Bitcoin is presumably the most popular form of currency in the digital world. The fundamental thought is that you may utilize it to pay for products with the absence of external intermediary, similar to a government or bank. Consider Bitcoin like a major record shared by every one of the clients: In the event that you pay or receive payment using Bitcoin, then the exchange will be documented on the record. The computers will then contend to affirm the exchange by using complex math procedure, and the champ is remunerated with greater amount of Bitcoins. The procedure is typically called online as “mining,” however; do not get excessively fixated with it: only the real expert will be able to get their online currency using this process.
From numerous points of view, it functions similar to the real money with a few key contrasts. Albeit physical types of Bitcoins do exist, the cash’s essential structure is computer data allowing you to exchange it on the web, P2P, utilizing wallet programming or an online administration. You may acquire Bitcoin’s by exchanging other forms of cash, products, or administrations with individuals who possess Bitcoins or using the process aforementioned. Bitcoin “mining” includes running programming software that uses complex numerical comparisons for which you are remunerated a little fraction of Bitcoin.
Once you have a percentage of the online currency, you may now utilize it to buy anything that acknowledges it. Now and again, Bitcoin is the main type of installment, and you will need to procure it to successfully complete an online transaction. While this essential clarification may answer a large portion of some of your questions about Bitcoin, it creates more questions in your mind. Here are other things you may want to know about Bitcoins.
How to Have Bitcoin
Acquiring Bitcoin requires a heavy amount of work; however you have a couple of easier alternatives. Buying Bitcoin requires less exertion than the process of mining; however it clearly comes using your well-deserved money. Mining, then again, takes the processing power of the computer and most often than not it produces a mediocre result.
What is Wallet software?
As it was stated above, having Bitcoins will require you to have an online administration or a wallet programming. The wallet takes a considerable amount memory in your drive, and you need to discover a Bitcoin vendor to secure a real currency. The wallet makes the whole process much less demanding.
To make wallet software, you need to sign up to an online administration such as Coinbase or My Wallet. For these guidelines, we are going to use Coinbase in light of the fact that they give a straightforward, incorporated purchase procedure with two-variable validation for enhanced security.
The purchasing does not require much exertion, but instead just includes a great deal of waiting. There is also a tendency for the exchange rate to change, to determine the amount of money that you need to spend in buying Bitcoin.
What is mining?
Mining process includes running a program on your PC that analyzes complex scientific, mathematical procedure. In the event that your PC solves one of these mathematical statements, you will receive a reward in Bitcoins. The problem, nonetheless, is that a single PC is competing against expansive gatherings of computers that have a high probability of answering the equation before you do.
That implies your PC might wind up doing a group of work and it might take quite a while before you managed to receive a reward. The most practical thing for you to do is to join mining group. This way, it is highly possible that you will get payout, however, the reward should also be divided from the members of the group leaving you with a meager amount of share. In any case, without a homestead of supercomputers, it is likely that you will acquire more over the long haul by doing mining with your group.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that does not rely on a centralized authority for bookkeeping but instead is completely open-source, peer-to-peer network for money, something unparalled in the history of human economics. But are the people, their representatives and businesses ready for this new form of currency?
Bitcoin can take off in some places and countries sooner than expected depending on the political climate. If a government destroys and debases its currency, then it is bound to grow in popularity. That's what happened in Argentina when the government converted local currency denominated bonds into US Dollar nominated bonds at an exchange rate that was fixed by the government. Bitcoin use in the country shot through the roof follows this, and it is still accelerating (measured in terms of wallet downloads per month).
Cyprus was another good example – when the government tried to seize people's money, Bitcoin took off in the country because it is far more fluid on a world scale and can be sent instantaneously to another person anywhere in the world without the need of any government intervention . This also means that realistically, the government can not control the supply and demand of Bitcoins within its borders.
Of course poor governance is only one side of the equation. Economics dictates the other. Bitcoin takes off in places that thrive on entrepreneurship and where the policies are favorable. Business owners will find the use of Bitcoin to be incredibly more efficient than the existing payment system that the world has that is based on credit cards, because merchants need to pay the credit card companies anywhere from 2-4%. If all transactions were purely in Bitcoin, without any conversion to fiat at all, then the transaction fees for the business is zero. Literally zero. You can send and receive money for free through the Bitcoin network. That's what makes the economics of using Bitcoin so powerful.
