Welcome to the Monthly Skeptics Discussion thread. The goal of this thread is to promote critical discussion and challenge commonly promoted narratives through rigorous debate. It will be posted and stickied every Sunday. Due to the 2 post sticky limit, this thread will not be permanently stickied like the Daily Discussion thread. It may often be taken down to make room for important announcements or news.
According to BitPay, a Bitcoin Payment Service Provider, as of November 2013 there are over 14,000 merchants currently accepting bitcoins. Two years ago this number stood at few hundred. The number of transactions facilitated by Bitpay increased tenfold in 2014 and crossed the 50,000 mark in November. The payment processor said that 6,296 bitcoin transactions occurred on Black Friday last year, up from only 99 transactions the year prior.

One of the most sought after reasons why so many traders are turning to Bitcoin is the fact that it’s a completely new median and is in most cases independent of the FOREX and other exchange systems. Furthermore, this currency also moves on a global scale, so it is somewhat isolated from localized risk. Events that impact the fluctuation of Bitcoin prices are usually easily traced and often predictable as long as common sense and some knowledge of economics are used. Those of who are first starting to trade Bitcoin won’t have to sift through enormous amounts of data to carefully analyze price movements of Bitcoin, in most cases you can see clear relationship between events related to Bitcoin and its value.
Perhaps the greatest difference between Bitcoin and Forex is the matter of liquidity. Global currency trading is a $5 trillion market, compared to a bitcoin market valued in the billions. The smaller market in which bitcoin exists is more likely to experience a more volatile trading atmosphere and may see significant price swings over small macroeconomic events.
"People always think they are going to go in and buy when it's the dip," he says. "Say bitcoin is trading at $10,000, then a lot of selling occurs and causes panic and some investors reenter at $7,000. Then bitcoin bounces at $8,000, but goes back down to $6,000 and people buy back in thinking it's going back up and they are making money hand over fist."
Poloniex was once the best cryptocurrency exchanges, before competitors like Bittrex starting offering superior services. Nevertheless Poloniex went through extremely fast traffic growth since the demise of its rival Cryptsy in 2016, and especially since the recent altcoin bubble of early 2017. Traffic has grown from 33 million monthly visits in November 2017 to 66 million in December 2017. Poloniex has the nicest trading interface out there, both for mobile and desktop users this will work wonders. Please note that because Poloniex is a pure "crypto" exchange, it is not possible to deposit government (fiat) currency. You'll need to first buy bitcoin elsewhere, and then deposit it to be able to tade. I've written a full analysis of Poloniex, further exploring the founders, users, security, fees, history, and alternatives.
Bittrex has earned it's place as the new contender to the throne of world's largest crypto exchange. Years of hard work and some lucky circumstances (BTC-e shut-down, Poloniex exodus, Cryptsy) have compounded a steady inflow of new users. It is a great place to trade bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I'll let you read the detail in my Bittrex review, which has some important facts and analysis.
The quickest way to make money through Bitcoins is that you should go straight to the markets. Go for the reputable and reliable Bitcoins exchanges operating in the market. Its similar to foreign exchange (forex), where fiat currencies from across the globe are traded 24 hours a day. But it will be more beneficial for you to learn and understand cryptocurrency trading techniques and tactics before involving in any trading procedure. You can find some decent learning resources here.
To lower the costs, bitcoin miners have set up in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free.[205] Bitcoin miners are known to use hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to reduce electricity costs.[204][206][207][208] Miners are attracted to suppliers such as Hydro Quebec that have energy surpluses.[209] According to a University of Cambridge study, much of bitcoin mining is done in China, where electricity is subsidized by the government.[210][211]

