SAN SALVADOR — El Salvador on Tuesday became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, a real-world experiment proponents say will lower commission costs for billions of dollars sent from abroad but which critics warned may fuel money laundering.

The change means businesses should accept payment in bitcoin alongside the U.S. dollar, which has been El Salvador’s official currency since 2001 and will remain legal tender.

President Nayib Bukele, who has pushed for adopting the cryptocurrency, says it will help Salvadorans save about $400 million the government calculates is spent annually on commissions for remittances.

The 40-year-old president is popular with the public but has been accused of eroding democracy, including by the U.S. Biden administration.

Doubters say bitcoin could increase regulatory and financial risks for the Central American nation, and polls show Salvadorans are wary of the volatility of the cryptocurrency, which can shed hundreds of dollars in value in a day.

To warm up a skeptical public, Bukele has promised every citizen $30 in bitcoin if they sign up for a government digital wallet. Ahead of the launch, El Salvador bought 400 bitcoins, Bukele said, helping drive the currency price above $52,000 for the first time since May. 

In the early hours of Tuesday the wallet had not appeared on Apple Inc., Google and Huawei’s app download platforms, however, prompting a series of tweets from Bukele, including one with a red-faced “angry” emoticon.

“Release him! @Apple @Google and @Huawei,” Bukele said. The wallet was later available from Huawei.

“It’s going to be beneficial … we have family in the United States and they can send money at no cost, whereas banks charge,” said Reina Isabel Aguilar, a store owner in El Zonte Beach, some 49 km (30 m) southwest of capital San Salvador.

Known as Bitcoin Beach, the town of El Zonte aims to become one of the world’s first bitcoin economies.

In the run-up to the launch, the government has installed ATMs that will allow bitcoin to be converted into dollars and withdrawn without commission from the digital wallet, called Chivo.

Bukele on Monday looked to temper expectations for quick results and asked for patience.

“Like all innovations, El Salvador’s bitcoin process has a learning curve. Every road to the future is like this and not everything will be achieved in a day, or in a month,” he said on Twitter.

The cryptocurrency has been notoriously volatile, rising to more than $64,000 in April and falling almost as low as $30,000 in May this year.

The move to make bitcoin legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar has muddied the outlook for El Salvador’s quest for more than $1 billion in financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Analysts fear adopting the cryptocurrency could fuel money laundering in a country with serious problems of government corruption and organized crime.

Bukele has promised to clean up graft, but the Biden administration recently put some of his close allies on a corruption blacklist.

In barely two years in office, he has taken control of almost all levers of power. Last week, top judges appointed by his allies ruled he could serve a second term.

After the bitcoin law was approved, rating agency Moody’s downgraded El Salvador’s creditworthiness, while the country’s dollar-denominated bonds have also come under pressure.

But Bukele, who does not shy away from controversy, on Monday retweeted a video that showed his face superimposed on actor Jaime Foxx in a scene from Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s film about American slavery. The video portrayed Bukele whipping a slave trader who had the IMF emblem emblazoned on his face.

Bukele later deleted the retweet.

In his own tweet, Bukele said: “We must break the paradigms of the past. El Salvador has the right to advance towards the first world.”

This content was originally published here.

The cryptocurrency market posted staggering losses Tuesday as a wave of selling pummeled the prices of nearly every single coin—unraveling the gains priced in by a retail trading mania ahead of El Salvador’s first day accepting bitcoin as legal tender.

Top cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ether and Cardano’s ada plunged as much as 15% within minutes.

Key Facts

The value of the world’s cryptocurrencies plunged to a low of about $1.9 trillion by 11:15 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, nearly 15% less than 24 hours prior and reflecting a loss of more than $410 billion, according to crypto-data website CoinMarketCap.

Heading up market value losses, the price of bitcoin dipped 10% to less than $44,000—the lowest price in nearly three weeks—before quickly paring some of the losses and settling at about $46,810 by 11:50 a.m. EDT, still 9% lower than one day earlier.

Meanwhile, ether, binance coin and Cardano’s ada plunged between 13% and 18% apiece, while Solana was the only token posting an increase in value, climbing 8% after a stunning run-up of nearly 36% over the past week.

In the middle of the flash crash, El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele announced the country took advantage of crashing prices to purchase an additional 150 bitcoins, boosting its holdings to 550 total coins, worth about $25 million.

Sentiment started taking a hit early Tuesday as El Salvador’s wallet experienced technical difficulties within hours of its debut, forcing President Bukele to announce it would temporarily go offline.

