Overview and comparison of major cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin, Litecoin, cryptocurrencies, mining… It seems like these new words are popping up everywhere in recent months. In part, the cryptocurrency boom is due to the fact that historically they have shown much higher profitability than the traditional dollar or euro.

But there are actually a number of reasons why cryptocurrencies are so popular. They are safe, anonymous, and completely decentralized. Unlike conventional currencies, they are not controlled or regulated by any particular authority, and their flow is completely determined by market demand. They are also nearly impossible to forge, thanks to a highly complex code system that encrypts each transmission, providing complete anonymity and security for every user.

Although Bitcoin is practically the only cryptocurrency discussed most of the time, there are actually many different cryptocurrencies available (in fact, very many).

So let’s take a closer look at the major ones.

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin is the digital currency that is stored in the unique payment system of the same name, where there is no controlling body and all participants are considered peers. Bitcoins can be used to make purchases and transfers if the recipient agrees to receive Bitcoin and is able to do so. The main idea behind

Bitcoin is complete decentralization: neither the central bank, nor the government, nor any other administrative organization can influence or control Bitcoin.

As for Bitcoin’s profitability, it is legendary.

This isn’t surprising – after all, a Bitcoin was sold for 0.003 dollars in the very beginning, and now it is traded at around USD 9000.

Bitcoin Cash is a new currency that emerged from a hard fork of the Bitcoin on August 1, 2017. It is a more scalable replication of the original blockchain with individual blocks increased to 8 MB.

The way a fork works is that instead of creating a new blockchain from scratch, the fork creates a duplicate blockchain with the same history.

What this actually means is that all owners of pre-fork Bitcoins are now owners of the same amount of Bitcoin Cash, since both cryptocurrencies had the same blockchain up until the moment of the fork.

Right after its release, Bitcoin Cash was worth about USD 700, but it stabilized in the USD 250-300 range in the following days.

Dash

Dash (“Digital Cash”) is a decentralized open payment system that uses an algorithm called Darksend to keep transactions anonymous. This currency has been renamed twice, from Darkcoin in 2015 and Xcoin in 2014.
It offers all the possibilities of Bitcoin, as well as instant and completely anonymous transactions through so-called Masternodes.
Masternodes mix up the transaction data to erase all of its tracks, and then get a percentage of the transaction value.
The main differences between Dash and Bitcoin are:

Transactions in Dash are anonymous.
Dash uses not one, but a combination of several cryptographic algorithms.
Mining Dash consumes less energy.

Decisions about the further development of the system are made collectively by all members of the Dash network through Decentralized Governance, instead of being decided by individual programmers.

The value of this cryptocurrency passed the $1 billion mark in May 2017.

Ethereum

Ethereum is a platform for creating decentralized online services based on a blockchain that uses smart contracts. It is implemented as a single decentralized virtual machine.
Developed by 19-year-old Vitalik Buterin, this cryptocurrency raised 18 million dollars in its ICO in August 2013 and was launched in July of 2015.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies, its creators do not limit the role of the Ether to payments, but offer it as a means for exchanging resources or registering transactions of assets using smart contracts. In particular, its developers have called the Ether a “crypto fuel” for smart contracts.
The Ethereum technology makes it possible to register any transactions with any assets using a blockchain-type distributed database of contracts, without resorting to traditional legal procedures. This possibility provides competition for the existing transaction registration system. According to The Economist magazine, the technology of “smart contracts” marks a new era in financial technologies.
Developers can issue tokens or units of their currency over a blockchain network.
In 2017, Ethereum grew by 4000% and became the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.
RIPPLE

Ripple is a distributed payment system that uses the same cryptocurrency (XRP) as the internal payment unit.

First of all, we need to clarify that Ripple is not a Bitcoin clone and Ripple technology is based on a completely different concept, called the “principle of trust”.

