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  1. Cryptocurrency is causing the biggest shake-up to our financial system in history. In our ultimate guide to crypto currencies, you'll learn everything there is to know to get started on your journey. This guide will help you whether you're a laborer trading in your spare time or a software engineer hoping to change the world. So here's every question you wanted to ask about crypto, in its simplest form. Keep reading! Part 1: Defining Cryptocurrency In this first section, we'll break down the basics of describing cryptocurrency so you can apply that knowledge when learning about how to get started and get involved. What Is Cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency. It isn't the same as digital money you would associate with your online banking, which uses traditional fiat money (e.g., the dollar) as its underlying currency. We can break down the term cryptocurrency to understand how it differs from the money we know otherwise. Crypto refers to the digital technology used to make it (cryptography), and currency refers to it being a money system. To explain in greater detail, we'll be using examples of situations you'll be familiar with in everyday life. No doubt you've read many confusing articles already, so we'll try to keep it simple! What Exactly Is Cryptography? Cryptography is turning something with meaning into an unintelligible code. It is best known for its computing role, but it dates back to ancient Egypt and hieroglyphics. Another example in more recent history is the Morse Code, where clicks represent letters of the alphabet. How Does Cryptography Apply to Cryptocurrency? Building a currency using cryptography, especially when computers are involved, is an efficient way to validate it as legitimate. Following a stringent set of rules and properties is the most secure way of confirming a unit as genuine. You'll read many articles about how Bitcoin is nicknamed "digital gold." And there's an excellent reason for that. Gold has specific properties and is considered a valuable commodity. Many conmen try to pass Fools Gold off as legitimate. Specialists understand the differences between the two and can validate its authenticity. With cryptocurrency, the specialist is the computer. The properties of the currency exist within the code, so all properties must apply for it to be considered genuine. But even a computer can be outfooled by a human who spots a loophole. What Makes Crypto Foolproof? Cryptocurrencies have different ways of achieving this. But the most popular one is what's called Distributed Ledger Technology, or DLT for short. DLT is a technology that consists of a copy of transactions (ledger) distributed to many sources. DLT creates multiple matching copies, cross-referenced for anomalies. Even though DLT is a brilliant way of making sure nothing goes wrong, it isn't strictly foolproof. There are massive amounts of work in progress to solve the problems faced in its current forms. One of the very reasons Bitcoin originated was to create a decentralized network to allow freedom to transact. The idea is to get away from the centralized banks that caused the economy to collapse in 2007. How Does Decentralized Crypto Work? Decentralized crypto works by spreading the ledger out as widely as possible to as many computers, otherwise known as nodes, as possible. The more copies of the ledger, the more accurate the information is. As a result, any modifications have to be approved by the majority of copies. There's a term you will hear in the community called a 51% spend attack. Suppose the majority of ledgers contain the harmful code caused by the hacker. In that case, their majority vote overrides the legitimate code. This is why DLT must be spread as widely as possible to minimize this risk. It's also a leading cause of innovation in the space, which we'll discuss in more detail later. How Does Centralized Crypto Work? It's very similar to a bank. One majority monitors it, and you are putting your trust in someone to ensure it remains authentic. Let's go back to the gold scenario and dig deeper. One day, the accountant who looks after all the mine owners' transactions can't afford to pay his bills. So instead of $1000, he writes $100 and pockets the other $900 for himself. It takes years for anyone to realize that money is gone. On the flip side, another mine has a different set of transactions, mining coal. This accountant is a well-respected member of the community and prides himself on transparency. He has nothing to hide. His books are fine. So you can see here, with a centralized system, it all depends on who is looking after your assets. If you are the kind of person that will lose or spend banknotes, chances are you'll put them in a bank to keep them safe (pun intended). What if One Person Owns 10,000 Copies? Well, that is a real thing. And it's the source of much controversy in both cryptocurrencies and the real world. It's more reliable than having one copy but still requires trust on your part that the company holding your assets will look after them. You could have ten accountants working for the same mine in the gold mine scenario, each with a ledger copy. But if the fraudulent accountant says, "I'll give you each $50 to keep quiet", everyone changes their versions of the same book to match and read $100. It's the main argument why many believe a centralized system is broken and corrupt, even if all the foolproof technology exists. Bitcoin 21 million? bitcoin blockchain has a stipulation—set forth in its source code - meaning that it have a limited and finite supply of 21 million bitcoins. What is Bitcoin Cash? Bitcoin cash cryptocurrency was created in 2017, from a fork of Bitcoin. 1 Bitcoin Cash enable more transactions and payments to be processed. In 2018 yet another fork initiated and split into Bitcoin Cash ABC & Bitcoin Cash SV. So Is Centralized as Bad as It Sounds? Well, no. There are plenty of circumstances when a centralized network is vital. Otherwise, the asset's existence is rendered useless. There are many utilities when a company or government may want to operate a ledger for their purposes and not for public resale. Legal documents are a great example of this. A centralized database with many copies of the ledger will ensure that nobody can tamper with land ownership. As another example, sensitive files could be encrypted yet ingrained in the blockchain to avoid any editing or malpractice. Whether any of this happens, in reality, is relatively unknown. But the possibilities are there should anyone need the technology for their personal use. Is This How Cryptocurrency Was Born? Yes! A little history lesson will explain everything you need to understand why cryptocurrencies exist. We could jump in with the trading information, but you'll end up trading the wrong coins. Learning the history of crypto will ignite a fire inside you, and you'll soon begin to understand how crypto can change the future. Part 2: History of Cryptocurrency Throughout the last hundred years, generations have lost trust in the banks. They have sought alternative means of making sure their wealth is kept safe, beyond the traditional banking system. 