Market analysis

How Market Research Improves Brands

One thing is sure in business — no company operates alone in the market. That’s the case with your company too. By the same token, your business has to interact with consumers if you want to achieve success in the market. That’s where market research steps in. If your brand already communicates with consumers, you probably heard about the importance of researching your target market. Stellar market research can improve your brand, and that’s what the biggest companies in the world realized long before they launched their products.

The market research process is an essential step that ensures whether your product or service meeting the needs of your target market. The result of your market research can have an impact on your entire brand image as a whole. That’s why every major company in the world uses market research to define the customer. Apple & Coca-Cola use the data that market search provides to ensure that their branding strategy is on point.

You have spent a great deal of time and effort on creating your brand. Part of the creation process is identifying your target audience and building customer loyalty. But how much market research did you perform during the process? Have you continued to research and communicate with your target audience?

What is market research?

Market research is comprised of tools and methods that allow you to understand the pulse of your customers. It tells you what they are looking for, what they are interested in, what motivates them, and how they perceive your brand.

Here are two research tools that any business owner can perform to understand better their customers, their opinions about the business, and insight into your competitors.

Focus Groups

In today’s business environment, focus groups can easily be performed in a virtual environment for market research. It is best to have a moderator not employed or affiliated with the business to ask the participants questions. Focus groups encourage free and open discussion, allowing you to get a deeper understanding of why they feel the way they do. Gather a handful of your loyal customers and be prepared with questions. Record the virtual focus group responses to understand the nuances best and hear and see their reactions to your questions. Here is a sampling of basic focus group questions:

  • What is your favorite thing about our business?
  • What is something our business needs to improve upon?
  • Do you frequent our competitors? Why?
  • What do you like better about the competitor?
  • What key differences do you notice between our business and our competitors?
  • Do you have suggestions for how we can improve?

Be sure to thank your customers for attending the focus group. It does take more time, especially if the group met in person. If the meeting is in person, you should provide beverages and snacks. In our virtual world, follow up with a gift card or a discount on your goods or services.


Surveys provide valuable insight when properly utilized for market research. Hire a professional to help write the questions so as not to lead the respondent in any way. There is an art to writing survey questions and the order in which they appear. Surveys are similar to focus groups but are performed at the customer’s convenience. Because surveys are done privately as opposed to a focus group, the customer is not influenced by the others in the room, nor are they intimidated by making an honest assessment, positive or negative.

A good survey should take no more than five minutes to complete. We are often asked about offering an incentive to complete the survey:

  • Incentives may drive an increase in responses
  • The customer may feel influenced to be kinder because you offered a reward.
  • The responses may not accurately reflect their opinion if they run through quickly to get it done and get the reward.

Focus groups are more qualitative and deliver greater quality, or depth, of information. The moderator can delve deeper into their answers and the why of their opinions.

Surveys are more quantitative because of the possibility of a significant number of responses. It allows you to speak with more customers but not in an in-depth way.

Ok, you have the data, now what do you do with it?

Best case scenario? There are no surprises. Your response to the information obtained will be to make suggested improvements, but you are doing pretty well for the most part. You have customers who are loyal and actively engaged; their perception of the brand matches yours.

When your market research shows surprises or makes you aware of something you were not, you need to evaluate what you are doing. Are there things out of your control? If so, that does not always matter because it is still the perception of your customers. Maximize the positives and address the negatives when possible. Most importantly, let your customers know what you are doing. Tell them why you did the focus group or survey. Share the things you are going to do to be better. We heard you, and here is what we are doing to improve. People appreciate the fact that you listened and took action. It enhances the customer experience and drives greater customer loyalty. You listened to them. You care about them.

What is the hardest part of the market research process? Listen and never argue. Their perception is what it is, and it is their truth. Tell them you will make it better…. then do it!

Do you want to know what your customers think?

Most business owners are unsure about tackling this on their own. They want to know what their customers think but need help.

In some cases, the owners have performed a survey or obtained research from various resources and are unsure how to interpret the data. We can figure this out for you and suggest improvements to your

Embrace it! Your brand may change and improve for you and your customers. The change came directly from your customers. It doesn’t get better than that! So, give us 30 minutes of your time, and let’s see what your customers are saying.

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Definition of Litecoin

Launched in the year 2011, Litecoin is an alternative cryptocurrency based on the model of Bitcoin. Litecoin was created by an MIT graduate and former Google engineer named Charlie Lee. Litecoin is based on an open-source global payment network that is not controlled by any central authority. Litecoin differs from Bitcoins in aspects like faster block generation rate and use of script as a proof of work scheme. 


Litecoins were launched with the aim of being the “silver” to Bitcoin’s “gold,” and have gained much popularity since the time of inception. Litecoin is a peer-to-peer internet currency. It is a fully decentralized open-source, global payment network. Litecoin was developed with the aim to improve on Bitcoin’s shortcomings and has earned industry support along with high trade volume and liquidity over the years. The broader differences between the two cryptocurrencies are listed in the table below.

CreatorSatoshi NakamotoCharles Lee
Coin Limit21 Million84 Million
Block Generation Time10 Minutes2.5 Minutes
Initial Reward50 BTC50 LTC
Current Block Reward (as of June 2014)25 BTC50 LTC
RewardsHalved every 210,000 blocksHalved every 840,000 blocks
Difficulty Retarget2016 Block2016 Block

Litecoin is designed to produce four times as many blocks as Bitcoin (1 new block every 2.5 minutes to Bitcoin’s 10), and it also allows for 4x the coin limit, making its main appeal over Bitcoin to do with speed and ease of acquisition. However, because Litecoin uses scrypt (as opposed to Bitcoin’s SHA-2) as a proof-of-work algorithm, the use of mining hardware such as ASIC miners or a GPU mining rig requires significantly more processing power.

Litecoin is consistently among the largest cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization (though still remaining far below that of Bitcoin) and it currently has more than 50 million coins in circulation. 

How Litecoin Is Made

Like all cryptocurrencies, litecoin is not issued by a government, which historically has been the only entity that society trusts to issue money. Instead, being regulated by a Federal Reserve and coming off a press at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, litecoins are created by the elaborate procedure called mining, which consists of processing a list of litecoin transactions. Unlike traditional currencies, the supply of litecoins is fixed. There will ultimately be only 84 million litecoins in circulation and not one more. Every 2.5 minutes (as opposed to 10 minutes for bitcoin), the litecoin network generates a what is called a block – a ledger entry of recent litecoin transactions throughout the world. And here is where litecoin’s inherent value derives.

The block is verified by mining software and made visible to any “miner” who wants to see it. Once a miner verifies it, the next block enters the chain, which is a record of every litecoin transaction ever made.

Mining for Litecoin

The incentive for mining is that the first miner to successfully verify a block is rewarded with 50 litecoins. The number of litecoins awarded for such a task reduces with time. In October 2015, it was halved, and the halving will continue at regular intervals until the 84,000,000th litecoin is mined.

But could one unscrupulous miner change the block, enabling the same litecoins to be spent twice? No. The scam would be detected immediately by some other miner, anonymous to the first. The only way to truly game the system would be to get a majority of miners to agree to process the false transaction, which is practically impossible.

Mining cryptocurrency at a rate worthwhile to the miners requires ungodly processing power, courtesy of specialized hardware. To mine most cryptocurrencies, the central processing unit in your Dell Inspiron isn’t anywhere near fast enough to complete the task. This brings us to another point of differentiation for litecoins; they can be mined with ordinary off-the-shelf computers more so than other cryptocurrencies can. Although the greater a machine’s capacity for mining, the better the chance it’ll earn something of value for a miner.

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Bitcoin vs. Ethereum: What’s the Difference?

Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, is arguably the second most popular digital token after bitcoin (BTC). Indeed, as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, comparisons between Ether and BTC are only natural.

Ether and bitcoin are similar in many ways: each is a digital currency traded via online exchanges and stored in various types of cryptocurrency wallets. Both of these tokens are decentralized, meaning that they are not issued or regulated by a central bank or other authority. Both make use of the distributed ledger technology known as the blockchain. However, there are also many crucial distinctions between the two most popular cryptocurrencies by market cap. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the similarities and differences between bitcoin and ether.

Bitcoin Basics

Bitcoin was launched in January of 2009. It introduced a novel idea set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto—bitcoin offers the promise of an online currency that is secured without any central authority, unlike government-issued currencies. There are no physical bitcoins, only balances associated with a cryptographically secured public ledger. Although bitcoin was not the first attempt at an online currency of this type, it was the most successful in its early efforts, and it has come to be known as a predecessor in some way to virtually all cryptocurrencies which have been developed over the past decade.

Over the years, the concept of a virtual, decentralized currency has gained acceptance among regulators and government bodies. Although it isn’t a formally recognized medium of payment or store of value, cryptocurrency has managed to carve out a niche for itself and continues to coexist with the financial system despite being regularly scrutinized and debated.

At the start of the cryptocurrency boom in 2017, Bitcoin’s market value accounted for close to 87% of the total cryptocurrency market.

Ethereum Basics

Blockchain technology is being used to create applications that go beyond just enabling a digital currency. Launched in July of 2015, Ethereum is the largest and most well-established, open-ended decentralized software platform.

Ethereum enables the deployment of smart contracts and decentralized applications (apps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control, or interference from a third party. Ethereum comes complete with its own programming language which runs on a blockchain, enabling developers to build and run distributed applications.

The potential applications of Ethereum are wide-ranging and are powered by its native cryptographic token, ether (commonly abbreviated as ETH). In 2014, Ethereum launched a presale for ether, which received an overwhelming response. Ether is like the fuel for running commands on the Ethereum platform and is used by developers to build and run applications on the platform.

Ether is used mainly for two purposes—it is traded as a digital currency on exchanges in the same fashion as other cryptocurrencies, and it is used on the Ethereum network to run applications. According to Ethereum, “people all over the world use ETH to make payments, as a store of value, or as collateral.”

Key Differences

While both the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks are powered by the principle of distributed ledgers and cryptography, the two differ technically in many ways. For example, transactions on the Ethereum network may contain executable code, while data affixed to Bitcoin network transactions are generally only for keeping notes. Other differences include block time (an ether transaction is confirmed in seconds compared to minutes for bitcoin) and the algorithms that they run on (Ethereum uses ethash while Bitcoin uses SHA-256). 

