Aside from the election of Donald J. Trump back in 2016, few things have remained a focus of as much controversy — and debate — as the cryptocurrency world.
Some on the Internet love it, some hate it, some see it as a cure to all of the world's problems... others see it as a quick profit opportunity.
Whatever you think of it, we are more than a DECADE out from the moment when Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto launched the first version of Bitcoin's software, back in January 2009 to limited attention and praise at the time.
It hasn't gone away.
The central banks and many governments have sounded off on their views of this new asset class, yet it has not gone away, and it is not likely to at this point.
Big financial institutions including E*Trade and Fidelity have begun building storage, or custodial, services for the users of the leading cryptos, which include Bitcoin and Ether at the moment.
Bitcoin, the first crypto, has a simple economic schedule: coins are produced or "mined" throughout time by a mining network of participating computers. Mining gets more difficult over time, and the supply of new coins produced as a mining reward is cut in half approximately every 4 years, making supply scarce over time. The number of total coins in the Bitcoin network is capped at an eventual 21 million, and at that point, no new coins will be created. Instead, it is presumed that a market will form around the circulating coins available at that point in time, but we are still many years away from that date.
To receive, send, or store Bitcoins for the long term, you don't need a bank account. Numerous free wallet apps exist for Samsung and Apple smartphones, making daily purchases a breeze. The Flexa app, for example, even lets cryptocurrency users spend their Bitcoin or Ether at leading US merchants including Whole Foods, Petco, and Starbucks, to name a few big names participating in the Flexa project. The process of paying with crypto is almost identical to using Google Pay or Apple Pay, as it uses the same contactless technology on your iPhone or Samsung phone.
Sending and receiving Ether is very similar to the Bitcoin experience, except that more Ether exist in the world today, and currently the supply of Ether is not capped - although it is mined over time by computers, in a competitive process similar in many ways to Bitcoin's simpler mining routine.
With Ether, it is a P2P money like Bitcoin, but also the "fuel" for hundreds of decentralized apps or "dApps" as they're called, which run without censorship or interference on Ethereum's blockchain. Messing with them or knocking them offline is essentially impossible without taking on Ethereum's blockchain itself, which is secured by many millions of dollars in specialized mining hardware.
Some of these dApps include Livepeer, a decentralized video livestreaming encoding and hosting service, Cent, a blog publishing network on the blockchain similar to Medium, and NEXO, an "automated" bank-like lender that takes in your crypto deposit and immediately (or within minutes) issues you a credit line in your local fiat currency (US dollars or euros, for example) dependent on the amount of cryptocurrency you deposit. Very cool innovations, running 24/7 without any strong possibility of being knocked offline.
Both Ether and Bitcoin are talked about frequently in the weekly research newsletter, which you can sign up for at https://fulcrumnews.com/subscribe.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, yet this is the future, and those who can't see it will become the new servant class sooner than any of us can accept, I'm afraid. These dApps and monetary networks are here to stay, it appears.
The Ethereum World Computer explained in 1 min., 28 seconds:
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Not financial advice — at time of publication, writer of this post may hold a position in some or all currencies and assets discussed.