By October 2009, the world’s first Bitcoin exchange was established. At the time, $1 was the equivalent of 1,309 Bitcoin. Considering how expensive Bitcoin is today, that was a real steal. Bitcoin traded at a fraction of a penny for quite some time. Things started changing in 2010; as the distribution of Bitcoin increased, the digital currency became inherently more valuable.
Mining rewards are paid to the miner who discovers a solution to the puzzle first, and the probability that a participant will be the one to discover the solution is equal to the portion of the total mining power on the network.  Participants with a small percentage of the mining power stand a very small chance of discovering the next block on their own.  For instance, a mining card that one could purchase for a couple thousand dollars would represent less than 0.001% of the network's mining power.  With such a small chance at finding the next block, it could be a long time before that miner finds a block, and the difficulty going up makes things even worse.  The miner may never recoup their investment.  The answer to this problem is mining pools.  Mining pools are operated by third parties and coordinate groups of miners.  By working together in a pool and sharing the payouts amongst participants, miners can get a steady flow of bitcoin starting the day they activate their miner.  Statistics on some of the mining pools can be seen on Blockchain.info.
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With the 2008 financial crisis still fresh in people’s minds, most wrote off Bitcoin’s rising price as just another ‘’bubble’’. But what a lot of people failed to grasp is why the price is going up. While speculation and betting on higher prices certainly played their part in the process, a major reason behind the gains is very simple, increased adoption of the cryptocurrency.
First, here is an example of how a standard forex trade works. Imagine you are an American trader betting on the British pound/U.S. dollar currency pair (GBP/USD). You deposit $100 with your forex broker. Assuming the rate of $1 = £0.5, you will receive £50 for your $100. If the GBP/USD rate changes to 0.45, you close the position to 50/0.45 = $111.11. That is, you make a 11.11% profit over your initial $100 deposit.
High Risk Investment Warning: Trading foreign exchange and/or contracts for difference on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss in excess of your deposited funds and therefore, you should not speculate with capital that you cannot afford to lose. Before deciding to trade the products offered by FXCM you should carefully consider your objectives, financial situation, needs and level of experience. You should be aware of all the risks associated with trading on margin. FXCM provides general advice that does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The content of this Website must not be construed as personal advice. FXCM recommends you seek advice from a separate financial advisor.
Ether is a cryptocurrency whose blockchain is generated by the Ethereum platform. Ether can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant mining nodes for computations performed.[4] Ethereum provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. "Gas", an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.[3][5]
We recommend any groups handling large or important transactions to maintain a voluntary 24 hour waiting period on any ether deposited. In case the integrity of the network is at risk due to issues in the clients, we will endeavor to publish patches in a timely fashion to address the issues. We will endeavour to provide solutions within the voluntary 24 hour waiting period.
Ethereum was initially described in a white paper by Vitalik Buterin,[16] a programmer involved with Bitcoin Magazine, in late 2013 with a goal of building decentralized applications.[17][18] Buterin had argued that Bitcoin needed a scripting language for application development. Failing to gain agreement, he proposed development of a new platform with a more general scripting language.[19]:88
"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."
The applications on Ethereum are run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. During 2014, Ethereum had launched a pre-sale for ether which had received an overwhelming response. Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the Ethereum platform, and is sought by mostly developers looking to develop and run applications inside Ethereum. Ether is used broadly for two purposes, it is traded as a digital currency exchange like other cryptocurrencies and is used inside Ethereum to run applications and even to monetize work. The current market cap of ether (ETH) is now more than Ripple and Litecoin although its far behind bitcoin (BTC).
Xcoins describes itself as a Bitcoin lending service that allows traders to get bitcoins by using a credit card or PayPal. Due to charge back with paypal, buying cryptocurrency has been difficult however Xcoins claims to have found a way around it. Their unique peer-to-peer lending model connects lenders and borrowers and allows users to get bitcoins through a series of secure loans. Each secure loan can be paid with any PayPal-recognised payment method. Unlike regular cryptocurrency exchanges, borrowers that no longer want the bitcoin can get their money back. Lenders may also choose to join the platform for free.
What’s important to note is that bitcoin accounts for about 50% of the entire cryptocurrency market, and has the highest volume. It is undoubtedly the most important currency today. You’ll also notice a difference between the original version of bitcoin, Bitcoin Classic (BTC), and a newer version of bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Bitcoin Cash is a spinoff off of the original bitcoin blockchain. I’m not going to get into the technical differences between Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Cash, but understand they are separate currencies. So far, Bitcoin Classic seems to be favored by the public over Bitcoin Cash, and has an 8X higher market cap. But when people say “bitcoin” (lowercase) they could be referring to to either currency.
THANK YOU!! I’ve been looking for an article that brakes the basics down like this. My understanding has grown over the past 6 months, but myself and others that have learned of Blockchain and Ethereum always seem to be thirsty for more knowledge. Is there a guide in the works to explain intermediate level concepts such as POW vs. POS? I am currently attempting to understand all the specifics mentioned in the Ethereum Alliance Enterprise gathering, but find myself lost too often during their 7 hour presentation. Thanks again!!

The applications on Ethereum are run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. During 2014, Ethereum had launched a pre-sale for ether which had received an overwhelming response. Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the Ethereum platform, and is sought by mostly developers looking to develop and run applications inside Ethereum. Ether is used broadly for two purposes, it is traded as a digital currency exchange like other cryptocurrencies and is used inside Ethereum to run applications and even to monetize work. The current market cap of ether (ETH) is now more than Ripple and Litecoin although its far behind bitcoin (BTC).
Since all of the virtual currencies remain a speculative asset, investors should avoid buying them for their retirement portfolios, says Jason Spatafora, co-founder of Marijuanastocks.com and a Miami-based trader and investor. Cryptocurrencies made up less than 2 percent of his portfolio a few months ago, but he is no longer trading them because of the extreme volatility.
Ethereum’s core innovation, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a Turing complete software that runs on the Ethereum network. It enables anyone to run any program, regardless of the programming language given enough time and memory. The Ethereum Virtual Machine makes the process of creating blockchain applications much easier and efficient than ever before. Instead of having to build an entirely original blockchain for each new application, Ethereum enables the development of potentially thousands of different applications all on one platform.
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