5 Reasons to Invest in Bitcoin

Jason Stutman of Wealth Daily gives us 5 reasons to invest in Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin’s bid as a serious investment has only matured in recent years as the digital currency has come of age. Once rightfully considered a virtual lottery ticket, Bitcoin has gradually cemented itself as a legitimate asset to consider for your portfolio. This week, the cryptocurrency marked its longest stretch trading over $500 since its inception nearly a decade ago. For six months, Bitcoin has climbed well past that mark, now trading near $750.”  (As published on December 14, 2016).

Since this article was published, Bitcoin has been on a steady increase and as this date, February 28, 2017, Bitcoin is $1199.37 USD.   To find buying opportunities, one needs to keep a close eye on Bitcoin price fluctuations.

“If that makes you feel like you’ve been missing out, but you aren’t convinced just yet that Bitcoin is right for you, here are five things you should probably know about this unique investment…”

 

Wealth Daily offers a Special Report: A Beginners Guide to Bitcoin which is available by just clicking on the subscribe button at the end of the above video.  

It is this writer’s opinion that Bitcoin is here to stay and we should be learning as much as we can about Bitcoin so we can make informed decisions about including it in a financial portfolio.

 

Judy Curtis, 
Contributor

 

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Bitcoin Price Surges to Within $30 of All-Time High

Bitcoin Price Surges to Within $30 of All-Time High

| Published on February 23, 2017 at 09:23 GMT

The price of bitcoin has surged overnight, closing in on its all-time high set back in 2013.

Immediately prior to reporting, global average prices had reached a high for the session of around $1,137, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index. Notably, that figure is less than $30 below the maximum ever value of $1,165.89 set on 30th November, 2013.

The latest increase comes soon after bitcoin’s longest ever period at over $1,000, and a notable period of volatility in recent months.

The highs also reflect confidence by traders and investors in an industry that has been somewhat rocked by moves by the Chinese central bank to restrict the actions of the country’s bitcoin exchanges, causing a number of them to temporarily freeze withdrawals of the cryptocurrency in recent weeks.

Also lurking in the background, and possibly having an influence on price, is the imminent SEC decision on the Winklevoss brothers’ bitcoin ETF – an event some experts have told CoinDesk that traders are already ‘pricing in’ a potential approval.

The 11th March ruling could see the approval of the first bitcoin ETF in the US market, opening the digital currency to a wider audience of investors. However, many in the industry do not see a high likelihood of approval by the financial regulator.

For more historical data and charts, visit the CoinDesk BPI here.

Trading chart via Shutterstock

Thanks to Daniel Palmer, CoinDesk for this article.

 

Judy Curtis,
Contributor

 

 

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Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin and Altcoins

 

What is a ‘Cryptocurrency’?

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature. A defining feature of a cryptocurrency, and arguably its most endearing allure, is its organic nature; it is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

Breaking Down ‘Cryptocurrency’

The first cryptocurrency to capture the public imagination was Bitcoin, which was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. As of September 2015, there were over 14.6 million bitcoins in circulation with a total market value of $3.4 billion. Bitcoin’s success has spawned a number of competing cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin, Namecoin and PPCoin.

Cryptocurrency Benefits and Drawbacks

Cryptocurrencies make it easier to transfer funds between two parties in a transaction; these transfers are facilitated through the use of public and private keys for security purposes. These fund transfers are done with minimal processing fees, allowing users to avoid the steep fees charged by most banks and financial institutions for wire transfers.

Central to the genius of Bitcoin is the block chain it uses to store an online ledger of all the transactions that have ever been conducted using bitcoins, providing a data structure for this ledger that is exposed to a limited threat from hackers and can be copied across all computers running Bitcoin software. Many experts see this block chain as having important uses in technologies, such as online voting and crowdfunding, and major financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase see potential in cryptocurrencies to lower transaction costs by making payment processing more efficient.

