Investing in Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies are one of the hottest topics talked about today. People from all walks of life are making millions of dollars investing in these digital monies. However, the potential returns come with enormous risks. So, before you put any money into cryptocurrencies, it would pay to do your research.
Too many people jump in before their feet are wet, inspired by the fear of missing out (FOMO). This dastardly deed pressured you to smoke drugs and skip class in high school, and now it has returned again to ruin your 25s to 30s. Good thing you learned a thing or two, as FOMO is probably the biggest ‘oops' you could make when it comes to your financial future.
Besides FOMO, here are a number of other benefits and cons that you should be aware of when buying these virtual tokens; ranked in no particular order of importance.
1. Positive: Cryptocurrencies Promise Massive Returns
If you can see past the hype and sensationalism, cryptocurrencies do, in fact, offer some great returns. For example, if you laid down just $1,000 USD in Bitcoin at the start of 2013, that money would have ballooned to $500,000 in 2018. And it was not only Bitcoin that has lined the pockets of teenagers and Wall St. investors, either. Despite their dodgy reputations, a number of altcoins have leaped into the top 10 currencies by market cap, and saw gains of 1000% over the last couple of months.
So, provided that you invest with a bit of common sense and get unbelievably lucky, you too could join the pod of crypto whales that are said to be in control of the market.
2. Negative: Inexperienced, Idealistic Teams
The thing about cryptocurrencies is that each coin is trying to solve a particular problem. Some coins just want to make you laugh (Doge Coin), while others attempt to tackle Bitcoin’s most prominent weaknesses of low speeds and high transaction costs (Litecoin). These coins and the teams behind them are like any other startup; they fish for money from investors to become the next Bitcoin, or to at least haul in something close. The problem is that their captains are lost at sea, with no way of knowing which way the winds will take them.
Cryptocurrencies are something new to the investment world. So the crews behind them are often inexperienced. If these startups are not managed correctly, the whole thing can fall apart, or at least fail to live up to its investors’ lofty expectations.
You can avoid these shipwrecks by checking the credentials of the team. Who are they? What experience do they have? And why is the team qualified to launch an ICO in the first place?
3. Positive: Great Liquidity
What annoys startup investors more than anything is when their money gets locked up. Some of these ventures could be a scam, or go broke before they see a cent of their money. On the other hand, grabbing a bank bond for a pithy 5% return may seem like a safer, better choice. But either way, you end up ripping yourself off when things go bad.
What people love about cryptocurrencies is that they are liquid, which means you can exchange all the Doge you want for real world dollars. Cryptocurrency markets operate at all hours of the day, seven days a week. No queue times, bank tellers, or annoying disclosure statements. You get in and out, when you want to. Plus, selling off your cryptocurrencies is usually instant, so you can ride the ups and downs of the market.
4. Negative: Technical Limitations
Unlike the money in your wallet that you can see and feel, the value of cryptocurrencies exists as much in the investor’s imagination as the blockchain it came from. Their illusory nature makes it seem like you are playing with house money, which is the same as gambling when you hit your upswing. Literally any other investment has a presence in the real world, with the exception of cryptocurrencies.
And as the technology behind cryptocurrencies is fresh, you often pay for this via its technical limitations. Many applications and markets slow down to snail’s pace when traders are busy. The problem can get so bad that certain currencies are disabled altogether, meaning you can’t buy or sell your coins.
This problem of exchanges can be mitigated through the various hard forks and improvements we have seen with Bitcoin, such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and the Lightning Network. Both promise to reduce network congestion and lower transaction costs, which are both major issues if cryptocurrencies are to be taken seriously by the rest of the world.
5. Good and Bad: Transparency
A defining feature of Bitcoin is that all of its transactions are public. Each transaction is stored on a public ledger that welcomes any nosy person to see what you’ve been buying. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on your point of view. If you don’t like it, then you can opt for a more private currency such as Monaro that does not have this feature, or wait until the Lightning Network for Bitcoin supports private transactions.
This level of transparency trickles all the way down to the management of each currency. Before a new token or cryptocurrency is released, the management team will post a whitepaper on its website. This PDF outlines the company’s business case, amount of tokens issued, team details, and a roadmap.
The problem is that dodgy startups can lie about and its intentions, experience, or ability to complete the project. In the past, some ICOs have amounted to nothing more than a crude snatch n grab, taking its investors’ money and confidence in the market along with it.
