Everything you need to know about bitcoin
What is Bitcoin?
If you’ve heard of cryptocurrency, then you’ve almost certainly heard of Bitcoin. Founded in 2009, Bitcoin was the very first decentralized cryptocurrency. A software developer, by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, is said to be the creator of Bitcoin. Unlike fiat currency, bitcoin isn’t controlled by any central authority. Created and stored electronically, bitcoins are produced by computers around the world. These computers use software to solve increasingly complex mathematical puzzles, with solutions rewarded in bitcoins. Much like regular currency, bitcoin can increasingly be used to purchase goods and services electronically.
Bitcoin offers a number of advantages to fiat currency. Aside from being decentralized, it’s very easy to buy bitcoin and set up a bitcoin wallet. There’s a level of anonymity to bitcoin, since addresses are not linked to personal information. Transparency is offered through the blockchain, which is a sort of digital ledger. This database allows you to see all of the transactions on the Bitcoin network and how much Bitcoin a person has in their wallet, without knowing their identity. Bitcoin and blockchain transactions are quick and cheap, in comparison to those offered by banking services.
While many other cryptocurrencies have been created since then, bitcoin has remained the most popular option and continues to dominate the crypto market today. Most people who buy bitcoin, and other forms of cryptocurrency, do so as an investment. This is hardly surprising, as the price of bitcoin has gone from a few cents per coin in 2010 to over $7,500 per coin in late 2017. At the time of writing, the market cap of bitcoin is $150 billion. Needless to say, bitcoin has attracted increasing attention over the years. Having a bitcoin investment strategy can make all the difference long-term.
Is it legal?
The legality of bitcoin really depends on where and how you use it. It’s certainly something of a grey area, due to the lack of regulation in the cryptocurrency industry. As such, the legal status of Bitcoin varies from country to country. Because it’s often undefined or changing in different countries, it’s important that you take the time to check this important information.
As of November 2017, Bitcoin is illegal in the following countries: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, and Nepal.
Why would anyone want to ban bitcoin? Well, governments have concern over Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency because of its ability to be used anonymously. While most people who buy, hold, and spend bitcoin do so with perfectly legal intentions, there are some who have used it for money laundering and other illegal activities. Perhaps the best example is Silk Road, a now defunct online marketplace that became infamous for the selling of illegal drugs.
Buying and selling
Buying and selling bitcoin is increasingly easy thanks to the growing number of online exchanges. The biggest bitcoin exchanges are available in most countries worldwide, but be sure to check the legality of bitcoin in your country before buying. On a Bitcoin money exchange, you can also learn how to trade. We recommend you take the time to do this rather than using a bitcoin bot, which is likely to be unreliable.
Here are some of the most popular Bitcoin exchanges to consider:
- Binance: On Binance, you can buy Bitcoin, Binance Coin and many other coins. In fact, there are many different cryptocurrencies available. It’s known for being quick and offering relatively low fees.
- Bitfinex: The largest bitcoin exchanges by trading volume, Bitfinex offers plenty of advanced trading features. Fees are relatively low, as compared to many exchanges.
- Bitstamp: Bitstamp is a popular fiat to bitcoin exchange. It has a simple user interface and high trading volumes. There is good support offered in Europe.
- Bittrex: One of the larger cryptocurrency exchanges, Bittrex offers most major cryptocurrencies. Setting up a basic account is very easy and customer support is decent.
- CEX: Beginners will like CEX, since it has an easy-to-use interface. You can also find a nice range of trading features, if that’s of interest to you. Overall, it’s a reliable option.
- Coinbase: Coinbase is probably the most beginner-friendly Bitcoin money exchange around. It’s available to users in 32 countries and offers a range of payment methods.
- GDAX: Operating all over the world, GDAX offers good liquidity and competitive fees. It’s run by the same company that owns Coinbase, but offers lower fees.
- Gemini: Gemini offers fairly quick account verification as well as comparatively low fees. Customer service response time is also quicker than many other exchanges.
- HitBTC: Relatively low fees and a solid trading platform make HitBTC an option to consider. Bitcoin and other coins are available for trading on this platform.
- Kraken: Kraken is a popular option in Europe, thanks to low transaction fees and free SEPA deposits. It’s available in most countries and offers plenty of features for bitcoin security.
If you still need help finding the best cryptocurrency exchange for your location, take a look below:
USA: If you’re based in the USA, then you should have no problem buying bitcoin. You can use most exchanges. In terms of bitcoin for beginners, Coinbase is recommended as it is easy to use. For low fees, try Bitfinex.
UK and Europe: If you’re based in the UK, or elsewhere in Europe, you’ll want an exchange that offers easy SEPA transfers. As such, Bitstamp and Kraken are good options to consider. Coinbase also offers a service in Europe.
