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What is Bitcoin? – Forbes Advisor Australia – Forbes

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We’re hearing lots in the news about Bitcoin. But what exactly is it, how does it work, and what impact will it have in the wider world? Here’s everything you need to know
Invented in 2009, Bitcoin is the world’s oldest and best-known cryptocurrency. Like its various crypto counterparts, it’s also extremely volatile. While many Australian investors are drawn to its fortune-generating potential, it’s rarely a smooth or even successful path to wealth building.
Cryptocurrencies are also a popular haunting ground for scammers, and a number of Australians have lost tens of thousands of dollars in crypto scams.
People once traded physical assets such as gold and silver for goods and services. But these were hard to carry and vulnerable to theft and loss, so banks offered to hold them for us, issuing notes that proved the wealth we had in the bank.
Eventually, the link between these notes and the commodities they represented was broken. Instead, governments said the notes themselves had value.
We trust banks to honour the value of our currency so that we can accept cash as payment and trust others will accept it from us.
A cryptocurrency is essentially a digital version of cash that exists outside the established framework of national governments and central and private banks. It enables two people to exchange it or buy and sell with it without the likes of Westpac or NAB needing to facilitate the payment.
In other words, each party to the transaction trusts that the asset being exchanged has inherent value.
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Making a Bitcoin payment is as simple as sending an email. You transfer Bitcoins from your digital wallet (obtained when you buy the currency from a crypto exchange) to someone else’s using an app or website and the person’s unique Bitcoin address.
Payments are processed and verified by a network of ordinary people with computers running specialist software.
These volunteers are called Bitcoin miners. They use high-end computer hardware to crack increasingly complex, mathematical verification problems generated by Bitcoin’s source code – its computing DNA.
The hardware is expensive, immensely powerful and uses huge amounts of energy. More on this later.
Once a payment is verified, the miner adds a record of the transaction to a shared online ledger. The record includes the sender and recipients’ Bitcoin addresses and the amount transferred.
Entries into the ledger cannot be amended or deleted. And since everyone’s copy of the ledger must match, it makes it extremely hard for someone to claim they have more Bitcoin than they really own, as everyone else’s copy of the ledger would contradict them.
Miners don’t verify one transaction at a time. Transactions are grouped into ‘blocks’ which have a limited amount of space. When a block is ‘full’, a new, empty block is created.
Each new block links back to the previous block containing information about older transactions. The blocks form a chain that links back all the way to the very first Bitcoin transaction.
This public ‘blockchain’ ledger provides an indelible, definitive and transparent account of which wallets hold Bitcoin and how much each holds at any given time – with the receipts to prove it.
A Bitcoin miner who adds a block to the chain is issued with one new Bitcoin worth thousands of dollars. It sounds like free money, but the investment required to build and run a machine capable of processing a block is significant and increases over time.
Around 900 Bitcoins are ‘minted’ every day. At today’s prices, their total value is more than $US18 million. The total supply of Bitcoins is limited to 21 million. Once the limit is reached, it won’t be possible to mint any more.
Also, the reward for mining a Bitcoin halves every four years. At the current trajectory, it’s predicted the last Bitcoin will be mined by 2140 unless current protocols are changed.
You can buy it, sell it and use it to purchase goods and services wherever it’s accepted. You don’t have to spend in whole Bitcoins – each one can be subdivided (see below).
Bitcoin payments aren’t exactly mainstream, but big names like Microsoft, Express VPN and Wikipedia take Bitcoin payments. 
Many people simply invest in Bitcoin in the hope that it will go up in value. Bitcoin reached almost $US69,000 in November of 2021, but has since fallen by a dramatic 70% in value. At the time of writing, one Bitcoin was valued at around $US20,000. The cryptocurrency continues to fluctuate in value today, with some industry figureheads arguing that the value of Bitcoin could stay well below its peak for the next two years.
This kind of market volatility has raised regulators’ eyebrows. The Federal Government, through its Moneysmart website, points out that crypto is, in most cases, not considered to be a financial product and therefore your crypto platform may not be regulated by the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). 
As Moneysmart states: “When a cryptocurrency fails, investors will most likely lose all the money they put in.” 
Anyone can buy Bitcoin from crypto exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase. According to Roy Morgan research, more than one million Australians aged 18 and over, or 5% of the population, invest in cryptocurrency.  
However, unless you have a spare $US20,000 in your account to buy a single token, you’re going to be buying a fraction, or a share, of one Bitcoin.
Smaller denominations of Bitcoin are called Satoshis after the pseudonym used by its anonymous inventor(s). One Satoshi is worth 0.00000001 Bitcoin.
As mentioned previously, Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market are unregulated. This means there are no rules in place to protect you from losing everything, and no watchdog to ensure everyone involved plays fair.
According to Bitcoin expert and journalist Connor Sephton, miners need three things to succeed: access to cheap electricity, hardware known as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and mining software that connects them to the Bitcoin network.
The most capable ASICs can cost thousands of pounds to buy and run, making them prohibitively expensive for the average person.
There are countless other cryptocurrencies, collectively referred to as altcoins.
They include well-established altcoins like Ethereum and Litecoin, as well as fledgling altcoins like Elrond and Clover. Each currency has different values and rules, but they all follow the basic precepts of cryptocurrency.
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With no intermediary, there’s nobody to take a cut of each transaction. Bitcoin is a global currency that’s also easier to move across borders and, as a relatively anonymous currency, it makes transactions truly private.
It’s also revered by many proponents of ‘DeFi’ — or decentralised finance — because it it is not reliant on human gatekeepers or middlemen.
It’s unregulated, volatile and can’t be used as widely as traditional currencies.
The amount of energy used globally to make Bitcoin work is also massive. It has the same carbon footprint as the entire country of Argentina, according to Oxford University researchers in the UK.
This has raised questions about the long-term sustainability of the phenomenon, especially as global economies strive to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with international environmental agreements and associated ‘green’ targets.
This article is not an endorsement of any particular cryptocurrency, broker or exchange nor does it constitute a recommendation of cryptocurrency as an investment class. 

