Thinking of Investing? Think the Bitcoin Way

What is Bitcoin?

If you’re here, you’ve heard of Bitcoin. It has been one of the biggest frequent news headlines over the last year or so – as a get rich quick scheme, the end of finance, the birth of truly international currency, as the end of the world, or as a technology that has improved the world. But what is Bitcoin?

In short, you could say Bitcoin is the first decentralised system of money used for online transactions, but it will probably be useful to dig a bit deeper.

We all know, in general, what ‘money’ is and what it is used for. The most significant issue that witnessed in money use before Bitcoin relates to it being centralised and controlled by a single entity – the centralised banking system. Bitcoin was invented in 2008/2009 by an unknown creator who goes by the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ to bring decentralisation to money on a global scale. The idea is that the currency can be traded across international lines with no difficulty or fees, the checks and balances would be distributed across the entire globe (rather than just on the ledgers of private corporations or governments), and money would become more democratic and equally accessible to all.

How did Bitcoin start?

The concept of Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general, was started in 2009 by Satoshi, an unknown researcher. The reason for its invention was to solve the issue of centralisation in the use of money which relied on banks and computers, an issue that many computer scientists weren’t happy with. Achieving decentralisation has been attempted since the late 90s without success, so when Satoshi published a paper in 2008 providing a solution, it was overwhelmingly welcomed. Today, Bitcoin has become a familiar currency for internet users and has given rise to thousands of ‘altcoins’ (non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies).

How is Bitcoin made?

Bitcoin is made through a process called mining. Just like paper money is made through printing, and gold is mined from the ground, Bitcoin is created by ‘mining’. Mining involves solving of complex mathematical problems regarding blocks using computers and adding them to a public ledger. When it began, a simple CPU (like that in your home computer) was all one needed to mine, however, the level of difficulty has increased significantly and now you will need specialised hardware, including high end Graphics Processing Unit (GPUs), to extract Bitcoin.

How do I invest?

First, you have to open an account with a trading platform and create a wallet; you can find some examples by searching Google for ‘Bitcoin trading platform’ – they generally have names involving ‘coin’, or ‘market’. After joining one of these platforms, you click on the assets, and then click on crypto to choose your desired currencies. There are a lot of indicators on every platform that are quite important, and you should be sure to observe them before investing.

Simply buy and hold

While mining is the surest and, in a way, simplest way to earn Bitcoin, there is too much hustle involved, and the cost of electricity and specialised computer hardware makes it inaccessible to most of us. To avoid all this, make it easy for yourself, directly input the amount you want from your bank and click “buy’, then sit back and watch as your investment increases according to the price change. This is called exchanging and takes place on many exchanges platforms available today, with the ability to trade between many different fiat currencies (USD, AUD, GBP, etc) and different crypto coins (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc).

Trading Bitcoin

If you are familiar with stocks, bonds, or Forex exchanges, then you will understand crypto-trading easily. There are Bitcoin brokers like e-social trading, FXTM markets.com, and many others that you can choose from. The platforms provide you with Bitcoin-fiat or fiat-Bitcoin currency pairs, example BTC-USD means trading Bitcoins for U.S. Dollars. Keep your eyes on the price changes to find the perfect pair according to price changes; the platforms provide price among other indicators to give you proper trading tips.

Bitcoin as Shares

There are also organisations set up to allow you to buy shares in companies that invest in Bitcoin – these companies do the back and forth trading, and you just invest in them, and wait for your monthly benefits. These companies simply pool digital money from different investors and invest on their behalf.

Why should you invest in Bitcoin?

As you can see, investing in Bitcoin demands that you have some basic knowledge of the currency, as explained above. As with all investments, it involves risk! The question of whether or not to invest depends entirely on the individual. However, if I were to give advice, I would advise in favor of investing in Bitcoin with a reason that, Bitcoin keeps growing – although there has been one significant boom and bust period, it is highly likely that Cryptocurrencies as a whole will continue to increase in value over the next 10 years. Bitcoin is the biggest, and most well known, of all the current cryptocurrencies, so is a good place to start, and the safest bet, currently. Although volatile in the short term, I suspect you will find that Bitcoin trading is more profitable than most other ventures.

