In February 2014 the world's largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, declared bankruptcy. The company stated that it had lost nearly $473 million of their customers' bitcoins likely due to theft. This was equivalent to approximately 750,000 bitcoins, or about 7% of all the bitcoins in existence. The price of a bitcoin fell from a high of about $1,160 in December to under $400 in February.
Since these blocks are heavily encrypted, they're sort of like complicated math puzzles that only powerful compute-capable hardware can solve. Enter your CPU, or your Radeon and GeForce graphics cards. The process of solving the math puzzles on these blocks and adding them to the public blockchain (think of it as a ledger) is roughy what mining is.
The morality of darknet markets is not an interesting debate to me. However, the fact ZEC is secure and sought out by people who want their purchases to remain private adds value to the coin from an investment perspective. This value will only deepen as darknet markets continue to grow. The Zcash dev team also recently published technical improvements they claim will reduce the memory consumption of transaction privacy by 98%.the Coinbase blog also recently mentioned Zcash as having great potential.
BAT was founded by a team of highly regarded people with a lot of experience in the tech world. The token is a unit of account between advertisers, publishers, and users. Synonymous with BAT is the Brave browser, which integrates with the BAT token. The browser can repel malware and protect the privacy of users while they surf the web. The BAT whitepaper banks on the fact users will welcome a browser that blocks trackers and ads that sell their personal information. I would tend to agree. This is why I think BAT is likely to be a good long term investment.
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.
Bitcoin mining is what gives bitcoin value. Miners are not so much solving a math problem as they are spending a lot of effort making guesses until they guess correctly. Bitcoin works by having a linked set of "blocks" of transaction records that document who has what bitcoin. To make bitcoin work, they needed some way to ensure that the record of blocks is immutable, i.e. nobody can change it. The way they accomplished this was to create the concept of mining. Miners take a current set of transactions, which includes a link to the last set accepted, and make many trillions of guesses, each time putting a number into the "nonce" field of the block header. The block header is run through a hash function, also known as a "one-way" or "trap-door" function. In this case, the SHA-256 hash function is used twice. If the output of the hash function is below a threshold value, then the block is valid, is accepted by other miners, and the miner who guessed correctly is rewarded with the block reward, currently 25 bitcoins. The lower the hash function output threshold, the harder it is to provide a guess that will cause the output of the hash function to be low enough, and just how low the threshold is is determined by something called bitcoin "difficulty." Difficulty adjusts every two weeks so that no matter how much mining is happening worldwide, a new block continues to be created every 10 minutes on average. It's a little hard to get your head around, but as soon as you do you'll see that bitcoin has created the world's first immutable ledger, the Blockchain. What you write in it, stays in it. Bitcoin is a currency that is the first asset tracked on the Blockchain, and because it is used to pay the miners, Bitcoin and the Blockchain are intertwined. But as long as the Bitcoin ecosystem continues to roar away, you can use the Blockchain to write anything down forever.
To avoid losing all your money in a pump and dump, focus on long-term investments in coins you believe have immense potential and exhibit overall health. Generally, healthy altcoins possess strong communities, exhibit high liquidity, and have developers who proactively improve the coin’s source code (though not necessary, many users also prefer developers who reveal their true identities). CoinGecko’s comprehensive coin metric analysis algorithm statistically analyzes these three important factors and ranks coins according to overall strength.
But where are the bitcoins actually stored? After you install one of the two clients above, you can find your bitcoins in a file called wallet.dat. If you use windows this file will be located in the application data section. If your computer gets stolen or lost and you haven’t made a copy of the wallet.dat file you will lose your bitcoins. It is always recommend to backup this file.