Bitcoin has been in the news the last couple of weeks, but a lot of people are still unaware of them. Could Bitcoin be the future of online currency? This is just one of the questions, frequently asked about Bitcoin.
How Does Bitcoin Work?
Bitcoin is a type of electronic currency (CryptoCurrency) that is autonomous from traditional banking and came into circulation in 2009. According to some of the top online traders, Bitcoin is considered as the best known digital currency that relies on computer networks to solve complex mathematical problems, in order to verify and record the details of each transaction made.
The Bitcoin exchange rate does not depend on the central bank and there is no single authority that governs the supply of CryptoCurrency. However, the Bitcoin price depends on the level of confidence its users have, as the more major companies accept Bitcoin as a method of payment, the more successful Bitcoin will become.
Benefits and Risks of Bitcoin
One of the benefits of Bitcoin is its low inflation risk. Traditional currencies suffer from inflation and they tend to lose their purchasing power each year, as governments continue to use quantative easing to stimulate the economy.
Bitcoin doesn’t suffer from low inflation, because Bitcoin mining is limited to just 21 million units. That means the release of new Bitcoins is slowing down and the full amount will be mined out within the next couple of decades. Experts have predicted that the last Bitcoin will be mined by 2050.
Bitcoin has a low risk of collapse unlike traditional currencies that rely on governments. When currencies collapse, it leads to hyperinflation or the wipeout of one’s savings in an instant.
Bitcoin exchange rate is not regulated by any government and is a digital currency available worldwide.
Bitcoin is easy to carry. A billion dollars in the Bitcoin can be stored on a memory stick and placed in one’s pocket. It is that easy to transport Bitcoins compared to paper money.
One disadvantage of Bitcoin is its untraceable nature, as Governments and other organisations cannot trace the source of your funds and as such can attract some unscrupulous individuals.
How to Make Money with Bitcoin
Unlike other currencies, there are three ways to make money with Bitcoin, saving, trading and mining. Bitcoin can be traded on open markets, which means you can buy Bitcoin low and sell them high.
The value of Bitcoin dropped in recent weeks because of the abrupt stoppage of trading in Mt. Gox, which is the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world. According to unverified sources, trading was stopped due to malleability-related theft that was said to be worth more than 744,000. The incident has affected the confidence of the investors to the virtual currency.
According to Bitcoin chart, the Bitcoin exchange rate went up to more than $1,100 last December. That was when more people became aware about the digital currency, then the incident with Mt. Gox happened and it dropped to around $530.
In 2014, We expect exponential growth in the popularity of bitcoin around the world with both merchants and consumers, Stephen Pair, BitPay’s co-founder and CTO, âand anticipate seeing the biggest growth in China, India, Russia and South America.
India has already been cited as the next likely popular market that Bitcoin could move into. Africa could also benefit hugely from using BTC as a currency-of-exchange to get around not having a functioning central bank system or any other country that relies heavily on mobile payments. Bitcoin’s expansion in 2014 will be led by Bitcoin ATMs, mobile apps and tools.
World Experiences Bitcoin
More people have accepted the use of Bitcoin and supporters hope that one day, the digital currency will be used by consumers for their online shopping and other electronic deals. Major companies have already accepted payments using the virtual currency. Some of the large firms include Fiverr, TigerDirect and Zynga, among others.
The Future of Bitcoin
Bitcoin works, but critics have said that the digital currency is not ready to be used by the mainstream because of its volatility. They also point to the hacking of the Bitcoin exchange in the past that has resulted in the loss of several millions of dollars.
Supporters of digital currencies have said that there are newer exchanges that are supervised by financial experts and venture capitalists. Experts added that there is still hope for the virtual currency system and the predicted growth is huge.
I hope this article has helped you all gain a much more clear understanding of Bitcoin, the potential, does Bitcoin work and how Bitcoins work. For more articles about Bitcoin, weekly trends, information and updates, subscribe to our blog post.
