Depending on what you mean by "trade," there are plenty of tempting reasons to break into the world of bitcoin trading. Having done your research on bitcoin, you may think it has peaked and that if you sell your coins now you'll make the best profit you can. Maybe you're intrigued by a new cryptocurrency on the rise and want to trade some of your bitcoins for it, diversifying your portfolio of cryptocurrencies. Or you could just want out of the bitcoin game and have decided it's time to sell it all.
The first cryptocurrency to capture the public imagination was Bitcoin, which was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. As of October 2018, there were over 17.33 million bitcoins in circulation with a total market value of around $115 billion (although the market price of bitcoin can fluctuate quite a bit). Bitcoin's success has spawned a number of competing cryptocurrencies, known as "altcoins" such as Litecoin, Namecoin and Peercoin, as well as Ethereum, EOS, and Cardano. Today, there are literally thousands of cryptocurrencies in existence, with an aggregate market value of over $200 billion (Bitcoin currently represents more than 50% of the total value).
In late October, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase, oversaw a financing round in which the company he cofounded raised $300 million at a valuation of $8 billion. At that valuation, Armstrong’s stake in Coinbase is worth an estimated $1.3 billion, after applying a customary discount for privately held companies. In January, Forbes had estimated that Armstrong’s net worth was between $900 million and $1 billion.
Satoshi's anonymity often raises unjustified concerns because of a misunderstanding of Bitcoin's open-source nature. Everyone has access to all of the source code all of the time and any developer can review or modify the software code. As such, the identity of Bitcoin's inventor is probably as relevant today as the identity of the person who invented paper.
The growing popularity of bitcoin as an alternative investment has drawn the attention of forex brokers who are looking to expand their offerings. Some define bitcoin as a traditional currency, especially since the trading of bitcoins is not based on macroeconomics of a nation, but instead the underlying platform and broader reaction to shifts in global economics.
Mostly due to its revolutionary properties cryptocurrencies have become a success their inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, didn‘t dare to dream of it. While every other attempt to create a digital cash system didn‘t attract a critical mass of users, Bitcoin had something that provoked enthusiasm and fascination. Sometimes it feels more like religion than technology.
With those kind of numbers, Coinbase was able to attract Tiger Global Management to lead its recent investment round, and other big names like Wellington Management and Andreesen Horowitz also participated. To get a sense of what has gone on at Coinbase in the last year, its last investment round, which took place in August 2017, valued the firm at $1.6 billion.
Bitcoins are mined with powerful computer hardware and software. A maximum of 21 million Bitcoin will be available, after which no further bitcoins will be produced. The algorithm which governs the production of Bitcoin limits the quantity that will be produced, and the rate at which they will be produced. It is a finite commodity – there is a fixed amount, and that ensures that greater demand will always prop up the price. In this way, it is similar to other finite commodities such as crude oil, silver, or gold.
Another issue is the way individuals trade currencies. In addition to the one-to-one trading potential, currency traders can boost their leverage through derivatives and other paper contracts designed to boost returns. In the current environment, some brokers are slowly underwriting contracts that will boost leverage in the bitcoin sector, but such contracts are still in their infancy. Bitcoin trading is more similar to the ownership of an equity on the New York Stock Exchange. Like shares of Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), bitcoin is subject to price swings and market volatility.
Third-party internet services called online wallets offer similar functionality but may be easier to use. In this case, credentials to access funds are stored with the online wallet provider rather than on the user's hardware. As a result, the user must have complete trust in the wallet provider. A malicious provider or a breach in server security may cause entrusted bitcoins to be stolen. An example of such a security breach occurred with Mt. Gox in 2011. This has led to the often-repeated meme "Not your keys, not your bitcoin".
If CFDs aren’t what you are looking for and you are more interested in a long term investment, then buying and holding onto your Bitcoin is probably a better choice for you. There are plenty of platforms which offer free wallets to hold your Bitcoin once a purchase is made. Generally, most platforms will let you use your Debit Card, Credit Card, Bank Account (this often takes a few days per transaction), and even PayPal. You will need to register on the platform of your choice, open and account, and fund it with one of the above options. From that point on you can make a purchase for the desired amount of BTC you wish as long as your account balance permits it.
Since prices are based on supply and demand, the rate at which a cryptocurrency can be exchanged for another currency can fluctuate widely. However, plenty of research has been undertaken to identify the fundamental price drivers of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin has indeed experienced some rapid surges and collapses in value, reaching as high as $19,000 per bitcoin in December of 2017 before returning to around $7,000 in the following months. Cryptocurrencies are thus considered by some economists to be a short-lived fad or speculative bubble. There is concern especially that the currency units, such as bitcoins, are not rooted in any material goods. Some research has identified that the cost of producing a bitcoin, which takes an increasingly large amount of energy, is directly related to its market price.
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.