Canada: There are fewer options available to those buying bitcoin in Canada. One of the most popular options is QuadrigaCX. Additionally, Canadian dollars can be used on Coinsquare.
Australia: Like most countries, Australia can use Coinbase for buying bitcoin. However, for trading back to AUD, take a look at BTC Markets or CoinJar.
India: Located in Delhi, Coinsecure is one of the more established bitcoin exchanges in India. Unocoin and Zebpay are also popular options.
Singapore: Aside from Coinbase, Singapore’s main options when it comes to buying bitcoin are CoinHako and Luno. In fact, CoinHako is based in Singapore.
It’s also possible to buy and sell bitcoin at a Bitcoin ATM. Currently, the vast majority of Bitcoin ATMs are located in the USA, and there’s a good chance that the Bitcoin ATM locations aren’t near you. However, if you are lucky, a Bitcoin ATM withdrawal is a good way to access your newly purchased bitcoin.
Once you’ve purchased your bitcoin, it’s important to keep it safe. It’s generally considered unsafe to keep your cryptocurrency on exchanges, as there’s a risk of your bitcoin being hacked. For this reason, you’ll want a bitcoin wallet which makes it easy to check how much bitcoin you have. There are several different types of bitcoin wallets, ranging from desktop to paper. While most wallets are just for one particular cryptocurrency, some allow you to store other crytocurrencies as well. Read on to find out about each of the wallet options, and how to go about choosing one that’s right for you.
How to compare and choose a bitcoin wallet?
A btcoin wallet is the combination of a public address and a private key. At first, you may feel a little overwhelmed with the number of bitcoin wallet options. However, it’s really a good thing to have so much choice. The type of bitcoin wallet you choose depends on which features most important to you. For convenience, you may want a web wallet, or one on your phone, for checking your bitcoin by mobile device. On the other hand, the bitcoin security offered by a hardware or paper wallet may be of greater value.
What is a bitcoin desktop wallet?
Quite simply, a bitcoin desktop wallet is one that you can access from your desktop computer. They store the private keys to your bitcoin information on your hard drive. Desktop wallets are available for Windows, MAC OSX, and Linux. One of the most popular is the Electrum Bitcoin Wallet which, while not particularly pretty, does the job required. It’s very secure and has a number of interesting features.
What is a bitcoin paper wallet?
A bitcoin paper wallet is just as it sounds. It’s the transferring of digital coins onto physical paper via a printer. The advantage of paper wallets is that they are offline and safe from malware. You are also fully in your control, as opposed to wallets that are operated by a third party. However, paper is obviously susceptible to damage. It’s also vulnerable to theft, so it’s important to place your paper wallet in a very secure location.
What is a bitcoin mobile wallet?
Some people choose to have a bitcoin mobile wallet in order to check their bitcoin amount and transactions while they’re on the go. When it comes to accessing your bitcoin accounts by mobile device, there are mobile wallets available for Android and iOS. They run as a bitcoin app on your smartphone. A popular mobile wallet for both Android and iOS is BreadWallet, which is known for its simplicity. BreadWallet is great for beginners.
What is a bitcoin hardware wallet?
Another option available to you is storing your bitcoin, or at least the private keys, on a hardware wallet. Unlike the other types of bitcoin wallets, hardware wallets aren’t free. However, the price may be worth it if you have a substantial amount of bitcoin. Hardware wallets cannot be hacked as they are secure, offline devices. There’s hardly an abundance of choices. Two options to seriously consider are the Ledger Nano S and the Trezor Bitcoin Wallet.
What is a bitcoin web wallet?
Also referred to as online wallets, bitcoin web wallets store your private keys online. This allows you to access your web wallets anywhere, on any device. Some of these link to mobile and desktop wallets, which certainly offers convenience. However, leaving your private keys in the hands of a third party is risky, particularly if you hold a large amount of bitcoin, which could put you at greater risk for a bitcoin hack. If you’re still keen on the convenience of them, take a look at the web wallet offered by GreenAddress, which offers more security features.
What is a bitcoin brain wallet?
A brain wallet involves you memorizing the private keys of your bitcoin; the private key is never written down. Naturally, this is much more secure than leaving physical evidence of your private key, such as on paper or a web wallet. However, the risk is that you may forget the private key and lose your bitcoin forever. The security of your funds is dependent on the strength and complexity of the passphrase chosen – the longer the better, as long as you can remember it!
What is a bitcoin private key?