XRP is similar to BTC:

Ripple is divided out to a large number of decimal places.
It is also easily transmitted in electronic form and has high cryptographic stability.
It is interchangeable and homogeneous.

XRP also has advantages over BTC:

Transactions in the network are much faster.
Ripple has some intrinsic value, since it allows you to conduct transactions.
Ripple coins are deflationary, as they are destroyed by the network after the transaction is carried out, so the total number of XRPs decreases over time.

As of 2017, Ripple is ranked the fourth cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, second only to Bitcoin and Ephereum.

Litecoin

Litecoin is a peer-to-peer internet currency that includes nearly zero-cost payments to anywhere in the world.
Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin, as they were the same cryptocurrency until 2011.
The emission of Litecoins, as with Bitcoins, is algorithmically limited. The maximum amount of Litecoins that will go into circulation is four times greater than the maximum number of Bitcoins (84 million versus 21).
The initial reward for each block is 50 Litecoins.
Litecoin blocks are formed 4 times faster than Bitcoin blocks. Their pace of emissions and compensations will be similar over time.
About 3/4 of all Litecoins will be generated in 2020.
Will cryptocurrencies be the new norm after 2017? It might be too early to judge. There is one thing we know for certain – cryptocurrencies are going to be on the minds of experts and ordinary people for a long time.
Don’t forget that the first real thing bought using Bitcoin was a pizza sold for 10,000 bitcoins. In 2009, the owner of a pizzeria decided to believe in the cryptocurrency and traded the pizza for a pittance.  This decision brought him at least $4,000,000 and set off a major financial revolution.
If you believe in the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, if you want to secure a place for yourself in a future where cryptocurrencies reign, and if you want to witness the origins of a new financial system, then it is best to invest now.
The best way to do this is on the IQ Option platform, which is one of the largest online exchanges in the world.

IQ Option offers its customers a wide range of cryptocurrency assets, a steadily growing number of available trading instruments, everything necessary for technical and fundamental analysis, a user-friendly interface, 24/7 customer support, lightning-fast credits and withdrawals of funds, and much, much more.

May you and your assets continue to grow!

All You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Bitcoin is an extremely safe and reliable, software-based online payment system. To keep things simple, we can just look at it as a form of digital currency. Bitcoin is not a payment system but it’s actually like money. Digital money, to be exact. Just like real money, it can be exchanged for goods and services. To understand how bitcoin works, you will need to understand the components that make bitcoin what it is.

Firstly, it is digital. There is nothing to see or hold. It is not tangible like paper currency or coins.

Secondly, it is peer-to-peer based. That means you are in total control. There are no banks, third parties or intermediaries to take a chunk of your bitcoin as fees. You send your bitcoin directly to the person you want it to go to. This is one factor that is seeing the rise in popularity of bitcoin.

Thirdly, bitcoin is not controlled by any one bank or financial institution. It is decentralized and run by a group of people worldwide. We live in a day and age where people want more freedom and wish to break away from the shackles of the top 1%. Bitcoin is a symbol of that freedom.

Fourthly, pseudonyms are used with bitcoin transactions ensuring ultimate privacy. This again makes this method of payment very popular with people who do not want others to know their financial transactions. The transactions are viewable but all you’ll see are a bunch of numbers and alphabets that really make no sense.

Lastly, the movement of bitcoin is protected by top of the line cryptography that ensures the digital currency is secure and can’t be abused by criminals.

Despite all the positive points about bitcoin, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are certain negative aspects associated with bitcoin.

For starters, while the transactions are safe and secure, bitcoin can be used to purchase illegal items such as drugs, child pornography and other illegal goods. The same positive points such as privacy and security become negative when people use bitcoin for illicit purposes.

Bitcoin has seen increased growth and merchants are slowly starting to accept it as a digital currency so that they can cut costs on fees imposed by payment processors. However, there is no consumer protection for bitcoin users. The bitcoin can be stolen with no possible means of recourse. For example, sellers may not deliver goods that may have been paid for with bitcoin.

