What are Cryptocurrency’s?

Cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currencies that are encrypted using cryptography. Cryptography refers to the use of encryption techniques to secure and verify the transfer of transactions which are designed to work as a medium of exchange. Bitcoin represents the first decentralized cryptocurrency, which is powered by a public ledger that records and validates all transactions chronologically, called the ‘Blockchain’.

What is Bitcoin ?

Bitcoin is in fact the world’s first decentralized digital currency which is a distributed peer to peer system. This system for virtual money was first proposed by software developer Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and made available to the public in 2009. Bitcoins are created through a process called ‘mining’, which involves competing to find solutions to a mathematical problem while processing bitcoin transactions. Every 10 minutes on average, a bitcoin miner is able to validate transactions of the past 10 minutes and is rewarded with brand new bitcoin. This intelligent protocol enables peoples self interest to help drive the blockchain system which essentially replaces the need for any central bank. The mining protocol also halves the rate at which new bitcoins are created every 4 years and limits the number of bitcoins that will ever be in circulation which will be 21 million coins. This halving rate at which bitcoins are mined means the predicted time all bitcoins that will ever be in circulation will take place in the year 2140. Due to Bitcoins max supply being capped at 21 million, this means it is a deflationary currency and cannot be ‘over-printed’ like paper fiat currency.

What is Blockchain Technology?

A Blockchain is a decentralised public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly in use, completed blocks are recorded and added to it in chronological order which allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central record keeping. Each node gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically. The technology can be used to verify transactions within the digital currency world. It has also made possible to digitize, code and insert practically any document into the blockchain. By doing so, this creates a record that cannot be changed. The record’s authenticity can be verified by the entire community using the blockchain instead of a single centralized authority. For example Bitcoins, public ledger can be found on https://blockchain.info and by typing in your transaction you can monitor its progress or check the previous history of when you sent Bitcoins to someone. Although blockchain has been notoriously made famous by Bitcoin, blockchain technology has been fused with many other innovative ideas to create new cryptocurrencies. (Check ‘Blockchain and Innovation’ page for more detail on this)

How are Bitcoins ‘Mined’?

Mining achieves a good balance between cost, reward and helps solve the problem of security in the blockchain system by aligning peoples self interest with the needs of the community. Mining uses lots electricity to solve a mathematical problem. If a miner is successful in solving this mathematical problem they will receive a reward in the form of new bitcoin and transaction fees. However the reward can only be collected if the miner has correctly validated all the transactions to the satisfaction of the rules of the consensus.

The mining process serves two vital purposes in bitcoin: 1) Mining nodes validate all transactions by reference to bitcoins consensus rules. Therefore, mining provides security for bitcoin transactions by rejecting invalid transactions. 2) Mining creates new bitcoin in each block, almost how a central bank does by printing new money. The amount of bitcoin created per block is limited and follows a fixed issuance schedule. It takes on average 10 minutes to find the solution to the mathematical problem that each miner is presented with. Finding a solution (Proof-of-Work) requires quadrillions of hashing operations per second across the entire bitcoin network. The first miner to solve the problem wins the round of competition and publishes the block into the blockchain. When transactions are made, they are added to the new block prioritising the highest-fee transactions first. Each miner starts the process of mining a new block of transactions as soon as he receives the previous block from the network, knowing he or she has lost the previous round of competition.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for running smart contracts. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a distributed public blockchain network. Although there are some significant technical differences between the two, the most important distinction to note is that Bitcoin and Ethereum differ substantially in purpose and capability. Bitcoin offers one particular application of blockchain technology, a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. While the Bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of digital currency (bitcoins), the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application. In the Ethereum blockchain, instead of mining for bitcoin, miners work to earn Ether, a type of crypto token that fuels the network.

So what are Smart contracts?

As the name suggests, these are contracts but not in the way we normally think of a contract. A smart contract is a computer protocol/program, which automatically executes the contractual part corresponding to the condition that is fulfilled. Smart contracts can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Because smart contracts run on the blockchain, they run exactly as programmed without any possibility of censorship, downtime, fraud or third-party interference. While all blockchains have the ability to process code, most are severely limited. Rather than giving a set of limited operations, Ethereum allows developers to create whatever operations they want. This means developers can build thousands of different applications that go way beyond anything we have seen before. Ethereum enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. A decentralized application or ‘Dapp’ serve some particular purpose to its users. Bitcoin, for example, is a Dapp that provides its users with a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. Because decentralized applications are made up of code that runs on a blockchain network, they are not controlled by any individual or central entity. With Ethereum, anyone can design and use his or her own cryptocurrency, which can further be used either as a currency or to represent a share or any asset. With a standard API, the contract from these tokens will work with any kind of wallet, contracts or even exchanges. It can also help projects get funding through smart contracts. Most notable cryptocurrencies such as OmiseGO, EOS, TenX, and Augur are just a few named that run off the Etheruem blockchain.

Different Types of Wallets (And Recommendations)

  • Online Wallet (Web Wallet): Online wallets are typically cryptocurrency wallets that you access via your web browser. In some cases people refer to all hot wallets as online wallets, but that only gets confusing when we start to discuss individual platforms that your wallet resides on, such as mobile or desktop wallets.
  • Mobile Wallet: Mobile wallets provide access to your cryptocurrencies wherever you are with your mobile device and provide additional features above and beyond wallets that are completely internet-based, however they also come with additional security risks.
  • Hardware Wallet: Hardware wallets are slightly less user-friendly than web wallets and desktop wallets, but they’re easier to work with than paper wallets and more secure than hot wallets.
  • Desktop Wallet: A desktop wallet is considered somewhat more secure than both an online (web) wallet and mobile wallet, however that depends on your commitment to online security.
  • Paper Wallet: Before hardware wallets, paper wallets were the standard for cold storage of cryptocurrencies. There are paper wallets and then there are secure paper wallets.

