How to Trade Bitcoin

How to Trade Bitcoin

I am truly passionate about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, especially the new and vast possibilities the technology brings us. Blockchain can and is reshaping the financial world as we know it. I have been trading for many years now, including forex, binary options and cryptocurrencies. The latter is what excites me the most. This is why I’ve put together a little guide on how to get started.

Why Trade Bitcoin?

 

Trading Bitcoin can be very profitable and make you a nice extra income or even become a full time job. I need to point out that this is by no means a get rich quick scheme. Like in any type of trading there are risks. Possibly even higher than with traditional trading. I’m sure we all wish that we had bought some Bitcoin at the end of 2013 and become millionaires overnight, like many did. It was said to be a quick bubble, but oh surprise, Bitcoin is still going strong.

Bitcoin can bring you some nice profits due to its volatility. This is why it is currently my favourite asset to trade with. The price tends to fluctuate a lot even in the course of just one day. That is something you rarely see in traditional currencies. Of course, it can go the other way too, but that’s trading for you. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The Trading State of Mind

 

Just like with trading any other assets or financial instruments, also with Bitcoin you need to understand the basics of trading and the psychology behind it. Money management and risk assessment are both hugely important elements to trading Bitcoin successfully. You need to understand that, at times, your own mind will try and work against you – you are more likely to take higher risks when faced with a loss. This is a phenomenon called loss aversion.

Getting to terms with how your brain works when it is dealing with money is one of the biggest hurdles in trading. This is why 95% of traders fail. It isn’t that the market just goes against them but they can simply panic when the conditions or trades go against them, resulting in taking even higher risks. Once you can overcome this, you are on your way to success.

Read more about my view and tips on trading psychology here.
Can’t forget money management either. Have a look in my article here.

Learn the basics, practice a lot on a demo account and awesome things might happen.

Trading Platform and Strategies

 

I recommend using SimpleFX, I seem to like the hipster platforms that aren’t the top ones. Bitfinex, mind you just had their platform hacked, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin. Making the Bitcoin price plummet almost a $100 as a result. Simple FX allows you to trade Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and also traditional currencies and other assets. Also you can integrate it to Metatrader and set up your own market analysis. Cool stuff. If trading on the web platform you can also chat to other traders – this is a feature I really love.

I have also tried my 15 minute strategy partly for seeing where the entry points of trades might be. Setting up Moving Averages is also one of my favourite ways to determine trend and to be able to make nice profits in my trades. I am currently working on getting enough content to release a Bitcoin trading strategy video.

Support and Resistance

 

A very good trading strategy, one that I normally try and include in all of my strategies is using Support & Resistance. Trading advice that is often given is – buy when the price is low and sell when high. Seems simple, right? But how do you know when the price is currently low or high? This is where the market term, “Support & Resistance” is very useful. The principle is the price moves as a wave in a corridor – the floor is considered Support and the ceiling is Resistance.

When you look at price charts you will quickly see that it tends to bounce back from the same levels. This happens because the changes in price happen from traders buying and selling. And as a group people tend to act in the same way, hence making the price move. Traders will buy and sell at the same levels where the price had bounced back previously and it will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Practice is Key

 

I cannot stress this enough. When you practice a strategy more and more you will start to recognise the best opportunities. This is where the “gut feeling” comes in. Which in actual fact isn’t really a gut feeling at all. It is simply your brain recognising previous situations that were profitable. And this way you become better in trading. Don’t jump in with a huge investment hoping to become a millionaire overnight. Start small. Learn about the asset. Practice. And then practice some more. Be patient. Know that you will become it. And this too will then become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Hope you liked this article. I will be posting some new videos on Bitcoin very soon!
Let me know in the comments if you have some questions about trading cryptocurrencies and or anything else. I would also really love to hear about your trading experience.

Happy Trading!
Liina

The Bitcoin Halving is Coming!!

The Bitcoin Halving is Coming!!