Want to dip your toe into Bitcoin? Use this link to get started with the Coinbase exchange, and get $10 worth of free Bitcoin: [http://getstartedwithcoinbase.trade]

About me: I’m just getting started with crypto, and am still learning. While the whole thing seems like a fad, a bubble, and overhyped, there is definitely something there worth knowing more about. I hope this article was useful, and encourages you to dive in and check it out for yourself – the best way to learn is to DO, and a free $10 doesn’t hurt. Best of luck!

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Bitcoin: What Is It, and Is It Right for Your Business?

It’s not an actual coin, it’s “cryptocurrency,” a digital form of payment that is produced (“mined”) by lots of people worldwide. It allows peer-to-peer transactions instantly, worldwide, for free or at very low cost.

Bitcoin was invented after decades of research into cryptography by software developer, Satoshi Nakamoto (believed to be a pseudonym), who designed the algorithm and introduced it in 2009. His true identity remains a mystery.

This currency is not backed by a tangible commodity (such as gold or silver); bitcoins are traded online which makes them a commodity in themselves.

Bitcoin is an open-source product, accessible by anyone who is a user. All you need is an email address, Internet access, and money to get started.

Where does it come from?

Bitcoin is mined on a distributed computer network of users running specialized software; the network solves certain mathematical proofs, and searches for a particular data sequence (“block”) that produces a particular pattern when the BTC algorithm is applied to it. A match produces a bitcoin. It’s complex and time- and energy-consuming.

Only 21 million bitcoins are ever to be mined (about 11 million are currently in circulation). The math problems the network computers solve get progressively more difficult to keep the mining operations and supply in check.

This network also validates all the transactions through cryptography.

How does Bitcoin work?

Internet users transfer digital assets (bits) to each other on a network. There is no online bank; rather, Bitcoin has been described as an Internet-wide distributed ledger. Users buy Bitcoin with cash or by selling a product or service for Bitcoin. Bitcoin wallets store and use this digital currency. Users may sell out of this virtual ledger by trading their Bitcoin to someone else who wants in. Anyone can do this, anywhere in the world.

There are smartphone apps for conducting mobile Bitcoin transactions and Bitcoin exchanges are populating the Internet.

How is Bitcoin valued?

Bitcoin is not held or controlled by a financial institution; it is completely decentralized. Unlike real-world money it cannot be devalued by governments or banks.

Instead, Bitcoin’s value lies simply in its acceptance between users as a form of payment and because its supply is finite. Its global currency values fluctuate according to supply and demand and market speculation; as more people create wallets and hold and spend bitcoins, and more businesses accept it, Bitcoin’s value will rise. Banks are now trying to value Bitcoin and some investment websites predict the price of a bitcoin will be several thousand dollars in 2014.

What are its benefits?

There are benefits to consumers and merchants that want to use this payment option.

1. Fast transactions – Bitcoin is transferred instantly over the Internet.

2. No fees/low fees — Unlike credit cards, Bitcoin can be used for free or very low fees. Without the centralized institution as middle man, there are no authorizations (and fees) required. This improves profit margins sales.

3. Eliminates fraud risk -Only the Bitcoin owner can send payment to the intended recipient, who is the only one who can receive it. The network knows the transfer has occurred and transactions are validated; they cannot be challenged or taken back. This is big for online merchants who are often subject to credit card processors’ assessments of whether or not a transaction is fraudulent, or businesses that pay the high price of credit card chargebacks.

4. Data is secure — As we have seen with recent hacks on national retailers’ payment processing systems, the Internet is not always a secure place for private data. With Bitcoin, users do not give up private information.

a. They have two keys – a public key that serves as the bitcoin address and a private key with personal data.

b. Transactions are “signed” digitally by combining the public and private keys; a mathematical function is applied and a certificate is generated proving the user initiated the transaction. Digital signatures are unique to each transaction and cannot be re-used.

c. The merchant/recipient never sees your secret information (name, number, physical address) so it’s somewhat anonymous but it is traceable (to the bitcoin address on the public key).

5. Convenient payment system — Merchants can use Bitcoin entirely as a payment system; they do not have to hold any Bitcoin currency since Bitcoin can be converted to dollars. Consumers or merchants can trade in and out of Bitcoin and other currencies at any time.

