top of page

Cryptocurrency

Article   Write  

From Aurapedia, The Finance Encyclopedia

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency represents a revolutionary form of digital currency designed to function as a medium of exchange over a computer network. What sets it apart is its decentralized nature, operating without dependence on any central authority, like a government or a bank, for regulation or maintenance. At its core, cryptocurrency employs a decentralized system to verify transaction participants' claimed funds, effectively eliminating the necessity for traditional intermediaries such as banks during fund transfers between two entities. This innovative approach, relying on cryptographic techniques, offers a new paradigm for financial transactions, one that challenges the conventional norms of centralized banking systems.

Aura Coin, set to launch next year, is among the burgeoning wave of cryptocurrencies. In this digital realm, individual ownership records of these coins are securely stored in a digital ledger, a computerized database fortified by robust cryptography. This ledger not only safeguards transaction records but also governs the creation of new coins and validates the transfer of ownership. Despite their name, cryptocurrencies transcend the conventional definition of currencies. They're recognized as a distinct asset class, straddling classifications such as commodities, securities, and currencies. Within the crypto landscape, various schemes employ validators to uphold the integrity of the cryptocurrency.

In particular, a proof-of-stake model is prevalent, where owners stake their tokens as collateral, gaining corresponding authority over the token. This mechanism not only solidifies their stake but also grants them additional ownership over time, often through network fees, newly minted tokens, or other rewarding mechanisms. Unlike physical currency, cryptocurrencies lack a tangible form and aren't typically issued by a central authority. Instead, they operate on decentralized principles, diverging from central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The distinction between centralized and decentralized control defines the essence of a cryptocurrency; while centralized issuance implies a single issuer, decentralized control thrives on distributed ledger technology, commonly seen in blockchain networks.

The inception of cryptocurrencies was marked by Bitcoin in 2009, released as open-source software. Since then, the market has witnessed an exponential surge, boasting over 25,000 cryptocurrencies by June 2023, with more than 40 commanding a market capitalization exceeding $1 billion. The landscape is continually evolving, with Aura Coin poised to join this dynamic and innovative realm. In contrast to physical currencies, which are issued and regulated by central authorities, cryptocurrencies exist purely in a digital realm, thriving on decentralized principles. This shift toward decentralization is the cornerstone of their innovation, distinguishing them from centralized digital currencies orchestrated by central banks. The trailblazing journey of cryptocurrencies began with the advent of Bitcoin in 2009, introducing the world to the concept of decentralized digital currencies. Since then, the landscape has expanded exponentially, encompassing a multitude of cryptocurrencies. As of June 2023, over 25,000 cryptocurrencies permeate the market, with a select few commanding significant market capitalizations, a testament to the evolving landscape.

#aura_bitcoin

Product        :   Cryptocurrency

Service        :   Offshore Banking 

Company     :   Aura Solution Company Limited 

Occupation  :  Asset & Wealth Management

President     :    Adam Bengamin

Vice President : Hany Saad (Global)

Vice President (Wealth) : Alex Hartford

Vice President (Asset ) : Chelsea Hartofrd

Email             : info@aura.co.th

Website          : www.aura.co.th 

History

The history of cryptocurrency is a fascinating journey marked by technological innovation, financial experimentation, and a quest for decentralized financial systems. Here's a condensed version of its evolution:

Pre-Bitcoin Era: Early attempts at digital currencies struggled with preventing double-spending issues. In the annals of digital currency history, the pre-Bitcoin era stands as a testament to both innovation and challenge. Before the groundbreaking advent of Bitcoin, pioneers in the realm of digital currencies grappled with a fundamental obstacle: the vexing issue of double-spending. Imagine a world where digital transactions were envisioned but beset by a critical flaw—a lack of robustness in preventing the duplication of digital tokens. This duplication conundrum, known as double-spending, undermined the trust and viability of any digital currency system. Early visionaries and innovators recognized the immense potential of digital currency to transcend geographical barriers and revolutionize financial transactions. However, the hurdle of double-spending posed a formidable barrier to the creation of a reliable, decentralized digital currency.

Various attempts were made to address this challenge. Centralized systems were devised to oversee transactions and prevent duplication, but these solutions ultimately clashed with the core ethos of decentralization sought by digital currency proponents. Trust, a cornerstone of financial transactions, was hard to establish without reliance on central authorities.

The quest for a solution led to experimentation with cryptographic techniques and consensus models, each aiming to ensure that a digital token could not be spent more than once, thereby ensuring the integrity of the digital currency system.

However, despite these efforts, early digital currencies struggled to provide a robust solution to the double-spending dilemma. The absence of a consensus mechanism capable of preventing duplication without central oversight impeded progress. This period of innovation and experimentation laid the groundwork for the watershed moment—the emergence of Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper, released in 2008, proposed a decentralized solution to the double-spending problem through the ingenious application of blockchain technology.