The Bitcoin Halving is estimated to happen very soon. In fact whilst I am writing this it is due in just 2 days. See the countdown here.

So firstly, what is the block reward halving?

As there will only be 21 million BTC created ever Satoshi Nakamoto designed the Bitcoin mining reward to decrease over time. The reward that is currently received for finding a block is 25BTC. In approx 2 days that will become 12.5BTC. Simple economics suggests that if the supply falls and demand stays at least the same, the price will rise. I don’t personally see that the world would immediately stop using Bitcoin in the next 2 days so this is a very likely scenario. The Bitcoin halving takes place every 210 000 blocks and happens approximately every 4 years.

Worst Case Scenario?

There are also some other possible outcomes. If the price doesn’t rise enough (which it sort of almost already has compared to the beginning of this year) a lot of smaller miners might need to move on to other ventures as it is unlikely anyone would be mining at a loss just for the sake of it. This would give more power to the huge mining pools. 70% of mining is already done by huge mining pools in China. And this might lead to a different problem that might affect the decentralization causing the trust into Bitcoin to decline.  Coinbase published quite an insightful article yesterday on a possible threat to the survival of Bitcoin. It reads:

Perhaps the most infamous potential attack, known as a ‘51% attack‘, would find a single entity introducing a version of the blockchain that it controls and is accepted as valid. While academics have argued attacks can be carried out with a smaller percentage of the network, at 51% of the hashrate, such an attack would be almost guaranteed to work.

This is however a rather unlikely outcome as the mining companies would essentially be shooting themselves in the foot.

Get some coins!

I reckon we will see the price rise back over $1000 mark after the Bitcoin halving, hence I am stacking them away patiently. The price has done a little pullback just today so this is a great buying opportunity. I am buckling up for an awesome ride. I’ve also just recorded a video on the topic of bitcoin halving. I will do my best to edit it tonight and have it up and posted tomorrow 🙂

If you too want to get your hands on some Bitcoin before the halving you could try these options:

  • Buy from an exchange

Nowadays a pretty easy process. Get an account, deposit some cash and buy your coins. You can then withdraw your coins to your wallet or some exchanges also provide you with a wallet.

Like Coinbase for example (they’ll give you $10 worth of free BTC if you purchase $100 of coin through my link. Super awesome!)

  • Buy from someone who has coins

Ideally should be someone you know and trust because Bitcoin transactions are irreversible. Or you culd use a third party or escrow service. I’ve tried a few of those and my best experience has been with localbitcoins.com.

 

What are your thoughts on where the Bitcoin price might be going after the halving? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Is E-Coin a Scam?

Is E-Coin a Scam?

As a crypto enthusiast I have lots of coins “lying around”. I haven’t really spent much of them and if I need to I normally use Bitpay to convert them to my preferred currency. Even though Bitcoin cards have been around a bit already I didn’t really see the need to have one until now. I finally decided to get a Bitcoin card. I searched around – there are actually not that many around. The most popular is probably Xapo. In addition to that there are a few whose websites are just so terrible that I wouldn’t dare keep my money with them. After digging around and comparing I decided to go for E-coin – now rebranding to Wirex.

E-Coin Virtual Card

I used their virtual card successfully and easily on many occasions and loved it. Weird thing for me at first was that you didn’t need to send any documents at all. Didn’t even have to put your name on the card. I see now why my local AML bureau is a bit cautious of cryptocurrencies. In the UK though where the company is registered, 2500€ is not a big enough amount to need to show your ID. Which you know, is convenient. If you want to buy something quickly and don’t have time to sit around and wait until they review your documents and verify your account. If you want to spend more than 2500€ though, be prepared for the standard KYC procedures.