A legitimate startup will be eager to provide you with the credentials you need for you to hand over your money. Has the company posted its code on Github? Do they have an active Slack or Telegram channel? Are bloggers tweeting and writing about it in the cryptosphere? All of these things matter!
6. Negative: Questionable Security
By design, security is a currency’s weakest point and centre of gravity. If the security of a coin is compromised, then it becomes worthless. In the past, exchanges have been compromised and led to millions of dollars stolen in virtual currencies. People who trusted these platforms with their livelihood almost lost everything. The issue of security for exchanges and hot wallet services has become so poor that people are advised to move them onto a piece of paper instead (paper wallet). The fact that paper offers superior security tells you a lot about how far these coins need to come for them to be as trusted as online banking, or a merchant service such as PayPal.
Another thing that stands in the way of the security for cryptocurrencies is that no one will insure them. Even Coinbase, which is the largest exchanges of virtual tokens, does not provide insurance for its customers. This means that if someone were to hack your Coinbase account, you would be left holding a big empty bag of Bitcoin. To dissuade attacks on its customer’s wallets, Coinbase states that it keeps less than 2% of its funds online, with the rest being held in cold storage. Yet this won’t mean much if someone takes control of your account.
So, unless you are playing around with only a small amount of coins, it would be best to use a cold storage wallet. There are a number of options available that range from USB sticks, audio wallets, to bits of paper that have your private and public key printed on them. But that’s not where your responsibility stops, either. You should also back up your public and private keys in multiple locations around your home, or keep an encrypted file key on your computer that only you have access to.
To summarize everything: investing in cryptocurrencies will always be dangerous. The cryptocurrency markets are all over the place and its origins are new. Yet they can still be a great investment if you have cash lying around. Always be careful with your money and do your research!
MetaMask: Ethereum ERC20 Token Wallet Browser Extension Beginner’s Guide
The Beginner’s Guide to MetaMask
For those new to Ethereum or perhaps even cryptocurrencies in general, the name MetaMask has probably already popped up in conversations. MetaMask is essentially a browser extension, and acts both as a wallet and access point to the Ethereum network. Explained even simpler, MetaMask is a hot wallet.
On the blockchain cryptocurrency networks, users can opt for a hot wallet (“live” or actively connected to the network) or a cold wallet (disconnected from the network). A wallet is necessary to store personal altcoins off exchanges or anywhere else after trading or transacting.
Although many early exchanges act as a bank for digital traders, current wisdom dictates that users maintain their funds offsite. In addition, a user will very often need to fund a trading account from a wallet, as many don’t allow for fiat or legacy payment protocols.
There are pros and cons to both, and current trends see most users employing the duo as their needs dictate. A hot wallet can be accessed and pilfered through phishing or user error, whereas a cold wallet is dead to the network, allowing no access at all. A cold wallet is also sometimes called a vault, as it’s silent, secure and access-restricted.
Many users will encounter the name when looking at ICOs, because ICOs are dominated by the ERC-20 token protocol. ERC-20 is a “type” of token, developed and employed on the Ethereum network, that has proven the most malleable and compatible token structure for crowdfunding purposes. The vast majority of ICOs, while employing their “own” tokens, are actually building those tokens out of the ERC-20 protocol.
Looking at a few nuances of the wallet, since it is an organic build from the Ethereum network, the MetaMask wallet will only hold ETH coins and other ERC-20 tokens of whatever origin. Bitcoin, for example, cannot be held in a MetaMask wallet.
The other major component of MetaMask is that it is a gateway to the Ethereum network. What this means is that all of the network’s dapps are available to use for MetaMask wallet holders. Dapps are “decentralized apps” and so named because their backend code is running on a decentralized network, in this case the Ethereum network.
If dapps seem obscure, examples would be the game Cryptokitties or casinos like Etheroll, a marketplace like OpenSea and of course digital exchanges like ForkDelta and IDEX.
Without a middleman like MetaMask, a PC’s browser can’t access the Ethereum network. Not unless a user runs a “full node” and installs the whole 400GB Ethereum blockchain on their PC.
Installation and Setup Of MetaMask
MetaMask is “open source,” which means anyone can view the code on GitHub. Currently, MetaMask functions on the FireFox, Chrome, Brave and Opera browsers. Links to MetaMask extensions for all relevant browsers are readily available on the MetaMask homepage. Once installed, the MetaMask logo will appear in the top right of the screen. Chrome, for one, will typically ask you to enable an extension, but these steps are all linked and users are done with a MetaMask installation in a minute or two.