ArcBit (Desktop and Mobile Wallet)

ArcBit is a secure Bitcoin wallet where users can interact with the wallet via Android, IOS, Windows, Mac OS and Linus. ArcBit also offers optional cold wallet storage for offline transactions and although users keep their private keys within the device the validation of blocks is centralized. ArcBit has Hierarchical Deterministic Keys and uses open source software.

Supported Coins: BTC (Bitcoin)

Ledger Wallet (Hardware wallet)

Supported Coins : BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, DOGE, ZEC, STRAT,XRP, ARK, ETC, DASH, KMD, VTC and is self-sufficient.

A computer with a USB port is required for its operation as well an updated/recent version of Google Chrome. The Ledger hardware wallet works on Windows, Mac and Linux and can also be hooked up with other wallets like mycelium. The wallet interfaces with the computer through a Chrome application and no additional software installation or account creation is needed.

Why do you need a hardware wallet for?

The main idea behind hardware wallets is to isolate your cryptographic secrets (private keys) from your computer or smartphone, which are easily hackable, in order to protect your bitcoins. You can then send / receive payments and check your accounts, without taking the risk of losing everything.

EXODUS: (Desktop Wallet)

Exodus is a desktop wallet which supports multiple cryptocurrencies with an easy to use User Interface. Exodus has an in-built exchange that allows for instant trading between the supported cryptocurrencies.  Also with the use of the Exodus pie chart portfolio users can easily calculate and organise their investments and savings. Exodus boasts a partially open source and the backup wizard allows users to keep their wallet safe and ready for later use. Moreover Exodus has Hierarchical Deterministic Keys.

Supported Coins: Currently supports Aragon, Augur, BAT, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Civic, Dash, Decred, District0x, EOS, Ethereum, ETH Classic, FunFair, Gnosis, Golem, Litecoin, OmiseGo, Qtum (ERC20) and SALT.

Mycelium Wallet (Mobile Wallet)

The Mycelium Wallet provides coin control features and is for the more proficient Bitcoin user. The main platform is Android mobile however the large development team that is continuously innovating have developed a cold wallet prepaid cards that act as a form of cold storage. The wallet uses open source software.

Supported Coins: BTC (Bitcoin)

Electrum Wallet (Desktop and Mobile Wallet)

Electrum Wallet (Desktop and Mobile Wallet)

Electrum is a lightweight Bitcoin client, based on a client-server protocol. It was released on November 5, 2011.

Supported Coins: BTC (Bitcoin)

MyEtherWallet: Online

My EtherWallet uses open source software, Javascript and client side tool for generating Ethererum wallets and sending transactions. With both MyEtherWallet and MyEtherWallet CX you do not create an account or supply them with your Ether to hold or store as they are not Web wallets therefore all data is created on your own computer/browser and not on their servers. MyEtherWallet gives you a place where you can access your wallet information and make it easy for you to save your wallet information on your computer/in your web browser. With MyEtherWallet you are responsible for safely backing it up as you have the ability to generate new wallets so you can store Ether yourself and not on an exchange as this solely happens on your computer and not on servers.

Supported Coins: ETH (Ethereum) and ERC20 Token

Blockchain Wallet: (Online and Mobile Wallet)

The Blockchain wallet is easy to use wallet which is potentially the most popular wallet today. The company behind the wallet do not store your wallet on their servers eradicating 3rd party risk. The wallet and company have a good reputation for security within the Bitcoin community. The Blockchain wallet provides a combination of simplicity and being rich in features. Moreover, the wallet was updated in 2016 to include enhanced security features by making the wallet hierarchical deterministic which enhances security by avoiding using the addresses twice. The wallet also uses open source software, multi-signature, and 2-factor authentication.          

Supported Coins: BTC (Bitcoin)

Coinomi: (Online and Mobile Wallet)

Coinomi is a great multi crypto online wallet. The code is open source with private keys being kept securely on your device. At present the wallet is only available on android devices, however the team are developing an Apple iOS version.

Supported coins: All displayed in images below

Difference between ‘Coins’ and ‘Tokens’?

One of the problems for new participants in the crypto space seems to be understanding the difference between cryptocurrency coins and tokens. A ‘Coin’ is a cryptocurrency that can operate independently, whereas a ‘Token’ is a cryptocurrency that depends on another cryptocurrency as a platform to operate.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins are digital currencies minted (or mined) using encryption protocols that securely regulate unit production and monitor exchanges/transfer of funds. Cryptocurrencies (or coins) represent a value for a specific type of transaction and nothing else. Alternative cryptocurrency coins also known as ‘altcoins’ or simply coins is often used interchangeably. Altcoins simply refers to coins that are an alternative to Bitcoin. The majority of altcoins are a variant (fork) of Bitcoin, built using Bitcoin’s open-sourced, original protocol with changes to its underlying codes, therefore conceiving an entirely new coin with a different set of features.

Tokens are a representation of a particular asset or utility, that usually resides on top of another blockchain. Tokens can represent basically any assets that can be traded and are fungible. Creating tokens is a much easier process as you do not have to modify the codes from a particular protocol or create a blockchain from scratch. All you have to do is follow a standard template on the blockchain which you can do for example on the Ethereum platform that allows you to create your own tokens. This functionality of creating your own tokens is made possible through the use of smart contracts with programmable computer codes that are self-executing.

Popular Exchanges


Country Based in: US    

Crypto Type: Multiple Cryptocurrencies

Bittrex is one of the largest crypto currency exchanges which offers a large number of cryptocurrency into Bitcoin. However Bittrex has a high number of cryptocurrency’s on its exchanges resulting in some accusing the exchange of allowing for ‘pump and dump’ schemes that has caused a lot of negative sentiment surrounding the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.


  • Fast sign and verification
  • Better support and security than most
  • Great platform if for doing arbitrage
  • Unlike others, it has 1 minute charts available
  • Unlike others, there’s rarely any interruption of the actual service


  • No margin trading
  • The liquidity is sometimes way below average, sometimes you can get execution after waiting for over 10 minutes
  • Trading fees are solid 0.25% without any reductions for the users, which is definitely a big minus.
  • Worries of lack of accountability and full transparency.