Why I opted for the E-coin card was the fact that you topped the card up with Bitcoin and the amount was locked in your selected currency. That was their advantage compared to Xapo in my eyes. We had a debate on this exact thing with a friend of mine. He didn’t understand why I wanted to top up the card separately. Surely it would be easier if the wallet and card were a direct link. As Bitcoin is still very volatile and I like to gain profits on the exchange rate I specifically wanted to top the card up only when the price was high. Getting more use out of my coins in the real world this way.

E-Coin Debit Card

So when I was ready to get my own plastic Bitcoin debit card I naturally decided to get an E-Coin card. I excitedly logged into my E-coin account and clicked upgrade to plastic. Woohoo! Wait, what? Apparently it wasn’t possible to pay for the plastic card with the funds on the virtual card for whatever reason, even though there was enough on there. Didn’t really get why that option wasn’t a thing but okay, I added some more Bitcoin to my E-coin wallet to pay for the card. Bitcoin cards are rather pricy – with E-coin it costs $18 for a card with standard delivery and $50 for express delivery with DHL. Xapo and some others charge a bit more or around the same. I chose the express delivery because I needed it fast and also having a card sent via standard mail is really not safe. As I’ve worked in a bank previously, I know how many get lost in the post. And there’s way too many of them.

The E-mail Saga

As I needed the card fast, I checked with their support first. I was assured this:

 DHL delivery takes 7-10 days or less.

Great! Ordered my card and went on with my business. I received an email on the 8th of March that my card had been shipped. Weird I thought, as I just ordered it the same day. On the 10th of March I contacted support to ask for my DHL tracking number of my card.

DHL tracking numbers usually become available 3-4 working days after the card is actually issued. In some cases the card arrives earlier than that.We will certainly keep you posted and send you the tracking number as soon as we have it.

Some concerns – how does a card arrive before a tracking number is available? I use DHL frequently and I have not heard this before. You normally get the tracking number as soon as DHL has agreed to ship something for you. Even before they receive it.

I next contacted them on the 14th of March.

Hello again – can I have my dhl tracking number please. It’s been 6 days since I ordered my card. You promise to deliver it in 7-10 days

Kind Regards,
Liina Laas
This was their response:

Hello.
Thank you for your request.

DHL tracking numbers usually become available 4-5 working days after the card is actually issued.

We will ask our bank about your tracking number.

We will certainly keep you posted and send you the tracking number as soon as we have it.

Kind regards,
E-Coin Team

I emailed againt on the 16th of March. 8 days after the card was ordered.

Hi,

Thanks for the update. The reason I opted for a fast delivery card was because I need it quickly. What is the estimated delivery time of my card?

 

Hello.

After your card will be created and shipped DHL delivery takes 7-10 days or usually less.

Kind regards,
E-Coin Team

So I don’t actually get it in 7-10 days as promised at first? Now terms have changed to 7-10 days after created and shipped. Well isn’t that great. Got another email, finally actually giving an indication that something has indeed gone wrong instead of copy pasing me a generic bs response:

 

Hello,
Thank you for your reply.

We have discussed with the bank the situation with your tracking number. Turned out a change of cards’ stock is happening currently. We are waiting for it to be completed (no more than a few days left), and then the card will be finally reshipped to you with proper tracking number.

I am really sorry for the delay. I will notify you once we have any further information.

Kind regards,
E-Coin Team

This back and forth keeps going on for a while. I keep asking on an estimated time and what is going on. Always get back a generic response of 7-10 days and oh we’ll get back to you.

On the 18th of March I finally lose my patience – that is the latest date I was supposed to receive my card yet one still hadn’t been produced. I angrily ask for a refund.

This is no longer acceptable for me. I asked how long it would take prior to ordering the card, i opted for express because i need it fast. I am going to get my card elsewhere. Refund the fee please

I get a response the day later.

Hello.

Your card was finally issued yesterday (03/18).
I apologize for any inconvenience it causes, and appreciate your understanding.

