A Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin is an emerging encrypted form of digital money, or cryptocurrency, that’s growing in popularity and value internationally.
  • As bitcoin has gained popularity around the world, investors started funding and trading with companies operating in bitcoin and has since created a bitcoin marketplace, much like the stock market.
  • The bitcoin bubble is no different.
  • Regardless of my personal feelings about it, the market cap is $137B today and just passed a significant threshold where 1 bitcoin equals over $4,000 USD.
  • A lot hinges on how much of bitcoin can stay true to its current form with the presence of oversight.

Originally posted at TheMenloHouse.com.
It’s possible that in the last few years, you’ve stumbled across a person or company that uses bitcoin. But…
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Big bitcoin-friendly companies like Microsoft and Expedia hedge their bet

  • Though a precious few may be transacting in bitcoin, many big companies like Overstock, Microsoft, Dish, and Expedia., still offer to accept it.
  • A spokesperson for Microsoft told Yahoo Finance that the company does not actually take possession of bitcoin directly but instead can use bitcoin via an exchange to add money (in U.S. dollars) to a customer’s Microsoft account.
  • The company uses Coinbase’s instant exchange feature to convert all bitcoin transactions into U.S. dollars.
  • Like Expedia, Dish (DISH) also uses Coinbase’s exchange feature to settle payments made in bitcoin into U.S. dollars for a “low, but steady” group of customers.
  • With the exception of Overstock, these companies take a conservative angle with the cryptocurrency, which is unlikely to change unless bitcoin stabilizes and turns into a more usable and predictable currency.

Here’s how the biggest companies deal with bitcoin risk — avoid it for now. Except for one, which has doubled down.
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JPMorgan’s top quant strategist, echoing CEO, compares bitcoin to ‘pyramid scheme’

  • JPMorgan’s top quant strategist backed his boss this week in bashing bitcoin, warning that the cryptocurrency is likely a “pyramid scheme.”
  • Earlier this week, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a “fraud,” saying that the cryptocurrency “won’t end well.”
  • Bitcoin plunged about 13 percent Thursday after one of the biggest exchanges in China said it will shut down its operation.
  • Former JPMorgan strategist Tom Lee said the cryptocurrency could surge another 600 percent in five years.
  • “It’s not worth it to look at bitcoin two months, two weeks ahead,” Lee argued, saying he still believes each bitcoin will be worth $25,000 in five years.

JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic reinforced his boss this week in bashing bitcoin, warning that the cryptocurrency is likely a “pyramid scheme.”
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John McAfee challenges Jamie Dimon’s bitcoin skepticism

John McAfee challenges Jamie Dimon's bitcoin skepticism

  • “You called bitcoin a fraud,” McAfee told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Wednesday.
  • Miners invest “massive” amounts of supercomputing power and electricity in creating bitcoins, McAfee said.
  • “And the fact that bitcoin is consistently growing in its use and its value has to say something,” McAfee said.
  • McAfee made a lewd bet on Twitter earlier this summer that bitcoin would reach $500,000 within three years.
  • Plus, the long-term trend of bitcoin has been consistently up, McAfee added.

Dimon called bitcoin a “fraud” that will eventually blow up. McAfee disagreed.
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What is ethereum and how does it differ from bitcoin? 

  • The technology it runs on is called ethereum, which was first described by 19-year-old bitcoin programmer Vitalik Buterin in 2013.
  • Buterin envisaged ethereum as an improvement on bitcoin.
  • Like bitcoin, it is a decentralised payment network, with its own cryptograpic currency, that allows anonymous payments to be sent across the internet without the need for a bank or other third party.
  • As the second-biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, ethereum has inevitably drawn comparisons to it.
  • But advocates say ethereum has several advantages over bitcoin that make it more useful.

Ethereum is a rising star of the cryptocurrency world.
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Now I Get It: Bitcoin [Video]

Now I Get It: #Bitcoin by @Pogue

  • This arrangement has some stunning advantages over traditional currency or credit cards:

    There’s a whole lot of really cool, really complicated math involved in Bitcoin, designed to keep it secure and to prevent Bitcoin inflation.

  • There’s no government to decide when to print new money in this case, so new bitcoins are “mined”—created—through a complex scheme you can read about here.
  • When you get a Bitcoin address—something like an email address—you also get a complex password known as a private key, which you need to access your stash.
  • At that point, you can transfer money to other people by sending it to their Bitcoin addresses.
  • Or if your Bitcoin exchange goes out of business, which has happened plenty; in fact, 18 of the first 40 exchanges had gone under as of 2013, taking all their clients’ money with them.

Man, if anything needs the “now I get it” treatment, it’s Bitcoin. You hear about it all the time in financial and technical circles—but most people really don’t grasp it.
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