20th Century Rebellion Those who lived through the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression of 1929 kept all their cash hidden in their house. This generation hugely distrusted the banking system, who they felt was gambling with their wealth. Many bought gold jewelry and other assets to make sure they were protected. Their children, the Boomers and Generation X, grew their wealth from nothing. They were the generation that gamified the bank balance. So they did everything in their means to protect their wealth by buying up houses and renting them out to those less fortunate. They were the generation that recycled their investments and built empires. 21st Century Rebellion And then there are the Millenials. Just like their grandparents of the 1920s, they ended up bitter and miserable with good reason. They're bitter at the banks for preying on the vulnerable, pushing house prices beyond affordability, and leaving renting as the only option. Graduates lucky enough to fund their education only went back to university because there were no jobs available. And to top it all off, those born in the mid-80s graduated in the years of the Great Recession. This was quite possibly the worst time to try and find a steady job. As a result, we end up at Bitcoin's birth in January 2009 as a decentralized peer-to-peer form of cash, with no middle-man. It promised to shake up the financial world for the better—the digital anti-bank. So Who Invented Bitcoin? It's the world's biggest mystery. Nobody knows. Created by an unknown source called Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, Bitcoin was a rebellion against the banks. Many theories surround Nakamoto's identity. And no matter how many conspiracy theories or studies you read, you won't get a straight answer. The lack of conclusive evidence leads many to believe that Nakamoto's most likely answer represents a group of several like-minded individuals prominent in the cypherpunk space of the 1990s. These visionaries, including Nick Szabo, Hal Finney, and David Chaum, dabbled with digital currency in the 20th century. And despite Craig Wright's controversial claims, nobody has been confirmed as Satoshi Nakamoto to date. Why Do Other Virtual Currencies Exist? There are several reasons. The main one which underlines all other reasons is that it doesn't do everything well. The Bitcoin we know today is very different from the one developed a decade ago. There has been a universal shift away from cryptocurrency to the term "crypto assets" in more recent years. Cryptocurrency is now a type of crypto asset, along with security tokens and utility tokens. Cryptocurrency still defines an asset used for transacting money. Even Bitcoin itself is debatable whether it is a currency any more. Its comparisons to gold are so familiar that many see it in the same light, as a store of value, not a transactional currency. Here are some different use cases and concerns that have given birth to alternative technologies. 1. Tokenized Assets Ethereum is the second-biggest cryptocurrency to date and with good reason. It's an approach to the blockchain that is different in that it focuses on smart contracts. Like the age-old saying "written in stone," a smart contract allows writing conditions into the code. It ensures that an event will only occur if these criteria match. Compare this to Bitcoin. You can send Bitcoin to another person, but if you send it directly to their wallet, how can you guarantee they will return it? With Ethereum, conditional transactions allow you to lend and borrow without a middle-man involved. An exchange such as Binance offers centralized lending. The Ethereum network allows for decentralized finance or DeFi for short. 2. Privacy Concerns One of the biggest urban myths around Bitcoin is that it is anonymous. And that isn't true. It is straightforward for someone competent enough, or a computer, to analyze usage patterns to determine the source of illicit funds, for example. To many, this is a great advantage. Still, even to innocent individuals who require privacy, this can be a considerable disadvantage. For this reason, many innovators of cryptocurrency believe in adding levels of privacy to the ledger, and they do this in different ways. Monero, probably the most well-known privacy coin, uses ring signatures. This links a group of addresses to one transaction, with no clear idea who transacted. Other coins, such as Dash, use a technique called mixing. Think of this as putting your cash in a bucket of 500 coins, and the recipient pulls a random coin out. The chances of it being the same coin are very slim. Mixing can be taken further and used to exchange currencies anonymously. 3. Security Risks As we discussed earlier in the article, not all cryptocurrencies are foolproof. Many scientists believe that even the most secure cryptography won't be so secure once quantum computing arrives. One currency paving the way for this is QRL or Quantum Resistant Ledger. The technology here goes way beyond the beginner level. It's entirely plausible that their technologies will be implemented later by Bitcoin and other currencies. Still, for now, they are leading the way in protecting the future of cryptocurrency. 