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Even though the community’s level of interest is what often measures the success of cryptocurrencies, the real progress in the blockchain space is known to be made while the hype is down, and the silence is nigh.

In truth, the crypto industry is always restless. However, don’t take our word for it – several signs are showing that the future for cryptocurrencies, as well as the technology behind them, is bright, and we are here to prove it to you.

So, instead of arguing about bullish and bearish markets, or if all ICOs are scams, let’s focus on what is actually happening in the world that slowly, but steadily brings the blockchain to our daily lives.

In this article, we share ten reasons to believe that digital assets are taking over.

1. Crypto ATMs are popping up everywhere

Little-known fact: over the past few years, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs worldwide skyrocketed.

Judging by Coinatmradar.com global estimations, there are now 4580 crypto ATMs in 77 countries. Even though the majority of them are for Bitcoin, around 1200 of them are actually Bitcoin Cash (BCH) ATMs.

On top of that, more crypto ATMs are coming live – 6.3 per day, to be exact.

Check if the number changed, or if you’re interested in more statistics like this.

The graph below shows that on January 1st, 2018, a total of 2060 ATMs were scattered around the world. It is more than two times less than it is at the time of writing. And just two years earlier, in 2016, there were only 501.

Source: CoinATMradar.com

Apparently, the ATM machine business is booming, and the market is as active as it ever was. According to a B2B market research firm’s Marketsandmarkets report, ATM market is expected to grow from $16.3 million in 2018 to $144.5 million by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 54.7%.

2. Bitcoin’s network is growing rapidly

Currently, Bitcoin is the most popular (and also the first) implementation of blockchain technology.

According to the data provided by statistics website Statista, there were a total of 32 million Bitcoin wallets created worldwide by December 2018.

Bitcoin wallet count. Source: Statista

Compared to 2017 Q4, the blockchain had 21,6 million wallets – that’s 10,4 million less. If we jump back even further, to the end of 2016, we see that there were barely 11 million wallets.

However, at the time of writing (April 2019), there are already 35 million Bitcoin wallets in existence. That’s 3 million new Bitcoin addresses in 2019 alone, climbing at a steady pace.

And let’s not forget that stats exclude those who are part of the industry, but hold a considerable amount of Bitcoin in exchanges! Sadly, there is no way to tell the exact number of people that are holding funds on custodial wallets.

But how Bitcoin is being used?

To paint a better picture, it would suffice to scout the report from the blockchain analysis company Chainalysis.

It shows that the active Bitcoin owners (mostly traders) control around 34% of the total Bitcoin supply and represent a liquid part of the market, whereas approximately 30% is set aside for long-term investments.

Fun Fact: the rest 36% consists of lost and unmined coins. Learn how not to lose your coins.

3. Merchant adoption: Starbucks, Rakuten, Kroger will accept crypto

Interestingly, the same report states that 11% of the total liquid Bitcoin is used for transacting or making payments. Yet another survey, this time by Kaspersky Labs, supports the fact by concluding that 13% of all Bitcoin users paid with Bitcoin for goods or services at least once.

Hence merchants see the opportunity. Coinmap data confirms that the number of vendors accepting Bitcoin has surged by more than 700% within the last six years, and that’s mostly brick & mortar stores. A constant merchant adoption shopper’s interest leads to massive companies wondering if they should also get on board.

Let’s take a look at some of these names:

  • Japan’s biggest e-commerce giant Bic Camera/Rakuten with a market capitalization of over $12.5 bln is about to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange and wallet. Rakuten also plans to launch a phone app that would provide wallet users the opportunity to trade “virtual currency anywhere”;
  • Switzerland’s biggest online retailer Digitec Galaxus now accepts 10 cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP) as a form of payment for their range of 2.7 million products.
  • Fortune 500 company Avnet, one of the biggest distributors of electronic components in the world, announced that their customers can now pay with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. Currently, Avnet is the third largest technology company in the U.S. (after Microsoft and Dell) to accept payments in Bitcoin;
  • The 2nd largest retailer in the U.S., Kroger drops Visa due to excessive transaction fees and considers Bitcoin’s Lightning Network as a possible alternative. Although it is not a sure thing yet, Kroger’s interest in digital assets will likely manifest into actions;
  • Even though Starbucks didn’t confirm that it will accept Bitcoin, its open support for cryptocurrency trading platform Bakkt allows presuming it’s just a matter of time.
Our two cents

We, as a crypto payment processor, can only justify the increase of both vendor’s and shopper’s interest in using digital assets by sharing our own numbers.

During 2018, we processed close to 300,000 payments, which is three times more than all the previous years combined. Besides, we welcomed over 41,000 new users who showed interest in becoming part of this emerging industry.

Still, we certainly expect more and more vendors to adopt crypto payment options, and more regular users to embrace digital money as a reasonable way of creating a healthy market.

With that in mind, we’ve started the #CryptoRecycle movement, encouraging to spend cryptocurrencies rather than #hodl, as well as pushing for more vendors to accept digital currency payments.

– – – Learn more about the # CryptoRecycle initiative – – –

Here more of what we have to share from CoinGate about crypto payments:

Share this infographic on your site – just copy and paste it!

<span style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” data-mce-type=”bookmark” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p><strong>Please include attribution to coingate.com with this graphic.</strong></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p><a href=’https://blog.coingate.com/2019/01/year-review-milestones-future/’><img src=’https://blog.coingate.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/CGMAP.png’ alt=’Merchant’s behavoir ‘ width=’524′ height=’1024′ border=’0’ /></a></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>

4. Nasdaq soon launches Bitcoin futures

This one is major and likely the most significant event to look out for these coming weeks.

The 2nd biggest stock exchange in the world Nasdaq is about to launch Bitcoin futures trading on their platform. In fact, Nasdaq already added Bitcoin and Ethereum indices to their data system, providing prices calculated in real-time.

This is a massive step forward for Bitcoin in several ways.

Firstly, Nasdaq’s total market value is around $10 trillion. Since futures contracts are exchange-traded, Bitcoin should expect some sort of a boost once the futures go live.

Secondly, Nasdaq brings Bitcoin to a broad range of investors in the most transparent, regulated way, and eventually, other markets will follow the trend.

In short, futures contracts provide a way for traditional stock market investors to buy or sell Bitcoin (in other words, bet on its future price) in the form of physically delivered contracts.

Futures also allow betting on successful Bitcoin development without ever interacting with the digital asset itself, or worrying about the security of funds.

But most importantly, futures create an opportunity for institutional investors to invest in cryptocurrency without any regulatory restrictions that would apply in common investment conditions, such as buying Bitcoin itself on a regular crypto exchange.