Users don’t require a username when registering a MetaMask wallet, only a password. With MetaMask, a user’s password is called a “DEN.” although a clever play on words, since the logo is a fox’s face, although this appears to be more coincidence than any deliberate naming.
After creating a password, users are issued with a unique 12-word “seed phrase.” This is a bunch of words employed to safeguard a user’s account. It’s recommended that users stash their seed words in a competent password keeper like LastPass, or similar apps. Users can also generate multiple MetaMask accounts. Every account created by a user with MetaMask will share seed words and the password, but will have a different address.
Transacting With MetaMask
Paying someone or otherwise dispatching tokens from the MetaMask wallet is a simple matter. A single click on “Send” allows users to populate the subsequent screen with a user address. Send the funds and the transaction is done, and users receive a confirmation once the transaction is completed.
When interacting with dapps using MetaMask, provided a user is logged into their MetaMask account, they can access Ethereum network dapps automatically through their browser. Logging into a dapp like OpenSea, for example, the decentralized outlet for crypto collectibles, the dapp notes a user’s MetaMask address. There is no need to log into dapps separately, as the network has user intel integrated, recognizing an account holder wherever they go on the Ethereum blockchain.
MetaMask is free to use, users paying only the “gas” cost – the base cost of transacting on the Ethereum network. Gas is the fee required to effect any transaction on the Ethereum network. It is denominated in “Gwei,” one billionth of an ETH. Looking at overall UX, MetaMask is a reputable offering, with good support and a welcome absence of any dark press.
Protecting Your MetaMask Account
How Safe is MetaMask? In the world of cryptocurrencies, security is top of the list. Constant hacks and successful phishing attempts keep making the papers, while legislators are still battling to bring regulation up to the same level as legacy fintech. Since cryptocurrency thefts cannot be undone by identifying the thief and reclaiming funds, users should always have security uppermost in their minds when employing their MetaMask wallet.
It is advised to log out of a MetaMask account when it’s not being used. When a user is logged in, the account is considered “unlocked” and more vulnerable than when shut down. Open MetaMask accounts enable crooks to glean a user’s wallet address, token types, the wallet balance and especially transaction history.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that phishing can only happen via mail, however. Users should be aware of suspicious pop-ups or other notifications while signed into their wallet, as this can also be indicative of a phishing attempt.
Things like irregular pop-ups that ask a user to sign for a pending transactions are high risk. So too are messages telling users that their last transaction failed, then rerouting the repeat transaction to a different address. Much like cyber criminals emulate bank UIs and present with all the right logos and all the right colors in place, so too have there been instances of phony interfaces emerging.
For the best secure arrangement, users would employ a cold wallet like Ledger or Trezor Model T. For human reassurance, keeping the bulk of one’s altcoin holdings in a cold wallet can’t be beaten. That said, MetaMask has never suffered a hack nor had other instances of bad, sad press around lost funds and theft. To date, the wallet is impervious, and user losses stem from phishing attacks for which MetaMask can’t be blamed.
MetaMask is elegantly simple and easy to use. The wallet-stroke-network enabler has become the most popular and convenient route to navigating, paying and trading on the Ethereum network. Standing back and looking at the offer as a non-technical or, rather, non-crypto person might, as an offer it’s very simple and easy to install.
Even newcomers can quickly grasp the essence of it and get on with interacting on the Ethereum blockchain. MetaMask is intuitive and has been elegantly simplified because of its homegrown Ethereum nature. Any hot wallet, however, carries a higher risk than any cold wallet, and users should always have caution in mind when transacting via the wallet.
You can read more about MetaMask here: metamask.io
Top 6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges Using Own Coins For Reduced Fees
Best Cryptocurrency Coins Which Grant Dividend Or Reduced Fees In 2018
The cryptocurrency space has gained incredible momentum in the last few months. This is fueled especially by the existence of coins that not only earn dividends for the owners but also earn passive income while at the same time offering very low transaction fees.
Table Of Contents
6 cryptocurrency exchange coins and tokens that make money in the Crypto sphere are discussed below in detail.
KCS is a native token owned by KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange which is based out of Hong Kong. A total of 100 Million tokens of KCS were distributed during the KuCoin Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017. KCS tokens are fundamentally ERC 20 tokens. The current value per token of KCS is US$ 4.78 and the market capitalization is approximately US$ 435 Million.
Holding KCS tokens is extremely advantageous for both Holders and traders. KuCoin Shares have a reward ratio for the holders. 10% goes to KuCoin, 50% goes to the KCS holder and 40% belongs to the referred individual. 10% of the Exchange`s profits are used in buying back the KCS and then burning the tokens. This means that KCS holders are further rewarded due to the appreciating prices.
