Blog credits: Researched & Written by MD Halim and Edited by: Ayushi Mohindra
Of late the cryptocurrency world has been going through a roller coaster. Though flash crashes have happened many times before, during Bitcoin’s rise from ashes to the the zenith, this time hitting $2970 and returning to $2000, the decline in its price not just affected Bitcoin’s market cap but it also led to the decline in the price of 10 other coins.The hardest hit amongst them is Ethereum which went from $407 to $305.
This goes on to prove that Cryptocurrency ‘trading’ in itself is not a Get-Rich-Quick scheme which most inexperienced buyers seem to think it is.
Due to the sudden rise in the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum in the first quarter of 2017, millions of new users tried to cash in on the gold rush, thus driving up the price again. This was a great time for the whales to dump large amounts of cryptocurrencies in the market leading to a panic which then prompted the other inexperienced buyers to sell most of their assets as they had a fear of permanent loss. The whales then bought back the currencies at lower rates!
A reddit user commented about the pullback as “Big whales trying to shake weak hands”.
- Bitcoins, from $3000 on June 11th to $2300 on June 13th.
- Ethereum Price Chart from $394 on June 12th to $300 on June 15th.
Cryptocurrencies are one of the riskiest asset class to invest in, because as of now, their market cap is driven very high by speculators and investors.
Due to a wide interest in cryptocurrencies as an asset class, many people have joined in the bandwagon.Why wouldn’t they?
If someone had invested $100 in Bitcoins in 2011, they would have made more than $450,000 in 2017, but then again, you would have had to be super geeky and forward thinking to even know what the blockchain was back then.
Leaving aside the market cap and the price of cryptocurrencies, it’s not Bitcoin itself but the technology behind it — the Blockchain, that is revolutionary.
Naval Ravikant, the midas angel investor and the founder of AngelList says:Cryptocurrencies will create a fifth protocol layer powering the next generation of the Internet.
Here’s an interesting read by him — The 5th Protocol
In order to better understand this technology and what the future holds for Blockchain and cryptocurrencies in general, we have curated the following links from around the web:
- It all started in 2008, a programmer known as Satoshi Nakamoto — a name believed to be an alias — posted a paper outlining Bitcoin’s designto a cryptography e-mail list.
- Then, in early 2009, a software was released that can be used to exchange bitcoins using the scheme. That software is now maintained by a volunteer open-source community coordinated by four core developers.
- Here’s the Paper that started it all, authored by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto —
What is BLOCKCHAIN??
Coming back to Blockchain, imagine it as a ledger that maintains record of all transactions just like your bank passbook, but also maintains record of transactions of the whole world and is controlled by no particular organisation!
Scary or fantastic? You decide.
The world that we currently inhabit is run on various verbal and non-verbal contracts — contracts between two parties to exchange goods and services, contracts between an employer and employee, contracts between a bank and a borrower.
Think of the million different ways in which we interact with other human beings and the unwritten rules that define our interaction. The Blockchain promises to solve this problem.The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically.
The rise in the prices of bitcoin to such a degree can be attributed to the fact that there can only be 21 million of bitcoins ever made — some analysts suggest the prices can go high upto $10,000 by 2024.
The very first major feature of Bitcoins in the mainstream media was done by TIME in 2011. They wrote an article on Online Cash Bitcoin Could Challenge Governments, Banks.But, Bitcoins became popular in the mainstream media back in 2013 when the FBI seized Silk Road, the popular online black marketplace for drugs and other contraband, payable in Bitcoin, that had done over a billion dollars worth of business in just two years.
The very first real-world Bitcoin transaction was done by Laslzo who exchanged 10,000 BTC for a Papa John’s pizza…..
So now that you know what bitcoins, cryptocurrency and blockchain are all about, you must be wondering, How do you Secure some cryptocurrencies for yourself?
Numerous exchanges have opened up over the last 4 years for traders to buy and sell crypotcurrencies.
One of the very first exchanges for bitcoins, MtGox was established in 2010. Now defunct, the exchange is believed to have lost/stolen more than 850,000 Bitcoins of its users, of which 200,000 have since then returned to the original users.
You can read more about the curious case of MtGox here- “The Inside Story of Mt. Gox, Bitcoin’s $460 Million Disaster”
— Some of the other popular exchanges by volume are as follows:
It can be attributed to have been at the forefront of introducing Bitcoins to the normal public. Their interface made it seemingly easier for non-technical users to buy bitcoins in USD and Euros. Coinbase was founded in June 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. It was enrolled in the Summer 2012 Y Combinator startup incubator program. Since then, the company has received more than $105 million in funding from some of the marquee investors in tech like Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital.
In October 2012, the company launched the services to buy and sell bitcoin through bank transfers. Throughout 2014, the company also formed partnerships with Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, Time Inc., and Wikipedia to power accepting bitcoin payments. The company also added bitcoin payment processing capabilities to the traditional payment companies Stripe, Braintree, and PayPal.
To view a list of all the exchanges and supported currencies, you can see this.
A cryptocurrency wallet is a secure digital wallet used to store, send, and receive digital currency like Bitcoin.
Before you can buy from any of the exchanges, they would ask you to upload verification details like ID Cards and Bank statement proofs to comply with authorities.
After buying the cryptocurrencies from the exchanges you can transfer it to a wallet, either a hardware wallet or an online digital wallet.
Most coins have an official wallet or a few officially recommended third party wallets. In order to use any cryptocurrency you will need to use a cryptocurrency wallet.
To send or receive Bitcoins or any other form of cryptocurrencies, you would need the “address” of wallet of the sender/receiver.
An “address” is a hexadecimal sequence of characters of the form — “15gJiApW3G9MN2iTteQwQbq7NundwGWwv6”
With the rapid growth of Bitcoins, various cryptocurrencies have been launched with the same underlying principle of a digital ledger a.k.a blockchain but with improved features and transaction speed.
Right now there are more than 720 currencies listed on the CoinMarketCap website. Out of all these 720 Currencies, the TOP 5 currencies make up for over 90% of all the volume.
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Do stay tuned for our next post on Ripple and an overview of the Ethereum landscape!