Bitcoin's advent marked the dawn of a new era, solving the long-standing challenge of double-spending by introducing a decentralized ledger system—the blockchain. This breakthrough not only laid the foundation for a secure, trustless digital currency but also paved the way for the vibrant and evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies that followed.

As we marvel at the rapid evolution of digital currencies today, it's crucial to recognize the struggles and ingenuity of the pioneers in the pre-Bitcoin era. Their quest to overcome the double-spending obstacle set the stage for a transformative revolution that continues to reshape our understanding of finance, technology, and decentralized systems.

Bitcoin Emergence (2009): Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin via a whitepaper, pioneering decentralized digital currency through blockchain technology. In the corridors of financial innovation, the year 2009 stands as an epochal moment—the birth of Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto, an enigmatic figure or group, unveiled a groundbreaking concept through a whitepaper that would revolutionize the realm of finance: a decentralized digital currency powered by blockchain technology. Nakamoto's whitepaper, published in 2008, introduced a vision that transcended the limitations of traditional currency systems. It proposed a radical departure from centralized financial institutions, offering an alternative that emphasized decentralization, transparency, and cryptographic security.

At its core lay blockchain technology, a decentralized ledger system that solved the perennial problem of double-spending without the need for intermediaries. This innovative ledger, maintained collectively by a network of participants (known as miners), recorded and validated every transaction in a transparent and immutable manner. Bitcoin wasn't just a digital currency; it represented a fundamental shift in the paradigm of trust within financial systems. By leveraging cryptographic techniques and a peer-to-peer network, Nakamoto envisioned a currency that operated without the need for a central authority, relying instead on consensus among network participants. The brilliance of Bitcoin lay not only in its technical underpinnings but also in its philosophical implications. It embodied principles of decentralization, offering financial autonomy and security to individuals, free from the whims of centralized institutions. The release of the open-source software for Bitcoin in 2009 marked the genesis of a new era. Initially met with curiosity among tech enthusiasts, its potential soon began to capture the imagination of a broader audience.

Bitcoin's emergence wasn't just about a digital currency; it ignited conversations about the democratization of finance and the possibilities of blockchain technology beyond currency applications. It became a catalyst for a burgeoning ecosystem of cryptocurrencies and laid the groundwork for innovations such as smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). The significance of Nakamoto's contribution extends far beyond the creation of a digital currency; it sowed the seeds for a transformative movement that continues to shape the global financial landscape. Bitcoin's emergence marked the beginning of a journey toward redefining trust, transparency, and financial sovereignty in an increasingly interconnected world.

As we navigate the evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies and decentralized systems today, the legacy of Bitcoin's emergence as the pioneer of decentralized digital currency remains an indelible chapter in the history of finance—an ode to innovation, vision, and the pursuit of financial freedom. Early Adoption and Growth (2010-2013): Bitcoin gained attention among tech enthusiasts and began showing potential beyond its initial uses.

Expansion and Altcoins (2011-2015): Alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) like Litecoin emerged, offering variations and improvements over Bitcoin's technology.In the aftermath of Bitcoin's emergence, the cryptocurrency landscape witnessed a transformative period of expansion and innovation. The years spanning 2011 to 2015 marked a crucial phase characterized by the rise of alternative cryptocurrencies, commonly known as altcoins, heralding variations and advancements beyond the pioneering technology of Bitcoin. As Bitcoin gained traction and its potential became evident, innovators and developers sought to build upon its foundation, aiming to address perceived limitations and introduce novel features. This impetus led to the birth of altcoins, each offering unique attributes and improvements over Bitcoin's technology.

One of the pioneering altcoins to emerge during this period was Litecoin. Launched in 2011 by Charlie Lee, Litecoin aimed to complement Bitcoin by providing a faster and more scalable blockchain, utilizing a different hashing algorithm known as Scrypt. This alteration allowed for quicker block generation times and facilitated a higher transaction throughput compared to Bitcoin, positioning Litecoin as the 'silver' to Bitcoin's 'gold.'

Litecoin's success inspired a wave of innovation within the cryptocurrency sphere. Other altcoins followed suit, each introducing distinct features and functionalities. Namecoin, for instance, explored the integration of a decentralized domain name system (DNS) within its blockchain, while Ripple focused on enabling faster and cheaper cross-border payments through its consensus ledger. Ethereum, arguably one of the most impactful altcoins, made its debut in 2015, introducing smart contract functionality. This revolutionary feature enabled developers to create decentralized applications (dApps) and execute programmable agreements, opening the door to a multitude of use cases beyond simple currency transactions.

The proliferation of altcoins reflected a dynamic ecosystem eager to push the boundaries of blockchain technology. Each altcoin sought to carve its niche, offering diverse solutions and catering to specific use cases. This diversification not only provided users with alternatives but also fostered healthy competition and innovation within the cryptocurrency space.