Certain countries also impose restrictions on bitcoin purchase. Bitcoin still has some ways to go as far as becoming accepted like traditional currency. Nevertheless, as trends indicate, it is on its way there.

The Pros and Cons of Bitcoin

Bitcoin is one of those things that you either have a good idea about or you’ve heard of it but have no inkling what it really is. The media has not really mentioned bitcoin really is.

In simple words, it’s a digital currency and a payment system. A two-in-one online currency solution that is gaining popularity all over the world. In this article, we’ll examine the pros and cons of bitcoin.

At the end of the day, you will need to decide for yourself if bitcoin is your cup of tea. Whatever your decision may be, bitcoin is here to stay and is gaining popularity with more and more people accepting it around the world.

Let’s look at the pros first.

1. Low transaction fees

Fees charged by online payment processors can be steep if the volume is high. Many merchants may balk at the fees and exchange costs over time. Since bitcoin is not controlled, it has very low fees and it’s still secure since it doesn’t rely on one point of failure as is common with normal payment processors.

It’s also much faster since there is no approval process or verification required because bitcoin is extremely private.

2. Bitcoin is deflationary

One of the unique features of bitcoin is that only 21 million bitcoins will be created. That is the limit. That means the value of the coins will grow over time.

3. No taxation

There are no taxes involved with bitcoin. This should be music to many people. No need to pay additional taxes on your purchases.

4. High degree of privacy

Almost all bitcoin transactions are extremely secure and very private. Users of bitcoin use pseudonyms for their transactions. This high degree of privacy makes the use of bitcoin very appealing to many people.

5. Simple to use

Bitcoin was made for the internet and it’s simply a dream to use. To send bitcoin to someone, all you will have to do is key in the receiver’s address and send. It’s as fast as sending an email. No hassle. No waiting times. An extremely flexible form of online payment.

6. Bitcoin is not regulated

That means there are no banks or financial institutions manipulating bitcoin to attain their own agenda. Bitcoin eliminates all third party interference in the transactions. Nobody can freeze a bitcoin account.

Traditional money relies on trust. The people need to trust the banks that they place their money in. With the collapse of financial institutions, dodgy practices, runs on the bank, etc. many people have lost faith in banks and actually view these institutions as detrimental to society in general.

Now we’ll look at the disadvantages and there are a few that we must bear in mind.

1. Bitcoin requires some learning

There is a learning curve involved when it comes to bitcoin. Unlike traditional money that we are accustomed to using from an early age, bitcoin is relatively new. The concept requires some study and understanding.

There are not many comprehensive guides on the subject. Users will need to understand the terminology such as block chain, cryptography, mining, etc. All these can be learnt by using Google. If you truly wish to understand bitcoin, there is more than enough information online to make you well-versed on the subject.

2. Not accepted in many places

Unlike PayPal which has been widely adopted, most merchants have not started accepting bitcoin as a means of payment yet. So, if you’re a buyer, you may not be able to make purchases from many places.

3. Difficult to obtain

In the beginning, it was relatively easy to mine for bitcoin. Now, as the number gets higher, it is getting extremely difficult to obtain bitcoin. Thankfully, there are more bitcoin exchanges opening with more willing sellers.

4. Bitcoin transaction can be slow at times

Most bitcoin transactions are fast but since this a peer to peer system, there is a time set for confirmation on the transaction. The bigger the transaction, the longer the wait. You can opt for zero confirmations and not have to wait as long but it would be wise to wait.

5. Bitcoin can be stolen

Even though bitcoin is a digital currency, it can still be stolen. Many bitcoin owners store their data in digital drives and secure these drives in safety deposits to ensure they’re not stolen. You will have a digital wallet to protect your bitcoin but you must know how to do it correctly.

After weighing the pros and cons, you’ll notice that bitcoin is worth considering as a means of payment online and definitely worth exploring. Take your time to understand the system and see if it will work for you.