Country Based in: UK    

Crypto Type: Multiple Cryptocurrencies

Bitstamp is based and run in the UK and is one of the most popular exchanges which allows transfers from fiat to crypto currency’s. Bitstamp is a European Union based bitcoin marketplace founded in 2011. The platform is one of the first generation bitcoin exchanges that has built up a loyal customer base. Bitstamp is well known and trusted throughout the bitcoin community as a safe platform. It offers advanced security features such as two-step authentication, multisig technology for its wallet and fully insured cold storage. Bitstamp has 24/7 support and a multilingual user interface and getting started is relatively easy. After opening a free account and making a deposit, users can start trading immediately.


  • High-level security
  • Good reputation
  • Low competitive transaction fees
  • Ideal for large transactions
  • Worldwide availability


  • Limited payment methods
  • Not beginner user friendly
  • User interface
  • High deposit fees


Country Based in: US    

Crypto Type: Multiple Cryptocurrencies

Backed by trusted investors and used by millions of customers globally, Coinbase is one of the most popular and well-known brokers and trading platforms in the world. The Coinbase platform makes it easy to securely buy, use, store and trade digital currency. Users can purchase bitcoins, ether and now litecoin from Coinbase through a digital wallet available on Android & iPhone or through trading with other users on the company’s Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) subsidiary. GDAX currently operates in the US, Europe, UK, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. GDAX does not currently charge any transfer fees for moving funds between your Coinbase account and GDAX account. For now, the selection of tradable currencies will, however, depend on the country you live in.


  • Security
  • Beginner user friendly
  • Stored currencies are covered by a Coin base insurance
  • Reasonable fees


  • Limited payment methods
  • Customer support not great
  • Non-uniform rollout of services worldwide
  • GDAX suitable for technical traders only
  • Limited countries supported


Country Based in: US    

Crypto Type: BTC only

Gemini is considered one of the best positioned exchanges which can capitalise on the bridge between financial markets and the current ecosystem. Gemini is bringing a touch of Wall Street and security to the innovative bitcoin world.

Co-founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini is a fully regulated licensed US Bitcoin and Ether exchange. That means Gemini’s capital requirements and regulatory standards are similar to a bank. Also, all US dollar deposits are held at a FDIC-insured bank and the majority of digital currency is held in cold storage. Gemini trades in three currencies, US dollars, bitcoin, and ether, so the platform does not serve traders of the plethora of other cryptocurrencies. The exchange operates via a maker-taker fee schedule with discounts available for high volume traders. All deposits and withdrawals are free of charge. The platform is only fully available to customers in 42 US states, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the UK.


  • Great analytics
  • Security & Compliance
  • Efficient and user-friendly design
  • High liquidity


  • No margin trading
  • Average customer support
  • Limited currencies
  • Small community
  • Limited worldwide availability


Country Based in: US    

Crypto Type: Multiple Cryptocurrencies

A European based exchange Kraken offers a diverse range of fiat to bitcoin pairs such as USD, GBP JPY and EUR. Kraken has good trading volume and has a small amount of crypto to crypto pairs. Founded in 2011, Kraken is the largest Bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity and is a partner in the first cryptocurrency bank. Kraken lets you buy and sell bitcoins and trade between Bitcoins, Euro, US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, British Pounds and Japanese Yen. It’s also possible to trade digital currencies other than Bitcoin like Ethereum, Monero, Ethereum Classic, Augur, ICONOMI, Zcash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple and Stellar-Lumens. For more experienced users, Kraken offers margin trading and a host of other trading features.


  • Decent competitive exchange rates
  • Good reputation
  • Low transaction fees
  • Multiple features 
  • Great user support
  • Secure
  • Supported worldwide
  • Minimal deposit fees


  • Limited payment options/methods
  • Unintuitive user interface
  • Not suitable for beginners


Country Based in: US    

Crypto Type: Multiple Cryptocurrencies

Based in the US Poloniex is purely a crypto to crypto exchange which provides technical analysis charts and a live chat. This allows users to analyse price trends and stay up to date with news. Founded in 2014, Poloniex is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchange offers a secure trading environment with more than 100 different Bitcoin cryptocurrency pairings and advanced tools and data analysis for advanced traders. As one of the most popular trading platforms with the highest trading volumes, users will always be able to close a trade position. Poloniex employs a volume-tiered, maker-taker fee schedule for all trades so fees are different depending on if you are the maker or the taker.


  • BTC lending
  • Fast account creation
  • High-volume trading
  • Beginner user-friendly
  • Low competitive trading fees
  • Open API
  • Multiple features


  • No fiat support
  • Slow customer service
  • Tends to load slowly compared to others
  • No advanced order types
  • Pump and dump culture
  • Poor support
  • Was hacked in 2014

How to send and receive cryptocurrency’s?

Firstly to send or receive cryptocurrencies you need: a cryptocurrency wallet and we also need the public address of the sender and the recipient. For example purposes we will demonstrate how to send and receive cryptocurrencies using a Coinbase account to give a general insight which we feel is good for beginners. (Coinbase offers a insurance policy which covers any losses resulting from a breach of Coinbase’s physical security, cyber security, or by employee theft)   


Firstly at the main menu once we have set up our account on Coinbase we must click on Accounts. This will take you to your BTC wallet, ETH wallet and LTC wallet.

Lets say we wanted to send some Bitcoin, we click on the send icon.We must enter the public wallet address of the recipient (which we can see in the picture on the left) and choose the amount we would like to send them. After you confirm the numbers and letters, triple check them to avoid silly mistakes, click on continue then verify the transaction one last time (confirming their public address is correct).

*Its very very important that we only send cryptocurrencies to the same compatible digital wallet (For example BTC>BTC wallet or LTC>LTC wallet) We can’t for example send Bitcoin to a Ethereum wallet).


