A Regulated Cryptocurrency

A Regulated Taxable Cryptocurrency

A regulated Chrypto currency

Regulatory compliance and cryptocurrency are unlikely bedfellows; paying tax on crypto transactions isn't even in the room.

But times are changing. We are seeing a crop of services doing just those sorts of things, leveraging the transparent, immutable nature of distributed ledgers to track and trace cryptocurrencies.

Recently the IRS has been rattling sabres at Coinbase in a move to get cryptocurrency holders to pay tax on transactions. According to court filings, less than 1000 people have registered to pay tax on Bitcoin transactions in the last three years.

Enter Node40, a blockchain accounting system which has grown out of a business hosting Dash masternodes.

Node40 co-founder Perry Woodin explained the company was being paid mostly in Dash for its infrastructure services and had to report US taxes.

"We asked our accountant how to do that and he wasn't sure. Most accountants look at capital gains for gains and losses; they look at first in, first out.

"That strategy doesn't work for digital currencies because of the way transactions are built with multiple inputs and all these inputs have potential gains and losses and various days carried."

Sean Ryan, co-founder Node40, wrote a program to figure out gains and losses. Users import transactions from their Dash wallet and these are analysed against the blockchain to work out the average US dollar value for every single transaction.

Ryan said: "You upload your list of transactions and you get the final number. We don't actually calculate any percentages for taxes – so, for example, your jurisdiction would say that if you made this much income, we are going to tax you at say 22%.

"What we do is present numbers that you would be obligated to pay taxes on. There are levels that allow you to get to those answers, all the way down to the individual components that make up an individual transaction.

"Because these ledgers/blockchains are open they are mathematically sound, all you need to do from an engineering perspective is extract the pieces of data from the blockchain that are most relevant to specific transactions."

The user can then annotate transactions using Node40, like they might with QuickBooks or TurboTax: who they sent the funds to, who they received them from, marking certain things as tax exempt in the case of assets purchased rather than income received.

"There are some additional nice things like being able to set custom values on what your incoming purchase was. If the market value says one Dash is worth $100 but you bought it from somebody who was willing to sell it to you for $90, we allow people to override that initial value," said Woodin.

"Once people have gone in and started annotating transactions, we produce nice reports that show then their performance of their asset with their portfolio. Then as a last step they are able to generate their IRS documents, and that's a capital gains document – form 8949."

The recent surge in cryptocurrency values, not least Dash which has shot up in price, is probably also garnering attention. But Woodin pointed out that holding crypto that goes up in value does not constitute a taxable event.

"If you are just buying something and holding it, there is no taxation even though there's an increase. If you received it as income or if you are exchanging it for some other asset like dollars, euros then that's a taxable event."

Woodin said the ongoing IRS Coinbase scenario has definitely got people edgy and this may be the year people begin to start paying their taxes on crypto.

"I think by next year it's just going to be assumed that if you are transacting in digital currency, you are going to be paying taxes. It's that conversion from digital currency to fiat where the government is going to say: why do you have a deposit in your bank account with no record of income?"

Node40 Balance is now live to use with Dash and will be ready for Bitcoin later in the year.

"There are certain exemption limits and thresholds that we observe. We have four different KYC levels that we enforce. Up to €150 we just need to know the shopping cart details from the merchant which includes the name of the consumer and the email address," said Kaufmann.

"If it goes higher there is another flag at €800, then at €4000 and every time the consumer has to provide more information."

So rather like transaction reporting as it exists today. Kaufmann added that a large transaction – say €25,000 to buy a load of servers – would merit closer scrutiny.

"We have the capability of doing an online verification where people can jump on Skype with our customer support. We will take a picture of their passport number using machine readable zones that are scanned into the system and then we verify it and run it against a sanctions list.

"There is some very profound filtering going on. We do have tools that allow us to look back at the history of Bitcoin transactions. We are careful to follow Swiss data privacy laws and have the support of a fintech-friendly regulatory regime," he said.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 


 

By Ian Allison

 

David

Bitcoin Can Allow Mobile Payment System

Bitcoin Can Allow Mobile Payment System

Bitcoin Can provide mobile payment system

What Bitcoin solves…

The essence of mobile payment systems is to make the life of individuals comfortable. Mobile payments are supposed to offer clients a convenient method of paying for goods and services while on the go. Since mobile payment solutions were introduced, experts have been saying that mobile payment is the biggest innovation in this age and that it is set to change the lives of individuals and businesses alike.