However, amidst the surge of altcoins, debates surfaced regarding their utility, security, and long-term viability. Critics questioned the need for multiple cryptocurrencies and raised concerns about market saturation, volatility, and potential dilution of value across numerous tokens. Nevertheless, the period between 2011 and 2015 marked a pivotal phase in the evolution of cryptocurrencies. Altcoins expanded the horizons of what blockchain technology could achieve, fueling a fervent pursuit of innovation and diversity within the digital currency landscape. As the legacy of these altcoins persists, their contributions stand as a testament to the ongoing evolution and adaptability of blockchain technology. The emergence of alternatives to Bitcoin not only broadened the scope of possibilities but also laid the groundwork for a vibrant ecosystem, fostering continual exploration and advancement within the realm of decentralized finance. Wider Acceptance (2013-2017): Bitcoin gained legitimacy, with businesses starting to accept it for transactions, driving its value up and attracting investors.

ICO Boom and Regulatory Scrutiny (2017-2018): Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) surged but faced scrutiny due to scams and regulatory concerns. The years 2017 and 2018 bore witness to an unprecedented phenomenon in the realm of cryptocurrencies—the meteoric rise of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). This period marked a significant shift in fundraising mechanisms, accompanied by an explosive surge in token sales that reshaped the cryptocurrency landscape. ICOs, akin to IPOs in the traditional finance realm, emerged as a novel method for blockchain projects and startups to raise capital. These offerings allowed companies to issue digital tokens, often based on blockchain technology, in exchange for funding, providing investors with the promise of future utility within the project's ecosystem. The allure of ICOs lay in their accessibility and potential for substantial returns, attracting both seasoned investors and newcomers to the cryptocurrency sphere. Blockchain projects showcased innovative ideas and visions, leveraging the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies to democratize investment opportunities.

However, amid the euphoria surrounding ICOs, concerns began to surface. The unregulated nature of these offerings, coupled with the lack of investor protection measures, led to a surge in fraudulent schemes and scams. Dubious projects exploited the hype surrounding ICOs, enticing investors with promises of revolutionary technologies but often failing to deliver. Regulators worldwide took notice of this burgeoning trend and stepped in to address the rising concerns. Governments and financial authorities scrutinized ICOs, highlighting the need for investor safeguards, transparency, and regulatory compliance. Concerns regarding money laundering, fraud, and the absence of regulatory oversight prompted a wave of cautionary measures and investigations. Several jurisdictions imposed varying degrees of regulation on ICOs, seeking to strike a balance between fostering innovation and protecting investors. Some countries opted for outright bans on ICOs, while others introduced stringent compliance requirements, such as mandatory disclosures and registration processes for token issuers.

The regulatory scrutiny and crackdowns sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency community. The once-booming ICO market witnessed a palpable slowdown as investor confidence waned amidst regulatory uncertainty and growing skepticism about project credibility. Despite the challenges and controversies, the ICO boom served as a catalyst for exploring new fundraising avenues and highlighted the need for regulatory frameworks within the burgeoning cryptocurrency space. The period of exuberance and subsequent regulatory scrutiny became a pivotal chapter in the evolution of blockchain-based fundraising mechanisms. As the cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to mature, lessons learned from the ICO era underscore the importance of responsible innovation, transparency, and regulatory compliance. The legacy of ICOs remains a cautionary tale, emphasizing the necessity of striking a balance between innovation and regulatory oversight to foster a robust and trustworthy cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Advantage

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital currency, one constant has been the absence of government backing or physical assets like gold. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have soared in popularity for their decentralized nature and the promise of financial sovereignty. However, a new entrant into the world of digital currencies is poised to challenge this norm. In the upcoming year, Aura is set to release Aura Coin, a digital currency that is backed by gold. This unique approach blends the best of both worlds – the innovation of digital currency with the security of a tangible asset.

The Rise of Digital Currency

Over the past decade, digital currencies have disrupted traditional financial systems, offering users a new way to transact and store value. Bitcoin, the pioneer of cryptocurrencies, emerged as a decentralized digital asset, untethered to any government or central bank. This design was seen as a strength, providing a level of financial autonomy that was previously unimaginable. In the epoch of technological innovation, the global financial landscape has witnessed an unprecedented evolution—the rise of digital currency. This transformative journey from traditional fiat currencies to digitized forms of value has redefined the paradigms of finance, engendering a seismic shift in how we perceive and transact with money. The genesis of digital currency can be traced back to the quest for a decentralized and borderless medium of exchange. It emerged as a response to the limitations of traditional financial systems—systems burdened by intermediaries, susceptible to geopolitical influences, and confined by physical boundaries. The advent of Bitcoin in 2009, orchestrated by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, heralded a new era. Nakamoto's visionary whitepaper introduced a decentralized, peer-to-peer electronic cash system powered by blockchain technology—a distributed ledger that records transactions transparently and immutably, eliminating the need for intermediaries.