Remember this process of sending and receiving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether or Dash etc can differ slightly between wallets. Some coins has its own set of wallet options. When you have sent some coins you must allow some time for the transaction to go through. It could be instant, or it could take a few minutes. However if theres lots of traffic in the blockchain it could take hours sometimes. In most wallets you can view pending transactions so don’t worry if it the transaction is not instant. Remember, the transaction will be added to the coin’s public blockchain which is available for everybody so you’ll always be able to see an encrypted version of it by typing in the address. The blockchain is a public ledger of all transactions in a cryptocurrency network, and the  Bitcoin blockchain for example is specifically a record of all Bitcoin transactions. So each cryptocurrency will have its own public ledger.


To receive Bitcoin for example you click on the receive icon. Once you have clicked the receive icon you than click on ‘show address’. This will show you your public Bitcoin wallet address. You can copy and paste it to give to people so they can send you Bitcoin.

Once you start to get more experience and start to experiment with different coins and wallets it very important to keep your private keys safe. Sharing your public wallet address is not a problem. We can share our public address without any worry as the worst that can happen is someone sends you coins to your wallet. However we must never share our private key or password as that is like handing a stranger your wallet or bank account.

If a user loses their private key, they can no longer access the wallet to spend, withdraw, or transfer coins. It is therefore, imperative to save the private key in a secure location. There are a number of ways that a digital wallet which contains a private key can be stored. Many wallet types include: hardware wallets, paper wallets, software wallets and hot wallets.

Private keys can be stored on paper wallets which are documents that have been printed with the private key and a QR code on them so that it can easily be scanned when a transaction needs to be signed. The private keys can also be stored using a hardware wallet which uses smartcards or USB devices to generate and secure private keys offline. An offline software wallet could also be used to store private keys. This wallet has an offline partition for private keys and an online division which has the public keys stored. With an offline software wallet, a new transaction is moved offline to be signed digitally and then moved back online to be broadcasted to the cryptocurrency network.These types of storage mentioned above are called cold storage, as private keys are stored offline. The other type of wallet, hot wallet, stores private keys on devices or systems that are connected to the internet. Examples of these wallets include desktop wallets (MultiBit), mobile wallets (Xapo), and web-based wallets (Coinbase).

Quick & Easy Guide On How To Buy Your First Bitcoins And Altcoins

How to trade cryptocurrency’s for beginners?

Its always advised to do your research into the exchange you wish to use. Look into the history of the exchange, whether or not they have security measures in place, fees for transactions and what cryptocurrencies they provide. Its very important to be aware that theres always a chance that the market could crash due to high volatility. Remember cryptocurrencies aren’t centrally controlled and regulated like fiat currencies which are used to trade on the foreign exchange market and stock market. If you lose coins because of silly errors or if the exchange you use gets hacked, theres not much that can be done about it. That is why its imperative to conduct your own research thoroughly and always protect your cryptocurrencies. There are various ways to trade cryptocurrencies. Investors can invest on the stock market using: GBTC. Traders can also choose the popular wallet-exchange Coinbase who have links to GDAX. Once traders/investors start to gain more confidence and want to expand their portfolio, traders/investors can look at exchanges such as: Poloniex, Bittrex, Bitstamp and many more (check the pros and cons above of a few exchanges in the ‘popular exchange section’). Traders can also spread bet on platforms such IG and Kraken. We will go into detail about the different ways cryptocurrencies can be traded.

So what is GBTC?

GBTC is the ticker symbol for The Bitcoin Investment Trust, a trust run by Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust. It is a digital currency investing firm where investors can choose the GBTC trust sold on the stock market. A trust is essentially a company that owns a fixed amount of a given asset (like gold or bitcoin). The trust is managed by a company who charges a fee, in the case of GBTC that company is Grayscale. So this means you wouldn’t be directly trading Bitcoin or actually holding it in a digital wallet. In other words GBTC is the only stock offered on the public stock exchange that holds bitcoin as its primary asset. Remember this would only limit you with only Bitcoin price movements.

Website: https://grayscale.co/bitcoin-investment-trust/

So what is Coinbase?

Highly recommended for beginners because of its user friendly and easy to use platform. Coinbase is backed by trusted investors and used by millions of customers globally, Coinbase is one of the most popular and well-known brokers and trading platforms in the world. Coinbase became the first licensed U.S. Bitcoin exchange. The Coinbase platform makes it easy to securely buy, use, store and trade digital currency. Users can purchase Bitcoins, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoins only at the moment through a digital wallet which is available on Android & iPhone. Coinbase addresses security by storing Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin balances into cold storage. This approach essentially takes a client’s private keys off of the network and stores them in physical form (like hardware wallets or paper wallets). Coinbase began to store them in vaults and safety deposit boxes at various locations around the world. Although you are only limited to purchasing Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoins, it enables you to hold all three different cryptos and offers and easy option to directly exchange them back to USD, EUR and GBP. As already mentioned earlier Coinbase would be highly recommended for beginners looking to get involved with cryptocurrencies.

Website: https://www.coinbase.com

Other Exchanges

Once you begin to master the Coinbase platform and want to experiment with different altcoins. You can start to look into trading/investing on platforms such as Bittrex, Poloniex, and GDAX (Traders who use GDAX are not charged any transfer fees for moving funds between your Coinbase account and GDAX account) Please check the pros and cons of each exchange above in the exchange section to get a better idea of which exchange could be best for you. (FYI GDAX can operate in nearly every state in the U.S).

What is Spread Betting?

Spread betting is a type of speculation that involves taking a bet on the price movement of a security. A spread betting company quotes two prices, the bid and offer price (also called the spread), and investors bet whether the price of the underlying stock will be lower than the bid or higher than the offer. The investor does not own the underlying stock in spread betting, they simply speculate on the price movement of the stock. Therefore when you spread bet with cryptocurrencies you wouldn’t actually need to own the cryptocurrency you are speculating on.