The beauty of mobile payments is that individuals do not have to carry cash whenever they are traveling. As long as people have their smart phones, they can successfully make purchases and pay for services using special applications on their mobile phones.

However, it is instructive to note that the manner in which experts envisioned mobile payment services had not been proven to be accurate. Initially, two giants, Apple and Samsung, were touted as the potential leaders in mobile payments.

Apple introduced its solution, Apple Pay that is based on its proprietary operating system. Samsung, banking on the open Android platform, was keen enough to develop its solution, Samsung Pay. A third competitor, Square, also emerged. Therefore, at first, the mobile payment market was set to be dominated by these three giants: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Square.

But the response of the market has not been favorable to the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. So far, consumers have not embraced these two major mobile payment solutions in a manner that is similar to the way they have embraced their mobile devices. For example, Apple Pay has failed to break into the market and reach its projected rates of growth.

Similarly, Samsung Pay is still struggling to hit its projected numbers. Interestingly, the story is not different when you consider Square. Therefore, all these three major global mobile payment services have failed to create the buzz and excitement that they expected to create in the market.

Cryptocurrencies in general, and Bitcoin, in particular, may be the perfect solution to the problems that consumers experience when they are using the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. No one can deny that the use of Bitcoin has been growing steadily over the years. To many, Bitcoin is the perfect solution to the problems that they encounter when they would like to pay for goods and services without using cash.

For example, the use of Bitcoin does not involve intermediaries as it is the case with the conventional methods. Besides, individuals can send and receive Bitcoins at the convenience of their homes or anywhere else. Moreover, many people find that using Bitcoins costs much less than what they may have to pay concerning transaction fees when using the conventional mobile payment methods.

Moreover, you do not need to have a bank account to use Bitcoin. In fact, Bitcoin helps you to make and receive payments as an unknown entity. The element of anonymity when using Bitcoin is very attractive to many people who do not like the current model used by global mobile payment services.

Therefore, it is highly likely that Bitcoin is going to be the future of global mobile payments. The anonymity aspect of the payment method, its low transaction fees, and convenience are some of the attributes that make it better than the conventional methods.

David Ogden
Entrepeneur

 

Artical By AliRaza

David

A little cooperation goes a long way

I like this story I read on LinkedIn. 

"A father left 17 ducks as asset for his Three Sons. When the Father passed away, his sons opened up the will.

The Will of the Father stated that the Eldest son should get Half of 17 ducks, The Middle Son should be given 1/3rd of 17 ducks, Youngest Son should be given 1/9th of the 17 ducks. 

As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the sons started to fight with each other. So, they decided to go to a wise man who lives in a cave. 

The wise man listened patiently about the Will. The wise man, after giving this thought, brought one duck of his own & added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 ducks. 

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will. Half of 18 = 9. So he gave 9 ducks to the eldest son. 1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave 6 ducks to the middle son. 1/9th of 18 = 2. 

So he gave 2 ducks to the youngest son. Now add this up : 9 + 6 + 2 = 17 & This leaves 1 duck which the wise man took back.

MORAL : The attitude of negotiation & problem solving is to find the 18th duck i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the common ground, the issue is resolved. 

It is difficult at times. To reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any"

If you would like to see how Markethive can solve your marketing problems, login here.  —-> Markethive

Markethive is always completely free and your best social network for entrepreneurs.

Thanks to 

Akella Gourisankar

Akella Gourisankar  for this information

 

David

LinkedIn Overview Training

This is the page where the LinkedIn overview training I promised is located.

Enjoy, and please do not hesitate to message me or contact me on Skype at j.lomb if you have any questions about LinkedIn, or marketing using LinkedIn and Markethive.

Click Here —–> LinkedIn Overview Training
 

Thanks again, all the best.

 

John Lombaerde

 

David

UK Banks Shun Bitcoin !