Heightened trading volume then fueled speculation about institutions selling off large stakes and even triggered brief outages and trading delays on many of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, Kraken and Gemini.

Key Background

The steep sell-off came less than one day after JPMorgan analysts warned in a note to clients that recently rallying altcoins—or cryptocurrency alternatives to bitcoin and ether—reflected “froth and retail investor mania,” as opposed to sustainable gains for the market. “The August rally in non-fungible tokens and the pickup in decentralized finance activity have helped not only ethereum but also alternative cryptocurrencies that facilitate or plan to facilitate smart contracts, such as Solana, Binance Coin and Cardano,” JPMorgan Managing Director Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou said Monday. “The previous phase of retail investors’ mania into cryptocurrency markets was between the beginning of January and mid-May… and retail investors are making cryptocurrency markets look frothy again.” After the bouts of retail-investing mania in January and May, crypto markets crashed about 13% and 50%, respectively.

El Salvador made history Tuesday by becoming the first sovereign government to use bitcoin as legal tender—clearing the way for residents to pay taxes and other debt with the cryptocurrency, and allowing hundreds of thousands of businesses nationwide to accept it as payment. In addition to its bitcoin buying spree, the Central American has already marked the occasion with the rollout of hundreds of bitcoin ATMs across the country and the debut of a new cryptocurrency wallet, Chivo, powered in part by California-based digital wallet firm BitGo. Ahead of the buzzy event, billionaire bitcoin bull Michael Saylor, the CEO of business analytics firm MicroStrategy, rallied around retail investors on Twitter and encouraged them to buy $30 worth of bitcoin to show support for El Salvador’s historic feat.

Crucial Quote

“Bitcoin is lower on a ‘buy leading up to the big event, sell the fact’ reaction to El Salvador’s historic moment embracing cryptocurrency,” Ed Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a Tuesday email, adding: “Bitcoin’s fundamentals remain intact, as prices iron out a new trading range between the $46,000 and $53,000 levels.”

This content was originally published here.

HOUSTON – On a residential back street of Houston, in a 150,000 square-foot warehouse safeguarding high-end vintage cars, 200 oil and gas execs and bitcoin miners mingled, drank beer, and talked shop on a recent Wednesday night in August.

These two groups of people may seem as though they are at opposite ends of the professional and social spectrums, but their worlds are colliding – fast. As it turns out, the industries make for compatible bedfellows.

Just take Hayden Griffin Haby III, an oilman turned bitcoiner. The Texas native and father of three has spent 14 years in oil and gas, and he epitomizes what this monthly meetup is all about. 

Haby started as a surface landman where he brokered land contracts, and later, ran his own oil company. But for the last nine months, he’s exclusively been in the business of mining bitcoin.

As Haby describes it, he was “orange pilled” in November 2020 – a term used to describe the process of convincing a fiat-minded person that they are missing out by not investing in bitcoin. A month later, he co-founded Limpia Creek Technologies, which powers bitcoin mining rigs with flared, vented, and stranded natural gas assets.

“When I heard that you could make this much money per MCF (a metric used to measure natural gas), instead of just burning it up into the atmosphere, thanks to the whole ‘bitcoin mining thing,’ I couldn’t look away,” Haby said. “You can’t unsee that.”

When China kicked out all its crypto miners this spring – an exodus which Haby calls the “Chexit” – that poured kerosene on the flames. “This is an opportunity we didn’t think was coming,” he said.

Haby tells CNBC they are already seeing demand rushing to Texas, and he is convinced that the state is poised to capture most of the Chinese hashrate looking for a new home on friendlier shores.

Bitcoin miners care most about finding cheap sources of electricity, so Texas – with its crypto-friendly politicians, deregulated power grid, and crucially, abundance of inexpensive power sources – is a virtually perfect fit. The union becomes even more harmonious when miners connect their rigs to otherwise stranded energy, like natural gas going to waste on oil fields across Texas.

“This is Texas, boys. We got what you need, so come on down,” said Haby. “We are sitting on the energy capital of the world.”

“I think Kevin Costner said it best: ‘If you build it, they will come,'” said Haby.

This content was originally published here.

In 2009, you could mine one Bitcoin using a setup like this in your living room.

Amount of household electricity required to mine one coin: a few seconds’ worth. Bitcoin’s value: basically nothing.

Today, you’d need a room full of specialized machines, each costing thousands of dollars.

Amount of household electricity required: 9 years’ worth. (Put in terms of a typical home electricity bill: about $12,500.) Value of one Bitcoin today: about $50,000.

