According to BitPay, a Bitcoin Payment Service Provider, as of November 2013 there are over 14,000 merchants currently accepting bitcoins. Two years ago this number stood at few hundred. The number of transactions facilitated by Bitpay increased tenfold in 2014 and crossed the 50,000 mark in November. The payment processor said that 6,296 bitcoin transactions occurred on Black Friday last year, up from only 99 transactions the year prior.
2018 however seems to have been the complete opposite with bears smashing the markets despite positive news coming from several directions. This week has been a prime example with a number of altcoins getting some good news but seeing no positive effects on prices. Those that do get a pump usually get dumped the following day or sooner anyway, the momentum is just not lasting.
The Ethereum community fractured when a disagreement over how a technically legal theft of funds should be handled. The majority of users wished to change Ethereum’s code in order to get the lost funds back. A minority believed that Ethereum should not be tampered with or altered by third parties. Even in cases of users exploiting the smart contract feature to trick others, the Blockchain must remain “immutable.” Thus, the minority created the Classic version of Ethereum, which still survives and thrives.
Monero is a privacy coin and the preferred coin in darknet markets (which is likely why Coinbase won’t be adding it any time soon). It has solid transaction schematics that involves ring signatures and stealth addresses created on an ad hoc basis to keep transactions private. Monero also runs on a proof of work verification standard similar to Bitcoin. PoW means there will always be a value behind XMR, even if only the cost of energy. Finally, Monero has a strong base of community support because it was founded on principles of privacy and decentralization. These values are central to the original cryptocurrency concept. This is why I think it is a good long term investment right now.
Bittrex has earned it's place as the new contender to the throne of world's largest crypto exchange. Years of hard work and some lucky circumstances (BTC-e shut-down, Poloniex exodus, Cryptsy) have compounded a steady inflow of new users. It is a great place to trade bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I'll let you read the detail in my Bittrex review, which has some important facts and analysis.
Created in April 2011, Namecoin was the first altcoin. Although it also functions as a currency, Namecoin’s primary purpose is to decentralize domain-name registration, which makes internet censorship much more difficult. As its place among the top ten cryptocurrency market caps suggests, Namecoin has remained one of the most successful altcoins throughout its short lifespan.
Trading Bitcoin comes with statuary warning, sometimes from one’s own instincts — and sometimes — from the governments’ empathetically written circulars. The digital gold has indeed swept a large section of global traders and investors towards its mouth-watering — and risky — volatility. And as with any speculative market, Bitcoin has its shares of ills when it comes to injecting nightmares inside the traders’ mind.
However, there are also many altcoins that don’t do much interesting at all. The vast majority of altcoins simply tweak some parameters that don’t matter much, or offer something that may sound useful but isn’t. If, for example, an altcoin has a greater total amount of coins, it just means each individual coin is worth less. If an altcoin finds blocks faster, it only means that a transaction requires more confirmations for a similar level of security.
Similar, even in name, to an initial public offering (IPO) in which a private company’s stock first becomes public, an ICO happens when a cryptocurrency startup wants to raise funding in order to further the development of their coin. The startup releases some of their coins (often referred to as “tokens”) to traders, who purchase these tokens in the hope that the project succeeds and those coins gain value. If the predefined minimum funding is not reached, the money is sometimes returned to the traders.
What’s so special about Bitcoin? There are many arguments on whether the new virtual currency will succeed or fail. We will not get into this nor discuss the politics behind the project. Our concern is strictly with the profit opportunities provided by this new payment phenomenon. In the next few pages on the new digital currency we will outline our thoughts from the perspective of a trader and a potential investor in this upcoming market.
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