CryptoCurrency

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency created and stored electronically in blockchains.
It uses encryption techniques to control creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds. Hence it is very secure.
It has no physical form and is not redeemable in another commodity like gold.
Its supply is not determined by any central bank or authority and the network is completely decentralized. Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies and are also classified as a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies.

Decentralized cryptocurrency is produced by the entire cryptocurrency system collectively, at a rate which is defined when the system is created and which is publicly known. In centralized banking and economic systems such as the Federal Reserve System, corporate boards or governments control the supply of currency by printing units of fiat money or demanding additions to digital banking ledgers. In case of decentralized cryptocurrency, companies or governments cannot produce new units, and have not so far provided backing for other firms, banks or corporate entities which hold asset value measured in it. The underlying technical system upon which decentralized cryptocurrencies are based was created by the group or individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto.

As of September 2017, over a thousand cryptocurrency specifications exist; most are similar to and derived from the first fully implemented decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Within cryptocurrency systems the safety, integrity and balance of ledgers is maintained by a community of mutually distrustful parties referred to as miners: members of the general public using their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions, adding them to the ledger in accordance with a particular timestamping scheme. Miners have a financial incentive to maintain the security of a cryptocurrency ledger.

When and Who invented Cryptocurrency?

A currency system based on a reusable proof of work was later created by Hal Finney who followed the work of Dai and Szabo. The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto.

Types of CryptoCurrency

Something around three years ago a Bitcoin was worth $300, this week (January 2018) Bitcoin was traded around $16,700. Over the last five years, the total value of all bitcoin (i.e., “market capitalization”) has grown from less than $1 billion to over $262 billion with daily notional turnover on December 8, 2017 exceeding $21 billion. The total value of all cryptocurrency tokens outstanding now (January 2018) approximately $423.7 billion. But this is not only about the value of Bitcoin and other that has gained in the last few years, but also the excitement about the technologies they have introduced to world of technology. We are on the verge of perhaps one of the biggest transformation in the financial industry.

Let’s get to the point, you might have heard about Bitcoin and how interesting it is for people in and out of technology, but Bitcoin is not alone. There are many other cryptocurrencies which each use a different technology and they have different approaches to trading using digital currency. We understand your wondering, therefore we wrote this post describing probably the most popular cryptocurrencies out there today and to pinpoint their special characteristics that they have.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Lets start with Bitcoin. The first cryptocurrency to emerge was Bitcoin (BTC), it is based on the SHA-256 algorithm. This digital commodity was conceptualized at a whitepaper written in 2009 by a pseudonymous writer who went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Over the span Bitcoin’s first four decades, the market cost of one Bitcoin has shrunk from under $0.01USD to over $250USD. The highly volatile cost has generated Bitcoin an attractive investment choice for dealers trying to profit from market speculation, while at the exact same time the industry volatility has made long term investors and daily users hesitant to participate for lengthy amounts of time.

A single Bitcoin can be spent at fractional increments that Can be as small as 0.00000001 BTC per transaction. The smallest increment of a Bitcoin is popularly known as a Satoshi, called after the original whitepaper author. The protocol allows for incremental trades in the event the value of BTC to rises to the point at which micro trades will become common place. The gain in the value of BTC is expected because there’s a limitation to the whole amount of Bitcoin will ever be created. When the Bitcoin blockchain is finished, users can simply circulate the coin that still exists on the community.

Bitcoin is currently the most reliable of all Cryptocurrencies, as it is the oldest, and has become the topic of mainstream media coverage because of rapid market changes and also an innovative technical concept. In the time of writing, Bitcoin could be interpreted as being the ‘gold standard’ of cryptocurrency since all alternate cryptocurrency market costs are matched into the price of BTC.

Characteristics:

  1. The first differentiating character of Bitcoin is that it is a bearer ecash. This simply means that it could function just like a physical cash. Bitcoin transfers are irreversible. You make a payment; it is completed. You can not take it back.
  2. Bitcoin is divisible to around 8 decimal places, and could be extended further if needed it. In the present exchange rate of 100 this is a divisibility down to $0.0000001.
  3. Very low processing fee.

Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin (LTC) makes use of the Scrypt encryption algorithm, as opposed to SHA-256. One of the goals of Litecoin would be to have transactions confirm at a faster speed compared to Bitcoin network, as well as make use of an algorithm that has been resistant to accelerated hardware mining technologies like ASIC.

The entire amount of Litecoin that’s available for mining and circulation is four times the quantity of Bitcoin, meaning there will be quadruple the quantity of Litecoin accessible to Bitcoin.

Characteristics:

  1. A simpler Cryptographic algorithms which makes the block generation 4x faster.
  2. Litecoin was recently used to perform a cross chain atomic swap which allows users to swap cryptocurrencies directly through the use of a smart contract and without the need for a third party such as an exchange.

