Active traders looking to speculate on Bitcoin over the short or medium term may find that trading CFD/derivatives on Bitcoin using an online forex broker will provide them with 24hour trading, potentially lower margin, and the ability to go either long or short. Because of counter-party risk, choosing a broker is just as important as finding one with the best trading tools or commission rates.


By providing a decentralized solution, Augur allows people from anywhere in the world to ask a question about the outcome of a future event, as well as buy and sell shares on the outcome of any market they wish to participate in. Moreover, it allows thousands of users to report on outcomes, thus removing the need to trust in an individual reporter.
A cryptocurrency is a digital coin, designed to be transferred between people in virtual transactions. Cryptocurrencies exist only as data and not as physical objects; you cannot actually hold a Bitcoin in your hand or keep Ethereum in your safe. Owning a Bitcoin means you have the collective agreement of each and every computer on the Bitcoin network that it is currently owned by you and – more importantly – that it was legitimately created by a miner.
To understand the revolutionary impact of cryptocurrencies you need to consider both properties. Bitcoin as a permissionless, irreversible and pseudonymous means of payment is an attack on the control of banks and governments over the monetary transactions of their citizens. You can‘t hinder someone to use Bitcoin, you can‘t prohibit someone to accept a payment, you can‘t undo a transaction.
The currencies modeled after bitcoin are collectively called altcoins and have tried to present themselves as modified or improved versions of bitcoin. While some of these currencies are easier to mine than bitcoin is, there are tradeoffs, including greater risk brought on by lesser liquidity, acceptance and value retention. (For more, see our guides on bitcoin mining and bitcoin regulation.)
Most cryptocurrencies are designed to gradually decrease production of that currency, placing a cap on the total amount of that currency that will ever be in circulation.[25] Compared with ordinary currencies held by financial institutions or kept as cash on hand, cryptocurrencies can be more difficult for seizure by law enforcement.[1] This difficulty is derived from leveraging cryptographic technologies.
As a cryptocurrency attracts more interest, mining becomes harder and the amount of coins received as a reward decreases. For example, when Bitcoin was first created, the reward for successful mining was 50 BTC. Now, the reward stands at 12.5 Bitcoins. This happened because the Bitcoin network is designed so that there can only be a total of 21 mln coins in circulation.
Monero is a secure, private and untraceable currency. This open-source cryptocurrency was launched in April 2014 and soon spiked great interest among the cryptography community and enthusiasts. The development of this cryptocurrency is completely donation-based and community-driven. Monero has been launched with a strong focus on decentralization and scalability, and it enables complete privacy by using a special technique called “ring signatures.” With this technique, there appears a group of cryptographic signatures including at least one real participant, but since they all appear valid, the real one cannot be isolated. Because of exceptional security mechanisms like this, monero has developed something of an unsavory reputation; it has been linked to criminal operations around the world. Nonetheless, whether it is used for good or ill, there’s no denying that monero has introduced important technological advances to the cryptocurrency space. As of February 9, 2019, Monero had a market cap of $808.50 million and a per token value of $48.18.

Peercoin: Like Nxt, Peercoin (abbreviated PPC) uses a proof-of-stake system; in fact, it was the first proof-of-stake coin. It’s worth about $0.40 on the USD and has a market cap of almost ten million. This coin has everything going for it and might be a smart bet as far as cryptocurrency goes. As an bonus to the confidence and quality of the coin, Peercoin was developed by Sunny King. Sunny King is, or might be, the person who created Bitcoin or another coin, or maybe Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. It’s hard to tell as the culture of cryptocurrency puts importance on peer-to-peer, code, and coin over developers. Still, he is important, and like-it-or-not little things like this could be the deciding factor in whether a coin sinks or swims in the new market. Peercoin has a story like Nxt and Namecoin where they are long-running coins.

Before we take a closer look at some of these alternatives to bitcoin, let’s step back and briefly examine what we mean by terms like cryptocurrency and altcoin. A cryptocurrency, broadly defined, is virtual or digital money which takes the form of tokens or “coins.” While some cryptocurrencies have ventured into the physical world with credit cards or other projects, the large majority remain entirely intangible. The “crypto” in cryptocurrencies refers to complicated cryptography which allows for a particular digital token to be generated, stored, and transacted securely and, typically, anonymously. Alongside this important “crypto” feature of these currencies is a common commitment to decentralization; cryptocurrencies are typically developed as code by teams who build in mechanisms for issuance (often, although not always, through a process called “mining”) and other controls. Cryptocurrencies are almost always designed to be free from government manipulation and control, although as they have grown more popular this foundational aspect of the industry has come under fire.


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What is cryptocurrency is a common question amongst new people who first hear about bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are defined as digital assets used for medium of exchange with strong cryptography securing transactions, controlling possible creation of additional tokens or coins and verifying asset transfers. What is cryptocurrency backed by is another common question from people who are looking to get into crypto, and for that the answer is not so simple. Some of the cryptocurrencies are not backed by anything, and some of them are backed by physical assets.
As of May 2018, over 1,800 cryptocurrency specifications existed.[24] Within a cryptocurrency system, the safety, integrity and balance of ledgers is maintained by a community of mutually distrustful parties referred to as miners: who use their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions, adding them to the ledger in accordance with a particular timestamping scheme.[14]
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