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Coin Market Cap provides direct cryptocurrency market capitalization data via an API, see all here.

# Name Price Changes 1H Changes 24H Changes 7D Market Cap Volume 24H Available Supply Price Graph
$7,335.86-2.67%-6.99%-12.03%$125.09B$6.32B17.05M BTC
$557.21-4.42%-10.63%-21.12%$55.52B$2.99B99.63M ETH
$0.59-1.95%-4.82%-15.54%$23.18B$447.51M39.19B XRP
Bitcoin Cash
$958.82-4.07%-9.56%-25.97%$16.44B$798.79M17.14M BCH
$10.64-1.84%-7.37%-20.54%$9.32B$1.50B876.49M EOS
$115.89-1.4%-7.65%-16.55%$6.57B$369.64M56.67M LTC
$0.276062-3.1%-3.95%-17.2%$5.13B$43.00M18.58B XLM
$0.194761-2.62%-8.23%-23.46%$5.05B$112.85M25.93B ADA
$0.069065-1.39%-4.69%-2.12%$4.54B$592.46M65.75B TRX
$1.41-2.8%-8.26%-26.0%$3.92B$81.61M2.78B MIOTA

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Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency built on blockchain distributed ledger technology. Bitcoin is a peer to peer electronic cash made possible by a decentralized database. It acts as public accounting system layered on a distributed network for all to nodes to witness and users to verify. Bitcoin was the first ever true electronic value transfer of a currency in the world's history.

It is being called a better-than-gold equivalent store of value and a medium of exchange to rival Visa, Mastercard and Paypal. Its unit of account and predetermined characteristics of a finite supply (21 Million total bitcoin in circulation to avoid inflation) make bitcoin a trustless, permissionless and (will be) frictionless new world currency. It is uncensurable and unconfiscatable with high-fungibility. It is the programmable money paradigm that requires no third party intermediaries or centralized governance for all users to agree and accept terms of using it collectively.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a technology – its digital money backed by blockchain DLT – a robust international network of payments and transactional/mercantile exchanges that are completely decentralized and relies on community consensus voting mechanism for the longest/honest chain. It doesn’t depend on banks or governments to operate and its creator Satoshi Nakamoto is a group of ghosts. Bitcoin is virtual money that can be sent from any place in the world to another, instantaneously, securely and for minimal to no fees (almost like an email or instant message of today).

Bitcoin breathed new life into trying times amidst real estate housing bubble and fractional lending credit debacle and came into existence in October 2008 after the publication of a whitepaper titled, “Bitcoin: A Peer To Peer Electronic Cash System” (created by the author under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto).

Satoshi combined the knowledge of prior digital currency developments (see the Nakamoto Institute) such as HashCash and B Money and finally got all the pieces to the puzzle to fit. It was the first to succeed where these others failed to engineer a practical, autonomous decentralized peer to peer cryptocurrency that requires no central authority for money emission, validation of transactions or settlements.

The main innovation in Satoshi’s Bitcoin invention is the development of a distributed computational hashing system known as the “proof-of-work algorithm”. It conducts global transaction validations every 10 minutes, allowing the decentralized network technology to come to consensus agreement about the state of each transaction and whether the funds are valid and should be confirmed for being locked into the next block created.

4 Keys Of Innovation

The invention of Bitcoin represents the pinnacle of years of research in distributed systems and cryptography, it’s development combines 4 key innovations that make the existence of Bitcoin possible:

  • The Bitcoin Protocol – A decentralized peer to peer network.
  • The Blockchain – A public ledger to record all transactions.
  • A Distributed Mining System – decentralized mathematical currency issuance
  • Transaction Script – A decentralized transaction verification system.

There is much more to learn about the inner workings of the blockchain and how it all works, but right now we will do our best to build bite-sized bits of digestible digital currency content like how to buy it, trade it, invest it, store it, send it, spend it, receive it and even earn it.



The Backbone Of Bitcoin

Mining is the skeleton framework that enables blockchain's coveted bitcoin cryptocurrency application to run properly. This open source process is how new bitcoin is added to the money supply and also verifies all transactions done using the peer to peer bitcoin network. The mining process serves to secure the bitcoin protocol from fraudulent transactions and ensures proper track of receiving and sending coins.

Miners provide petahash processing computer power (ASIC) to help validate transactions and ensure proper recording in the global ledger. On average a new block is mined every 10 minutes, adding those transactions to the global blockchain ledger, once confirmed and approved. Mining is what gives blockchain its ability to act as bitcoin's account system behind the scenes. Essentially miners and their computing power are responsible for holding together and securing the transaction network.


