A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets. Cryptocurrencies are a kind of alternative currency and digital currency (of which virtual currency is a subset). Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems.
At the time when this guide was written, January 2014, the price of one bitcoin stood at $913, down slightly after reaching an all-time high of over $1,200 earlier in December. The new cryptocurrency came a long way from trading below $4 just two years ago. Major online and offline retailers are starting to add the new currency as a payment method. But what exactly is bitcoin?
Dangers of volatility – Bitcoin is the most volatile of all assets, including the stock and gold markets. Whilst volatility brings with it opportunity to day trade bitcoin for a profit, it also brings with it doubt and unpredictability. For example, in June 2017 bitcoin was being traded at $2,983. It then lost 30% in value and crashed down to $1,992, only to climb up to $4,764 in September, boasting a 139% gain. You must ensure your bitcoin day trading strategies take into account the uncertainty.
If it’s lower fees you’re after, LocalBitcoins is another good option because the site simply puts buyers and sellers in contact with one other and offers an escrow service to ensure nobody gets ripped off. It is solely for bitcoin trading but a benefit it has is that it operates in all countries and buyers can pay for Bitcoins however they like, though most pay via cash deposit. Just remember to follow the rules of the site and beware of scammers.
When it comes to other, less popular cryptocurrencies, the buying options aren’t as diverse. However, there are still numerous exchanges where you can acquire various crypto-coins for flat currencies or Bitcoins. Face-to-face trading is also a popular way of acquiring coins. Buying options depend on particular cryptocurrencies, their popularity as well as your location.
The cryptocurrencies are a solution to many of the obstacles that the traditional financial system currently has, sending money to different parts of the world is expensive, sometimes delayed and in some places it is not possible to do so. We are in a globalized era and cryptocurrencies help make financial transactions fast, secure and low cost. There are projects with a great vision, for example, the cryptocurrency Ultrapoint has the mission to become the first currency for global and practical use in all sectors of the economy. Then when a cryptocurrency achieves massive use, then its benefits will be fully understood.
In late October, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase, oversaw a financing round in which the company he cofounded raised $300 million at a valuation of $8 billion. At that valuation, Armstrong’s stake in Coinbase is worth an estimated $1.3 billion, after applying a customary discount for privately held companies. In January, Forbes had estimated that Armstrong’s net worth was between $900 million and $1 billion.
Behind the scenes, the Bitcoin network is sharing a massive public ledger called the "block chain". This ledger contains every transaction ever processed which enables a user's computer to verify the validity of each transaction. The authenticity of each transaction is protected by digital signatures corresponding to the sending addresses therefore allowing all users to have full control over sending bitcoins.
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.