This Article was written by Aaron Brown CEO/Founder of Synergetic Society Media Group LLC
Getting Your First Bitcoins – Mark Andrew Norton
Now that you have a wallet, you will, of course, want to test them out.
The very first place to go is http://faucet.bitcoin.st/.
This is a website that gives out small amounts of bitcoin for the purpose of getting people used to using them. The original version of this was run by the lead developer of bitcoin, Gavin Andreson. That site has since closed and this site operates by sending out one or two advertisements a month. You agree to receive those messages by requesting the bitcoins. Copy and paste your new bitcoin address and enter a phone number to which you can receive an SMS. They send out an SMS to be sure that people are not continuously coming back for more since it costs nothing to create a bitcoin address. They will also send out once or twice a month advertisement to support their operation. The amount they send it trivial: 0.0015 BTC (or 1.5 mBTC). However, they process almost immediately and you can check to see that your address and wallet are working. It is also quite a feeling to get that portion of a bitcoin. (Non-disclaimer: I have no connection with this site and receive nothing if you use them. I simply think they are a good way to get your feet wet).
Congratulations! You have just entered the bitcoin economy.
To get your feet a little wetter, you can go panning for gold. There are a number of services and websites out there that will pay you in bitcoin to do things like go to certain websites, fill out online surveys, or watch sponsored videos. These are harmless, and you can earn a few extra bitcoins this way, but it is important to remember that these are businesses that get paid when people click on the links on their sites. They are essentially kicking back a portion of what they get paid to you. There is nothing illegal, or even immoral about this (you might like what you see and make a purchase!), but they are frequently flashy and may not be completely straightforward. All the ones that I have tried (particularly bitvisitor.com) have paid out as advertised. It is interesting to experiment with these, but even with the likely rise in the value of bitcoin, you won’t become a millionaire doing this. So, unless you are an advertisement junkie, I would recommend you move on. If you would like to try, simply Google “free bitcoins” or something along those lines and you will find numerous sites.
Finally, this is going to be the real test of bitcoin. Can people easily trade them back and forth? If this can’t happen, then there can’t really be a bitcoin economy because retailers won’t be able to use it. If retailers can’t use it, what earthly good is it? Fortunately, this is not really a problem. iPhone is a bit of a hold out, but many smartphones have apps (mobile wallets) that will read QR codes and allow you to send bitcoin to whomever you want. You can also display a QR code of your address, or even carry a card in your wallet with your QR code to let people send bitcoin to you. Depending on what kind of wallet you have, you can then check to see if the bitcoins have been received.
A couple of things to note:
- When you set up your wallet, if you click around a bit, you will see an option to pay a fee to speed transactions. This money becomes available to a bitcoin miner as he/she/they process bitcoin information. The miners doing the work of creating blocks of information keeps the system up to date and secure. The fee is an incentive to the miner to be sure to include your information in the next information block and therefore “verify” it. In the short term, miners are making most of their money by mining new coins (check the section on What Are Bitcoins for more information about this). In the long term, as it gets harder to find new coins, and as the economy increases, the fees will be an incentive for miners to keep creating more blocks and keep the economy going. Your wallet should be set to pay 0 fees as a default, but if you want, you can add a fee to prioritize your transactions. You are under no obligation to pay a fee, and many organizations that process many small transactions (like the ones that pan for gold described above) produce enough fees to keep the miners happy.
- In clicking around your wallet, on the transactions page or linked to specific transactions, you will see a note about confirmations. When you make a transaction, that information is sent out into the network and the network will send back a confirmation that there is no double entry for that bitcoin. It is smart to wait until you get several confirmations before walking away from someone who has paid you. It is actually not very easy to scam someone hand-to-hand like this, and it is not very cost-effective for the criminal, but it can be done.
Where can you buy bitcoin like this?
- You may have a bitcoin Meetup in your area.
- You can check out localbitcoins.com to find people near you who are interested in buying or selling.
- Some are trying to start up local street exchanges across the world. These are called Buttonwoods after the first street exchange established on Wall Street in 1792 under a buttonwood tree. See if there is one, or start one, in your area.