4. Non-Blockchain Technology These are a rare type of crypto asset, but the big one that is mastering alternatives to a blockchain is IOTA. IOTA works on a distributed ledger concept. But instead of a blockchain, it is a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). It's known affectionately as the Tangle. Its name derives from its appearance. For every transaction, two other users must approve it as valid. In turn, two users must authorize their transactions. This webbed network of transactions means that, just like a spider's web, the more the spider weaves the web, the stronger it becomes. All units of IOTA existed from day one. There isn't any mining, and the network is entirely free. Free transactions make it excellent for the future smart home, where microtransactions will occur. And they don't necessarily have to be financial either. It can be a car pulling up to a traffic light to tell the traffic light to change. You can also get paid to walk per meter in real-time via an app on your phone. Many technologies have the ability to microtransaction to some degree now, but the cost of transacting halts significant progress. Feeless transactions are something IOTA looks to remove from the equation. Another area this would greatly benefit is banking transactions. IOTA is such a pioneering technology that it has to be controlled by a centralized technology called a coordinator to avoid the network collapsing. The day the coordinator is removed, and the system becomes decentralized, its use cases become endless. Many believe it will pioneer a new wave of crypto technology. What About Stablecoins? Stablecoins are a category of cryptocurrency all of their own. In all their guises, they are designed to mirror a FIAT currency. The most well known of these is Tether (USDT) and DAI. Both coins mirror the US Dollar, making it easier to buy and sell assets without converting into FIAT money. Most investors will only trade back into FIAT money when they need to spend it elsewhere. Understanding the different types of coins is vital to do your research and understand which is the right choice for you to invest. Part 3: Where to Find Crypto Currencies Stop right there. There's something else we need to cover. You may know which coins you like, but do you understand the importance of having a diverse portfolio? What Makes a Good Portfolio? There's no right or wrong answer here. If you are well-versed in trading other assets, you won't need any help with this. Simply find a dynamic that fits your current portfolio. If you are new to this, it's simple. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. Don't just buy half a Bitcoin and leave it. Bitcoin might look like it will be a long-lasting success story, but what happens if the blockchain gets hacked and it becomes worthless? You need a backup investment. We suggest doing your research on this one. An excellent way to spread risk is to start with three or four different types of coins and stick to the big ones at the start. You can find out their rankings on the ultimate crypto database CoinMarketCap. Then leave it. Do your research, follow the news. But don't keep messing around with it unless you need to. After a month or two, you can see what's working for you and what isn't. But you'll learn that's not the full story. Sample Portfolio Distribution Rebalancing a portfolio is sensible as part of a plan to which you can commit. For example, if you have $700 invested, your portfolio might look like this on day one: BTC - $200 ETH - $200 BNB - $100 IOTA - $100 BAT - $50 ZEN - $50 Let's say you find that in the first month, your IOTA doubles to $200, but your BTC has dropped to $100. Transferring $100 from IOTA to BTC means that you are rebalancing your portfolio. That way, you can buy more BTC, so when the price of BTC doubles, you will be in a better position than before. That's the basics of it. You can also cost average, which means sticking to a set amount invested each month irrelevant of whether it goes up or down in value. That way, you take an average price, and the whole experience becomes less risky. Now we've covered some different types of assets, and you have a strategy in place. You'll need some crypto! Getting hold of crypto can look like rocket science. But with today's choices, it's easier than ever to get started. You just have to decide what is the right path for you to take. There are two main ways, which can be sub-categorized further. 1. Trading and Investing Coins Investing is the go-to approach for any novice. It's simple enough to understand, and as long as you do your research and start small, you'll have no problems getting stuck. With the wealth of knowledge you have from earlier in the article, you can choose which path to take. In nearly every circumstance, you need to sign up for a reliable, trustworthy service that will accept your cash. To do this legally, you need to go through a centralized exchange. You will then have to provide your personal information regarding KYC, AML checks. Checks allow companies to trade legally and abide by laws relevant to your country or state. Sorry folks. There is one other way, but it is nowhere near as convenient or financially viable. Crypto ATMs are appearing all over the globe at a rapid rate. These allow you to deposit cash in exchange for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other coins. All you need is a personal wallet set up with an address you can use. As we said before, while it's more private to use an ATM, it is near impossible to remain truly anonymous. Plus, the commission rates are so high you will wish you signed up to use your bank account instead. What Do I Need to Start Trading? Aside from a bank account and exchange account, you'll need somewhere to store your coins. Coin storage is known rather appropriately as a wallet. A wallet is locked and comprises of keys that unlock it so you can transact. There are public keys, which is a bit like your home address so people can send you money, and the secret key, which is like your front door key. Never, ever, share your secret key. We'll explain this in detail below. There are different types of wallets, depending on your chosen coins. It's best to keep things simple at first and stick with an all-in-one solution. There are three different types of wallets: Exchange: As expected, this is keeping your coins on the exchange where you purchased them. Hot Wallet: Refers to a wallet that has access to the internet. An exchange is a hot wallet, but so is a mobile app or a web wallet. Cold Wallet: Refers to a wallet that has never seen an internet connection. A cold wallet is the safest solution. In the early days, this would have been a wallet code on a piece of paper generated on a computer that hasn't touched the internet so that no hackers can obtain its information. How Do I Keep My Crypto Safe? As more people invest in crypto every day, sadly, more people get your money. They can prey on those who make easy mistakes and leave themselves open to attack. Today, cold hardware wallets exist made by Ledger and Trezor that rely on enhanced security to make sure your hardware wallet never sees the internet. They give you a phrase to write down on a piece of paper and keep somewhere safe. Again, never share your secret key with anyone you don't trust. You can have the most secure system in the world, but if someone knows you own crypto, nothing is stopping them from trying anything to hack you. Whether you choose to keep it in a safety deposit box or memorize it, make sure there is a plan in place should you die. The last thing you want is to have a substantial sum on a wallet only for your grieving loved ones to never receive it. And remember, the moment you think it's compromised, learn how to reset your key, transfer to a new wallet, and repeat the security process. 