However, because cryptocurrencies are virtual and do not have a central repository, a digital cryptocurrency balance can be wiped out by a computer crash if a backup copy of the holdings does not exist. Since prices are based on supply and demand, the rate at which a cryptocurrency can be exchanged for another currency can fluctuate widely.

Cryptocurrencies are not immune to the threat of hacking. In Bitcoin’s short history to 2015, the company has been subject to over 40 thefts, including a few that exceeded $1 million in value. Still, many observers look at cryptocurrencies as hope that a currency can exist that preserves value, facilitates exchange, is more transportable than hard metals, and is outside the influence of central banks and governments.

The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes them well-suited for a host of nefarious activities, such as money laundering and tax evasion.

Bitcoin

“Even if they do not accurately understand how it works, most people are at least somewhat familiar with Bitcoin.  However, once they begin to get involved with cryptocurrency, they may be surprised to learn that there are actually hundreds of types of cryptocurrencies known as altcoins. Altcoins are an intriguing facet of the cryptocurrency landscape, but they are not for everyone.”

What Are Altcoins and Why Do They Matter?

The word “altcoin” is an abbreviation of “Bitcoin alternative,” and thus describes every single cryptocurrency except for Bitcoin. Altcoins are referred to as Bitcoin alternatives because, at least to some extent, most altcoins hope to either replace or improve upon at least one Bitcoin component.

“Many Bitcoin enthusiasts argue that altcoins are completely unnecessary and will not succeed because they cannot rival the infrastructure Bitcoin boasts. However, altcoins serve an important role. Decentralization is one of Bitcoin’s most prominent goals, and altcoins further decentralize the cryptocurrency community. Moreover, altcoins allow developers to experiment with unique features. While it is true that Bitcoin can copy these features if the developers or community desires, fully-functioning altcoins are much better “cryptocurrency laboratories” than Bitcoin’s testnet. Finally, Altcoins give Bitcoin healthy competition. Altcoins give cryptocurrency users alternative options and forces Bitcoin’s developers to remain active and continue innovating. If users do not feel that Bitcoin satisfies their digital desires, they can adopt an altcoin. If enough users left Bitcoin for a particular altcoin, the Bitcoin developers would have to adopt the features the community desired or risk losing its place as the preeminent cryptocurrency.”

Read more about: Cryptocurrency

In 2015, it was said that “Bitcoins and other cryptocurriencies are a passing fad and like pet rocks they will find their resting place in the museum of curious inventions.  Block chains on the other hand may find a use.”

Now in 2017, Bitcoin seems stronger than ever, and definitely if one looks at the overall picture of Bitcoin, the price although it varies, overall it is steadily rising since it’s inception in 2009 as the following Coindesk chart clearly shows.

 

 

While Bitcoin’s record shows volatility in it’s price, the overall price continues to go up and up and up.  It is anyone’s guess whether prices will ever drop considerably.   However, if one monitors Bitcoin’s prices, there will be buying opportunities.   It is just a matter of time.

Should Bitcoin be a part of your investment portfolio?  There is risk associated with purchasing Bitcoin to hold as an investment.  However, in a well diversified investment portfolio, it is this writer’s opinion that Bitcoin should be included, especially when the plan is to buy and hold.

 

Judy Curtis,
Contributor

 

 

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Microsoft to Add Extensive Support for Bitcoin – Describes it as Currency

Microsoft to Add Extensive Support For Bitcoin, Describes it as Currency

"Microsoft, a technology giant headquartered in Washington, officially announced its plans to add extensive support for Bitcoin in the upcoming release of Excel 2017, which would allow users to calculate, format and analyze Bitcoin on the platform."

Martin Butler, account executive at Microsoft, stated:

“In 2017, Excel will be able to recognize, format, calculate and analyze numbers expressed in Bitcoin currency. The new feature will be available for Excel running under Windows 10, Android, Mac OS and iOS, and will include Excel Mobile versions as well.”

