Interest in Cryptocurrencies

You may have noticed that, seemingly out of nowhere, I have been talking about cryptocurrencies as of late. Have I caught on the masses when the value of Bitcoin jumped from 3 digits to 5 digits against the US dollar back around November/December? In a way, yes.

You see, I'm not new to Bitcoin. I've known about it as far back as 2010 where anyone could mine with just a laptop CPU. I've minned quite a bit myself, spread across multiple PCs for the same mining pool. Did try solo mining, but that didn't work. Don't recall how much I have mined, but it was less than 1BTC total.

What I did back then was to have Bitcoin-qt (Bitcoin Core now) across multiple PCs I had back then. I don't remember which wallet associated with each had bitcoins on them, or where I had transfered some to, but I do recall transfering between my wallets and some place that held bitcoin. Not sure if those inter-transfers included gathering all of the bitcoins I had into one wallet file and stored it somewhere that wasn't affected by the failure of the aofrementioned PCs.

But here's why I've gone quiet about them between 2011 and now. The fiasco surrounding Mt. Gotx (forgot what it was), and problems with the mining pool I used (it used an account and not credited to BTC address automatically) meant that I lost quite a bit of bitcoins. Hard to pinpoint when exactly this happened, but GPU-based mining was only just picking up. (Let's not even talk about ASIC mining)

By the time the recent interest by the masses happened, that <1BTC that I salvaged is worth quite a significant amount. An amount that was once worth several train trips is now enough for a few aeroplane flights around the world (as of a few months ago). Since I have no income, and not much cash in the bank, this is pratically emergency cash.

But what's the point if I don't have the means to do turn that into cash I can use? Well, I found a place, but after looking around for a place and getting past some identity verification checks, the value of Bitcoin has dropped quite a bit. However, historically speaking, despite the fluctuations, the average value of Bitcoin is steadly increasing. From what I know, this can be attributed by fewer new Bitcoin left to mine, and people wouldn't be mining with expensive machines and paying high eletricity bills if the value of Bitcoin isn't worth their investment.

Will I invest into cryptocurrency with real money? Probably would as a means to grow my money since my bank offer rubbish rates with annual interest but not right now as I have no income. Keep in mind that what I already have is from CPU mining years ago when it was worth less, before the difficulity level shot up. Back then, I saw Bitcoin more as something more like store membership points: not that useful in where to use it, unable to change them for "real" money, but you gather them anyway. Never did I see it as a digital equlivent as gold, but come to think of it, it's more accessable to buy than actual gold, and a lot easier to get started than the stock market.

It's starting to look like a universal currency, more universal than the Euro is. It's also handy for people who are at risk of their home currency to rapid inflation, or refugees being able to bring along what they would have otherwise left behind or having their entire savings lost to robbery en route.

What about altcoins?

This happened when I saw at the place to cash out on Bitcoin. By this time, I have heard of Dogecoin (DOGE), and saw a video by EEvBlog (a YouTube channel I am subscribed to relating to eletronic hardware) tearing down a hardware wallet mentioning it supporting Ethereum (ETH). I've also sometimes confused Bitcoin (BTC) with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and took me a while to realise it's a seperate cryptocurrency.

Digging further into what Bitcoin Cash is, it's actually forked from Bitcoin on 1st August 2017. Everyone who had Bitcoin at that time gets the same amount in BTC as BCH, if certain steps were done. (The value to trade between the two to fiat/crypto was the same at the fork, but diverged significantly since.) There are several others forked from Bitcoin where there are forked coins to claim, but, except for BCH, aren't accepted by the place to cash out.

This was where I discovered that you could exchange one crypto coin to another. With this (and wallet app supporting a bunch of different crypto I didn't use), I could add Bitcoin Gold (BTG) to cash out forked coins. It's also where I can excahnge all the other cryptocurrencies I mentioned earlier (BTC/BCH/ETH) for less from not going through the extra exchange fees from transfering to there, sell them for fiat money, buy a different cryptocurrency with it, and then transfering it out because keeping it there isn't recomended.

Also, good thing I looked around as the very first cryptocurrency exchanger I looked at (which I found to be quite cool) has quite a lot of negative reviews, from lost coins, to being charged fees higher than what was offered.

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