2. Earning Coins Without Purchasing If you've got a wallet set up and a computer, you can start earning. Whether it's mining, bitcoin gambling, or other unique ways to earn money, it's a great way to get involved in the community. Did you know you can obtain coins without spending any of your precious FIAT money? When Bitcoin first started, mining Bitcoin on your computer was the only way to get hold of Bitcoin without buying it off somebody. Contrary to what some may think, you don't mine Bitcoin; you mine blocks for the chain. Nowadays, mining comes in different forms and is sub-categorized into many different areas, with some being more profitable than others. What Are the Different Types of Mining? The two main ones are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS). In proof of work, it's similar to the gold analogy, where mining companies are looking for locations to set up a mine. If one finds gold, they can keep some of the gold as a reward. They can also keep transaction fees people pay for the mine. In proof of stake, everyone works for a mining company. When one discovers gold, a winner gets picked at random. Each hour's labor counts as one ticket. The more significant percentage of the pot you stake, the higher the chances of winning, but it isn't guaranteed. So as you can see, these are two very different ways of mining blocks on the blockchain. And coins have a limited supply. Which, like gold, makes it harder to find. This process is known as Block Difficulty. It can also be affected by the number of miners and the amount of effort taken to find them when more people are trying to find a block, the difficulty increases. It has been well-documented that the global mining of Bitcoin is incredibly resource-consuming due to its difficulty level. So much so, that mining companies have set up servers on a mass scale in the Arctic Circle to keep the computers cool enough. In 2019, Bitcoin mining contributed to 0.27% of the world's energy usage, Switzerland's equivalent. It's no surprise that many are starting to favor proof of stake for the sake of the planet. How Do I Mine? For proof of work, you will need some computing hardware and software. This will run the relevant blockchain and allow you to mine blocks. With Bitcoin, for example, you would need a large multi-million dollar operation to make it worthwhile. Therefore, a great way to get started is to find an alternative, lower-cap coin (with lower market share). If it is in its early days, you should be able to mine using just a laptop or a dedicated miner. If it's proof of stake you're after, this can be done with your existing tech, and you can do this centrally through an exchange like Binance. If you want to stake in a decentralized manner, this is embedded in smart contracts. It can be done with your existing wallet by sending funds to a specific address. Get Paid by Your Employer in Crypto More employers than ever are starting to see the benefits of transacting in cryptocurrency. They can reduce costs, increase speed, and see increased staff morale as the assets' long-term value increases over time. All you need for this is a wallet to accept your funds. It's a good idea to check the regulations where you live. Reviewing the rules makes sure your income is declared correctly. The value can fluctuate rapidly, so it's essential to know how much your assets are worth at all times. Alternatively, you can, of course, earn crypto in online casinos. This is a great way to earn yourself a small fortune, but as always, only bet what you can afford to lose! Get Paid to Watch Adverts (Or No Adverts) If you've used Brave's web browser for its ad-blocking properties, you'll be familiar with its BAT token. BAT is a token run on the Ethereum network. It allows consumers of content, i.e., their browser users, to pay content creators as compensation for ad-blocking software. It works the other way too. If you allow Brave to show pop-up ads on your browser, they will pay you for the inconvenience in BAT tokens. Tokenization is excellent because you can decide what to do with your funds. You can decide whether you would instead get paid for adverts' inconvenience and use that money to support those who make a living from adverts that the browser blocks. It's an easy way to earn a little extra, whichever side you are on. You will need an Uphold account to withdraw your BAT tokens. Still, if that doesn't bother you, you can keep your tokens in the ecosystem and issue them to your favorite content makers. Does All This Mean I Need to Pay Taxes? Ah yes, everyone's favorite topic. Taxes! Of course, you should be following any laws that apply to your own country when sending, receiving, or trading in digital currency. Take time to research laws in your own country, as they can all be very different. However, if you are investing large sums, we would recommend seeking professional advice. Ideally, this should come from a lawyer or accountant to make sure there are no profound implications. There are dozens of tools available to guide you through accounting for your investments and filing your taxes. Doing so will allow you to report to your local authorities should it be required for those who are confident enough. And if you aren't confident, we recommend seeking professional advice — especially if your profits and losses are significant. How Can I Keep Track of My Finances? There are three main methods of tracking finances, and much of it depends on your current circumstances. For example, how many coins you are trading in? Do you have any stocks and shares? Are you a business? 