Bitcoin for Beginners

Words like “Bitcoin” and “blockchain” are repeated daily in several stories in both the daily financial and internet news, not to mention in several social media discussions by news and business personalities. For the average consumer, the terms can be easily conflated or confused, especially as most mentions in the media are about the current value trends of Bitcoin or a few informational tidbits about blockchain itself. In order to understand the media attention of Bitcoin, it first must be understood what it is exactly.

Bitcoin is what is referred to as a decentralized cryptocurrency. What that means is that Bitcoin is a digital form of currency whose value is not backed by gold, silver, or any government tender, but is extremely secure due to the underlying technology that keeps records of trade. This technology is known as blockchain technology. The popularity of Bitcoin and other decentralized cryptocurrencies is due to the underlying blockchain, which keeps a sort of digital ledger that is itself decentralized across a wide network of systems.

Another factor in the popularity of Bitcoin is due to speculation and investment in the cryptocurrency by many investors, both large and small. The central idea is that Bitcoin will be used more regularly over time, becoming more valuable over time. This certainly follows recent history, as the first increase in value in 2010 raised the price of one Bitcoin to eight cents. In today’s market, one Bitcoin is worth over $60,000.

As popular and lucrative as Bitcoin has proven to be so far in the market, the cryptocurrency market itself is extremely volatile. All cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, is valued by speculation, as opposed to actual investment. It is not uncommon for one cryptocurrency to lose a significant portion of its value in a matter of days, or for one cryptocurrency to balloon in value in the market over the same amount of time.

The primary way to invest in Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency, for that matter) is to have a “wallet,” or an online reservoir for your purchased Bitcoin. A number of brokers and trading sites offer this service to consumers, such as CoinBase, Robinhood, and eToro.

Bitcoin for Beginners

How to Create Your Own NFTs

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are unique tokens that grant ownership rights over digital art, JPEGs, or videos. NFTs are minted on blockchains, which means they are recorded on the same digital ledger as the namesake currency but are separate from the fungible tokens that many investors are familiar with, like Ethereum. With news outlets running stories of newly made NFT millionaires, many artists are probably wondering how NFTs are made?

To start with, a creator needs to choose a platform to host their art. Rarible, OpenSea, and Super Farm are some of the most popular NFT sites. After choosing a platform, creators have to settle up a hosting charge to have work minted on the blockchain. For instance, OpenSea charges around $100 in Ethereum to host NFTs on the blockchain. These fees are paid in the native crypto you will later receive for the art. To settle up with the selected platform, users must link a crypto wallet to their accounts and transfer the selected currency.

Coinbase’s wallet is popular, especially since the exchange went public. Other choices include MetaMask, Fortmatic, and Bitski. It is essential to remember certain exchanges like Robinhood hold coins for users, meaning crypto purchases on these sites can’t be spent to create or purchase NFTs.

Once settled up with the platform, users can freely publish their work. However, first, they must decide whether to upload the series as a “bundle” or as individual pieces. Individual art allows buyers to bid on the work and hopefully initiate a bidding war, whereas “bundles” are set at a fixed price. Another consideration NFT creators should consider is that some platforms charge for each upload, while others charge a one-time fee.

Once a creator has decided how to sell their work, it’s as easy as click and drag to publish a piece. Users can set a price or open up to bids with a minimum purchase price. All prices are set to the native blockchain the NFT was minted on. If an NFT were created on OpenSea’s Ethereum Platform, all bids would be in Ethereum. Once an NFT is purchased, the artist will receive an alert. Once the buyer’s transactions settle, the user can transfer their new crypto to the appropriate wallet and exchange it for their native fiat currency.

How to Create Your Own NFTs

The Rise and Fall of Facebook Libra

The Rise and Fall of Facebook Libra Etienne Kiss-Borlase

Facebook Libra has been in the news a lot lately. This cryptocurrency was envisioned as a so-called stablecoin. Libra was designed carefully to avoid the huge fluctuations faced by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The plan was to offer a more stable currency, backed by stable securities. Sponsors like Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal seemed just about ready to get on board with the project.

 

However, by late October, they had all pulled their backing off the table. eBay, Stripe, and Mercado Pago were other potential sponsors who didn’t quite come through. Why the loss of confidence? Many aspects of Libra have been too up in the air for too long. In particular, Facebook’s role in the project opened it up to special concerns.

 

Facebook was famously always the social network that required real names. With Libra, if they offered anonymity, it could create liabilities. The platform could attract lots of black market activity and scams. However, if Libra were too closely linked to people’s Facebook profiles, it could cause problems in terms of privacy issues. The social network has alarmed consumers when it comes to data already.

 

Asking Facebook’s end users for access to financial details could really increase their risk exposure. If the two services were too closely linked, any data breach to either network could prove devastating for everyone involved. The idea of the low-volatility securities backing the stablecoin also seems overly optimistic in the wake of the 2008 recession.

 

Perhaps most importantly, Facebook is already facing calls for increased regulation. These are coming from powerful political figures, including candidates for the US Presidency like Elizabeth Warren. Entering the world of currency will almost definitely lead to more government scrutiny. For one thing, governments need a stable currency and don’t want people to use an alternative that undermines theirs. For another, Facebook has already been implicated in election tampering.

 

Critics of Libra point out that there are already better ways to do many of the things Facebook claims this currency will solve. Solutions like Ripple follow the rules set in place by the federal government. They’re already used to facilitate payments internationally at reasonable costs. There seems to be no real way that Libra would do the same thing at a lower cost, or with more efficiency.

This article was originally published on EtienneKiss-Borlase.net

The Rise and Fall of Facebook Libra