That doesn't mean it's risk-free, though. Blockchain technology is an intriguing development that could disrupt a number of huge industries, but at the moment, it's also a fashionable word to throw around. Long Island Iced Tea, a beverage company, renamed itself Long Blockchain in late 2017, seemingly knowing that the word itself could cause a jump in stock. And for a brief moment, the stock actually did jump just because of that. Don't fall for tricks like that, stay vigilant and avoid cryptocurrency scams like these.
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Litecoin – Litecoin is regarded as Bitcoin's leading rival at present, and it is designed for processing smaller transactions faster. It was founded in October 2011 as "a coin that is silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” according to founder Charles Lee. Unlike the heavy computer horsepower required for Bitcoin mining, Litecoins can be mined by a normal desktop computer. Litecoin’s maximum limit is 84 million – four times Bitcoin’s 21-million limit – and it has a transaction processing time of about 2.5 minutes, about one-fourth that of Bitcoin.
However, into the second week of June the optimism all but evaporated. The highly-awaited EOS mainnet launch got off to a very shaky start with bug issues and a series of delays; the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail experienced a hack; as other exchanges, including Kraken, face increasing scrutiny by US authorities into allegations of price manipulation. The mainstream media continues to run screaming headlines about the terrible fate awaiting the prudent investor… plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is created and managed through the use of advanced encryption techniques known as cryptography. Cryptocurrency made the leap from being an academic concept to (virtual) reality with the creation of Bitcoin in 2009. While Bitcoin attracted a growing following in subsequent years, it captured significant investor and media attention in April 2013 when it peaked at a record $266 per bitcoin after surging 10-fold in the preceding two months. Bitcoin sported a market value of over $2 billion at its peak, but a 50% plunge shortly thereafter sparked a raging debate about the future of cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular. So, will these alternative currencies eventually supplant conventional currencies and become as ubiquitous as dollars and euros someday? Or are cryptocurrencies a passing fad that will flame out before long? The answer lies with Bitcoin.
Cardano (ADA) is a fully open-source, decentralized, public blockchain and cryptocurrency. Cardano is very similar to Ethereum, and the team wants to build on that. Cardano aims to operate a global smart-contract platform which will deliver much more advanced features compared to its competitors. Loads of existing investors are excited because Cardano is the first blockchain founded on scientific philosophy, and also the very first provably secure proof of stake algorithm.
The first part will speak to a broad explanation of what bitcoin and cryptocurrency at large are. The second will discuss my personal investment philosophy as it pertains to crypto. The third will show you step by step how to actually begin investing in crypto, if you so choose. Each section will be clearly delineated, so feel free to skip parts if they’re already familiar to you.
Second, there are no fundamental metrics for investors to examine, making a comparison between virtual currencies both difficult and arbitrary. At best, investors can look to project partnerships and processing speed as a few noteworthy comparisons, but that should be hardly enough to decipher whether one cryptocurrency will outperform another over the long run.
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This ‘intangible’ worth that we ascribe to currency, which accounts for the vast majority of the value of all currencies, not just bitcoin, is ultimately what makes money work. Yuval Noah Harari captures this fact very well in Sapiens, where he lays out the case that the value of a given form of money is essentially an indication of trust in that form of money. It is our shared collective trust and belief in a currency that gives it value, not its intrinsic tangible utility or anything else.
Third, there's the disassociation between blockchain technology and the actual tokens themselves. The issue with nearly all cryptocurrencies is that their potential value is tied up in their blockchain and its ability to benefit an industry or sector. Investors who buy into virtual tokens rarely, if ever, gain ownership in the blockchain those coins are used on. Without ownership in the asset that matters, it leaves investors to more or less go along for the ride.
It’s human nature to panic when something unexpected enters the fray, and cryptocurrency trading is no different. Experts agree that this human reflex is one major weakness in crypto trading beginners. This usually happens when the market takes an unexpected turn and the strategy that is being employed suddenly does not seem optimal for market conditions. In this state of panic, beginner investors frequently abandon their strategy if they did not expect or plan for these changes, leaving a considerable amount of value left unclaimed.