In the United Kingdom, spread betting is possible on bitcoin. With a bitcoin spread bet, a trader makes a decision on whether he or she thinks the price of bitcoin might go up or go down, and makes a profit or loss based on whether this prediction is correct. The greater the price movement, the greater the profit or loss the trader can realise once the trade is closed. (Spread betting profits are exempt from capital gains tax in the UK). Traders can make bitcoin spread bets directly on the price of bitcoin, but they may also place spread bets on bitcoin currency pairs, which adds another dimension to the bets. The commonly used bitcoin currency code is XBT. Spread bets can be placed on the following bitcoin currency pairs: XBT/GBP, XBT/USD, XBT/EUR, and  XBT/JPY. These trades can be placed 24 hours a day. Spread betting can be done on exchanges such as IG and Kraken.

IG Website: https://www.ig.com/uk

CMC Markets Website: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-nz/markets/cryptocurrencies

What is Bitcoin Futures trading?

Firstly we must understand what futures are. A future is a type of financial product, which allows two parties to exchange an asset at a specified price at an agreed upon date in the future. They are traditionally traded by professional investors and firms. There are futures based on everything from oil to corn. In some cases, when a futures contract settles the buyer of the contract can receive gains in the product itself (a barrel of oil, say), or in cash. The latter are referred to as cash settled futures. There are currently two exchanges that enable futures trading on Bitcoin which will allow investors to bet (go long or short) on the future price of Bitcoin. A key difference between the Cboe and CME futures is that the Cboe contract represents one bitcoin, while a CME contract represents five bitcoins. The Cboe also settles its futures against a daily price auction from Gemini, while the CME uses its own bitcoin reference rate which tracks several cryptocurrency exchanges.

Cboe Website: http://cfe.cboe.com/ 

CME Website: http://www.cmegroup.com/

BitMEX Website: https://www.bitmex.com/

*For trading tips make sure to check out the ‘Technical Articles’ page where we have weekly breakdowns of the most popular cryptocurrencies.

Order Books (Buy and Sell Walls)

Firstly, an order book is a list of all the active buy and sell orders placed for a cryptocurrency on an exchange. Simply put, it’s just a way to see what some of the highest and lowest bids are for buy and sell orders. You can make purchases directly from the order book on most exchanges. (We have an example of this on Bittrex displayed below). Buy and sell walls represent to the trader short term sentiments by visualizing all placed buy and sell orders in the order book.

In many cases, transactions are made via an order book, whereby a buyer indicates a particular price at which he or she would like to buy a given number of units of the cryptocurrency. A market buy or sell order can be placed and be initiated for the future. For example, if Ripple (XRP) is trading at $3 and I want to buy 10 units for $2.50, I may be able to place an order that will be activated once the price reaches $2.50 and I can be matched with a willing seller.

What is a Buy Wall?

A buy wall happens when the amount/size of buy orders for a certain coin are much higher than the number of sell orders. The wider/taller a buy wall is the better it is. It’s a good sign when traders see a buy a wall since it shows a good sentiment about the current state of that coin. In order words, traders want to purchase more than they want to sell. In that case, traders buy more than they sell and it’s a race to purchase all cheap orders. When the cheap orders are bought, the buy orders fill in quickly behind the increasing price point. Traders could short-term or day trade a cryptocurrency that has a positive sentiment already existing. Although this can be very profitable for many traders within the markets, it requires a lot of skill and practice. We would strongly advise beginners and new investors to stay away from this technique.

What is a Sell Wall?

A sell wall is the same as a buy wall except the sentiment goes in the opposite direction. A sell wall shows some tough times for a cryptocurrency. A big sell-off is underway and traders usually fill the highest buy order that is viewed on the market. After the highest buy order gets filled the order that’s next-lowest in the book becomes filled. This process continues until the market levels out. If you see a big sell wall upcoming there’s a good chance it’s a bad time to buy that coin and a good time to get out. However, please bear in mind that buy and sell walls are not as significant if you are looking to hold that specific coin for the long term.

Forget the Bulls and Bears, What Are Whales?

Traders who hold significant amounts of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin (or any other given cryptocurrency), use buy and sell walls to their advantage. These traders are known as “whales,”. It’s in their best interest to control the prices of that particular currency to the best of their ability. It is not in a whale’s best interest, for example, to allow a currency to climb in price above a particular level until they have accumulated as much of that currency as possible. For this reason, whales often engage in the creation of buy and sell walls in order to attempt to manipulate the price of a currency. In many cases, a sell or buy wall is a fake oppression tool that’s used to keep prices far below the max threshold. This allows whales to purchase tons of cheap coins and manipulate prices in their favour. Whales are interested to get it at the best price so they use their huge chunks of BTC to scare traders. Whales achieve this by putting up fake sell walls to the push price down and to purchase the coins at a cheaper price. They simply remove their sell orders once the price has been pushed down and purchase. Crypto markets are still at its infancy stage so this kind of manipulation can be easily achieved if you have massive amounts of investment. As the cryptocurrency markets are currently unregulated, this is allowed to go unpunished. So please trade safe and try to be one step of the markets at all times.

White-Paper Jargon:

What are Soft Forks?

A soft fork is a change to the software protocol where only previously valid blocks/transactions are made invalid. This kind of fork requires only a majority of the miners upgrading to enforce the new rules, as opposed to a hard fork which requires all nodes to upgrade and agree on the new version. This kind of fork requires only a majority of the miners upgrading to enforce the new rules, as opposed to a hard fork which requires all nodes to upgrade and agree on the new version.

What are Hard Forks?

A hard fork is a radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid (or vice-versa), and as such requires all nodes or users to upgrade to the latest version of the protocol software. Put differently, a hard fork is a permanent divergence from the previous version of the blockchain. Nodes running previous versions will no longer be accepted by the newest version. A hard fork can be implemented to correct important security risks found in older versions of the software, to add new functionality and or to reverse transactions.

What is Segregated Witness? (SegWit)

SegWit is the process by which the block size limit on a blockchain is increased by removing signature data from Bitcoin transactions. When certain parts of a transaction are removed, this frees up space or capacity to add more transactions to the chain. Segregate means to separate, and Witnesses are the transaction signatures. Hence, Segregated Witness in short, means to separate transaction signatures.

