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About Bitcoin

The world is going digital, and while the importance of monetary fund is increasing... the need of a medium to exchange was felt.
Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that is not tied to any bank or government and allows users to spend money digitally. The coins are created by users who 'mine' them by lending computing power to verify other users' transactions.
Bitcoin is the world's leading digital currency and continues to grow as people learn about its breakthrough potential as a peer-to-peer digital payment system.

Bitcoin is a popular digital currency, created and stored electronically. It's not centrally controlled, nor are bitcoins printed; instead, bitcoins are made by people and businesses through software that solves mathematical problems.

Bitcoins belong to a growing category of digital money called cryptocurrency.

One of Bitcoin's most distinguishing characteristics is that it's completely decentralized. This means that its network is not controlled by any one institution. This makes a lot of people feel secure because it means that a large bank or institution won't be able to control their money.

There are many advantages to using Bitcoin, many of which include:

  • Quick, Easy and Convenient- You can send and receive bitcoins anywhere in the world at any time in a matter of a few minutes.
  • Low Fees- Normally, the fees for Bitcoin transactions are very small. Bitcoin fees can fluctuate due to the dynamic fee market. In addition, some wallets will also allow you to pay a fee you're willing to spend. With higher fees, you'll get faster confirmation of your transactions.
  • Secure- When using Bitcoin, users remain in control of their transactions. You're also protected from identity theft since Bitcoin payments can be made without personal information associated with the transaction.
  • Transparent- All Bitcoin transactions are fully available on the blockchain for anybody to verify and use in real-time.

Use the following options to get Bitcoins:

  • Online Exchanges and Wallets- New to Bitcoin? There's a variety of exchanges and wallets that you can find, depending on your needs. Many exchanges and wallets will store amounts of digital and/or fiat currency for you - a lot like a regular bank account.
  • LocalBitcoins.com- You can search for individuals selling Bitcoin in your area. It's easy. Simply enter the amount you wish to acquire, send the trade request and send your payment to the seller.
  • Face to Face- You also have the option of getting bitcoins in person. If you want anonymity or don't want to deal with banks, simply acquire Bitcoin via a face-to-face transaction with a local seller.
  • Selling Goods in Exchange for Bitcoin- Similar to barter trade, you can actually exchange goods that you own for Bitcoin. It's another quick and convenient way of getting more of the digital currency.
  • Bitcoin ATM- You can withdraw or deposit bitcoins using Bitcoin ATM machines near you.
  • Mining- You can also be awarded bitcoins as a miner-once you've verified transactions and they've been added to the public ledger, also known as the blockchain, you'll be given bitcoins for your service.

As for paying for your bitcoins, you can use anything from hard cash, credit and debit cards to wire transfers, or even other cryptocurrencies.

There are three main ways to sell Bitcoin:

  • Direct Trade- The first method involves a direct trade with another person, or using an intermediary to enable the transaction, such as LocalBitcoins.com.
  • Exchanges- Use an online exchange to trade into their preferred currency, instead of another individual, to sell bitcoins.
  • Peer-to-Peer Trading- This method allows Bitcoin owners to sell their bitcoins for goods by selling them to individuals who wish to acquire cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin transactions occur between electronic Bitcoin wallets, and are digitally verified and signed for security. Thanks to the massive public ledger called the blockchain, users are aware of all transactions, and its history and when bitcoins were generated can be tracked.

If you send some bitcoins to, say, a friend, that transaction will have three pieces of information:

  • The amount of Bitcoin you wish to send.
  • The recipient's wallet address, generated randomly and consisting of a sequence of letters and numbers- this is where you'll be sending your funds.
  • A private key, which is also a unique sequence of numbers and letters exclusively available to you. This key will allow you to access your wallet.

Once a transaction is set up, it makes its way into the Bitcoin network where it awaits verification. Through the process of mining, miners use software to solve mathematical problems. Once completed, the transaction successfully moves into the blockchain.

Bitcoin has a strong track record for security and privacy, thanks to its protocol and cryptography. With private keys, individuals' wallets are kept secure. The only way this would not be true is if users lose this information.

This is why, you should always take care with securing your funds, and we've assembled some tips and tricks to help you along the way.

The blockchain is a huge, shared public ledger where the entire Bitcoin network is situated. All verified transactions are added to the Blockchain, where everyone can see information pertaining to Bitcoin wallets and verify their balances.

Bitcoin mining primarily involves adding previous Bitcoin transaction records to the blockchain. The people involved are called miners; their job is to confirm the transactions to the network by solving mathematical problems using a software, as well as work towards using the blockchain to distinguish legitimate transactions and ensure that double spending does not occur. Double spending is when the same Bitcoins have been used twice.

The main goal of mining is to ensure security within the Bitcoin network. As a secondary goal, mining is also used to introduce Bitcoins into the system. As an incentive, miners get paid in Bitcoin for their services.

There's plenty you can do with your bitcoins. Spend them online or in actual stores across a variety of industries - including travel, hospitality/hotels, etc.

Bitcoin transactions are not tied to any personal information which allows users to protect their privacy. However, since all Bitcoin transactions are public knowledge and permanently on the blockchain, other users can see the activity associated to a particular wallet address hence not being 100% anonymous. It is highly recommended to only use Bitcoin addresses once to avoid your identity being revealed either through a specific purchase or other means.

Normally, Bitcoin transactions have low fees. These fees fluctuate and depend on the dynamic fee market. To speed up your transactions, you can pay a certain Bitcoin fee.

About Ethereum

While bitcoin aims to disrupt PayPal and online banking, Ethereum has the goal of using a blockchain to replace internet third parties those that store data, transfer mortgages and keep track of complex financial instruments. With Ethereum, servers and clouds are replaced by thousands of so-called "nodes" run by volunteers from across the globe (thus forming a "world computer"). The vision is that ethereum would enable this same functionality to people anywhere around the world, enabling them to compete to offer services on top of this infrastructure.
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

Ether is a necessary element -- a fuel -- for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations. To put it another way, ether is the incentive ensuring that developers write quality applications (wasteful code costs more), and that the network remains healthy (people are compensated for their contributed resources).

Developers who intend to build apps that will use the ethereum blockchain and users who want to access and interact with smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.

The Ethereum network is kept running by computers all over the world. In order to reward the computational costs of both processing the contracts and securing the network, there is a reward that is given to the computer that was able to create the latest block on the chain. Every 12 seconds, on average, a new block is added to the blockchain with the latest transactions processed by the network and the computer that generated this block will be awarded 5 ether. Due to the nature of the algorithm for block generation, this process (generating a proof of work) is guaranteed to be random and rewards are given in proportion to the computational power of each machine.

This process is usually called mining in the crypto-currency lingo.

Only in the sense that it uses a blockchain, which Bitcoin pioneered. Ethereum has a separate blockchain that has several significant technical differences from Bitcoin's blockchain. See this Ethereum StackExchange answer for a detailed explanation.

Ethereum developers are planning a switch from a Proof-of-Work consensus model to a Proof-of-Stake consensus model in the future. They are also investigating scalability solutions and how to store secrets on the blockchain.

All data on Ethereum is public. It is not possible to store secrets or passwords in Ethereum contracts without it being seen by all. There is work being done to make this a possibility through code obfuscation and other techniques. A good read would be "Privacy on the Blockchain" by Vitalik Buterin.

No, Ethereum contracts cannot pull data from external information sources in this way. It is however possible to push data from external sites (e.g. weather sites, stock prices) to Ethereum contracts through transactions. There are "oracle" services that are compatible with the Ethereum network that will pull/push data to the Ethereum network for a fee.