More importantly, though, the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks are different with respect to their overall aims. While bitcoin was created as an alternative to national currencies and thus aspires to be a medium of exchange and a store of value, Ethereum was intended as a platform to facilitate immutable, programmatic contracts, and applications via its own currency. 

BTC and ETH are both digital currencies, but the primary purpose of ether is not to establish itself as an alternative monetary system, but rather to facilitate and monetize the operation of the Ethereum smart contract and decentralized application (dapp) platform.

Ethereum is another use-case for a blockchain that supports the Bitcoin network, and theoretically should not really compete with Bitcoin. However, the popularity of ether has pushed it into competition with all cryptocurrencies, especially from the perspective of traders. For most of its history since the mid-2015 launch, ether has been close behind bitcoin on rankings of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that the ether ecosystem is much smaller than bitcoin’s: as of January 2020, ether’s market cap was just under $16 billion, while bitcoin’s is nearly 10 times that at more than $147 billion.

Ethereum vs Bitcoin: The Conclusions

Bitcoin and Ethereum have very different purposes!

Ethereum’s purpose is to offer and run decentralized smart-contract applications powered by blockchain technology that do not go offline and cannot be altered. It provides users with a platform and programming language to build the applications on.

Bitcoin’s purpose, however, is largely different. It serves as a decentralized store of value — a peer-to-peer digital currency, used for financial transactions. It eliminates the need for third parties in payment technology.

In conclusion, the primary differences that separate Ethereum vs Bitcoin are their purposes and their concepts. Also, Ethereum’s blockchain runs smart contracts Bitcoin doesn’t and instead only focuses on manual payment technology.

Is Ethereum Better than Bitcoin?

It’s clear that there are benefits to using both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin has a lower coin supply and is more liquid than Ethereum, but Ethereum has better technology and provides more uses than Bitcoin does.

Based on the fact Ethereum has more use cases than Bitcoin — and, therefore, serves a bigger purpose — I can say that it is indeed an overall better Bitcoin alternative.

It perhaps isn’t the best Bitcoin alternative, though, as there are other cryptocurrencies that have the same purpose as Bitcoin and run on newer technology and protocols.

That’s not to say that these other alternatives are better than Ethereum. It just means that, because they are more similar to Bitcoin, one of them may be the best Bitcoin alternative. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a better Ethereum alternative!

Which has the Better Technology?

Blockchain technology is still in its early years. That’s why Ethereum and Bitcoin get continuous updates. However, Ethereum is currently the clear winner. Here’s why:

  • Ethereum uses smart contracts. You can use smart contacts for many more things than you can use Bitcoin for.
  • The Ethereum’s blockchain was released in 2015. It is 6 years newer and further developed compared to the Bitcoin blockchain (released in 2009).
  • Ethereum’s blockchain is a further advanced version of Bitcoin’s blockchain. It fixes some of its issues and introduces new features such as smart contracts.
  • Ethereum’s transaction fees are cheaper than Bitcoin’s transaction fees.
  • Not only do the transactions cost less, but as I stated earlier, they’re much quicker, too.

So, Which One? Bitcoin or Ethereum?

In Ethereum vs Bitcoin battle, if I had to choose one, it’d be Ethereum! This is because it has unlimited use cases, whereas Bitcoin only tackles payment and banking issues. Bitcoin may have a better position in the market, but Ethereum has better technology and bigger potential.

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Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash: What Is the Difference?

Since its inception, there have been questions surrounding bitcoin’s ability to scale effectively. Transactions involving the digital currency bitcoin are processed, verified, and stored within a digital ledger known as a blockchain. Blockchain is a revolutionary ledger-recording technology. It makes ledgers far more difficult to manipulate because the reality of what has transpired is verified by majority rule, not by an individual actor. Additionally, this network is decentralized; it exists on computers all over the world.

The problem with blockchain technology in the Bitcoin network is that it’s slow, especially in comparison to banks that deal with credit card transactions. Popular credit card company Visa, Inc. (V), for instance, processes close to 150 million transactions per day, averaging roughly 1,700 transactions per second. The company’s capability actually far surpasses that, at 65,000 transaction messages per second.

How many transactions can the bitcoin network process per second? Seven. Transactions can take several minutes or more to process. As the network of bitcoin users has grown, waiting times have become longer because there are more transactions to process without a change in the underlying technology that processes them.

Ongoing debates around bitcoin’s technology have been concerned with this central problem of scaling and increasing the speed of the transaction verification process. Developers and cryptocurrency miners have come up with two major solutions to this problem. The first involves making the amount of data that needs to be verified in each block smaller, thus creating transactions that are faster and cheaper, while the second requires making the blocks of data bigger, so that more information can be processed at one time. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developed out of these solutions. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how bitcoin and BCH differ from one another.


In July 2017, mining pools and companies representing roughly 80 percent to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power voted to incorporate a technology known as a segregated witness, called SegWit2x. SegWit2x makes the amount of data that needs to be verified in each block smaller by removing signature data from the block of data that needs to be processed in each transaction and having it attached in an extended block. Signature data has been estimated to account for up to 65 percent of data processed in each block, so this is not an insignificant technological shift. Talk of doubling the size of blocks from 1 MB to 2 MB ramped up in 2017 and 2018, and, as of February 2019, the average block size of bitcoin increased to 1.305 MB, surpassing previous records. By January 2020, however, block size has declined back toward 1 MB on average.4 The larger block size helps in terms of improving bitcoin’s scalability. In September 2017, research released by cryptocurrency exchange BitMex showed that SegWit implementation had helped increase the block size, amid a steady adoption rate for the technology.

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash is a different story. Bitcoin Cash was started by bitcoin miners and developers equally concerned with the future of the cryptocurrency and its ability to scale effectively. However, these individuals had their reservations about the adoption of a segregated witness technology. They felt as though SegWit2x did not address the fundamental problem of scalability in a meaningful way, nor did it follow the roadmap initially outlined by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous party that first proposed the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the process of introducing SegWit2x as the road forward was anything but transparent, and there were concerns that its introduction undermined the decentralization and democratization of the currency.

In August 2017, some miners and developers initiated what is known as a hard fork, effectively creating a new currency: BCH. BCH has its own blockchain and specifications, including one very important distinction from bitcoin. BCH has implemented an increased block size of 8 MB to accelerate the verification process, with an adjustable level of difficulty to ensure the chain’s survival and transaction verification speed, regardless of the number of miners supporting it.

Bitcoin Cash is thus able to process transactions more quickly than the Bitcoin network, meaning that wait times are shorter and transaction processing fees tend to be lower. The Bitcoin Cash network can handle many more transactions per second than the Bitcoin network can. However, with the faster transaction verification time comes downsides as well. One potential issue with the larger block size associated with BCH is that security could be compromised relative to the Bitcoin network. Similarly, bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency in the world as well as the largest by market cap, so users of BCH may find that liquidity and real-world usability is lower than for bitcoin.

The debate about scalability, transaction processing, and blocks has continued beyond the fork which led to Bitcoin Cash. In November of 2018, for example, the Bitcoin Cash network experienced its own hard fork, resulting in the creation of yet another derivation of bitcoin called Bitcoin SV. Bitcoin SV was created in an effort to stay true to the original vision for bitcoin that Satoshi Nakamoto described in the bitcoin white paper while also making modifications to facilitate scalability and faster transaction speeds.

Bitcoin Cash Advantages

The main advantage of Bitcoin Cash is that it is cheaper and faster to use. This is because it is more scalable, meaning that more people can transact on the blockchain at any given time.

Its development team is quick to implement solutions that make the blockchain more scalable. Which gives it great future potential for adoption and use.

It is also cheaper to move around between exchanges. Whenever its price surges, it is a great trading asset against Bitcoin and a solid investment to hedge against Bitcoin, should Bitcoin lose its market dominance one day.

Bitcoin Cash Disadvantages

Bitcoin Cash does not have as much investor confidence as Bitcoin. Also, its adoption rate and market penetration is much lower than Bitcoin’s. This has a lot to do with the fact that this coin is much newer than Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Cash mining is relatively the same as mining Bitcoin. This means that someone who mines Bitcoin Cash makes much less profit than someone mining Bitcoin with the same equipment. For this reason, miners are not as quick to mine Bitcoin Cash.

Finally, when it comes to trading, BCH has far less trading pairs than BTC, making it less tradeable than Bitcoin. All these disadvantages work towards making Bitcoin Cash’s adoption rates and prices much lower than Bitcoin’s.

Bitcoin Advantages Over Bitcoin Cash

As the original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is the base currency of the entire sector. It is what all other cryptocurrencies trade against (as well as ETH, most of the time) and is tradable on most exchanges. Bitcoin is the most popular and has the most trading pairs with other cryptocurrencies.

As of 23rd March 2018, Bitcoin makes up 44.5% of the entire capital of the crypto-sector and is considered the Gold standard of a rapidly growing industry.

The biggest advantage Bitcoin has over Bitcoin Cash is its community and cult-like following: it’s the first cryptocurrency anyone hears about

Bitcoin Disadvantages Over Bitcoin Cash

The disadvantages of Bitcoin when compared to Bitcoin Cash mainly regard the scalability issues facing Bitcoin. Bitcoin is olderslower and costs a lot more per transaction. It is likely that as the sector grows, Bitcoin will continue to lose its dominance to these other coins.

Another disadvantage is that the core development team of Bitcoin is not united as good as other crypto teams, like that of Ether, for example. They appear to be divided as a group and lacking clear leadership.

The debate about the future of bitcoin appears to show no signs of being resolved.


  • Bitcoin is limited by transaction processing time, an issue which has caused rifts between factions within the bitcoin mining and developing communities.
  • Bitcoin Cash was started by bitcoin miners and developers concerned about the future of the bitcoin cryptocurrency, and its ability to scale effectively.
  • While bitcoin blocks are limited to 1 MB, BCH blocks are 8 MB.
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How does Bitcoin cash work?

What is Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin cash is a cryptocurrency created in August 2017, from a fork of Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash increased the size of blocks, allowing more transactions to be processed and improving scalability.