Some of the cities that are ahead in this innovation include the familiar names like San Fransisco and New York but also the lesser known entrepreneurial cities like Berlin, which has a huge thriving market for Bitcoins.
When people in a city or country see Bitcoin as a store of value and simultaniously see it as a payment system that eases the current burden on merchants, Bitcoin has the potential to take off. It has happened in the past and it is likely to happen in the future. Of course you always need the entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking to dethrone a decades old existing incumbency, but the good news is, it is happening all over the world simultaneously.
The charismatic cryptocurrency and the numerous thoughts that crop up in the minds of the onlookers often surround few obvious questions – how does it come into being and what about its circulation? The answer, however, is straightforward. Bitcoins have to be mined, in order to make the cryptocurrency exist in the Bitcoin market. The mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, envisioned a technique to exchange the valuable cryptocurrency online, by doing away with the necessity for any centralized institution. For Bitcoins, there's an alternate way to hold the necessary records of the transaction history of the entire circulation, and all this is managed via a decentralized manner.
The ledger that facilitates the process is known as the "blockchain". The essence of this ledger may require tons of newsprint for appearing regularly at all popular Bitcoin news. Blockchain expends every minute, existing on the machines involved in the huge Bitcoin network. People may question the validity, even authenticity, of these transactions and their records into Blockchain. This too is however justified, through the process of Bitcoin mining. Mining enabling creation of new Bitcoin and compiling transactions to the ledger. Mining essentially entailing solving of complex mathematical calculations, and the miners employ immunity computing power to solve it. The individual or 'pool' that solves the puzzle, places the subsequent block and wins a reward too. And, how mining can avoid double-spending? Almost every 10 minutes, outstanding transactions are mined into a block. So, any inconsistency or illegitimacy is completely ruled out.
For Bitcoins, mining is not spoken of in a traditional sense of the term. Bitcoins are mined by utilizing cryptography. A hash function termed as "double SHA-256" is employed. But how difficult is it to mine Bitcoins? This can be another query. This depends a lot on the effort and computing power being employed into mining. Another factor worth mentioning is the software protocol. For every 2016 blocks, difficulty entailed in mining of Bitcoins is adjusted by itself simply to maintain the protocol. In turn, the pace of block generation is kept consistent. A Bitcoin difficulty chart is a perfect measure to demonstrate the mining difficulty over time. The difficulty level adjusts itself to go up or down in a directly proportional manner, depending on the computational power, whether it's being fueled or taken off. As the number of miners rise, percentage of profits payable by the participants diminish, everyone ends up with smaller slices of the profits.
Having individual economies and communities, cryptocurrency like Dogecoin, Namecoin or Peercoin, are called Altcoins. These are alternatives to Bitcoin. Almost like Bitcoins, these 'cousins' do have a huge fan-following and aficionados who are keen to take a deep plunge into the huge ocean and begin to mine it. Algorithms utilized for Altcoin mining are either SHA-256 or Scrypt. Several other innovative algorithms exist too. Ease, affordability and simplicity can render it feasible to mine Altcoins on a PC or by employing special mining software. Altcoins are a bit 'down to earth' compared to Bitcoins, yet transforming them into big bucks is a little difficult. Cryptocurrency buffs can just hope, if some of them could witness the equivalent astronomical fame!
If you want to earn Bitcoin online, this is a post that will help you do just that. Bitcoin is the world's first peer to peer crypto-currency that is not controlled by any central issuing agency but is rather an open source protocol that is followed by all the people who participate in the economy. No one can manipulate the supply of Bitcoins and all transactions that take place in this economy are cryptographically verified through a process called Bitcoin mining. Your Bitcoins are as secure as public key cryptography can be.
Once you understand and appreciate the concept of Bitcoin, the next logical question is, how do you earn some Bitcoin? Here are some ideas –
Make money online and convert them to Bitcoin
Believe it or not, it is still much easier to make US Dollars! You can then exchange these dollars you make for Bitcoin at any of the exchanges such as Bitstamp or Coinbase if you're located in the US.