What is Proof of work (PoW)?

A Proof-of-Work is a piece of data which is difficult (costly, time-consuming) to produce but easy for others to verify and which satisfies certain requirements. Producing a proof of work can be a random process with low probability so that a lot of trial and error is required on average before a valid proof of work is generated. In bitcoin, miners must find a numeric solution to the SHA256 algorithm that meets a network wide target.

What is Proof of stake (PoS)?

Proof of Stake states that a person can mine or validate block transactions according to how many coins he or she holds. This means that the more Bitcoin or altcoin owned by a miner, the more mining power he or she has.

What is Hashcash?

Bitcoin uses the hashcash Proof of work function as the mining core. All bitcoin miners whether CPU, GPU, FPGA or ASICs are expending their effort creating hashcash proofs-of-work which act as a vote in the blockchain evolution and validate the blockchain transaction log.

What is a ‘Satoshi’?

A satoshi is the smallest denomination of bitcoin that can be recorded on the blockchain. It is the equivalent of 0.00000001 bitcoin and is named after the creator of Bitcoin : Satoshi Nakamoto.

What are Smart contracts?

A smart contract is a computer protocol intended to facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract. The aim with smart contracts is to provide security that is superior to traditional contract law and to reduce other transaction costs associated with contracting. Smart contracts have been used primarily in association with cryptocurrencies. The most prominent smart contract implementation is the Ethereum blockchain platform, where they are known as a decentralized application (Dapp)

What is a Hashrate?

A hash is the output of a hash function and, as it relates to Bitcoin, the Hash Rate is the speed at which a computer is completing an operation in the Bitcoin code. A higher hash rate is better when mining as it increases your opportunity of finding the next block and receiving the reward.

What is Multisignature (Multisig)?

Multisignature (multi-signature) is a digital signature scheme which allows a group of users to sign a single document. Usually, a multisignature algorithm produces a joint signature that is more compact than a collection of distinct signatures from all users.

What is SHA-256?

SHA-256 is a member of the SHA-2 cryptographic hash functions designed by the NSA. SHA stands for Secure Hash Algorithm. Cryptographic hash functions are mathematical operations run on digital data; by comparing the computed “hash” (the output from execution of the algorithm) to a known and expected hash value, a person can determine the data’s integrity. A one-way hash can be generated from any piece of data, but the data cannot be generated from the hash. Mining uses SHA-256 as the Proof of work algorithm.SHA-256 is also used in the creation of bitcoin addresses to improve security and privacy.

What is Double spending?

Double spending is a result of successfully spending money more than once. Bitcoin for example protects against double spending by verifying each transaction added to the blockchain to ensure that the inputs for the transactions had not previously been spent.

What is a 51% Attack?

A 51% attack refers to an attack on a blockchain. A group of miners controlling more than 50% of the network’s mining hash-rate, or computing power could take control of the blockchain. By controlling the majority of the computing power on the network, an attacker or group of attackers can interfere with the process of recording new blocks. They can prevent other miners from completing blocks, theoretically allowing them to monopolise the mining of new blocks and earn all of the rewards. (Krypton and Shift, two blockchains based on Ethereum, suffered 51% attacks in 2016)

What is Cold Storage?

Refers to keeping a reserve of cryptocurrency offline.Cold storage is achieved when cryptocurrency private keys are created and stored in a secure offline environment. Cold storage is important for any one holding cryptocurrencies. Online computers are vulnerable to hackers and should not be used to store a significant amount of any cryptocurrency.

What is Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXO)?

Unspent transaction outputs are important because fully validating nodes use them to figure out whether or not transactions are valid. All inputs to a transaction must be in the UTXO database for it to be valid. If an input is not in the UTXO database, then either the transaction is trying to double-spend some bitcoins that were already spent or the transaction is trying to spend bitcoins that don’t exist.

What is Lightning Network?

The Lightning Network is a proposed implementation of Hashed Timelock Contracts (HTLCs) with bi-directional payment channels which allows payments to be securely routed across multiple peer-to-peer payment channels. This allows the formation of a network where any peer on the network can pay any other peer even if they don’t directly have a channel open between each other.

Should We Invest Into Cryptocurrencies?

DISCLAIMER: This is not direct advise on whether or not to invest into cryptocurrencies, here at ‘Everything Crypto Currency’s’ we provide content for educational purposes only. Please conduct your own research!

Firstly we wouldn’t advise anybody to sell their house and all their possessions like Didi Taihuttu (http://www.newsweek.com/bitcoin-man-sells-house-possessions-cryptocurrency-682459) But we’re always asked are cryptocurrencies really a good investment? There are various pros and cons into investing into cryptocurrencies. The entire market cap for cryptocurrencies at the time of writing this is $206,000,000,000+. Before even thinking about investing into anything its always advised to do your homework. In the case of cryptocurrencies always start with bitcoin and how It was created. Understand the technology behind it and why it offers alternatives to what we currently have today. Once you digest all the information and start to understand the concept behind bitcoins technology and what solutions it could potentially offer, then start to branch out to the top 20 cryptocurrencies (Check top 20 cryptocurrencies on homepage)

We come across lots of individuals who believe that they have missed the bitcoin rollercoaster to the top. However, the cryptocurrency world is still at its infancy stage believe it to not. If we compare it to the likes of the stock market, we can see that the cryptocurrency world is still very young and has a long way to go.