The cryptocurrency underwent another fork in November 2018 and split into Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash SV (Satoshi Vision). Bitcoin Cash is referred to as Bitcoin Cash because it uses the original Bitcoin Cash client. 

Understanding Bitcoin Cash

The difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash is philosophical.

As proposed by Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was meant to be a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that was used for daily transactions. Over the years, as it gained mainstream traction and its price surged, Bitcoin became an investment vehicle instead of a currency. Its blockchain witnessed scalability issues because it could not handle the increased number of transactions. The confirmation time and fees for a transaction on bitcoin’s blockchain surged. This was mainly due to the 1MB block size limitation for bitcoin. Transactions queued up, waiting for confirmation because blocks could not handle the increase in size for transactions.

Bitcoin Cash proposes to remedy the situation by increasing the size of blocks to between 8 MB and 32 MB, thereby enabling the processing of more transactions per block. The average number of transactions per block on Bitcoin at the time Bitcoin Cash was proposed was between 1,000 and 1,500. The number of transactions on Bitcoin Cash’s blockchain during a stress test in Sep. 2018 surged to 25,000 per block.

Major proponents of Bitcoin Cash, such as Roger Ver, often invoke Nakamoto’s original vision of a payment service as a reason to increase the block size. According to them, the change in bitcoin’s block size will enable bitcoin’s use as a medium for daily transactions and help it compete with multinational credit card processing organizations, such as Visa, which charge high fees to process transactions across borders.

Bitcoin Cash also differs from bitcoin in another respect as it does not incorporate Segregated Witness (SegWit), another solution proposed to accommodate more transactions per block. SegWit retains only information or the metadata relating to a transaction in a block. Typically, all details pertaining to a transaction are stored in a block. 

Ideological and block size differences apart, there are several similarities between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. Both use the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to mine new coins. They also share the services of Bitmain, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency miner. The supply of Bitcoin Cash is capped at 21 million, the same figure as Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash also started off using the same mining difficulty algorithm – known technically as Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA) – which adjusts difficulty every 2016 blocks or roughly every two weeks. Miners took advantage of this similarity by alternating their mining activity between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. While it was profitable for miners, the practice was detrimental to the increasing supply of Bitcoin Cash in the markets. Hence, Bitcoin Cash has revised its EDA algorithm to make it easier for miners to generate the cryptocurrency.

History of Bitcoin Cash

In 2010, the average size of a block on Bitcoin’s blockchain was less than 100 KB and the average fee for a transaction amounted to just a couple of cents. This made its blockchain vulnerable to attacks, consisting entirely of cheap transactions, that could potentially cripple its system. To prevent such a situation, the size of a block on bitcoin’s blockchain was limited to 1 MB. Each block is generated every 10 minutes, allowing for space and time between successive transactions. The limitation on size and time required to generate a block added another layer of security on bitcoin’s blockchain.

But those safeguards proved to be a hindrance when bitcoin gained mainstream traction on the back of greater awareness of its potential and enhancements to its platform. The average size of a block had increased to 600K by Jan. 2015. The number of transactions using Bitcoin surged, causing a buildup of unconfirmed transactions. The average time to confirm a transaction also moved upwards. Correspondingly, the fee for transaction confirmation also increased, weakening the argument for bitcoin as a competitor to expensive credit card processing systems. (Fees for transactions on bitcoin’s blockchain are specified by users. Miners typically push transactions with higher fees to the front of the queue in order to maximize profits.)

Two solutions were proposed by developers to solve the problem: increase the average block size or exclude certain parts of a transaction to fit more data into the blockchain. The Bitcoin Core team, which is responsible for developing and maintaining the algorithm that powers bitcoin, blocked the proposal to increase block size. Meanwhile, a new coin with flexible block size was created. But the new coin, which was called Bitcoin Unlimited, was hacked and struggled to gain traction, leading to doubts about its viability as a currency for daily transactions.

The first proposal also drew sharp and diverse reactions from the bitcoin community. Mining behemoth Bitmain was hesitant to support Segwit implementation in blocks because it would affect sales for its AsicBoost miner. The machine contained a patented mining technology that offered a “shortcut” for miners to generate hashes for crypto mining using less energy. However, Segwit makes it more expensive to mine Bitcoin using the machine because it makes transaction reordering difficult.

Amidst a war of words and staking out of positions by miners and other stakeholders within the cryptocurrency community, Bitcoin Cash was launched in August 2017. Each Bitcoin holder received an equivalent amount of Bitcoin Cash, thereby multiplying the number of coins in existence. Bitcoin Cash debuted on cryptocurrency exchanges at an impressive price of $900. Major cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Coinbase and itBit, boycotted Bitcoin Cash and did not list it on their exchanges.

But it received vital support from Bitmain, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency mining platform. This ensured a supply of coins for trading at cryptocurrency exchanges when Bitcoin Cash was launched. At the height of cryptocurrency mania, Bitcoin Cash’s price skyrocketed to $4,091 in December 2017.

Paradoxically enough, Bitcoin Cash itself underwent a fork slightly more than a year later due to the same reason it split from Bitcoin. In Nov. 2018, Bitcoin Cash split into Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash SV (Satoshi Vision). This time around, the disagreement was due to proposed protocol updates that incorporated the use of smart contracts onto bitcoin’s blockchain and increased the average block size.  

Bitcoin Cash ABC uses the original Bitcoin Cash client but has incorporated several changes to its blockchain, such as Canonical Transaction Ordering Route (CTOR) – which rearranges transactions in a block to a specific order.

Bitcoin Cash SV is led by Craig Wright, who claims to be the original Nakamoto. He rejected the use of smart contracts on a platform that was meant for payment transactions. The drama prior to the latest hard fork was similar to the one before forking Bitcoin Cash from Bitcoin in 2017. But the end has been a happy one as more funds have flowed into the cryptocurrency ecosystem due to the forking and the number of coins available to investors has multiplied. Since launching, both cryptocurrencies have garnered respectable valuations at crypto exchanges.

Concerns About Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash promised several improvements over its predecessor. But it has yet to deliver on those promises.

The most important one is regarding block size. The average size of blocks mined on Bitcoin Cash’s blockchain is much smaller than those on Bitcoin’s blockchain. The smaller block size means that its main thesis of enabling more transactions through larger blocks is yet to be tested technically. Transaction fees for bitcoin have also dropped significantly, making it a viable competitor to bitcoin cash for daily use.  

Other cryptocurrencies aspiring to similar ambitions of becoming a medium for daily transactions have added another wrinkle to Bitcoin Cash’s original ambitions. They have staked out projects and partnerships with organizations and governments, at home and abroad. For example, Litecoin announced partnerships with event organizers and professional associations, and others, such as Dash, claim to have already gained traction in troubled economies like Venezuela, although such claims are disputed. 

While its split from Bitcoin was fairly high-profile, Bitcoin Cash is mostly unknown outside the crypto community and is yet to make major announcements about adoption. Based on transaction levels on blockchain, Bitcoin still has a sizeable lead over its competition.

The second fork on Bitcoin Cash’s blockchain also highlights problems with managing its developer pool. That a sizeable section of the pool thought that Bitcoin cash was diluting its original vision is troubling because it opens the door to further splits in the future. Smart contracts are an essential feature of all cryptocurrencies. However, it remains to be seen whether Bitcoin Cash pivots to become a platform for incorporating smart contracts for transactions or simply for payment systems. 

Bitcoin Cash also does not have a clearly-defined governance protocol. While other cryptocurrencies, such as Dash and VeChain, have innovated and outlined detailed governance protocols that assign voting rights, the development, and design of Bitcoin Cash seem to be centralized with its development teams. As such, it is unclear with investors without substantial holdings of the cryptocurrency have voting rights or a say in the cryptocurrency’s future direction.


  • Bitcoin Cash is the result of a Bitcoin hard fork occurring in August 2017.
  • Bitcoin Cash was created to accommodate a larger block size compared to Bitcoin, allowing more transactions into a single block.
  • Despite their philosophical differences, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin share several technical similarities. They use the same consensus mechanism and have capped their supply at 21 million.
  • Bitcoin Cash itself underwent a fork in November 2018 and split into Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash SV (Satoshi Vision). Bitcoin Cash ABC is referred to as Bitcoin Cash now.
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10 reasons to invest in Cryptocurrencies

We all know that Cryptocurrencies have had a revolutionary impact on the world economy. The fact that they are not controlled by any government or bank, not affected by the inflation of a certain country, that allows us to work under some anonymity on a platform which is at the same time safe and in growth makes them very useful tools today, so many people have decided that this is the right time to invest in Cryptocurrencies.

These are 10 very convincing reasons to invest in Cryptocurrencies:

Security of Cryptocurrencies

One of the main strengths of Cryptocurrencies is security. Unlike traditional bank accounts and financial transactions that face the risk of being hacked, the Cryptocurrencies system is totally safe because it depends on cryptography. The security of the Blockchain (Blockchain) is such that, once the transaction has been confirmed, it cannot be changed.
The transaction process is carried out by “miners”, who takes them, legitimizes them and spreads them over the network, after which each node adds it to its database as part of the blockchain. With blockchain, investors can be sure that no one beyond the miners gets involved in their transactions. Another key point is that your currency funds are stored in a cryptographic system with a password and only the holder of that password can send Cryptocurrencies

Anonymity and privacy

Anonymity and privacy is another strength of Cryptocurrencies since the blockchain system prevents third-parties, organizations and governments from knowing what you are investing in or buying, how much you have spent and who you are buying from.

Transaction costs

The transaction fees with Cryptocurrencies are much lower than those made with traditional currencies. Generally, transaction costs are zero or too low for the change in Cryptocurrency, as miners are compensated by the network. The only fees paid by operators are those when there was a third party involved in creating and maintaining their own wallets

Use and ease of entry

Traditional methods of investment can be difficult; however, with Cryptocurrencies it is easy, so many permissions are not needed, and businesses operate 24 hours a day. You can receive and send Cryptocurrencies without the need for expensive software, without having great training or licenses and no one can prevent you from investing.

