Cryptocurrencies and You

Written by  Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:00

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is digital money used for secure and instant transfer of value anywhere in the world. It is not controlled or issued by any bank or government - instead it is an open network which is managed by its users. Much in the way email improved communication by making it fast and cheap, bitcoin is an improvement on existing payment methods which were not designed for the internet era.

 
Is Bitcoin safe?

Bitcoin’s core protocol is viewable by anyone, has been vetted by thousands of security researchers around the world, and has proven to be robust and reliable after immense scrutiny. Using bitcoin is similar to using other private applications on the internet, such as email or online banking. Just like these other web services, you must access your bitcoin with a password in order to ensure only you have access to your money.

 
Is it tied to the value of the dollar?

The value of a bitcoin is not tied or pegged to the value of any other currency. Similar to stocks or property, bitcoin’s value is determined by buying and selling in the open market. A bitcoin’s price changes in real time based on the number of people who want to buy or sell it at a given moment.


Why does it change value?

Bitcoin is traded for dollars, euros, yen, and other currencies in real time 24 hours a day. Depending on the demand for buying or selling bitcoin, the price can fluctuate from day to day. This is similar to the manner in which the value of a stock or property can go up or down based on supply and demand. Bitcoin’s value can be volatile compared to traditional currencies such as the US dollar because it is still an emerging technology.

 
Is it similar to a credit card or paypal?

Unlike credit card networks like Visa and payment processors like Paypal, bitcoin is not owned by an individual or company. Bitcoin is the world’s first completely open payment network which anyone with an internet connection can participate in. Bitcoin was designed to be used on the internet, and doesn’t depend on banks or private companies to process transactions.


Why would I use bitcoin?

Bitcoin allows you to instantly send any amount of money to anyone in the world without needing a bank. It allows you to access your money without needing an ATM or credit card - bitcoin gives you back control over your money. Plus you can pay friends back for dinner, buy your next computer, and donate to charity, all using bitcoin.


Where can I spend bitcoin?

Many large online businesses accept bitcoin, such as Overstock, Expedia, and Dell. Non-profits such as Wikipedia and the United Way also accept bitcoin donations. Look for a bitcoin payment option at many of your favorite websites and you’ll be surprised how many accept bitcoin! You can view a list of merchants here.

What is Ethereum?

Ether is a digital currency used for operating smart contracts on the Ethereum network. Like Bitcoin, the Ethereum network and Ether tokens are not controlled or issued by any bank or government - instead it is an open network which is managed by its users.

Is Ethereum safe?

Ethereum has been deployed in different phases. Currently the Ethereum project is in the 2nd phase, called “Homestead”. The 4 planned phases for the growth of the Ethereum network are, in order: Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. Ethereum Homestead clients are working smoothly after being in beta for several months without any major incidents. However, Ethereum is still an experimental technology. Since it allows for programs to run on a virtual machine, it’s still possible that some things may still go wrong, such as poorly written smart contracts that contain bugs.

Why would I use Ethereum?

While Bitcoin allows you take part in a global financial network, using Ethereum you can participate in a global computational network. This is done by means of smart contracts, which are scripts of code that can be deployed in the Ethereum blockchain. Although smart contracts are still a very new technology, they have a wide range of potential applications in many different areas, such as voting, global supply chains, medical records, the financial system, and possibly others that have yet to be discovered.

Is it tied to the value of the dollar?

The value of Ethereum is not tied or pegged to the value of any other currency. Similar to stocks or property, Ethereum's value is determined by buying and selling in the open market. The price of Ethereum changes in real time based on the number of people who want to buy or sell it at a given moment.

Why does it change value?

Ethereum is traded for bitcoin, dollars, euros, yen, and other currencies in real time 24 hours a day. Depending on the demand for buying or selling Ethereum, the price can fluctuate from day to day. This is similar to the manner in which the value of a stock or property can go up or down based on supply and demand. Ethereum value can be volatile compared to currencies such as the US dollar because it is still an emerging technology, with a relatively small pool of liquidity.

Is it similar to a credit card or paypal?

Ethereum operates in a similar way to the Bitcoin network, in that it allows users to send and receive tokens that represent value over an open network. However, the primary aim of Ethereum is not to act as a form of money, but to operate smart contracts.

 

HOW IS BITCOIN INSURED WITH COINBASE?

Digital Currency

All digital currency that Coinbase holds online is fully insured. This means that if Coinbase were to suffer a breach of its online storage, the insurance policy would pay out to cover any customer funds lost as a result.

The insurance policy covers any losses resulting from a breach of Coinbase’s physical security, cyber security, or by employee theft.

Coinbase holds less than 2% of customer funds online. The rest is held in offline storage.

This insurance policy does not cover any losses resulting from the compromise of your individual Coinbase account. It is your responsibility to use a strong password and maintain control of all login credentials you use to access Coinbase and GDAX.

Fiat Currency

Coinbase stores all customer fiat currency (government-issued currency) in segregated, custodial bank accounts. The funds held in those accounts belong to Coinbase’s customers - not to Coinbase. 

If you are a United States resident, your Coinbase USD Wallet is covered by FDIC insurance, up to a maximum of $250,000.

Even if Coinbase were to become insolvent, the funds held in the custodial bank accounts could not be claimed by Coinbase or its creditors. The funds held in those accounts would be returnable to Coinbase’s customers.

Invest with Coinbase today!

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