Furthermore, Owners of KCS receive 50% reduction of the platform`s trading fees on all the volumes in the Exchange. Due to the referral system at the KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange, owners of KCS receive higher passive income.
Binance (BNB) Token
BNB is a native coin that is owned by Binance, which is one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges in the current Crypto market. Binance exchange was developed in China but relocated to Japan in September 2017. BNB has a current market value of US$ 11.82 and a market capitalization of US$ 1.3 Billion.
BNB is also an ERC 20 token with a fixed supply of 200 Million. During the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017, the BNB token was generated to fund the development of Binance Exchange. Owners of BNB token use it to pay for fees on the Exchange`s platform. These fees include withdrawal fees, Listing fees, Exchange fees and any other applicable fees.
Binance buys back 20% of BNB tokens in every quarter which the Exchange then burns until the total circulation reaches 100 Million. For holders of BNB, the total cost of trading at the platform is reduced by 50%. The owners of BNB also receive regular dividends when the BNB tokens are regularly burnt every quarter till the total supply goes back to 100 Million. The increased daily volumes at the Exchange further increase the benefits by providing an increased passive income.
CryptoBridge (BCO) Coin
BCO is a native crypt-compatible coin created in July 2017. It is owned by the Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange (DEX) called CryptoBridge Dex which allows trading of most of the popular Altcoins. This Exchange utilizes the multi-signature federated gateway.
BCO coin is mineble and unlike KCS and BNB, it is not an ERC20 coin. BCO Coin has a current market value of US$ 1.64 and a market capitalization of US$ 45Million. Holders of BCO get 50% of the share bonus earnings of CryptoBridge Exchange when they stake their BCO coins.
For 3 months they receive 20% bonus, for 6 months they receive 50% bonus and for 12 months they receive 100% bonus. However, staking their coins for 1 month yields 0% bonus.
COSS is an ERC20 token that is owned by COSS Cryptocurrency Exchange located in Singapore. COSS exchange has matching features like Binance and KuCoin Exchanges. The Exchange is unique since it embraces plans of being a USD Exchange as well as payment processor.
The current market value of the COSS token is US$ 0.29 with a market capitalization of US$ 23 Million. The COSS Exchange retains and validates all the transactions that are initiated at the platform on the Ethereum Blockchain.
COSS has a great dividend program. The holders of the coin are paid 50% of the total earnings from the Exchange trading fees on a weekly basis. Additionally, holders can store their coins at the COSS Exchange platform or at an ERC20 enabled wallet such as MyEtherWallet.
CEFS token is another dividend earning token that is owned by the Cryptopia Exchange which is one of the most popular digital Exchanges trading numerous Altcoins. Cryptopia is headquartered in New Zealand.
CryptopiaFeesShares are very expensive and rare. The current market value is US$ 1,816 per token with a total supply of 6300 CEFS. The Cryptopia mining platform for cryptocurrencies is well streamlined and easy to use.
The holders of CEFS Token receive 4.5% of the monthly earnings from Cryptopia platform which is then distributed proportionately as per the CEFS holdings. Holding the token for longer periods leads to more returns.
Bibox (BIX) Token
BIX is a native token that is owned by the Bibox Exchange, an all enhanced-encrypted Exchange which was founded in China. It also has similar features like Binance. This exchange enables traders to trade numerous Altcoins. The exchange supports different languages like English, Chinese, Korean, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Russian. The Exchange is also unique since it has the capacity to trade cryptocurrencies while utilizing Fiat currency within the same medium.
The current market value of BIX is US$ 0.6 with a market capitalization of US$ 63M and a circulating supply of 105,918,066 BIX. The tokens are bought back and burnt regularly until the total supply reaches 271 Million.
Holders of BIX receive rewards in the form of fee reduction. BIX tokens have various uses especially in paying for the Exchange`s fees like Exchange fees, Listing fees and Withdrawal fees. The discount rates for using BIX are as follows: 50% in year one, 25% in year two, 12.5% in year three, 6.25% in year four and 0% in year five.
Our Final Thoughts
Conclusively, the best coin or token depends on the goal of an individual. For instance, an individual who is actively involved in trading is better suited to possess the BNB token while an individual whose purpose is passive income, then KCS is ideal. High volumes of the trading Exchanges will mean more dividends while the costs in trading and the referral systems will mean more passive income.