1. Exchanges and Wallets For most people, this will be the simplest way. We recommend starting with one exchange, but move most of your coins to a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano range is a great place to start. That way, you are spreading your assets out should anything terrible happen to one. You haven't lost them all. 2. Portfolio Tracker What if you have a more complex portfolio, whether that's in crypto or involving stocks? A portfolio tracker such as Delta or Blockfolio can be a great way to keep track of all your assets in one place. Many now show your wallets and exchanges automatically. So you don't need to manually input every single transaction, which can become a nightmare. 3. Accountancy Software Accountancy software is essentially a portfolio tracker that allows for tax reports to be made. One of the biggest names, Cointracking, has a wide range of tools, which is excellent for those with small niche coins. However, this can be overwhelming for some with the massive amounts of data, despite being incredibly useful for anyone choosing to day trade. Accointing is relatively new to space, but they have the interface elements nailed. It's simple to use and easy to read, so as long as you have the more popular coins. It's much easier to navigate. Koinly and Cryptotrader are two others that work well. Many also integrate with TurboTax if you are already using that to manage your accounts for other investments. What Is an IPO? Now you understand there are tax implications to investing in virtual currency. It's worth looking at how you can get in early and finding the right coins to invest. An IPO is an abbreviation of Initial Product Offering. A cryptocurrency IPO is very similar to an IPO in any other financial institution. It is a fundraising campaign that allows the creator of a crypto asset to raise capital to enable the project to succeed. They present a whitepaper of their project to the public, along with any other relevant information. The public can then decide if they wish to invest. Investing involves transacting in a universal cryptocurrency such as ETH. This tradition usually stems from a practical choice since many companies will launch their IPO as a token on Ethereum. They typically do so either as a test run of the final product or to prove that an individual owns those tokens ready for a main-net launch. What About Other Terminologies Like ICOs and STOs? These terms are more specific variations of the IPO. In the same way, cryptocurrency is a type of crypto asset. We would exercise caution with IPOs, however. Even if you manage to avoid a scam, it's easy to pick one that will fail. Therefore it is no different from investing in any other business or asset, such as stocks. The dreams of making millions investing in an IPO are real, but they are very risky, so make sure you do your research. And remember the mantra: Never invest more than you can afford to lose. What Is the Future of Cryptocurrencies? The 2020 Covid recession is the ultimate test for cryptocurrencies to see how society values its place in modern society. We are beginning to see traditional banking establishments experiment with cryptocurrency. Even Paypal has recently got in on the act. From the bank's side, this will allow them to integrate FIAT currency into the digital landscape. It allows for a smoother transition between different currencies while reducing cost and streamlining transactional data records. It's a controversial topic, but there are valid arguments, especially in regulatory terms. Having the banks on board makes regulation stricter, which, in the crypto landscape, is generally considered a positive. History shows that the right balance between law and freedom filters out unwanted parties from engaging in illicit activity. What is a Crypto hedge fund? Crypto hedge fund platforms enable crypto investors to invest in a expert-picked mix of cryptocurrencies. The crypto hedge fund enable investors with the option to mirror the market movements of Bitcoin and other popular coins including Ripple, Ethereum, and more. For Further Reading on Cryptocurrency Finally, there are plenty of other areas of crypto currencies we haven't fully discussed. For example, case studies of what happens when things go wrong, such as the infamous Mt. Gox collapse. Or, what it means to "hold through the FUD while not FOMOing over Vitalik's t-shirts, all while getting rekt trying to go to the moon!" The language used on crypto forums is, in itself, cryptographic at the best of times. Unless you are already a professional trader, stay away from the margin, futures, and options trading. If you don't know what you're doing, you can quickly lose your entire portfolio with a simple mistake. Leave that one to the pros until you become one! Now you are well equipped to understand the complex world of cryptocurrencies. You can go forth. You are in an excellent place to succeed in whatever path you decide to choose, whether it's trading, mining, or innovating. At the time publishing this guide bitcoin prices have reached time high and there's a big increase in bitcoin transaction and bitcoin exchange financial services. No one can really predict where the bitcoin btc will stand at 2021, however currently this digital asset market cap sits at 199.63 billion. Keep reading through our articles for more tips and information about bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.
  2. Are you looking to expand your cryptocurrency portfolio? Maybe you're new to virtual coins and are looking for a new investment opportunity? Due to the number of new cryptocurrencies available, many people get overwhelmed when deciding which one to buy. If you're new to blockchain technology, then choosing cryptocurrencies to invest in can be confusing. That's why we've created this helpful guide. Keep reading to find out the top 10 crypto investments you can make in 2021. 1. Bitcoin (BTC) Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has been dominating the cryptocurrency space. Users trust Bitcoin because of its general stability and resistance to market crashes. Some experts are predicting Bitcoin to have a very strong year in 2021. Although the price of Bitcoin hit a low in March of this year, within 6 months it had already recovered. When it comes to market capitalization, Bitcoin is way ahead of the competition. And this isn't going to change any time soon. For many cryptocurrency experts, Bitcoin is the top investment choice for 2021. 