Another thing that the blockchain can be used for is truly decentralized market systems which can use peer-to-peer payments without a middleman. One of the early examples of such a market is OpenBazaar. It is a completely free marketplace where you can Buy or Sell items without any fees or restrictions. The payment system is peer-to-peer and a blockchain is in use to verify all transactions. Simply download the software and look for items you wish to buy or post items you wish to sell; the rest is history as they say.
Nobody owns the Bitcoin network much like no one owns the technology behind email or the Internet. Bitcoin transactions are verified by Bitcoin miners which has an entire industry and Bitcoin cloud mining options. While developers are improving the software they cannot force a change in the Bitcoin protocol because all users are free to choose what software and version they use.
The beautiful part about trading Bitcoin is that there are limited rules and regulations set regarding cryptocurrencies around the world. This means that you aren’t limited by your government with your transactions. However, some countries have very strict rules when it comes to trading cryptocurrencies, such as Russia. If you reside in one of these countries make sure that you are operating within you legal parameters.
Universal access – You can start day trading bitcoins anywhere on the planet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You simply need an internet connection. Plus, because you’re day trading you don’t need to have a long term view about whether cryptocurrencies will succeed. In addition, whilst the stock market can be a pricey place for normal investors, with Facebook and Apple shares costing around £110 per share, you can dive into the cryptocurrency market with just a dollars or pounds.
Quality of customer support. For the customers, receiving answers to their questions is always an indicator of the quality of work. Making everything possible to ensure fast processing of your inquiries, the customer support at CEX.IO works 24/7. And each member of the support team goes through the carefully designed intensive training to be able to deal with any possible issues. In such a way the platform may often be identified as the most responsive among Bitcoin exchanges.
If you’re European, Bitstamp is your best bet to get some bitcoins at a low cost. The company is based in Slovenia, part of the EU. Deposits by SEPA are free, withdrawals are charged a fixed 0.90€ fee once the funds are converted to Euros. Because Bitstamp only offers trading in BTC/USD (Bitcoin versus the US Dollar) all Euro transfers are immediately converted to Dollars. If you want to withdraw by SEPA, you have to convert your funds back to Euros.
Depending on whether the candle is green or red, you can tell if the closing price of the timeframe was higher or lower than the opening price. If a candle is green, it means that the opening price was lower than the closing price, so the price went up overall during this timeframe. On the other hand, if the candle is red, it means that the opening price was higher than the closing price, so the price went down.
Like we mentioned previously, in order to send or receive bitcoins you will need to have a bitcoin address. You can get a bitcoin address either by downloading the bitcoin client or by getting an online wallet. The two most popular btc clients are Bitcoin-qt and Multibit. The main difference between these two clients is in the size of the block chain that needs to be downloaded. If you decide to go with Bitcoin-qt, have at least 10 Gigabytes free space on your hard drive for the block chain. As Bitcoin-qt is the ‘’official’’ bitcoin client, if you can spare 10 GB, go for this option. Here’s a page that has step by step instructions on installing Bitcoin-qt.
Trading Bitcoin comes with statuary warning, sometimes from one’s own instincts — and sometimes — from the governments’ empathetically written circulars. The digital gold has indeed swept a large section of global traders and investors towards its mouth-watering — and risky — volatility. And as with any speculative market, Bitcoin has its shares of ills when it comes to injecting nightmares inside the traders’ mind.
Wallets and similar software technically handle all bitcoins as equivalent, establishing the basic level of fungibility. Researchers have pointed out that the history of each bitcoin is registered and publicly available in the blockchain ledger, and that some users may refuse to accept bitcoins coming from controversial transactions, which would harm bitcoin's fungibility.[118]
Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies currently finding its way across the world of business and finance, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and was thought of as Internet money in its early beginnings. Unlike fiat currencies Bitcoin is considered a decentralized currency that means that a network of users control and verify transactions instead of a central authority like a bank or a government.
Americ, your insights were very informative! A few months ago I didn’t even know what blockchain is, only heard about cryptocurrencies. My friend suggested me to start an investigation on crypto-mining, there was a boom of articles, but in most cases highly generic ones. Thus my friend found BitDegree publishing lots of good stuff about the crypto world, and especially the whole tutorials about mining that helped us to our Litecoin mining career step-by-step!