Portability of the Cryptocurrencies

It is becoming more and more complex to carry large amounts of money from place to place. Transporting thousands in cash can be a problem; however, with Cryptocurrencies, all these difficulties are resolved because it is possible to carry any amount of money in Cryptocurrencies in just flash memory.

Transaction speed

With Cryptocurrencies, you can send money everywhere around the globe without restrictions and will arrive in just minutes. It will only take the time the network delays to process the payment.

No debts

Cryptocurrencies do not represent debts, they represent themselves and always reflect exactly the total amount of money you count on.

Low inflation risk

Cryptocurrencies face very low inflationary risk. This happens because all the traditional currencies in the world are controlled by governments and if they face a crisis, then their currency suffers the effects. This leads to the fluctuation in the value of the currency. Investors in Cryptocurrencies believe that they have a lower inflationary risk than traditional currencies, as they are not controlled by government policies and do not depend on the economy of a specific country. Its value is not influenced by the normal tendencies of the global economy and therefore remains high even in the worst circumstances.

The rising price of Cryptocurrencies

The weightiest element that incites to invest in Cryptocurrencies is that its price always tends upward. The Bitcoin, for example, reached high values in November 2017 and then certainly fell, but it has remained stable between 8-9 thousand dollars. If we consider that seven years ago we barely paid a few dollars for a Bitcoin, then we have a panorama in which those who bet on investing in that Cryptocurrencies at that time saw their initial investment grow enormously.

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The Difference Between Fiat Money and Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are becoming a global phenomenon amidst talk that they could replace fiat currencies in the near future. Cryptocurrencies adoption continues to gain momentum in part because of the world’s progression towards a cashless society.

The fact that some people, nowadays, transact through electronic money continues to affirm suggestions that cryptocurrencies could be the currencies of the future. However, it will take some time before they find their way into the mainstream sector, given the strong opposition from regulators around the world.

Even as the world moves towards a cashless society, very few people have an idea of how different cryptocurrencies are from fiat currencies.

What Is Fiat Money?

Fiat Money is a kind of currency, issued by the government and regulated by a central authority such as a central bank. Such currencies act like legal tender and are not necessarily backed by a physical commodity. Instead, it is based on the credit of the economy.

Fiat currencies such as the US Dollar, Pound or Euro derive their value from the forces of supply and demand in the market. Such currencies are always at risk of becoming worthless due to hyperinflation as they are not linked to any physical reserves such as commodities.

Fiat currency first came into being at around 1000 AD in China before spreading to other parts of the world. Initially, currencies were based on physical commodities such as gold. It is only in the 20th century that President Richard Nixon stopped the conversion of U.S dollar into gold.Advertisement

Advantages of Fiat Money

Fiat Money has remained legal tender in most countries in part because they are highly stable and controlled. Unlike other forms of money, such as cryptocurrencies and commodity-based currencies, fiat currencies are relatively stable. The stability allows regulators and governments to navigate the economy against recession and inflation.

Stability also allows fiat money to act as a means of storing value and facilitating exchange. It can also be used to provide a numerical account. Greater control also allows central banks to manage various economic variables such as liquidity, interest rates and credit supply key to ensuring a robust, stable economy.

Disadvantages of Fiat Money

Though Fiat Money is considered a stable currency, yet that is not always the case. Economic recessions over the years have highlighted some of the deficiencies associated with Fiat money. The fact that a central bank’s greater control at times does little to stop inflation or recession has led most people to believe that gold could be a much stable currency given its unlimited supply. The notion of central banks control over the economy and the constant increase in global prices create the need for cryptocurrencies.

What is a cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a form of digital or virtual currency that can work as a medium of exchange. Being virtual in nature, they use cryptography technology to process, secure and verify transactions.

Unlike fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies are not controlled by any central authority such as a central bank. Instead, they are limited entries in a database such as a blockchain that no one can change or manipulate, unless certain conditions are met.

Cryptocurrencies came into being as a side product of Satoshi Nakamoto, the brainchild behind Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Nakamoto did not intend to develop a currency but a peer-to-peer electronic cash system for facilitating transactions without any central oversight.

The decentralization aspect of the network means there is no central server where transactions are hosted or controlling authority. In a decentralized network like Bitcoin, every transaction to have ever happened is displayed for everyone to see. Each transaction file also consists of senders and recipients public keys.

Cryptocurrencies Advantages

Cryptocurrencies are available on a click of a button, all over the world. Anyone that can make an online transfer can also acquire and own a digital coin of choice. Although the process is still complicated, in the futures, it will be easier to transact and own cryptocurrencies.

Fast settlement times are another attribute that continues to accelerate widespread adoption of virtual currencies. Unlike other electronic cash settlement systems that take days to process transactions, cryptocurrencies enable instant settlements.

Lower transaction fees have seen cryptocurrencies emerge as a preferred means of sending money across borders. Transferring money using other bank gateways can be quite expensive given the number of fees charged along the way.

Privacy is another aspect that has made cryptocurrency desirable as users don’t have to share their identity to be able to complete transactions. There are altcoins which the main functions are to maintain the privacy of people behind transactions.

Disadvantages of Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies can be quite difficult to understand – one of the reasons why some countries and regulators continue to shun them. A lack of knowledge on how to use them is another headwind that continues to clobber digital currencies prospects and sentiments.

The fact that it is not possible to reverse a transaction once it is made is another headache that has forced most people to shun cryptocurrencies. If a wrong a transaction is made the only thing one can do is ask for a reversal from the recipient. There is nothing one can do on recipients of a wrong transaction turning down a request for a refund

Volatility is by far the biggest disadvantage that has clobbered cryptocurrencies sentiments. Volatility goes a long way in affecting the value of a coin, which can be difficult to comprehend or contend with.

Differences Between Fiat Money and Cryptocurrencies

While both fiat money and cryptocurrencies can be used as a means of payment, there are some differences.


Governments issue fiat currencies, which are in return regulated by the central bank. Fiat money is deemed legal tender in that it is often the official means of finalizing transactions. Governments control fiat money supply and issue policies from time to time that affects their value.

Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, are merely digital assets that act as a medium of exchange that governments have no control over. The decentralization aspect means no central body can control or influence their value.

Some countries have banned cryptocurrencies on concerns that some of them are being used to fuel illegal activities such as terrorism and money laundering.


It is not possible to have a physical feel of cryptocurrencies as they operate online as virtual coins. Fiat currencies, on the other hand, have a physical aspect as they can exist as coins and notes thus possible to have a physical feel. Fiat money physical aspect at times does present a lot of challenges as it can be a nuisance to move around with vast chunks of money.

Exchange Aspect

Cryptocurrencies exist in digital form as they are created by computers and operate as private pieces of code. The means of exchange is thus purely digital. In contrast, fiat money can exist in both digital and physical form. Electronic payment services allow people to transfer fiat money digitally. In addition, people can transact with one another and exchange money physically.


A major difference between fiat money and cryptocurrency has to do with supply. Fiat money has an unlimited supply which means central authorities have no cap to the extent in which they can produce money.

Most cryptocurrencies have a cap when it comes to supply, which means there is a set amount of coins that will ever be in supply.  For example, the total number of Bitcoin coins that will ever be in supply is capped at 21 million.

With fiat money, it is impossible to tell the amount of money in circulation at any given time, but with cryptocurrencies, it is possible.


Cryptocurrencies virtual aspect means they can only exist online thereby stored in digital wallets commonly referred to as cryptocurrency wallets. While most digital wallets claim to offer secure storage, some of them have been hacked resulting in people losing a substantial amount of holdings.

The versatility of fiat money, on the other hand, means it can be stored in various forms. For instance, there are payment providers such as PayPal that allow people to store fiat money in digital form. Banks also do act as custodians of hard currencies.

Bottom Line

Cryptocurrencies and fiat money come with attributes that make them stand out as a means of legal tender regardless of jurisdiction. However, they also come with cons that have seen them continue to divide opinion around the world.

While there are many advantages of cryptocurrencies over fiat money, it seems that cryptocurrencies are not yet mature to replace the current standard payment method. It is a matter of time and not necessarily will be in the form of Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other cryptocurrency. The crypto market will most likely evolve to create a positive product that might change the current money system.

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The most popular Cryptocurrency Terms

From the intricacies of Altcoin and Fiat Money to understanding Hashing and Mining, here is a guide to cryptocurrency terminology.

Newcomers to the world of cryptocurrency might be baffled by the trading jargon – why HODL? What is a Whale? – but don’t panic, there’s a simple definition for everything.


If you keep hearing about “altcoin”, but can’t find a trading price, that’s because it doesn’t exist. Altcoin is simply a blend word, derived from “alternative” and “coin”, and refers to any digital currency that isn’t bitcoin.


The big one, created by the mysterious “Satoshi Nakamoto”, in 2008. Even now, despite the rise of a large number of altcoins, it’s still the currency that hogs the headlines.

Bitcoin cash

In August 2017, bitcoin experienced its first “fork” (see below) and split into bitcoin and bitcoin cash – they are now two entirely separate currencies.

Block and blockchain

A block is one package of permanently recorded transaction data. After it is completed, it goes into a blockchain, which acts as a permanent database of all of the previous blocks of data.

A new block is then generated for new information to be stored on. Each block also contains a mathematical puzzle with a unique answer, and new blocks cannot be submitted to the blockchain without the answer.

This answer is what cryptocurrency “miners” (see below) are searching for.


On average, a new block is added to the blockchain through mining every 10 minutes. This block verifies any new transactions, a process known as confirmation.

Some vendors will require several confirmations from different blocks, depending on how large the transaction is.

Fiat money

Fiat currency is legal tender whose value is backed by the government that issued it, such as the US dollar or UK pound.


A fork creates alternate versions of the blockchain and then the split blockchain runs simultaneously on different parts of the network.

A “hard fork” renders prior invalid transactions valid, and vice versa; a “soft fork” renders previously valid transactions invalid, but not the inverse.


An acronym for “fear, uncertainty and doubt”. Used particularly on cryptocurrency forums as a put-down for naysayers who are “spreading FUD again”.

Hardware wallet

A physical device designed to store your cryptocurrency safely off your computer, essentially like a very sophisticated USB stick.


The process by which you mine bitcoin or similar cryptocurrency, by trying to solve the mathematical problem within it, using cryptographic hash functions.