By Jon Huang, Claire O’Neill and Hiroko Tabuchi

Illustrations by Eliana Rodgers

Sept. 3, 2021

Cryptocurrencies have emerged as one of the most captivating, yet head-scratching, investments in the world. They soar in value. They crash. They’ll change the world, their fans claim, by displacing traditional currencies like the dollar, rupee or ruble. They’re named after dog memes.

And in the process of simply existing, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, one of the most popular, use astonishing amounts of electricity.

We’ll explain how that works in a minute. But first, consider this: The process of creating Bitcoin to spend or trade consumes around 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than is used by Finland, a nation of about 5.5 million.

Bitcoin’s electricity usage compared with countries

Estimated electricity consumption (terawatt-hours, annualized). Shaded region represents the range of possible values.

Source: EIA, Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index·Country usage numbers are from 2019. Electricity cost for miners is assumed to average $0.05 per kilowatt-hour. Upper, lower and best guess trends are estimated using the research methodology behind the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.

That usage, which is close to half-a-percent of all the electricity consumed in the world, has increased about tenfold in just the past five years.

The Bitcoin network uses about the same amount of electricity as Washington State does yearly …

more than a third of what residential cooling in the United States uses up …

and more than seven times as much electricity as all of Google’s global operations.

So why is it so energy intensive?

For a long time, money has been thought of as something you can hold in your hand — say, a dollar bill.

Currencies like these seem like such a simple, brilliant idea. A government prints some paper and guarantees its value. Then we swap it amongst ourselves for cars, candy bars and tube socks. We can give it to whomever we want, or even destroy it.

On the internet, things can get more complicated.

Traditional kinds of money, such as those created by the United States or other governments, aren’t entirely free to be used any way you wish. Banks, credit-card networks and other middlemen can exercise control over who can use their financial networks and what they can be used for — often for good reason, to prevent money laundering and other nefarious activities. But that could also mean that if you transfer a big amount of money to someone, your bank will report it to the government even if the transfer is completely on the up-and-up.

So a group of free thinkers — or anarchists, depending on whom you ask — started to wonder: What if there was a way to remove controls like these?

In 2008, an unknown person or persons using the name Satoshi Nakamoto published a proposal to create a cash-like electronic payment system that would do exactly that: Cut out the middlemen. That’s the origin of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin users wouldn’t have to trust a third party — a bank, a government or whatever — Nakamoto said, because transactions would be managed by a decentralized network of Bitcoin users. In other words, no single person or entity could control it. All Bitcoin transactions would be openly accounted for in a public ledger that anyone could examine, and new Bitcoins would be created as a reward to participants for helping to manage this vast, sprawling, computerized ledger. But the ultimate supply of Bitcoins would be limited. The idea was that growing demand over time would give Bitcoins their value.

This concept took a while to catch on.

But today, a single Bitcoin is worth about $50,000, though that could vary wildly by the time you read this, and no one can stop you from sending it to whomever you like. (Of course, if someone is caught buying illegal drugs or orchestrating ransomware attacks, two of the many unsavory uses for which cryptocurrency has proved attractive, they’d still be subject to the law of the land.)

However, as it happens, managing a digital currency of that value with no central authority takes a whole lot of computing power.

1.

It starts with a transaction

Let’s say you want to buy something and pay with Bitcoin. The first part is quick and easy: You’d open an account with a Bitcoin exchange like Coinbase, which lets you purchase Bitcoin with dollars.

You now have a “digital wallet” with some Bitcoin in it. To spend it, you simply send Bitcoin into the digital wallet of the person you’re buying something from. Easy as that.

But that transaction, or really any exchange of Bitcoin, must first be validated by the Bitcoin network. In the simplest terms, this is the process by which the seller can be assured that the Bitcoins he or she is receiving are real.

This gets to the very heart of the whole Bitcoin bookkeeping system: the maintenance of the vast Bitcoin public ledger. And this is where much of the electrical energy gets consumed.

2.

A global guessing game begins

All around the world, companies and individuals known as Bitcoin miners are competing to be the ones to validate transactions and enter them into the public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. They basically play a guessing game, using powerful, and power-hungry, computers to try to beat out others. Because if they are successful, they’re rewarded with newly created Bitcoin, which of course is worth a lot of money.

This competition for newly created Bitcoin is called “mining.”

You can think of it like a lottery, or a game of dice. This article provides a good analogy: Imagine you’re at a casino and everyone playing has a die with 500 sides. (More accurately, it would have billions of billions of sides, but that’s hard to draw.) The winner is the first person to roll a number under 10.