2. Ethereum (ETH) Ethereum was released in 2015 and runs on its own, unique blockchain platform. Ethereum is the closest rival to Bitcoin in terms of popularity and market capitalization. In fact, Ethereum's market cap is currently sitting at $53,864,420,277. One of the reasons for Ethereum's rise is the growth of DeFi - also known as decentralized finance. Many cryptocurrencies driving DeFi are built on the Ethereum blockchain platform. This includes Chainlink (LINK) and Maker (MKR). 3. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Anyone who's interested in cryptocurrency is aware that Bitcoin Cash is one to watch. First launched in 2017, Bitcoin Cash is an electronic cash system. It was built as a scalable branch of the original Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin Cash was created because traders were concerned about Bitcoin's future scalability. It is now one of the most popular cryptocurrencies to invest in. It is also one of the top 10 biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap. There are varying predictions for the price of Bitcoin Cash. Some experts predict that BTC will reach over $6,000 by the end of 2021. 4. Litecoin (LTC) Litecoin was launched in 2011 as a competitor to Bitcoin. Since then it's become a strong player in the crypto space. Although the price of Litecoin is only $73.17, it is currently the 6th largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Litecoin showed huge growth back in 2017, putting it on the radar of many cryptocurrency investors. There is also a role-playing game available on the Litecoin blockchain called LiteBringer which has caused a surge in transactions. Because of this, many are predicting Litecoin to show strong growth in 2021. 5. Tezos (XTZ) Tezos has seen slow but steady growth recently. Despite this, it's still among the top 20 cryptocurrencies in the world by market cap. The price of Tezos is around $2,08 so it's a low-risk, high-reward investment. The Tezos blockchain is also built using a smart security protocol so all coins are kept safe. A financial group called Elevated Returns (ER) is using the Tezos blockchain to tokenize over $1 billion worth of real estate. This investment by ER is excellent news for the future of Tezos. 6. Ripple (XRP) Ripple refers to both the blockchain platform called RippleNet and its cryptocurrency called XRP. By comparing market cap, XRP is the fourth largest cryptocurrency in the world. The price of XRP is around $0.29. So, if you're looking for a low-cost cryptocurrency investment then XRP is a good choice. XRP has been stable this year and didn't suffer as badly during March as some other virtual currencies. Some experts predict Ripple's XRP will grow in 2021. 7. Tron (TRX) The TRON cryptocurrency was created in 2017 on the Ethereum blockchain platform. Since then it has switched to its own independent platform. TRON has been one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world for a few years now. It uses a proof-of-stake algorithm to process and validate all transactions. Although its price is only $0.025, TRON is still a good investment for 2021. Why? Because the TRON blockchain hosts more decentralized apps than the Ethereum platform. As more and more organizations adopt the TRON platform, the value of its virtual currency will grow. 8. Cardano (ADA) Cardano's proof-of-stake blockchain platform is currently among the top ten cryptocurrencies in the world, with a market cap of $3,303,948,528. Although the price of Cardano is only $0.106, many are predicting it to increase during 2021. The Cardano blockchain also has some big developments coming. With the release of 'Hydra', a 2-layer scalability solution, Cardano will be able to process a huge number of transactions at lightning speeds. This recent innovation makes Cardano is a solid investment for 2021. 9. IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA is an open-source ledger and cryptocurrency system. It sits at the 31st spot for market cap and its price is around $0.25. So why is it a good investment for 2021? IOTA has partnered with various companies in the insurance, manufacturing, and automobile industries. This provides a great opportunity for IOTA to take advantage of the growth of decentralized finance. IOTA is built for processing transactions on the Internet of Things (IoT) network. And as the IoT grows, so will IOTA. 10. Binance Coin (BNB) Binance Coin is issued by the Binance exchange, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Binance Coin runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is now among the top 10 cryptocurrencies in the world by market cap. As long as the Binance exchange continues to thrive, so will Binance Coin. Due to its prospects of future growth, Binance Coin is a solid investment for anyone looking to expand their cryptocurrency portfolio. Looking Ahead: These Are the Top Cryptocurrencies to Invest In Choosing cryptocurrencies to invest in can be confusing. There are a lot of different virtual coins these days and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin retains its spot as the number one cryptocurrency investment for 2021. However, some experts think that Bitcoin is unstable in the long-term and prefer to put their money into smaller coins like Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, or TRON. Did you find this post helpful? We regularly update our blog with new and interesting content so make sure to check out more of our articles.
  3. Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, trades at 17,764.40 US dollars at the time of writing this article. Yes, that’s per single Bitcoin. It seems every few months, a new crypto coin enters the market. Everyone is looking for that Bitcoin success. Or, they’re looking to take advantage of it. There have been countless crypto scams and flops. While some cryptos have had successful IPOs, many others have suffered painful failures. Keep reading for the top 10 failed crypto coin ICOs. 1. Bitconnect Bitconnect is the first on the list because it was one of the most public flops of all the crypto coin fails. Many people accuse this coin of being a Ponzi scheme because of its multi-level marketing (otherwise known as a pyramid scheme). Bitconnect came out to the public in 2016. The premise of their company was for coin holders to be able to lend out their shares with the promise of a return in interest. Through Bitconnet, users traded their Bitcoins, which are highly valued, for Bitconnect coins. They promised gains as interest on the loan accumulated. Bitconnect calculated their interest payouts via a “Bitconnect Bot.” They issued payouts at a fraction of the rise and fall of Bitcoin on the stock market and were susceptible to an interest-earning cap. Eventually, disgruntled users started to complain there was a lack of transparency in how they calculated interest payments exactly. Eventually, unsurprisingly, the company was sued multiple times and the government froze their assets. 