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It’s Official!

Looks like Bitcoin’s three-year civil war is finally nearing its end now that SegWit has locked-in. However, it won’t officially lock-in until tomorrow, once the signaling period has ended. The network will transition into a “buffer week” for a few weeks where users and miners will be given the opportunity to upgrade their software. Seemingly, after August 21, SegWit will activate and miners will begin to reject blocks that do not support this change.

Segregated Witness was first proposed in December 2015, by Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille. SegWit is expected to fit in more number of transactions in each 1MB block thus reducing the congestion on the network. This has been a conflict within the bitcoin community for quite a long time but it appears to be finally resolved.

Also, other communities like Litecoin activated SegWit last spring.

 

News credit: coindesk.com

Image credits: gadgetsnow.com

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How To Use A Bitcoin ATM

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Bitcoin ATM

Bitcoin ATMs are nothing much unlike than the traditional ATMs that almost all of us are very familiar with. The main difference is the usage of Bitcoins for transactions rather than the debit cards. In a traditional ATM, you insert a debit card to receive the cash you require; Bitcoin ATM helps you exchange cash for Bitcoin or vice versa. These Bitcoin ATMs allow you to dispense in fiat currencies too just like the traditional ATMs.

Keeping the true essence alive, these ATMs also allow you to perform the transaction anonymously as well. For Bitcoin ATM users this privacy comes with some privacy though. These ATMs charge about 7-10% for the sale and purchase of these Bitcoins per transaction. Which may be a good amount for some of the coin holders to pay. But it may be a price worth paying for some.

Some of these Bitcoin ATMs also aid other cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum and Litecoin.

A Bitcoin ATM near you

With the increasing acceptance and interest of people in Bitcoin around the world, there are now successfully 1700 Bitcoin ATMs installed in across 58 countries. So finding a Bitcoin ATM installed near or closest to you is easy. There are specific Bitcoin ATM maps designed, where you enter your location and you get a list of ATMs in your area. It’s more of a radar service that also connects you to the live worldwide Bitcoin ATM map. You will be surprised to see the number of ATMs emergence in the map.

Once you get to choose the suitable ATM, you can click for more details about certain specs and particularization of the particular ATM.

Though there are around 40,000 different service providers to help you exchange cash for Bitcoin and Bitcoin for cash. So why use Bitcoin ATM?

At most, these ATMs, at least most of them don’t really require a lot of information from your end. These machines don’t require your personal information. Bitcoin wallets or their addresses and the cash is all that is required.

Inserting your cash and acquiring the subsequent number of Bitcoins in return in a few seconds is a very simple and easy process. Out of all the other services available, this is the easiest, quickest and most cloaked form of the transaction of this digital currency.

Bitcoin ATM-Basics

So, basically, most of these ATMs work more or less the same way. But a few may vary from the others in few ways and steps. For instance, a few places, you can only acquire Bitcoins and cannot sell the coins. These ways may also vary depending on the manufacturing formation of some brands and types, depending on their set limits and verifications.

  • Verification
  • Bitcoin deposit address
  • Insert cash
  • Confirm operation

These are the general processes following all the Bitcoin ATM processes throughout. Two of the world’s biggest Bitcoin ATM companies that have laid hands in the manufacturing of this vastly spreading industry is Genesis Coin and General Bytes. These companies offer different models and types of Bitcoin ATMs specific to the needs and for the relevant business nature, they are required for. These machines are also exported by General Bytes to other countries around the world.

Bitcoin ATM- Process

The basic process for the usage of these ATMs is the same but it may vary due to a number of specific reasons.  The process to exchange Bitcoin for cash is very similar to the following process.

  1. The ATM will require you to scan your Bitcoin address first. If you want to receive Bitcoin, open your wallet in your smart device and scan the QR code to the specified screen on the ATM.
  2. The ATM will then require you to insert a bill. Your choice entirely. You can calculate the exchange rates on your smart device.
  3. After inserting the cash, the ATM will pop a screen showing the equivalent number of Bitcoins according to the cash you inserted. You can choose to SEND Bitcoins once you are done inserting the cash.
  4. Under a minute you will be able to receive the number of coins in your wallet.