Related: How to Buy Bitcoin in 5 Mins
Staff writer Mark Hooson has been a journalist within the personal finance, consumer affairs and fraud sectors for more than 10 years. He is also Forbes Advisor UK’s resident tech expert. Mark says he thrives on making ‘complicated and dry topics easier to digest’.
Johanna Leggatt is the Lead Editor for Forbes Advisor, Australia. She has more than 20 years' experience as a print and digital journalist, including with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and The Sun-Herald in Sydney. She is a former digital sub-editor on The Guardian and The Telegraph in the UK, and lives in Melbourne.

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Cryptocurrency prices today under pressure: Bitcoin falls 3%, ether 6%; Uniswap gains | Mint – Mint

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  • The global cryptocurrency market cap today remained below the $1 trillion mark

Cryptocurrency prices today came under pressure after the US Federal Reserve delivered another big interest-rate hike and warned of economic pain from the aggressive policy tightening still to come. The Fed’s determination to raise rates to levels that hammer inflation at the cost of sliding asset prices sent a chill across global markets.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency, was trading more than 2% lower at $18,627, came close to dropping below $18,000 level. The global crypto market cap today remained below the $1 trillion mark, as it was down over 2% in the last 24 hours at $943 billion, as per CoinGecko. On the other hand, Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain and the second largest cryptocurrency, continued to underperform and fell more than 6% at $1,260.
“Bitcoin, Ethereum, and most cryptocurrencies traded lower on late Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points marking the third consecutive time this year. BTC continues to struggle below the $19,000 since bears are more powerful than bulls in the market. The second largest crypto, Ethereum was seen changing hands above the $1,200 level. The price of ETH has been dipping since the Merge took place as miners continued to dump their ETH in the market coupled with macroeconomic factors. If the selling pressure from miners increases, ETH is likely to fall below the $1,000 level,” said Edul Patel, CEO and Co-founder of Mudrex.
Meanwhile, dogecoin price today was also trading about 3% lower at $0.05 whereas Shiba Inu slipped more than a per cent to $0.000011. Other crypto prices’ today performance also declined as XRP, Stellar, Solana, Polygon, Avalanche, Binance USD, Polkadot, Litecoin, Apecoin, Cardano, Chainlink, Tron, Tether prices were trading with cuts over the last 24 hours, whereas Uniswap gained.
Such a backdrop offers little respite for crypto markets. They were already reeling from a $2 trillion plunge from a 2021 record high, an unraveling pockmarked with blowups such as the Three Arrows Capital hedge fund and the Terraform Labs project — whose co-founder Do Kwon is wanted by authorities.
(With inputs from agencies)
 
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Bitcoin's Accumulated Momentum Is Going To Be Hard To Stop – Bitcoin Magazine