  • There is a giant upside to investing in cryptocurrencies. We have seen many individuals who invested into bitcoin at its infant stage who have now made millions. One notable individual Erik Finman who invested into Bitcoin when its price was as little as $12, has now become a millionaire at a very young age. Read article for more information on his story : https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/20/bitcoin-millionaire-erik-finman-says-going-to-college-isnt-worth-it.html) So perhaps there could be opportunities for investors to find the next cryptocurrency to explode in value just like how bitcoin did.
  • The technology behind cryptocurrencies can help millions of people around the world who currently don’t have a bank account by just having a wifi connection and a smart phone. Although this is just one example of what cryptocurrencies can do, cryptocurrencies have the potential to offer so many more possibilities. (Check ‘Innovation and Blockchain’ page for more information)
  • Its said that Western Union makes billions per year on transaction fees from migrant workers. Cryptocurrencies can help foreign workers with International remittances by cutting costs and speeding up international payments. (For example Ripple)
  • Central Banks of major countries like the U.S., Russia, and China can have big impacts on cryptocurrency. Governments and banks could potentially embrace digital currencies and adopt them as national currencies. Although we understand if this was to happen that this would not create a decentralised system for specific cryptocurrencies, however it would enable for paper fiat currency to get an ‘upgrade’ and keep up with the new innovative ideas cryptos have brought into the world today. (more practical to have digital rather than fiat paper)
  • Bitcoin and most ‘Altcoins’ could potentially be safe havens as they are not controlled by any central government/bank (unregulated). Geopolitical events can have a major impact on fiat currencies (QE as an example, rising in inflation) therefore we can potentially place our money into cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as a safe haven asset like we saw happen in Zimbabwe.
  • Anonymity: This can be a pro and con however in the case for being a pro, some cryptocurrencies providing anonymity can entice many users into transacting, investing and trading cryptocurrencies. This is because users will be able to transact freely without any third party being able to see what we spend/invest our hard earned money on.


  • The cryptocurrency markets have been very volatile since its birth. Not healthy for beginners and amateur traders trying to ‘get rich quick’. Bitcoin has had multiple market crashes at its infancy stages which showed how volatile cryptocurrencies can be. Its advised for any beginner looking to get involved with cryptocurrencies to study how financial markets work by getting the appropriate education needed to get started in the cryptocurrency world.
  • In 2017 we have seen a boom of new coins and ICOs. Lots of get rich quick schemes (Pump and Dumps like we saw in the tech bubble back in 2001). Celebrities promoting ICOs has raised a few eyebrows to serious investors. (Check the ICO section for more information on what they are and why they could be potentially harmful to investors).
  • Market manipulation from governments and banks to make a profit and get in at a cheaper price. For example: The bank JPMorgan acts as an agent for buyers and sellers of bitcoin XBT, which is an exchange-traded note designed to track the value of the cryptocurrency. However we saw CEO Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a ‘fraud’. We saw Bitcoins price had declined sharply after his comments alongside the news with China reportedly cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges.This should not be a shock in the crypto world. (Its warned that we will in fact see more ‘manipulation’ in the future from big banks/governments and big corporations).
  • Where always faced with the question being: Is the cryptocurrency market currently in a bubble? Ray Dalio who is the founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates (one of the world’s largest hedge funds) believes bitcoin to be a ‘speculative bubble’. Many believe that cryptocurrencies are fuelled around a lot of speculation at the time of writing this as there is currently not enough historical data made available for technical analyses to go by.
  • Unregulated markets: Cryptocurrencies have witnessed negative news stories being associated with the ‘dark web’ and exchanges being ‘hacked’. This is one of the many downfalls to investing into cryptocurrencies as there isn’t insurance and security provided by third parties and regulated institutions.
  • Some cryptocurrencies are only just future projections of the future technologies their presenting to people. This means it could be many many years before we actually see the technology thats ‘promised’ to everyone. Although we understand the most innovative ideas take years and years of hard-work, we must be aware that investors are throwing money into these cryptocurrencies without a finished product which isn’t ideal for serious investors.

♦TIP: What to look for when potentially investing into cryptocurrencies:

  • Overall Market Cap (Market Cap = Price X Circulating Supply) Supply vs Demand
  • A detailed look into Team/Developers
  • Current Partnerships
  • White-paper (Does the cryptocurrency have one?)
  • Real world use cases and solution the crypto potentially offers
  • Wallet? (Does the cryptocurrency have its own built in wallet?)
  • Exchanges it currently trades on
  • All major news on the specific Cryptocurrency (Past and Present)
  • Marketing (Activity on Twitter)
  • Understanding Price Action and how markets move (Check ‘Technical Analysis’ page for tips)

What are ICOs? (Initial Coin Offering)

*Here at ‘Everything Crypto Currency’s’ we advise beginners to stay well aware from ICOs when first getting involved in the cryptocurrency space. Investors in particular should always be weary of ‘promises of outsized returns’. If it sounds to good to be true then this is often the case.

ICOs can be seen as quite similar to IPOs (initial public offering) but instead of buying shares in the company, investors are buying digital “tokens” used on cryptocurrency platforms. An ICO is a unregulated means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture. An Initial Coin Offering is used by startups to bypass regulated capital-raising process required by venture capitalists or banks. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies which tends to usually be for Bitcoin or Ether. To date the Ethereum ICO was one of the first of its kind to put this concept of an initial coin offering on the map. The team successfully raised $18m over the course of 42 days, making it the first funded ICO in cryptocurrency. Ethereum currently having a $29,500,000,000 market cap at the time of writing, has firmly solidified its position ever since as the second most valuable cryptocurrency in the world behind Bitcoin. At the start of 2017, ICOs remained in a grey area of regulation, but as the year progressed we witnessed regulator after regulator tightening up its position.