Banks in the United Kingdom are turning a deaf ear to bitcoin exchanges, despite the government’s pro-blockchain position, according to financial writer Roger Aitken, writing in Forbes. Unless the situation changes, the banks will undermine bitcoin’s progress and drive Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs out of the banking system.

This fact together with the uncertainty  surrounding the pound due to Brexit could be a disaster for those who live in the UK, the banks are feeling under threat. Hopefully the government will step in and tell them not to be so stupid.

Cryptopay, a bitcoin brokerage, recently informed customers that it will no longer support British Pound deposits and withdrawals on account of new bank policies. Such incidents have increased as bitcoin has gained popularity.

Cancellation of GBP deposit and withdrawal facilities limits people to Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) transfers, making Cryptopay’s buying and selling useless to most British customers.

U.K. Banks Shun Bitcoin

A dozen or more U.K. brokerages and bitcoin exchanges have suffered over the past three to four years as banking facilities have become unavailable. Some have closed or resorted to awkward arrangements.

Britcoin, which became rebranded as Intersango, started in 2011. It faced problems with U.K. bank transfers before eventually closing. An August 2012 update noted that bridging the gap between bitcoin and the conventional banking system was costly on account of technical issues, missing transfers, and accounts frozen and closed without warning.

In 2014, Bit121 had a promising start, but banks withdrew their support and the exchange closed.

In Bitcoin We Trust suffered the same fate. It resorted to using postal orders before giving up.

Coinfloor, one of the only U.K. exchanges still operating, uses SWIFT transfers, which incur hefty costs and delays. The minimum transfer is £1,000 (c.$1,250).

Banks Pour On The Pressure

CoinJournal, a bitcoin publication, saw its banking services come to an abrupt end after its U.K. banking provider Barclays terminated its business account. CoinJournal received no official warnings prior to its account closure. Even more alarmingly, Barclays still hasn’t given a reason for the extreme action.

CoinJournal believes the decision taken by Barclays to close its business account was an “automated” call, after seeing a pattern of banking transactions involving prominent bitcoin exchange and service provider Circle.

The decision was likely “a result of us using Circle to transfer fiat from ad revenue into bitcoin to pay our writers and some overheads,” a representative for the publication told CCN.

Similar scenarios have played out in Australia and New Zealand.

BitNZ, a New Zealand bitcoin exchange, has announced it is closing due to the refusal of New Zealand banks to allow bank accounts to trade bitcoins, and has advised customers to withdraw all funds before April 15, 2017.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is scrutinizing attempts by Australia’s biggest banks to swallow fintech companies developing technologies like blockchain solutions in the financial sector.

P2P Services Fill The Void

Peer-to-peer services match individual buyers and sellers in the U.K. in lieu of traditional exchanges. Trust is established by reputation.

Once a buyer has paid, usually with a bank transfer the seller sends the bitcoins.

As for other nations, Russia recently relaxed its regulatory position and taken a “wait and see” approach. It has effectively legalized bitcoin and allowed for exchanges to operate.
Switzerland is a more progressive country. It is easy to buy bitcoins through a network of ATMs on the rail system.

In Japan, it is possible to pay electric bills with bitcoin.

The United States has a more complex regulatory framework. But progress is on the horizon since the New York BitLicense took effect in 2015, with other state’s following a similar approach.

Bitcoin is legal in China, although the central bank recently stopped highly leveraged trading.

U.K. Banks At Odds With Government

The banking sector is clearly at odds with the U.K. government, which is openly pro-blockchain. The situation is peculiar, with the government saying the country is open to bitcoin but the banking sector standing in the way.

Since the financial crisis, the taxpayer has become the majority shareholder in the Royal Bank of Scotland, holding at around 82% of the bank. This would normally translate into a certain amount of leverage by the taxpayer.

The U.K. also has a reputation for being a fintech hub, to which the banking sector seems to have taken exception.

For whatever reason, the banks have closed ranks and chosen not to work with bitcoin.

The fact that bitcoin is decentralised and fiat currency is centralised could be at the root of the conflict.

Also read: Blockchain platform Waves raises more than $2m at the start of the crowdsale campaign

What’s To Be Done?

Money cannot flow easily from the blockchain economy to the traditional financial sector and vice versa without banks’ cooperation. The bitcoin sector is not large enough to offer all the goods and services needed to make bitcoin a sufficiently broad means of payment.