The more computer power you have, the more guesses you can make quickly. So, unlike at the casino, where you have just one die to roll at human speed, you can have many computers making many, many guesses every second.

The Bitcoin network is designed to make the guessing game more and more difficult as more miners participate, further putting a premium on speedy, power-hungry computers. Specifically, it’s designed so that it always takes an average of 10 minutes for someone to win a round. In the dice game analogy, if more people join the game and start winning faster, the game is recalibrated to make it harder. For example: You now have to roll a number under 4, or you have to roll exactly a 1.

That’s why Bitcoin miners now have warehouses packed with powerful computers, racing at top speed to guess big numbers and using tremendous quantities of energy in the process.

3.

The winner reaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in new Bitcoin.

The winner of the guessing game validates a standard “block” of Bitcoin transactions, and is rewarded for doing so with 6.25 newly minted Bitcoins, each worth about $50,000. So you can see why people might flock into mining.

Why such a complicated and expensive guessing game? That’s because simply recording the transactions in the ledger would be trivially easy. So the challenge is to ensure that only “trustworthy” computers do so.

A bad actor could wreak havoc on the system, stopping legitimate transfers or scamming people with fake Bitcoin transactions. But the way Bitcoin is designed means that a bad actor would need to win the majority of the guessing games to have majority power over the network, which would require a lot of money and a lot of electricity.

In Nakamoto’s system, it would make more economic sense for a hacker to spend the resources on mining Bitcoin and collecting the rewards, rather than on attacking the system itself.

This is how Bitcoin mining turns electricity into security. It’s also why the system wastes energy by design.

Bitcoin’s growing energy appetite

In the early days of Bitcoin, when it was less popular and worth little, anyone with a computer could easily mine at home. Not so much anymore.

Here’s a timeline showing how things have changed. You can see how much electricity would have been used to mine one Bitcoin at home (in terms of the average home electricity bill), assuming the most energy-efficient devices available were used.

Average years of household-equivalent electricity to mine one Bitcoin

Using the most efficient hardware available at the time

A desktop computer could mine with little electricity.

Enthusiasts build custom miners with video gaming hardware.

The only practical way of mining is now with specialized hardware (called ASICs).

Bitcoin’s price skyrockets. It now takes years of household electricity to mine one coin despite better hardware.

Mining difficulty peaks in May 2021. At least 13 years of typical household electricity is consumed per mined coin.

EIA.gov, blockchain.com·Actual electricity use would have been higher because of less efficient machines and the need for cooling systems. Electrical usage is compared to the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer in 2019 of 10,649 kilowatt-hours.

Today you need highly specialized machines, a lot of money, a big space and enough cooling power to keep the constantly running hardware from overheating. That’s why mining now happens in giant data centers owned by companies or groups of people.

In fact, operations have consolidated so much that now, only seven mining groups own nearly 80 percent of all computing power on the network. (The aim behind “pooling” computing power like this is to distribute income more evenly so participants get $10 per day rather than $50,000 every 10 years, for example.)

Mining happens all over the world, often wherever there’s an abundance of cheap energy. For years, much of the Bitcoin mining has been in China, although recently, the country has started cracking down. Researchers at the University of Cambridge who have been tracking Bitcoin mining said recently that China’s share of global Bitcoin mining had fallen to 46 percent in April from 75 percent in late 2019. Meanwhile, the United States’ share of mining grew to 16 percent from 4 percent during the same period.

Bitcoin mining means more than just emissions. Hardware piles up, too. Everyone wants the newest, fastest machinery, which causes high turnover and a new e-waste problem. Alex de Vries, a Paris-based economist, estimates that every year and a half or so, the computational power of mining hardware doubles, making older machines obsolete. According to his calculations, at the start of 2021, Bitcoin alone was generating more e-waste than many midsize countries.

“Bitcoin miners are completely ignoring this issue, because they don’t have a solution,” said Mr. de Vries, who runs Digiconomist, a site that tracks the sustainability of cryptocurrencies. “These machines are just dumped.”

Could it be greener?

What if Bitcoin could be mined using more sources of renewable energy, like wind, solar or hydropower?

It’s tricky to figure out exactly how much of Bitcoin mining is powered by renewables because of the very nature of Bitcoin: a decentralized currency whose miners are largely anonymous.

Globally, estimates of Bitcoin’s use of renewables range from about 40 percent to almost 75 percent. But in general, experts say, using renewable energy to power Bitcoin mining means it won’t be available to power a home, a factory or an electric car.