The Body Of Bitcoin

If mining is the backbone of bitcoin, exchanges are the body of bitcoin. The buying, selling, trading and investing in bitcoin are what gives cryptocurrencies its practical utility and universal appeal. There are a variety of specialized exchanges to buy bitcoins with funds from a bank account, debit card, credit card or Paypal. Buying bitcoin is simple to do and is the first step towards becoming an owner and user. The quickest way to get started with bitcoin is to sign up for a bitcoin exchange, where you can quickly buy, store and receive coins. Here’s the basic process you’ll need to follow:

  • Step 1) Open a Bitcoin Wallet/Exchange Account.
  • Step 2) Trade in fiat money for bitcoins.
  • Step 3) Transfer your Bitcoins to a secure private Bitcoin wallet.

That’s it! Below, we’ll explain more specific instructions – like tips on how to choose a good Bitcoin exchange and what to watch for.


The Brain Of Bitcoin

Bitcoin wallets allow the 'be your own bank' to become reality. Digital Wallets store a collection of cryptographic keys, each consisting of a private key and a public key. These keys are what you need to access a bitcoin address and spend your funds. To be absolutely accurate, you don't technically store bitcoins anywhere. What you store are the secure digital keys used to access your public bitcoin addresses and sign transactions. This information is stored in a bitcoin wallet. Wallets come in different forms, designed for different types of device.

You MUST have a wallet to get started using cryptocurrencies. A Bitcoin wallet is an app or program that allows you send and receive bitcoin. Wallets also keep track of your bitcoin balance which is held in one or more bitcoin addresses. Generally, wallets also have a feature that keeps a history of your bitcoin transactions.


There are several major Bitcoin exchanges, and there are several preferred exchanges. Different people have different needs, and multiple exchanges offer different services.

Your country and location also play a role when deciding which exchange to choose. Coinbase is the preferred leading exchange in the US and Europe for example, but if you are in Mexico Bitso is the best option to start. Check out our guide to opening a Bitcoin Exchange service account.

While researching Bitcoin exchanges, you’ll need to pay attention to important traits that separate good exchanges from bad ones. Pay attention to things like:


Major Bitcoin exchanges face hacking attempts every day. Even leading exchanges have suffered leaks in the past. It’s part of dealing with some of the most talented hackers in the world. Nevertheless, you’ll want a Bitcoin exchange with strong security and a limited history of leaks.


One of the best parts about buying Bitcoins is that you can do it with 100% privacy. However, the only real way to privately buy Bitcoins is with cash or a cash deposit. Not all exchanges support this. It’s easy to find exchanges that accept bank transfers, credit card payments, debit card payments, and PayPal, for example. However, each of these payment methods is tied to your personally-identifiable information. If you want to avoid being tracked, then you need an exchange that offers cash or cash deposit exchanges.

Fair Exchange Rates

One of the confusing parts about Bitcoin for newbies is the exchange rate. There is no “official” exchange rate for Bitcoin into world currencies. Instead, Bitcoin prices are based on the average price of Bitcoin across all exchanges. One reliable site for Bitcoin averages is Make sure the exchange you choose has a fair exchange rate based on the current price.


Bitcoin exchanges all have fees. You’ll typically see a deposit and withdrawal fee, for example, as well as a fee per exchange. Some exchanges will substantially reduce – or even eliminate – fees if you trade a lot of Bitcoins.

Purchase Limits

Most Bitcoin exchanges have no limits. If you have enough money, you can buy as much Bitcoin as you want. However, certain exchanges do have limits. If you’re working with an individual seller, then that individual may have lower limits than an exchange. Unless you’re buying more than, say, 25 Bitcoins, you shouldn’t have trouble with purchase limits.


One of the best parts about buying Bitcoins is that you can do it with 100% privacy. However, the only real way to privately buy Bitcoins is with cash or a cash deposit. Not all exchanges support this. It’s easy to find exchanges that accept bank transfers, credit card payments, debit card payments, and PayPal, for example. However, each of these payment methods is tied to your personally-identifiable information. If you want to avoid being tracked, then you need an exchange that offers cash or cash deposit exchanges.


Try to pick a trusted, long-standing Bitcoin exchange. Sure, some new Bitcoin exchanges might offer lower rates and better service – but until they’ve built a good reputation over time, you should stick with the known exchanges.


Focus on exchanges that have a wide selection of Altcoins and pairings. You want to have the stable coins as well as access to Altcoins fresh out of their Initial Coin Offering (ICO).