Earn Bitcoin Directly in the Bitcoin economy
There is a small but very vibrant community where you can do most tasks, but at a much smaller scale. For instance, you can take up a part-time job for Bitcoin on Coinality or you can end up with a small gig on Coingig. These are real life equivalents of sites like Elance and Fiverr but in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
The advertising industry in the Bitcoin economy is, not surprisingly, pretty robust. This is because there are tons of new Bitcoin based services that keep coming up all the time and they all need a good advertising network.
CoinURL allows you to place Google AdSense styled ads on your website and other services like Bitads lets advertisers bid for banner space on your blog. There is also a-ads that allows you to make money through ad impressions without reference to the clicks (so it is not PPC). If you're a publisher – blogger or webmaster, you can earn some Bitcoins through this route.
There are sites that will pay you for your activity. CoinChat is sometimes the best known site in this category. It pays users a few milli-Bitcoins for chatting on their site. These are random and controlled by an algorithm that takes into account your activity and how well you're contributing to the discussions at hand.
Another way in which a lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts earn some Bitcoin is by selling their forum signatures at Bitcointalk forums. There are a good number of advertisers who are willing to do this, and for the socially active member who values interaction through this forum (it is the same forum through which Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin to the world), selling signatures can be lucrative.
What other ways are there to earn some Bitcoin online?
Almost everyone now knows about Bitcoins and Bitcoin trading. While most people have had success with the currency, there are others that have faced challenges. If you are planning on getting into the market here are some of the things you should be wary of:
The bitcoin wallet
To use the coins, you need a digital wallet. It can be an app, hardware or cloud based. Some Bitcoin companies help beginners by automatically generating the wallets for them. You can store the purses online or offline. For security reasons, save yours online and ensure that the password protects it. Avoid an online wallet as it can easily be hacked. If you have to use the unit keep a limited amount of money in it.
Where you buy the currency from
If you do not want to go the hard route of mining the coins by yourself, you can always buy them at the marketplace. When making the purchase, be cautious of the people advertising of giving you a commission. Also, be wary of the site you are making the purchase from. Since you are dealing with money, avoid buying from a site that is not secured. This calls for you to only buy from a site with https not HTTP. This way you will be sure that the web traffic is secured and encrypted.
Without you are being involved with the mining of the coins, you do not have to bother yourself with the technical details. If your primary intention is to buy the coins, you do not have to spend a lot of your time worrying about the mining process, block size, and other confusing aspects of the process. To buy the currency find a reputable company and place your order.
Just like other currency markets, the Bitcoin market thrives on the shifts in the price of the coins. You should note that the market is similar to the share buying and selling market-its long term. Due to this, you should not be too worried about the price changes unless you are planning to sell your coins the same day. Bitcoin value has been rising every year; so you should not panic when you see a massive price change in one day.
While this is the case, it does not mean that you should not be conversant with the prices in the market. Regularly visit forums and related places to find the current prices of the coins. Who knows you might find it profitable selling it at the current prices?
“Mommy, where do Bitcoins come from?” Well, you see, when a shiny young Bitcoin catches the eyes of an ambitious miner, and because they love each other very much…
Wait, that’s obviously too difficult to solve here. Besides, my whole goal is to keep things simple. Anyway, Bitcoins are made by solving complex math problems. This is done by a powerful machine that is built to solve these math problems. This process is called mining. People who own these machines to make money mining Bitcoins are called miners. When a batch of problems is solved it becomes known as a block. Blocks are verified by other users and once they are verified, they get added to what is called the block chain. This chain continues to grow with a new block being added to it roughly every 10 minutes. This chain is really just a master ledger that will continue to grow and never end.