(783 words)

Protecting Your Bitcoins from Loss or Theft

Just like traditional currency, bitcoin too can be lost or stolen. It is crucial to take steps to protect your bitcoin or you may end up in a situation where your bitcoins are coin and there is absolutely no way to get them back. You can’t go to the police because unlike normal theft or burglary, most police are not equipped to handle digital theft, etc.

Prevention is better than cure. Follow the steps below to safeguard your money.

The number one reason people lose their bitcoins is through carelessness. Bitcoins are kept in a digital wallet. There is an encryption and a password. If you commit the password to memory and forget it later on, it is impossible to recover the bitcoins. This has happened to many people and they were never able to retrieve their coins.

The best thing you can do is write down the password to your wallet and keep it under lock and key. If you’re storing the details on a portable hard drive, make a backup and keep that under lock and key too. As always, write down the details. There is no substitute for good ól pen and paper when it comes to this.

It would be a good idea to use paper wallets because of their high level of security.

While all these measures are good to protect your bitcoins from digital theft, one must not neglect threats in the real world. There may be IT savvy thieves who may know that you have bitcoins and will steal them if they have a chance.

Do not go around boasting to every Tom, Dick and Harry that you have bitcoins and they are a dream come true. Someone who is familiar with the system may be looking for an opportunity to relieve you of these coins.

Keep your bitcoin wallet encrypted and under lock and key. Friends, relatives and even strangers may steal your bitcoins. The temptation is always there. So, keep a low profile as far as your investments are concerned.

The internet is not a safe place. If you are surfing online a lot, you may have all types of malware, keylogger software, etc. on your computer without even realizing it. These software will send details to your bitcoins, passwords, credit card details, etc. to the person trying to hack into your account. Anything is possible.

The threats of hacking are very real and this is not a case of “it only happens to others”. It can happen to you too. So, take steps to secure your computer from these attacks. Invest in a good computer security system.

Make sure your computer operating system is clean. Keep only small amounts of bitcoin in your wallet if you’re making purchases online. In this way, even if there is theft, the amount lost will be minimal.

Implement a 2-Factor authentication feature. This means that anytime you try to use your bitcoin, you will receive a text message on your phone with a one-time password. Only after you key in the password, will you be able to access the bitcoin.

These are just some of the ways that you can protect your bitcoin. Always remember that the initial hassle to protect your bitcoins will pay off in the long run.

So Many Ways To Buy Bitcoins

Bitcoin is the latest and hottest online payment system that the internet savvy community is raving about these days. It is a topic that the general layman is not really aware about and does not really understand due to its steep learning curve.

It is a digital currency and payment system that is secure, private and very simple to use once you know how. It is not regulated and is becoming more and more valuable with each passing day despite the fluctuations.

Some people hoard it as a form of investment. Others use it to purchase items discreetly since total privacy is a bitcoin benefit. Whatever the case, in order to use bitcoins, you must first acquire them. That’s what this article is about.

Before even getting any bitcoins, you will first need to get a bitcoin wallet. Just like you would keep traditional money in a leather wallet, bitcoin can be kept in a digital or paper wallet.
The wallet is actually a software that keeps your bitcoin securely and safe from hackers. The wallet can either be on your computer desktop or a portable data drive which can be kept under lock and key.

The bitcoin wallet is actually part of the bitcoin system and will record all your transactions. It takes up a sizeable chunk of memory on your computer though.

In the past, people bought and sold bitcoins using credit cards and PayPal. However, there is a limitation with bitcoin. Bitcoin transactions can only be reversed by the recipient. So what happened was that many unscrupulous buyers purchased bitcoin with their credit cards and then requested chargebacks through the credit cards. The sellers were left helpless with no form of recourse. So, they stopped accepting these methods of payment.

That makes it extremely difficult to purchase bitcoins these days.