A handful of miners are starting to experiment with harnessing excess natural gas from oil and gas drilling sites, but examples like that are still sparse and difficult to quantify. Plus, that practice could eventually spur more drilling. Miners have also claimed to tap the surplus hydropower generated during the rainy season in places like southwest China. But if those miners operate through the dry season, they would primarily be drawing on fossil fuels.

“As far as we can tell, it’s mostly baseload fossil fuels that are still being used, but that varies seasonally, as well as country to country,” said Benjamin A. Jones, an assistant professor in economics at the University of New Mexico, whose research involves the environmental impact of cryptomining. “That’s why you get these wildly different estimates,” he said.

Could the way Bitcoin works be rewritten to use less energy? Some other minor cryptocurrencies have promoted an alternate bookkeeping system, where processing transactions is won not through computational labor but by proving ownership of enough coins. This would be more efficient. But it hasn’t been proven at scale, and isn’t likely to take hold with Bitcoin because, among other reasons, Bitcoin stakeholders have a powerful financial incentive not to change, since they’ve already invested so much in mining.

Some governments are as wary of Bitcoin as environmentalists are. If they were to limit mining, that could theoretically reduce the energy strain. But remember, this is a network designed to exist without middlemen. Places like China are already creating restrictions around mining, but miners are reportedly moving to coal-rich Kazakhstan and the cheap-but-troubled Texas electric grid.

For the foreseeable future, Bitcoin’s energy consumption is likely to remain volatile for as long as its price does.

Though Bitcoin mining might not involve pickaxes and hard hats, it’s not a purely digital abstraction, either: It is connected to the physical world of fossil fuels, power grids and emissions, and to the climate crisis we’re in today. What was imagined as a forward-thinking digital currency has already had real-world ramifications, and those continue to mount.

This content was originally published here.

Malaysian graffiti artist Katun has made over RM1.6 million after selling two NFT collections in a span of 24 hours. He is the first artist to launch an NFT on Superfarm, a cryptocurrency platform co-founded by EllioTrades.

Two NFT collections dropped on 18th August at 2am local time. Katun’s NFT titled “Apes Stand Strong” is limited to 50 pieces and it sold out in just 30 minutes at 1 Ethereum (ETH) each. In total, that’s 50 ETH which is equivalent to RM699,520 at the time of writing.

The second NFT titled “Mystical Fruits” is released as an open edition and it was going for 0.1 ETH. In 24 hours he sold 776 pieces netting 77.6 ETH (about RM1,084,630). With both collections combined, that’s close to RM1.7 million, making it the most expensive batch of NFTs sold by a Malaysian artist at the moment.

Left: Apes Stand Strong, Right: Mystical Fruits

Owners of the limited edition “Apes Stand Strong” will also receive a physical and numbered Glclee print of the artwork if it’s held for a period of two months. On top of that, one lucky owner will be picked by random to receive an “Inferno” version of the NFT artwork on 18th October 2021 at 2am Malaysian time.

Meanwhile, owners of the open edition NFT will also stand a chance to get something extra special. On 18th October, 20% of “Mystical Fruits” NFTs will evolve into a special edition called “Garden of Bloom” as shown above.

Listings on OpenSea

According to the press statement, Katun’s limited edition NFTs are currently being resold for 1.99ETH, almost twice the price of its original listing. A quick check reveals that some are reselling the NFT for as high as 99.95 ETH on the platform.

Last month, Malaysian artist Red Hong Yi sold her first NFT titled “Doge to the Moon” for 36.3 ETH which was valued at over RM325,000 at the time. Besides owning the NFT, the winner of the bid will also get a 157.5cm x 75cm copper plate and a silk screen.

This content was originally published here.

Nearly a decade ago, sisters and Afghan entrepreneurs Elaha and Roya – both of whom had a focus on computer science at Herat University – founded the Digital Citizen Fund, an NGO that helps women and girls in developing countries gain access to technology. The organization has 11 women-only IT centers in Herat and another two in Kabul, where they teach 16,000 females everything from essential computer skills to blockchain technology.

Before classes were suspended earlier this week, creating a crypto wallet was also part of the curriculum. Elaha Mahboob tells CNBC that some students have chosen to secure their money in crypto accounts and a few have specifically started investing in bitcoin and ethereum in order to achieve their long-term financial goals.

