The Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Forks: What You Need to Know

If you thought Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin Diamond were excessive, we’ve got a surprise for you: Bitcoin has 6 forks lined up going into the new year.

That’s right–six shiny new mints bearing Bitcoin’s name. Super Bitcoin, Lightning Bitcoin, Bitcoin God (no joke) Bitcoin Uranium, Bitcoin Cash Plus, and Bitcoin Silver are slated to launch throughout the Christmas and New Year holidays. This will double the number of forked currencies within the month, leaving the market with 8 total Bitcoin derivatives to choose from.

For those that don’t know, a hard fork is a method for developers to update and alter Bitcoin’s software. Once Bitcoin reaches a certain block height, miners switch from Bitcoin’s core software to the fork’s version. After this split, miners begin mining the new currency’s blocks, creating a new chain entirely and a currency to go with it.

Bitcoin Cash was the first hard fork to occur on Bitcoin’s blockchain, followed by Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Diamond. As you can probably imagine, hard forks have become a hot topic within the crypto community. Many believe that they are necessary for improving the network and solving Bitcoin’s scalability issue, as with Bitcoin Cash. Others have criticized them as money making schemes, as anyone holding Bitcoin at the time of a fork receives an equal share of the new currency.

Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s important to understand what each fork is and what it wants to accomplish, and given the number coming up, there’s a lot of information to digest.

That’s why we compiled info on each fork into these manageable chunks, to make that research a bit easier to swallow. Time to dig in.

Super Bitcoin (SBTC)SBTC

The first of our new forks, Super Bitcoin, is estimated for December 12th at block 498888 with a circulating supply of 21,210,000 SBTC. Of this supply, 210,000 will be pre-mined.

Super Bitcoin Home Page (Image: BIUK)
Super Bitcoin Home Page (Image: BIUK)

As its name suggests, Super Bitcoin is like Bitcoin on steroids. Its team picked through what they like best about the current Bitcoin protocol and introduced some added features that they believe will buff-up the network. Like Bitcoin Cash, it will increase block sizes from 1MB to 8MB to improve scalability. It will run Bitcoin’s lightning network, and it plans to support anonymous payments with a zero-knowledge proof by May of next year.

Funnily enough, Super Bitcoin’s distinguishing feature isn’t even Bitcoin-related–it comes from Ethereum. The team wants to implement Ethereum-inspired smart contracts into Super Bitcoin’s program, which will allow third parties to build decentralized apps on the new protocol.

This is all the information as presented on Super Bitcoin’s website. There’s no white paper, but there is a developer’s reference “to provide technical details and API information to help you start to build Bitcoin-based applications.”

The team includes INBlockchain Inc. founder Li Xiao Lai, Link Capital founder JaiPeng Lin, and Ranger Shi. With their software upgrades, they hope to “revitalize [bitcoin’s] dominance,” which they believe has “lost a tremendous share of the cryptocurrency market.” Oh yeah, and they want to “Make Bitcoin Great Again.”

Bitcoin Platinum (BTP)BTP

We included Bitcoin Platinum and its “specifications” in an earlier draft of this article, but since then, it’s been exposed as a scam.

Read more: CoinCentral

A Bitcoin User’s Guide on Upcoming Forked Coins

Like it or not, forking bitcoin has become an efficient approach for blockchain teams to receive quick money.

How many forks will we have? Are there services support them?

A Glimpse at Forked Coins Already Existing

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the first bitcoin fork, was only listed on Viabtc when it first came out. Most of the bitcoin community, if not all of them, thought it was just a joke at first. The emergency difficulty adjustment (EDA) mechanism BCH adopted led to unstable block times, but since the November 13 upgrade and recent price spikes, it is safe to say that BCH has survived and is enjoying more support from exchanges and wallets.

Bitcoin Cash (Image: M. Verch/Flickr)
Bitcoin Cash (Image: M. Verch/Flickr)

Ordinary wallets supporting BCH include: Bitcoin.com, Electron Cash, Coinomi, Webmoney, Strongcoin, Stash, Jaxx, Bitpay, BTC.com. Hardware wallets: Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey. Paper wallets: Cashaddress, Walletgenerator. Mobile wallets apps: Bitcoinindia, Mobi and more. Official BCH wallets: Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, XT, Parity, and Bitprim.

Bitcoin Gold (BTG), the GPU-friendly forked coin based off of bitcoin, was created on October 25 to compete with BCH and to fight mining centralization, according to its creator Jack Liao.