The very powerful machines that mine zap a lot of power and drive up the miner’s monthly utility bill. The reason it takes so much power is the genius of the mathematics involved. It requires the mining machine to perform complex cryptographic algorithms. Once a math problem is solved by the machine, a block of coins is birthed. Every time 210,000 blocks have been created, the reward to the miner is halved. It takes 4 years to accomplish this. So it’s kind of like a Bitcoin Olympics. Currently the block reward is 12 Bitcoins (on June 23, 2020 the reward will only be 6 coins). Those coins goes to the miner whose machine was the lucky lottery winner at that time. There is a winner every 10 minutes. There are also a lot of miners competing out there too. Said miner now has something of value. Mine enough coins and you pay your electricity bill and then some.
There is also another way to mine. It’s called cloud mining. With this type of mining you are paying to use someone else’s network and that cuts into your profits significantly. The positives to this method are that it doesn’t require using your electricity or even buying a machine.
Sounds good to me. I want to start mining now. Is it a good idea and can I generate passive income on a regular basis? Possibly. Hold tight for now and you can make that call later.
Let’s try to break this down.
Going back to the original way of machine mining, you’d have to start with buying a quality mining machine. That would set you back about $2,000. Here is a picture of a good machine (Antminer S9 from Bitmain) capable of creating a high hash rate of 14 TH/s. 1 TH/s is 1,000,000,000,000 hashes per second. This machine does 14 times that. That’s a lot of hashing power. A hash is just a really long number that the machine creates each time trying to solve the algorithm. Again, to use my lottery analogy, all these machines are out there hashing away hoping to be the next winner.
Then, your chances of winning are getting increasingly more difficult with more competition. Further complicating this matter is that each time a math problem is solved, the next problem gets incrementally more difficult to solve. The Bitcoin network difficulty changes roughly every two weeks or 2,016 blocks. The number of Bitcoins that will ever be created is finite. That number happens to be 21,000,000. Once we hit that number there can never be another Bitcoin mined again. However, the block chain itself will continue to expand because it is used to verify each transaction or purchase.
Remember that pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto I wrote about as well? Did you know that today’s math problems are more than 70,000 times more difficult for the machines to solve than they were we he mined the 1st Bitcoin back in 2009?! The estimate is that the final coin will be mined in 2140 because the system halves every four years (210,000 blocks). There have already been 16,400,000 coins mined (78%) and each coin from here on out will be mined at a much slower rate. Yes, you read that right. Basically 80% were mined in the first 8 years and it will take well over 100 years to mine the final 20%. If any of my great, great, great grandchildren are reading this I hope you are sitting pretty with our family’s Bitcoins now valued at 220,000 per Bitcoin. We can all dream right!
Buying a machine for mining or purchasing a mining cloud contract is risky. While there are some great success stories out there, be sure to research them thoroughly before deciding if mining is right for you. For every person making money, there are plenty of people losing money.
By the way, a great place to see all of the cryptocurrencies out there and their total coins and market cap, Coin Market Cap is a great resource. You can see all 700 plus fly-by-night altcoins out there. An altcoin is just another way of saying any cryptocurrency coin that isn’t Bitcoin. By now you probably know that Bitcoin is like the Rose Bowl, the Granddaddy of them all! I would really try to limit my focus and research on the top 10 for now. Not that there won’t be stories of success from one of the nearly worthless ones now. It’s just that finding one is like picking the right penny stock. Sticking with established companies that are being recognized by the mainstream analysts is a much safer play. The same goes for the exchange you use to buy, sell, and trade. That’s why I use Coinbase to make my trades as they are the most trusted, secure, and convenient exchange. They also have the most thorough vetting process when it comes to adding altcoins.
Here’s a recap of the key points from this article:
-Bitcoins are created from mining
-Mining is done by powerful machines that solve complex math problems. You can also purchase contracts called cloud mining if you don’t want to buy a machine.
-The problems get harder as coins are mined and the rate of production slows down
-As of May 2017, there are only 72 Bitcoins mined per hour (12 every 10 minutes)
-On June 23, 2020, this will be halved again down to only 6 created every 10 minutes
-Nearly 80% of Bitcoin’s finite number 21,000,000 coins have already been mined
-Competition among miners and increasingly complex math problems are making it more difficult to turn a profit mining
-The final coin is estimated to be mined in 2140
The halving takes effect when the number of ‘Bitcoins’ awarded to miners after their successful creation of the new block is cut in half. Therefore, this phenomenon will cut the awarded ‘Bitcoins’ from 25 coins to 12.5. It is not a new thing, however, it does have a lasting effect and it is not yet known whether it is good or bad for ‘Bitcoin’.