In order to receive the cash, the process is pretty much identical.

  1. You can choose the option for ‘CASH’ from the main screen of the ATM.
  2. The screen will allow you to choose the amount of cash required.
  3. It will generate a QR code which you will scan on your smart device, showing the number of Coins being transacted during the process.
  4. Hit ‘Send’ from your device and confirm it.

In less than a minute you will receive your cash, just like the ATM.

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Best Auction Sites and Platforms for Bitcoins

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Members of the Bitcoin community are always looking for ways to buy and sell products in exchange for bitcoins. Fortunately, several sites make that possible by offering secure and safe platforms for sellers and automatic escrow protection for buyers who bid to purchase their desired items on sale.

The following auction solutions have gotten a lot of attention over the past couple of years:

OPENBAZAAR

Best Bitcoin Auction Sites

OpenBazaar is a top Bitcoin auction site for everyone looking to purchase or sell all sorts of items in one place. Although it is believed to be a normal shop on the internet, it does offer some auction functions as well. There is no limit as to what items can be sold on the platform. Also, OpenBazaar’s peer-to-peer nature means there is no company or middleman that can remove or block listings, charge fees, or hold money. By accepting bitcoin payments, sellers are opening up to their offering to the rest of the world.

BITIFY

Best Bitcoin Auction Sites

Another Bitcoin trading platform. Bitify was launched in September 2013 and was first known as CrptoThift. It uses an auction system to sell items. It also offers escrow services to the buyers. The buyers have an option to use the escrow service for 1% fee. This means that Bitify acts as a guardian over the customer funds until the transaction is fully settled. You can browse numerous posted items for sales such as E-gift cards, software installers, online gaming accounts and more. Although, it offers more of digital items rather than physical goods.

GLYDE

Best Bitcoin Auction Sites

This platform has been around the longest and sells items super-fast. Buyers can find reasonable deals on electronic items and much more, whereas sellers can benefit from selling their unwanted products. There have been thousands of feedbacks on this platform and have been nothing but positive. So, make sure to drop by this site if you’re ever looking to sell any items. Glyde provides insurance on every package, so in the rare event an item is lost in the mail you will still be compensated for the sale. It is the best bitcoin trading platform to buy and sell with bitcoins.

To help build and enhance your reputation, opt for websites having built-in feedback systems. Also, make deals with already established buyers where you send them the item first and then wait for them to send bitcoins after receiving the goods.

Best Bitcoin Auction Sites

REMEMBER! Your buyer should have an established reputation so you don’t suffer a loss. There could be cases where you send the item to the buyer and they never send the payment.

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Will The Violent Closing of Crypto Hedge Funds Also Persist In 2019?

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According to some financial observers the future of cryptocurrency hedge fund could face a harsh and violent transformation during 2018. It has also been predicted that 10 percent of these hedge funds could shutdown during the next few months. Even Bloomberg reported recently that the continuous decrease in the prices of cryptocurrency assets have played a critical role in the slowdown of hedge funds. This prediction seems to be true as far as the ratio of crypto hedge funds opening is concerned which decreased continuously during the current year as compared to their launch rate in 2017 which was over 170. The situation has totally changed now as during the first three months of 2018 only 20 new players showed their existence on the scenario and shutting down of previous funds also continues.

cryptocurrency hedge fund

Reasons For This Downfall

According to latest hedge fund news the main reason for all this downfall can be the significant reduction in price of cryptocurrency this year, this decrease in price of automatically affected the relative hedge funds resulting in losses and closings of their doors for 2018. The ultimate decrease in price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has not been good for the health of hedge fund business. Regulatory uncertainty has also played its role in all this scenario.

 

Alpha Protocol is one of the recently closed funds which directly cited “potential regulatory and market risks” as main reasons for its decision to refund deposits. A statement was issued by its co-founder that new capital rate had slowed down and it was getting difficult to survive even for a high profile fund like Alpha Protocol.

Which Crypto Funds Were Affected Most?

Among those companies which had to freeze their operations, Crowd Crypto Fund and Alpha Protocol are on the top of the list. It has been reported that a total of 9 hedge funds revolving around cryptocurrency were shut down since December 2017. In addition to the shutdown of various funds, some of the investors have reverted to their previous investment plans which proved to be more secure than the crypto based hedge funds.

