Let’s Talk About Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin has seen a precedent this year, with not one, but three hard forks to be completed before the end of 2017. If someone told me this a year ago, I would laugh at their face. Not so funny now though, is it?

We first had a hard fork in August, when the somewhat aggressive UASF BIP 148 threw the community into a commotion of FUD-fuelled speculation. That was seemingly resolved with the NY agreement and followed by a surprise last-minute hard-fork known as Bitcoin Cash. Now we are facing some further complications with Segwit2x adoption and a possible hard fork in November related to this.

But this time, let’s talk about another surprise hard-fork that came to light very recently and is due just in 5 days (October 25 -2017)

BITCOIN GOLD

The Fork that no one is talking about.
And why?
From my conversation with Martin Kuvandzhiev (core developer at Bitcoin Gold), I think I found the answer to this question:
There is NO MARKETING.

None at all.
Easy to go unnoticed in the sea of heavily advertised ICOs and hyped up coins if there is zero capital and human workforce involved in marketing and publicity, don’t you agree.

They are still doing well, methinks, we are talking about Bitcoin fork after all, and there’s a million people out there anticipating the coming chain split and the potential of earning some extra “coins for free” which is what a hard fork is most known for these days…

I spent almost an hour chatting to Martin, trying to understand the potential of the Bitcoin Gold project and judge the possible future ahead.

And of course, as any investor or holder or Bitcoin, I am also excited at the opportunity to get some extra profit from something that doesn’t involve any specific effort on my part.

But as a Bitcoin supporter, I also feel that the more forks we see, the more diluted the main coin becomes and it reflects on its value. On the other hand, as we see now, the combined value of the main coin and the forks is often higher than the value of the coin prior to the fork, so it seems like a win-win scenario for many.

Overall, I found Martin to be very open and honest about the project with no attempt to hype anything, the key point that he managed to lay across is the fact that Bitcoin Gold is NOT trying to compete with Bitcoin, nor any other coin for that matter and that at the moment it is still a project mainly driven by ideology and passion. Quite the opposite of what many are speculating on Reddit. There were many claims of this project being a scam but Martin emphasized the decentralized nature of this project and the lack of controlling entity.

What is your take on Bitcoin Gold and are you excited to grab hold of those coins, would you BUY, HODL or SELL when you receive those tokens?

Here is my interview with Martin Kuvandzhiev where we addressed all concerns surrounding this fork. I specifically asked him about the rumors of pre-mined coins, replay protection, distribution and wallets, exchanges and much more.

Further reading:
Is Bitcoin Gold the people’s fork?
Bitcoin Gold Is About to Trial an ASIC-Resistant Bitcoin Fork
Bitcoin Gold: What you need to know – by Jimmy Song

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Who cares about Bitcoin Gold…

There is not a lot of talk about the October Bitcoin Gold fork yet but most of it already rather negative. It seems this fork might have already been done or at least some of the points I came across suggest so.

Here is my take on Bitcoin Gold and what we know so far about it…

 

Further reading:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/d3ykaw/yet-another-bitcoin-fork-aims-to-take-power-away-from-big-miners

https://bravenewcoin.com/news/bitcoin-gold-a-friendly-dividend-fork-or-bitcoins-disaster-recovery-plan/
https://cointelegraph.com/news/will-bitcoin-gold-return-power-to-ordinary-users

https://bitcointechtalk.com/bitcoin-gold-what-you-need-to-know-8b3e645be409

What is all the fuss about Bip148 and Segwit2x

appyFather's Day!

The Bitcoin scaling debate has been a hot topic for quite some time now and has been very present on all social media, youtube and every crypto forum out there, so let’s have a quick recoup on the key points that have been discussed so far in the community so that we can decide what are our options and what to be aware of.

First, let me outline where the problem lies and why we are facing a forking.
For quite some time now the Blockchain backlog of transactions is overwhelmingly large, at times exceeding 100 000 pending transactions, often waiting for days to receive confirmations and be completed. This results in a bidding-style competition between users, all trying to speed up their pending process and many choose to pay higher fees in order to “jump the queue”. Over the last year alone have seen the fees rise from $0.12 to $0.30, $0.70 and all the way up to $2.30 (and a number of reports point to a whopping $10 per transaction recently), something that threatens the user-adoption of Bitcoin as a currency and subsequently its future growth. One of its key USPs was cheaper and faster cross-border transacting but with the advance of the Alt Coins industry the usability dominance is seriously threatened in the longer term. The alts are out in full force and it’s only a matter of time until one or more of them take advantage in that area. If Bitcoin is to keep its place as the dominant crypto for both store of value and means of transacting, it needs to scale-up. Currently the size of each block is just 1MB and it has been so since the early days of its conception when the network was nowhere near the size it is today.

So, with that in mind, there have been a number of different proposals addressing the scaling issue but because of the decentralized nature of Bitcoin, it has been quite a challenge to implement any of them yet.