People, who are not familiar with ‘Bitcoin’, usually ask why does the Halving take place if the effects cannot be predicted. The answer is simple; it is pre-established. To counter the issue of currency devaluation, ‘Bitcoin’ mining was designed in such a way that a total of 21 million coins would ever be issued, which is achieved by cutting the reward given to miners in half every 4 years. Therefore, it is an essential element of ‘Bitcoin’s existence and not a decision.
Acknowledging the occurrence of the halving is one thing, but evaluating the ‘repercussion’ is an entirely different thing. People, who are familiar with the economic theory, will know that either supply of ‘Bitcoin’ will reduce as miners shut down operations or the supply restriction will move the price up, which will make the continued operations profitable. It is important to know which one of the two phenomena will occur, or what will the ratio be if both occur at the same time.
There is no central recording system in ‘Bitcoin’, as it is built on a distributed ledger system. This task is assigned to the miners, so, for the system to perform as planned, there has to be diversification among them. Having a few ‘Miners’ will give rise to centralization, which may result in a number of risks, including the likelihood of the 51 % attack. Although, it would not automatically occur if a ‘Miner’ gets a control of 51 percent of the issuance, yet, it could happen if such situation arises. It means that whoever gets to control 51 percent can either exploit the records or steal all of the ‘Bitcoin’. However, it should be understood that if the halving happens without a respective increase in price and we get close to 51 percent situation, confidence in ‘Bitcoin’ would get affected.
It doesn’t mean that the value of ‘Bitcoin’, i.e., its rate of exchange against other currencies, must double within 24 hours when halving occurs. At least partial improvement in ‘BTC’/USD this year is down to purchasing in anticipation of the event. So, some of the increase in price is already priced in. Moreover, the effects are expected to be spread out. These include a small loss of production and some initial improvement in price, with the track clear for a sustainable increase in price over a period of time.
This is exactly what happened in 2012 after the last halving. However, the element of risk still persists here because ‘Bitcoin’ was in a completely different place then as compared to where it is now. ‘Bitcoin’/USD was around $12.50 in 2012 right before the halving occurred, and it was easier to mine coins. The electricity and computing power required was relatively small, which means it was difficult to reach 51 percent control as there were little or no barriers to entry for the miners and the dropouts could be instantly replaced. On the contrary, with ‘Bitcoin’/USD at over $670 now and no possibility of mining from home anymore, it might happen, but according to a few calculations, it would still be a cost prohibitive attempt. Nevertheless, there might be a “bad actor” who would initiate an attack out of motivations other than monetary gain.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the actual effects of “the Halving” are probably favorable for current holders of ‘Bitcoin’ and the entire community, which brings us back to the fact that ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, who designed the code that originated ‘Bitcoin’, was wiser than any of us as we peer into the future.
ASCI or application-specific integrated circuit machines have arrived in the Bitcoin mining market. The first machine arrived at a miner's home in late January and ever since reports have been trickling in of shipped ASCI machines finding their way into miner's Bitcoin mining rigs.
Since ASCI machines are specifically designed for the task of mining Bitcoin, they are highly effective machines at what they are designed to do. High end ASCI machines have a per second hash rate of over 1 million. A typical CPU running Bitcoin mining software has a per second hash rate of 1.5.
Needless to say the shipment of ASCI machines have been a game changer in the Bitcoin world. CPUs are no longer even supported by Bitcoin mining software because a CPU running 24 hours a day would probably not see a Bitcoin for several years, even if it was mining in a pool.
This trend favors those interested in mining who also happen to have thousands of dollars lying around to be used on expensive hardware, as well as the early adopters of Bitcoin mining who probably have made a hefty profit from their early mining efforts. Those early profits could be rolled into the latest and greatest hardware and rig setup to continue generating Bitcoins well into the future.