Top 5 Most Common Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Scams in 2018
Cryptocurrencies have become a bit of hot cake. On one hand, lots of people are getting in and making a lot of money. Others are getting burned and losing their life savings in a bid to play in the markets and make a killing.
Most of those who do often invest in cryptos known as scam coins. These cryptocurrencies are designed to rip off people, and solely benefit their creators.
But because most newbies have no idea of how to identify the real moneymakers from the scams, many get burned, losing a lot of money in the process. This article is contains information on the more common cryptocurrency scams, show you how to identify them, and more importantly, teach you how to protect yourself, so you don’t get ripped off.
Types Of Cryptocurrency Scams
1. Cloud Mining Pools
Please understand that there are some legitimate cloud mining services out there. So, not all of them are bad. That said, this is one of the more common ways people lose their money.
These companies attract people who want to go into cryptocurrency mining, but have neither the time nor the money to buy and maintain their own cryptocurrency miners. So, these companies offer to help them mine, in exchange for a fee and a promise of the profits.
To identify the legit operations from the fraudulent ones, look for their registrants, company team lead and location. A major red flag is if you cannot find direct details when you do a whois lookup of their domain name.
But that alone isn’t enough. Look for transparency in terms of who runs what. Legitimate cloud mining services will have either their whois details available and/or information on the team managing the service.
Also be wary of companies registered in the US or UK, but with all team members resident abroad. If you cannot find a local address that’s verifiable, you might want to keep your money as that’s another red flag.
2. MLM Cryptocurrency Organizations
These are popping up all over the place and promising to make people instant millionaires. All participants have to do is get more people on board to invest in a specific cryptocurrency or a proxy project and they’ll profit from it.
The reality is that while there are legit multilevel marketing schemes, many of these crypto based MLM programs have no tangible product or service to sell. If the only thing they’re selling is a pyramid scheme, run and don’t look back.
3. Bogus Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)
More and more people are realizing that they can make a lot of money from initial coin offerings. These people are taking advantage of the unregulated nature of the crypto space and the ease of creating tokens to launch ICOs.
In fact, it is estimated that over $1 billion has been invested in ICOs in the last 6-12 months, with many being unrealistic or downright fraudulent.
Unfortunately, many of these scammers are becoming more savvy and cleaning up their act by presenting a legitimate front –often with roadmaps, white papers, detailed information about their “projects” and other trappings that make their campaigns look legit. So, while it’s getting more difficult to spot the fake ICOs, it’s not impossible.
For starters, research thee company itself. If it’s been in business and has a good reputation, then you have a winner. If it’s new, has no reputation, and isn’t transparent about its processes, team or location, close that tab and keep looking.
Also, look at their management team and research them. Always go for those with well known and reputable team members. And if their promise or project sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
4. Crypto Investment Packages
These are primarily bitcoin based and more formally known as bitcoin investment packages (BIPs). These are similar to cloud mining in the sense that they promise daily returns which are usually smaller percentages of your investment.
They often start out well to gain your trust, and then one day, disappear. This is another pyramid scheme designed to fleece you of your hard earned money. Users tend to fall for it by reinvesting their funds only to have their returns and payments gradually slow down and stop coming in altogether.
For these packages, we’ll say just walk away completely. And if you want to do this, just understand that it’s a short term Ponzi scheme and go in with your eyes open. For best results, get in at the very early stage, make your money, and cash out.
5. Pump and Dumps
These are projects created by individuals or consortium's for the sole purpose of driving the price wall up, and then cashing out once it reaches a predetermined price.
When you see cryptocurrency prices going up for no reason whatsoever, know that it’s a pump and dump in the making. If you want to partake, just make sure to get in early, enjoy the ride and cash out quickly. However, we don’t recommend investing in schemes like this at all.
There are communities that are solely dedicated to this. The go in and buy huge quantities of a certain cryptocurrency, watch the price artificially inflated and others get on board, then dump the coins after making a lot of money.
How To Protect Yourself From These Cryptocurrency Scams
There’s one simple thing to look for, and that is the use of cryptocurrency. Always lookout for the following when looking to invest in a cryptocurrency:
- An active community
- A development team dedicated to the project
- Transparency from the company
- Valid viable use case that solves actual problems
Always research a cryptocurrency before investing in it. A simple search string like “[intended cryptocurrency] daily reddit” will be enough to show if they are legit or not. Also look for mentions in major news outlets, visible team leads with a track record of results in and/or outside the industry and backers.