6. International payments – Bitcoin is used around the world; e-commerce merchants and service providers can easily accept international payments, which open up new potential marketplaces for them.

7. Easy to track — The network tracks and permanently logs every transaction in the Bitcoin block chain (the database). In the case of possible wrongdoing, it is easier for law enforcement officials to trace these transactions.

8. Micropayments are possible – Bitcoins can be divided down to one one-hundred-millionth, so running small payments of a dollar or less becomes a free or near-free transaction. This could be a real boon for convenience stores, coffee shops, and subscription-based websites (videos, publications).

Still a little confused? Here are a few examples of transactions:

Bitcoin in the retail environment

At checkout, the payer uses a smartphone app to scan a QR code with all the transaction information needed to transfer the bitcoin to the retailer. Tapping the “Confirm” button completes the transaction. If the user doesn’t own any Bitcoin, the network converts dollars in his account into the digital currency.

The retailer can convert that Bitcoin into dollars if it wants to, there were no or very low processing fees (instead of 2 to 3 percent), no hackers can steal personal consumer information, and there is no risk of fraud. Very slick.

Bitcoins in hospitality

Hotels can accept Bitcoin for room and dining payments on the premises for guests who wish to pay by Bitcoin using their mobile wallets, or PC-to-website to pay for a reservation online. A third-party BTC merchant processor can assist in handling the transactions which it clears over the Bitcoin network. These processing clients are installed on tablets at the establishments’ front desk or in the restaurants for users with BTC smartphone apps. (These payment processors are also available for desktops, in retail POS systems, and integrated into foodservice POS systems.) No credit cards or money need to change hands.

These cashless transactions are fast and the processor can convert bitcoins into currency and make a daily direct deposit into the establishment’s bank account. It was announced in January 2014 that two Las Vegas hotel-casinos will accept Bitcoin payments at the front desk, in their restaurants, and in the gift shop.

It sounds good – so what’s the catch?

Business owners should consider issues of participation, security and cost.

• A relatively small number of ordinary consumers and merchants currently use or understand Bitcoin. However, adoption is increasing globally and tools and technologies are being developed to make participation easier.

• It’s the Internet, so hackers are threats to the exchanges. The Economist reported that a Bitcoin exchange was hacked in September 2013 and $250,000 in bitcoins was stolen from users’ online vaults. Bitcoins can be stolen like other currency, so vigilant network, server and database security is paramount.

• Users must carefully safeguard their bitcoin wallets which contain their private keys. Secure backups or printouts are crucial.

• Bitcoin is not regulated or insured by the US government so there is no insurance for your account if the exchange goes out of business or is robbed by hackers.

• Bitcoins are relatively expensive. Current rates and selling prices are available on the online exchanges.

The virtual currency is not yet universal but it is gaining market awareness and acceptance. A business may decide to try Bitcoin to save on credit card and bank fees, as a customer convenience, or to see if it helps or hinders sales and profitability.

Are you thinking about accepting Bitcoin? Do you already use it? Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

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Crypto Currency Vs Fiat Currency

Crypto currency vs. Fiat currency

Are you aware of the fiat currencies and the crypto currencies? They both are currencies in one form or the other and are open for public use across the world. But they are both different and distinct in their own ways. There is always one group that favors the use of cryptos, while the other has a soft corner for the fiat currencies.

In cashless society- crypto money play a huge role

If you have a look at the market of the 1970s and 1980s, you will find that the cash played the dominant role. But, with the change in the technology, electronic transactions have become the usual norm. Today, more and more people are influenced in becoming the cashless society. With the progress towards the cashless society, cryptocurrencies have a big role to play.

Crypto currency and fiat currency are always at loggerheads

Cryptocurrency and fiat currency are popular types of digital currency, especially when it is about an online transaction. They both are currencies currently in use in the market but have some differences in them. There is a hell lot of hypes that you will hear on a daily basis comparing the crypto money and the fiat money. This article will highlight the difference between the two in a more comprehensive and clear manner.

Differentiating in what the currencies stand for

Before going for the difference between the two, you must understand what do they stand for and how are they are defined.