Bitcoin’s volatility also makes it an unsuitable unit of account or store of value. While it’s a great transfer medium, its price against fiat fluctuates too much for most people.

The bitcoin economy won’t expand until bitcoin is better suited as a means of payment. But it won’t be better suited without more growth and stability.

Waves, a custom blockchain tokens platform, offers a solution – fiat-backed blockchain tokens. It raised $16 million last summer through crowdfunding. Waves can act as a gateway between the blockchain and the fiat world.

Customers pay money into the gateway using a bank transfer or another suitable means, and the gateway issues them the same sum in blockchain tokens

The same exchange occurs in reverse when customers cash out their Waves GBP and have them sent as “real” GBP to their bank account. Waves essentially serves as a toolkit.

Sasha Ivanov, CEO and founder of Waves, noted that Waves can make money more efficient. By putting fiat money on the blockchain, Waves can make it more transparent and faster, and it can reduce the cost of sending it abroad.

Ivanov thinks Waves can introduce competition and encourage banks to become more accountable. If banks in one sector in one country won’t work with Waves, it will work with those in another jurisdiction.

Waves does not immediately solve the problem of U.K. banks’ hostility to bitcoin, but it suggests the roadblocks are not insurmountable. The answer may be to work around them rather than with them.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David

Social Media and the Blockchain

Social media has penetrated individual and collective lives to a huge extent and consequently modified many of our online and offline behaviors.

Public and private organizations worldwide would therefore greatly benefit from a better understanding of the fundamental principles governing the individual and collective behaviors of people connected through social media.

Recently, a framework  called Virtual Collective Consciousness (VCC). It is defined as the internal knowledge motivated by social media and shared by a plurality of individuals driven by the spontaneity, the homogeneity and the synchronicity of their online actions.

Thus, the extensive outreach of information sharing through social networking platforms can build a momentum of consensus based on converging informational contents. Ultimately, a crystallized stance can be forged as a resulting effect of the collectively shared consciousness.

The VCC model assumes that any virtual massive-scale collective consciousness depends on transactive memory (TM). The latter can be defined as a set of individual memory systems combined with a set of individuals interacting with each other. In other words, TM can be considered as the collective memory of the online community that is afforded by social media.

So how does their collective behavior exhibit awareness, cohesion, and self-identity?

We have both the internal framework and the platform, which will produce such a mind-like process. To be explicit, we use the Mycryptoworld/Infinity Economics (MCW/IE) advanced blockchain as a paradigm based on its very recent innovations in the blockchain domain. Indeed, the blockchain protocol offered by MCW/IE and its TM operations emerges as an example on which the knowledge framework of VCC can operate.

Blockchains are based on strong cryptography and memory of operations – and illustrates peer-to-peer interaction with no central agency.

Applied to social networks, the blockchain protocol provides an explicit model for a platform that incrementally incorporates immediate experience with an integrated memory of the past, provides a global workspace, and a mechanism for consensus between participating individuals operating within a Virtual Collective Consciousness.

Blockchain protocols maintain the relatively secure identity of participants and the integrity of the records. It is this methodology of linked records that provides a proxy for a linked, on-going record of experience, which is an essential feature of idealized virtual consciousness.

Making the case for adopting a blockchain approach to a social network, the result would be a cloud based entity which might satisfy the criteria for a Virtual Collective Consciousness.

In any case, blockchain will provide the key services needed for integrating a decentralized planet wide distributed group activity.

Mike Prettyman,
CIO Green Fire Engineered Reclamation
Member GreenFire DAO
GreenFire DAO – a blockchain application and its cryptocurency, the "Gladiator" – a gold backed cryptocurrency
You may purchase "Gladiator" HERE, in Bitcoin:
GreenFire DAO bitcoin address: 1HBUKMz77xtRh1vNzFAtnJ488NoYde15o5

David

Will $1,000 become new baseline for Bitcoin

Recently, the price of bitcoin surpassed US$1,000 for the first time since the first few days of January. It stabilized at the $1,020 margin in most global markets and exchanges. Some regions like South Korea, Japan and China demonstrated arbitrage opportunities, with bitcoin being traded at around 7~8% premium.

