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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.
On Aug. 1, some miners and developers initiated what is known as a hard fork, effectively creating a new currency: Bitcoin cash. Bitcoin cash has implemented an increased block size of 8mb, to accelerate the verification process, with an adjustable level of difficulty to ensure the chain’s survival and transaction verification speed, regardless of the number of miners supporting it. This has raised concerns about the security of Bitcoin Cash.
Litecoin was developed in 2011. While it has faltered of late in value with the other cryptocurrencies, if it gains back that value, it will be because of its strengths in comparison to bitcoin: Significantly faster transaction time (one major complaint when bitcoin exploded was that the increase in users slowed down transactions tremendously) and a larger number of crypto tokens.
Bitcoin is a digital payment system with no intermediaries or banks; it was invented by a person or group using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto, and released as open-source software in 2009. The U.S. Treasury has categorized it as a decentralized virtual currency though some believe it is best described as a "cryptocurrency." OxfordDictionaries.com helpfully defines cryptocurrency as "a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank."
But before we get to the tutorial steps, it's really important to know what we're getting into. Increasingly I hear from students making mistakes due to rushing into Bitcoin because of all the hype. There's so much fragmented or misleading information out there. My aim here is to strip it to total basics without putting you off for another 4 years (hopefully).
The second point is crucial. Bitcoin is only valuable if it truly becomes a critical world currency. In other words, if you truly need it to buy stuff, and thus you need to buy coins from some other person in order to conduct important bits of world commerce that you can’t do any other way. Right now, speculators are the only people driving up the price.
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