The fiat currency is a legal tender that has the support of the central government, and it operates in the physical form. For instance, US dollars, British Pounds, Euro etc. On the other hand, the crypto currency is a non-legal tender, and doesn’t have any backup from the central government or bank.
Hence, the difference between crypto currency and fiat currency is noted as follows:

• Crypto-currencies are decentralized and global in nature. There are no one entity or government that controls the currency with their laws and regulations. The Fiat currency is centralized, under the control of the laws and regulations of the banks and government.

• Crypto-currencies have their existence only in the digital domain. On the other hand, you will find that the fiat currencies have a tangible and physical existence.

• There is a limited supply of crypto-currencies with a maximum set of them getting supplied in the market. Whereas, the fiat money has an unlimited supply as the government and bank are entitled to produce coins and paper money whenever the situation is required.

• The Bitcoin and other crypto type currencies are created by the computers, while the fiat currencies are issued by the local government and the banks.

• Cryptocurrencies are presented as the public and private code pieces. On the other hand, the fiat currencies are presented in the form of coins and paper money.

• The value of the crypto currencies is not recognized by the supply and demand of the market. Whereas, the fiat currency value is determined by the market regulations of supply and demand.

The different types of crypto and fiat currencies

In the last one decade, the popularity of crypto type currencies has emerged as a huge success. It was in 2009, when Bitcoin was first introduced, and years after several other types of crypto currencies have emerged. Starting from Litecoin. Dogecoin, Ripple to the Dcash and Zcash, there is a plethora of them. On the other hand, the fiat currency has a rich and ancient roots, with the Great British Pound, that dates back to 775 AD. It is considered as the oldest currency in the world that is still in use.

The differences in the anonymity between the two currencies

When you are using the fiat currencies, you need to undergo a user identification or verification process. You are asked to upload a recent picture of yourself and some of the required documents to be issued as per the public authorities. You don’t need to undergo any of the required processes with the crypto currencies. Though your personal information and confidential details don’t get public, but all your transactions are recorded and tracked in both the fiat and the crypto currencies.

Fiat currency vs crypto currency: transparency level

• The transparency level with the crypto type currencies are considered to be more. This is because the revenue streams are displayed in a public chain. Everyone can witness their own and others’ transactions.

• The fiat or govt. currencies are not transparent, as there are not public chains to see the revenue streams of the people.

A comparative historical roots

If you compare the crypto money with that of its counterpart, fiat or government currency, you will find that their existence and creation brings the difference. The Fiat or government currency, dates back its existence as early as 775 AD with the introduction of the Great British Pound. This is why fiat type currency is easily accepted by the people all over.

On the other hand, the crypto coin was perhaps first introduced only a decade ago, with the introduction of Bitcoin in 2009. The challenge that the Bitcoin and other crypto currencies face is catching up with the immense popularity and increasing fan base of the fiat currency. Crypto currency, is no doubt gaining importance and popularity in the economic market, but it has still not been accepted widely in the society as the fiat currency.

A comparative history of the two currencies:

• It was in the 11th century, when the Chinese Song dynasty was perhaps the first one to issue the paper money. It was not allowed to exchange with valuables like gold and silver or silk.

• There were Tally sticks that were introduced as a fiat or government currency. 1100 Tally sticks were introduced as a combat for the shortages in gold.

• 1971, was the year, when the fiat currency received a worldwide recognition. President Nixon introduced it in order to eliminate the dollar pegging system to gold.

• It was in 1998, when the idea of an anonymous electronic cash system emerged by Wei Dai. Bitgold-the very first crypto currency was created by Nick Szabo, but it didn’t receive as much attention as Bitcoin.

• In 2009, Bitcoin was introduced in the market, that became the first crypto currency that was accepted across the globe. In 2011 and after, a series of several other crypto currencies were introduced. Some of the popular ones include, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Zcash, Dash and so on.

The traits of both the currencies

The potential of the crypto type currencies and fiat currencies, accessing their traits is important. You will find that in some of the criteria, Bitcoin and other crypto currency is superior than the fiat or government currency, and in some cases, the latter surpasses. It is absolutely your call to choose the type of currency (crypto type currency or fiat type currency) based on your personal needs and requirements.