A Bitcoin private key is a secret, alphanumeric number which is randomly generated when you create a wallet. It allows you to spend and send your bitcoin. A private key is not to be confused with a public address, which is what you use to receive funds. Your bitcoin private key needs to be kept in a safe and secure location. That may be on a piece of paper, on your hard drive, or on hardware. For maximum security of your bitcoin information, your bitcoin private key is better off with you than with a third party, such as a web wallet.
Debit card options
How to compare and choose a bitcoin debit card?
One bitcoin payment system that lets you spend your bitcoin, as you would spend fiat currency from a regular debit card, is the bitcoin debit card. It works by drawing bitcoin directly from your bitcoin wallet. The advantage of this is that you can spend your bitcoin in more places, since bitcoin debit cards are typically VISA cards. You’re no longer limited to buying from a store that accepts bitcoin, or from having to convert your bitcoin to a fiat currency in order to buy things. Some of the main bitcoin debit cards to explore are Wirex, Cryptopay, and Xapo.
It’s important to take the time to compare and contrast the various bitcoin debit cards. When comparing and choosing a bitcoin debit card, consider the following points:
- Fees: Unfortunately, there are fees associated with bitcoin debit cards. This may include a delivery and activation fee, as well as ATM and foreign transaction fees.
- Security: If you’re spending bitcoin from your bitcoin wallet via a debit card, you want to know your wallet is safe. Be sure to check security features available.
- Customer Service: There’s nothing more frustrating than slow support. Read reviews on customer service to make sure the customer service is quick, reliable, and friendly.
- Apps: The ability to see what you’re spending is undoubtedly convenient. Some bitcoin debit cards offer you a bitcoin app for this. Both Android and iOS options are usually available.
How to trade
How do I trade bitcoin?
It’s one thing to buy bitcoin and hold it long-term, and another to trade bitcoin on a regular basis. Trading bitcoin can be extremely profitable, but it’s not without risk, due to the overall volatility of cryptocurrency. In order to trade bitcoin, you need to find a bitcoin money exchange. Earlier, we mentioned some popular bitcoin exchanges. Take a look at these and research available locations, transaction fees, liquidity, reliability, and overall safety and security. In particular, Bitfinex and Kraken meet most of these requirements. Coinbase is much easier to use than Bitfinex and Kraken, but the fees are higher.
How does it work?
How do bitcoin transactions work?
In the case of bitcoin, everything is very transparent. Bitcoin transactions are digitally signed for security. Everyone on the bitcoin network can see a transaction, and transactions between two addresses are stored on a vast public ledger, known as the blockchain. By looking at the blockchain information, you can see the information regarding the block and balance of a particular bitcoin address. While this isn’t very private, a degree of anonymity is offered since no personal information is linked to a bitcoin address.
In order to send bitcoin, you need a bitcoin address and a private key. These are generated when you create a bitcoin wallet. When you send bitcoin, you use your private key to sign a message with a transaction input in order to create a record of which address the Bitcoin is coming from. You also include a transaction output, which is the recipient’s bitcoin address, and the amount you want to send. The bitcoins are then sent out onto the bitcoin database and verified by miners before being put on a transaction block and solved. Miners are paid transaction fees and a subsidy of the newly created coins.
How does bitcoin mining work?
We’ve just briefly touched on transactions being verified by miners. Now we’ll explore bitcoin mining a little further. Without bitcoin mining, we wouldn’t have bitcoins. In order to mine bitcoin, miners use special software to solve mathematical problems. Bitcoin data mining works much like mining for physical resources, such as gold, in the sense that it’s resource-intensive and increasingly difficult. It’s designed this way so as to control the number of blocks found by miners each day.
In order to be considered valid, individual blocks must have a proof-of-work, which is verified by other bitcoin nodes when they receive a block. A proof-of-work is a method used to ensure that time and money went into making a block. Not only does mining serve to create new coins, it also serves to verify the legitimacy of transactions. This prevents a person from spending the same bitcoin twice.
How do I become a bitcoin miner?
If you’re interested in mining bitcoin, you’ll probably want to take a look at setting up a bitcoin miner. The alternative is bitcoin cloud mining, which we’ll cover shortly. First, you’ll need to consider hash rate. This is the number of calculations your hardware can perform each second, as it attempts to solve the mathematical problems put before it. The higher your hash rate and bitcoin mining power, the more likely you are to solve a transaction block. Second, it’s important to consider energy consumption. Read further and you’ll find out more about this in relation to bitcoin mining cost and profitability.
Once upon a time, you would have been able to mine with a Bitcoin CPU miner. Nowadays, the main bitcoin mining problem is that you’ll need to spend more money on an ASIC bitcoin miner for mining activities to be worth it. Based on price per hash and electrical efficiency, you’re best choices for hardware are the AntMiner S7 or S9, depending on your budget. Once you’ve purchased your bitcoin mining hardware, your next step is to download a program for mining bitcoin. The two most popular are CGminer and BFGminer. You should also consider EasyMiner, if you’re looking for a more user-friendly experience.