While the company wouldn’t share sales numbers on the record with CNBC, Bitrefill does have the endorsement of Janey Gak, who uses it to top up her phone. Her Twitter account has become a must-follow for those who want to understand the situation on the ground through her eyes, but she’s also evangelizing the power of bitcoin to transform the country.

“I’m just an ordinary person. I’m not anyone special,” she said. “I am just someone who discovered bitcoin a couple of years ago.”

Since entering this world, she has learned how to code and reads as much as she can about bitcoin. “I don’t trade, I don’t do any of that,” she said. “I just make some money here and there and save it in bitcoin.”

Through her research, she’s come to the conclusion that in order for Afghanistan to be a truly sovereign state, it must never borrow money – and adopt a bitcoin standard. To foment wider adoption, Gak commissions articles to be translated to local languages.

“It’s not much, but it’s a start,” she told CNBC.

On Aug. 15, an hour and a half before Ramin’s flight bound for Turkey was due to take off, then-President Ghani arrived to the airport in Kabul. After that, Ramin says that all flights were halted and everyone was kicked out. 

Ramin still has plans to leave, along with his family. But finding a flight is proving to be difficult. He’s used his now dwindling supply of afghanis to purchase flights for ten members of his family. He’s done this three times, and all three times, the flights were canceled. With travel agencies shut, he remains in a bit of a holding pattern on the ground in Kabul. 

Ramin is one among many looking to leave the country. Every media outlet on the planet has been circulating the same photos of Afghans clinging to planes, fleeing the country with whatever possessions they can carry. For several, this has meant having to leave a lot behind.

Ramin estimates that around 5-10% of his net worth is in crypto, which makes it easier to plan an exit, knowing that there is some money in the bank to tide him over, especially since he doesn’t know if he will ever see the money in his bank accounts in Kabul.

“If some type of government doesn’t come to existence, then I could potentially see the majority of my wealth being wiped out,” he said. For now, he and his family are just sitting tight, waiting to catch a flight out.

But many people are staying put, in part because they want to foment positive change at home.

“In these circumstances, one can fully appreciate the censorship-resistance property of blockchain-based assets. I believe this is the main driver of the fundamental value of bitcoin and other cryptos,” said Andrea Barbon, Assistant Professor of Finance at the University of St. Gallen.

Gak, for example, thinks that using legacy financial rails like the hawala system might be one of the most effective ways to foster mass adoption. It is a vision she detailed in a prescient story she wrote for Hacker Noon in 2018.

She’s also thinking about opening her own exchange shop in Kabul. “The idea is that anyone with bitcoin can exchange it for fiat and then use that to buy goods like always. Anyone who is unable to receive can have their family for example, send the bitcoin to me with a unique address that only the recipient would know just like hawala,” she explained in a tweet.

Ramin has a similar plan to make crypto more accessible to Afghans. “I hope once I gain more knowledge in blockchain technology to create a team and develop an easily accessible trading platform which Afghans can use,” he said.

There are promising trends on their side. The number of social media users in Afghanistan increased by 22% from 2020 to 2021, and 68.7% of the total population now has a mobile phone connection, according to DataReportal.com. It helps that more than 60% of the population is under 25 and hungry to be a part of the modern economy. Shakib Noori, previously the CEO of a mobile money company in Afghanistan, says this younger demographic also tends to be more tech savvy.

Ultimately, CNBC is told that grassroots adoption comes down to one Afghan teaching another about how cryptocurrencies like bitcoin work. Hotak has already mentored three students, and that’s just the beginning.

“The Afghan people – they’re very complicated. And it’s very hard convincing them that digital currency exists,” he said. “I have plans to teach people about cryptocurrency in the future…but for now, people are just laying low and waiting to see what happens next.”

This content was originally published here.

Bitcoin vs. Altcoin: How Do You Evaluate A Cryptocurrency’s Value in 5 Easy Steps

Bitcoin has always been the world’s top cryptocurrency, but thousands of alternative cryptocurrencies, or

altcoins, have been created, all vying or claiming to be the next big thing. 

Evaluating a crypto asset’s performance should go beyond its recent price movement. 

Assessing each altcoin’s short- and long-term value can be daunting, as there is a lot of research to be done, but there are a few key factors to make your evaluation more sound.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a five-step process that may help you evaluate value as you look into new altcoins to get into. 

Since Bitcoin was created in 2010 and exploded in popularity in recent years, it has been the established market leader in the cryptocurrency industry, with market dominance reaching as high as 80% at several points in the past decade. Although BTC has been synonymous with the crypto industry, this is slowly changing with several blockchain-related innovations emerging from crypto projects outside of the bellwether crypto asset.