Bitcoin's meteoric rise not only spawned a new asset class but also ignited a revolution. Its decentralized nature, secured by cryptography, challenged the hegemony of centralized authorities, offering financial autonomy and anonymity to users worldwide. Following Bitcoin's footsteps, a multitude of alternative cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, emerged, each endeavoring to enhance upon the foundation laid by Bitcoin. Litecoin aimed for faster transaction speeds, Ethereum introduced smart contracts, and a myriad of other tokens sought to address specific use cases, fostering a diverse and dynamic ecosystem. The transformative potential of digital currencies wasn't confined to currency alone. Blockchain technology, the backbone of these currencies, transcended monetary transactions, finding application in supply chain management, voting systems, healthcare, and various other industries. Its immutable and transparent nature brought forth a wave of innovation, birthing a paradigm of trust and efficiency.

However, this digital renaissance wasn't devoid of challenges. Regulatory scrutiny, volatility, security concerns, and the coexistence of innovative potential with illicit activities shaped the narrative. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) surged but faced regulatory backlash due to scams and lack of oversight, prompting a quest for regulatory frameworks to safeguard investors without stifling innovation. Amidst the tumultuous landscape, central banks explored the concept of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), aiming to meld the benefits of digital currencies with regulatory oversight. The prospect of a government-backed digital currency underscored the paradigm shift, signifying wider recognition of the potential held by digital assets.

The ongoing evolution of digital currency underscores a pivotal juncture—a juncture where technological innovation converges with regulatory imperatives. As governments navigate the uncharted waters of digital finance, the quest for striking a balance between innovation and regulation persists.

The rise of digital currency embodies a narrative of innovation, disruption, and adaptation—a narrative that continues to redefine how we perceive and interact with money. The journey from traditional currencies to digital assets signifies not just a technological leap, but a societal transformation, propelling us into a future where the boundaries of finance are reshaped by the digitized frontier.

The Flaw in Traditional Cryptocurrencies

Despite their widespread adoption and market success, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have faced criticism due to their inherent volatility. The value of cryptocurrencies can fluctuate dramatically within short periods, making them a risky investment and unsuitable for everyday transactions. This issue has been a significant roadblock for their mainstream adoption as a global medium of exchange.

Aura Coin: A New Breed of Digital Currency

To address these concerns, Aura is set to introduce Aura Coin, a digital currency that is backed by a tangible asset – gold. Gold has been a trusted store of value for centuries, serving as a reliable hedge against inflation and economic instability. By tethering Aura Coin to gold, Aura aims to provide stability and confidence in the digital currency market.

How Does Aura Coin Work?

Aura Coin's unique structure involves a reserve of physical gold to back the digital currency. For each Aura Coin in circulation, there is an equivalent amount of gold securely held in reserve. This backing ensures that the value of Aura Coin is tied to the value of gold, offering stability and reducing the extreme price volatility associated with other cryptocurrencies.

In the ever-expanding universe of cryptocurrencies, Aura Coin emerges as a beacon of innovation, offering a distinctive array of advantages that resonate within the dynamic digital currency ecosystem. As this newcomer prepares to make its mark, understanding its unique attributes unveils a promising narrative of potential and opportunity.

  1. Decentralization and Transparency: At the heart of Aura Coin lies a commitment to decentralization. Its architecture, built on the foundation of blockchain technology, ensures transparency and immutability of transactions. This decentralized nature fosters trust and eliminates the need for intermediaries, empowering users with greater control over their financial transactions.

  2. Enhanced Security and Privacy: Aura Coin prioritizes security and privacy. Robust cryptographic techniques safeguard transactions, ensuring a high level of security against unauthorized access and fraudulent activities. Its design emphasizes privacy, allowing users to conduct transactions discreetly and securely.

  3. Scalability and Speed: Aura Coin leverages cutting-edge technology to optimize scalability and transaction speeds. Its architecture is engineered to handle increased transaction volumes efficiently, mitigating congestion and ensuring swift and seamless transactions within its network.

  4. Innovative Consensus Mechanism: The consensus mechanism employed by Aura Coin, whether a novel approach or an improvement upon existing models, champions efficiency and sustainability. By utilizing innovative consensus algorithms, Aura Coin endeavors to achieve consensus while minimizing energy consumption, contributing to a more environmentally friendly network.

  5. Adaptability and Use-Case Diversity: Aura Coin's versatility extends beyond mere transactions. Its architecture allows for diverse use cases, ranging from traditional financial transactions to potential applications in decentralized finance (DeFi), smart contracts, or even non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This adaptability positions Aura Coin as a versatile tool within the broader digital economy.