In the article, written by Joseph Young who writes for CoinTelegraph, he goes on to say: 

"In consideration of past events and Bitcoin’s crucial role in protecting the wealth of most households and businesses in the past 12 months, Microsoft coined Bitcoin as a currency for millions of users utilizing Microsoft Office on a daily basis."

 

I am looking forward to the release of Excel 2017, specifically because of the enhancements Microsoft is making with regard to Bitcoin.

To read this article in it's entirety, and for more articles written by Joseph Young,  Click Here.

 

Judy Curtis,
Contributor

What Does Bitcoin & Blockchain Have to do with Cruising?

 

Justin Connell,  an Associate Editor with the Bitcoin.com News team, wrote yesterday:

“Bitcoin was built on a platform without national boundaries,” the Former Governor of the Bank of China, L H Li, said on CCTV Tuesday in China. “If you want to kill Bitcoin, it will be an impossible task. So it will continue to exist. What is important now is that we should properly regulate it.” 

Rumors in China have led bitcoin exchange executives to expect “forthcoming official guidelines in the coming weeks” by PBoC (People’s Bank of China). “Such regulations could set a global precedent”, says Aurélien Menant, Founder, and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated blockchain asset exchange based in Hong Kong. “China will probably beat Japan as the first nation to officially regulate cryptocurrency trading and exchange activities.”   

For the balance of the above interesting article, Click Here

Bitoin, blockchain, and crypto currency articles are prevelent today.   However, today I came across an article promoting a Blockchain Cruise.    Yes, I did say Cruise! 

"CoinsBank is proudly announcing the second annual event – the CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise 2017, which will be held at the best and latest cruise ship – Anthem of The Seas. This unique and extraordinary event will bring together the brightest minds, top speakers, media, fintech and blockchain industries representatives to discuss latest trends and shape the better future today, not tomorrow.

The CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise is aim to revolutionize and change the way of running traditional conferences. This is time to Walk not Talk! And let's do it with fun and the highest quality of world known service".

Cool new way of combining learning with relaxation.    Interested?   Need more Information?   I've got you covered ….. just Click Here

Bottom Line is that I believe the Bitcoin is here to stay.   There will be other crypto currencies that come and go, perhaps one day there will even be a crypto coin better than Bitcoin.   But for now,  I perceive Bitcoin to be the head of the crypto-coin pack!

 

Judy Curtis,
Contributor

Bitcoin: The End of Money as We Know It

Bitcoin has been around for a number of years now, but only in the last 6 – 8 months, have I seen more and more articles on Bitcoin.  The price has escalated from around $450 per Bitcoin last May until today’s price of just over $1000 per Bitcoin.

To gain a better understanding of Bitcoin and how it can and does affect financial matters around the world, one can spend hours and hours using Google to find an abundance of articles and videos on the subject.  I have come across a documentary video which provides a very informative and interesting insight on not only Bitcoin, but the financial system in general.  I offer it here for your viewing pleasure.

BITCOIN:  The End of Money as We Know It

It is my hope that you have a better understanding of Bitcoin and it’s importance to our financial future.  While I don’t think that paper currency will be obsolete in my lifetime,  I do think it is a good idea to educate one’s self with Bitcoin, blockchain, ledgers and the rest of the terminology that goes along with digital currency and perhaps get acquainted with how to set up a wallet and make a purchase of Bitcoin.

 

Judy Curtis,
Contributor

 

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What’s in a Name? From Bitcoin to Blockchain to Distributed Ledgers

What’s in a Name? From Bitcoin to Blockchain to Distributed Ledgers

(@nelsonmrosario) | Published on February 11, 2017 at 15:42 GMT

Opinion
 

Nelson M Rosario is an intellectual property attorney working as an associate at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun in Chicago. He has years of experience working on patent prosecution matters in bitcoin/blockchain and fintech, as well as other areas.