What are bitcoin mining pools?
In order to make money mining bitcoin, you’ll probably need to join a bitcoin mining pool. A mining pool consists of a group of miners who pool their resources together. This increases your odds of being rewarded, but decreases your reward as it is shared with the other miners in the pool. You’re unlikely to get rich from a bitcoin data mining pool, but you will be rewarded on a more consistent basis. Most of the biggest bitcoin mining companies are located in China, due to the cheap cost of electricity there.
When choosing a bitcoin mining pool, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Consider the following:
- Pool Size: The bigger the mining pool, the more frequent the payout. However, the reward is then split between more miners.
- Reward Method: There’s a wide range of reward methods in crypto mining. This dictates how and when you’re paid. The most common are PPS and PPLNS.
- Fees: Most bitcoin mining pools charge fees. These can vary a great deal from pool to pool, so be sure to check to details regarding fees.
- Security: Choosing a mining pool that offers bitcoin security, as well as personal security, is of the utmost importance. For increased security, look to more established mining pools.
How does cloud mining of bitcoin work?
You don’t need a bitcoin miner of your own in order to get involved with mining bitcoin. With bitcoin cloud mining, you can avoid much of the hassle involved. Cloud mining means using shared bitcoin mining power, which is run from remote data centers. By buying a particular cloud mining contract, you’re essentially renting some of the available hardware to mine bitcoin.
The advantages of cloud mining are that there is no added electricity costs and no expensive mining equipment to deal with. However, a few issues to consider are that profits are lower and that most bitcoin cloud mining companies are scams. This makes finding the few good bitcoin cloud mining companies even harder. It’s very easy for someone to take your money, claim that they’re mining for you, and then not pay out fairly or at all. One of the few bitcoin mining companies to consider is Genesis Mining. This is a Hong Kong-based company which offers three different mining cloud contracts.
How do I calculate mining profitability?
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that bitcoin mining is highly competitive due to the existence of huge mining pools. The difficulty of mining is constantly increasing, so you should work out the costs to mining bitcoin to see whether it can be profitable for you. You can do this with a bitcoin mining calculator, which will let you enter the data of the bitcoin miner in order to see how long it will take for you to make a profit.
One of the key things to consider when it comes to the profitability of mining bitcoin, aside from the cost, is energy consumption. Mining cryptocurrency consumes electricity, which can be costly. Check the energy consumption of the hardware used, as measured in watts. If you’re using a bitcoin mining computer to run your mining hardware, you’ll also need to factor in its electricity consumption.
How do I accept bitcoin payments in my store?
If you have a business, you may wish to accept bitcoin payments. It’s easier than you think to install a bitcoin payment system. The easiest way to do this is simply place a sign on your store, whether it’s in your shop window or on your store’s website. Chances are, only a small number of people will want to pay in bitcoin. These customers can ask you for your wallet address in order to pay you using bitcoin.
When it comes to accepting payment, you have a few options. Customers can pay using hardware terminals, such as a bitcoin app or via QR codes. The user can then scan the code and press ‘spend’ in order to buy a particular item.
Bitcoin e-commerce services for merchants
Setting up your website’s bitcoin payment system is now easier than ever before. There have been a number of bitcoin e-commerce services springing up in recent years. Currently, the most established and popular options are Bitpay and Coinbase. One newer option in 2017 is Shopify. While there are other e-commerce services available, it’s recommended that you research them thoroughly before choosing them for your bitcoin store.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Cointelligence?
Cointelligence was founded in 2017 to bridge the information gap in the crypto economy. It creates relevant tools for investors, namely an impartial and accurate ICO list and rating system. Cointelligence is a market maker focused on bringing the blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to the masses through the use of fundamental economics, real-time market data, technical analysis, and great industry coverage.
Cointelligence is dedicated to creating a platform that is honest and trustworthy. In order to help users view the market as a whole, our team of writers use their knowledge of the market from all angles to create relevant, informational articles and guides that analyze the cryptocurrency ecosystem and explain it to our audience.
What is the main goal of Cointelligence?
Cointelligence strives to open the blockchain and crypto industry to the masses in an open, transparent, and fair manner.
How do we exercise due diligence at Cointelligence?
At Cointelligence, we exercise due diligence by treating every single token as a research subject in its own right. Our research team collects data on each and every token, coin, ICO, and organization in order to obtain the most profound and authentic data in the cryptocurrency market. This data is then passed to our team of crypto experts, who review our research team’s findings from a wider scope. Using both the research and the review of said research, each ICO is given an impartial and objective rating and risk score. This analysis is then presented to our website’s users.