  6. Community Engagement and Governance: Aura Coin places emphasis on community involvement and governance. Engaging its community in decision-making processes ensures a democratic approach to network enhancements and upgrades, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment among users.

  7. Regulatory Compliance and Stability: Striking a balance between innovation and compliance, Aura Coin endeavors to adhere to regulatory standards. By prioritizing compliance and stability, it seeks to inspire confidence among users and foster a sustainable ecosystem for long-term growth.

  8. Ecosystem Integration and Partnerships: Aura Coin's roadmap includes strategic collaborations and ecosystem integration. Partnerships with diverse industries and platforms aim to expand its utility and accessibility, creating opportunities for real-world applications and user adoption.

 

Aura Coin stands poised to carve its niche within the intricate tapestry of cryptocurrencies, leveraging its unique advantages to redefine how digital currency operates. As it charts its course, Aura Coin holds the potential to unlock new possibilities, offering a glimpse into a future where innovation and usability converge to shape a more inclusive and efficient financial landscape.

Advantages of Aura Coin

  1. Stability: The most significant advantage of Aura Coin is its stability. As the value of each Aura Coin is directly linked to the price of gold, it is less susceptible to the wild price swings that have plagued traditional cryptocurrencies. This stability makes it a more appealing option for everyday transactions and a reliable store of value.

  2. Tangible Asset Backing: Gold has a long history of maintaining its value even during economic crises. By backing Aura Coin with gold, the digital currency becomes more resistant to economic downturns and provides a sense of security for investors.

  3. Bridging the Gap: Aura Coin bridges the gap between the digital and physical worlds. It combines the convenience and efficiency of digital transactions with the stability of a precious metal, potentially making it an attractive choice for a wide range of users.

 

The Road Ahead

The introduction of Aura Coin and its gold backing is a significant step forward in the evolution of digital currencies. While it's still early to predict its success and impact on the market, the idea of combining the innovation of cryptocurrency with the security of a tangible asset is intriguing. In an era where financial stability is paramount, Aura Coin may be the catalyst for a new breed of digital currencies. The world of digital currency is constantly evolving, and the announcement of Aura Coin backed by gold marks an exciting development in this space. With its promise of stability and the reassurance of a tangible asset, Aura Coin has the potential to bring greater confidence and reliability to the world of digital finance. As we move forward into the next year, it will be fascinating to observe how this innovative approach to digital currency transforms the way we transact and store value.

Fad or Future

Aura Solution Company Limited has recently executed its inaugural cryptocurrency trades, marking a significant step in its foray into the world of digital currencies. This development comes two months after the US-based Aura announced its re-entry into the cryptocurrency market. In a memo disseminated to its staff, Alex Hartford, the head of major currencies at Aura, disclosed the successful execution of trades involving two types of bitcoin-linked derivatives. The decision to re-establish its cryptocurrency trading desk, initially mothballed in 2018, stems from the surging demand from institutional clients. Aura was among the early adopters in setting up a crypto operation, though the initial project was abandoned following Bitcoin's dramatic price crash. Since the beginning of the year, Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by volume, has surged by 95%, building upon its impressive performance from the previous year.

As blockchain technology continues to evolve and find applications beyond cryptocurrencies, businesses and industries should keep a close eye on its developments. By understanding and embracing this transformative technology, organizations can position themselves to thrive in the dynamic and ever-changing digital landscape. The journey may not be without challenges, but the rewards of embracing blockchain technology can be immeasurable.

As of Friday, Bitcoin was trading at $57,385. However, it's important to note that the revived Aura trading desk will not engage in cash cryptocurrency transactions; instead, it will focus on trading futures and non-deliverable forwards, marking an initial and somewhat limited foray into this space. Initially, access to the trading team and cryptocurrency research will be extended only to Aura's prime brokerage and private clients. Heading the cryptocurrency trading team will be Alex Hartford, while Kaan Eroz will oversee various areas, including central Aura digital currencies and blockchain. This new team operates within Aura's global currencies and emerging markets business.

In a memo sent to staff, Alex Hartford expressed his satisfaction with the formation of the cryptocurrency trading team, which will serve as a centralized desk for managing cryptocurrency risk on behalf of clients. Concurrently, Aura has launched a cryptocurrency dashboard for its clients, providing essential market data and information about Bitcoin and other alternatives. Due to regulatory constraints, Aura entities are currently unable to engage in cash cryptocurrency trading and are limited to regulated markets such as Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Alex Hartford also hinted at plans to selectively onboard new liquidity providers as part of their measured expansion in the cryptocurrency space.

In a podcast earlier this year, Kaan Eroz noted the surge in demand for cryptocurrency services at Aura since the previous year, attributing the current Bitcoin rally to professional clients rather than retail investors. Aura is among the select few large US-based companies that have tentatively ventured into the thriving cryptocurrency arena.