Nasdaq also revealed that it has partnered with investment management firm VanEck to “bring a regulated crypto 2.0 futures-type contract” sometime in 2019. The industry has been keenly waiting for more details ever since.

– – – Learn how Bitcoin futures contracts work – – – 

5. You can actually pay taxes in Bitcoin

Sounds way ahead of its time, but it’s true.

The US state of Ohio became the first one allowing businesses to pay taxes in Bitcoin through the OhioCrypto platform. The state even considers adding more cryptocurrencies in the future.

But that’s not the only way Ohio pushes for blockchain adoption. It is also a state that legally recognized the blockchain as a means of data storage and transacting. It means that all electronic signatures and smart contracts recorded on the blockchain has the same legal standing as any other form of validation.

Besides Ohio, few other US states have also considered allowing tax payments in digital currency. For example, in March 2018, Illinois also proposed to enable its residents to pay their taxes in Bitcoin. Back in February, Georgia state was also considering such an option.

In fact, states like New Hampshire, Indiana, California, and Arizona, all consider legislation for making cryptocurrency tax payments legitimate.

Individual states showing initiative to legitimize Bitcoin and avail of the blockchain tech is nothing less than a sign of immense potential. Although paying taxes in Bitcoin is not widely popular right now, the situation can change seemingly overnight.

6. National cryptocurrencies emerge

Surprisingly, several countries adopted the blockchain technology by creating state-issued digital assets as early as 2015. Meanwhile, others have dedicated their time to studying it or experimenting.

Currently, four countries already issued their own national cryptocurrencies:

  • The Marshall Islands. A small island with a population of roughly 53,000 has released its own token named “sovereign” (SOV) in March 2018. It is deemed the world’s first sovereign cryptocurrency that completely replaces the previously used U.S. Dollar. The coin has been created in partnership with Israeli fintech startup Neema.
  • Senegal. In 2016, Senegal’s local bank Banque Régionale de Marchés (BRM) together with Ireland-based startup eCurrency Mint Limited issued blockchain-based currency eCFA. The coin is designed to work with current mobile money systems, whereas the central bank controls the supply of issued coins. It successfully suffices as a legal tender and complements paper money.
  • Venezuela.  Since February 2018, Venezuela launched its oil-backed digital asset called “Petro”. According to the officials, each coin represents a barrel of oil that the country owns. Eventually, Venezuela plans to issue more digital assets backed by the country’s gold and mineral reserves. And just recently, Venezuela’s government also launched the crypto remittance service, further pushing for national crypto adoption.
  • Tunisia. This African country is first in the world to issue blockchain-based national currency back in 2015 called eDinar. It enables users to make instant mobile money transfers, pay for goods and services, send remittance, pay salaries and bills, and even manage official government identification documents. However, the eDinar is centralized and the central authority strictly controls it.

It is likely that in the future, more countries will avail of blockchain technology and create their own solutions. In fact, some nations officially declared that they are planning to do so.

Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Israel, Thailand, Russia. All these countries have laid down their intentions to explore the technology. Some strongly consider creating digital currencies that would complement existing payment channels and act as legal tender.  

Even though digital assets issued by governments are not that appealing for crypto enthusiasts in general, it is still a sign that the technology’s potential is vast enough not to be ignored by the authorities.

7. Big banks are taking advantage of the blockchain tech

Another critical reason why crypto is heading towards broader adoption is that the major banks say so.

From forming groups dedicated to the exploration of blockchain possibilities to actually using digital assets for their operations, these banks involved themselves into the crypto space with the clear intention to leverage the technology.

Here’s what banks are up to:

  • HSBC bank says that it has settled $250 billion worth of forex trades in 2018 using blockchain technology, totaling 150,000 payments. The bank continues to praise the technology, claiming “it has automated manual processes, reducing its reliance on..
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It’s been roughly a year now since the second-layer protocol known as the Lightning Network (LN) was implemented on top of Bitcoin’s blockchain.

In fact, we were the first payment processor to adopt the technology and offer it to our merchants.

Even though at first only a few dared to use, it got some real traction right before 2018 ended. And since then, the use of Lightning Network been growing at a healthy pace, surpassing 1000 BTC capacity.

Since we’ve been there from the start, we’re in a position to share our insights, as we as present unique data on LN payments we’ve gathered over the past year.

Briefly about the Lightning Network

If you are not familiar with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network protocol, here’s a short recap:

  • Since the Bitcoin’s blockchain can handle around seven transactions per second (TPS), the network’s scalability eventually became an issue, and a second-layer solution was suggested called the Lightning Network;
  • LN solution enabled split-second Bitcoin transactions in high volumes between users, without the need for network confirmations;
  • By opening Lightning channels “off-chain”, users can transact between each other for infinity, and settle only the final amount;
  • LN transactions themselves cost close to nothing and allows sending smallest fractions of Bitcoin.

Learn more by watching this 5 minute Youtube video. It perfectly simplifies the concept by presenting a clear, well-animated example of a real-world use case:

Bitcoin's Lightning Network, Simply Explained! - YouTube

Lightning Network is booming

The Lightning Network started to boom as a result of a sudden 300% capacity growth that began in late November 2018 when the LN hit 450 BTC network capacity from 125 BTC in just two weeks.

More than 300% capacity growth in two weeks (Source: Bitcoin Visuals)

Since then, the node count went from 1700 to 2300 until January 1st, 2019. That’s was a tipping point before it really took off.

After the first three months of 2019, The LN already boasted of 4131 nodes with 35,496 open channels. During the same period, the network’s capacity went from 525 BTC to 1,059 BTC.

Overall statistics of the LN (Source: Bitcoin Visuals)

At the time of writing (which is mid May), there are 4,285 LN nodes running 34,847 channels, totaling in 1,063 BTC.

CoinGate node info

Since we are processing Lightning Network payments, we also have our own public node set up.

Our node’s current capacity is 8.70985240 BTC, which makes up 0.824% of total Bitcoin on Lightning Network. We have 369 channels open (0.963% of total) with 328 connected nodes (7.671% of total).

The numbers are growing daily, and so are the payments our merchants receive via the Lightning Network.

