Competing cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is by no means the only blockchain-based cryptocurrency out there. Another popular option is Ethereum, and there are plenty of others. Bitcoin leads in cryptocurrency market share today, probably because it was the first currency of its kind. But there's no guarantee that it will enjoy a market-leading position forever.
However, as I’ve mentioned before, this is far more difficult, if not impossible, to do with cryptocurrency, more than even normal investment vehicles like stocks. I’ve seen people who think that bitcoin has hit a peak and must necessarily stop going up sell, intending to wait until bitcoin falls again to buy in again and make maybe a 20% extra profit, miss out entirely because bitcoin kept going up and never came back down. There are numerous stories of those who bought into bitcoin at $1 or less, but sold well before it ever reached even $10, much less $2500.
The intangibility of bitcoin, however, does seem to hang some people up. It’s sometimes difficult to immediately conceive of how bitcoins could possibly hold value, as these people contend, they are intrinsically worthless. They are nothing but a concept, backed up by some computer code. Gold is a physical, tangible object that you can hold in your hand. It has real uses in industry and as jewelry that lend it value. Even paper money can be used for kindling or toilet paper if the need necessitates.
That’s the case as I see it for bitcoin. In the case of most altcoins, however, I don’t see remotely enough to even begin to justify the possibility of long term gain in the first place. Even with speculations, or perhaps especially with speculations, it’s incredibly important to thoroughly analyze a given investment opportunity for at least the potential for long term gain and success, and assess the magnitude of that possible gain, and then to weigh that potential versus the likelihood of outright failure of the speculation. With most altcoins, their value over bitcoin or ethereum is far from clear, and generally superficial or minor at best.
Litecoin (10%) – Litecoin is often marketed as being the silver to Bitcoin’s gold status. Being a hard fork of Bitcoin, Litecoin shares many similarities to the original coin; Litecoin can also be used as a value exchange coin. However, Litecoin’s block generation time of 2.5 minutes, compared to Bitcoin’s 10 minutes, and different hashing algorithm (Scrypt), are features designed to produce a more innovative blockchain and cryptocurrency.
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Bitcoin is a decentralized currency that uses peer-to-peer technology, which enables all functions such as currency issuance, transaction processing and verification to be carried out collectively by the network. While this decentralization renders Bitcoin free from government manipulation or interference, the flipside is that there is no central authority to ensure that things run smoothly or to back the value of a Bitcoin. Bitcoins are created digitally through a “mining” process that requires powerful computers to solve complex algorithms and crunch numbers. They are currently created at the rate of 25 Bitcoins every 10 minutes and will be capped at 21 million, a level that is expected to be reached in 2140.
Beyond that, for most people, the best (i.e. simplest) way to invest in bitcoin starts with setting up a cryptocurrency wallet. Some of the better-known sites where you can do this are Coinbase, Bitstamp and Bitfinex, although there are a number of other platforms out there, as well. Once you establish an account, connect it to your payment source — a bank account or a credit or debit card — via two-factor authentication. Of note: It’s important to use a tool like Google Authenticator rather than just relying on text-based authentication, which can be more vulnerable to cybertheft, when investing in bitcoin.
“Blockchain is a system of automated trust,” answered Trevor Welch, Chief Investment Officer at International Blockchain Investments (IBI). “We currently live in a world where some economies lack trust and transparency, others, like the US, apply it manually and with high cost and financial burden as well as a significant degree of human error. As a result any global economy can benefit from processing transactions that are verified and validated on a distributed public ledger.”
Had I actually done my research and believed that it was a fair bet to make that one day bitcoins would be worth far more than even the height of the local maximum bubble at the time, it absolutely could have been the right decision to buy in then, even if it crashed later temporarily to $200. What wasn’t right was buying in simply because the price was going up and I had a fear of missing out.
NEW YORK, Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Grayscale Investments, LLC, the sponsor (the "Sponsor") of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX: GBTC) (the "Trust"), today announced on behalf of the Trust that the Trust will resume private placements of shares today. The Trust plans to create shares from time to time in exchange for deposits of Bitcoin. Shares may only be created by certain authorized participants. Pursuant to the terms of the Trust's governing documents, the Sponsor may cause the Trust to cease creations of shares from time to time, including during affiliate sales windows.