Kind regards,
E-Coin Team

 

When will I receive it? I need the extra money spent on express delivery refunded as this is by no means express

 

DHL tracking numbers usually become available 4-5 working days after the card is actually issued. In some cases the card arrives earlier than that.
So, I hope your tracking number will be available on the next week.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you right now about possibility to refund you the difference between standart and expedite deilivery. I will ask our senior team about it and write to you the answer after the weekends.

Kind regards,
E-Coin Team

Back in the same feedback loop now… If the card was produced, there should be a tracking number. I at this point am sure that I am being bullshitted again and there is no card still. And I’ve had enough.

Nope not happy with that.

So you said the card was produced but there os no tracking number – this means it has not been sent and I will not be receiving it next week. Refund the fee for the card and cancel it. I will do business with a company that can actually deliver their promises. I am not willing to believe in any of your promises. I am not paying $50 for a card delivered a month later.This a massive inconvenience for me and I will not be recommending your services to anyone. I will also remove all affiliate links from my website.

Your company is either massively incompetent or scamming people. Either way not something I want to proceed doing business with

On Monday the 21st of March I received a response from E-Coin:

Hello,
Thank you for your reply.

I have notified the bank and requested to cancel your card. Once they confirm the card issuance was cancelled, we will proceed with the refund process.

We will let you know further details shortly.

Kind regards,
E-Coin Team

Say what? You’re cancelling the card that was apparently already produced on the 18th of March. Well thanks very much for wasting my time further you bell****! Sorry for my language. At this point I was already pretty angry. I understand that there are sometimes issues. What I do not like is being lied to – the whole problem here was that I needed the card urgently. If there was a problem I could’ve ordered a Xapo card with express delivery and a standard delivery of the E-coin card. As I previously mentioned I like the features of the E-Coin card much more than Xapos. But at this point I don’t want to know anything about E-Coin anymore.

angry

Hello,
Thank you for your reply.

I am sorry for the confusion. We were told by the bank representatives, new cards would be ready on Friday, and we expected them to be sent on Friday.

On Monday though we were informed the cards are not yet sent and the issuance was scheduled for Monday. So we got a chance to cancel your card. Otherwise, it would not be possible.

I apologize for the misleading information. Not everything here depends on us, though we understand we should have keep you informed better, and double-check all the information we get from all our sources.

I have also created the ticket with our refund team. Once it is done I will let you know.

Kind regards,
E-Coin Team

Almost a Month later… No card 🙁

sad

So in all an unpleasant experience. I received a refund and the card was cancelled. I was not too phased about the fee but I really genuinely wanted and needed this card. I have now ordered a Xapo card. It has been 6 days and no tracking number. So am I about to experience the same saga again? I sure hope not.

I am now considering establishing my own startup – a business that will undercut the fees of current Bitcoin card issuer’s fees and one that can actually deliver the cards to their beloved customers. How hard can it be?

Have ideas on a Bitcoin card business or want to help me start one? Do get in touch! Let’s build something that actually works!

Liina

Onecoin – Moneymaking Making Machine or a Ponzi?

Onecoin – Moneymaking Making Machine or a Ponzi?

Even though Onecoin is by no means a new phenomenon I still get a lot of people asking for my opinion of it. It is believed to be the greatest thing that will make you a mountain of money. I’ve written a post about it in the past. And also had some questions responded by the great lady behind Onecoin – Ruja Ignatova. You can read the interview here.  So what is my opinion of Onecoin?

It is a scam. So why are so many people super into it and believe it will change their lives?

The OneCoin Scam

Onecoin logo

Firstly if I come across a business or a product that I have doubts about I look at who is behind it. Onecoin’s founder is Ruja Ignatova, also working on it are Sebastian Greenwood and Nigel Allan. These names have popped up in the past with a previous MLM scheme called Unaico. This immediately rings alarmbells. Now even though Onecoin has stated that Nigel Allan is no longer working with them that still doesn’t raise much confidence. Also when reading about the Claims on Dr. Ruja Ignatova, stuff just doesn’t seem to add up. Apparently she is an amazing business woman who was featured on the cover of Forbes. Wow, right? Not quite. Turns out that this was simply an advert run by the Onecoin Foundation. Furthermore Dr. Ignatova claims to have a degree from Oxford in European and Comparative Law from 2004. I cannot find any actual sources about this. Also some sites say that it was actually 2009. All of the info that comes up is from their own blogs.