Lightning Network payments

A year of processing Lightning Network payments provided us with valuable insights. We summed them up for you in an infographic below:

Share this Image On Your Site

</p>
<p><strong>Please include attribution to www.coingate.com with this graphic.</strong></p>
<p><a href=‘https://blog.coingate.com/2019/05/lightning-network-bitcoin-stats-progress/’><img src=‘https://blog.coingate.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/infografikas-naujas-800PX.png’ alt=‘Lightning Network 2018 Stats!’ width=‘800’ border=‘0’ /></a></p>
<p>

TL;DR
  • We’ve processed 674 payments made via the Lightning Network;
  • 440 out of 674 payments (66%) were settled in Bitcoin, the rest in fiat;
  • The highest transaction processed is 0.03967739 BTC, while the lowest is 0.000001 BTC. The average payment size is 0.00508484 BTC;
  • Since December 2018 until now, our average payment count per month has doubled;
  • Most LN payments received by our merchants V.R.S. (80), MMOGA (53), and The Kasbah bar in Oslo (47).
Why will Lightning Network continue to grow?

Even though the LN protocol is still in the early stages of development, it is impressive to see it actually gaining popularity over time. We also believe there are plenty of reasons why it will continue to pave the road for broader adoption.

First of all, we can already see well-built LN supported wallets popping up. For example, Moon browser extension allows purchasing stuff on e-commerce sites like Amazon using Bitcoin LN payments without the need to set up your own node.

There are also fresh products like BLW and Eclair that offer Lightning-ready, user-friendly wallets, as well as microtransaction apps like tippin.me for Twitter.

As more and more developments roll out on a casual basis, the LN network is becoming more useful and convenient than ever before. Still, this is just a beginning.

The Lightning Labs are working on next updates to the Lightning Network. One of them is called the Lightning Loop, a non-custodial service that makes it easier for people to receive funds on LN.

They are also working on the Neutrino protocol designed to facilitate this on devices with low-power processors, limited storage, limited bandwidth, intermittent power, and erratic connectivity. In fact, they already launched an early version Lightning App for desktop on Bitcoin mainnet.

To the moon and beyond!

Considering the exponential growth of the LN network and products that are currently being built for it, we expect the adoption won’t slow down and will continue to spread like wildfire. After all, it is a technology capable of taking Bitcoin to the next level.

We ourselves are genuinely excited about the Lightning Network and will keep dedicating our efforts towards its adoption and improvement.

After all, we are the pioneers of it!

Here are more articles from CoinGate that might be relevant to you:

The post A year of Lightning Network: stats, progress and expectations appeared first on CoinGate Blog.

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Having a cryptocurrency payment option at your store presents exceptional marketing opportunities.

Sadly, we came to realize that most of our vendors do not inform their customers about the possibility to pay with digital assets.

We also noticed that those who do, tend to attract considerably larger traffic and make more sales.

The best part is, these marketing strategies we’re going to talk about in this article are almost effortless, yet proven to be extremely effective. We suggest taking every single one into consideration!

List yourself in merchant directories

Whenever someone is scouting for shops that would accept cryptocurrency payments, it is likely that he or she will eventually land on merchant directory.

This is how the merchant’s directory looks like

Crypto-oriented merchant directories are websites where anyone can conveniently search for shops based on which digital assets they accept.

It serves shoppers that wish to spend a particular coin but don’t know any such vendors that would have crypto payment option set up.

Listing yourself on as many directories as you can give your business more exposure, sometimes enough to notice a significant boost in sales and traffic.

List of well-established merchant directories: Use promotional payment buttons

Placing stylish, informative buttons on your website might serve as a disclaimer and catch the attention of the right customers.

Get a bundle of promo buttons from CoinGate

It is the simplest way to let your shoppers know about payment options you provide from the very start. Such a minor addition as a small banner to your site’s footer can increase your chances of making a sale in crypto dramatically and will get you the positive results in no time.

It is also crucial to put a payment button on the page where you list all of your payment options. That’s where most people will realize that you allow payments in cryptocurrency!

You can download a bundle of different buttons in various styles and sizes from us. They are free to use however you wish to.

– – – Download a batch of cool buttons – – –

Dedicate some content to it

Shoppers might want to pay with cryptocurrency, but some websites do an inferior job explaining exactly how it works, what are the fees, or what currencies are welcome.

That’s why it is wise to dedicate a piece of content on your blog or website that would cover all the bases about paying with digital assets at your shop.

Content on crypto payments improves customer experience

It is beneficial in several ways:
  • Seo-optimized. It is possible that people will find your shop organically by using search engines like Google. But for that to happen, you need to place some content on your website that would be rich with relevant keywords. For example, including searchable words and phrases in the title and subheadings (“how to pay with digital assets”, “pay with Bitcoin”, “cryptocurrencies accepted”, etc.) will surely pay off in a long-term. Just make sure you make the most out of your SEO marketing.
  • Fewer questions asked. Besides filling your page with the right keywords, it is necessary to make your content useful, meaning it has to serve a purpose. For example, showcase currencies you accept or explain the crypto payment process step-by-step. As long as your text answers most frequently asked questions, your customers, as well as your support team, will undoubtedly appreciate it.
  • Sharable material. You can always share this content with those that have questions regarding cryptocurrency payments. It is also an article you can use when advertising your business on social media and forums, or reference it in your newsletter for shoppers.

Are we your payment provider? Then we offer you this SEO-optimized, informative, clean piece of content on CoinGate crypto payment option. It also includes a step-by-step guide for paying the invoice at your store. Let us help you elevate your business!

– – – Check out the article – – –

– – – Download images for it – – –

Note: make sure the names of assets in the text match those that you accept at your website!

Participate in relevant forum threads

Having a strong presence in the most significant corners of the Internet is everything you might ever need.

Websites like Reddit or Quora are great for exposing your business to your target audience. If done in the right place at the right time, you can expect to get noticed by many.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a direct advertisement. Participating in topics that are relevant to your business and adding value to discussions will naturally increase the reputability of your business.

Quora is a perfect platform for establishing your brand awareness on the Internet by answering people’s questions about topics you know best. It puts your name out there in front, whereas placing a link here and there might bring in new traffic.

There are some extra benefits to it. For example, Google loves Quora.

If your answer is useful and stays up top, you might get additional exposure just because someone is googling the same question, and getting your answer.

We are quite active on Quora ourselves

Reddit, on the other hand, is an entirely different space.

Still, there are plenty of people there asking to point them to particular shops that would accept their digital coins. And if someone is looking for something that you happen to provide, it’s a perfect opportunity to step in and offer your services.

Although Quora and Reddit might not be suited for all, social media is.

Make the most out of social media

Tailoring a social media strategy around cryptocurrency payments is incredibly useful.

Use these hashtags to reach out to crypto communities

The truth is, just by using the right hashtags (particularly on Twitter) and naming coins that you accept, you can reach thousands of potential crypto-owning shoppers that otherwise would never get a chance to learn about your goods or services.

And since cryptocurrencies know no borders, your potential customer might find your business from any part of the world and turn into paying (or even returning) shopper just because you allow payments with particular digital assets.