In 2015 one of the key Bitcoin developers Pieter Willier found a way to “squeeze”  more transactions into a block by reducing some of the data that is being attached to each transaction and this became known as the Segregated Witness proposal. The way it works is by removing some signature data from the transactions hash. The data is not lost or omitted, but the way it is counted in a way that It essentially introduces a new transaction format, thus freeing more space on the blocks and resulting in bigger number of transactions being recorded on each block. Segwit and the subsequent proposals that were building upon it, was first designed as a hard fork but later it was decided to be implemented as a soft fork which would allow backward-compatibility. However, the users community and the miners haven’t been very unanimous about it to date and the amount of nodes signalling for Segwit has not reached the necessary majority in order for it to be activated.

Back in November last year (2016) a proposal (BUIP) for a bigger block size started gathering a growing community of miners and later that became known as the Bitcoin Unlimited camp. Their proposal is for a bigger block size that can be determined by the needs of the network and allows for a gradual upgrade of the block size over time. It has been a popular proposal with a number of influential figures in the industry – Roger Ver of Bitcoin.com but it also did not capture a majority of the nodes and it was met with a strong resistance by the Bitcoin Core team which created a divide in the community.

Overall, it seems that Segwit became the popular choice among both users and developers alike. Only the miners so far have resisted it and because the Bitcoin network requires that 95% of the nodes signal for Segwit before it can be activated under the previous proposal (BIP141) we haven’t yet seen it coming into effect.

And here comes BIP148 – a UASF (user-activated soft fork) which calls for Segwit to be activated by Aug 1st. This is the first proposal that sets a fixed date with such a short notice and it will in effect cause a hard fork. It will exclude any nodes that are not signalling for Segwit and their blocks will not be added to the Blockchain thus splitting the chain to Segwit-activated and non-Segwit activated nodes. This is why BIP148 has been making waves in the community and causing a panic among users and miners on both ends of the argument.

The big fuss is mainly due to the fact that in a case of a hard fork, the chain is split into two separate divisions and the question will be which one will become the dominant chain. The one that attracts the majority of the nodes and users, therefore will become the longest and with the most hashing power and ultimately winning the race. This would mean a temporary price devaluation and great uncertainty in the market which inevitably will cause many losses and panic selling… all events that are not in the miners or users’ best interest. This is why BIP148 is in my opinion not the best solution. Segwit was intended as a Soft fork, one that will allow nodes to upgrade over time and was backward compatible, while BIP148 is calling for a hard fork by definition.

So far, it seems that Segwit itself is not the issue. Most of the community agree that Segwit is going to be beneficial and want to see it happen. The part they still disagree on is the block size. Many are calling for a bigger block size and this was precisely the focus on the latest proposal that was discussed at last month’s Consensus 2017 – where a compromise proposal came into light, now known as SEGWIT2X .

Segwit2x is possibly the best scenario, at least in my eyes. It combines activation of Segwit with a larger block size (twice the size of today’s 1MB) and it comes as a bolder and widely agreed-on project that aims to be implemented by July 21-24th which is a bit too close and to many it seems unrealistic. I for one prefer to see this happen and with as little truce as possible. We have already seen Bitcoin and the overall crypto market suffer 15-20% price correction in this last week, so the sooner we get over the Segwit debate, the better.

In the mean time, make sure you hold your Bitcoin in a safe place, most importantly, a wallet that gives you control over your private keys and hope for a quick passing of the storm. Even if the chain is to split, it will not be long till we find out which of the two is the more popular fork is and if it doesn’t split… then be ready for a quick price jump too. It can go either way, so watch the news and the forums daily and may the force be with you 😉

Alt Coins – which ones to buy?

ALT COIN (2).pngIf you are a first-time buyer of crypto currencies you will probably ask this question. I get this in my inbox at least once a day lately, so I decided to write this blog and give you my piece of mind on this subject.

There is a big difference between choosing a crypto from an investor point of view to choosing it as a trader.

With trading you will be looking at charts and base your selection on trends, performance and price catalyst factors so that will be a topic of a whole other post. This time I will focus on the more passive investment approach, something that most people seem to be aiming for.

Trading is not an easy skill to master and it is extremely time-consuming, so I entered that marketplace as an investor first and later tapped into the trading world.

So, how do you pick the right crypto currencies to buy and hold?

The obvious start is with Bitcoin – the big daddy of the crypto world. The most valuable, most usable of all, most sought-after and so on.. you get the idea. As far as safety goes, the long term potential for growth is definitely high here.

So, what next?

  • Look for VOLUME

    Big volume means big capital is invested already, that also means popularity, usability, which basically tells us that the project is having a good potential for growth and longevity. Nothing is guaranteed and we are yet to find out how many of the current 1000+ crypto currencies are going to hang around for longer, but the ones that have a lot of volume are those with the highest chances at achieving that. The best place to find out how these compare by volume is to go to  https://coinmarketcap.com where you will see their quick stats and you can arrange them in order by a few indicators, volume being the default one.

  • Look for USP [unique selling point]

    Bitcoin is a crypto currency and so are most crypto coins. Some are application specific while some are purely crypto coins. Look out for those that are innovative. Those that offer something new, an improvement of sorts or something really different, are the ones with potential.

  • Look for popularity and media presence.