Secondly it is a simple MLM scheme, that shit ain’t gonna make you millions. Indeed their hyped up product is not this amazing cryptocurrency but instead they are selling “educational materials”. So basically invest a whole lot of money and that should then turn into more money. What I’ve gathered from conversations with people who have joined Onecoin it’s all very simple. They are  just capitalizing on one of the strongest human feelings – greed. I just talked to a friend of mine who was asking for my opinion on Onecoin. He had invested some money into it. I told him that my honest opinion was that it’s a simple ponzi scheme and should be kept away from. He sort of took my thoughts on board but said that he is currently in profit and he’s not that scared of losing the amount that he invested. When I asked why won’t he withdraw his profits he responded that it is definite that it will grow more and also there were some time restrictions or somtehing similar on withdrawing the profits. Well isn’t that convenient. This is how they hook you in. Promises of greater profits in the future and manipulating with fear of loss – yes you can withdraw now, but you will miss out on the millions waiting for you. So what happens next? The masterminds behind Onecoin will probably file bankruptcy and skip away into the sunset at some point. Because looking at it rationally there is no way this scheme can sustain profits for its members.

Wow! Many Onecoin, Such Lies

It has all been hyped up pretty well. Many people from the Estonian Onecoin community come up with wild lies like – a member of the board of the Estonian Cryptocurrency Associacion just invested 20k into it and hence I should too. It made me laugh as I too was  a member of the board at the time and none of as had or were going to invest in such bullshit. So if it is a legit thing, why lie to promote it? These lies just kept coming and people who portraied themselves as now rich beyound their dreams turned out couldn’t actually afford a bus ticket.

It is not a genious new cryptocurrency but just another pyramid scheme. Onecoins are not used anywhere and have no value. Value of assets and currency comes from supply & demand. There is no demand for Onecoin apart from the people that have been sucked in with empty promises.

They regularly hold Onecoin conferences. Full of high energy speakers and lots of promises that this is the best thing that ever was and haters gonna hate, you know. It’s all very glam and amusing. I’ve spent the morning watching videos on Youtube about their presentations. Very dramatic indeed. When something sounds too good to be true then it probably is. The mirror also published a story on Onecoin not that long ago. One of their journalists attended on of their conferences and his experience is actually worth a read. Thank you Andrew Penman for bringing us insights from these ridiculous events.

Appealing to greed works very well with human beings. I too have lost money believing in quick profits. I’ve also worked in sales for a long time and know how well promises of hard cold cash work. Because we all want to be successful, don’t we.

Bitcoin – What is it and Why You Should Get Amongst it

Bitcoin – What is it and Why You Should Get Amongst it

Hi all super awesome traders! I’ve not been too active recently on my blog and YouTube channel and for that I am sorry. Reason being is I’ve been working on a slightly different topic – cryptocurrencies. I’ve been working to raise awareness and promote the use of cryptocurrencies in Estonia and also writing various cryptocurrency related articles for different cryptocurrency sites. Now I would like to share my love for Bitcoin and other cryptos with you. Firstly – what is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin – What is it?

 

You probably have already heard of the internet wonder that it is. If you’ve not paid too much attention to it you probably don’t know much about the technology behind it or how it works. Don’t worry, I’ll explain it all now. I have to warn you though, I am really into this stuff and will probably start babbling about how it will change the world soon, sorry.

Okay Liina, what is it then??

bitcoin

ˈbɪtkɔɪn/

noun

BTC

  1. 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.