bitcoin being traded at around $1,100 in South Korean #bitcoin exchanges including Korbit & Coinplug. Nearly 7% premium. pic.twitter.com/NeuWFzhn9f

— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) February 3, 2017

Although many factors can be analyzed to explain the recent price surge of bitcoin, the most evident factor is the decline in the value of US dollars. Previously, when both the mainstream and bitcoin media reported that the Chinese market controlled approximately 93% of the global bitcoin exchange market, analysts and investors closely looked at the development of the Chinese market and regulations. As such, events like the devaluation of the Chinese yuan or introduction of tightened policies such as the imposition of regulation on Wealth Management Products were perceived as major factors behind the increasing value of bitcoin.

However, due to the requests of the Chinese central bank, Chinese bitcoin exchanges came to a consensus to add trading fees. As a result, inflated volumes were eliminated and the Chinese bitcoin exchange market began to demonstrate legitimate trading volumes.

Upon the “clean up” of Chinese bitcoin exchanges as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) like to describe it as, it was revealed that the USD/BTC pair is more liquid than the USD/CNY pair. In other words, major USD supporting exchanges like Bitfinex, Kraken and Bitstamp represent a larger trading volume to that of the Chinese bitcoin exchange market.

According to bitcoin trading data providers like CoinMarketCap, the BTC/USD pair is currently demonstrating a daily volume of $41 million, while the BTC/CNY pair is demonstrating roughly half of that, at around $21 million.

Therefore, it can be said that economic uncertainty, financial instability or political events in the West or the US in particular will have a larger impact on the price of bitcoin and its trend.

There is also news that Bitcoin’s price jumped by around $30 just yesterday shortly after it became clear that Bitcoin Unlimited had overtaken segwit in hashrate share.

In other news Infinity Economics opened it new wallet to some 80,000 owners, who can now send and recieve XIN to one another. The next stage to be implimented with be the voting system, which will allow owners to formulate the direction of the coin.

David Ogden

 

David

Bitcoin is back above $1,000

 

Bitcoin is back above $1,000

Bitcoin is is back above $1,000 for the first time since January 5. The cryptocurrency was higher by 1.5% at $1,000.10 a coin as of 11:39 a.m. ET.

It's been a wild year for bitcoin. It began 2017 with a 20% rally during the first five days of the year before crashing 35% on concerns of a crackdown on trading in China.

Thursday's gains have extended bitcoin's winning streak to a sixth straight session as trade appears to be benefitting from uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump's presidency. The cryptocurrency has gained nearly 10% since Trump was inaugurated on January 20.

I believe that is the $1,000 level can be maintained  we will see a rise again later in the year. The recent trend has been upwards but it wil peak and then fall again.

I have been earning free bitcoins at Bitearn , by completing surveys, the rewards are not great , the equivalent of less than a pound a day, which I transfer to my wallet. This adds interest to tracking the market both in Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies.

Today Infinity Economics Launched thier wallet to members. The next few weeks will see added functions, as it is much more than a wallet.

David Ogden

Earn Free Bitcoins Here

 

 

David

Bitcoin Prices Spike Above $900 But Turbulence Remains

Bitcoin Prices Spike Above $900

But Turbulence Remains

 

coindesk-bpi-chart-94

 

Bitcoin prices passed $900 today, though this feat was diminished by several rallies that ultimately failed to push its value above this benchmark. Overall, the digital currency rose to as much as $904.76, after falling below $880 earlier in the session, climbing above this level amid modest volatility.

Later in the session, the price mounted another comeback, hitting a high just above $905, according to the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). At press time, however, the price had dipped again to a value of $894.95. This upward movement represented the latest session of relatively mild price volatility, at least compared to the sharp price fluctuations experienced earlier this month.

Most notable, however, about the day's trading, may have been the lack of any serious decline over the day's trading. Bitcoin prices enjoyed their latest climb in spite of new Chinese regulatory developments that found the nation’s exchanges responding publicly to pressures from the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank.

