Author Archives: Nika
Author Archives: Nika
When dealing with cryptocurrencies, you will need a wallet to store them in. And as it’s not a real currency, you need a virtual wallet as well – which can either be a software wallet, a hardware one, or a paper wallet. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, but today we will focus on software wallets – which are usually free to use and can be accessed from either desktop/laptop or mobile. Some wallets have both desktop and mobile versions if you need to have access to your Bitcoins from multiple devices. Without further ado, let’s look at the top 10 Bitcoin software wallets to keep your coins safe in 2018:
Blockchain.info is one of the most beginner-friendly software wallets out there. The interface is very comprehensive, and they have both mobile and desktop versions available. You Bitcoins are deposited online, but you have full control over your private keys, meaning the company does not have access to your funds. However, their verification process is pretty rigorous, so we wouldn’t recommend it if you want to keep your transactions more or less anonymous.
Coinbase is one of the biggest software wallet providers in the Bitcoin business, but it does have full control over the users’ private keys, and all the funds deposited in their wallets. They also provide a service called Vault, which allows you to deny the company control over your money. It might still be worth a shot, as many people use and trust Coinbase to this day, but be extra cautious, and don’t store all your coins on your Coinbase wallet.
Jaxx is the perfect wallet for people who wish they had a built-in exchange. The software lets you exchange between different currencies without taking the money out of the wallet, and then putting them back in. They support both Bitcoin and a variety of altcoins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, and other blockchain-based assets. Jaxx is available on both desktop and mobile (iOS and Android)
If you don’t spend too much time in front of your desktop screen and would rather prefer to have your wallet on mobile, MyCelium might be worth a shot. The software is available for both iOS and Android, and offers some pretty advanced privacy and security features. On the other hands, the interface is not as user-friendly as you would expect, which makes MyCelium a better choice for seasoned users.
Exodus is another blockchain asset wallet – in other words, it supports more than just Bitcoins. You can also store your Ethereum, Litecoins, Dogecoins, Dash, and other currencies on your Exodus wallet. The company is quite new in the business, but it has a very convenient interface (desktop only, unfortunately), and lets you trade Bitcoins and altcoins from within the wallet. Depending on when you read this you might want to read some recent reviews on Exodus before depositing your coins.
On the other hand, here’s one of the oldest Bitcoin wallet software companies out there (they even snatched the original brand name.) They do have a bit of experience in what a Bitcoin owner needs from their wallet – and their features are always on point. From privacy concerns to complete control over your funds, Bitcoin Wallet offers everything you need to protect your crypto wealth. Unfortunately, it’s only available for mobile Android users, and they don’t seem to have an interest in expanding to other OS.
Much like the name suggests, Armory is a wallet that emphasizes on security. It’s best suited for advanced users who want to put their Bitcoins on ice, and not necessarily touch them anytime soon. The interface is pretty complex, so we wouldn’t recommend Armory if you’re a newbie to Bitcoin. However, if you’ve been in the niche for some time, and are specifically looking for uttermost privacy and security for your funds and transactions, give them a shot.
Electrum’s main concern is creating a lightweight Bitcoin wallet software, that can work smoothly on just about any processor. It has been in business since 2011, and only offers a desktop interface at the moment. As a beginner, you might find that the interface is very cluttered with all sorts of features, and it might be a bit hard to find your way through at first. There have been concerns with Electrum using remote servers to handle parts of the wallet software, but on the other hand, that allows it not to put a lot of pressure on your processor, as other Bitcoin wallet software do.
Green Address is a good software wallet for beginners. Its interface is very simplified and friendly, but the system is still pretty rigorous with their privacy and security concerns. It supports multi-signature features, and can be accessed on multiple platforms, including mobile (Android app), online, and using a desktop client when in offline mode. You do not have full control over your Bitcoins though, as each transaction has to be approved by a third party.
What we like about Xapo is their debit card payment feature. The wallet has this built-in feature that allows you to spend your Bitcoins as if you has a debit card – meaning they provide you with the data of a virtual debit card you can use to purchase goods and services online. Their interface is very beginner-friendly as well. As far as privacy and security features go, Xapo’s are pretty decent, but nothing out of the ordinary, so better look for something else if you want to put your Bitcoins on ice.
These are the top 10 software Bitcoin wallets you can store your coins in the year to come. If you’re a complete beginner and have no clue where to start, a rule of thumb is going for a wallet that claims no control over your funds. This way you can be sure that no third party has access to your private keys and your funds. Also, opt for something beginner-friendly, so you don’t have to deal with a lot of features and settings you’ll barely ever need.