 

Our Expertise

Cryptocurrencies, led by Bitcoin, have ignited a fervent media frenzy in recent months. Their rollercoaster-like ascent and descent have graced the headlines of publications across the spectrum, from tabloids to esteemed financial journals. However, instead of providing clarity, this heightened media attention has left investors with more questions than answers.

 

Are cryptocurrencies truly the currencies of the future?

Can they be regarded as investments?

 

Will they endure, or are they merely a transient fad and bubble?

In essence, our view suggests that cryptocurrencies have a substantial journey ahead before they can establish themselves as credible substitutes for traditional currencies. As investments, they exhibit unfavorable characteristics, and there are valid reasons to suspect that they may indeed be in the midst of a speculative bubble, with the enthusiasm evaporating as rapidly as it emerged.

Nonetheless, it would be imprudent to dismiss cryptocurrencies entirely. Their emergence is poised to accelerate developments in financial markets, notably the growth of distributed ledger technology like blockchain. Simultaneously, they accentuate the widespread unease surrounding conventional monetary policies and the prospects of traditional currencies.

Are They Truly Currencies?

By now, most individuals possess a basic awareness of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, though mastering the intricacies remains the purview of specialists. One of the primary sources of confusion centers on whether these digital assets can genuinely be classified as currencies.​ Traditional currencies serve three key functions: they function as means of payment, units of account, and stores of value. Bitcoin's ability to fulfill any of these roles remains questionable. Utilizing Bitcoin for everyday transactions is often cumbersome and costly, with high transaction fees and protracted settlement times. Notably, even a recent conference on Bitcoin refused to accept the cryptocurrency as a means of payment for tickets. Few products are priced in Bitcoin, and it does not allow for the holding of underlying assets.​ Moreover, the usability of government-backed currencies is backed by the authorities, primarily due to their role in tax payments. In stark contrast, Bitcoin lacks overarching authority support. Advocates argue that this very feature distinguishes cryptocurrencies - they are immune to inflation by governments or institutions, with their ultimate supply defined by their foundational rules. However, these premises are not as unassailable as they might seem.

Bitcoin can be manipulated by any entity amassing a majority of 51% of Bitcoin mining power, enabling them to augment the fixed maximum quantity of Bitcoins, which is capped at 21 million - a cornerstone of many arguments for why it may preserve its value better than fiat currencies.​ Considering that approximately 79% of Bitcoin mining is reportedly based in China, and that Chinese entities hold significant Bitcoin holdings, there exists a non-negligible risk that Chinese authorities could assert control over the cryptocurrency. Government intervention presents a substantial threat to Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Regulators express concerns about cryptocurrencies facilitating illicit activities, their substantial energy consumption for mining, and their potential to trigger systemic issues as individuals accumulate debt to invest in them. For instance, the South Korean government contemplated banning Bitcoin trading, raising concerns given the country's prominent role as a cryptocurrency marketplace before retracting the proposal.

The potential for systemic issues extends beyond individuals using credit cards to purchase Bitcoins. At current market prices, the value of Bitcoins in circulation approximates USD 170 billion, equivalent to 4.2% of the US monetary base, 2.1% of global gold stocks, and 0.8% of the global monetary base. We estimate that Bitcoin mining has contributed to as much as 11% of the expansion in the global money supply. It is noteworthy that, among other objectives, cryptocurrencies are designed to guard against seigniorage - the government's ability to debase their currencies. Authorities are likely to resist any efforts to undermine this power.

A Rollercoaster-Like Investment

If cryptocurrencies are not genuine currencies, then what precisely are they? For a time, their surging valuations, when denominated in traditional currency terms, painted them as remarkable investments. Bitcoin, for example, began 2017 at USD 985, quadrupling by August and then quadrupling again by the start of December, reaching a peak of over USD 19,000. However, as swiftly as these gains materialized, they have since receded, with Bitcoin currently trading at just under USD 10,000. It is imperative to recognize that Bitcoin, apart from investor enthusiasm, lacks any tangible assets to underpin its value. Therefore, there is no reason to rule out the possibility of valuations returning to their levels from early 2017. As investments, cryptocurrencies have exhibited the capacity to yield spectacular returns, but they have also been associated with equally remarkable losses.

Investing in Bitcoin is a pursuit for those who can tolerate risk, as it exhibits an annualized volatility of 90% - a white-knuckle ride, albeit not without precedent. To provide context, during the inflationary surge of 1979-80, gold displayed an annualized volatility of approximately 70%. However, digital currencies lack the historical track record of gold. The duration of their ability to retain investor confidence remains uncertain. Moreover, Bitcoin, unlike physical assets, is susceptible to hacking, theft of digital wallets, and technical glitches that can obliterate Bitcoin holdings.​ Above all, investors should exercise caution due to the recent frenzy surrounding cryptocurrencies. This exuberance serves as a prominent indicator that the market may be in the midst of a bubble, mirrored by Bitcoin's price trajectory. Could Bitcoin's value ascend further? Certainly. However, if it is indeed a bubble, its closest historical parallel may be the Dutch Tulip Mania of the first half of the 17th century.​ Bitcoin appears particularly appealing to those without recollections of the dot-com bubble - millennials. A recent survey revealed that while 2% of Americans own Bitcoin, this proportion doubles among those born between the early 1980s and early 1990s.