 

Alongwith unsure market health, regulatory uncertainty was also responsible for this downfall. Rumours have been circulating that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is fully prepared to check approximately 100 hedge funds in the near future while there are still more than 200 active hedge funds in operation.

 

Whatever the reason may be, all that discussion means that the cryptocurrency hedge fund business must evolve itself in order to compete with the regulatory uncertainty lying ahead.

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How Bitcoin Works in 5 Minutes (Technical)

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Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency. There is no physical existence of Bitcoin, just the verification and value it has been given by a global peer-to-peer network. All these transactions are recorded in Blockchains.

The blockchain is very much like a public shared ledger. All the confirmed transactions performed ever using Bitcoins are recorded in this ledger. These blocks are an ultra-secure data, treated like cash. All the transactions are received and sent through wallets which are digitally signed. To ensure security, bitcoin wallets come with a private key or seed. These signatures ensure that the transaction is performed by the current owner of the wallet and provides with the mathematical proof. In reality, there is no transfer of Bitcoins but the change of ownership and quantities of Bitcoins.

How Does a Transaction Work?

If person A needs to transfer Bitcoins to person B, the transaction carries three parts.

  • An Input- record of wallet of person A
  • An Amount- the number of bitcoins person A sends to person B
  • An output- person B’s wallet

How Can You send Bitcoins?

To send the Bitcoins to anybody you require two things.

  • Bitcoin address
  • Private key

A bitcoin address is generated by an individual randomly. It mainly consists of a sequence of numbers and letters.

A private is a secret key with a unique sequence of numbers and letters.

When person A wants to send coins to person B, she signs a message with her private key to authorize the transaction. The transaction will include,

  • Input (source wallet)
  • Number of Bitcoins to sent
  • Output (person B’s address)

Person A then sends the number of Bitcoins to the Bitcoin network from her wallet. Once entered in the network, miners will then verify the transaction included in the blockchain. The miners will then solve the mathematical puzzle and in the end, it will verify that person B is the new owner of the specified number of coins.

Blockchains

Just like account ledgers containing amount and names, blockchains function almost the same. People exchange money by changing this file.

For instance, if person A sells a product to person B for $5, person A’s balance goes up by $5 and person B will have a reduced balance of $5.

There are no third parties involved in the system, like banks or other financial institutions. So, who takes control and responsibility of controlling and maintain this ledger? Every coin holder maintains their own copy of the ledger. All the participants can see each other’s ledger and their balances. In Bitcoin ledgers, these names are exchanged with specific numbers to ensure anonymity.

To keep every ledger synced and harmonized, there is a protocol that needs to be followed. To do a transaction you tell everyone by broadcasting a message with your account number, the receiver’s account number and the amount to be transferred. Every coin holder around in the world will update their ledger.

There are people who help in maintaining the system. You can simply use the system to perform the transaction without maintaining the ledger.

To ensure sender is the real owner of the account, Bitcoin requires a signature to verify it, but a mathematical signature.

System

When an account is created, a private key is generated mathematically linked to that account number. The private key and the text from the transaction are processed through a special cryptographic function to generate a signature. To make sure the signature is done by the wallet owner and to the specific transaction, another function allows the other people to verify the signature. These signatures cannot be copied as they are unique to each transaction.

The main problem with the system is that this cannot verify when a transaction was performed.

For example, if a person falsely has to withdraw 2 cheques out of an account but it has enough money to cover one account. the bank will refuse the second cheque due to an inadequate amount of cash after the with drawl of the first cheque. It is much harder to determine the order in Bitcoin. Due to the scattered individuals all over the world taking part in the transaction, there may be a delay in different orders in different places. Fraudsters could lie about these time lapses.

Two recipients might both think their transaction is first and ship a product allowing the fraudster two spent the money twice.

New transactions go into a pool of pending transactions. These transactions then get into the giant chain that locks in their order. A lottery is then held, enabling participants to choose a transaction of their choice to solve a special problem to link them to the end of the chain. The person to find the solution first wins and gets their transaction next in the chain.

That’s how pretty much all the transactions in the Bitcoin system are performed.

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