Who are the people behind Cointelligence?
Our entire team can be found HERE.
General Questions About the Industry
What is cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a digital asset which is used as a medium of exchange. Cryptocurrencies utilize powerful cryptography algorithms to promote the security of financial transactions on a peer-to-peer basis, control the mining or the minting of additional currency units, and verify successful completion of transfer of digital assets. Cryptocurrencies represent a unique form of digital currency, alternative currency, or virtual currency. Cryptocurrencies enjoy distributed, or decentralized, control. This is in direct contrast to centralized digital currencies and central banking financial models. The decentralized nature of a cryptocurrency relies on the distributed ledger technology, typically a blockchain, that represents a record keeping system. This system secures the identities of users in a pseudo-anonymous form, their owned cryptocurrency balances, and all executed authentic transactions that took place among users of the network.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain is a special form of an ever growing list of records, known as ‘blocks’, which are linked together using cryptography algorithms. Public (permissionless) blockchains are utilized by cryptocurrencies. Data stored onto the blocks of public blockchains can be accessed by anyone. Private (permissioned) blockchains are utilized by businesses and rely on an access control layer to determine who can access data stored on the blocks of their private blockchain.
On any blockchain, each block includes cryptographic hash of the proceeding block. Data is recorded permanently onto a blockchain and cannot be modified. When used as a distributed, or public ledger, a blockchain is usually managed by a peer-to peer network of nodes (computers or servers) that communicate with each other via a unique inter-node communication protocol. As new blocks are generated and validated, they are broadcast to all nodes across the network. These nodes then keep a record of all information stored on the blockchain.
What makes cryptocurrency blockchains so special ?
Cryptocurrency blockchains have certain characteristics that make them special:
- Borderless – there is no distinction between any country.
- Decentralized – there is no central point of control, such as a central bank authority or government.
- Immutable – you cannot censor, freeze, or cancel transactions.
What is a token?
A token is a type of cryptocurrency that represents a particular asset or utility. Such an asset can reside on top of another blockchain. Tokens can represent any interchangeable and tradeable asset.
What is an altcoin?
“Altcoin” is an abbreviation for “alternative cryptocurrency coins” and refers to any coin other than bitcoin. Altcoins are usually referred to simply as “coins.”
What is an ICO?
An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a means of seed funding and crowdfunding used to raise capital for a startup or other project through the issuance of a new cryptocurrency or cryptographic token. These new cryptocurrencies or cryptographic tokens are issued via blockchain technology. Not all cryptocurrencies or ICO tokens are issued on new blockchains, as most of them are created using other well-established blockchains, such as that of Ethereum.
What are smart contracts?
Smart contracts are digital, self-executing contracts that contain the terms of the agreement between the buyer and the seller in the contract’s code. Smart contracts are kept inside a distributed, decentralized blockchain network which makes them transparent, traceable, and irreversible.
What are exchanges?
An exchange is a platform on which one cryptocurrency can be bought or sold for a specific, ever-updating price. The price is determined by free market rules (i.e. supply and demand). An exchange is also used in order to convert fiat money, such as USD or EUR, into cryptocurrency. There are currently thousands of coins traded over numerous exchanges. Altcoins are mostly traded via Bitcoin or Ethereum. In other words, users have to first purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum to be able to buy most altcoins. To exchange altcoins to fiat currencies, traders will usually have to sell them first to Bitcoin or Ethereum, before being able to exchange them for fiat money.
What is a whitepaper?
A whitepaper is an in-depth report that a blockchain-based project, such as an ICO, produces to present necessary information about the project to others. A whitepaper should include the origin of the project and the vision that leads it, the product and how will it be used, market and competitor analyses for the project’s field, and the team that created the project. The whitepaper should include information about the technical details, terms, usage of the tokens or coins of the blockchain-based project or ICO. Investors rely on whitepapers to evaluate various blockchain-based projects and identify which projects may be potentially profitable.
What is ROI?
ROI is an abbreviation for “Return On Investment”. It is a measurement used to express the investment’s profitability.
General Questions About Cointelligence’s ICO List
How can an ICO get published to this list?
Regular listing: In order to include your ICO on our list, please fill out the form found HERE. Every ICO that enters our system is thoroughly vetted. This process is completed by Cointelligence’s research team. During this process, our research team gathers all of the information regarding the ICO and validates it.
Premium listing: Cointelligence offers a premium package for ICOs. This package includes the following:
- Diverting more user traffic toward the ICO’s site by appearing higher on our ICO list and having more features on the ICO profile page.