In simple words – Bitcoin is a digital currency. It is a decentralized peer to peer payment network. It is completely powered by the users without a central authority or a middle man. Because, screw banks, that’s why! It only exists in digital form – think of it as digital cash. Because it’s completely decentralized, governments or other authorities have no control over it. They cannot be printed or manipulated with like most fiat currencies are.

 

Where do Bitcoins come from?

 

Bitcoins are created by mining – the process of using software that solves mathematical problems. The process is of adding transaction records to the blockchain. Blockchain is Bitcoin’s public ledger of transactions. Once a new block is confirmed the miner receives a reward, currently 25 BTC. This will change over time. Miners can also be incentivised with transaction fees. The mining complexity will grow higher over time and the reward will decrease. The maximum amount of Bitcoins is 21 million.

 

What can I do with Bitcoins?

Bitcoin

From when Bitcoin was born up to now it has hugely gained popularity. Although the bubble has popped the price has stabilized and has been on an uptrend since beginning of 2015. Here’s what you can do with this crypto:

  • Trade Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s price is still very volatile compared to most other commodities. That can be a great thing tradingwise – profits come quickly if you know what you’re doing. It is also relatively easy to speculate on the price. Bitcoin traders love round numbers, hence it has very strong support & resistance levels. Recent established levels are – $350, $400, $450 and $500. I invest in Bitcoin for a few month time periods. Buy at a good price, wait for price to climb and cash out. Then wait for another buying opportunity. It is a great asset to trade with because the price changes quickly – this means you don’t need a lot of cash for profits. On the flipside it can also go the other way. Great volatility brings risks as well. Day trading Bitcoin is pretty much the same as trading any other currency – find the levels of support & resistance, determine the trend and start trading. My current favourite platform for trading is Simple FX. You can add indicators to the web platform or you can download Metatrader and trade through that using their servers. Pretty great!

  • Make purchases with Bitcoin

So many merchants accept Bitcoin nowadays. And the list is ever growing. I love it! I actually do so much shopping online using Bitcoin now. Recently I purchased a family holiday for my coins as Expedia now accepts it too. Yay! Why pay with Bitcoin you ask? A lot of merchants offer discounts when paying with it because Bitcoin has phenomenally low fees compared to most other payment processors. I’ve been using virtual Bitcoin cards for some time now and also just recently ordered a plastic Bitcoin card by E-coin. It is great. Works just like a normal credit or debit card but can be topped up with Bitcoins. There are various other Bitcoin card merchants out there, like Xapo for example, but I prefer E-coin because when you top up your card, it keeps the balance in the fiat when topped up, regardless of the current Bitcoin price. Why is that good? This is what I normally do – when the Bitcoin price is high I send coins to my E-coin card, the currency on the card will then be in my selected currency and will stay that amount even if the price drops. Xapo’s card is linked directly to their Bitcoin wallet and the amount on the card will be the equivalent of the Bitcoin’s current worth. This is why I prefer E-coin.

Why would you need a Bitcoin card? Because you have control over your money this way. The government or the banks have no dibs in it. So again, screw the banks!

If you want one, you can get a 25% discount on the card fee through my links 🙂

Why use Bitcoin?

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  • Cost & Time

With Bitcoin you can send money almost instantly to anywhere in the world with no or very small fees. You probably know how expensive payments to foreign countries are – Bitcoin solves this problem. And from the merchant’s point of view – processing payments takes a considerable amount. Visa for example charges the merchant about 3% of the payment amount. With Bitcoin you can process payments faster and with a lower fee therefore making a higher profit and being able to offer better prices for the consumer.

 

  • Simplicity

You can set up a wallet – all you need to send and receive in minutes. With a bank you need to identify yourself, provide all sorts of documentation and in many countries you also have to pay high fees to get a bank account. With Bitcoin there’s no need for that. For example you can get a fully working Bitcoin Visa card without sending any sort of documents! Screw the banks!