Thankfully, there are more and more exchanges springing up these days to facilitate the sale of bitcoins for a fee. Many people are turning to bitcoin exchanges to buy bitcoin. This is one way you can obtain bitcoins.

You may have heard of the term bitcoin mining. This is a process that not only takes up a ton of time but is very complicated. Verifying and recording payments into the public ledger is called mining and the payment can be in bitcoins. This is a way of getting bitcoins but it’s really painstaking.

You may buy bitcoin from people you know who are offering it for sale. This is perhaps one of the best methods of getting your hands on bitcoins. Since you trust the person you’re dealing with, there is little chance of them taking your money and disappearing.

You may check Craigslist and see if anyone is offering any bitcoins for sale. You may also check eBay but usually the value of the bitcoin is marked up pretty high and unless you’re purchasing for investment purposes, it’s not really worth the gamble.

Another way to obtain bitcoin is to start an online business and accept bitcoin as a form of payment. If you make it easy for the customer to pay with bitcoin, you will find yourself getting paid with bitcoin. It helps to set up a store in a popular industry with many buyers so that your chances of finding a buyer who pays with bitcoin will be higher.

These are just some of the ways to obtain bitcoins. There are other methods such as doing trivial tasks on websites that offer payment in bitcoin. However, the amount offered is so miniscule that it’s really not worth your time. Time is more precious than bitcoin. Always bear that in mind.

How Bitcoin Prevents Double Spending

To understand how bitcoin solves the double spending issue, you need to know what double spending is. It’s a pretty simple concept to understand and this problem only exists on the internet and not in the real world since you can’t double spend with traditional currency.

Wikipedia states that double spending is, “a failure mode of digital cash schemes, when it is possible to spend a single digital token twice. Since, unlike physical token money such as coins, electronic files can be duplicated, and hence the act of spending a digital coin does not remove its data from the ownership of the original holder.”

So, what does this mean?

Let’s look at this scenario. You visit a store to buy a book. You have ten dollars in your wallet and the book costs ten dollars. Once you pay for the book with your cash, the money will now be in the store’s cash register. The money can only be in one place at one time. It absolutely cannot be in your wallet and the store register at the same time.

With online monetary transactions however, this can happen.

The online sales and purchases are all done using computer codes and algorithms. That basically means, the same money could be in different places at the same time. To prevent this from happening, there are extremely sophisticated payment gateways and processors such as PayPal, Worldpay, Authorize.net and many more to make sure double spending does not occur.

These payment processors have systems in place that review all the transactions carefully to prevent any mistakes from occurring and also to prevent fraud which is always a threat.

Despite these processors being first rate and highly reliable, there are some disadvantages too. If there are any technical issues or the systems flag your transaction as shady, your transactions will be denied. This is known as a single point of failure.

Not only that, your account may be suspended pending review. Your funds will also be stuck till your account is cleared after the review.

Many people have reported having their PayPal accounts suspended for no good reason. Besides this, in order to maintain their service, these processors charge fees ranging from 2% to higher. Depending on your volume of transactions, these can add up and be quite exorbitant.

Bitcoin solves the double spending problem because it does not rely on a single point of failure. The bitcoin payment system uses the block chain to prevent double spending from occurring and it does so without incurring high fees.

Without getting too technical, a block chain is a database that is shared by all the nodes participating in the bitcoin system. This database has a record of all transactions that have taken place using bitcoin.

Every block has the hash from the previous block. So, the blocks are in chronological order and you cannot just modify one block because every other block down the line will have to be modified too. This makes double spending very difficult because every transaction depends on the one before it and the one before that. At any point in time, the bitcoin’s movement can be traced all the way back.

There is much more to the block chain but for now, the point is that bitcoin prevents double spending online without incurring fees or having your funds locked. This is one of the best features of using bitcoin for your online transactions. No hassles as far as your funds are concerned. That’s a plus point in anyone’s book.