In this CoinDesk opinion piece, Rosario ponders why we have developed so many terms for what is effectively the same technology – bitcoin.

“What’s in a name? That which we call an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust by any other name would smell as sweet.”

– William 'Satoshi' Shakespeare (probably)

In the beginning, there was 'bitcoin', and it was good. But, bitcoin would end up bearing a nomenclature fruit salad that tests mortal comprehension. Perhaps, that is the natural way of things.

As a new technology develops, the number of people exposed to that new technology increases, and the language used to describe the new technology evolves.

Initially, the language was limited to bitcoin. Now a person is liable to see any of the following words or phrases that theoretically all mean different things: bitcoin, Bitcoin, block chain, blockchain, Blockchain, private blockchain, public blockchain, distributed ledger technology, distributed asset ledgers, decentralized ledger technology, shared ledgers, et al.

Further confusing the matter, the term bitcoin may not always mean the same thing to different people. What happened? Why the change in language?

First, bitcoin has the word 'coin' right in it. This naturally makes people think of currency. Not surprisingly, bitcoin use as a currency is far and away the most successful iteration of bitcoin. The applications for bitcoin are not, however, limited to currency.

This is where much of the confusion arises. Intuitively, the currency implementation for bitcoin (with the word coin in it) makes sense. Trying to convince someone that bitcoin can also be used for purposes as diverse as asset transfers, escrow services, or logistics management is not so straightforward.

Bitcoin also suffers from an image problem. The early publicity surrounding bitcoin included scandals, thefts, a euphoria akin to the Tulip bubble, and in general, bad press. 'Fake internet money', as some people called bitcoin, did not inspire confidence amongst the masses.

Additionally, the main advocates for the new technology were unpolished and unproven. Often if someone had heard of bitcoin they had heard of the failed Mt Gox exchange, or they assumed bitcoin was something a person used to buy illicit drugs or hire a hitman. The reality was not that far off.

How do you get people to forget about the failed exchanges, drugs, and hitmen? Get them to focus on 'the technology underlying bitcoin', and get them to think about the other potential implementations. Once the conversation moved beyond currency, people started searching for a new word. That search led them to the blockchain.

The rise of the blockchain

Negative publicity and conceptual confusion laid the groundwork for people to begin to refer to the blockchain as the real innovation to come out of the bitcoin phenomenon.

The blockchain is a chain of transactions that makes bitcoin possible. The term refers to a collection of bitcoin transactions grouped together into blocks and linked through cryptography. This linkage is part of what makes it virtually impossible to fake bitcoin transactions.

In a sense, the blockchain provides true decentralized trust and distributed consensus, but the rebranding, or reorienting of people’s attention, to the blockchain and away from bitcoin may be just a clever marketing trick.

Many people argue that you cannot separate the blockchain from bitcoin. The thinking is that you cannot break up bitcoin into its component parts because the parts by themselves will not work the same way independent of each other. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Regardless of whether this is correct, that is precisely what people have done.

Once the power of bitcoin became apparent, we started to see article after article touting the 'real innovation' behind bitcoin. Respectable and well-established firms began developing blockchain solutions to their problems.

People consistently discredited bitcoin as boring, while extolling the virtues of the multifaceted blockchain. Large banks, financial exchanges, and the 'Big Four' consultancies all rushed to publish reports on blockchain technology. The hype train that left the station heading to Bitcoinland was diverted to Blockchainville.

There are now hundreds of blockchain startups. Problems related to back end services for large institutions, digital identity, asset transfer, escrow, and logistics, are all being tackled by blockchain solutions. Even tracking pork along a blockchain has been proposed. These companies are doing truly innovative work.

However, to many observers the term 'blockchain' is still conceptually associated with bitcoin. So, if a company describes an innovation that leverages a type of blockchain they have to distinguish it from bitcoin and the bitcoin blockchain. How do blockchain companies talk about what they are doing without referencing bitcoin, or other blockchains? The solution is to talk about ledgers.