Ordinary wallets supporting BTG: Coinomi, Bitpie, Guarda, Freewallet. Official BTG wallet: BTGWallet.online. Hardware wallets: Trezor, and Ledger. News.Bitcoin.com spoke with Ledger’s Vanessa Rabesandratana who shared how to claim BTG at Ledger.

Read more: News.Bitcoin

Yeah! One More Bitcoin Hard Fork- Super Bitcoin [SBTC]

There is another Bitcoin hard fork coming our way in next few hours, which will create yet another breed of Bitcoin fork called ‘Super Bitcoin‘.

So quickly coming straight to the point, we will explore the following salient points regarding this Bitcoin fork so that we all can benefit from it in a safe and secure way.

Super Bitcoin Home Page (Image: BIUK)
Super Bitcoin Home Page (Image: BIUK)

What Is Super Bitcoin?

Super Bitcoin is the new upcoming Bitcoin hard fork of original Bitcoin which will launch at Block Height of 498888 of the main chain.

Super Bitcoin is abbreviated as SBTC as of now and is dubbing itself with the motto of “Make Bitcoin Great Again”.

It seems like a friendly fork because they have not mentioned explicitly that they want to compete with BTC but of course they are doing it to make the new version a lot better than BTC. All new things they are doing will explained further in the post.

When Is The Fork Happening?

According to their official website, Super Bitcoin was supposed to fork from the original Bitcoin Blockchain on December 17, 2017 but it looks like it will happen before that.

The new timeline and date of the Super Bitcoin fork is December 15, 2017 at a block height of 498888, according to the latest announcement by one of their team member on medium.

But we think it is going to happen even sooner than that. Probably December 12/13 according to your time zone because of the increased mining speed. So the best thing is to ignore the date and track the block height 498888 at which the fork will happen.

Read more: CoinSutra

The Obvious Bitcoin Christmas Gift Guide 2017

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to all the cool swag you’ll receive on Christmas Day, and hand out of course, cos’ let’s not forget that Xmas is also about giving.

Whether you’re an experienced bitcoiner seeking gift ideas for one of your own, or a complete novice cursed with a crypto crazy nephew, the following guide covers all bases, price brackets, and payment types. Hand your loved one a bitcoin-branded gift this Christmas and watch their face light up like a green trading candle breaking out.

Take a Little, Give a Lot

The Ultimate Bitcoin Christmas Gift Guide 2017Should any of the entries on this list prove too darn irresistible, by all means treat yourself. You’re entitled to a reward for all the hodling you did this year while your mates were rinsing their hard-earned on holidays, designer threads, and vice. Just remember that there’s more happiness in giving than receiving.

Bitcoin (Image: AllanLau2000/Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: AllanLau2000/Pixabay)

To get the ball rolling, we’ll start with a practical selection of gifts for bitcoiners. The decadent and downright silly stuff comes later. If the following suggestions don’t sate your thirst for gift ideas, incidentally, our Christmas guide from last year is also rocking.

Practical Bitcoin Christmas Gifts

If your favorite bitcoin obsessive doesn’t already have one, give them a hardware wallet for safely storing their cryptocurrency. We’re wallet agnostic, but market leaders Trezor and Ledger are both excellent choices. There’s also Keepkey.

Gift-Wrapped Computer Tech

Pretty much any piece of computer gear can be branded as bitcoin-ready, but the following suggestions all have specific applications. If you’re tech-savvy enough to pick out the right product for your beloved bitcoiner, try these for size:

Computer monitor: A second screen for watching cryptocurrencies pumping and dumping in realtime is sure to go down well.

Hard drive: Cryptocurrency hobbyists interested in running a node or downloading a full wallet client are gonna need somewhere to store the blockchain. A few extra GB – or even TB – will be welcomed.

Cellphone: Another practical (if unexciting) gift is a cheap cellphone that can be stashed in a safe place and used for 2FA access and email verification when signing into exchanges. If their Twitter bio says “crypto trader” – regardless of the reality – a second cell will secure their bags by reducing the risk of SMS porting, among other things.

Read more: News.Bitcoin

How to Automatically Lend your Bitcoin

Having put your Bitcoin on a trading exchange like Bitfinex we can set it to lend out the Bitcoin for interest. Rates of interest vary widely between exchanges and coins, and over time. However, they can be surprisingly generous – for example you can currently lend Bitcoin on Bitfinex at an annual rate of up to 40%.

