The year 2017 was exceptional for digital currencies, especially bitcoin, whose value rose 1,800 percent to reach nearly $20,000 in December. Trade in the currency started in January at less than $1,000.
Spread of digital currencies
The combined market value of digital currencies has reached more than $730 billion, reported coinmarketcap.com. This makes them more valuable than giants such as Amazon ($570 billion) and Microsoft ($660 billion). It appears that it will only be a matter of time before the market value of digital currencies reaches a trillion dollars, surpassing the world’s largest company Apple, whose value lies at around $990 billion.
It appears that these digits will not stop increasing any time soon. Each day we hear reports about a new digital currency that attempts to offer innovative solutions to some problems in our daily and monetary lives. Among these new currencies, is one that can currently be traded in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The possibility of issuing the currency is still being studied. Should that happen, it will be part of a joint project between the UAE central bank and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. Should it materialize, this will mark the first ever cooperation between monetary authorities between two countries to adopt these new innovations.
Some websites said that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was studying the pros and cons of digital currencies. This could be the early signs of a possible partnership between him and one of the digital currencies. He may even go beyond that and decide to have Facebook issue its own currency to challenge bitcoin.
Other reports said that the Telegram app is seeking to develop its own digital currency to follow in the footsteps of the Kik app that issued its own currency, KIN.
These developments and others indicate that 2018 will be a busy one for digital currencies as more major companies and individuals are lured to this new trend for investment. Interest has reached such an extent that some digital currencies have actually turned away new users due to the record level of demand.
How do I get bitcoin? The currency can either be withdrawn or purchased. Whichever method you choose, you must first have an electronic wallet to store the currency. Wallets can be obtained from sites such as Web Wallet, Electrum, Software Wallet, blockchain.info and many others.
In the past, it was very easy to withdraw, or “mine”, bitcoin by using a computer or laptop through the proper program on your device. However, with the growing number of the currencies being released from as far back as 2009, the withdrawal process grew more complicated. Dedicated powerful “miners’ have therefore been manufactured to withdraw the currency. They include the Antminer S9, Avalon 6 and SP20 Jackson. These miners come at a price and some can cost more than $3,000. They also consume a lot of power and require constant cooling. One should take all these factors into consideration before making this kind of investment.
Fortunately, many websites that rely on cloud technology have emerged to make the consumer’s life easier. The sites allow users to rent out miners. Such websites include hashflare.io and genesis-mining.com.
Another way to obtain bitcoin is through buying the currency. They can be purchased through a smart bank transfer or through a bank card. Several websites offer such services, such as Coinbase.com, Xapo.com, BitStamp.com or through bitcoin’s official website, buy.bitcoin.com
Bitcoin was not the only currency enjoying an upward trend in markets. Other alternate currencies have emerged in the past year and achieved astronomical success worth 14,285 percent of their price at the beginning of the year. Verge, for example, started the year at no more than $0.00002 and by the end had risen to $0.24. This may seem like a simple figure, but the increase is massive.
Other currencies that enjoyed noticeable growth were Ripple, Dash, Litecoin and Ethereum, the second largest digital currency after bitcoin. Other promising currencies that have entered the market include Electroneum, TRON, Ethos and Cardano.
A word of advice. The digital currencies market is very unstable. It can witness great highs and very quick drops that cannot be predicted. You should therefore carefully study the market and the currency you want to invest in before embarking on an experience that may make you a millionaire or, in the blink of an eye, cost you all that you have invested.