This, thus, requires anyone holding fiat currencies to have extreme trust that their government will manage their money supply responsibly, and not make poor financial decisions that will severely devalue the currency they hold. This compounds with the trust one must hold in the banks in which one deposits their fiat currency, to create an ultimate monetary system that has multiple points of very real possible failure, as history has shown time and again.
First one piece of good news: You can buy fractions up to the eighth decimal place of bitcoin. That means you don’t need to plunk down the nearly $17,000 you often see quoted as the price for a full bitcoin — which is probably for the best, as we noted above. As of Thursday afternoon, that one ten-thousandth — four decimal places or 0.0001 — of a bitcoin is worth about $1.65.
I hope that this elucidation provides some insight into why I personally see it as suspect to invest in something based on price alone, and why I urge extreme caution particularly if one is exploring whether or not to invest in an altcoin, especially if one is at least partially motivated to do so because of the feeling that the ship has already sailed for bitcoin, and that there might be better potential for outsized gains with a smaller altcoin. Again, this certainly may be true, and often is true even for altcoins destined for eventual failure in the short term while a bubble/bull market continues, but risks are amplified just as much as the opportunity itself when it comes to altcoins, and oftentimes moreso in a bubble than otherwise.
It is important to note that some altcoins innovate by experimenting with useful characteristics Bitcoin does not offer. For instance, Ripple serves as a protocol users can employ to make inter-currency payments with ease, BitShares describes itself as “a fair version of Wall Street,” and Darkcoin hopes to provide a platform for completely anonymous transactions. Some altcoin ecosystems, such as Mastercoin and CounterParty, even utilize the Bitcoin blockchain to secure their platform.
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Ofir Beigel, CEO of 99bitcoins.com, suggests taking a slow burn approach to the cryptocurrency market if you’re looking for the best return possible. “Keep in mind there can be a lot of ‘noise’ in the background, like short-term bad news that lead to a crash,” Beigel says. “The key is to find investments you believe will yield after X time according to your targets, and to try detaching yourself from the short-term noise.”
As Satoshi notes, bitcoin’s irreversible, trustless nature removes the need for any middlemen to mediate and broker the process of payments from one person to another. Middlemen (e.g. banks and credit card networks) inherently introduce overhead costs and inefficiency into the system, which make transactions — and micropayments in particular — more costly than would otherwise be the case.
On the other hand, with bitcoin, I wouldn’t have to trust anyone at all. I would know for certain that my coins wouldn’t lose their value due to inflation as a consequence of their designed and indelible scarcity. I would also know that as I stored my coins myself, no one else, not even a bank, could actually go and spend 90% of my money, and fail to give it back to me in the event of a bank run. Furthermore, no one could forcibly confiscate my money under any circumstances, as I could always store it in such a way that it could never be retrieved except with my consent. No one would even necessarily be able to know how much money I held, unless I chose to make that information public.
Pointing to Grayscale Investments, the largest asset manager in the crypto sphere and part of DCG, Silbert showcased that mainstream funds are starting to put some money to work in the crypto space. Earlier on Wednesday, Grayscale announced it had raised $250 million to date, and 56% of that came from institutional investors. A year or two ago, that was almost non-existent.
Some of the collateral perks included increased liquidity of the market and transparent reference prices – in other words, more legitimacy and stability. At the same time, crypto futures held a promise for an alleged horde of retail investors who were interested in crypto assets yet wary of trading them on unregulated spot exchanges. Perhaps the biggest advantage of Bitcoin futures for this category of traders is security: since owning a cash-settled crypto future does not entail touching a coin itself, the scheme does away with fears of hacking and theft of cryptoassets. However, a flipside of not owning an actual coin is that futures traders would not be eligible for free coins in an event of a fork.