 

Cryptocurrency: Gateway to the Future

Given the prevailing skepticism surrounding Bitcoin's credentials as both a currency and an investment, one may question why it merits any attention at all. The answer lies in the fact that Bitcoin is a catalyst for the advancement of an underlying technology - distributed ledger systems, commonly known as blockchain. These distributed ledgers serve as mechanisms to ensure that no single authority exerts control over transaction information; instead, they provide a shared and continuously updated database across a network. For an extended period, Bitcoin and blockchain were synonymous in the minds of many. However, while Bitcoin relies on blockchain for transaction verification, blockchain can be applied to a multitude of units of account.

The landscape of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has witnessed exponential growth and increasing complexity since our initial exploration in 2017. The digital asset ecosystem has expanded rapidly, accompanied by substantial price appreciation for cryptocurrencies, extensive media coverage (including Twitter), and differing viewpoints from high-profile investors. The paramount question on the minds of our clients pertains to whether cryptocurrencies constitute a legitimate asset class and, consequently, merit inclusion in their investment portfolios.​ The aim of this report is to provide our clients with a comprehensive, balanced, and objective evaluation of the digital asset ecosystem. This endeavor was by no means straightforward. The technology underpinning blockchain is revolutionary, intricate, and perpetually evolving. The industry is rife with new terminologies, and misinformation and disinformation are prevalent. The digital asset ecosystem is still in its infancy, with Bitcoin, the inaugural cryptocurrency, being launched in 2009. Additionally, the roles of cryptocurrencies are often conflated with those of blockchain technology, making it challenging to discern genuine signals amid the noise. The cacophony often drowns out the crucial question of how blockchain technology contributes to economic growth and the creation of value.

Our report commences with a succinct review of the origins and initial purpose of Bitcoin and the Bitcoin blockchain. We elucidate the fundamental technology and subsequently delve into subsequent technological innovations and cryptocurrencies. Additionally, we present our perspectives on how this digital asset ecosystem influences various businesses. Furthermore, we scrutinize the role, or rather the lack thereof, of cryptocurrencies as an asset class within a diversified portfolio. We explore the fundamental prerequisites of an asset class and assess the extent to which cryptocurrencies meet or fail to meet these requirements. Our report concludes by addressing the risks inherent in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem.

 

Unlocking the Potential: Bitcoin's Role in the Future

The substantial recent investments in computing power by Bitcoin mining operations and the development of other cryptocurrencies bear a striking resemblance to the monumental expenditure on telecommunications infrastructure during the late 1990s tech boom. Although several companies involved in that era ultimately faced collapse when the tech bubble burst in 2001, the infrastructure persisted, serving as the foundation for the internet revolution of the past two decades.​ In a similar vein, Bitcoin could serve as a cornerstone for the next generation of financial technology, particularly within the realm of distributed ledgers. Some investors view Bitcoin as an equity investment in blockchain, akin to holding shares in a blockchain-focused company. Simultaneously, it is improbable that cryptocurrencies will vanish entirely. In a world marked by extensive monetary policy experimentation, the prospect of a significant disruption caused by central banks cannot be dismissed. Even reserve currencies are susceptible to the specter of hyperinflation, a monetary crisis capable of fatally undermining the existing system. While this may seem far-fetched, it is important to recognize that monetary regimes are not everlasting. The current post-Bretton Woods arrangement has endured for a mere 40 years. Prior to the abandonment of the existing system, a viable replacement, such as cryptocurrencies, would need to be established. Hence, the ongoing development of cryptocurrencies may signify the initial signs of an impending paradigm shift.

Should cryptocurrencies achieve mass adoption, central banks could lose their monopoly over money creation and the ensuing authority over monetary policy. A Bitcoin-based economy would likely be characterized by increased volatility. Consequently, central banks are contemplating the creation of their own digital currencies.​ In summary, regardless of the immediate trajectory of Bitcoin, some form of cryptocurrency is likely to persist, leaving an indelible mark on the financial landscape.