Originally a typo on a cryptocurrency forum, when someone typed HODL instead of HOLD. Interpreted as “Hold On for Dear Life”, it’s become the battle cry of diehard cryptocurrency investors who believe that the investment will come good one day.


An acronym for Initial Coin Offering: a popular, and usually unregulated, way to raise cash for new cryptocurrency ventures.

A percentage of the new currency is sold to backers as blockchain “tokens” in return for more established cryptocurrencies.


The process of finding new bitcoins, which involves compiling recent transactions into blocks and trying to solve a computationally difficult puzzle through hashing.

Mining rig

A computer specially designed for mining cryptocurrencies.


Any computer connected to the bitcoin network is called a node. These nodes validate and relay transactions while receiving a copy of the full blockchain.

Public key / private key

A cryptographic code that allows a user to receive cryptocurrencies into an account. The public key is made available to everyone via a publicly accessible directory, and the private key remains confidential to its respective owner.

Because the key pair is mathematically related, whatever is encrypted with a public key may only be decrypted by its corresponding private key.


The smallest fraction of a bitcoin is called a “satoshi” or “sat”. It represents one hundred-millionth of a bitcoin and is named after Satoshi Nakamoto.

Software Wallet

A wallet is where you “store” your bitcoins or other cryptocurrency – or to be more accurate, where you store the private keys used to access your public bitcoin address and sign for transactions.

A combination of the recipient’s public key and your private key is what makes a bitcoin transaction possible.

A software wallet stores these on a third-party server, or you can choose to store them in a desktop wallet downloaded on to your computer. The alternative is a specialist hardware wallet (see above).


When a new cryptocurrency is created through an ICO (see above), funders are given tokens of the new currency in return for their liquid cash or liquid cryptocurrency.

These tokens supposedly become currency units if – and when – the new currency targets are met and it launches.


As the name suggests, whales are the biggest swimmers in the cryptocurrency pond. Cryptocurrency traders and speculators use this term to describe the players who hold huge amounts of bitcoin.

Hence, it’s no surprise that Satoshi Nakamoto is the biggest whale of all. These whales have the ability to impact markets significantly when they buy or sell, so other traders watch for signs of their movements.

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What is Ehereum?

In order to fully understand Ethereum, what it does and how it can potentially impact our society, it is important to learn what its core properties are and how they differ from standard approaches.

First of all, Ethereum is a decentralized system, which means it is not controlled by any single governing entity. An absolute majority of online services, businesses, and enterprises are built on a centralized system of governance. This approach has been used for hundreds of years, and while history proved time and time again that it’s flawed, its implementation is still necessary when the parties don’t trust each other.

A centralized approach means single-entity control, but it also means a single point of failure, which makes apps and online-servers utilizing this system extremely vulnerable to hacker attacks and even power outages. Moreover, most social networks and other online servers require users to provide at least some degree of personal information, which is then stored on their servers. From there, it can be easily stolen by the company itself, its rogue workers or hackers.

Ethereum logo

Ethereum, being a decentralized system, is fully autonomous and is not controlled by anyone at all. It has no central point of failure, as it is being run from thousands of volunteers’ computers around the globe, which means it can never go offline. Moreover, users’ personal information stays on their own computers, while content, such as apps, videos, etc., stays in full control of its creators without having to obey by the rules imposed by hosting services such as App Store and YouTube.

Secondly, it is important to understand that even though constantly compared to each other, Ethereum and Bitcoin are two completely different projects with entirely different goals. Bitcoin is the first ever cryptocurrency and a money-transfer system, built on and supported by a distributed public ledger technology called the Blockchain.

Ethereum took the technology behind Bitcoin and substantially expanded its capabilities. It is a whole network, with its own Internet browser, coding language and payment system. Most importantly, it enables users to create decentralized applications on Ethereum’s Blockchain.

Those applications can either be entirely new ideas or decentralized reworks of already existing concepts. This essentially cuts out the middleman and all the expenses associated with the involvement of a third party. For example, the only profit that comes from users ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ their favorite musician’s posts on Facebook is generated from an advertisement placed on their page and it goes directly to Facebook. In an Ethereum version of such social network, both the artists and the audience would receive awards for positive communication and support. Similarly, In a decentralized version of Kickstarter, you won’t be getting just some artifact for your contribution to the company, you will be receiving a part of the company’s future profits. Finally, Ethereum-based applications will remove all sorts of payments to third parties for fascinating any kind of services.

In short, Ethereum is a public, open-source, Blockchain-based distributed software platform that allows developers to build and deploy decentralized applications.

As it was mentioned before, Ethereum is a decentralized system, which means it utilizes a peer-to-peer approach. Every single interaction happens between and is supported only by the users taking part in it, with no controlling authority being involved.

The entire Ethereum system is supported by a global system of so-called ‘nodes.’ Nodes are volunteers who download the entire Ethereum’s Blockchain to their desktops and fully enforce all the consensus rules of the system, keeping the network honest and receiving rewards in return.

Those consensus rules, as well as numerous other aspects of the network, are dictated by ‘smart contracts.’ Those are designed to automatically perform transactions and other specific actions within the network with parties that you don’t necessarily trust. The terms for both parties to fulfill are pre-programmed into the contract. The completion of these terms then triggers a transaction or any other specific action. Many people believe that smart contracts are the future and will eventually replace all other contractual agreements, as the implementation of smart contracts provides security that is superior to traditional contract law, reduce transaction costs associated with contracting and establish trust between two parties.

Moreover, the system also provides its users with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which essentially serves as a runtime environment for smart contracts based on Ethereum. It provides users with security to execute an untrusted code while ensuring that the programs don’t interfere with each other. EVM is completely isolated from the main Ethereum network, which makes it a perfect sandbox-tool for testing and improving smart contracts.

The platform also provides a cryptocurrency token called ‘Ether.’

Who created Ethereum

In late 2013, Vitalik Buterin described his idea in a white paper, which he sent out to a few of his friends, who in turn sent it out further. As a result, about 30 people reached out to Vitalik to discuss the concept. He was waiting for critical reviews and people pointing out critical mistakes in the concept, but it never happened.

The project was publicly announced in January 2014, with the core team consisting of Vitalik Buterin, Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Iorio, Charles Hoskinson, Joe Lubin and Gavin Wood. Buterin also presented Ethereum on stage at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, and just a few months later the team decided to hold a crowdsale of Ether, the native token of the network, to fund the development.

Is it a cryptocurrency?

By definition, Ethereum is a software platform that aims to act as a decentralized Internet as well as a decentralized app store. A system like this needs a currency to pay for the computational resources required to run an application or a program. This is where ‘Ether’ comes into play.

Ether is a digital bearer asset and it doesn’t require a third party to process the payment. However, it doesn’t only operate as a digital currency, it also acts as ‘fuel’ for the decentralized apps within the network. If a user wants to change something in one of the apps within Ethereum, they need to pay a transaction fee so that the network can process the change.

The transaction fees are automatically calculated based on how much ‘gas’ an action requires. The amount of required fuel is calculated based on how much computing power is necessary and how long it will take to run.

Is Ethereum like Bitcoin?

Ethereum and Bitcoin might be somehow similar when it comes to the cryptocurrency aspect, but the reality is that they are two completely different projects with completely different goals. While Bitcoin has established itself as a relatively stable and the most successful cryptocurrency to date, Ethereum is a multipurpose platform with its digital currency Ether being just a component of its smart contract applications.

Even when comparing the cryptocurrency aspect, the two projects appear to be vastly different. For instance, Bitcoin has a hard cap of 21 mln Bitcoins that can ever be created, while a potential supply of Ether can be practically endless. Moreover, Bitcoin’s average block mining time is 10 minutes, whereas Ethereum’s aims to be no more than 12 seconds, which means quicker confirmations.

Another major difference is that these days successful Bitcoin mining requires tremendous amounts of computing power and electricity and is only possible if using industrial-scale mining farms. On the other hand, Ethereum’s proof-of-work algorithm encourages decentralized mining by individuals.

Perhaps the most important difference between the two projects is that Ethereum’s internal code is Turing complete, which means that literally everything can be calculated as long as there is enough computing power and time to do so. Bitcoin doesn’t have this capability. While a Touring complete code provides Ethereum users with practically limitless possibilities, its complexity also means potential security complications.

How Ethereum works

As it was mentioned before, Ethereum is based on Bitcoin’s protocol and its Blockchain design but is tweaked so that applications beyond money systems can be supported. The two Blockchains’ only similarity is that they store entire transaction histories of their respective networks, but Ethereum’s Blockchain does a lot more than that. Besides the history of transactions, every node on Ethereum network also needs to download the most recent state, or the current information, of each smart contract within the network, every user’s balance and all the smart contract code and where it’s stored.

Essentially, the Ethereum Blockchain can be described as a transaction-based state machine. When it comes to computer science, a state machine is defined as something capable of reading a series of inputs and transitioning to a new state based on those inputs. When transactions are executed, the machine transitions into another state.

Every state of Ethereum consists of millions of transactions. Those transactions are grouped to form ‘blocks,’ with each and every block being chained together with its previous blocks. But before the transaction can be added to the ledger, it needs to be validated, that goes through a process called mining.

Mining is a process when a group of nodes apply their computing power to completing a ‘proof of work’ challenge, which is essentially a mathematical puzzle. The more powerful their computer is, the quicker it can solve the puzzle. An answer to this puzzle is in itself a proof of work, and it guarantees the validity of a block.

A lot of miners around the world are competing with each other in an attempt to create and validate a block, as every time a miner proves a block new Ether tokens are generated and awarded to said miner. Miners are a backbone of the Ethereum network, as they not only confirm and validate transactions and any other operations within the network but also generate new tokens of the network’s currency.

What can Ethereum be used for?

First and foremost, Ethereum allows developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. Moreover, any centralized services can be decentralized using the Ethereum platform. The potential of Ethereum platform for building apps not limited by anything other than the creators’ creativity.

Decentralized applications have a potential of changing the relationship between companies and their audiences completely. These days there are a lot of services that charge commission fees for simply providing an escrow service and a platform for users to trade goods and services. On the other hand, Ethereum’s Blockchain’s can enable customers to trace the origins of product they’re buying, while the implementation of smart contracts can ensure safe and fast trading for both parties without any intermediary.