Cryptocurrency lending, however, is typically over short durations – for example a non-compound annual rate of 36.5% really means a rate of 0.1% per day for a certain number of days. In fact crypto loans are typically quoted as being for a minimum of 2 days and in my experience nearly always last exactly 2 days.

That could make things very inconvenient if every 2 days you had to start another loan manually. However, there are bots that you can do this for you – I always use CoinLend and I highly recommend it. Not only does it work really well – it’s an online bot with nothing to install – but it’s completely free!

Start by going to CoinLend.org and creating a new account by selecting Setup Bot. Enter your email address and a password and selecting Register. Then login.

Coinlend Home Page (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Home Page (Image: BIUK)

You will be taken to the Bots screen where you can set up bots for three different exchanges: Poloniex, Bitfinex and Quoine. Bitfinex seems to consistently give the best interest rates so that’s the one we’ll use.

Coinlend Bot screen (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Bot screen (Image: BIUK)

Go to your Bitfinex account and login. Then select the Manage Account (a head-and-shoulders icon) in the top right of the screen, then API. An Application Program Interface (API) is a software call that allows a third party program – our bot – to communicate with the Bitfinex exchange directly without us needing to be involved.

Bitfinex API screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex API screen (Image: BIUK)

Click on Create New Key. Make sure the following permissions are ticked and no others:

  • Read: Account History, Margin Funding and Wallets.
  • Write: Margin Funding.

Make doubly sure that Write permission is off for Withdraw so that this API cannot be used (by Coinlend or some other party) to withdraw your funds. Enter a name at Label Your API Key such as Coinlend lending key. Select Generate API Key. Check your email and confirm creation of the new key.

Your new API Key, and a secret key to access it, will now be shown in Bitfinex – copy both of these somewhere safe to record them.

Bitfinex API screen with keys (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex API screen with keys (Image: BIUK)

Copy both keys into the Bitfinex Bot section of the Coinlend Bots tab and click Save. If you’ve done this correctly you will get a confirmation message, it will display Bitfinex credentials valid, and the button will go green and say On.

Coinlend Bot screen - Bitfinex On (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Bot screen – Bitfinex On (Image: BIUK)

Coinlend will generally start working very quickly, almost immediately. To see your loans underway just switch to the Loans tab and wait a minute or two – here it’s showing our first loan has gone out, and it’s at 16.62% (the display defaults to annual, compounded interest):

Coinlend Loans screen (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Loans screen (Image: BIUK)

You can also confirm your loan status by going to Bitfinex and selecting Funding -> Bitcoin. Your active loans will be shown under the PROVIDED pane – click the drop-down icon to open. The interest rate shown in Bitfinex is the daily one – so here it’s 0.04214 per day.

Bitfinex Funding screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Funding screen (Image: BIUK)

If you want the interest rate shown in Coinlend to be the same then you can change this on the Settings tab – the options are Daily, Yearly, Compounded.

Tip: If you think you might want quick access to your Bitcoin then in Coinlend in the Bots/Bitfinex Bot tab under the On/Off button select Settings -> BTCExtended and switch on the option for Always lend at the minimum duration of 2 days, and then Save Settings. This setting doesn’t always ‘stick’ so check it by going back into Settings and repeat if necessary – once it has set successfully the Extended button will show orange.

And that’s it done – the Coinlend bot will keep lending out your Bitcoin until you set the Bitfinex bot to Off on the Bots tab. Your Bitcoin stake will grow, and all for free.

How to Put Your Bitcoin on a Trading Exchange

Once you’ve got some Bitcoin what can you do to make it grow? The obvious answer is to put it on a Trading Exchange. Then you have the options of Trading, Margin Trading and Lending. These will be covered in more detail later; here we’ll look at the process of getting your Bitcoin onto an exchange.

The five biggest exchanges by trading volume are Bitfinex, Bithumb, Bittrex, GDAX and Poloniex, in that order. Here we’ll use Bitfinex.

Bitfinex Home Page (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Home Page (Image: BIUK)

Go to Bitfinex.com and click on Sign Up. Enter your chosen Username and Email address. Enter a strong password, e.g. from Passwords Generator. Set the Timezone (e.g. to (GMT+00:00) London). This will create you a new account.

Bitfinex Welcome Screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Welcome Screen (Image: BIUK)

Find the email you’ll be sent and verify your email address. Login at Bitfinex.com. You will start in the Trading screen, likely showing a Bitcoin – Dollar chart (‘BTC/USD’).