 

  • Anonymity

You can hold multiple bitcoin wallets and they won’t be linked to your personal details. Your government cannot peek into your wallet!

 

Bitcoin is Awesome!

 

So to conclude – Bitcoin is simple great and everyone should be using it! Why? Because the technology behind it is so much better than what we have in place right now. The current banking system is simply ancient and needs to be replaced. Why do I still need to wait a few days to send money from one country to another? Why do I have to pay high fees? The technology is already here but the banks don’t want to let go of the huge cash they’re raking in. Be part of the revolution and help this technology along! Bitcoin FTW!

 

How to get Bitcoins?

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A few simple ways:

Buy and/or get a card from E-coin

Buy/Sell or trade  with Simple FX

Buy from Coinbase – ironically you cannot get your coins from them if you are in Estonia. We’re still working hard at the Estonian Cryptocurrency Association to get Estonia’s AML regulations fit the 21st century 🙂

 

I am going to be more active in my blogging from now on. Videos on cryptocurrencies coming soon too! Let me know what you think about this post and leave all your questions in the comments.

 

Happy Trading!

Liina

 

Bitcoin in 2016

Bitcoin in 2016

Bitcoin Is Back and Bigger than Ever

 

You would think with drug market place scandals, theft at exchanges and an unpredictable market, the public would be staying away from Bitcoin. Yet volatility is down, the price is back up and it continues to grow by all key metrics according to a new infographic from BargainFox

The positive headlines just keep rolling. In October European users breathed a sigh of relief when it was ruled that value added tax (VAT) would not be added to trades and transactions because bitcoin is not a tangible good. Then the market cap hit $6 billion on November 4th, with a value over $400 and it’s still there in December. The big crash is a thing of the past and with more people using the cryptocurrency than ever before, it’s unlikely to happen again. 7 years after its revolutionary founding, the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto may finally be getting closer to his goal of replacing the financial system without banks or government control.

Unlike traditional currency BTC isn’t printed by a central bank, is not artificially devalued through government policy, and does not have to pass through commercial banks to be traded or spent. Everything is handled through an online peer to peer network that logs every transaction, but also protects the identities of those who make them. Encryption means nobody can steal your money either, unless of course you trust a third party to hold on to it.

 

What do the numbers say ?

All of this may still sound confusing to the average Joe but thanks to a record $469 million venture capital investment this year, new wallets, apps and other software is only going to make the process more user-friendly. Indeed, with exchanges like BitStamp growing by 160% and more than 35,000 new merchants accepting BTC as a payment method, it’s clear than the mainstream public are beginning to take notice.

There are now 100,000 merchants that accept bitcoin, including huge corporations like travel booker Expedia and computing giant Microsoft, as well as online retailers like NewEgg, TigerDirect and Overstock. An increasing number of bars, cafes and physical stores are letting customers pay using their mobile devices or their own hardware, and online it’s even easier with it being implemented in to the checkout process.

Payment processor BitPay reached its highest number of transactions in 1 month with over 70,000 in August. And this isn’t just because merchants allowing BTC meets public demand and ensures sales aren’t lost. There are actually some clear benefits to adopting the currency. Take the actual cost of processing the transaction. When a store or restaurant takes your credit card order they have to give a kickback of between 2 and 6 percent for the privilege, while BitPay is free to begin with and then only charges 1%. Furthermore there’s no time wasted trying to get the money in to the bank as they will automatically convert BTC in to the merchant’s chosen currency at no extra cost.

Another benefit is that they do not have to answer to the credit card companies when a customer  decides they want a refund. Obviously refund policies still apply and are met by reputable retailers, but a customer can’t just call their card issuer and force a chargeback, which prevents losses when customers do this fraudulently.

With a $30 million investment from Visa, Nasdaq, Citi and other groups, it seems the old guard are attempting to implement blockchain technology for their own benefit. But as it stands now, bitcoin will continue to grow through 2016.

Bitcoin