2. Bitcoin Diamond Bitcoin Diamond may have started innocently enough. However, its use-case was elusive, and eventually, it was subject to online scammers. Bitcoin Diamond started as a stem from Bitcoin. Though it had marked differences from its parent coin, the price of Bitcoin Diamond has dropped over 100% since its first public appearance. Part of the reason we consider Bitcoin Diamond a fail is because of the many scammer applications of the crypto. Some websites emerged that claimed to exchange other cryptocurrencies for Bitcoin Diamond. However, those sites turned out to be stealing users' money. Users’ lack of trust toward currency exchange caused the crypto to fall out of popularity. 3. XEM (NEM) The New Economy Movement (NEM) launched its blockchain in 2016. They developed the cryptocurrency on an open-source platform, which immediately boosted its popularity. Though the currency is successful now, in 2018 it suffered a large fail when a Coincheck (a Chinese currency exchange company) reported that over 20 million dollars in XEM was stolen. XEM suffered a major loss of users and popularity. 4. Ripple (XRP) Ripple is another cryptocurrency with promising beginnings. Yet, they were unable to keep the momentum going. When going public, Ripple found that they couldn’t compete with other cryptocurrencies on the market. Since beginning trading, Ripple has lost over 40%. It’s no surprise they’ve not been as successful as their top competitor, Bitcoin. In 2018, a lawsuit claimed the company was selling unregistered coins and creating a never-ending supply of coins. Though that method might keep their product in circulation, it proved to decrease its value. 5. Universa This Russian crypto coin began its short time in the spotlight with a not-so-meager 28 million dollars in initial coin sales. Not only did the company do well with sales, but they were also gearing up for the future. Soon after having a successful initial coin sale, they partnered with a local Russian bank. Things were looking up for the company by all accounts. However, knowledge of disagreements between the company’s executives became public knowledge. Once their dirty laundry was out in the open, the coin dropped so significantly that HitBTC (a respected crypto exchange platform) delisted the currency. 6. IOTA (MIOTA) In 2016, IOTA went live with 500,000 US dollars donated to its cause. The company started with a fixed amount of tokens, which helps maintain their value. The currency has suffered rises and falls throughout its creation, like any other cryptocurrency. However, in the past two years, the company has failed to take advantage of a want in the market for new cryptocurrencies to buy. In 2018, the company lost 1 billion dollars in value. Unfortunately, 2019 wasn’t any better. It seems this crypto coin is on the decline. 7. Quantum (QTUM) Quantum is a public access blockchain that is secure and simple to use. Their business model targeted mostly large businesses. However, despite open source code and all the ingredients for a successful launch, QTUM went down almost 98% in 2018. Of all the cryptocurrency losses in 2018, Quantum suffered the most. 8. Waves (WAVES) At the end of beta testing, Waves was making waves (pun intended). They started with a 6 million dollar transaction day. They quickly started gaining traction, mostly due to their easy to use interface and fast transactions. However, after the first year and a half of beta testing, they decided to launch their entire program. Only, they were immediately hacked. It turned out their easy interface not only made it simple for users but also simple for hackers to get into. 9. SpaceBit SpaceBit promised to be the most exciting cryptocurrency of all time. They spoke of launching satellites into space that would allow access to crypto coin blockchains for everyone around the world. They did the media circuit, they got everyone hyped up, and then nothing happened. SpaceBit might be the ultimate fail because it never even made it to a demo launch. 10. DogeCoin Another crowd favorite, DogeCoin started as a joke. However, as fans flocked to the cute dog logo, it became a real crypto coin to exchange. Most famously, the DogeCoin user community raised enough money in 2014 to send a Jamaican bobsled team to the winter Olympics. But the crypto coin miracle came to a screeching halt when it ran out of money. The company founder decided to end all exchanges of the currency and essentially ran off with the money. Since then, DogeCoin is all but completely dead. What Crypto Coin Will You Bet On? The options for crypto coins are limitless. It seems like no matter how good the market looks for one company, it can all come crashing down in a matter of days. Crypto coin follows its own rules when it comes to what makes them work. Deciding where to put your money is the ultimate gamble. Read the latest about bitcoin predictions: Will bitcoin be Traded at $318,000 by 2021?
  4. Online gambling is a lucrative and growing industry worldwide. While many countries have banned gambling in one form or another in their regions, there are key countries that have been far more liberal about gambling activities inside their borders. Many of these regulated jurisdictions are controlled from within Europe, including the United Kingdom and the European Union. Progressive thinking governments have seen the advantages of allowing controlled gambling, which quite simply put – contributes to their revenues each year. Of course, this means that casinos and betting businesses are therefore being taxed. But, have you ever stopped for a few seconds to wonder how this taxation is conducted? Players seem to be far more concerned about whether they need to pay taxes, that many of us don’t give a second thought as to how the government benefits from the operators themselves. Land-Based vs Online Betting Levies A few decades ago, when talking about casinos, it was taken for granted that we were talking about physical betting premises with physical game cabinets, tables, roulette wheels and more. We cannot be as assuming today, as online gambling has reached fever pitch, affording its own segment in the gambling industry. It goes without saying that the costs involved in running