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Cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) have been making headlines over the past year for their unprecedented growth in value. Bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency, has seen its value increase by over 1,000% since January 2017. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple have also seen significant increases in value, with some coins seeing gains of over 5,000%.
With such incredible returns, it’s no wonder that people are eager to get involved in the crypto market. However, before you invest your hard-earned money in cryptocurrencies, it’s important to do your research and understand the risks involved. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of what cryptocurrencies are, how they work, and some of the risks associated with investing in them.
What are Cryptocurrencies?
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning they are not subject to government or financial institution control. Bitcoin, the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, was created in 2009 by an anonymous person or group of people under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
Bitcoin is decentralized because it is powered by a blockchain—a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin nodes (computer servers that keep a copy of the blockchain) validate each transaction with math before adding it to the blockchain ledger. This ensures that no one can spend their Bitcoins more than once or create fake Bitcoins. The decentralized nature of Bitcoin means that it is not subject to government or financial institution control—two of the traditional advantages of fiat currencies (government-issued currencies like USD or EUR).
Bitcoin is on everyone’s lips this week after the major plunge in value, with many people wondering what the future holds for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. Here’s the latest on Bitcoin and what experts are saying about its future.
The recent fall in value of Bitcoin has been attributed to a number of factors, including fears of regulation by government agencies around the world and the possibility of a split in the Bitcoin community over how to scale the cryptocurrency for future growth.
Despite the current gloomy outlook, some experts believe that Bitcoin will bounce back and continue to grow in popularity and value. They point to the fact that despite its volatile nature, Bitcoin has shown steady growth since it was first created in 2009, and they believe that its underlying technology is sound and has great potential.
Only time will tell whether Bitcoin will recover from its current slump or if this is just the beginning of a longer-term decline. However, one thing is certain: Bitcoin remains one of the most interesting and controversial technologies to watch in the coming years.
Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork is right around the corner. Slated to occur at block 7,080,000, which is estimated to happen on January 16th, 2019, the fork will introduce five Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) to the network. These EIPs are designed to improve efficiency and reduce transaction costs. In addition, the Constantinople hard fork will delay the implementation of Ethereum’s long-awaited Casper Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm.
The Constantinople hard fork is a major event for Ethereum. It introduces several technical improvements that could lay the groundwork for mass adoption of Ethereum’s blockchain technology. In addition, the postponement of Casper PoS provides more time for developers to perfect this crucial upgrade. Long-term, these factors could have a positive impact on Ethereum’s price.
Litecoin, one of the oldest and biggest digital currencies, has surged more than 8% in the last 24 hours to reach a new all-time high.
The move comes as Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, is on the cusp of breaking through the $50,000 level for the first time.
Litecoin was created in 2011 as a fork of Bitcoin and is often referred to as “the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.”
The digital currency has a market capitalization of $13 billion and is up more than 3,700% over the last 12 months.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is a fork of Bitcoin (BTC). The fork occurred on August 1, 2017, and resulted in the creation of a new blockchain with different rules. Bitcoin Cash increased the block size limit to 8 MB in order to improve transaction times. It also removed Segregated Witness (SegWit), a feature that was planned for inclusion in a future release of Bitcoin.
Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network by Ripple. Also called the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) or Ripple protocol, it is built upon a distributed open source Internet protocol, consensus ledger and native cryptocurrency abbreviated as XRP (ripples). Released in 2012, Ripple purports to enable “secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks.” It supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodities, or other units of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes.
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