The Blockchain technology itself has a potential of revolutionizing web-based services as well as industries with long-established contractual practices. For example, an insurance industry in the US possesses more than $7 bln inclined life insurance money, which can be redistributed fairly and transparently using Blockchain. Moreover, with the implementation of smart contracts, clients can be able to simply submit their insurance claim online and receive an instant automatic payout, considering that their claim met all the required criteria.

Essentially, the Ethereum Blockchain is capable of bringing its core principles – trust, transparency, security and efficiency – into any service, business or an industry.

Ethereum can also be used to create Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO), which operate completely transparently and independently of any intervention, with no single leader. DAOs are run by programming code and a collection of smart contracts written on the Blockchain. It is designed to eliminate the need for a person or a group of people in complete and centralized control of an organization.

DAOs are owned by people who purchased tokens. However, the amount of purchased tokens doesn’t equate equity shares and ownership. Instead, tokens are contributions that provide people with voting rights.

Advantages of Ethereum

Ethereum platform benefits from all the properties of the Blockchain technology that it runs on. It is completely immune to any third party interventions, which means that all the decentralized apps and DAOs deployed within the network can’t be controlled by anyone at all.

Any Blockchain network is formed around a principle of consensus, meaning that all the nodes within the system need to agree on every change made within it. This eliminates possibilities of fraud, corruption and makes the network tamper-proof.

The whole platform is decentralized, which means there is no possible single point of failure. Hence, all the apps will always stay online and never switch off. Moreover, the decentralized nature and cryptographic security make the Ethereum network well protected against possible hacking attacks and fraudulent activities.

Disadvantages of Ethereum

Despite the fact that smart contracts are meant to make the network fault-proof, they can only be as good as the people writing the code for them. There is always room for human error, and any mistake in the code might get exploited. If that happens, there is no direct way to stop a hacker attack or an exploitation of said mistake. The only possible way of doing so would be to reach a consensus and rewrite an underlying code. However, this goes completely against the very essence of the Blockchain, as it is supposed to be an unchangeable and immutable ledger.

‘The DAO,’ which is a name of a particular DAO launched on April 30, 2016, was attacked and more than 3.6 mln Ether tokens were stolen from it. The attacker exploited a ‘recursive call bug’ in the code, essentially just draining the funds from DAO into a ‘child DAO,’ that had the same structure as The DAO. The loss of a massive chunk of The DAO’s funding wasn’t the only consequence of the attack, as it basically undermined the users’ trust in the whole Ethereum network, with Ether’s value falling from over $20 to under $13.

What apps were developed on Ethereum?

Ethereum has a potential of opening up the world of decentralized apps even for people without any technical background. If this happens, it can become a revolutionary leap for Blockchain technology that will bring it closer to mass-adoption. Currently, the network can be easily accessed through its native Mist browser, which provides a user-friendly interface as well as a digital wallet for storing and trading Ether. Most importantly, users can write, manage and deploy smart contracts. Alternatively, Ethereum network can be accessed through a MetaMask extension for Google Chrome and Firefox.

The Ethereum platform has the potential of profoundly disrupting hundreds of industries that currently depend on centralized control, such as insurance, finance, real estate and so on. Currently, the platform is being used to create decentralized apps for a broad range of services and industries. Below is a list of some of the most noticeable ones.

  • Gnosis — A decentralized prediction market that enables users to vote on anything from the weather to election results.
  • EtherTweet — This application takes its functionality from Twitter, providing users with a completely uncensored communication platform.
  • Etheria — It feels and looks very much like Minecraft, but exists entirely on the Ethereum Blockchain.
  • Weifund — An open platform for crowdfunding campaigns that implements smart contracts.
  • Uport — Provides users with a self-sovereign ID that enables them to collect verifications, log-in without passwords, digitally sign transactions and interact with Ethereum apps.
  • Provenance — The project aims to create an open and accessible framework of information for consumers to make informed decisions on their purchases. This is done through tracing the origins and histories of products.
  • Augur — An open-source prediction and forecast market that rewards correct predictions.
  • Alice — A platform that aims to bring transparency to social funding and charity through Blockchain technology.
  • Bitnation — The World’s First Virtual Nation, a Blockchain jurisdiction. It contains many of the same functions as a traditional nation, such as insurance, education, ID cards, diplomacy programmes, including ones for ambassadors and for refugees and many many more.
  • Ethlance — A freelance platform to exchange work for Ether rather than any other currencies.

How to get Ether

There are two primary ways of obtaining Ether: buying it and mining it.

The most common and perhaps the most convenient way of buying Ether is buying it on exchanges. All you need to do is find an exchange that trades in Ether and operates within your jurisdiction, set up an account and use either your bank account, wire transfer or in some cases even your bank card to buy Ether tokens. Those will then need to be stored in a wallet, which can be provided by an exchange itself, Ethereum’s native Mist browser or by various other specialized services.

Alternatively, you can obtain Ether through peer-to-peer trading, paying for it with any agreed upon currency, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This can be done both online and in-person. Peer-to-peer trading is rather popular among Bitcoin users. However, due to the virtually unlimited supply of Ether tokens and the Ethereum platform not putting complete user anonymity at the forefront of the system, Ether is usually obtained via exchanges.

Another way of getting Ether tokens is by mining them. Mining Ethereum uses proof-of-work, which means that miners contribute their computing power to solve a complex mathematical problem in order to ‘seal-off’ and confirm a block of actions within the network. Miners who manage to successfully complete this task receive a reward for every block mined.

Future of Ethereum

Despite the fact that Ethereum, much like Bitcoin, has been around for several years, it only just started gaining mainstream media’s and general public’s attention. A lot of experts agree that it is a disruptive technology that is set to not only completely change the way the Internet works but also revolutionize services and industries that have been existing for hundreds of years.

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, is being very careful and modest with his predictions. In a recent interview, he stated that he intends to keep Ethereum the leading Blockchain-related platform, focusing on technical issues and security improvement in the new future.

Overall, opinions on the future of Ethereum among cryptocurrency experts are generally positive. However, there are many old-school financial experts who, despite the extraordinary success and relative stability of both Bitcoin and Ether, as well as the undeniable importance of technologies behind the projects, are still predicting their impending downfall.

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Is Bitcoin Legal

Every single fiat currency in the world is created, released and controlled by a single entity – in most cases a central bank. By law, ordinary citizens are only allowed to buy, sell or keep the currency. If someone tries to create any amount of money, they will inevitably find themselves behind bars.

When Bitcoin was introduced, it created a completely new and unique paradigm. The world’s first digital, decentralized currency that isn’t controlled by anyone at all. Moreover, the very concept of Bitcoin implies that anyone with enough computing power can create coins by simply being an active part of the community.

As it’s becoming more and more mainstream, law enforcement agencies, tax authorities and legal regulators all over the world are trying to wrap their heads around the concept of cryptocurrency and where exactly does it fit in existing regulations and legal frameworks.

The legality of Bitcoin depends on who you are, where you are in the world, and what you’re doing with it. Here’s our guide on legal issues concerning Bitcoin, where we mostly focus on the US but cover other major countries as well.

Concerns about cryptocurrencies

In many jurisdictions, the authorities are still struggling to understand Bitcoin, let alone define it in legal terms. Many concerns have been raised over its decentralized nature. It seems only natural for governing authorities to be worried about a financial community that can’t be fully controlled.

This also extends to exchanges and protection of people’s funds. While US-based exchanges have to be regulated, there are plenty of offshore platforms that don’t. Indeed, the cryptocurrency history has been filled with instances of exchanges suddenly shutting down and running away with people’s funds.

The most famous of such cases is the closure of the notorious exchange Mt.Gox. At the beginning of 2014, formerly the most prominent Bitcoin exchange in existence filed for bankruptcy due to technological problems and the apparent theft or loss of 744,000 of its users Bitcoins. That number made up about six percent of 12.4 mln Bitcoins in circulation at the time.

Bitcoin’s ability to be used semi-anonymously is another cause for concern. Even though every single transaction is recorded in the Blockchain, it is very easy for users to stay almost completely anonymous, as those records only contain the public keys and the amount of funds transferred.

Most of these concerns were voiced after a dark web market Silk Road gained mainstream-media attention, as Bitcoins were the only form of payment accepted there. The market was since shut down by the FBI, but the authorities are still worried about Bitcoin’s appeal among the traders of illegal goods and services. Moreover, it is feared that Bitcoin’s semi-anonymity and decentralized nature can be exploited in money laundering and tax evasion schemes.

Your opportunities depend on the role

Buying goods

In 2013, Bitcoin was classified as a convertible decentralized virtual currency by the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). They have also issued a guidance, in which they stated that those who obtain units of virtual currency and use it to purchase goods are not considered money transmitters and are operating within the law.

So, buying well-natured goods and services with Bitcoins is completely legal. The cryptocurrency is accepted as a form of payment on several major and minor online marketplaces and service providers, including OverstockShopify, and OKCupid. Moreover, there are shops and restaurants all over the US where you can pay with Bitcoins.


According to the same guidance, investing in Bitcoin is also within the legal territory.  Many regulated US-based exchanges have to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer policies.  Because of that, those who wish to trade and invest in Bitcoin have to verify their ID and connect an existing bank account.

Although, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned potential investors that both fraudsters and promoters of high-risk investment schemes may target Bitcoin users.


The FinCEN guidance states that users creating units of Bitcoins and exchanging them for flat currency can be considered money transmitters and might be subject to special laws and regulations that cover that type of activity.

However, to this day the laws have rarely, if ever, been enforced to crackdown on Bitcoin miners.

Accepting payments in Bitcoins (for business)

It’s legal for businesses both big and small to accept Bitcoins payments. Assuming, of course, that it’s a well-natured business that sells goods and services for regular currency and chooses to accept Bitcoin as another legal way to pay. Any business accepting Bitcoin payments is also required to pay taxes on income received through Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has been recognized as a convertible virtual currency, which implies that accepting it as a form of payments is exactly the same as accepting cash, gold or gift cards.