Bitfinex Trading View - Dark theme (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Trading View – Dark theme (Image: BIUK)

By default it will be dark. If you prefer a lighter colour scheme go to the top right user icon and select Interface, then Theme and choose Light.

Bitfinex Trading View - Light theme (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Trading View – Light theme (Image: BIUK)

To transfer some Bitcoin from your Electrum wallet into Bitfinex select Deposit -> Bitcoin. You may then get a warning about there being a fee on small deposits (less than $1000) that you need to acknowledge.

On the New Deposit screen select Bitcoin. You may then get advice to set up two-factor authentication (e.g. using your mobile phone to confirm withdrawals) – it’s a good idea but for simplicity we will ignore it at this point. You will see options for Exchange Wallet (for trading), Margin Wallet (for trading with leverage) and Funding Wallet (for lending). Under Funding Wallet select Click to generate address. This will create you a Bitcoin address where you can send funds; click on the Copy to Clipboard icon next to it.

Bitfinex Deposit Screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Deposit Screen (Image: BIUK)

Sending from an Electrum Wallet

Log into your Electrum Wallet and select the Send tab; paste in the Bitfinex address. Add an optional Description (e.g. Transfer to Bitfinex). Enter the amount of Bitcoin to transfer (or press Max if you intend all of it).

Electrum Send tab (Image: BIUK)
Electrum Send tab (Image: BIUK)

If you hover over the Fee slider you can see what the mining fee will be – moving the slider to the right will speed up the transaction and increase the fee – this can usually be left at the default. Press Send, re-enter your password to confirm. You will see a brief message about signing and then Payment Sent.

Select the History tab and you will see the transaction there. Once it has been confirmed (which may take from minutes to hours depending on how busy the network is) it will show here with a green tick.

In Bitfinex select Deposit and once confirmed the deposit transaction will also show here. Initially it will be marked Unconfirmed.

Bitfinex Deposit screen - transaction unconfirmed (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Deposit screen – transaction unconfirmed (Image: BIUK)

Once confirmed it will show as Completed, and the new balance will also show under Funding in the Balances area of the sidebar.

Bitfinex Deposit screen - transaction confirmed (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Deposit screen – transaction confirmed (Image: BIUK)

Your Bitcoin is now on the Bitfinex exchange ready for trading or lending.

Stop Dwelling on Your “I Should Have” Bitcoin Anxiety

So let’s get this straight: you should be a bitcoin millionaire right now only you’re not

because you a) sold too soon b) bought too late c) disregarded your mate’s advice d) lost your hard drive e) went all in on feathercoin. Welcome to the club. You’re not alone, but that knowledge will come as little comfort when you’re lying awake at night cursing your stupidity. We can’t turn back time, but we can dispense some sound advice that should help put your hard luck story in perspective.

Missed the Boat and Skipped the Party

If you’re late to the bitcoin party – or worse still, if you left before the party got truly started – the regret can be crippling. Every new all-time high drives another dagger into your stricken heart, while the sight of young bucks who’ve never read Satoshi’s white paper drunk on bull market gains is sickening. At least one story has surfaced of an early adopter spiraling into depression after losing all their bitcoins and eventually committing suicide.

Bitcoin (Image: MichaelWuensch/Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: MichaelWuensch/Pixabay)

But this is meant to be an uplifting piece, not a morbid one. Thankfully, most people who missed the boat suffer nothing worse than a bad case of hindsight. If that’s you, stop beating yourself up. There are three reasons to be cheerful, but before we consider them, let’s consider the psychology of luck.

Queuing Theory Said This Would Happen

You’re shopping for groceries and pick the queue that looks fastest. To your chagrin, the one next to you turns out to be quicker, leaving you waiting in line behind the old lady clutching over 9,000 coupon codes. Sound familiar? There’s a simple reason why, statistically, you’re more likely to pick the slowest queue: with a queue on either side, the odds of calling it correctly are just one in three.

What’s that got to do with cryptocurrency? Well, if you bought bitcoin in 2013, for example, the odds of having hodled till now are much lower than one in three. In fact they’re more like 1 in 20. When you see bitcoin whales screenshotting their phat portfolios, it’s easy to assume that this is the norm; that everyone else is getting served fast in the store but you. The reality is that most people are in the same boat as you – one which is several lengths behind the boat they’d rather be in.