Although ICOs could prove to be pivotal for helping cryptocurrencies and the cryptocurrency ecosystem we must be aware of its many downfalls. ICOs are particularly risky: It would be near almost impossible to recover funds invested in fraudulent ‘ponzi’ schemes. This is due to a number of factors, including: the lack of centralised control, cybersecurity issues of hacking around cryptocurrencies and often a lack of transparency in the white paper or ways in which the tokens are offered. We have seen a growing pattern of obscure companies with little more than a white paper springing up out of no where and raising millions of dollars on the Internet with the assistance of celebrities. In the world of financial markets the growing scepticism regarding ICOs is not an irrational one. Essentially we could compare ICOs to the tech bubble where we once saw many stocks that were ‘pump and dumps’. People are buying into new ICOs in the hopes of getting in at the ground floor of the next Bitcoin or Ethereum, just as investors in the IPOs of the late 1990s hoped they were buying shares in the ‘Next Yahoo’. We can see parallels to the dotcom boom. Fraudsters often using innovations and new technologies like ‘Blockchain’ to fuel fraudulent investment schemes. Fraudsters may entice investors by over hyping ICO investment ‘opportunities’ as a way to get into this cutting-edge space, promising or guaranteeing high investment returns.Token creators point to the success of the Ethereum pre sale as evidence that token pre sales are a good investment. Many Token creators promising their new cryptocurrency participating in an ICO is the next best thing without actually having a finished product should cause unease in the cryptocurrency world.

However at the same time, growing ICO activity boosts demand for bitcoin or ether creating an even greater sense of momentum in the blockchain world as a whole. We must also remember the desperate times of the Internet boom where we witnessed ups and downs in the 1990s-era web page. The Internet had to go through a lot of ups, downs and growth pains before being able to provide the compelling and immersive experiences we now take for granted. The same could be said for blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and ICOs. Perhaps we may continue to see the use of ICOs as fundraising mechanisms to pave the way for the next era of innovative ideas as standards and regulations hopefully improve.

Gold vs Bitcoin

Before we even start thinking about comparing Gold to Bitcoin, we must first understand what Gold is, its history and its current use case for the world today.

Gold is a very soft metal that actually isn’t as hard as we assume it to be, which is one of the factors giving gold its tremendous malleability. This means that it can be pounded, twisted, rolled and or squeezed into all kinds of different shapes without breaking apart. In fact, the yellow metal can be pounded so thin that it is translucent, and yet still remain intact as a solid sheet of gold.The first gold coins were minted in about 550 BC under King Croesus of Lydia which was a province in modern day Turkey. It quickly became accepted payment for merchants and mercenary soldiers around the Mediterranean. No country currently backs its currency with gold, but many have in the past, including the U.S. For half a century beginning in 1879. Americans could trade in $20.67 for an ounce of gold. The country effectively abandoned the gold standard in 1933, and completely severed the link between the dollar and gold in 1971. The U.S. now has a fiat money system, meaning the dollar’s value is not linked to any specific asset. The biggest countries that currently produce the most gold are: China, Australia, Russia and the US. Gold is said to never lose its ‘intrinsic value’ as a precious metal with numerous practical applications.

A few examples what Gold is currently used for:

  • Jewellery
  • Uses of Gold in Electronics
  • Use of Gold in Computers
  • Medical Uses of Gold
  • Use of Gold in Dentistry
  • Uses of Gold in Aerospace


According to a 2017 report from Thompson Reuters GFMS (http://thomsonreuters.ru/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/GFMS-Gold-Survey-2017.pdf) it was believed that the total world mined production of gold amounts to approximately 187,200 tonnes of gold which had been mined. This would imply a value worth 5.8 billion ounces or a $7.7 trillion market cap at $1320 per ounce (price at the time of writing the report) As this report ‘estimates’ that the entire market cap for Gold is around $7.7 Trillion US dollars, we must only use it as a guideline as we know this figure is not exactly gospel. However instead we will use this figure as a general guideline for comparing Bitcoins current market cap and potential future market cap to Gold. At the time of writing, the current market cap for Bitcoin is $135 Billion. If all bitcoins were in circulation (21 million), 1 bitcoin would need to be worth $100,000 to have a market cap of $2.1 Trillion dollars. Therefore 1 Bitcoin would need to be worth $350,000 to reach a $7 Trillion dollar market cap. This means Bitcoin still has a very long way to go to truly catch gold or be parity with Golds market cap.

Is Gold A Safe-haven?

Gold is commonly believed to be a safe haven in times of financial or political uncertainty and declines in stock and bond markets across developed/emerging countries. Gold was one of the only asset classes that increased in value in the 2008 market crash. Since it is not at risk of becoming worthless, unlike paper fiat currencies or other assets bearing credit risk, this entices many investors to have Gold in their portfolio. Gold is also a scarce commodity that has a finite supply just like how Bitcoin does. It has been used as a global currency for thousands of years. After the gold standard was abandoned in 1971, all currencies were printed and backed solely by their respective governments. So when greater uncertainty over government policy looms investors resort sometimes to investing in gold which is a tangible asset which cannot be ‘over’ printed (For example hyperinflation) or nor can it be destroyed.

Gold compared to Bitcoin table:





To an extent








Counterfeit resistant




Finite Supply

Finite Supply




Low transaction cost



User friendly



No third party risk



Mass adoption

In times of financial uncertainty








History use case

Used for thousands of years

No historical use case

Affected by Geopolitical events?

More correlated with paper fiat movements





Perhaps the most obvious difference between Gold and Bitcoin seems to be the intangible column whereby Gold is a tangible physical metal and Bitcoin is an intangible digital currency. Both could be used in times of financial uncertainty as no third party has a central point of control over them (well lets assume they don’t). Gold and Bitcoin both have a finite supply which gives them value and cannot be over printed like paper fiat money. History shows us that Gold is in fact user friendly as gold coins where used as payment for goods and services for thousands of years. This historical use case holds weight for Gold, but we can argue that Bitcoins usage is even better and gives gold and even paper fiat currency an upgrade for the 21st century.

As the table above shows there are many similarities of Gold and Bitcoin, however the main argument between the two would be that cryptocurrencies are only strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other tested applications, from jewellery to dentistry to electronics. Although this opinion is shared by many, here at ‘Everything Crypto Currency’s’ we believe Bitcoin is truly more then just a digital currency and also has many other applications. (Check the ‘Next Bitcoin?’ Page for more details on this)

Book Recommendations

Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation Ahead by Harry S. Dent Jr

Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas

The Internet of Money: Volume Two, By Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World By Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott