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Is investing in Bitcoin safe? Get the basics first!

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India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay
India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay

With the fussy mania of Bitcoin going around and past, your eyes and ears, in the news and peer discussions, you must be having some basic questions about it: What is bitcoin? Is it legal? How can I get it? But most of all, you must be thinking, ‘Is investing in Bitcoin safe?’

Let’s find out!

Pluto Exchange has launched first app that will trade in bitcoins in India
Pluto Exchange has launched the first app that will trade in bitcoins in India. Wikimedia commons

ALSO READ: Bitcoin Worth Millions Stolen Days Before US Exchange Opens

Clearing the basics

  • Bitcoin is the first ever cryptocurrency that existed, it was invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • Cryptocurrencies are nothing but computer codes that have monetary value. No Government has any control over them.
  • Bitcoins ‘self-contain’ their value i.e. there’s no need for any bank to move or store the money.
  • Bitcoin currency is completely unregulated and decentralized.
  • Bitcoins are mined, and they can be mined by anyone in the general public who has a strong computer. However, only 21 billion of bitcoins in total can be mined. Currently, there are around 11 million in circulation.
  • Bitcoin has no underlying physical monetary base to support its value, and it is totally subject to its demand in the market.

What are the risks?

  • Low demand: India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently, the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall.
  • Unregulated: There is no bank or government tax agency that can track your money and its movement. Hence, it can become a tool for money laundering.
  • Irreversible transactions: There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever.
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay

ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?

Status of Bitcoin in India

Finance minister Arun Jaitley highlighted in a statement that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and have no regulatory permission or protection in the country.

However, there was no announcement banning or imposing any curbs on the same. The government panel is also awaiting a report on tackling cryptocurrencies in India, Jaitley said.

The government has recently cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies like bitcoin, saying they are like Ponzi schemes with no legal tender and protection.

“One of the features of cryptocurrency is that there is lack of dependence on the state. It functions with a degree of anonymity. It operates within a virtual community which is created and enjoys the trust of that virtual community,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha.

“The government is examining the matter. A Committee under the chairmanship of the Economic Affairs Department Secretary is deliberating over all issues related to cryptocurrencies to propose specific actions to be taken… Instead of taking any knee-jerk action, let’s wait for the report of this committee.” Jaitley added

Next Story

New Cryptocurrency Developed by MIT Researchers is Way More Faster, Efficient

The researchers built their system on top of a new cryptocurrency network called Algorand, which is secure, decentralised, and more scalable than other cryptocurrencies

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Avoid making decisions based on emotions and find reliable sources for information as it will become a trader’s best asset.
Avoid making decisions based on emotions and find reliable sources for information as it will become a trader’s best asset.

MIT researchers have developed a new cryptocurrency that drastically reduces the data users need to join the network and verify transactions by up to 99 per cent compared to the current popular cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies, such as the popular Bitcoin, are networks built on the blockchain, a financial ledger formatted in a sequence of individual blocks, each containing transaction data.

To join a cryptocurrency, new users must download and store all transaction data from hundreds of thousands of individual blocks. They must also store these data to use the service and help verify transactions. This makes the process slow or computationally impractical for some.

In a paper to be presented at the forthcoming Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, the researchers introduced Vault — a cryptocurrency that lets users join the network by downloading only a fraction of the total transaction data.

It also incorporates techniques that delete empty accounts that take up space, and enables verifications using only the most recent transaction data that are divided and shared across the network, minimising an individual user’s data storage and processing requirements.

“The paper title is a pun. A vault is a place where you can store money, but the blockchain also lets you ‘vault’ over blocks when joining a network,” said Derek Leung, a graduate student in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the MIT.

virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
Transactions in cryptocurrencies occur the same way that you make transactions using any other fiat currency. pixabay

“When I’m bootstrapping, I only need a block from way in the past to verify a block way in the future. I can skip over all blocks in between, which saves us a lot of bandwidth.”

In experiments, Vault reduced the bandwidth for joining its network by 99 per cent when compared to Bitcoin and 90 per cent when compared to Ethereum, which is considered one of today’s most efficient cryptocurrencies.

Also Read- Researchers Feels Cyber Attacks Are Outpacing Physical Terror Attacks

Importantly, Vault still ensures that all nodes validate all transactions, providing tight security equal to its existing counterparts.

The researchers built their system on top of a new cryptocurrency network called Algorand, which is secure, decentralised, and more scalable than other cryptocurrencies. (IANS)