There are a few primary concerns surrounding bitcoin that potential investors should be aware of. First, it is not backed or regulated by the good faith of a government or other entity. This stands in stark contrast to the dollar, yuan, pound, and other forms of currency used around the globe. So, many people view bitcoin as something akin to Monopoly money, because it is neither a fiat currency nor is it based on something of tangible value like gold. In other words, a bitcoin is worth exactly what people perceive its worth to be. While, in a sense, this is true of any currency, the value of a bitcoin is much more fickle than other forms of currency because of its unregulated nature.
Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency. In mid-2017, a group of developers wanting to increase bitcoin's block size limit prepared a code change. The change, called a hard fork, took effect on 1 August 2017. As a result, the bitcoin ledger called the blockchain and the cryptocurrency split in two. At the time of the fork anyone owning bitcoin was also in possession of the same number of Bitcoin Cash units.
While the number of companies and industries that allow cryptocurrencies to be used to pay for goods and services is constantly increasing (you can use Bitcoin to pay for some things on Expedia and Microsoft, for example), the vast majority of people who buy Bitcoin or other popular cryptocurrencies still primarily use them as long-term investments. Cryptocurrencies are a new market (Bitcoin was first introduced less than a decade ago) and therefore an extremely volatile investment. In this pricing graph from Coindesk, you can see how the price of Bitcoin has fluctuated since it first debuted almost a decade ago, down to daily changes in value.
Bitcoin Cash differs from Bitcoin Classic in that it increases the block size from 1 MB to 8 MB. It also removes Segregated Witness (SegWit), a proposed code adjustment designed to free up block space by removing certain parts of the transaction. The goal of Bitcoin Cash is to increase the number of transactions that can be processed, and supporters hope that this change will allow Bitcoin Cash to compete with the volume of transactions that PayPal and Visa can handle by increasing the size of blocks.
If having an account at a bitcoin exchange is like having a seat at the NYSE, then doing business with a bitcoin broker is like having an e*Trade or Charles Schwab account. The advantage of using a broker is simplicity. The customer asks for a quote, places an order, and receives what they asked for, and the broker removes the complexity of dealing with an exchange.
Improving cryptocurrency as a transaction medium will depend on maintaining the high level of security that bitcoin has always ensured, while also improving transaction speeds. Bitcoin will continue to be highly secure, but how much its transaction speeds will improve is unclear. Bitcoin cash, once its difficulty has adjusted, could have transactions processing in two minutes and 30 seconds. The security of the Bitcoin cash blockchain, though, is unclear.
Transactions made with funds in a bank account can take a while on Coinbase - generally about 4-5 days business days. And using an account allows users to buy and sell crypto, to deposit money in, and and withdraw money from their Coinbase account. Bank accounts are generally recommended if you are dealing with larger investments and purchases - at the time of writing, using a bank account allows for users to spend as much as $11,250/week.
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Well, you may argue, there are firms who never pay dividends, many of the tech companies, and bitcoin is kind of like them, where capital gains is the sole driver of returns. But here's the essential difference: the future price of non-dividend paying stocks are backed by the company's potential to grow its profit. It has cash flow, whereas bitcoin has none. The only thing it can offer is the belief that someone will be willing to pay more for it in the future.
There is also the Bitcoin Investment Trust from Grayscale Investments. We’re mentioning it for the sake of comprehensiveness, but it’s a bit of a different animal. The fund is invested in bitcoin, but keep in mind, you’re actually buying the fund, not bitcoin. You’re a step removed from owning actual bitcoin, even though you are still exposed to its volatility. The pluses, Grayscale says on its site, are that you get the structure and tax benefits you wouldn’t get trading bitcoin directly; on the other hand, fees will eat up a chunk of anything you earn, negating the reason many people are drawn to cryptocurrencies in the first place. All of which is to say, you should really, really know what you’re doing as an investor if you’re going to dive into this pool.
On June 6, VanEck and SolidX refiled with SEC their updated proposal of bitcoin ETFs. To mitigate SEC's concerns about volatility exposure to retail investors, they make the share backed by real bitcoin and price the ETF per share at 25 bitcoin, which equals about $162,000, in a way to target institutional investors. But the ultimate goal is still to make the ETF accessible to retail investors.
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