You’d be surprised how many people look for such vendors ONLY on social media channels. Take advantage of it – there aren’t many merchants who can offer what you have!

Be creative!

Marketing is all about creativity, and the best solutions are usually found by trial and error. Still, even the slightest change that doesn’t require a lot of effort can make a huge difference.

So, why not try it out?

Here are more articles from CoinGate that might be relevant to you:

The post How to advertise your business to Bitcoin shoppers appeared first on CoinGate Blog.

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VPN is a crucial tool if you want to stay secure and anonymous online.

In this article, we will present five VPN providers that offer their services for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, XRP, Litecoin and a bunch of others.

What is a VPN?

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a software tech that encrypts your data and acts as a bridge between you and your internet provider.

It allows connecting to the internet securely and protects your incoming and outgoing data by transmitting it via an encrypted tunnel.

Why should I use a VPN?

VPN hides your real IP address and location, so you stay anonymous at all times. It also lets you bypass censored parts of the Internet, access your favorite TV shows on other continents, and much more.

Most importantly, using a VPN means that “meme-killing” Article 13 will have no effect on your browsing experience at all.

Learn everything there is to know about VPNs in this extensive article by John Mason at thebestvpn.

Buy VPN with Bitcoin and other cryptos

Below, you will find a list of top-notch VPN providers that accept cryptocurrency payments.

Most of these VPNs accept over 50 digital assets, so if you own a less-known coin, there is a decent chance you will be able to use it at these websites:

Surfshark

Surfshark stands out as one of the most secure VPN providers.

This particular VPN company encrypts your data by using industry-leading AES-256-GCM encryption. According to the report of independent web security testers Cure53,

“Cure53 is highly satisfied to see such a strong security posture on the Surfshark VPN extensions, especially given the common vulnerability of similar products to privacy issues”.

Besides allowing to use the service on as many devices as you want, the company offers a wide variety of additional features. Those include private DNS & leak protection, NoBorders mode, Camouflage mode, and so on.

Even if your VPN connection drops, your online activities and personal data are never exposed due to a KillSwitch feature. And all of this is presented to you in a user-friendly way.

If all these features make no sense to you, don’t worry – Surfshark has live support set up, so you can always ask questions on the spot and get answers from a knowledgeable professional right away.

This relatively new player in the industry took it by storm offering low prices, versatile service, and excellent customer support. All their plans come with a free tree trial and 30-day money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with a service.

Price range: 1-month plan for 9.89 Euros, 12-month plan for 4.99 Euros/month and a 24-month plan for 1.76 Euros/month;

Server count and countries: +800 servers in +50 countries;

Accepted cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, Ether and +40 other cryptocurrencies.

Visit Surfshark

BlackVPN

When we talk about privacy, this company takes itself very seriously. They ensure that BlackVPN doesn’t record traffic, connection, or DNS logs whatsoever.

In fact, to achieve ultimate privacy and the maximum performance, BlackVPN runs their own physical DNS servers. All of them are physically located in numerous countries, meaning they don’t use virtual servers as some VPN providers do.

On their website, a company lists even more reasons why their services are worth considering. They include unlimited speed and bandwidth, award-winning support, easy setup, top-notch security measures, and more.

From what we can conclude by scrolling through some reviews, you can hardly find a person who wouldn’t be impressed by their quality service. Feel free to test their VPN by yourself with a three-day trial and 14-day full money back guarantee.

BlackVPN services are available on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and routers, with the ability to connect up to seven devices at once.  

Price range: Access to privacy VPN Locations 49 Euros per year; access to all VPN locations 99 Euros per year; access to USA & UK VPN locations 75 Euros per year;

Server count and countries: 31 servers in 20 countries;

Accepted cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, Ether and +40 other cryptocurrencies.

Visit BlackVPN

SaferVPN

Known as one of the fastest VPNs in the market, SaferVPN is also very simple as it takes only 3 minutes to set up. SaferVPN can be installed on routers a well, and using one is even more hassle-free.

Furthermore, the app they provide is extremely easy to use. You can connect to any location from the list with a single tap.

On top of it, you can conveniently mark your favorite locations to connect to them quickly. The app comes with a kill-switch that will disconnect you from the Internet in case the VPN connection drops.

Their range of features varies from smart Wi-Fi protection that automatically detects unsafe Wi-Fi hotspots, to superior 256-bit bank-level security. The software is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, TOR, Routers, SmartTV, and consoles. It allows connecting up to five devices simultaneously.

You can try their VPN software with a 30-day money-back guarantee. And if you encounter any issues, on their website you can find live 24/7 support ready to help you out on the spot.

Price range: Often offer huge discounts; 1 month for 12.95$, 1 year for 5.49$/month, 2 years for 3.29$/month, 3 years for 2.50$/month;

Server count and countries: over 700 servers in 35 countries;

Accepted cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, Ether and +40 other cryptocurrencies.

Visit SaferVPN

CactusVPN

CactusVPN is yet another well-trusted provider that boasts of a staggering 9.4/10 score at bestvpn.com.

It is one of those services that have a strict no logging policy. It means they will never store IP addresses, traffic logs, used bandwidth, timestamps, or the session duration.

The company provides an option to choose from six VPN protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, SSTP, SoftEther, and PPTP. Their VPN comes with numerous additional features, including apps killer, Internet kill switch, DNS leak protection, sorting servers by speed, and so on.

Moreover, customers get unlimited bandwidth and access to the service from up to 5 devices simultaneously. CactusVPN is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, Ubuntu, Chromebook, routers, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

You can try CactusVPN services without limitations for free for one day without sharing your credit card information. They offer 30-days money back guarantee if you experience any issues.

Price range: US VPN 4.99$/month, UK VPN 4.99$/month, VPN + Smart DNS 6.99$/month;

Server count and countries: 24 servers in 14 countries;

Accepted cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, Ether and +40 other cryptocurrencies.

Visit CactusVPN

HideMyna.me

The simplicity of their service combined with excellent customer support makes them a decent choice you can’t go wrong with.

Boasting of overwhelmingly positive reviews on the Internet, a hidden gem HideMyna.me has definitely earned customers trust as a reliable VPN provider that operates since 2006.

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We are adding yet another payment option for those who want to buy digital assets on CoinGate. Now, you can purchase cryptocurrencies using Sofort (Klarna) payment service provider.

When buying with Sofort (Klarna) on our platform, you have an option to purchase 11 cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, Dash, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, BitcoinSV, Nano, TRON, and Dai. The best thing is, you don’t even need to create an account for it.