Those miner who are running relatively powerful GPUs are being hit the worst by the ASCI development. The difficulty in successfully mining a block of Bitcoin has increased to a level that may make the cost of electricity outweigh the payout a GPU miner will see in Bitcoin from year to year.
All of this speculation is tied heavily to the stability of the price of Bitcoin going forward. If Bitcoin stays around the current 30 usd level then innovation will continue to progress. ASCI in part has contributed to the rally that Bitcoin has seen over the last 2 months. The USD exchange rate for Bitcoin has soared from 10 usd to 30 usd. It is hard to find an investment with that kind of return anywhere on the planet, so it is natural for Bitcoin to be drawing attention in recent days. But will this attention last? And if so will it bring more scrutiny and volatility than stability on the young digital currency? In the long term relative stability is the one trait that Bitcoin must establish if it is to achieve the original goal of being a viable and competitive currency on a world scale.
So will Bitcoin transcend the current label of speculative instrument? The answer lies in a tangled web of variables that include the broad spectrum of humanity: politics, psychology, finance, fear, freedom, privacy, security … etc. Regardless of the output it is sure to be a fascinating show.
If you're looking to get into the game of Bitcoin and hold your own coins, there are many options available. Here are some of the different methods available for acquiring some Bitcoin of your own.
Buy them from an exchange
One of the most common ways to acquire bitcoins is through an exchange. Websites like Bitstamp, BTC-E, or Cavirtex here in Canada, allow you to purchase Bitcoin. They do not sell Bitcoin themselves, but how it works is the exchanges pair you as a buyer with a seller who's selling for whatever price you're looking for.
This sounds like a great option, and in some ways it is, but it has its disadvantages as well.
One of the major ones is that the exchanges require you to add your personal information to them via Know Your Client legislation that's present in many countries in regards to currency-related businesses. This might not be a concern for everyone, but in a post-NSA scandal era, it's becoming more and more clear, at least to me, that data you put out there is more accessible than you think.
I might be a little paranoid, but who knows what might happen in the future. After all, just ten years ago the idea that the government is spying on everything we do was purely the reality of tin foil hat conspiracy theorists, and now it's just common knowledge. Who knows what's next?
As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of the exchanges. The idea that I have to give up my personal information to an entity which may have to release that information seems to go against the spirit of Bitcoin.
Fortunately, there are other options.
Of course, there's only one place Bitcoins really come from; mining. Every Bitcoin you'll ever own, see, or hear about, was at one point min via the Bitcoin mining network.
If you find yourself in possession of a mining rig, go ahead and mine away! Or if you have a computer fast enough to make it worthwhile, that's cool too.
But be careful! If your computer is not properly cooled, you run the risk of overheating it, which could potentially brick it.
Frankly, mining with your computer is not really worth it. Not anymore. As the mining difficulty increases, it becomes more and more difficult to gain any profit from it. And unless you have a dedicated mining rig, your chance of getting any sort of return from mining is pretty low.
Some argument that mining is on its way out, and even buying a restricted mining rig is not really a valid option anymore. I disagree, but that's a topic for another day.
Buy them from a private broker
If you're able to find a private broker, you can hook up with them and exchange. This has some obvious benefits, but it also has drawbacks.
First off, it's completely anonymous. Even if you meet in person, there's no reason you need to use your real name, or any details about yourself other than your wallet number so they can transfer the funds to you. And if you pay cash, the banks can not trace it either. So if that's a concern for you, you're in business.
But of course with anonymity comes some risk as well. Dealing through an exchange, the risk of getting ripped off is lower. Of course, exchanges have disappeared in the past, taking everyone's Bitcoins with them, but the bigger, more established exports have had time to build their brand and prove themselves as more trustworthy.
You may pay a premium premium for that anonymity as well. From my experience, it can be as much as 15-20% higher than average exchange prices. But again, if anonymity is important to you, that's a small price to pay.
When you trade with someone anonymously, you do not have the security of the exchanges. They could be legit and honest, but they could just as easily be shady and willing to rip you off. That said, buying from a private broker is my preferred method of purchasing Bitcoin. But it's important to have safety measures in place, otherwise you're leaving yourself open to getting burnt.