Thank you for this guide. Hopefully there are no stupid questions here – but a quick clarification would be helpful. This and some of your other guides make reference to “requesting a transaction” at the very beginning of the process. What does that mean? Is is simply the request to purchase bitcoin in exchange for USD or whatever medium of exchange? Thank you in advance!
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A lot of people have made fortunes by mining Bitcoins. Back in the days, you could make substantial profits from mining using just your computer, or even a powerful enough laptop. These days, Bitcoin mining can only become profitable if you’re willing to invest in an industrial-grade mining hardware. This, of course, incurs huge electricity bills on top of the price of all the necessary equipment.

While Bitcoin was one of the first currencies to hit the global network, it certainly isn’t the only one. Most of the digital currencies out there use some of the code found in Bitcoin, and nearly all of them use the blockchain. It’s simply too good of an invention not to take advantage of. But each currency has something unique to offer to its users. Some try to focus on even greater security, while others prioritize transfer speeds. No matter what your priorities are, we are certain there is a cryptocurrency out there for you. Let’s take a look at some of the major cryptocurrencies out there and see what they have to offer.
As you can see on the picture, you can only set the stoploss as a distance from the current price (in the pic this is set as 50 points). The default is 88 points below entry. This is exactly where my stop was, 88 points below 935 at 847. There is a trailing stoploss option but despite my best efforts, I couldn’t make it work. So essentially, once you set your stoploss on Btc.sx, you’re stuck with it.

Unfortunately despite having a dedicated US part of the site (link to http://www.etoro.com/usa) , eToro doesn’t seem to accept US clients at this time. Here’s a part of the Q&A section that deals with this question: ‘’As part of our ongoing optimization process currently underway in the US, we have temporarily suspended our service. Therefore, at this time we will not be accepting new clients or funds from existing US customers. While you’re here, you are welcome to continue experiencing eToro  through our practice mode, which will stay available and free to all.’’’
Behind the scenes, the Bitcoin network is sharing a massive public ledger called the "block chain". This ledger contains every transaction ever processed which enables a user's computer to verify the validity of each transaction. The authenticity of each transaction is protected by digital signatures corresponding to the sending addresses therefore allowing all users to have full control over sending bitcoins.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to utilise the technology, and subsequent growing pains have led to ‘forks’ in the process. This resulted in the introduction of Bitcoin Cash. Other currencies then tried to improve the process, both in terms of speed, but also, costs and energy requirements. Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin all claim to be superior to Bitcoin.
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.
Transactions that occur through the use and exchange of these altcoins are independent from formal banking systems, and therefore can make tax evasion simpler for individuals. Since charting taxable income is based upon what a recipient reports to the revenue service, it becomes extremely difficult to account for transactions made using existing cryptocurrencies, a mode of exchange that is complex and difficult to track.[66]
Please note that virtual currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value, but it does not have legal tender status. Virtual currencies are sometimes exchanged for U.S. dollars or other currencies around the world, but they are not currently backed nor supported by any government or central bank. Their value is completely derived by market forces of supply and demand, and they are more volatile than traditional fiat currencies. Profits and losses related to this volatility are amplified in margined futures contracts.
Something else that many have turned to Bitcoin because of is the ability to trade it with leverage. Certain platforms will give you leverage over your initial desired trading amount. For example, BitMEX offers up to 100x leverage for your trades. This means your investment of $20 can be leveraged as high as $2000. Keeping in mind that most of these platforms will have regulations and rules in place to protect their investment; it is still a somewhat heavenly environment for a trader when combining these leverages with the high volatility that Bitcoin goes through each day.
When it comes to other, less popular cryptocurrencies, the buying options aren’t as diverse. However, there are still numerous exchanges where you can acquire various crypto-coins for flat currencies or Bitcoins. Face-to-face trading is also a popular way of acquiring coins. Buying options depend on particular cryptocurrencies, their popularity as well as your location.

The proof-of-work system, alongside the chaining of blocks, makes modifications of the blockchain extremely hard, as an attacker must modify all subsequent blocks in order for the modifications of one block to be accepted.[82] As new blocks are mined all the time, the difficulty of modifying a block increases as time passes and the number of subsequent blocks (also called confirmations of the given block) increases.[65]

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