result of the hard fork.
Utilizing a wait-and-see approach was important for the exchanges so that when they did resume trading of BCH, they would be providing support for the camp that had eventually 'won.'
The Bitcoin ABC camp won the so-called "hash war" and is the Bitcoin Cash that is in use today.
Should You Invest in Bitcoin SV?
Bitcoin SV is currently in the top ten digital currencies measured by market capitalization with a value of around $1.17 billion. However, leading digital asset exchanges Kraken has issued a warning to its users, calling BSV a risky investment.
The new forked coin has little community support and is focused around controversial figure Craig S. Wright. Moreover, it is effectively being financially supported by only two entities, nChain and Coingeek, and its mining operations have been mining at a loss.
If the team behind BSV does not manage to attract a user base, build BSV applications, and gain a degree of adoption as a digital currency in the near future, then BSV will likely go the same way as the majority of bitcoin forks and end up becoming worthless. Currently, everything seems to point in that direction.
Hence, as a risk-averse investor who is looking to build a diversified portfolio of digital assets, it is probably best to avoid this new digital currency. Even for risk-loving investors who enjoy a gamble on a new coin, BSV should only make up a tiny percentage of the overall portfolio, as it can only be classified as a high-risk investment.
Related Articles:
To learn more about possible investment opportunities in the digital currency market, subscribe to the Bitcoin Market Journal newsletter and get a healthy dose of the best thinking in the digital currency space delivered to your inbox weekly.
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What Is Bitcoin? Introduction To Digital Cash And BTC.
Bitcoin is the number one cryptocurrency in the world.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is the first mainstream cryptocurrency. Created by Satoshi Nakomoto (a pseudonym for an anonymous developer or development team), Bitcoin was created in 2009 with the goal of creating an alternative to legacy banks, using blockchain distributed ledger technology as its backbone.
It quickly rose to notoriety, and by 2012, it made mainstream media airwaves as the currency of choice for the Deep Web's infamous Silk Road marketplace. Soon BTC was being traded among journalists, activists, entrepreneurs, and tech savvy people worldwide, and thousands of blockchain-based crypto projects followed.
In the third quarter of 2017, Bitcoin grabbed the world's attention as pricing rose astronomically. Suddenly black-market dealers and first adopters could afford Lambos and build businesses. Bitcoin can make and break billionaires, and it's the flagship cryptocurrency that jump started the market.
Before explaining what Bitcoin is and why it's so important, let's review BTC's market performance.
Market Summary of BTC.
Bitcoin has a maximum supply of 21,000,000 BTC. Its peak price so far occurred on December 17, 2017 at $19,909.50 per BTC and the price of Bitcoin, for better or worse, is a constant feature in the cryptocurrency news.
Because it was the first cryptocurrency to reach public recognition, its name is tied to cryptocurrency on the general market. What Bitcoin BTC does, the rest of cryptocurrencies do in response. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general tend to move together, for good and bad.
Traders love the volatility of Bitcoin, which is at times extreme. For example, between October 2017 and January 2018, the value nearly quadrupled from $5,000 to $20,000, but then gradually settled back down to $6,000 multiple times throughout 2018.
It then dove to the $3000 to $4000 range in 2019.
BTC is mined using a Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm called Hashcash. It was originally mined on CPUs, then GPUs, and by the end of 2012, ASIC mining rigs were hitting the market. It's now impossible for you mine BTC using a consumer PC's hardware.
As more bitcoins are mined, the ledger gets longer and processing a block takes more complicated computations. These computations require more energy, and less bitcoins are rewarded.
BTC is the most accepted cryptocurrency on the market. It's the crypto coin used to funnel most other coins and tokens in to pull out fiat cash or make purchases. The highest BTC trading volume occurs on BitForex and BitMEX, with CoinsBank, Bithumb, Binance, and other exchanges lagging further and further behind.
Aside from exchange wallets, BTC can be stored in a ton of wallets , including Trezor, BitGo, BTC.com, Ledger Nano S, and the official Bitcoin Wallet.
Bitcoin Is Digital Currency.
You don't become the belle of the ball without packing a lot of power under the hood. We have a variety of digital payment options these days. Everyone from Google/Apple to Samsung, Amazon, Paypal, Visa, and even our banks and credit unions are trying to figure out what will make us ditch our wallets for our smartphones.
Bitcoin promised something different - the decentralized blockchain uses a digital ledger to keep a public history of every transfer of every bitcoin ever created. It's open-source, P2P, and all it takes to get started is creating a wallet with a public and private key.
These keys encrypt your bitcoin balance and enable secure transfers. And you're not limited to the same kind of transactions fiat currencies have. Bitcoin is divisible by .00000001 (which is lovingly called a Satoshi) and could get even more divisible as its value rises and mining rewards are cut short.