- See if you have any friends who would like to try bitcoins out. Actually, the more people who start using bitcoin, the larger and more successful it will be come. So please tell two friends!
Some people ask if it is possible to buy physical bitcoins. The answer to this is both a yes and a no. Bitcoin, by its very nature, is a digital currency and has no physical form. However, there are a couple of ways that you can practically hold a bitcoin in your hands:
- Cascascius Coins: These are the brainchild of Mike Caldwell. He mints physical coins and then embeds the private keys for the bitcoins inside them. You can get the private key by peeling a hologram from the coin which will then clearly show that the coin has been tampered with. Mike has gone out of his way to ensure that he can be trusted. These are a good investment strategy as in the years to come it may be that these coins are huge collector’s items.
- Paper Wallets: A paper wallet just means that rather than keeping the information for your bitcoin stored in a digital wallet, you print the key information off along with a private key and keep it safe in a safe, in a drawer, or in your mattress (if you like). This is highly recommended and cost effective system for keeping your bitcoin safe. Keep in mind, though, that someone could steal them or if your house burns, they will go with the house and there will be no way to get them back. Really, no different than cash. Also, as with Casascius Coins, they will not really be good for spending until you put them back into the computer.
* There is software to make printing your paper wallets easier. bitcoinpaperwallet.com is one of the best and includes a good tutorial about how to use them.
* The bitcoins are not actually in the wallet, they are still on the web. In fact, the outside of the wallet will have a QR code that will allow you ship coins to the wallet any time you like.
* The sealed part of the wallet will have the private key without which you cannot access the coins. Therefore, only put as many coins on the wallet as you want to be inaccessible. You will not be able to whip this thing out and take out a few coins to buy a cup of coffee. Rather, think of it as a piggy bank. To get the money, you have to smash it. It is possible to take out smaller amounts, but at this point the security of the wallet is compromised and it would be easier for someone to steal the coins. Better to have them all in or out.
* People who use paper wallets are usually security conscious, and there are a number of ways for the nefarious in the world to hack your computer. Bitcoinpaperwallet.com gives a lot of good advice about how to print your wallets securely.
Some people have also asked about buying bitcoins on eBay. Yes, it is possible, but they will be far overpriced. So, selling on eBay might seem to be a better option given the extreme markup over market value you might see. But, as with anything that is too good to be true, this is too good to be true. As I will explain in the next section, selling bitcoin this way is just way too risky.
How Not to Buy Bitcoin
In the next section, I am going to explain a couple of key points about buying from Bitcoin Exchanges. Before I do, let me give you a warning.
A short history lesson: When people first started setting up actual business based on bitcoin, they used all of the tools available to any merchant. They sold by credit card and PayPal. The problem with this business model was quickly spotted: bitcoin transactions are not reversible by anyone except the recipient of the money. Credit cards and PayPal have strong buyer protection policies that make it relatively easy for people to request a chargeback. So, nefarious individuals realized this and began making purchases of bitcoin and then sooner or later requesting a chargeback. And, since bitcoin is a non-physical product, sent by new and poorly understood technological means, the sellers were not able to contest this. Because of this, sellers stopped accepting credit cards and PayPal.
This was a big problem for the currency: How to move money between buyers and seller? Some business emerged that would credit you with bitcoin if you wired them money. Very often these businesses would give addresses in Albania, Poland, or Russia. The fact is that many of these did work and there are a lot of stories on the forums of people who bought bitcoins this way. But it took a lot of time and in the meantime the buyer just had to bite his or her fingernails wondering if they would get their bitcoins or kiss their investment goodbye.
I expect that as bitcoin becomes more acceptable and valuable, we are going to see a version of the Nigerian Prince scam. So the warning is this: we now have exchanges and other businesses that allow for moving money easily onto and off of exchanges. Never wire money for bitcoin. It was a short-lived, and well-forgotten, moment in the history of bitcoin.
Next, I will be talking about how to buy from a bitcoin exchange and give a review of the some of the best known exchanges.
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