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While "the smartest people in the room" scan the horizon, bitcoiners are out there actually building the future they want to live in.
The below is a direct excerpt of Marty's Bent Issue #1259: "Bitcoin is action. The accumulated momentum is going to be hard to stop." Sign up for the newsletter here.
This morning I listened to a recent Macro Voices podcast with Brent Johnson from Santiago Capital. It was a very good conversation about the state of the global economy, particularly focused on the dollar's relative strength against other currencies and how things may play out as the dollar continues to strengthen as prophesied by the "Dollar Milkshake" theory. Here's a link to the episode for those interested.
Toward the end of their discussion Erik (the host) and Brent make it clear without saying anything explicitly that it is insane that global markets are essentially beholden to the whims of a very select few people, central bankers, out of the billions who are alive on this planet. The fact that the world hinges on the cryptic language of people who are completely disconnected from reality and do not suffer the consequences of their actions is a bit baffling. With that being said, what I'd like to focus on is the fact the Erik and Brent ended their conversation with a brief detour to discuss the next world reserve currency. Both gentlemen acknowledged that it would likely be a cryptocurrency – likely produced by one of the governments or a coalition of governments – and will certainly not be bitcoin.
To your Uncle Marty, this is an incredibly hilarious line of thinking from a couple of individuals who seem to "get it" in regards to the fact that the fiat system is doomed for failure and it's failure is being driven by incompetent central planners. To think that the solution to bad central planning from an incompetent group will be better central planning from the same group via a fresh slate a CBDC or something like it would provide. Even funnier is the fact that they emphatically proclaim that bitcoin most certainly will not become the dominant money in the world while deriding "bitcoin maximalists". This is our edge, freaks.
While "the smartest people in the room" scan the horizon waiting to place their bets on something that hasn't materialized yet and is sure to end in failure if it ever does because it will suffer from the same centralized attributes that doomed the dollar, bitcoiners are out there actually building the future they want to live in. The macro mensches of the world can continue to sit on the sideline and pontificate about what they think will come to market. Bitcoiners will continue to act and bring their distributed, censorship resistant, sound money to market. And the headstart bitcoin has amassed is approaching insurmountable. It is a step-function improvement on the incumbent monetary system in every way.
It's provably scarce and extremely hard to change.
You can send it over the internet.
You can divide more granularly.
It is extremely hard to prevent someone from receiving or sending bitcoin if used correctly.
And, what might be the most underappreciated aspect, it is beginning to become an integral part of the energy sector. And as we're finding out now energy is pretty damn important. Arguably the most important asset on the planet. Bitcoin becoming an essential for energy producers makes it significantly harder to kill from a logistical and political perspective.
We are so early.

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Boba Network Partners With Avalanche, Boba AVAX L2 to Provide 'Faster Transactions and Lower Fees' – Blockchain Bitcoin News – Bitcoin News

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by Jamie Redman
On Wednesday, the layer two scaling solution that leverages optimistic rollup technology, Boba Network has revealed it now supports the proof-of-stake (PoS) network Avalanche. According to the Boba Network team, the new Avalanche support will produce “faster transactions and lower fees.”
Boba Network, the layer two (L2) scaling project introduced Boba AVAX L2 on Wednesday via the team’s Twitter account. “We’re over the slopes to announce our partnership as an official scaling solution for Avalanche,” Boba said. “Avalanche offers blazing fast speeds, low costs, and eco-friendly solutions: Boba AVAX L2 holds true to those values and enhances it further.”
Boba is already connected with the Ethereum (ETH) network and at the time of writing, l2fees.info stats show Boba’s fee to move ether today is $0.17, and to swap tokens the estimated price is $0.30. That is cheaper than the current 34 gwei ($0.96) to send ether onchain, according to etherscan.io’s gas tracking tool. A high-priority decentralized exchange (dex) swap can cost $8.47 per transaction onchain, so Boba’s $0.30 cost to swap, is 96.45% cheaper.
“Faster transactions, lower fees: Boba AVAX L2 is catered for all heavy transactions, throughput-reliant protocols [and] anyone wanting to be part of the next generation,” Boba further declared on Wednesday. The team further explained it is joining partner decentralized applications (dapps) like Sushiswap and Evoverses with the new support. Boba added:
While Sushi will be deploying their Legacy Swap on Boba AVAX L2, Evoverses’ will be joining with their 3D PvP gameplay, powered by the Unreal Engine 5 [and] Hybrid Compute to help the game scale and reach its full potential.
L2 projects like Boba Network have been partnering with a great deal of industry heavyweights and blockchain networks in recent times. Opensea recently detailed the leading NFT marketplace has added Arbitrum support and the NFT market competitor Rarible revealed Immutable X support. Arbitrum, Immutable X, and Boba Network are all L2 projects and other competitors include Loopring, Zksync, Optimism, Metis, Polygon Hermez, and Aztec.
What do you think about Boba Network adding Avalanche support? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
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