Accept them as payment for goods and services
This one is so obvious, yet often people forget about it. Amidst all the investors getting involved with Bitcoin and the excitement around the movement, it's easy to forget that Bitcoin is not just a hot commodity or high value stock. It's designed as a form of currency. And if you run a business, you can accept Bitcoin as payment instead of cash.
There are many different businesses which accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. If you live in Canada, check out this directory of businesses which accept Bitcoin.
In fact, several directories have popped up to help people find local businesses which accept Bitcoin. And, if you're a denizen of the web (and if you're reading this, you obviously are), there are tons of places which accept Bitcoin as payment. Tiger Direct, Reddit, and WordPress are just a few of them.
In short, there are many different ways to acquire Bitcoin. Some are easier than others, but with so many options, you're sure to find something that works for you. Get into the game now, do not miss out!
There has been much ado concern Bitcoin and how authorities and businesses in China and the United States have reacted to it, but possibly more intriguing capabilities may lie ahead for this currency and other cryptocurrencies. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece a week ago about the obvious section that exists in Latin America. The Atlantic facing countries have more command oriented economies while the Pacific facing countries, with the exception of Ecuador and Nicaragua, have more market-oriented economies. Latin America has become a continent of focus on a global scale with stifled European growth and an Asia-Pacific region that has already been welcomed into the global economic conversation. Alternative treaties will make their mark on Latin America and it will affect both sides in a different fashion. In the end, Bitcoin and Latin American Growth will go together as they both are in spotlight at the same time and cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin) will accord Latin American businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate on a level playing field with the rest of the globe .
Notable State Oriented Economies of Latin America
These countries have economies that are more beholden to national interests. The most extreme state run economy on this list is Cuba, which has a Communist territory that has made slight concessions to economic liberalization. Venezuela has arguably the second most extreme state run economy and is in the midst of a socioeconomic and political crisis. Argentina has had its fair share of instability and command-oriented economic events courtesy of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner including price controls, drama concerning possession of the Falkland Islands, inflation of 26%, police strikes, and the nationalization of YPF just to name a few measures. Brazil is always afraid to resort to its old ways and currently there is still a great deal of red tape and tax is comparatively higher than peers.
Notable Market-Oriented Economies of Latin America
Mexico's efforts to attract and grow business is not just limited to Mexico City, but Guadalajara has been emphasized as a growth destination in the digital and tech space much like the way Bogota is the established economic powerhouse city in Colombia and Medellin has broken out a youthful , digital force. Mexico is currently the 14th largest economy and growing. Mexico is still plagued by the drug cartels as demand for drugs across the northern border still exists. Ciudad Juarez is plagued by cartel-induced violence, which is considered so bad that the Sun Bowl strongly discouraged visitors from traveling across the border as the college bowl game was an opportunity to promote both El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez for tourism and business.
Colombia still is combatting FARC, but it is clearly winning the battle after President Uribe's term. FARC has been more limited to the jungle areas of Colombia. Active peace talks with FARC are also being negotiated to an extent. The Colombian economy has much room to grow in terms of agriculture, energy, finance, tourism, and digital technology.
Belize is actively courting Americans to purchase real estate in the country marketing their pristine beaches, tax policies, and English fluency. Belize has a lot more growing to do and it has to shake stigmas.
Chile is considered by the Heritage Foundation to be # 1 in economic freedom in Latin America. Chile enjoys a trade surplus, a central bank policy rate of 4.5% that would be attractive to investors outside of Chile. Trading the Chilean Peso may be a worthy indemnifier for those wishing to take advantage of the carry trade against countries / economic zones that have extremely low interest rates such as the United States, European Union, and Japan. Chile has low inflation and has policies that benefit not just copper exports, but other exports to help maintain the surplus. Morgan Stanley expects Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico to grow on average 4.25% in 2014.
These countries are not facing looting outbreaks, floods over toilet paper, or do they have leaders that are trying to escalate action against another country.