According to a Virtual Currency Guidance, which was first released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2014, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are to be treated as property instead of as currency and to be taxed as such. However, it isn’t as simple as it might sound.

For instance, if you buy something worth $300 with your Bitcoins, it means that you just sold an asset. You either made a profit or a loss on that sale, depending on the Bitcoin’s value when you bought it and when you sold it. Whether it counts as an ordinary or a capital gain, short or long term depends on the circumstances.

The regulation is not entirely clear, but the IRS is trying to crack down on reporting. In the year 2015, only 802 people paid taxes on Bitcoin profits. The IRS is apparently using special software to track down Bitcoin tax cheats.

A bipartisan bill, which calls for a tax exemption for transactions under $600, was recently introduced in the House of Congress. If it passes, it will make lives of small, day-to-day traders much easier. Until then, it is recommended to keep records of all Bitcoin-related activities.

When it comes to trading Bitcoins, the records kept must contain the same information as stock or forex brokerage statements: date, description, quantity, price and fees. If you’re mining, you might need to know when the Bitcoin proceeds were attained. Businesses accepting Bitcoins as a form of payment need to record reference of sales, the amount received in BTC and the date of the transaction. If sales taxes are payable, the amount due is calculated based on the average exchange rate at the time of sale.


BitLicense is a set of regulations regarding Bitcoin transactions put forward by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for Bitcoin companies operating in New York or serving NY residents. As of September 2017, two years after the regulation came into effect, only five licenses were granted, and the companies that managed to obtain them had to spend upwards to $100,000 in order to do so. Many companies decided to opt-out of serving New York residents, with Bitfinex exchange describing the requirements set forth by NYDFS as ‘extremely invasive,’ adding that they would compromise their user base’s privacy.

The license can be obtained through a process of application, which costs $5,000. Companies looking to obtain the license will need to have a compliance officer, responsible for overseeing the firm’s compliance with the regulations. Moreover, all other federal and state laws that apply to Bitcoin have to be obeyed. This includes compliance with Money Transmitter laws, Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer policies. Such protections can get very expensive.

Regulators’ opinions

SEC — Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been notably quiet on the subject of Bitcoins, especially compared to regulatory bodies in other countries. In 2014, they published an investor alert, in which they warned people that Bitcoin users can be targeted by fraudsters.

The SEC has recently investigated a cryptocurrency initial coin offering (ICO) called ‘DAO.’ which was hacked and about $50 mln worth of Ether coins were stolen. In this investigation, SEC focused primarily on whether DAO coins constituted security. The report concluded that investing money in a token, expecting a profit which derives from the managerial efforts of other people makes a cryptocurrency security and requires appropriate regulation.

However, SEC’s report focused entirely on Initial Coin Offerings, and Bitcoin is way past that. So, any regulations SEC is likely to impose, will most likely only concern newcomers to the market. Whether Bitcoin can be treated as a security depends on the particular transaction, but SEC has decided that any firm using Blockchain technology to trade securities would need to register as an exchange, Alternative Trading System (ATS) or broker/dealer.

FinCEN — Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

According to FinCEN’s guidance on cryptocurrency, ‘virtual currency,’ as they call it, is defined as a ‘medium of exchange that operates like a currency in some environments, but does not have all the attributes of real currency.’ The guidance only addressed convertible virtual currency like Bitcoin, which can either act as a substitute for real currency or has an equivalent in existing currency.

‘Users’ of virtual currency are not considered an MSB (Money Serving Business) under FinCEN’s regulations. This means that if you obtained Bitcoins to pay for goods or services, you are not subject to MSB registration, reporting and recordkeeping regulations.

In contrast, ‘exchangers’ and ‘administrators’ are considered money transmitters, and therefore are required to comply with FinCEN’s regulations. The guidance defines ‘exchangers’ as people engaged as a business in the exchange of Bitcoins and other digital currencies, while ‘administrators’ are engaged as a business in putting virtual currency into circulation.

In July 2017, in its first action against a foreign-located MSB operating in the U.S., FinCEN imposed a £110 mln penalty on the BTC-e exchange, arresting one of its operators and seizing the site’s domain.

CFTC — Commodity Futures Trading Commission

CFTC is an independent US Federal agency that looks after financial derivatives. In 2014, a CFTC Commissioner stated that the agency definitely has authority when it comes to Bitcoin, as they believed it can be classified as a commodity.

Recently, the agency released a primer, in which they stated that virtual currencies can be considered commodities or derivatives contracts, depending on the particular facts and circumstances. This resulted in an eight percent drop in Bitcoin’s exchange rate, as investors feared tighter regulations.

CFTC seems to have taken a pro-Bitcoin stance, recently granting LedgerX the right to create a regulated Bitcoin futures market. In September 2017, CFTC filed its first-ever charges against Bitcoin fraudsters. In a move welcomed by genuine Bitcoin investors, Gelfman Blueprint was charged with fraud, misappropriation, and issuing false account statements in connection with solicited investments in Bitcoin.

IRS — Internal Revenue Service

Even though IRS released general guidance on the taxing of digital currencies, many questions still remain unanswered. The agency further complicated things with its decision to tax Bitcoin as property, which means that even paying for a cup of coffee with the cryptocurrency will incur a tax.

According to the IRS regulations, buying goods and services with Bitcoin is exactly the same as selling an asset. If you spend your Bitcoins, it means that you’ve either made a profit or a loss, depending on a BTC’s exchange rate when you bought it and when you sold it.

In order to comply with the IRS regulations, it is recommended that you keep a record of all your Bitcoin-related transactions.

As only 0.04% of customers included crypto in their 2017 tax reports, the IRS has ramped up their hunt for Bitcoin tax evaders, having even formed a dedicated taskforce. However, while the IRS is closely monitoring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions in an attempt to get more tax dollars, there have been rumours about a possible future tax amnesty for Bitcoin users. Whether it will actually happen as well as when it will happen still remains to be seen.

Federal Reserve

The US Federal Reserve is the world’s most influential banking entity, as it controls the global reserve currency – the US dollar. They are very interested in digital currencies and the technology associated with them, having published thorough papers on both Bitcoin and Blockchain. The fact that a financial giant like Federal Reserve invested man-hours into understanding the concept of Bitcoin speaks volumes about how influential the currency is becoming.

However, the organization has repeatedly issued warnings about the risks associated with digital currencies. Recently, the Federal Reserve stated that they are keeping very ‘close attention’ to Blockchain, describing it as something that ‘could ameliorate or exacerbate traditional financial risks.’ A US Fed Governor was also quoted saying that digital currencies could make it easier to hide illegal activities.

Janet Yellen, the US Federal Reserve chair, was recently quoted saying that the Fed is currently researching into introducing its own digital currency. If that happens, the U.S. will join the crypto market with their own, official and state-controlled cryptocurrency.

FINRA — Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

The self-regulatory organization for U.S. brokers has been quite active in terms of defining Bitcoin, completing guides and issuing warnings for its clients.

What is interesting, is that in its report on Distributed Ledger Technology FINRA implied that the widespread use of Blockchain technology could impact the organization’s core business practices. Specifically, the way FINRA members self-regulate in the areas of Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer policies, asset verification, business continuity, surveillance, payments, and even record-keeping.

OCC — Office of the Controller of the Currency

In its 2016 paper, the office of the US Treasury proposed a possibility of moving forward with considering applications from fintech companies to become special purpose national banks (SPNBs). This initiative is set to provide companies that wish to become limited purpose digital banks with a unified federal regulatory regime. However, as of November 2017, there are still some significant political and legal uncertainties surrounding this initiative.

Moreover, the OCC released another optimistic paper in which it called for the formation of a ‘responsible innovation’ department. They are planning to launch offices in Washington, New York and San Francisco to spur the growth of emerging technologies, including digital currencies.

CFPB — Customer Financial Protection Bureau

The Bureau has issued a consumer warning about Bitcoin. The volatile exchange rates, possible lack of assistance from exchanges in case of lost funds, and the threat of hacking and scams were cited among potential issues. Besides that, the CFPB has also acknowledged Bitcoin’s benefits.

NFA — National Futures Association

The NFA is an independent self-regulatory organization for the US futures market. Every participant in the futures market, including those trading in Bitcoin, is required to have the NFA membership.

Organizations which develop legislation

Similarly to most other governmental organizations, the US Senate and The House of Representatives haven’t been very local in regard to Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

In August 2013, the US Senate sent out letters to various law enforcement agencies, asking about potential risks and threats in relation to cryptocurrencies. Most of the agencies responded with a cautious acknowledgment of legitimate uses of Bitcoins.

Since then, the topic of cryptocurrencies was often discussed both in the Senate and The House of Representatives. In 2016, The Congressional Blockchain Caucus was formed in order to bring all congressmen up to speed on the subject of Bitcoin and Blockchain in hopes of creating future laws that will affect that particular sector.

In the Summer of 2017, US lawmakers drafted a bill that is set to protect cryptocurrencies from government interference. If the bill goes through it will provide protection to certain cryptocurrencies that comply with specific minimum requirements to prevent them from being used in illegal business practices. The bill is expected to be filed in the Fall of 2017.

Countries in which Bitcoin is banned


In 2014, El Banco Central de Bolivia outright banned any currency that wasn’t issued by or regulated by the government. The bank specifically mentioned Bitcoins as well as some other digital currencies, but the ban extends to all cryptocurrencies.

Bolivian authorities have recently cracked down on cryptocurrency use, labeling it a pyramid scheme and arresting 60 people. An accompanying statement emphasized that the action was necessary to remind the population that any kind of digital currency is prohibited.


The Ecuadorian government has banned Bitcoin and all other digital currencies, due to the establishment of a new state-run electronic money system. The project is designed to be directly tied to the local currency and is controlled by the government.


In 2014, the Vietnamese Central Bank issued a statement in which it explicitly prohibited the population to use Bitcoins within the country. This was done as a precautionary measure with the faith of digital currency set to be decided later by the Prime Minister.

According to reports, in August of 2017, the Vietnamese Prime Minister has authorized a plan that could potentially lead to the official recognition of Bitcoin and other digital currencies as a form of payment by 2018.

However, in October 2017 Vietnamese government made another complete turnaround and outright banned the use of digital currency in the country. It was also announced that starting early 2018 anyone caught using digital currencies will face a fine.