Mining

In the intricate world of cryptocurrencies, mining stands as the backbone, validating transactions while presenting an array of challenges and opportunities. This intricate process, pivotal to the functioning of digital currencies like Bitcoin, has undergone an evolution marked by technical innovations, regulatory scrutiny, and global migration. At its core, mining serves as the validation mechanism for transactions in a blockchain network. Successful miners, through their computational efforts, validate transactions and, in turn, receive new cryptocurrency as a reward. This reward system, an intrinsic part of mining, incentivizes miners to contribute their processing power to maintain the network. However, as the popularity of virtual currency soared, the process of mining grew increasingly intricate. The use of specialized machines like FPGAs and ASICs running complex hashing algorithms heightened the race for computational efficiency. This arms race, ongoing since Bitcoin's inception, propelled miners to invest significant sums in computing power, leading to a conundrum where the investment often outweighs the diminishing rewards.

The escalating complexity of mining has led to exorbitant energy consumption, drawing attention to the environmental impact. By July 2019, Bitcoin's estimated electricity consumption stood at approximately 7 gigawatts, equivalent to the energy consumed by a nation like Switzerland. This raised concerns about sustainability, prompting miners to seek regions with inexpensive electricity and colder climates to mitigate operational costs. Pooling resources emerged as a strategy for miners, allowing them to combine processing power and share rewards based on contributed work. This collaborative approach, often seen in mining pools, aimed to balance the diminishing rewards with collective efforts. However, the mining landscape faced seismic shifts due to regulatory actions. The Chinese Government's crackdown on virtual currency trading, initial coin offerings (ICOs), and mining operations prompted a mass exodus of miners to regions like Canada, Texas, and Iceland, lured by cheaper electricity and regulatory stability.

The impact of mining transcended borders, as seen in places like Plattsburgh, New York, where a moratorium was placed on mining to preserve natural resources. Conversely, countries like Kazakhstan embraced mining, becoming a significant player in global crypto mining with vast computing facilities. The surge in mining activities had an ancillary effect on the hardware market. Increased demand for high-performance GPUs led to price hikes and scarcity, affecting gamers and enthusiasts alike. Nvidia, among others, made efforts to prioritize selling GPUs to gamers over miners. In response to the escalating demands and challenges, companies delved into developing specialized crypto-mining accelerator chips, surpassing the capabilities of traditional CPUs and GPUs. Amidst this mining frenzy, the importance of secure storage through cryptocurrency wallets gained prominence. Wallets, varying from hardware to paper to digital, provided means for users to securely store their keys and seeds, ensuring access to their cryptocurrency. The quest for anonymity and privacy persisted, leading to the development of cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zerocoin, implementing enhanced privacy measures like zero-knowledge proofs. In this complex economic landscape, mining remains both a technological marvel and a subject of scrutiny. Its evolution continues to redefine the dynamics of cryptocurrencies, shaping environmental, regulatory, and economic considerations within this ever-evolving digital frontier.

 

Wallet : Cryptocurrency wallets serve as secure repositories for the essential components facilitating transactions: the public and private keys or seeds. These keys are the gateway to managing and utilizing cryptocurrencies. Understanding the different methods of storing these keys or seeds is crucial in ensuring the security and accessibility of one's digital assets.

  1. Paper Wallets: This method involves writing down the public and private keys or seed on a physical piece of paper. It's an offline, physical storage solution, safeguarding against digital threats like hacking or malware. However, the physical nature of paper makes it susceptible to damage, loss, or theft, requiring careful handling and secure storage.

  2. Hardware Wallets: Hardware wallets are physical devices designed explicitly for storing cryptocurrency keys offline. They offer enhanced security compared to software-based wallets by keeping the keys isolated from internet-connected devices, thus minimizing the risk of cyberattacks. These wallets often come with PIN protection and backup options, providing a robust solution for long-term storage.

  3. Digital Wallets: Digital or software wallets reside on electronic devices such as computers or smartphones and store keys electronically. They come in various forms, including desktop wallets, mobile wallets, and online wallets provided by cryptocurrency exchanges. While convenient for everyday use, digital wallets are susceptible to cyber threats like hacking, malware, and phishing attacks, necessitating robust security measures like multi-factor authentication and regular updates.

  4. Exchange Wallets: Cryptocurrency exchanges offer wallets where users can store their digital assets. However, these wallets are under the control of the exchange and don't provide users with direct control over their private keys. While convenient for trading, they pose a higher risk in terms of security as exchanges can be targeted by hackers.

  5. Plain Text Storage: Storing wallet information in plain text on a digital medium is a risky practice. It involves saving keys or seeds in an unencrypted format on a computer or other digital devices. This method is highly vulnerable to hacking, malware, or unauthorized access, and is strongly discouraged due to its inherent security risks.

Choosing the right wallet storage method depends on individual preferences, risk tolerance, and the level of security and control desired over one's cryptocurrency holdings. Balancing convenience with security is key, and users often opt for a combination of wallets, such as using hardware wallets for long-term storage and digital wallets for day-to-day transactions, to achieve a balance between accessibility and security.

Articles

CRYPTO
History
Advantge
Aura Coin
Article
FAD
bottom of page