The arrival of distributed ledger technology

A ledger can record transactions between multiple parties. The ledger concept is a main building block of bitcoin and any blockchain. Ledgers also benefit from the fact that they are commonly thought of as boring, safe, and dependable tools in an accountant’s toolbox, as opposed to the technological innovation that makes bitcoin possible.

What better way to put thoughts of bitcoin and blockchain out of people’s minds than insisting that you are only talking about ledger technology? Thus, the conceptual chain to bitcoin was broken.

However, there remains considerable debate over whether this is feasible or even desirable. To early adopters, bitcoin is a monolith that cannot exist without distributed trust, consensus, and immutability, but many new industry entrants view the technology as an a la carte buffet. They are free to decide between many concepts including: permissioned vs permissionless, public vs private, tokenized vs no token, etc.

Today any institution or organization that refers to ledgers is free to discuss bitcoin or blockchain related concepts, without the supposed taint of bitcoin. Even the Federal Reserve Board (of Federal Reserve Bank fame), has touted ledgers in their recent report on “Distributed Ledger Technology.”

Over the past two years, hundreds of new blockchains and ledgers have been created. They all draw on the root concepts of bitcoin, but their purposes and the lingo used to describe them have diverged widely. This conceptual repackaging, and public relations approved language replacement, is likely to continue for some time.

What does it all mean?

This story has gone from bitcoin to blockchain to distributed ledger technology. There are companies that operate in all of these spaces, or only one of them.

Outside observers are forgiven if they struggle to keep up with all the different terms. Yet, through all of this evolution and upheaval, bitcoin has remained central to the discussion. Whether bitcoin, the blockchain, and distributed ledgers will be adopted and thrive or consigned to the ash heap of history remains to be seen.

The fact that bitcoin has undergone repeated repackaging is a testament to the strength of the technology. Other blockchains or related technologies may rise and fall, but bitcoin’s inertia and first-mover advantage will continue to make it the most relevant cryptocurrency, blockchain, and ledger.

Evolution image via Shutterstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, CoinDesk.

 

Credit is given to Nelson M Rosario for this informative article.

 

Judy Curtis,
Contributor

Bitcoin Price Sinks Below $1000 as Exchanges Cut Services

Bitcoin Price Sinks Below $1,000 as Exchanges Cut Services

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on February 9, 2017 at 13:51 GMT

 
 
 

Bitcoin's price has fallen sharply, dropping below $1,000 amid news from China that major exchanges had temporarily cut services.

At press time, prices were down more than 7% after word emerged this morning that two of China’s biggest bitcoin exchanges – Beijing-based OKCoin and Huobi – are freezing bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals for a month following pressure from the People's Bank of China.

Yuan deposits and withdrawals are not affected, the exchanges said.

Markets had been hovering around $1,063 when the news broke, though this has now changed as the market seeks to price in the news.

According to the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), prices fell as much as $80, hitting a low of $958.56. BPI data shows that prices had previously hit a high of $1,077.76 earlier today.

At press time, bitcoin prices are at an average of $988.

CNY-denominated markets were down more than 13% from their peak on the news at one point, according to the BPI, falling from a high of ¥7,598.92 to an average of ¥6,755.52.

However, the price was up 5% on the day at press time, indicating traders were perhaps viewing the news as a buying opportunity.

Real-time response

So far, market observers appear to be reacting with a mixture of surprise and concern when reached for comment.

OTC trader Zhao Dong indicated that he expected further price weakening stoked by traders "since you can only deposit coins and sell" in light of the exchange policy changes.

Kong Gao, overseas marketing director at OTC trading firm Richfund, remarked more simply, stating:

"This is big news."

CoinDesk will continue monitoring this developing story.

Credit given to Stan Higgins who wrote this article for CoinDesk.

 

Judy Curtis,

Contributor