In case you forgot what bitcoin is, it's not a physical form of currency, nor is it a company or corporation that can go public. So there isn't exactly a stock for it, per se. However, you can treat the bitcoins you have as an asset that can be bought and sold, and its value as the bitcoin stock price. The fluctuation in price can be tracked in the same way you can track any other stock in your portfolio.
Instability is good for Bitcoin. In general, political unrest is not good for the stock market -- whose value is tied to established companies that depend on government services, stable financial institutions, a dependable workforce and so on. However, unrest is good for Bitcoin, which is resilient to political unrest because it is not a government-backed currency. There's evidence that recent unrest in Asia contributed to the Bitcoin price surge. If you think the future holds more instability for governments and traditional banks, you might find Bitcoin to be a compelling investment.
Still, for some people living internationally—like Venezuelans plagued with a shortage of cash and those in China, where the government has restricted movement of capital outside of the country—bitcoin presents an attractive option to get ahold of cash, Harvey said. Its rising popularity in these countries are part of the reason behind bitcoin’s recent surge.
Bitcoin Cash (sometimes referred to as “Bcash” or “BCH”) is a cryptocurrency that split off from the main Bitcoin blockchain in August 2017. Culminating from Bitcoin’s years-long scaling dispute, the spinoff project most notably increased its block size limit through a contentious hard fork upgrade, “forking off” to become its own coin — though some of its proponents see it as the “real Bitcoin.” While currently trading at a fraction of bitcoin’s value — around $480 at the time of writing — Bitcoin Cash is the fourth biggest cryptocurrency by market cap and has garnered support from big names in the cryptocurrency space like bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver and Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu.
In order to buy bitcoins, local currency, like the U.S. dollar or Euro, must be exchanged for bitcoins. In this process trust users must trust the Bitcoin exchange to secure money and not run away with funds. It’s best to use a regulated Bitcoin exchange. Most exchanges offer information about their regulatory compliance on their websites. If an exchange seems shady and doesn’t offer information about regulation or who’s behind the site, it’s best to find a different exchange.
Cryptocurrency markets are jittery ahead of a high-stakes "hard fork" of Bitcoin Cash. Rival factions are pushing different, mutually incompatible versions of the spinoff cryptocurrency, and the two versions are scheduled to create separate, competing versions of the blockchain starting on Thursday. The schism could create confusion among users and damage the reputation of the cryptocurrency.
The rules of the bitcoin protocol include the requirement that a user cannot send the same bitcoin more than once and a user cannot send bitcoin from an address for which they do not possess the private key. If a user tries to create a transaction that breaks the rules of the bitcoin protocol, it will automatically be rejected by the rest of the bitcoin network.
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Choose trusted wallets and exchanges. The hype surrounding the cryptocurrency market has led many people to jump in headfirst without checking whether they are doing business with reputable sources. As the market starts to settle in the coming years, it’s likely that up to 80% of the wallets and exchanges currently in business will disappear. Don’t make an already risky market worse by choosing an untrusted wallet or exchange.
A hard fork is when developers and miners no longer agree on a proposed change to the software, despite operating on the same blockchain. Once the fork takes place, one group of so-called nodes — computers that are connected to the network and are part of the transaction confirmation process — will upgrade to the new software and the other will operate on the old rules, creating two separate blockchains and digital currencies.
Some investors want a more immediate return, by buying bitcoin and selling it at the end of a price rally. There are several ways to do this, including relying on the cryptocurrency's volatility for a high rate of return, should the market move in your favor. Several bitcoin trading sites also now exist that provide leveraged trading, in which the trading site effectively lends you money to hopefully increase your return. Magnr is one such example.
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