The biggest crypto exchange from Japan, BitFlyer, will become accessible to residents of Europe. The exchange has its headquarters in Japan and has offices in the USA. On January 23rd, the Luxembourg Financial Supervisory Commission has approved of BitFlyer starting their activity in Europe.
BitFlyer stays in the world’s top 14 largest exchanges based on volume, with an average 24-hour trading volume of over $290 million. It initially targets the professional audience around the world – those who can invest higher amounts. Judging the recent regulatory implementations on many exchanges, BitFlyer comes right in time to expand the borders of European traders.
Their main focus lies in the trade of Bitcoins, which account in average the 24-hour volume trade more than 98% compared to other cryptocurrencies. However, the company plans to introduce more currencies in their European trade pattern, including Ethereum and Litecoin.
Since 2014, when the company was founded, their growth has reached impressive heights. In the summer of 2017, they announced their expansion to the US, with current headquarters in San Francisco. Many of the European investors were attracted since the exchange made their move to the West. Little time has passed, and now they are already the biggest Bitcoin exchange in Europe. With their integration, they offer an interesting promotion for the first traders. Until the end of February 2018, new users can trade on their platform without any fees. More information about trading opportunities with BitFlyer can be found on their official page.
The company has earned about $36 million in venture capital funding. It targets the improvement of more spheres which are involved in the blockchain technology. In the near future, we might see new blockchain researches leading to the improvement of the platform, the evolution of the FinTech sector and other actions originate from their side.
Their presence in Europe will allow many users to trade directly with people from Japan. The company has made a huge move up to this moment, and while South Korea and China have been busy by installing harsher regulations, Japan has stepped forward to regain the balance in the crypto market.
Yuzo Kano, the founder of the exchange, has expressed his ambitions to help to improve the regulatory status for the well-being of the cryptocurrency industry. He worked at Goldman Sachs for 10 years in the trading department and established the exchange with the Co-Founder, Takafumi Komiyama, spending days long coding in a bakery before they went big.
BitFlyer is not the only business in the crypto space that has emerged to be successful and change the lives of many in Japan. The country is continuing introducing cryptocurrencies in its payment systems involving diverse apps and platforms. Millions of users are getting accustomed to the changes, and there are also good sides. Last year, many people from China immigrated to Japan to avoid the ICO ban. Such occurrences and many of other innovative introductions lead to numerous young investors building their ground and boosting the crypto market in the land of the rising sun.
Ripple is revolutionizing the cryptocurrency world. It has recently overthrown Ethereum in terms of market capitalization, becoming the second most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. Right now, Ripple’s market cap is at $76bn, and its market price has grown by 50% in the last days of 2017.
First of all, you need to understand what Ripple is. The very concept of cryptocurrency is a decentralized monetary system, one that allows money to function independently from government and bank regulations. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have made it this far by creating P2P payment networks, where transactions are not controlled by a centralized server, but instead approved by each and every single person in the network. However, Ripple is different. Ripple is both a payment system and a cryptocurrency. The payment network connects banks, businesses, and other institutions, allowing them to send and receive money through their system, and thus cut on long waiting times and exorbitant fees. All the transactions that go through this network use the token currency XRP. It sounds like the opposite of what a cryptocurrency should be – that’s why many people were and still are skeptic towards Ripple.
Another reason why some people don’t like Ripple is that the system is not completely decentralized. The company released the whole supply of XRP (100,000,000,000 XRP) before its launch and is still in possession of more than half of the coins. That’s is why the only way you can get your hands on some Ripple tokens is to buy them – be it from the official company, or from a P2P exchange. If you decide to buy from the company, you will be asked to buy 20 XRP at the current market value just to register your account. You can probably find better deals at a P2P exchange – but beware of scammers.
You cannot mine ripple – the only coins that can be mined are those that do not exist apriori. Bitcoin, Ether, Dash, Litecoin are all limited-supply cryptocurrencies, but they have not been released by the developers themselves. Each Bitcoin that exists in the world has been ‘mined’ by someone who helped decrypt the information on a block, and added it to the blockchain. As all the Ripple tokens that can exist in the world are already in circulation, you cannot mine more of them – you can just purchase and trade the existing ones. You might come across websites that offer Ripple cloud mining contracts, and if you do, run as fast as you can – they’re just trying to rip you off.
But is Ripple profitable? As of the end of 2017, its growth is pretty promising. It went from $0.005 to $1 in just a couple of months, and while that is nowhere near the price of Ether of Bitcoin, the growth rate is still pretty impressive. The trends for 2018 seem promising as well, and there still seems to be room for growth in the year to come.
