By: David Funk
Introduction to Bitcoin
Have you ever heard of Bitcoin? Maybe Ethereum? If not, you must have heard of cryptocurrency. Crypto has been one of the most widely used methods of payment for many reasons. My fellow 6th grade friend who is also crypto expert said that “Crypto is the most secure currency in the world.” Bitcoin came out in 2009. Bitcoin is mysterious because the owner of Bitcoin disappeared. There is a supply of 21 million Bitcoins in the world only, that is how it gets it’s value.
Benefits of using Bitcoin
One benefit of using bitcoin is that it is decentralized, which means it is not controlled by some sort of government. It is controlled by the community. That has some downsides though, one being that. updates will be slow. Another benefit for using cryptocurrency is that you don’t need to pay any banking fees. For example, if your friend sends you a large sum of money there won’t be any taxes on it. This is possible because Bitcoin is decentralized. There is a small gas(transaction) fee for the transactions though. The 3rd benefit of using cryptocurrency is that it is very secure.
This is due to the fact that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies use a blockchain. The blockchain makes it almost impossible to hack. When someone makes a transaction with crypto, that’s recorded. A bunch of transactions make up a block. The community validators or “miners”, secure this blockchain and make sure that there are no faults with the transactions. When a group of transactions (normally around $1500) are approved by the miners it becomes a block which is added to the chain of other blocks called the blockchain. All the blocks are connected, so if one has invalid information, then all of them would have invalid information, which makes it easy for the miners to recognize and fix. This happens because every block has a hash of the previous block in the block header. When a block is validated, which normally takes around 10 minutes, the validator will receive a hefty reward of 12.5 bitcoin. The reason it takes 10 minutes to validate is because everything is hashed, and the computers need to solve a cymographic puzzle. That’s why people use a very good PC to mine bitcoin, to mine with a faster hash rate. As time passes on and computers get more advanced their hash rate (cracked hashes per second) will get faster. Meaning that they could validate a block in less than 10 minutes, which for security reasons is not good. So, to fix this problem the hash rate always gets harder for everyone overtime, therefore keeping the average time for validating a block to 10 minutes. The rest is a lot more advanced so if I were you, I would look it up. If you want to learn more about blockchain then you can go to this website https://www.euromoney.com/learning/blockchain-explained/what-is-blockchain.
How to Get Bitcoin
Now that you know what bitcoin is, some advantages of it, and how it works. You probably want to know how to get some. The first way is the most obvious way which is to just buy a whole one. You can go to Coinbase which is a very common way to buy bitcoin. The only bad thing about this is that it is quite expensive. A single bitcoin, as of today, costs 38,087.30 USD. So, a more affordable and practical way to get bitcoin is to buy an ETF of it on a stockbroker website like Schwab. And the 3rd way is the title of this article. You can get some bitcoin without even buying it, through mining. There are many different pieces of software used to mine bitcoin. Here is a list of software to mine Bitcoin profitably and easily. Some highly recommended ones would be SHAMINING, BeMine, Cudo Miner, or ECOS.
You can use any of the pieces of software, they should all be quite intuitive. Every piece of software is different so I will just be telling you generally how to use them. First of all, you don’t need to just use one PC to mine. Of course, as stated in the introduction, the more hashing power you use the more money you get. The computers are normally called nodes, so if you want to add another rig you can just look for the add node option. Secondly, you don’t just have to mine Bitcoin. Some other coins might be more valuable to mine such as Ethereum which has a much higher transaction rate and lower gas fees. If your computer is small and doesn’t have a good GPU, you might start to notice it is not that profitable, if you include the electricity bills and such. In this case, you can join a mining pool. A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their hashing power, so they have a higher chance of solving the cryptographic puzzle first. Then, the reward is split between the miners. That way you can make more of a profit. Bitcoin and all the big coins have a harder puzzle to solve than the smaller ones. I highly recommend a coin called Monero for many reasons. The first one is, Monero is not an expensive coin making it easier to mine. But at the same time, it is not a cheap coin like Doge coin. Doge coin right now is worth 13 cents, while Monero is 177.30 USD currently. Cheap coins can make you rich quickly, but they can also make you bankrupt. That is why you should have a variety of crypto, like in stocks how you must make your portfolio versatile.
You now should have a good understanding of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. You should also understand the downsides of crypto as well as the upsides. Learning about blockchain technology as soon as possible is a very good thing to do. That is because people are starting to use blockchain technology in everything. For example, NFTs, the popular overpriced digital art, uses blockchain technology. Whenever you purchase an NFT you get a token which proves you own the photo. This is another use of blockchain technology. Another way blockchain technology is used is to vote about changes in companies. For example, a company might use a cryptocurrency and if you buy it, it will give you perks. In this case you would be able to vote, the more coins you have, the more influential your vote will be. Another benefit of learning how blockchain technology works in depth is that you will have a lot of job opportunities. This is because blockchain is new and growing exponentially, because you don’t have to trust people; it is decentralized. Another thing you should know about is smart contracts. Smart contracts limit the amount of trust needed by two parties. They do this because they use a script to act as the third party. The script can’t be edited after it is “locked in.” If you want to learn more about smart contracts this 4-minute, informal video is very good. Smart contracts - Simply Explained So clearly, as you can see, bitcoin, blockchain, and other cryptocurrencies are becoming more popular and making it easier to earn, send, and receive money.
• Bitcoin: Interview with Benjamin Stanfield.
• Pocket-lint. “Top 10 Bitcoin Mining Software Options for 2022.” Pocket, 18 Feb. 2022, https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/160080-top-10-best-bitcoin-mining-software-2022.
• “Blockchain.” BuiltIn, https://builtin.com/blockchain.