Bitcoin's Impact on State-Oriented Economies
In all of these state-oriented economies, there are currency controls. Venezuela and Argentina are infamous for their price controls. Brazil's government influence in the economy stems from their excess influence, possible corruption issues, and inflammatory concerns. Entrepreneurs, investors, and ordinary individuals will be looking to the marketplace to meet their needs. Rationing, red tape, high costs, and possible surveillance are associated with these state-oriented economies. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency will meet the needs of many that have access to the internet.
Competing globally in countries that wish to be more insular comes with negative ramifications, but the usage of the internet and the ability to transact in a possibly untrained fashion in a global marketplace will enable competitive pricing for citizens to receive the goods and services needed. Venezuelans will be able to buy toilet paper from foreign sources without having to use a currency that is being grossly debased. Venezuelaans will also have the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurship while still in Venezuela to fund their endeavors and possible defection to other countries such as Colombia. Over 26% of Venezuelans use the internet on a daily basis. Venezuela has not filtered the internet just yet and purchasing Bitcoin is far more secure than holding onto Bolivar.
Bitcoin usage could take the government's tight grip on the economy away by rendering its presence useless by adopting the private currency. Less tax revenues can be collected, a populace that is armed financially and possibly literally (you could have bought anything on Silk Road), and reduced influence from political leaders and enforcers as cryptocurrency usage becomes viral. This thought process can be applied to Venezuela-lite in Argentina, which is an economy with a lot of potential.
The Brazilian economy could grow further by giving businesses more exposure overseas and overcoming the exotic sovereign currency issue. The World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016 will put much pressure on the Brazilian economy to grow and keep up appearances. Lower transaction costs, currency familiarity, and nationality ambivalence with Bitcoin customers will help Brazilian firms seeking to do business outside of Brazil. With a large influx of tourists and business-people coming to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the acceptance of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency will remove the barriers of having to convert contracts and engage in secure purchases. Brazil may be a more command-oriented economy like Argentina, but global expectations and aspirations should push them away from past tendencies.
For the state-oriented economies, Bitcoin and its competitors offer greater freedom, monetary security, entrepreneurship opportunities, transaction security, and privacy. In the case of Venezuela, it could spark a change in governance much like the way social media was credited for bringing in the Arab Spring to life. Much of the problems surrounding Venezuela are economic in nature and the black market is a natural alternative. Prevention of seizure of assets by keeping them in a digital wallet in the cloud is far more secure than keeping funds in a bank regulated by the Venezuelan government.
Bitcoin's Role in Economic Growth for the Pacific Countries
Entrepreneurship as described in the previous section is on a smaller level than what may be in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. Colombia and Mexico have cities that have hopes to global players in the digital space. Attracting business from Europe, Canada, and the United States would be easier with lower exchange and transaction fees. Credit cards and PayPal place transaction fees on users wishing to make international transactions and this fee would be reduced.
Latin American outsourcing can experience growth as call centers, development and design firms, and independent contractors are able to not only competitively bid as they do now, but they would be able to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and this will drive in more business. It is not a fad, it is a matter of making an easier and cheaper transaction. Less barriers to making the purchase will make the sale and it will help Latin American businesses be able to be global, which can lead to Venture Capital growth.
Bitcoin will lead to greater international business transactions for Latin America and enable economic growth. The benefits are different for these countries as the need for stability is not pressing, but rather these countries have an insatiable appetite for growth. Entrepreneurship, competitiveness globally, lower transaction fees, transactional security, competitive biddng, improved economic development, and changing perceptions are all benefits of adopting cryptocurrency in these countries. A startup in Medellin or Cartagena can compete with a firm in Toronto and another firm in Indianapolis for a services contract. Removing the barriers of nationality from the transaction to focus solely on the services provided and costs involved are a major benefit.
Consumers win too in these countries as they would gain purchasing power because some items are more expensive in their domestic markets than foreign markets. Ex-pats and immigrants can send money to family members in their native country in a simple, inexpensive, quick, and secure fashion. This can help boost local economies.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency help make the world a smaller place just like the way air travel, the internet, telecommunications, and social media have done. Cryptocurrency promotion globalization and Bitcoin will help provide that opportunity to Latin America, which is eager to compete and grow in the global marketplace.