Ethereum (ETH)

Platform that enables smart contracts and distributed applications (DApps) to be built and operate with no downtime, fraud, interference or control from a third party. Throughout 2014, Ethereum had established a pre-sale for ether that had obtained an overwhelming response. The applications on Ethereum are conducted on its own platform-specific cryptographic token, Ether. Ether is similar to a vehicle for moving around on the Ethereum system, and is sought by mostly developers seeking to develop and operate programs inside Ethereum. According to Ethereum, it can be employed to “codify, decentralize, trade and secure just about anything.” Following the attack on the DAO in 2016, Ethereum was split into Ethereum (ETH) and also Ethereum Classic (ETC). Ethereum (ETH) has a market capitalization of $4.46 billion, second after Bitcoin among all cryptocurrencies.

Characteristics: 

  1. Ethereum could be used as a platform to create blockchain applications and new tokens
  2. Uses smart contracts

Zcash

A decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency launched in the second part of 2016, and it really looks promising. In case Bitcoin is like http for money, Zcash is https, this is how  Zcash defines itself. Zcash offers privacy and discerning transparency of trades. Thus, like https, Zcash claims to give extra privacy or security where all transactions are recorded and printed within a blockchain, but details such as the sender, recipient, and amount stay private. Zcash offers its users the option of ‘shielded’ transactions, which allow for content to be encrypted using advanced cryptographic procedure or zero-knowledge proof structure called a zk-SNARK developed by its team.

Characteristics: 

  1. Zcash uses a specific proof to secure the network or proof of construction. This leads to maintain the network with secure ledger of balances without disclosing parties or amounts involved in transactions.

Dash

Dash (originally known as Darkcoin) is a more secretive variant of Bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it functions on a decentralized mastercode system which produces transactions almost untraceably. Launched in January 2014, Dash experienced a growing fan after in a brief span of time. This cryptocurrency was made and manufactured by Evan Duffield and could be mined using a CPU or GPU. The rebranding did not change any of its technological features such as Darksend, InstantX.

Characteristics:

  1.  Dash uses a two-tier architecture to power its network
  2. Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)
  3. DASH aims to be the first privacy-centric cryptographic currency with fully encrypted transactions and anonymous block transactions, this feature is called PrivateSend

Ripple (XRP)

Ripple is a real-time worldwide settlement network that provides instant, certain and low-cost international payments. Ripple “empowers banks to repay cross-border payments in real time, together with closing transparency, and at lower prices.” Released in 2012, Ripple currency has a market capitalization of $1.26 billion. Ripple’s consensus ledger is a method of conformation. Ripple does not need mining, a quality that deviates from bitcoin and altcoins. Since Ripple’s structure does not need mining, it reduces the use of computing power, and minimizes network latency. Ripple considers that ‘distributing value is a powerful means to incentivize certain behaviors and consequently currently intends to distribute XRP mostly “through business development agreements, incentives to liquidity providers who offer tighter spreads for payments, and selling XRP to institutional buyers interested in investing in XRP.”

Characteristics:

  1. Ripple is not an average cryptocurrency, obtaining Ripple can only be done by buying the currency from various exchanges.
  2. Backed by many banks and financial institutions.
  3. In Ripple there is no mining involved.

Monero (XMR)

Monero is a secure, confidential and untraceable currency. This Open source cryptocurrency was launched in April 2014 and shortly spiked great interest among the cryptography community and fans. The development of this cryptocurrency is totally donation-based and community-driven. Monero enables complete privacy by employing a special technique known as ‘ring signatures.’ with this technique, there seems a bunch of cryptographic signatures like at least one real player — but since all of them appear valid, the real one cannot be isolated.

Characteristics:

  1. Monero is not like other cryptocurrencies that derivatives of Bitcoin, Monero is based on the CryptoNight PoW hash algorithm, which came from CryptoNote protocol.
  2. Monero is fungible, that means, every unit of the currency can be substituted by another unit.

List of website which gives Trading Option

Unocoin

Unocoin is India’s leading Bitcoin platform. Their customers can buy bitcoin with any Indian bank account via online banking or NEFT and RTGS.

Pros

  • Regulated company in India
  • Backed by investors in the United States
  • Low 1% fee, reduced to 0.7% with sufficient trading volume

Cons

  • Offers a Bitcoin wallet that should not be used to store bitcoins
  • Requires ID verification, so not private

Zebpay

Zebpay is a Bitcoin platform and broker based in India. It has Android and iPhone apps that make it easy to buy bitcoins with a connected Indian bank account.

Pros

  • Regulated company in India
  • Offers additional services, such as purchase of mobile airtime and gift vouchers for bitcoin
  • Multi-sig security features

Cons

  • Fees included in buy/sell prices, not displayed publically
  • Requires ID verification; not private
  • Offers a Bitcoin wallet that should not be used to store bitcoins

Coinsecure

Coinsecure is an Indian Bitcoin exchange and trading platform. It offers very low fees at just 0.3% per buy and a number of deposit options; including NEFT, RTGS, IMPS and cash deposit.