Let us compare their traits with respect to certain factors.

• Both the crypto coins and fiat type currencies are interchangeable in nature.

• As per the portability is concerned both the currencies secure more or less the same position.

• With respect to the non consumable criteria, crypto currency and fiat type currency have the equal status.

• Crypto type currencies have high durability as compared to the fiat-currencies that have moderate level of durability.

• Both the crypto or virtual currencies and the fiat or government currencies ensure secure and safeguarded transactions and exchange.

• Crypto or digital currencies are highly divisible in nature. On the other hand, the fiat type currencies are moderately divisible.

• In terms of the transaction process, the crypto currencies are easy and hassle free. Whereas, on the other hand, the traction process associated with the fiat currencies are easy, but not like the cryptos.

• The crypto based currencies are decentralized and global in nature, unlike the fiat currencies that are centralized and functions under the laws and regulations of the government.

• The crypto based currencies have high scarcity, where as, the fiat currencies are unlimited as the government can issue coins and paper money whenever there is a need.

• The crypto based currencies are based on mathematical algorithms, and are programmable. The fiat currencies are not at all programmable.

• The fiat currencies are sovereign in nature, while the crypto currencies are not.

The process of the functioning of the currencies

You can find the significant differences between the crypto or digital currencies and the fiat currencies with the way they both operate and the transaction process that take place. They are contrasting in nature. The transfer of money using the Bitcoin is very quick, and you absolutely don’t need any third party association.

On the other hand, if you are involved with the money exchange using Fiat type currency, a mobile wallet is in use. You can exchange an amount of e-money that gets transferred into the equal e-value amount. Both the fiat and the crypto currencies enable you to purchase everything that you desire. But the processes involved are absolutely distinct from each other.

Depending on the things you purchase, you will find that one currency form is better than the other. This is absolutely your choice.

Is Bitcoin, a crypto currency better than the fiat-currency?

The long term benefits and the capability of the Bitcoins is still not established. But it has been predicted by the crypto currency gurus and experts, that they will go a long way, especially revolutionizing the way the online transactions are done. In the current market, the Bitcoin is mainly included in the online casinos and the gambling, but it is not limited to it.

Furthermore, when you compare the fiat currencies, the Bitcoin allows you to seize the power and authority from the banks and the government since it is not controlled. The cryptography based currency has the capability to create or come up with the free market capitals. Fiat currencies are affected by the inflation and the changes in the market, unlike the crypto based currencies. Such aspects make individuals believe that cryptograph based currencies will soon take over the mainstream currencies and bring a transformation in the way the money is used.

Why is Bitcoins considered to be a better aspect than the fiat type currencies?

• Bitcoin gives you the opportunity to re-create a free market capitalism.

• The power of controlling the money is absolutely with the individuals, and not with the banks like the fiat type currencies.

• When there is an inflation, the Bitcoin is not affected. But the Fiat type currency will be easier to lose and get affected by it.

• The Bitcoin currency is easy easier to exchange and transfer as compared to the fiat or government currencies.

• The transaction fees involved with the Bitcoin are way cheaper and easily affordable.

Crypto currencies seem to be a favorable option among the people

The fiat type currencies are the centralized and legal way of exchanging money. But, the crypto currencies have acquired immense popularity in the past few years. There will never be anyone who would act as a middle man, like the case with the banks. Moreover, the cryptos are way cheaper and less expensive that the conventional fiat currencies.

Send money anywhere directly without waiting for the bank’s approval

You can send money to anyone in the world directly, and it is super fast. The money gets cleared within a few minutes time. You don’t have to wait for the traditional clearing and verification processes of the banking systems, which might take up to several days to get a clearance. Since it is decentralized and doesn’t come under the law and regulations of the government, nobody has any power to do anything with your account.

The blockchain technology has a very big role to play

Thanks to the crypto currencies, that gives us the power and the authority to become our very own bank, and take control over our finances. It is because of the blockchain technology that offers a higher level of sophistication while dealing with the finances. In fact, there are some mainstream financial industries that have started incorporating the idea of the technology.

There was an era of fiat currencies and now it is considered to be that of cryptocurrencies lik

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