Bullish sentiment

Still, market sentiment has been bullish, according to figures provided by a handful of exchanges, even with the confirmation that major Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKCoin had stopped offering margin trading. The market was 91% long on 19th January, Whaleclub figures reveal. In addition, more than 53% of Bitfinex orders that were executed in the 24 hours through 22:15 UTC were buy orders, according to BFX Data.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

David

Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Many netizens have heard of bitcoin, the digital currency. This means it exists electronically. To be more precise, bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency – the implication of security and encryption is important. Cryptocurrency, or digital currency, is an invention of the Internet. Basically, someone out there thought, "hey, what if…Read more. In this post, we attempt to identify 10 questions about Bitcoins that can give you a clearer understanding of what it is, what it does and how you can use it to buy products or services online.

What are bitcoins?

Bitcoin (capitalized) refers to the software or network (ie: the Bitcoin Network), while bitcoin (not capitalized) refers to the digital currency itself (ie: two bitcoins). he price fluctuates, depending on what people were willing to pay for it. It traded for as low as pennies (during the infancy stage) to as high as USD1200 during its peak in 2013.

Who developed the idea of bitcoins?

The idea of Bitcoin was conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous figure. In May 2008, he shared a white paper [PDF] about Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Without disclosing who he was, Satoshi outlined how the currency would work: bitcoins would be ‘mined’ by computer software, transferred directly amongst users and recorded in an untamperable ledger without the need of a third party.

Part of Bitcoin’s appeal is Satoshi Nakamoto’s anonymity, who many view as a selfless act towards a new era of financial revolution. Online detectives have identified a few candidates, including a real-life Japanese person sharing the same name. Some even theorized that Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym for a collective.

In May 2016, the Bitcoin community was shocked when Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. Some people believe his claim, some didn’t, but on the whole the Bitcoin community is unaffected – the Bitcoin ecosystem is decentralized, and cannot be controlled by any person(s), including the creator.

What is so special about bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency and runs on a system which allows you to send and receive bitcoins without a third party. To put simply, fiat currencies rely on third parties, such as banks or payment processors like Visa, to verify the transaction. This is how you and I can ensure payment sent was indeed received. However, bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public ledger called the bitcoin blockchain. This information are permanent and publicly viewable on Blockchain.info and cannot be edited or deleted.

This means that the transaction records act as proof of transaction. Bitcoin is also programmed to be non-duplicable, which means double spending is highly unlikely.

What is decentralized currency?

Bitcoin is also a decentralized currency, as in no one government, individual or group holds authority over it. This makes bitcoin spendable anywhere in the world as long as the receiver accepts bitcoins as payment.

Decentralised currencies are a unique concept. Similar to the internet, it is free from geographical boundaries – this is why bitcoin is also dubbed ‘the currency of the internet’.

Due to lack of control and regulations, many countries are understandably wary of bitcoin – and other cryptocurrencies in general – but some progressive countries such as Japan have started to recognize it as currency.

Is bitcoin anonymous?

Bitcoin’s anonymity is a myth. Or rather, it is now much harder to make anonymous transactions with Bitcoin. Because as the ecosystem matures, many bitcoin service providers have started implementing KYC/AML regulations. KYC/AML stands for know your customers/anti-money laundering . This requires users to submit proof of identity and proof of residence.

It is also fairly easy to trace bitcoins. Bitcoins are usually bought from bitcoin exchanges, received as payment, or donated. With transaction details publicly viewable online, it is possible to trace where the bitcoin came from.

 How do you use bitcoins?

Bitcoin can be used for spending, similar to money. Some people also keep them for investment purposes, while others prefer to use them as a method to make international money transfer.  Bitcoin exists electronically and is kept in ‘bitcoin wallets’. There are many types of bitcoin wallets: desktop wallet, mobile wallet, online/web-based wallet, hardware wallet and even paper wallet.

To read more about bitcoin storage, check out this article by CoinDesk. You can have as many wallets and bitcoin addresses (where you receive money from others) as you like.

How many people are using bitcoin?

Estimates vary – it is hard to find out the exact number of people who use Bitcoin. One way to measure number of bitcoin users is by measuring the number of bitcoin wallets. According to CoinDesk’s State of Bitcoin and Blockchain 2016 report, bitcoin wallets doubled to 12.77 million in one year, from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015. Even though many bitcoin users have more than one wallet (it is common to hold a few wallets), this is an indication that the number of bitcoin users worldwide is increasing.