Pros

  • Regulated Bitcoin exchange based in India
  • Very low fees
  • Video service guides available

Cons

  • Offers a Bitcoin wallet that should not be used to store bitcoins
  • Requires ID verification; not private
  • Interface is geared for traders and may be confusing for first time buyers

Coinmama

Coinmama allows customers in almost every country to buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card. They charge an ~6% fee on each purchase.
If buying less than $150 worth of bitcoins, you won’t need to verify your identity. This convenience makes small purchases quick and easy.
Pros

  • Works in almost all countries
  • Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
  • Reliable and trusted broker

Cons

  • Some of the highest fees among credit/debit card bitcoin brokers

LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins is an escrow service which also helps to match bitcoin buyers and sellers. The most common method of payment for purchase is cash deposit. However, users may advertise trades for whichever payment method they prefer.

Buying bitcoins via an in-person meeting, secured and facilitated by LocalBitcoins, may be one of the fastest and most private ways to buy bitcoins in any country.

Pros

  • Can be private, fast and easy
  • In-person trades require no personal information
  • Purchases of bitcoin can be made quickly via cash deposit

Cons

  • Beware of scams; always follow the rules!
  • Harder to buy large amounts of bitcoins compared to large exchanges
  • Slightly to significantly higher prices than regular exchanges; premium for higher privacy

 

Bitcoin ATMs

You can use our Bitcoin ATM map to buy bitcoins with cash. Bitcoin ATMs can be a quick and easy way to buy bitcoins and they’re also private. That convenience and privacy, however, comes with a price; most ATMs have fees of 5-10%.

Pros

  • Our map makes it super easy to find a Bitcoin ATM near you

Cons

  • Bitcoin ATMs often have 5-10% fees per purchase

VirWoX

Technically, VirWoX isn’t even a Bitcoin exchange. It mainly serves as a way for people to buy Second Life Lindens, a currency used in the virtual world Second Life. You can’t buy Bitcoin with PayPal directly at VirWoX, but it’s possible to first buy Second Life Lindens (SLL) and then trade your SLL for Bitcoin. This process works perfectly, but in the end will cost you about 10% in fees.

This workaround/hack has made VirWoX the easiest and most popular way to buy bitcoins with PayPal.

Pros

  • The easiest and basically only way to purchase bitcoins with PayPal or Skrill

Cons

  • Comes with a price: it will cost around 10% in fees to buy with PayPal

Mycelium Local Trader

Mycelium Local Trader helps you find local Bitcoin sellers. Once you locate a seller, you meet up in-person and conduct the trade. Mycelium charges absolutely no fees. While Mycelium Local Trader works great in highly-populated areas, users in low population areas will have trouble finding sellers.

Pros

  • Easy and cheap way to buy bitcoins with cash
  • Private way to buy bitcoins, no personal information required beyond cellphone number

Cons

  • Users in sparsely populated areas will have trouble finding sellers

ShapeShift

ShapeShift lets you buy bitcoin with Litecoin, Dogecoin, altcoins and many other digital tokens. ShapeShift works in nearly every country but you will need another cryptocurrency in order to purchase bitcoins. Exchanges happen almost instantly because ShapeShift never actually controls your tokens but just exchanges them.

Pros

  • Easiest and fastest way to buy bitcoins with altcoins
  • Fees are reasonable for larger traders

Cons

  • Need altcoins or other digital tokens to use

bitcoin-otc

Bitcoin-OTC is an over-the-counter marketplace for the peer to peer exchanging of bitcoin. It is almost like a Craigslist for Bitcoin. Users must create ads or locate other ads to find sellers of bitcoin. Bitcoin-OTC is somewhat complicated and hard to use, but may be the only option for users in some countries without an exchange.

Pros

  • Can be a good way to find Bitcoin sellers if no other options exist

Cons

  • Need to keep eye out for scams
  • Need to build trust and feedback for your account before trading larger amounts.

Future of Cryptocurrency in India

  • The future of cryptocurrencies in India seems veritably bright. Things have changed over the past few years and many leading companies in India are taking interest in the digital currency. As of now, more than 25 merchants in India are accepting bitcoins. Some of these are eTravel Smart, Indsoft, Cyberls, Fashiondiva and People Place. As surprising as it sounds, India is slowly getting into picture with over 50,000 bitcoin enthusiasts and with 30,000 of them actually owning the currency.
  • And if that’s not what you’re looking for, then there are plenty of bitcoin trading platforms available in India.

About Vivek & Shodhan:

Vivek is B.Tech (Electrical Engineering). He was working as Analyst Intern with Nikhil Guru Consulting Analytics Service LLP (Nikhil Analytics), Bangalore.

Shodhan has completed MCA from RVCE, Bangalore. Currently he is working as Analyst Intern with Nikhil Guru Consulting Analytics Service LLP (Nikhil Analytics), Bangalore.

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