Even public keys don't necessarily need to have identifying information attached to them, but regulation around the globe is quickly changing that. We initially assumed bitcoin was anonymous, but researchers at Qatar University showed in 2018 how easily big data analysis could dredge up personally identifiable information on old Silk Road transactions from years prior.
While a promising coin, Bitcoin's performance in the wild led to literally thousands of imitators creating new blockchain networks to alleviate scalability, security, and speed issues. Still, Bitcoin is the bar by which all cryptos are measured, and it's easily the most famous cryptocurrency in the general public, as synonymous with crypto as Xerox is with fax and copy machines.
Creating a New Digital Economy.
A single bitcoin is only worth as much as the market agrees it's worth, and Bitcoin's utility is twofold. First, it's the easiest cryptocurrency to convert into cash, and even that can be a (costly) pain in the ass. Second, it's the most widely accepted crypto as currency around the world.
You can pay in bitcoin for food, travel, consumer goods, rent, even college tuition. There are a lot of imitators that would bend over backwards for even half the acceptance and support Bitcoin enjoys.
And, although it's decentralized, the Bitcoin Foundation's board of directors is a veritable who's who of crypto currency, including Llew Claasen, Brock Pierce, and Bobby Lee.
Bitcoin's goal of replacing banks is coming true, but it's not happening the way it was originally envisioned. Banks didn't crumble as the world held Bitcoin on a pedestal. Instead, major enterprises created their own blockchains and cryptocurrencies using lessons learned from Bitcoin's market performance to fix the bugs.
Bitcoin 1MB blocks are mined once every 10 minutes, which wasn't an issue at the beginning, but it's increasingly bottlenecking the network. The 21,000,000,000 limit is an issue too - every year less bitcoins are given to miners who must solve increasingly harder computations. Analysts constantly debate when it will no longer be financially viable to mine bitcoins, thus slowing block processing down even further.
Still, the last bitcoin won't be mined until sometime around 2140, so I won't be alive to see it happen. Who knows what technological advances will occur between now and then?
Bitcoin is the measuring stick all other cryptocurrencies are measured against, and many use its blockchain to fuel their own. Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that introduces us to the world of digital cash, investments, goods, and services.
Bitcoin BTC Summary.
Bitcoin is the poster child for cryptocurrency, pioneering its way through mainstream media and pop culture to become a legitimate currency. Thousands of imitators have since arrived, but this crypto OG has several key factors working in its favor.
Bitcoin uses PoW mining/consensus, and its capped supply will reach its end in 2140. Bitcoin's price affects the entire cryptocurrency market. It's also the most widely accepted coin both in and out of crypto. Bitcoin has the most brand recognition of any other crypto, practically a household name at this point and often interchanged in pop culture with the word cryptocurrency itself.
With these pieces in place, Bitcoin is here to stay. It's the gateway crypto for the entire market, and its name recognition will keep crypto viable as currencies for generations to come .
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What Is Bitcoin Cash? Introduction to BCH.
What Is Bitcoin Cash?
Bitcoin Cash is a "hard fork" of Bitcoin . It was created on August 1st, 2017 when a disagreement between miners of the cryptocurrency over block sizes led to a schism. The fork has the same the shared distributed ledger records of the Bitcoin blockchain up until that point - but from block number 478558, their histories diverged.
Introduction To Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin's revolutionary crowd-based consensus model means it inevitably experienced several hard forks. The first Bitcoin hard fork created Bitcoin Cash on August 1, 2017. This fork is identical to Bitcoin (even its ledger) up until that point.
As Jaden Smith can attest, however, a celebrity lineage doesn't necessarily guarantee success for the progeny. Work must still be put in, no matter how much of a headstart you get in life. Bitcoin Cash is notable for more than being Bitcoin's first hard fork. The project forged important partnerships and became a cryptocurrency to be reckoned with in its own right.
The rift that created Bitcoin Cash related to how Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 91 was being implemented. Many in the community, including Roger Ver, felt block size limits needed to be increased to maintain BTC's usage as a currency instead of a speculative investment. SegWit became the straw that broke the camel's back, and BCH was coined.
Of course, even BCH has its own infighting, and in November 2018, Bitcoin SV (short for Satoshi's Vision) was hard forked from Bitcoin Cash. This started 2019 with a lot of noise when Coinbase delisted Bitcoin SV.
Before examining the success chances a literal Bitcoin clone can have (especially since it's not the only one ), let's take a look at the crypto market performance of BCH, the proprietary crypto coin of Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash BCH Crypto Market Performance.
Bitcoin Cash (aka Bcash) has a total supply of 21,000,000 BCH just like Bitcoin. The peak price of BCH so far was $4091.70 on December 20, 2017.