Another way to estimate bitcoin usage is by the number of bitcoin transactions, which has steadily increased. Although this could mean that the same people are simply making more bitcoin transactions, it is fair to assume that there are new bitcoin users in the mix, too.

How do I acquire bitcoins?

There are three main ways to get bitcoins: mine them, buy them, or work for them.

Bitcoin Mining
Bitcoin mining used to be really profitable. However at the current time it is no longer cost effective for the average individual. One will need to buy specialised Bitcoin mining equipment, get/rent dedicated spaces for them, and pay their associated costs (rental, electricity and cooling costs).
Buy Bitcoins
You can buy bitcoins from many online exchanges. There are a lot more options now than ever before – there are global bitcoin exchanges and also country-specific bitcoin exchanges. You can also buy them from other people via Localbitcoins.
Work for Bitcoins
Some people get paid in bitcoins, instead of cash currencies. Websites such as XBTFreelancer… and Coinality list jobs with bitcoin payments.There are other less effective ways to acquire bitcoins. You can get (very) small amounts of bitcoins from bitcoin faucets, which pay you to look at advertisements. You can get them as donations. There are also bitcoin ‘investments’ but if you wish to not lose money, Badbavoid companies that are listed in itcoin Badlist.

How do I send/receive/spend bitcoins?

Bitcoin wallets come with bitcoin addresses, which represent a destination, similar to an email address. Bitcoin addresses are alphanumeric, between 27-34 characters in length. Many bitcoin service providers have user-friendly user interface which allows users to generate bitcoin addresses, send and receive bitcoins.

To send bitcoins, users simply have to ensure positive balance in their bitcoin wallets, insert the receiver’s bitcoin address, and hit send. There is a small miner’s fee to process the transaction – miner’s fees are given as a reward and incentive to Bitcoin miners for maintaining equipment. Bitcoin transactions usually take less than an hour to arrive, but it can take longer or shorter depending on the fee amount and the bitcoin service provider.

You can spend bitcoins anywhere that accept bitcoins as payment. You can also use a Visa/Mastercard-linked bitcoin debit card issued by companies like Wirex or Coinbase.

What are bitcoin’s disadvantages?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers. Coders and programmers might argue that bitcoin is already an outdated network, compared to some of the newer cryptocurrency networks available. Here we will concentrate on bitcoin’s disadvantages to the casual user:

Advanced digital knowledge is necessary

Bitcoin can be stolen in many ways. It is the bitcoin owner’s responsibility to keep them safe, and this meant implementing additional layers of security such as 2-factor authentication. Keeping them in web wallets can be dangerous. If you have a significant amount of bitcoins, you are advised to keep them in hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger.

Bitcoin service providers can be hard to trust

The biggest names have failed the Bitcoin community. Who can forget the Mt. Gox incident in 2014. It was the biggest bitcoin exchanger at the time and practically disappeared overnight along with almost 745,000 bitcoins. More recently in 2016, thieves stole almost 120,000 bitcoins during the Bitfinex hack – and experts still don’t know how they did it.

Lack of acceptance

Cold hard cash is still the widest and most used form of payment – it’s acceptance is second to none. By contrast, bitcoin is only accepted at a handful of shops. However, bitcoin debit cards help to address this issue – linked to payment processors, they help make bitcoin spending a bit easier.

Lack of protection

In general, bitcoin is not considered legal in most countries around the world. Therefore, theft or scam victims have almost no option for recourse. However, the legal landscape is ever-changing and one of the best spots to update yourself on where bitcoin is acceptable or not is Bitlegal.io.

Anti-bitcoin politicians

While many countries around the world mainly cautioned the public against the risky nature of Bitcoin, some politicians or political parties have extreme views about bitcoin. Russian and French lawmakers are considering banning it altogether.

Wrap Up

Bitcoin is cool, but the underlying technology behind it – the blockchain – is even cooler. Turns out, having a method to record data in a way that cannot be tampered or deleted is a good thing. It is also a cost-effective method to store information. Many companies including major banks have expressed interest in the blockchain technology.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David