Top 20 cryptocurrency exchange BitConnect ceases all trading activity and shuts down on January 15th, 2018. One of the largest Bitcoin exchanges on the internet, BitConnect is also behind the token known as Bitconnect Coin, which dropped from roughly $360 to an all-time low of $19 after the exchange shut down.
Bitconnect was one of the largest, yet most suspicious cryptocurrency exchanges on the web for the longest time. Created by anonymous developers, the website started its activity by loaning out BCC, or Bitconnect Coin, an in-house token. They would also offer bonuses to people who could convince others to join the website and get a loan themselves. So far, it sounds like the simplest definition of a Ponzi scheme. However, Bitconnect offered a bit more than just loans.
The exchange claims that they have developed a unique volatility software – a bot that could somehow predict the changes in Bitcoin’s market price. Bitconnect would use the software to trade Bitconnect Coin for Bitcoin as the prices grew and dropped and would return the interest to the person who loaned the tokens. As the price of Bitcoin fluctuates a lot in a matter of hours, it’s fairly easy to understand that anyone who had access to a predicting software would get obscenely rich in an instant. However, the existence of such a software is questionable in the first place. Going back to the fact that the very developers of the Bitconnect website are anonymous, this kind of makes you wonder if the software ever existed at all.
Sure, there were some examples of real people who managed to withdraw some profits made through Bitconnect, but it is still unclear if the money came from the actual interest earned by the volatility software.
Bitconnect users would have to purchase a number of BCC with Bitcoin or US dollars first. Then, they would have to loan the money back to the volatility software bot, where it would be locked away for a certain period of time (up to 299 days, depending on the value of the investment.) The interest could be accessed on a daily basis, and was, naturally, paid out in BCC. By the end of the loan period, the bot would also release the loan, leaving you with the initial amount of tokens plus the interest. However, that’s where a red flag starts to appear.
Have you heard of Bitconnect coin being accepted anywhere outside of this website? Probably not. That is because BCC was only accepted by a few major exchanges, and only when the company’s business was at its peak. Literally, the only place that ever traded BCC was the Bitconnect website – meaning your actual profit was at the mercy of the anonymous people behind the website. And that is precisely what happened on January 15th – the interest in Bitconnect dropped so much that there was no more real value to the token itself. This is another trait of a classic Ponzi scheme, which works fine as long as there are enough interest and money going around, but fails as soon as the interest starts to go down. The people who stayed with Bitconnect up until the very end ended up with thousands of BCC that were suddenly worth nothing.
Another red flag that was addressed in relation to Bitconnect was its affiliate program, which was a classic example of a pyramid scheme. People who would refer others to the website would get 5% of their investment, 3% of the second-tier referral’s investments, 2% of the third-tier referral’s investments, and so on. There were rumors that the first people to advertise Bitconnect (crypto YouTubers with a fairly large following) were in fact directly connected to the developers of the project, and got to withdraw a large amount of money before the popularity of the exchange started going down.
Bitconnect Coin has hit an all-time high of $463 in December 2017, only to drop to around $360 in the first days of 2018, and ultimately to $19 after the exchange ceased trading.
The scandal unleashed around January 15th, when the company started sending out emails invoking a number of excuses as to why they have to stop all trading activity. The first and probably most plausible one is the receiving of two Cease and Desist letters from the Texas States Securities Board and the North Carolina Secretary of State Securities Division. The email stated that these letters ‘have become a hindrance for the legal continuation of the platform’. Another excuse Bitconnect brought up is DDoS third-party attacks, which destabilized the website’s activity and created panic in the community. Lastly, they blamed it on the heaps of bad publicity circulating online, which made the community uneasy and less confident in Bitconnect’s network.
However, not all hope was lost for people owning Bitconnect Coin. The exchange claimed that they would unlock all the currently loaned BCC at an average price of $363.62, and allow people to withdraw them within five days from the exchange shutting down.
Despite ceasing all trading activities on their website, Bitconnect doesn’t seem to stop supporting its in-house cryptocurrency. They have announced an ICO for a new decentralized, blockchain-based cryptocurrency called Bitconnect X, and hope to reclaim a clean reputation in the year to come. However, it is still unclear if this ICO will attract the necessary support from people, considering the not-so-good reputation the company has already built for itself.
If there’s something we should all learn from the Bitconnect fiasco, it’s that we should be extra careful about where and how we invest our money. With so many beginners drawn into the niche at this point, it can be hard to tell the difference between an actually legit company and an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Perhaps it’s best to not risk your money on a token that is not accepted anywhere outside of the platform that developed it – especially if there is no real explanation of what backs up its value.