In just one year after Bitcoin’s creation, numerous alternative cryptocurrencies, also known as altcoins, have been created. Inspired by Bitcoin’s blockchain technology, these altcoins typically introduced blockchain use cases that were different from the original Bitcoin iteration. Some of these altcoins can even be considered as direct descendants of Bitcoin, at least in terms of them being created as a spinoff crypto asset after a major update in the Bitcoin blockchain.

In the early 2010s there were only a handful of altcoins, however, since Ethereum’s debut in 2015 and subsequent growth in popularity in 2017, the number of available altcoins on the market has significantly increased. Ethereum’s smart contract technology made it easier than ever for projects to create their own cryptocurrencies, leading to the formation of several startups that are still major players to this day.  

While Bitcoin continues to maintain a sizable, yet slowly dwindling, lead, the overall crypto market has matured to a point where you can now assess the value of each altcoin beyond comparing it to Bitcoin.  

Bitcoin vs Altcoin

At first glance, it’s easy to assume that Bitcoin’s market dominance makes it the sole worthwhile crypto to invest in. With its decade-long track record, the ongoing financial revolution it ushered in, and the increasing influence it has exerted towards even the most traditional of financial institutions, Bitcoin is on track to remain the market leader for years to come, barring any extraordinary events. 

Read more: What crypto should I buy besides Bitcoin? 

However, the boom of the overall crypto market has made space for notable altcoins to make their case as major players. While Bitcoin has the attention of even the most basic of crypto traders and owners, altcoins have the luxury to grow their reach and influence. This has led to many instances where several altcoins exhibited growth that surpassed Bitcoin’s. So far this year, out of the top 100 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap, only 10 cryptocurrencies performed worse than Bitcoin, including 15 of the top 20 crypto assets. (We’ve excluded the seven stablecoins in the top 100 from consideration.)

Nevertheless, each altcoin comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, raising questions about its long-term viability. Many altcoins, particularly those created in the crypto market’s boom periods, started out strong but have since crashed due to one factor or another. A few of these have been labelled as outright exit scams, deceiving those who don’t practice proper due diligence on their investments. In this article, we’ve prepared a detailed guide to help you separate the worthwhile tokens from the rest.

Five Factors to Look At When Assessing an Altcoin

While no single method stands out in terms of adequately evaluating crypto assets, there are a handful of crucial factors that can reveal a lot about an asset’s value and trajectory. Under each factor, we also provide a few key questions that you can use to assess an altcoin’s merits.

1. Function

Altcoins are typically created with a specific set of use cases that aim to solve a problem in any given industry through a blockchain solution. An altcoin that has no clear-cut function will likely have no future as a store of value. The problem with some altcoins that were initially hyped but ultimately flamed out is that they end up being solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist. Other altcoins say they want to become bigger than Bitcoin, which probably should already be a red flag for potential investors.

Here are a couple of questions to guide your research: : 

– Does this altcoin do anything substantial other than replicate an existing coin? 

– Is thealtcoin’s purpose both useful and attainable in the near future?

2. Developers and Support

In the same way that you assess a company’s value on the strength of what its team has done to generate business, you should also keep a close eye on the team that operates the crypto project behind the altcoin you’re researching. You can start by checking the team’s developers and their track records. Beyond the resumes, you should also be able to see how much work they;ve put into the project, if their efforts have led to positive results and if they’re working hard to inform the public about the progress they’ve made. Ask yourself the following questions:

– Are the developers capable and reputable? 

– Does the team actively work on noteworthy updates for the crypto project? 

– Do they strive to improve their product and regularly keep in touch with investors?

Keep in mind,this factor may matter more for new altcoins that have yet to make an impact in the industry. But if an altcoin has been around for quite a while, the next factor will probably be more important.

3. History and Reputation

Sometimes, a crypto project and its associated altcoin may have team members with reputable CVs. However, that’s not a guarantee that this particular altcoin will be successful. Sometimes, there are events in an altcoin’s history that end up affecting the positive assessments you already have about that crypto asset. Beware of the red flags that may come up as you answer the following questions:

– Have there been any scandals in the coin’s history? 

– Have any security breaches been exposed? 

– How long has the altcoin been on the market, and how much has its value increased since then?

4. Volume

Unless you’re the type of investor who is brave enough to venture into extremely new projects and can tolerate high risk investments, you should also look into the altcoin’s open market performance.. In addition to researching the price history,  you can check the altcoin’s market health through its trade volume. Simply put, when more people trade higher amounts of an altcoin in the market, that altcoin is in good shape. It’s even better if people find actual use in that altcoin. There are two important questions under this factor:

– How many people are currently using the altcoin? 