If you want to unlock more payment methods, create a CoinGate account here, or learn more about what we have to offer.

How to buy cryptocurrency with Sofort (Klarna)?

To make a purchase using Sofort (Klarna) payment option, go to this page.

From there, it is pretty straightforward. First, choose a fiat currency you wish to spend and select the desired crypto asset. Next, insert your receiving address for withdrawal and provide your email address, then proceed to the instant checkout.

Note: If you are buying XRP, it is crucial that you don’t forget to enter the destination tag!

You will then receive a confirmation letter to your inbox. Click on the link inside and you will land on the payment page. Lastly, finalize the purchase by logging into your Sofort (Klarna) account. You will need to complete a standard identity verification prior in order for us to stay compliant with regulatory requirements.

CoinGate will process your purchase and send the coins within 24 hours. Don’t worry about the price volatility – we lock the approximate price at the moment of purchase, so you always get what you pay for.

Trade cryptocurrencies and become an affiliate

If trading digital assets is something you do on a casual basis, then we have even more to offer. For our keenest traders, we provide an opportunity to join our affiliate program and earn in the process.

Once you have an account at CoinGate, you can create referral links that allow receiving 1% of the fees paid by traders who register using it. The referrer can also choose to receive less than 1% and, as a result, referred customers will also pay lower fees than usual. Herewith, the referrers will get a percentage of total payments that the referred customer makes.

You can create the referral links via your dashboard under the “Trader/Referrals” section.

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HODL is a term often used to describe presumably the best strategy for those who invest in cryptocurrencies. But what if we told you this hodling behavior harms the whole industry?

The word hodl is still widespread, even though it has been a meme for six years now. The term itself came from the funniest drunken rant that went viral in 2013 on BitcoinTalk.org forum, carrying the misspelled title “I AM HODLING.”

Long story short, a guy admitted of selling his Bitcoin when its price was at the lowest. The reason is that everyone immediately starts panicking, so he breaks, even though at first he tried holding the asset until the value raises. The thread quickly became viral, inspiring many to patiently wait for the long-term profits.

Since then, many started using the misspelled hodl to refer to an investment strategy, claiming they believe in the bright future while comparing Bitcoin to gold. However, Bitcoin wasn’t meant to just passively store the value.

A true purpose of Bitcoin

The Bitcoin Whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto (2008)

When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin as a new type of currency, he wished for it to be decentralized, free and accessible for everyone, no matter what the political or economic situation is. Until this day, Bitcoin still allows everyone to participate in a global economy freely, process payments faster and cheaper without being dependent on intermediaries like governments and banks.

The brilliant technology inspired both those who wanted to use it for the intended purpose and those who saw its tremendous potential, recognizing it as a great investment tool. While some found trading the most profitable way to go, others chose to hodl instead, which itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It merely decreases the amount of Bitcoin circulating, which results in lower available supply. If the current demand is high, you might indeed make a profit that way.

But what would happen if everyone suddenly decides that hodling is the best course of action? For the economy to function healthily, the currency has to actively serve as a means of payment, or a medium of exchange. If everyone would only hodl, Bitcoin would lose both value and purpose, meaning there would be no economy to grow in the first place. The asset would have no liquidity, utility, acceptance or real use cases. Therefore there would be no point in using it at all.

Evidently, the sole mentality of hodling can’t be healthy for a currency that was intended for transferring value. Thus the strategies should evolve into something more productive and beneficial to every Bitcoin network participant, or any digital asset for that matter. So, for cryptocurrencies to reach their full potential, hodling eventually should switch to spending.

Is Bitcoin suitable as a currency for payments?

Some are confident that at the moment, digital coins are not good enough for spending. The arguments for it differ – low TPS, high transaction costs, price volatility, and other commonly used misconceptions. Moreover, due to its inherent anonymity, some still believe that cryptocurrencies are something only criminals would use, which was proven to be false repeatedly.  

Despite the widely prevalent oversights, digital money is becoming a rival to traditional payment methods. With the rise of cryptocurrency payment processors that adopt the latest technologies like the Lightning Network, the issues mentioned earlier become obsolete. In fact, nowadays Bitcoin attracts more people and businesses than ever. According to the Statista data, by Q4 of 2018, there were over 32 million Bitcoin wallets with more than 7 million active network participants. That’s 30% more wallets comparing to the same period in 2017.

Furthermore, Coinmap findings indicate that the number of merchants accepting Bitcoin has surged by more than 700% within the last six years, further pushing Bitcoin as a reasonable payment option. And just recently, a huge supermarket chain Kroger announced their plans to drop Visa due to enormously high fees and possibly leverage the Bitcoin Lightning Network technology instead. According to Cointelegraph, such a large company accepting Bitcoin payments could become a tipping point in the ignition of its adoption.

However, due to a large number of hodlers and lack of spenders, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are stuck in a vicious circle of misapprehension between merchants and crypto communities. The situation reminds of a “chicken and egg” paradox. It’s not clear whether we have to wait for broader Bitcoin acceptance before people are willing to pay with it or use it for payments more often so businesses would be keener to accepting cryptocurrency payments in the first place.

It all comes to a point when a regular user still has doubts about spending digital assets as intended just because they can suddenly raise in value, which would result in a lost opportunity to “cash out.” Meanwhile, the fear and a passive waiting for the exponential growth of crypto economies slows down the adoption speed.

The fact remains – long-term hodling discourages both new and old Bitcoiners of using the asset as intended – transacting peer-to-peer. In such a scenario, Bitcoin becomes viable only for market speculators that have a single goal – making a profit.

But is there a solution that would make cryptocurrencies attractive both as an investment opportunity and digital cash for spending?

Upgrade hodling with CryptoRecycle

CryptoRecycle is a methodology best described as “spend and replace.” It means that you always keep Bitcoin moving by spending it at the shops and immediately rebuying the same amount you’ve just paid. It unites both hodling (investing and waiting) and spending (using crypto for payments) into a single strategy. This way, a user boosts the market capitalization by converting fiat currency into a digital asset. Such methodology helps to create an economy that accelerates the adoption of Bitcoin and benefits the network’s growth at the same time.

Buy/Spend/Replace cycle

An example: Peter is a firm believer in Bitcoin, so he holds his savings in BTC. However, he also spends it whenever it’s possible. One day, Peter realizes that he needs a new VPN subscription, so he buys a 3-year VPN plan for 100 Euros worth of Bitcoin. After that, he immediately invests 100 Euros in buying back the same amount of Bitcoin he just spent on VPN.