a brick and mortar casino versus running an online operation vary greatly. For starters, the overheads in a physical premises ought to be much higher, not to mention the salary cheques paid every month to the massive staff compliments. So there is a distinct difference in the business makeup in each of these sectors, but are these various platforms seen in a different light by the governing authorities and therefore taxed differently? – This is the question we hope to answer. We will take a look at some of the prime gambling districts in Europe to draw our conclusions, namely the United Kingdom (under the regulation of the UK Gambling Commission) and most of the European Union (most of which gambles under the banner of the Malta Gaming Authority) and Sweden (which is a new regulated jurisdiction under the Spel Inspektionen). A Kingdom of Difference in the UK The United Kingdom is commonly accepted to be the most tightly regulated market in the world. The legislation in place is far more bias towards the player’s interests than the casino’s needs, yet still commands a lot of ‘dough’ from the operators to boost their coffers. In the online sector, the general taxation on remote gambling operations lawfully catering to UK citizens under license rose from 15% to 21% of the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) in October of 2019. This constituted a steep climb in taxes, and together with further tougher laws coming into place with regards to betting limits and credit card payment restrictions, online casinos are sure to feel the pinch. The pinch is not as painful as that experienced by land-based operators, who face taxes of up to 50% GGP. The tax system for land-based operators is on a tiered system, so some casinos and betting facilities could pay as little as 15% of their income, while those gaming giants yielding in excess of £5 million in revenues will be subject to the maximum tariffs. All the while, players in the UK needn’t worry about coughing up for the tax man, as all gambling wins are exempt in this regard. GGR: Gross Gaming Revenue is calculated by subtracting wins paid out to players from the total revenues paid from players to the casino. Machine Mayhem in Malta The Malta Gaming Authority is one of the fairest and most well-balanced gaming regulators around often said to be the benchmark for gambling regulatory bodies around the world. While the taxation seems far more lenient than those set out by the United Kingdom, there is once again a marked trend in extra costs for land-based operators. While all gambling establishments must foot the €25,000 per annum licensing costs, additional taxation of 5% on the GGR is required year on year. While this already sounds favourable, the costs do not stop here. All land-based operations must pay separate levies on each gaming device offered on their gambling floors. This could see the casino or betting facilitator paying around 30% of the GGR on those devices, depending on the type of game being offered. But it doesn’t stop here. Both land-based and online operators must also pay a Compliance Contribution based on the types of games that they offer to the public. The maximum tax level incurred here is around 4% with a set cap for each type of game offered. Traditional casino gambling is split into: Type 1 Games: These are casino games of chance controlled by RNGs. The tax cap is €375,000. Type 2 Games: These are casino games similar to those in Type 1 gaming, but where the game outcomes are not determined by RNGs. The Tax Cap is €600,000. Type 3 Games: These are facilitated games, where the operator promotes and abets the gaming, but where players play against other players and not the house (Like World Series Poker). The tax cap is €500,000. From the above information, it is discerned that land-based gambling operations are run at a greater cost than online vendors. Did you know: The RTP on slot games run at land-based casinos are lower than those offered by online games? This is because the overheads and taxation costs are generally higher and a higher profit is therefore needed to make ends meet. The Swedish Switchover For a long time Sweden operated gambling via state run casinos, who offered both land-based and online casino entertainment to its citizens. Though they were always allowed to issue licenses to other parties, they never did. The country has since relaxed its hard stance on solely government owned casinos, and now issues licenses freely (without compromise of quality of regulation) to remote casinos who want to operate within the borders of the country. Whether an independent casino is land-based or online, they are taxed in exactly the same way (though licensing costs will differ), at a fixed rate of 18% of GGP. All social and public gaming remains tax exempt. This rate falls a little below the UK, which is why many UK Licensed casinos are now turning their attention to the budding Swedish market to grow their platforms. Tax Highs and Lows Though we have concentrated efforts on three of the most well-known regulated jurisdictions in Europe, there are many more countries incurring either much higher or much lower taxation levels. For instance, the most expensive country to run a casino from would be Germany. Here the taxation rate is as high as 90% in some provinces, which is shockingly high. It puts a new light on the term ‘sin taxes’. Then there is Gibraltar. This region runs a tight ship when it comes to gambling regulation, to such a degree that the UK Gambling Commission will allow Gibraltar-licensed casinos to trade within their borders, but of course, they must cough up the remote gambling tax of 21% for doing so. Normal taxes levied by the Gibraltar government are very low, having just recently dropped from 1% of GGP to a meagre 0.15%, constituting as a casino ‘heaven’ for operators. Russia, however, is surprisingly the most accommodating country in the world when it comes to gambling operators, as the tax rate on casinos is 0%. Here, players pay more on their winnings declared than the casinos do (an amount of 13%). Verdict Despite the already pressing expenses incurred at brick and mortar casinos, it seems that regulators believe that they have the most to gain from these establishments, as they load the levies for land casinos. Online casinos are treated more mildly and are left with a great opportunity to earn rewards with minimal expense, especially if they are licensed in the right area.
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