Bitcoin is booming

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Digital payment option soaring in popularity, stocks jump

By KEITH ERICKSON

Coeur Voice Writer

Technically, it’s called “cryptocurrency,” and its value—and popularity—is skyrocketing.

Bitcoin, the mysterious “money of the internet,” has steadily risen in popularity over the past eight years, and is still the undisputed king of cryptocurrencies.

The worldwide digital payment system of virtual currency used for online purchases experienced a huge upswing in value earlier this month after making its debut on a major U.S. exchange.

The unseen currency can give a virtual “high-five” to internet shoppers for its sales surge in recent weeks—and years.

The price of Bitcoin stock soared from below $1,000 a share in 2015 to a peak of more than $18,810 on Dec. 7 on the Bitcoin exchange Coindesk, according to the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), which trades Bitcoin shares.

And the Bitcoin momentum is expected to continue. The intangible money source is not just a good idea for buying on the internet. It’s a seemingly good stock wager. Bitcoin is expected to continue to do very well in the stock market.

Consider this: If you had invested In Bitcoin at the start of 2017, you’d be sitting on over 14 times the returns right now, according to industry statistics.

In fact, Bitcoin stock was so popular earlier in early December that trading on the CBOE website crashed.

Locals like Bitcoin

Tom Grundy, a self-employed Coeur d’Alene landscaper, classifies himself as a “not-techy.” But since discovering Bitcoin earlier this year, he’s become a big fan.

“It’s like an e-wallet technology to any store in the world that lets me track and spend digital money,” Grundy says. “And I can do business with the confidence I will have global acceptance to the currency.”

How it works

Bitcoin transactions occur directly between the user and seller. This direct connection of buyer and seller eliminates the need for a financial “middleman” such as a central bank or the Federal Reserve. Rather than using an intermediary, Bitcoin transactions are facilitated by an independent collective network of Bitcoin “miners” or users.

This transaction process validates Bitcoin authenticity and proof of ownership. Anyone with a Bitcoin connection can “mine” Bitcoins by running Bitcoin mining software.

Users can create a digital currency wallet where they can securely store digital currency. They can connect to their bank account, debit card, or credit card so that they can exchange digital currency into and out of their local currency.

Enrolling for Bitcoin is simple and can be done by visiting Bitcoin.com. The first step is getting a Bitcoin “wallet.” Next, you will need a place to store your new Bitcoins.

In the Bitcoin world, they’re called a “wallet” but it might be best to think of them as a kind of bank account. Depending on the security levels you want, different wallets will provide different levels of security.

E-safety

Grundy is confident that exchanging purchases and services through Bitcoin is safe and says his occasional overseas purchases are made easy with Bitcoin.

“There are no boundaries; no exchange values and no third-party interventions,” he says. “Bitcoin allows seamless transactions across nations with a ledger getting maintained at the online.”

Security Secure

Despite the obvious conveniences and ability to conduct business online and globally, there are some safety precautions that come with internet money exchanges.

“You should be wary of any service designed to store your money online,” according to the Bitcoin website. “A Bitcoin wallet is like a wallet with cash. If you wouldn’t keep a thousand dollars in your pocket, you might want to have the same consideration for your Bitcoin wallet.”

In general, it is a good practice to keep only small amounts of Bitcoins on your computer, mobile or server for everyday uses and to keep the remaining part of your funds in a safer environment.”

Back at home, Grundy, although not necessarily technologically savvy, says he’s comfortable with the Bitcoin system.

“It just makes online shopping so simple as far as purchases and payments, and I trust that if you handle it right, there’s no danger of getting hacked or conned,” he says.

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