As a result, Peter successfully paid his merchant in just 10 minutes without ever converting to fiat. At the same time, he replenished his Bitcoin and created more demand for it in the process, which gives value and utility to the coin. It goes full circle, leaving merchants with fewer reasons not to accept Bitcoin, and Peter with the same amount of Bitcoin he had in the beginning.

Not for Bitcoin only

Now, some might say: “But I don’t hodl Bitcoin! I much rather prefer the technology of Tron/XRP/Ether, but these assets are not even made for payments”. It would be fair enough to point out that not all cryptocurrencies were initially made for shopping. However, it does not mean they cannot efficiently take that role anyway.

For example, XRP was created as a digital asset for financial institutions to source liquidity using the xRapid platform. Therefore, it is no surprise that XRP community hodls until big corporations will start using xRapid and the digital asset will increase in price. Few seem to acknowledge the fact that adding a new use-case for it would directly impact its technological adoption.

In this case, the speed and low costs of XRP ledger could also be utilized for peer-to-peer payments and everyday usage, like purchasing things online. In return, it would help the ledger’s decentralization, showcase the increasing utility of a crypto asset and provide an active, liquid market.

Outcomes of crypto recycling digital assets

CryptoRecycle is a universal strategy for all types of coins. Whatever is the end goal of developers, users or the community, the overall utility is what gives the asset value. Here are the ways how “spend and replace” cycle is more beneficial than just hodling:

  • The increasing number of shoppers that pay with cryptocurrencies incentivize merchants to want to accept digital assets. Vendors would have no reason to act differently as they would otherwise miss an opportunity to attract a broader range of customers;
  • If a vendor doesn’t exchange the coins collected from shoppers, rebuying the asset may increase its value just because the merchant never converted it back to fiat. When every party avails of the same currency, there is no need for intermediary currencies anymore;
  • Spending and rebuying would increase the number of participants on the network and its overall volume, meaning the competition would rise and the price volatility would reduce;
  • An increasing utility and acceptance would promote trust and attract more businesses, investors and regular users in the process;
  • Wider crypto payment adoption would prompt more developments in the blockchain space, further improving the technology and solutions that come out of it;
  • And finally, you can spend your cryptocurrency while keeping your investments intact.
Invest and use at the same time

There is no arguing that hodling, as an investment strategy, can be profitable in the long-run. However, the overall success of any coin mostly depends on those people that actively participate in the economy and use cryptocurrencies as intended.

Good news is, you can indeed hodl your investment and spend it at the same time if you add rebuying in the mix. Using an upgraded formula we call CryptoRecycle, you can fulfill the purpose of hodling for profits and still use digital assets for payments, giving cryptocurrencies a meaning and favoring the whole industry in the process.

But most importantly, you, as a motivated investor wanting to keep the economy healthy and the prices high, ultimately benefit the most.

Here are more articles from CoinGate that might be relevant to you:

The post CryptoRecycle: how to HODL and SPEND at the same time appeared first on CoinGate Blog.

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As an additional service, CoinGate provides a platform for traders to sell (or buy) major cryptocurrencies for Euros using a variety of different methods.

Selling cryptocurrencies on CoinGate is pretty straight-forward and hassle-free. Once you create an account and verify your identity, you are free to use all available selling options you can find your account dashboard under the Trader/Sell section.

Trader/Sell section

How do I sell cryptocurrency at CoinGate?

Currently, CoinGate allows selling eight digital assets: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Nano, TRON, Dai, and BitcoinSV.

In the first section, choose cryptocurrency you wish to sell from the provided list. Next, select receive currency and your account type (“Trader” or “Merchant”). Once you choose your account type, you will notice the “+Add Euro payout address” button that will pop up if this is your first time selling digital assets on CoinGate.

Click on it and you will be redirected to the SEPA payout option screen. To add Euro payout option, you need to fill the necessary information. You can also select the international bank transfer option. However, note that we send international bank transfers with a 1% (min 90 Euros) fee deducted from the amount sent, due to the fact this is what our banking provider charges for the service.

First, choose a title for your payout option. It will help you distinguish a particular payout option from all others that you have already created, or will create in the future. Next, select the setting type (“Trader” or “Merchant”), and proceed with the rest: name of a bank account holder (important: the owner of a bank account has to be the same as the account holder’s at CoinGate), name of a bank you’re transferring your funds to, as well as bank SWIFT code and bank account number (IBAN).

Merchants also have an option to select the “Auto Withdrawal” option, meaning they can receive payouts once a week automatically. If not needed, select “None”.

Finally, click on the “Add new payout option” button. You will immediately receive a payout setting confirmation request to your email address. Once you confirm the payout option, you will be able to select it when selling digital assets.

Trade cryptocurrencies and become an affiliate

If you are trading cryptocurrencies often, we offer an opportunity to join our affiliate program and earn in the process.

If you are a registered user, you can create referral links that allow receiving up to 1% of the fees paid by traders who registered using it. The referrer can also choose to receive less than 1% and, as a result, referred customers will also pay lower fees than usual. Herewith, the referrers will get a percentage of total payments that the referred customer makes.

You can create the referral links via your CoinGate dashboard under the “Trader/Referrals” section.

With that said, hopefully, you will be pleased with the variety of options and opportunities we provide!

Just so you know, we produce content like this at least once a week. If you enjoy reading our articles, feel free to subscribe to our blog! Just enter your email address down below, and you will get a notification each time we release something new!

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The post How to sell Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and other cryptos on CoinGate (2019) appeared first on CoinGate Blog.

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Spending XRP online is easy. In this guide, you will learn how to pay for a merchant’s invoice with XRP using either an exchange account or a wallet.

Great news, you have just landed on a CoinGate invoice! Go ahead and select XRP and click on “Pay with XRP” to proceed. Entering your email address is optional but encouraged: you will only receive a single status update to your inbox.

A payment window with further details will open, and you will have 20 minutes (sometimes more) to send the transaction. Keep an eye out on the timer!

To make the payment, you will need the total amount (1), the address (2) and the destination tag (3). You can also scan the QR code (4) if you are using a mobile wallet, or click on the blue wallet button (5) to trigger the software wallet on your device.

How to send XRP from an exchange

For this example, we will make a payment using the Binance exchange. First, go to “Funds” tab, select “Withdrawals” option and choose XRP in the dropdown.

Then, copy the receiving address from your merchant’s invoice and paste it in “XRP Withdrawal Address” field. Do the same with destination tag – copy it from the invoice and paste in Binance’s “XRP Withdrawal Tag” field.

Note that the withdrawing funds from an exchange may have an additional transaction fee. In this case, it is 0.25 XRP. It is crucial that you don’t forget to add it to the total amount you need to pay. Otherwise, your payment will not be automatically processed and you will have to repeat the process again.