- Getting researched and evaluated faster.
In order to purchase this package, please contact us at info@Cointelligence.com
IMPORTANT NOTE: Purchasing a premium package will never affect the rating that an ICO receives.
How can the information on an ICO profile be changed or updated?
If there are any changes or updates to be done, please send an email to our research team at info@Cointelligence.com. Please keep in mind that Cointelligence presents only valid data and that changes will be made only after our research team validates the proposed.
How can an ICO be removed from the list?
In order to remove an ICO, please contact us at info@Cointelligence.com and specify the reason for your request, as well as a proof that the removal is being requested by all members of the ICO’s team.
Where is it possible to buy an ICO’s token?
Cointelligence is not an exchange platform. Tokens can be bought via the ICO’s official website.
How do I choose an ICO to invest in?
There are many factors to consider when making a decision to invest in an ICO. Luckily, we have written an entire guide regarding this matter. You can find this guide HERE.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this website is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with an attorney, financial advisor, or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.
General Questions About Cointelligence’s Rating System
How does your rating system work?
You can find a detailed explanation of our rating system HERE.
What is the meaning of an ICO profile score?
An ICO’s profile score represents the informed opinion of our rating board, based on their research. It is not a guarantee of the success or failure of the project, merely an analysis of all the available facts.
What is the meaning of the risk score?
The Cointelligence risk score is not an indicator for the project’s quality, but rather it is an indicator of the probability that the project will or will not be realized. You can read more about the risk score HERE.
Who rates the ICOs?
Our team of crypto experts rate each ICO. Each expert is a long-standing and well-regarded member of the crypto community. In order to help ensure that our ratings stay impartial and objective, we do not disclose the the identities of our experts.
If you would like to apply to be a crypto expert on our team, please contact us at info@Cointelligence.com.
Can an ICO pay for a better rating?
How can an ICO ask for a re-evaluation or an update of their ICO score?
Please contact our research team at info@Cointelligence.com in order to be re-evaluated. Keep in mind that a score will change only if the ICO has improved its quality in the different fields listed in the rating system. The score is a reflection of the state of the ICO and in order to improve it, the ICO must improve as well.
Frauds and Scams
What are the actions Cointelligence takes in order to protect users from fraudulent ICOs?
At Cointelligence, we follow our own proprietary method focused on deeply researching the ICOs documents, team, and vision. Our method consists of:
- Website and Whitepaper – We go through an ICO’s website and whitepaper, making sure the ICO has both items and that they include the information regarding the ICO’s vision as well as method of realization. During our research we look for warning signs that may indicate a fraudulent ICO, such as plagiarism, an illogical concept, no long-term plan, or use cases that do not align with the main idea.
- Data validation – We make sure the data on the site, in the whitepaper, in social media posts, and in online publications is accurate, original and valid. We also look for a wide range of warning signs, including:
- Fake pictures of team members
- Unrealistic or unchanging values (e.g. amount raised, timers, bonuses, and sale stage)
- Fake wallet address or email address
- Censored, closed, or minimal responses from the ICO’s team to the public’s questions on social media and online forums
- Falsely claiming to be traded on main exchanges
- Having a non-existing smart contract (e.g. on Etherscan for Ethereum-based tokens) or an open-source project that has empty repositories, or no repositories, on GitHub
- Team authenticity – A real ICO must have a team of employees with active social media accounts that details the team members’ experience in past projects. The team must also be willing to perform a KYC process with us. The biggest warning sign here is an ICO with an anonymous team that have no other sign of existence. It is very important that teams are researched in order to learn about their past experience, recommendations they hold in the crypto community, and examples of their work on their social media accounts. Red flags are raised when advisors have irrelevant professional backgrounds or when investors who invest very small amounts of money appear on the main page of the ICO’s website.
- Economically Reasonable – We make sure that the financial model of the ICO is reasonable and logical. Here, we look for the following warning signs:
- Disproportionate distribution of tokens, mining, or earnings that lean toward the development and management teams
- No hard cap, a very large difference between the soft cap and the hard cap, or no refund guarantee
- A promise of success or other guarantee as a part of the ICO
How can I learn more to protect myself from investing in a scam ICO?
There is a lot you can do to protect yourself from scam ICOs. Read more about what you should look out for in the article we published HERE.
How can I report a scam?
If you believe a certain ICO to be a scam, please contact our research team at info@Cointelligence.com.