    If a crypto is talked about, if it has media coverage, a strong, identifiable brand, this would mean it is already quite popular and that also drives the price up. If a crypto makes it to the mainstream [or at least semi-mainstream] that brings a lot of new buyers, thus with a growing demand you can expect a jump in value.

  • Research thoroughly.

    There are so many sources these days, facebook groups, twitter, slackchats, telegram groups, forums [reddit, bitcointalk and more]… and of course each crypto currency is a project of a kind and as such they have their own website. Make sure you check out their website, read their white paper, check their development team and current+upcoming projects, what is the future plan for this project, is there a long-term vision and where does it lead to… these are just some of the criteria you should consider in your research.

  • Gather public opinion.

    Aside from the forums, where you will be getting a lot of public opinion from the users and fans or haters of the project, try to also find just general public opinion, through facebook and other social media that is not saturated with crypto fans, try to find what the average Joe knows and if they get excited about it, that would be another good indicator that the price will rise with time as the project/coin becomes more and more popular.

  • Did I mention RESEARCH?

    Yeah, I know. I just wanted to emphasize the importance of doing your own research and learning about the coins you are buying. After all, you wouldn’t  invest in stocks of a company without knowing enough about it, so same rule applies here. You must understand “why” and “if” your investment will bring you amazing return or not… You must also keep informed about any new development on the project that is supported by the coin, make sure that the development is not abandoned or any other internal or external factors that may change its course with time.

Where to start?

The most useful website for any crypto currency user is CoinMarketCap. This is where you can keep track on price, volume, ranking, popularity, performance and more. By default, the coins listed will be arranged by volume.

Another useful website that will facilitate your analysis is CryptoCompare which has a slightly more trading look and functionality.
To gather public opinion and feedback you can look into blogs, videos on youtube, twitter, telegram groups, facebook groups, steemIt network or slack chats which most crypto currencies have. Also check out these forums https://bitcointalk.org or reddit

Don’t forget to go to each project’s website. Many of the coins are only born out of a necessity to support the network and its developers so they will have a lot of information there to help you in your research.

For a start you should research each of the top 20 -30 coins. If you are going to be an investor, you might want to spread your capital and buy a few of these rather than go big on just one of them. Unless there is a strong reason for it, I would not advise to go big on any one coin because there might be a big potential in another coin that could surprise you. I bought Strat and Ripple very early on when I started and despite my passion for Dash or ETH, both Strat and Ripple gave me much more profit [at the time of writing this]. So even though I didn’t know much about Strat at first, the feedback I gathered about it pointed toward an uptrend [and that hasn’t stopped for the past 3 months now] and I’m looking at over 1000% profit from both XRP and STRAT. This is just an example. If I was a maximalist, I would have chosen Dash at the time, but today I am looking at 40% profit from it, which cannot compare to the performance of XRP and Strat.

This is why I would advise you to diversify and buy at least 10 of the top coins, the gain is always bigger than the losses [if any]. Doesn’t make sense? Let me elaborate.
Say you deposit 0.1 btc in Dash and 0.1btc in ETC [only hypothetical] and Dash plummets to -50% while ETC jumps by 100% [ which is very likely]. You will loose 0.05 but your gain would be 0.1 so you’re not loosing really. And what if you also had 0.1 in SC and that shoots up to 300% … you would have made 0.2 just from that so who cares about the 0.05 loss that Dash made… This is pretty much my strategy, except… I actually bought something like 30 coins in my first month and now my portfolio has grown to about 50. Only a quarter of them are long term for me, the rest are trading material.

 

 

What is an Alt Coin?

ALT COIN (1).pngAltcoin is a term given to all crypto currencies other than Bitcoin. It literally means alternate coin. Altcoins are alternative blockchains to Bitcoin, they use the same basic principals as Bitcoin but with some changes (e.g different mining algorithms or consensus rules etc…).

Most alt coins are forks on Bitcoin, some are built on the Bitcoin blockchain, others operate their own blockchains and offer diversity in functionality, innovation, niche-specific developments or just improvements on what is already there. For instance faster transacting, better privacy, easier coding or more popular and usable language (Bitcoin is built on C++ which is a computer language not very popular these days, while many of the new cryptos are written on Java or Microsoft’s .NET that attract vast communities of developers and freelances who work with these computer code languages).

Many alt coins are competing to be the next big success story but the market is already saturated and only a small percentage of the currently circulating cryptos are in fact worth looking into.

There are nearly 1000 crypto currencies currently in circulation and the ones that I am trading or investing in, are only the top 30 or so. The best way to find out how they perform is by going to https://coinmarketcap.com/ and see their current rating by volume.

But what really makes a cryto currency valuable and why some of these virtually unknown and brand new coins go up in price is determined by a series of factors outlined in my next post. But just before I leave you, please note that you should definitely avoid any crypto currency that involves heavy recruiting and is based on a deep multi level marketing system. The likes of Onecoin, Dascoin, Swisscoin, Scoin or The Billion Coin [TBC] are all in this category. These are not on the public exchanges and they only serve as community tokens system, therefore they are not easily spendable or tradable, if at all…