Click the “Submit” button, go through the 2-factor authentication and confirm the withdrawal using a link you will get in your email address. You will notice that your payment status has now changed to “processing”, meaning that the funds will be sent shortly. Binance and most other exchanges process XRP transfers very quickly – as quick as every minute, in fact.

As soon as you submit your withdrawal request, return to the merchant’s invoice. Within a few minutes or even less, you will see the invoice update; it is now paid and confirmed.

How to pay with XRP from a wallet

If you do not have a wallet that supports XRP, we recommend one of these wallets (or check this guide to set up Toast wallet). All wallets offer a similar transaction flow, and we will be using Toast wallet as an example.

Once you are ready to make the transaction, click on the “$” sign. Copy the address from your merchant’s invoice and paste it in the “To Address” field. Do the same with destination tag and payment amount, copying the values from the invoice and pasting them in “Destination Tag” and “Amount” fields, respectively. To send the funds, press “Pay” and enter your wallet password.

That’s it! You will see an invoice status change to “Paid and confirmed” shortly.

Need help with XRP transactions?

We recommend keeping the invoice open until you see your payment is confirmed. In case your transaction is not detected or confirmed, you may have forgotten to input the destination tag, or have accidentally sent an insufficient amount.

If this happens, just follow the steps on the invoice to receive a refund or contact our support team for help. To get help quickly and efficiently, in any communications, please reference your Order ID and Transaction ID.

Here are more articles from CoinGate that might be relevant to you:

The post How to pay with XRP? A guide for wallets and exchanges appeared first on CoinGate Blog.

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Just a while ago, we introduced a customizable invoice option. Now, our merchants can enable and disable specific coins, change their positioning on the invoice, and set settlement currencies to each digital asset.

The feature got a lot of interest from our customers. Thus we decided to make a step-by-step guide, explaining how certain features work, as well as how to modify the invoice itself. So, without further ado, let’s start setting up a customizable invoice!

Note: To avail of the feature, first you must have an account on CoinGate.

How to access invoice customization option

Customization features are available only after integrating one of our payment methods, e.g., a payment button, API connection or Point of Sale (web version only). If you already have a payment option set up, proceed to step 2.

Step 1: Create an integration method

Go to the “Dashboard”, select the “Merchant” section and proceed to “Payment Buttons”, “API/app”, or “Point of Sale” tabs, depending on the integration method you want to set up.

To create a payment button, click on “Add New”, fill in all the necessary details and finalize the integration method.

If in need of a web PoS, click on “Request POS Access” and submit a ticket. We will get back to you in 24 hours.

To connect via API, press the “New App” button, fill out the form and proceed. For further steps, check the API documentation for merchants.

Note: When creating API credentials, you need to select “Custom settings (advanced)” option under the “Settlement Setting” section to access the custom invoice feature.

Step 2: Open the customization window

Once the integration is ready, you will be able to make changes on your invoice page. When finalizing the integration, merchants are usually redirected to the invoice customization page immediately, but with some methods, you have to access it manually.

To open a customization window by yourself, go to the chosen integration page, click on the settings icon and select “Edit”. You will then see the option to customize the invoice.

Step 3: Start building your invoice

Once the customization window is open, you will be ready to make changes on your invoice page. Note that you are able to customize each integration individually, meaning you can set up different invoice page for each integration method.

What can I customize?

There are three main things that you can change on your invoice page – control which coins you want to accept, decide how the invoice layout will look like, and select the settlement currencies for all coins that your shoppers are paying with. To understand each feature better, let’s examine them all one by one.

Enable or disable coins

Feel free to narrow your list of cryptocurrencies by turning off those you don’t want to accept. To do that, use the switch button next to a digital asset’s title. Alternatively, you can use “Enable All” or Disable All” functions.

However, the main four currencies (Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, and Litecoin) cannot be turned off manually. If you want to accept just one specific cryptocurrency or a few, please refer to support@coingate.com.

Drag and drop

Change the position of any Altcoin listed in “More Currencies” tab. Just select the currency and drag it to the place where you want to keep it. Four top coins always remain locked.

Choose settlements

As a merchant, you have an option to choose how to want to proceed with your cryptocurrency revenue. You can choose to either settle a particular coin to fiat currency (Euros or the US Dollars), or to most of our natively integrated digital assets. You can customize settlements of every single coin you see on the invoice.

Example #1: You have an online store which accepts cryptocurrency payments via CoinGate. However, you’re not that into cryptocurrency yourself, and you only want to have some additional payment options for your customers. Thus you decide to settle all your cryptocurrency revenue to Euros or the US Dollars and receive it in a bank account.

Example #2: You are a keen supporter of stablecoin USDT, and you have just implemented CoinGate payment solution to your enterprise for that exact reason. Now, you can receive USDT payments and keep USDT revenue as it is. Additionally, you can set all other cryptocurrencies on the invoice to be converted to USDT immediately after the purchase.

Example #3: You adore all cryptocurrencies and wish you could keep them all. In this case, you can keep all natively integrated digital assets (Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, etc.) – simply select “Keep (currency)” option in the drop-down menu.

Hopefully, this guide was helpful. If you have any questions related to the invoice customization or anything related to CoinGate, visit our support page.

Here are more articles from CoinGate that might be relevant to you:

The post How to customize merchant’s invoice page: step-by-step guide appeared first on CoinGate Blog.

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It is fair to say that everyone heard of Bitcoin, or cryptocurrency by now, in one way or another. If you are reading this, chances are you want to learn even more. However, to understand what exactly it is, and really get into it, you have to endure a steep learning curve.

We are here to walk you through it, whether you want to learn the fundamentals of the blockchain, deepen your current knowledge, find places to talk to the community or just scout for reliable news sources. So, let’s start with the absolute basics, in case you are taking your first steps.

If you are already familiar with Bitcoin and its basic terminology, just skip further ahead.

Crypto terminology: the most common words

When you begin educating yourself, you will often hear words like cryptocurrency, peer-to-peer, blockchain, wallet, mining, exchange, fork, and many more, which you might encounter for the first time, or don’t know the exact meaning of.

Decriptionary is an online dictionary exceptionally committed to the vocabulary of blockchain tech. Hence their list of the 25 most frequent cryptocurrency words is where we advise starting. It covers the most usual terms in-detail, providing clear descriptions and explanations.

Even if you cannot find a word that you are looking for on the list, feel free to use the search feature. Decriptionary provides over 250 definitions, some with illustrations to increase your understanding.

The Bitcoin Whitepaper

Once you grasp the most common terms, you will be prepared to read the most significant, historical piece of work in the crypto world – the original Bitcoin Whitepaper from 2009, written by a mysterious Bitcoin creator known only as Satoshi Nakamoto.