BCH is mined using a partial hash inversion Proof-of-Work protocol using an SHA-256 hash function. Like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is decentralized and issues a block reward every 10 minutes, although BCH blocks are eight times the size of BTC blocks, making them a little harder to process. The current block reward as of October 2018 is 12.5 BCH.
Because it used Bitcoin's digital ledger up through block 478558, BCH was awarded at a one-to-one ratio to BTC holders. This makes it an airdrop, rather than a traditional ICO. It also shares BTC's genesis block on January 9, 2009.
Forking from Bitcoin gave Bitcoin Cash a big boost in its initial pricing. Given today's BCH price being well over $500, it's still free money to BTC holders, which is why it's still coveted as currency today.
BCH is tradeable on a variety of crypto exchanges, including EXX, BitForex, OKEx, Huobi, HitBTC, and Binance. Its trading pairs include BTC, USDT, and fiat currencies like the US Dollar and Chinese Yuan. Over $500 million worth of BCH is traded each day.
Since it's very similar to Bitcoin, many Bitcoin wallets support Bitcoin Cash, including the official Bitcoin Wallet, Trezor, Ledger, and more.
Why Cryptocurrencies Fork.
What makes cryptocurrency so revolutionary is its decentralized governance. When you get a bank account with Bank of America, for example, the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are set up by the federal government to set rules.
In addition to the government, Bank of America makes its own rules (such as setting overdraft fees, deposit minimums, and other account requirements). If Bank of America wants to reduce its Keep the Change savings incentives, it's welcome to do so. There's not much you can do as an account holder except accept the change or switch banks.
Cryptocurrency has what many believe to be a better way.
Holders, miners, and other stakeholders of a crypto have a say in the governance of the currency. Using the above banking scenario, that would mean account holders, not Bank of America, determine overdraft charges and other account requirements.
As cryptocurrencies are upgrades, sometimes the community disagrees on what the new protocol should look like. With enough support for two separate protocols, a hard fork is created, and a new crypto splits off the old one. There's now two blockchains, one that follows the old protocol and one that follows the new one.
This allows both cryptos to coexist, and the market determines the value of each based on the different changes. And, as we discussed above, Bitcoin Cash is only the first Bitcoin fork. The last bitcoin won't be mined until approximately 2140, and by that time, there could possibly be as many Bitcoin forks as there are cryptocurrencies right now.
Also be on the lookout for blockchains that call themselves forks but aren't. There are two types of forks in crypto - hard forks and soft forks.
Soft Fork - Soft forks replace the old blockchain with a new, valid one. Often the original blockchain code is used to create an entirely new crypto. Luckycoin was created as a soft fork of Litecoin and it in turn soft forked into Dogecoin. Hard Fork - Hard forks create two blockchains, and both remain valid. Sometimes the new blockchain retains the original name (i.e. Ethereum), while the original blockchain gets a new name (i.e. Ethereum Classic).
As an investment, forks are great because you get an equal amount of each currency so long as you hold prior to the fork. Savvy investors should keep an eye on potential forks and learn the best time to maximize profits.
Of course, being born from Bitcoin isn't the only ace up Bitcoin Cash's sleeves.
Building a Better Bitcoin.
Community support and corporate partnerships are key ingredients to any cryptocurrency's success. Bitcoin Cash isn't resting on its laurels - the community and team actively pursue partnerships.
BCH is accepted by satellite provider Dish Network, Roger Ver even met with the president of Cyprus to promote BCH as a currency. Its success as a currency has Charlie Lee and Litecoin declaring themselves rivals, but Litecoin isn't yet on that level yet. Bitcoin Cash is more than just a currency.
Taking the lead from blockchain 2.0 projects, Bitcoin Cash also acts as a smart contract platform that hosts decentralized apps. It already has Wormhole enabling Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) to be launched on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.
It may just be eating Bitcoin's crumbs, but Bitcoin is a giant, and its crumbs fed Bitcoin Cash enough to become a legitimate competitor in blockchain.
Bitcoin Cash Introduction: Summary.
Bitcoin Cash is the first Bitcoin fork, but it's hardly the last. When the community couldn't agree on SegWit and block sizes, Bitcoin Cash was created as an alternative to the original cryptocurrency. Its value is driven by several key factors.
Because it shared a decentralized ledger with Bitcoin until August 2017, Bitcoin Cash benefited in its valuation, which is much less than Bitcoin, but more than most other cryptos. BCH has block sizes 8x larger than BTC. They're still mined in the same 10-minute intervals and share many other similarities. The price of BCH is heavily reliant upon BTC, but that doesn't mean its not successful in its own right. It already supports smart contracts and has an ICO platform.
With these pieces in place, Bitcoin Cash is a dark horse crypto candidate that could easily surprise anyone. One day it may even take over Bitcoin itself as the king of cryptocurrency.
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