How Cryptocurrency Regulation Can Affect The Price
Often referred to as the ‘Wild West’ for traders and investors, cryptocurrency markets are continuing to make their name in the world of trading. While some believe that cryptocurrencies are a fad which is not set to last, others have a strong belief that cryptocurrencies are in fact the future of currency. As a result of their increasing popularity, many people are turning to global cryptocurrency trade platforms to trade and invest in cryptocurrencies. However, a number of countries around the world are looking at implementing some form of regulation against these platforms and cryptocurrencies as a whole, with China already banning all access to trading platforms and Japan integrating regulations after recognising Bitcoin as a viable form of currency in 2017. Here, we’re taking a closer look at how cryptocurrency regulation is likely to impact price fluctuations in the market and what the key factors are.
Mere talks regarding cryptocurrency regulations at this year’s G20 summit led many traders to become concerned over whether or not the talks would lead to massive price drops. Cryptocurrencies are already exceptionally volatile and we’ve already seen the impact of what leading political and financial figures can have on the price. For example, when a key figure from the Bank of England and FSB stated that crypto assets do not “pose risks” to the world’s economy, Bitcoin was driven up by $1000. However, the future of cryptocurrencies and their role in wider society is still under much debate, and with G20 not finalising any rules or regulations thus far, traders and investors will be looking closely at what governments are discussing over the course of the next 12 months. Any positive signs could see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies spike, whereas negative conversations regarding strict regulations or even an entire ban on cryptocurrencies could result in a major drop in price.
Could Regulation Stabilise Cryptocurrencies?
While the whole concept of cryptocurrencies is to remain entirely decentralised and out of the control of a single entity, some investors and experts believe that some form of regulation could actually help to stabilise the market. Regulation requires an oversight, and if countries follow in Japan’s footsteps, who have put in place a number of self-regulatory bodies not related to the government whatsoever, more people could begin to trust cryptocurrencies further. If more people are trusting cryptocurrencies, then it is highly likely that more people are going to invest in the digital assets. If this occurs, we could see the price begin to be driven upwards sparking yet another bubble – which hopefully will not burst this time.
The Future For Cryptocurrencies
Despite the increased attention given to cryptocurrencies from regulatory bodies around the world, the future still remains hazy as to how and when cryptocurrencies will become regulated. The market grew significantly in a wholly unregulated market as a result of their design, but with an increasing number of hacks and security breaches, regulations may need to be put into place in order to stabilise the volatile market. The industry remains in its infancy, and even despite some of the main currencies’ almost dangerous prices wings, the cryptocurrencies have managed to correct themselves.
As ICOs remain a key concern for many regulators, we could see the focus remain on those instead of cryptocurrencies as a whole for the time being. 2018 will be an important measurement into how regulations are likely to impact the price and the market as a whole, with Japan having already implemented a number of regulations, and with Europe, South Africa and South Korea not being far behind.
Buying your first bitcoins – A simple guide
The popularity of bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general, has skyrocketed during the past couple of years. The soaring demand for cryptocurrencies has driven their total market capitalization to the moon, exceeding $300 billion at the time of writing this blog post. Even though many people might be tempted to buy bitcoin, the apparent complexity of the process of coin buying and storing renders some reluctant to test new waters.
In this blog post we will present you with a simple guide that will walk you through the process of buying some bitcoin and storing it in your very own wallet.
Creating an online bitcoin wallet:
Before you buy bitcoin, you have to set up the wallet which you will use to store your purchased coins. A wallet in the bitcoin ecosystem is similar to a bank account. Your bitcoin wallet is what you will use to receive, send, and store your coins. There are two forms of bitcoin wallets: software wallets (bitcoin core or desktop qt wallets) and online wallets. Software wallets are inarguably more secure than online wallets. However, using software wallets can be rather hard especially for newbies, who might completely lose their stored bitcoins if they fail to properly store their private keys. As such, for the purpose of this guide, we will show you how to setup an online wallet from blockchain.info.
Blockchain.info is by far the best and most secure online bitcoin wallet provider. With Blockchain.info, you have full control over your coins’ private keys which are never stored on the service’s online server. You can use your wallet to store, send, and receive not only bitcoin, but also ethereum and bitcoin cash.
To create your wallet, follow these simple steps:
- Go to Blockchain.info website and click on the “GET A FREE WALLET” button on the top right corner of the homepage.
2. On the signup page, enter your email and password. Don’t use words or phrases, because these would make it easy for hackers to crack your password. It is highly recommended to use long, randomly generated passwords that include letters, numbers, and special characters. There are many online services that can generate random passwords for you. I recommend using Random.org for generating your password. Generate a password with a minimum of 20 characters, and save it in a safe place. Remember that if you lose your password, you may lose access to all coins stored in your wallet. After entering your password, and re-entering it in the “Confirm Password” box, press the “Continue” button.
3. Right after you press the “Continue” button, you will be logged in automatically to your wallet’s homepage, as shown on the below screenshot.