It explains the rules and core principles of Bitcoin, defining what problems the technology could potentially solve. However, be warned that it might be a challenging read. That is why it is necessary to familiarize with the most common terminology prior.

Educational videos on cryptocurrency

Not everyone fancies reading, and sometimes, it is much more convenient to educate yourself by watching some short, quality videos. We took some time to cherry-pick the most useful and easily digestible videos that should broaden your perception of how Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies work in general. So, here we go:

What is Bitcoin?

What is Bitcoin? - YouTube

How Bitcoin Works in 5 Minutes (Technical)

How Bitcoin Works in 5 Minutes (Technical) - YouTube

How does a blockchain work – Simply Explained

How does a blockchain work - Simply Explained - YouTube

What is Bitcoin Mining?

What is Bitcoin Mining? - YouTube

What Is A Bitcoin Wallet? – The Best Explanation EVER

What Is A Bitcoin Wallet? - The Best Explanation EVER - YouTube

Public & Private Keys Explained (Litecoin/Bitcoin)

Public & Private Keys Explained (Litecoin/Bitcoin) - YouTube

What is a Bitcoin hard fork? Simply Explained!

What is a Bitcoin hard fork? Simply Explained! - YouTube

Free online courses about Bitcoin

Another way to truly learn something is to take well-crafted lessons and classes. Which way to go – free or paid – entirely depends on the knowledge level you wish to achieve. However, there are plenty of scholarly sources online that offer quality learning material free of charge.

Below, you will find descriptions of the most useful and accurate (free only) learning courses that we recommend.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard for all kinds of fields. Luckily, the platform stores a video course on Bitcoin, created by Zulfikar Ramzan, the CTO of cyber-security company RSA.

A total of nine Youtube videos, the guide explains the most fundamental aspects of Bitcoin in plain words, including explanations of hash functions, digital signatures, proof of work, and so on. In case you prefer reading a text rather than watching a video, all videos are transcripted to English. Take the course here.

Coursera

Coursera platform offers a course on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies by Princeton University. Overwhelmingly positively rated lessons introduce Bitcoin more on a technical level. The 18-hour lecture includes numerous video lessons, quizzes, and assignments. Upon completion, as its description states, “You should have the conceptual foundations you need to engineer secure software that interacts with the Bitcoin network.” If it’s something you are up for, enroll in the course here.

Udemy

Yet another class on the most crucial Bitcoin fundamentals by professors Charles Hoskinson and Brian Göss. The lesson provides 6 hours on-demand video content, 2 hours on-demand audio material and additional 13 downloadable resources for further education. Once completed, you will also get the certificate of completion.

These courses do not require to have any prior knowledge about Bitcoin at all, and is an excellent start for absolute beginners. Start the course here.

Join the crypto community

In addition to reading and watching videos, it is always beneficial to stay in touch with communities that have a keen interest in the same field. You can often find insightful discussions and the most recent news just by participating in the most active threads. Following the most influential people in the industry might provide you with more valuable knowledge than anyone else.

Moreover, there you can always ask questions or look for solutions to your own problems. More than often, you will get the answer you are looking for.

Suggested websites: r/Bitcoin, BitcoinTalk, Quora.

Cryptocurrency news sources

Keep in mind that there are many great media resources publish updates about Bitcoin and crypto every day. Here are four media outlets that we consider to be an excellent, professional source for all crypto-related news – BitcoinMagazine, CoinDesk, Forbes and TheNextWeb.

One of our favorites is BitcoinMagazine. The extensive copies about the technology and usability of cryptocurrencies from the author Aaron van Wirdum are quite an insightful reads.

If you are up for some easy page-turners, you can find many on Coindesk that highlight the daily events in the crypto industry. However, if you prefer reading the mass media outlets, we recommend an excellent cryptocurrency column on Forbes, lead by Billy Bambrough.

Learn about the Lightning Network

The main events in Bitcoin’s history

Another crucial aspect of understanding Bitcoin is getting familiar with its ongoing development efforts. The Lightning Network (LN), in particular, is one of the most exciting developments in Bitcoin’s history to date. Thus it is necessary to keep up with its progress if you wish to learn everything about what Bitcoin can actually become in the future.

LN is a second-layer protocol for the Bitcoin’s blockchain that provides a long-term scalability solution for faster and cheaper payments. By opening Lightning channels “off-chain”, users are able to transact in high volumes without the need to wait for block confirmations.

It might sound complicated at first, but there is always a simple explanation. The easiest way to learn more about it is by watching a 5 minute Youtube video called “Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, Simply Explained!”. It really simplifies the whole concept by presenting a clear, well-animated example of a real use case. Watch it here:

Bitcoin's Lightning Network, Simply Explained! - YouTube

Another option is more suitable for those who are ready to absorb an enormous amount of information. This extensive Q&A answers pretty much all of the frequently asked questions circulating among the community regarding the LN.

CoinGate also wrote some articles about the LN as we’re one of the first cryptocurrency payment processors in the world that introduced Lightning Network payments to their customers.

Here is our Lightning Network related content:

What is Lightning Network? Intro to LN Payments

How to pay using the Lightning Network

Altcoins – what are those?

Worth noting that Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency around. As the Bitcoin code is open-source, everyone can make their own version of the blockchain if they have enough skill to do so. Thus, over the years, many projects have surfaced with the same underlying technology that Bitcoin has, striving to surpass its predecessor by offering alternative features and promoting various use-cases.

These are the six most well-known Altcoins that have ongoing developments and active communities supporting them. Litecoin is the crypto asset that came right after Bitcoin, which is known as the lighter version of the Bitcoin blockchain. Ethereum allows creating smart contracts and issuing your own tokens on top of the existing blockchain. TRON is quite similar in nature, but it has even bigger ambitious – decentralization of the whole internet. There are also digital assets like XRP that targets enterprise level consumers, although it can also be used for payments. An excellent example of cryptocurrency created exclusively for payments is Nano which is pre-mined and uses a proof-of-stake consensus model to speed up the network. Also, there is another type of cryptocurrency, better known as a stablecoin. Dai is one of them, keeping the stable value of 1$, backed by users who put their Ethereum for collateral to create its supply.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article helped you dig out some useful resources and satisfy your curiosity. If you appreciate content like this, we recommend subscribing to our blog. Just enter your email down below, and you will never miss a story from us!

Here are more articles from CoinGate that might be relevant to you:

The post What is Bitcoin? Introduction to cryptocurrency and blockchain appeared first on CoinGate Blog.

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