Read more: News.Bitcoin

Bitcoin breaks through the $16,000 mark

Bitcoin has breached the $16,000 mark, extending the digital currency’s record-breaking surge.

The cryptocurrency began the year below $1,000 but continues to rise despite warnings of a dangerous bubble.

According to Coindesk.com, Bitcoin reached $16,663.18 (£12, 358.35), having soared over 50% in a week.

The new high comes days before the launch of Bitcoin futures on two exchanges, including the world’s largest futures exchange, CME.

Spread betting firm CMC Markets said the rise had all the symptoms of a bubble market, warning “there is no way to know when the bubble will burst”.

Read more: BBC

Don’t fall for the hype — Why Bitcoin’s $10,000 Price Doesn’t Reflect Its True Value

Here are some examples of financial news headlines from the last few days:

Bitcoin finally hits $10,000! — The Economist, Nov. 28th, 2017

Bitcoin surpasses the $10,000 milestone! — CNBC, Nov. 28th, 2017

BITCOIN SOARS ABOVE $11,000! — The Guardian, Nov. 29th, 2017

News outlets haven’t even had 24 hours to let the “10K” news simmer and it already climbed to $11,500. By the time they published the “11K” piece, it already dropped back to $9,000. Then, as soon as they entered the last word on their “Bitcoin is crashing!” article, it’s back at $11,000 per BTC.

Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)

Amazing! But this is not unprecedented.

We’ve seen this before, back in 2013, a media frenzy when Bitcoin was approaching $1,000 that fueled that year’s bubble. In January of that year, one bitcoin was trading at around $15.00, rocketed to $266 by April, and then crashed back to $50 really quick. By November, it had already broken $1,000, peaking at $1,242 on Mt.Gox. That’s an almost 100-fold increase in 11 months, an order of magnitude larger than this year’s (2017) 10-fold run up.

Funny thing is, the charts then are almost identical to the ones today, and news articles look exactly the same. Just add one zero.

The media gobbles this up because people are fascinated by this stuff. Stories of people finding 5000 BTC in an old hard drive that they bought for $25 in 2009, a man throwing away 7500 BTC by accident and scouring a landfill to try and find it, a man buying pizzas for 10,000 BTC — It’s the sizzle to the steak and it sells.

The Other Side

People love it when things go up, but what goes up must come down, and Bitcoin is not immune to this. History shows three major “Bitcoin Bubbles”, and a LOT of volatility in between. Swings of 20–30% in one day are not uncommon in the Bitcoin world, but to most people this can be quite terrifying. For example, in the same day when Bitcoin broke $11,500 a couple of days ago, Bitcoin crashed back to $9,600, and lost 20% of its value overnight.

It isn’t just that, there are more. There’s that time it crashed from $260 to $50. Bitcoin was declared dead.

Read more: Decentralize Today

My $200,000 bitcoin odyssey

This was not what I expected to be doing with my October. But there I was, on a flight to Hong Kong, hoping I would be able to retrieve $200,000 worth of bitcoin from a broken laptop.

Four years ago, I was living in Hong Kong when a fellow journalist named Mike and I decided to invest in bitcoin. I bought four while Mike went in for 40; I spent about $2,000 while he put in $15,000. At the time, it seemed super speculative, but over the years, bitcoin surged and Mike seemed downright prescient. I had since relocated to Los Angeles and had been texting Mike about the 2,000 percent rise in our investment.

Strangely, I wasn’t getting much of a response from him. He had 10 times as many bitcoins as I did — shouldn’t he at least have been excited? Finally, when the price of one bitcoin broke $4,000 this summer, I sent him this message: “You do still have those bitcoins right?” That’s when he broke it to me: “Maybe not …”

Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)

Here’s what happened: At some point in 2013, Mike had rightfully become concerned about security. He initially kept his coins in an exchange called LocalBitcoins. Exchanges are commonly used to buy and sell cryptocurrency, but you shouldn’t keep your coins there. The most infamous bitcoin scandal to date was when Mt. Gox, an exchange based in Japan, lost 850,000 of its users’ bitcoins.

Exchanges can also suddenly close, as some did in China this year when the Chinese government suddenly made them illegal. Any serious cryptocurrency investor will tell you that your coins are best kept in “cold storage” (an offline hardware wallet). That’s what I’d done with mine, but Mike hadn’t gone that far three years ago when he started thinking about security. Instead, he set up a software wallet. It was a good step, but he would soon learn, it was not foolproof.

Read more: Engadget

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