4. After signing up, you will receive an email from blockchain.info. You have to verify your email by clicking the “YES, THIS IS MY EMAIL” button as shown on the below screenshot. The email will also include your unique wallet identifier, or your wallet ID, which you will use to log in to your wallet. Store your wallet ID in a safe place and don’t share it with anyone.
5. You have successfully now created your wallet. Now, let’s sign out and re-login to make sure that everything is working fine. Press the “SIGN OUT” button on the top right corner of the page. You will be prompted with a window that will present you with your backup recovery phrase which you will use to recover your account if you ever lose your password. The backup recovery phrase is composed of 12 words. Write it down or print it and keep it in a safe place.
6. After writing down your backup recovery phrase, press the “Final Step” button. You will be prompted with a window asking you to enter four random words from your backup recovery phrase as shown on the below screenshot.
Enter the requested words and press “Finish”. A “You have backed up your recovery phrase” message will show up. Press the “Close” button as shown on the below screenshot.
7. Now, press the “SIGN OUT” button again. The login page will appear. Now, enter your Wallet ID and password and press the “LOG IN” button, as shown on the below screenshot.
8. After logging in, your wallet’s Dashboard will show up. You’re now ready to receive bitcoin. To identify your wallet’s bitcoin address, press on bitcoin’s icon on the column on the left side of the page. On the page that shows up, press the button marked “Request” on the top, as shown on the below screenshot.
9. A window will appear displaying your bitcoin address as shown on the below screenshot. You can press the “COPY” button to copy your bitcoin address and then save it in order to use it to receive bitcoin. You can also use the “View QR Code” button to display your bitcoin address’s QR code and use it for simplicity.
You have successfully setup your bitcoin wallet and you’re ready to buy your first crypto.
Buying bitcoin via Coinbase:
Now, we will use Coinbase to buy bitcoin. Coinbase is one of the world’s most popular and secure cryptocurrency exchanges, where you can buy bitcoin using credit/debit cards and bank wire transfers.
1. Go to Coinbase.com and press the “Sign up” button. You will be prompted with a signup form, with two account types: “Individual” and “Business”. Choose the “Individual” account type, and fill in your first name, last name, e-mail, and password as shown on the below screenshot. Use Random.org to generate a random password like you did with your wallet’s password to make it hard to crack, too. After filling in all the details, press the “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.
2. A window will show up asking you to verify your email, as shown on the below screenshot. Go to your inbox, and open the “Verify your email address” message sent to you from Coinbase and press the “Verify Email Address” button.
3. After successfully verifying your email address, login to your account using your email and created password. When you sign in for the first time, you will be asked to link your mobile phone to your account, as shown on the below screenshot.
4. After entering your mobile number, an SMS will be sent to your phone including a special code. Enter the code and press the “Submit” button as shown below.
5. Now, click the “Add Payment Method” button at the top of the page, and then on the payment method selector choose “Credit/Debit Card”. When doing so, you will be asked to complete a photo ID verification process which usually takes no more than 24-48 hours. Next, you will be prompted with the card verification screen, where you will have to enter your credit/debit card information including name, address (it should match the card’s billing address), and CVV code. Coinbase will ask to make two pending charges to your card. Accept the two charges, and then log in to your card’s online account and write down the exact amounts of the two charges made, and then enter those amounts into the appropriate boxes on the card verification window. Now, you have successfully added your card and you will see a window marked “Credit/Debit Card Added” with a button that says “Buy Digital Currency”.
6. Now, you can buy bitcoin with your debit/credit card. Press “Buy Digital Currency” and you will be prompted with a window as shown on the below screenshot. Enter the amount of bitcoin you wish to buy, or enter the equivalent amount in USD. On the below example, we bought $100 worth of bitcoin, which equals 0.01479509 BTC at the current bitcoin price ($6,759). Then, press the “Buy Bitcoin Instantly” button.
7. The amount of bitcoin you purchased will instantly appear in your bitcoin wallet. You can now move it to your Blockchain.info wallet by pressing the “Accounts” button on the top menu, then clicking the “Send” button under your “BTC Wallet”. You will be prompted with a window to enter the amount you want to send and the address you want to send the funds to. Double check that you have correctly entered your blockchain.info address and the amount you want to send before clicking the “Send Funds” button, confirming the transaction’s details and completing the sending process.
Within a few minutes, your bitcoin funds will show up on your Blockchain.info’s wallet along with the number of confirmations it received.
This was a simple guide to help you buy bitcoin, to start exploring the world of cryptocurrencies.
(Cointelligence’s disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies represent a very risky investment, so always trade cautiously and never invest more than what you can afford to lose)