– Is the altcoin available on any of the major exchanges?

5. Accessibility

If, by this point, you like what you see in the altcoin you’re researching, you should probably check how easy it is to acquire the asset.  After all, a promising altcoin that’s difficult to access is likely more of an inconvenience than a proper asset. Altcoins that are easy to acquire are more accessible to the public and more likely to scale to bigger markets. Check the following: 

– How would you purchase the altcoin? 

– Will you be able to buy that altcoin via credit card, bank transfer, or P2P?

If the answers to the above questions are unsatisfactory , then you may be better off sticking to your current plan in the meantime until you see an altcoin worth your investment.

When evaluating an altcoin’s long-term value, you can add a few more factors to check, depending on what’s valuable to you. You can also take cues from factors that are considered by some of the most established companies in the crypto space. In many cases, altcoins are subject to a higher level of scrutiny.

For instance, Binance has its own system to determine which altcoins are worthy of being offered on the trading platform. When we conduct these reviews, we consider a variety of factors for listing or delisting a crypto asset, such as:

– Commitment of the team to the crypto project

– Level and quality of development activity

– Trading volume and liquidity

– Stability and safety of network from attacks

– Responsiveness to periodic due diligence requests

– Evidence of unethical/fraudulent conduct or negligence

– Contribution to a healthy and sustainable crypto ecosystem

With that being said, we hope this article gives you a more precise process towards picking altcoins suitable for your portfolio and risk appetite. 

Note: This article does not endorse any cryptocurrency or crypto project and should not be considered as outright investment advice, but as a jump-off point on your way to forming your own research and conclusions. Binance is not responsible for any result that emerges from your independent trading activities.

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The siblings began with ether, because mining bitcoin can be especially difficult. With its limited supply and surging demand, the competition when mining bitcoin can be more intense.

On their first day, “I made $3,” Ishaan says.

To make business official, Ishaan and Aanya created their own mining company, Flifer Technologies, with the help of their father, Manish Raj, on April 30.

“We liked it so much that we started to add more processors [or chips], and made $1,000 in our first month” of May, Ishaan says.

The siblings’ income continued to rise, and by late July, they could afford to buy equipment, like Antminers and Nvidia RTX 3080-Ti graphics cards, to start mining bitcoin and ravencoin, too. When deciding which to mine, they chose ravencoin because the equipment they had was “optimal” for mining it, Raj says.

In total, they expect to earn around $36,000 in September based on the equipment currently on order, Raj says.

“We can process a little over 10 billion Ethereum algorithms per second” alone, Ishaan says.

Although Ishaan and Aanya have had success, the process is far from easy.

In addition to being very complicated, mining is certainly not cheap, as it requires expensive equipment, a lot of energy and computer power.

Ishaan and Aanya, for example, have over 97 processors, which their father Raj, a former investment banker, helped fund by taking out a loan.

Raj declined to disclose the exact loan amount. But, the worldwide shortage of computer chips made finding equipment much more difficult and set prices at a premium.

Ishaan and Aanya mostly use Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards, Ishaan says, and each card alone can cost around $2,500 to $3,000 to buy.

Though at home, the siblings say they use “100% renewable energy for our mining,” because “we want to be environmentally friendly,” they also rent a data center in Dallas, Texas. In total, for both their home and the data center, the electric bill costs just below $3,000 per month, Ishaan says.

“We moved from my desk to the garage, since the house was getting too much heat and noise. [W]e outgrew the garage, since heat and noise was too much for the garage too,” Ishaan says. “We now use the garage only for building and testing mining rigs. When they are ready, we move them to a professional, air-conditioned data center in downtown Dallas.”

Ishaan and Aanya were able to “scale up” their operation during their school’s summer break, but, looking ahead, they hope to continue to grow their business and balance it with school.

When her friends ask, “I just tell them we’re just mining in the garage,” Aanya says.

With their profits, they plan to reinvest in their business. But, “hopefully profits from our mining business will [also] pay for our college fees,” Ishaan says.

Ishaan hopes to attend the University of Pennsylvania, he says. There, he’d like to study medicine and become a doctor. Aanya also wants to study medicine, but instead, would like to attend New York University.

However, they have a few years left to save – after all, Ishaan is just a freshman in high school, and Aanya is a fourth grader in elementary school.

This content was originally published here.