The above list shows that, fundamentally, yes, anyone can mine cryptocurrencies; however, you must have a keen interest in mining, as well as an appetite to constantly learn and keep up to date on any technology changes. You also have to have the initial budget to be able to set up everything that is required. So, although, technically anyone can mine, realistically, it is not suited to everyone.
Luckily, the spread between the bid and the ask price is very low, most of the time ranging between 1 and 2 dollars. At a current bitcoin rate of $819, this amounts to an added cost of 0.1 to 0.25%. You only pay the spread if you want to enter a trade right away with a market order. If you placed a limit order to buy and you’re willing to wait until someone wants to sell, you can purchase your bitcoins at a small discount at the bid and later sell them at the ask, pocketing the spread in the process.
I have only been doing this a little over a week, but have seen real deposits of ZEC going into my accounts daily - and so far in amounts that are profitable. I noticed some Genesis Mining identified deposits to others on My Ether Wallet a while back and realized that a lot of people used this service to get started in acquisition of coin. It is great so far.
I won't delve too deeply into the history of Bitcoin or its hordes of both unique and flash-in-the-pan spinoffs, but I do want to point out that you can't actually mine Bitcoin with regular computers anymore. It requires specialized and expensive hardware called ASICs. However, you can mine other coins and convert them to Bitcoin through a variety of exchanges and services. You can also earn Bitcoin by "lending" your computer's processing power to services like NiceHash which pay out in Bitcoin. But that's another rabbit hole for another time!
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.
Additionally, national governments and exchanges are mulling over regulation of the whole realm of cryptocurrencies. Japan has recently introduced legislation to protect users after Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox collapsed in 2014. Similarly, introducing taxation such as capital gains tax on Bitcoin sales may also impede the cryptocurrency industry.
Then there is Tron which gets daily fomo inducing pumps from founder Justin Sun and the rest of the team. Most of these ‘partnership’ teasers are insignificant but the latest one regarding collaboration with Baidu should have had a bigger impact. Granted, there was no actual partnership but the fact that China’s largest internet company will be working with the Tron Foundation should have had some effect on TRX prices. It didn’t as TRX spiked a little on Monday but has lost almost 7% since then and is down over 70% in the past six months.
There are a few platforms that have been christened with the name “Ethereum Killer”, but as of right now, EOS looks to be the only one within striking distance. If the success of BitShares and Steem (both founded by Larimer), combined with the fact they’re dominating the market in terms of blockchain activity, are at all indicators of success, the case for an EOS/ETH “flippening” could hold some weight.
Altcoins began life as little more than bitcoin copies attempting to mimic bitcoin’s successful run, but they quickly became much more than their name suggests. At the time of writing (February 2018), there are more than 1,500 altcoins available for use. While many are still struggling to break the mold set by bitcoin, some are doing truly amazing things with the technology.
Many users forgot one of the most important features of Bitcoin—controlling your own money—and left more than 800,000 bitcoins in Gox accounts. In February 2014, Gox halted withdrawals and customers were unable to withdrawal their funds. The company’s CEO claimed that the majority of bitcoins were lost due to a bug in the Bitcoin software. Customers still have not received any of their funds from Gox accounts.
The picture above shows some of the recent large transactions recorded in the block chain. The first transaction is for 205 BTC, the equivalent of $187,165 at today’s prices. The long lines of letters and numbers you see in the pic are bitcoin addresses. A bitcoin address consists of 27-34 alphanumeric characters, beginning with the number 1 or 3. You can have as many addresses as you want, they’re free and easy to generate.
Like we mentioned previously, in order to send or receive bitcoins you will need to have a bitcoin address. You can get a bitcoin address either by downloading the bitcoin client or by getting an online wallet. The two most popular btc clients are Bitcoin-qt and Multibit. The main difference between these two clients is in the size of the block chain that needs to be downloaded. If you decide to go with Bitcoin-qt, have at least 10 Gigabytes free space on your hard drive for the block chain. As Bitcoin-qt is the ‘’official’’ bitcoin client, if you can spare 10 GB, go for this option. Here’s a page that has step by step instructions on installing Bitcoin-qt.