Countries in which Bitcoin is legal


Initially, Australians were potentially subject to goods-and-services tax when they either purchased or spent a cryptocurrency. Often, consumers could effectively bear this tax twice: once when they purchase the cryptocurrency and once again when they’ve used it in exchange for goods and services subject to that tax.

Just recently, in a move aimed at paving the way for more potential fintech investments into the country, the Australian government has finally provided a legislative end to the double taxation of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.


Bulgaria was the first European Union member state to officially recognize Bitcoin as a currency, instead of treating it as a gold-like commodity.


Bitcoin is currently classified as an intangible asset. It is expected to be regulated under Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing laws. This provision is yet to become active, but when it is, ‘dealers in digital currency’ will be regulated as Money Services Businesses.


In 2013, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) banned all financial institutions from handling Bitcoin-related transactions, prohibiting pricing in, buying, and selling of Bitcoins. Trading Bitcoins by individuals is still legal in China.

The Chinese government has been cracking down on cryptocurrencies use in their country, urging multiple exchanges to stop withdrawals, without providing any lawful paperwork. In September 2017, all Chinese virtual currency exchanges were urged to stop trading by the end of the month in order to remain compliant with the regulations.

Additionally, Chinese regulators introduced bans on cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs. However, while those bans were undoubtedly harsh and unprecedented, they weren’t able to completely stamp Bitcoin out of China. In their latest attempt to do so, Chinese regulators will begin adding both onshore and offshore platforms related to virtual currencies and ICOs to the Great Firewall.


The Estonian Ministry of Finance has ruled that there are no legal obstacles to use Bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Traders must identify the buyer when establishing a business relationship or if the buyer acquires more than €1,000 worth of the currency a month.


The Finnish Tax Administration decided to treat Bitcoin transactions as private contracts equivalent to contracts for difference for tax purposes. If you’re buying goods with Bitcoins or converting BTCs into flat currency, any increase in price will be taxable, while losses are not tax-deductible. Mined Bitcoins are considered earned income.

Finnish Central Board of Taxes has gone against the conventional EU approach and classified all services around Bitcoin and other similar digital currencies as financial services, making them VAT exempt.


In 2014, the French Ministry of the Economy and Finances has outlined regulations to be put in place for financial institutions and users of digital currencies. The regulations required Bitcoin distributors to limit the level of anonymity by identifying and verifying their users. The treatment of digital currencies is required to be clarified for tax purposes as well, with currencies becoming subject to capital tax gains. A threshold of €5,000 was proposed on the margin tax to allow the population to try, invest and develop business with Bitcoin before paying tax.


In Germany, Bitcoin is recognized as private money. This decision enables users of Bitcoin to continue using it without any interference from the government and gives the authorities an opportunity to tax the profits of companies using the digital currency.


According to a 2014 statement from the Central Bank of Iceland, transactions with Bitcoins and other digital currencies are subject to restrictions.

In 2017, the Central Bank introduced a new set of rules, according to which wide and general exemptions were granted from the previously imposed restrictions.


As of 2017, the Israel Tax Authorities view Bitcoin as a taxable asset, instead of currency or financial security. According to this policy, every time a Bitcoin is sold, the seller has to pay a capital gains tax of 25 percent. Miners and traders are treated as businesses, which makes them subject to corporate income tax and a 17 percent VAT.

Just recently, it was reported that Israel is to begin taxing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as property. This means that it will be taxed by the capital gains tax, which in Israel stands at 25% for private investors, while a marginal rate for businesses stands at 47%. As cryptocurrencies are considered an “intangible asset”, private investors won’t have to pay VAT, while the businesses will still be subject to VAT.


Japan is one of the very few countries where Bitcoin is recognized as a legal form of payment. In 2017, the tax on Bitcoin trading was eliminated and Japanese financial authorities started issuing cryptocurrency exchange licenses.


According to the Central Bank of Jordan’s current policy, banks, exchanges, financial companies and payment service companies are prohibited from dealing in Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Both the Central Bank and the government of Jordan issued warnings discouraging people from using Bitcoins, but small businesses and merchants still accept them.


Mexican parliament is currently considering a legislation aimed at regulating the country’s rapidly-growing financial technology sector, which includes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The legislation proposes a clear set of rules for fintech companies, aimed at reducing costs and driving competition in the sector. It is also set to ensure financial stability and prevent money laundering and financing of extremists.


According to the Slovenian Ministry of Finance, Bitcoin can neither be considered a currency, not an asset. Bitcoin transactions are not subject to capital gains tax, but Bitcoin mining and businesses selling goods and services for the digital currency are taxed.


When it comes to acceptance of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, the Swedish jurisdiction is one of the most favorable in the world. The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has publicly proclaimed digital currencies like Bitcoin a legitimate way of payment. Moreover, the Swedish tax authority has even decided to tax Bitcoin mining depending on how successful it is.

Certain businesses, which are mainly exchanges, are required to file an application for a license and comply with all the regulations applicable to more traditional financial service providers, such as Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer policies.

Countries in which Bitcoin is not regulated


Even though the Minister of Finance indicated that there is no immediate need for the government to intervene in the Bitcoin system, there have been talks about a new legislation which is set to strengthen government control over Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


Back in 2014, The Central Bank of Brazil issued a statement concerning cryptocurrencies, in which it stated that Bitcoin and other digital currencies are not to be regulated. A few years later, the President of the Central Bank went on to describe Bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.

China: Hong Kong

The Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) deemed Bitcoins a virtual commodity, stating that the HKMA will not regulate the cryptocurrency.

The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of Hong Kong has said that the existing laws don’t directly regulate Bitcoins and other similar digital currencies, but provide sanctions for unlawful acts involving those currencies, such as fraud and money laundering.


In 2014, Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia stated that the use of Bitcoin is not regulated. Just recently, the same governing body released another statement, in which it said that the Colombian government still doesn’t authorize or legalize Bitcoin for financial transactions. However, as of today, the country has no plans to make it illegal.


The use of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies is not regulated in Cyprus.


Denmark’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) declared that Bitcoin is not a currency and stated that it does not fall under its regulatory authority.


There are no specific regulations regarding Bitcoin and other digital currencies in place in Greece.


According to a statement made by the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, IRB neither regulates nor supports Bitcoins. Although Bitcoin is not banned in India, it is forecasted that it will not become fully legal without a suitable organization to monitor all cryptocurrency-related activities.

In the end of 2017, India’s Ministry of Finance compared Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to ponzi schemes and warned investors of the potential dangers.


As of today, Indonesian authorities haven’t outlined and detailed policies of regulating or banning the use of Bitcoin.

However, the Bank of Indonesia has recently issued a statement warning potential investors against of selling, buying and trading cryptocurrency. The statement went on to state that any virtual currency is not legitimate within the country.


The Bank of Lebanon was the first in the region to issue a warning about Bitcoin in 2013. Since then, there has been little to no action from the country’s officials regarding digital currencies. The only notable exception being the Lebanese Central Bank’s Governor criticizing Bitcoin and other digital currencies. He labeled them unregulated commodities, stating that they should be prohibited.


The Central Bank of Lithuania has issued a statement, warning the population of the potential risks involving operations with digital currencies. The main sentiment was that Bitcoins are not regulated by the Lithuanian or European authorities. The statement also mentioned the possibility of regulations, but no action is likely to take place.


In 2014, Malaysia’s Central Bank announced that it doesn’t consider Bitcoin a legal tender and it has no intentions to regulate it.

However, Bank Negara is currently shaping its new stance on cryptocurrencies. Despite an overall positive attitude toward Bitcoin, there are rumors that the Malaysian government might still ban cryptocurrency. The decision is set to be made by the end of 2017.

New Zealand

According to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, non-banks don’t need their approval for operations that involve storage and transfer of Bitcoins and other digital currencies as long as they don’t involve the issuance of physical money.


In 2016, Bitcoins were deemed ‘not illegal’ by the Federal Tax Service of Russia.

However, since then Russian Central Bank stated that it is ‘categorically’ against the regulation of digital currencies as real money, as a means of payment for goods and services and against equating them with foreign currency.

Later, President Putin condemned Bitcoin and called for a ban of all digital currencies and the Deputy Finance Minister told reporters that cryptocurrencies are very likely to be outlawed. [replace the rest] However, Russian regulators have completely changed their minds since, with reports emerging that Bitcoin will be legal, while mining will be regulated. Since then, the Russian Ministry of Finance was cited saying it will legalize cryptocurrency trading on “official” exchanges.


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has previously issued statements of no interference policy and a warning to potential users of Bitcoins and other digital currencies. In a recent interview, a MAS official stated that the Central Bank still has no plans of regulating the cryptocurrencies, but it will keep an open mind. He also established the necessity of introducing Anti-Money Laundering control in the near future.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore has issued a series of tax guidelines regarding the use of Bitcoin, according to which BTC transactions might be treated as a barter exchange and taxed accordingly. Businesses dealing with Bitcoin exchanges will be taxed based on their BTC sales.  


Initially, Bank of Thailand discouraged the population from using Bitcoins, warning potential investors of the risks involved. But it has since softened its stance, ordering a study on the cryptocurrency.

According to a ministerial regulation, Thai Bitcoin exchanges are required to have a Thailand Business Development Department e-commerce license and only facilitate exchanges of digital currencies for Thai Baht. There are also Know Your Customer and Customer Due Diligence policies in place.

The Netherlands

Digital currencies such as Bitcoin don’t currently fall within the scope of the Act of Financial Supervision of the Netherlands.  


The National Bank of Ukraine has recently published a statement, in which it clarified that the Ukrainian hryvnia is the only one currency that can be legally used in the country. The Bank also stated that the status of Bitcoin in Ukraine is further complicated by the lack of a unified classification of the currency in the world and it does not publicly support any of the definitions made in other jurisdictions.

United Kingdom

The UK government has stated that Bitcoin is currently unregulated and is traded as ‘private money’ for most purposes, including VAT. This means that no VAT is imposed when Bitcoin is exchanged for sterling and other currencies. However, suppliers of any goods and services sold for Bitcoin and other digital currencies need to pay VAT. Profits and losses on digital currencies are subject to capital gains tax.

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