With a Bitcoin wallet, you can receive, store, and spend Bitcoins. Bitcoin wallets aren’t like conventional wallets: they can be apps, websites, devices, or software programs. These wallets contain private keys that give you access to your coins. Many bitcoin exchanges offer Bitcoin wallets when you sign up, for example. Other people hold physical Bitcoin wallets – or even physical Bitcoins – as a way to store their cryptocurrency.

There are many different wallets across various platforms. While they all share certain basic functionality, features vary from one wallet to the other so it’s worth learning more about How to Choose a Bitcoin Wallet before downloading the wallet of your choice. Wallets are necessary to carry and store bitcoins. Of course some exchanges may serve simultaneously as wallets but is always best to have a private secure wallet to store your coins after purchasing from an exchange.

The two main types of Bitcoin wallets available today include:


These are physical electronic devices – similar to a USB stick or thumb drive – built for the sole purpose of managing your Bitcoins.

Many people like hardware wallets because they perform like physical wallets: you need to connect your wallet to a computer, phone, or tablet in order to spend the Bitcoins inside.

Popular hardware wallets include the KeepKey, Trezor, and Ledger Nano S.

Protecting Your Cryptocurrency Investments

The only way to lose Bitcoins through a hardware wallet is if someone steals your wallet. Even then, you can protect your hardware wallet with a PIN code. And, if you lose your wallet for any reason, you can use a secret backup code to maintain access to your Bitcoins.

The only real downside of hardware wallets is they’re not free. You have to pay for the physical device. Expect to pay between $50 and $100 for a good Bitcoin wallet – although cheaper options are available for under $20.

Some hardware wallets:


Hot Bitcoin wallets are apps or software programs found on smartphones, tablets, or computers. Hot wallets generate your private Bitcoin keys.

Hot wallets are typically seen as the easiest way to store and spend Bitcoins, but security is a concern. Those who own a lot of Bitcoins typically use hot wallets to store a small amount of Bitcoins, while using hardware wallets for their main Bitcoin fund.



This tends to be the most popular method of buying Bitcoins. After all, most people have a credit or debit card, and are familiar with how to use them. Buying Bitcoins with a credit or debit card also means you instantly gain access to your Bitcoins. The downside with credit/debit card Bitcoin purchases is that exchanges typically charge higher fees. The other problem is that your Bitcoins are tied to your personal information. You need to prove your ID to buy Bitcoins with a credit card.

Popular exchanges for credit/debit card Bitcoin purchases include Coinbase, Coinmama,, and BitPanda. Coinbase is only available in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Singapore; BitPanda is only available in Europe. CEX and Coinmama are both global exchanges.


Bank transfers are the preferred way to buy a large amount of Bitcoin. Exchanges also typically charge lower fees for bank transfers compared to credit or debit card transfers. The main downsides of a bank transfer are the slow speeds (takes about 5 business days to complete, in some cases) and the ID verification. Just like with credit or debit card purchases, your ID is tied to your Bitcoins. Coinbase, BitPanda, and Gemini all allow Bitcoin purchases with bank transfers.


Cash is the preferred method for those who want to deal with Bitcoins anonymously. A cash deposit lets you access your Bitcoins quickly (even instantly) while remaining totally anonymous. There are some major downsides with cash exchanges. You’ll almost always pay higher rates (expect to pay 10 to 15% above market rates for a cash exchange). It’s also easier to get scammed or robbed. If you’re working with a disreputable exchange, then your cash might disappear with no record.

If you want to use cash to purchase Bitcoins, use services like LocalBitcoins, BitQuick, or Wall of Coins. However, the best method may be to find a Bitcoin ATM in your local area. Every major city in the world has a Bitcoin ATM. New York City has about a dozen, for example. Even Bitcoin ATMs have a cash rate that’s 10 to 15% higher than the current exchange rate.


PayPal doesn’t officially let you buy Bitcoins. Accessing Bitcoins through PayPal is difficult. In fact, PayPal’s terms of service explicitly forbids merchants from accepting PayPal payments for Bitcoins. However, there are some ways to get around this problem. You can buy digital items with PayPal, then sell those items for Bitcoin, for example. As an example, payment platforms like VirWoX let you buy Second Life Lindens (yes, the currency used in Second Life) with your PayPal balance, then trade those SLL for Bitcoins.

There are downsides: you lose more money by exchanging your money twice. There’s also the problem that PayPal could shut down your account if it discovers what you’re up to. Ultimately, the exchange fees with PayPal / Bitcoin transfers add up to about 10 or 12% – similar to what you pay for cash transfers.



What Time Of Day Should You Buy?

Bitcoin is traded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Bitcoin trading never stops. The price is constantly fluctuating. Like with most markets, it’s hard to time the Bitcoin exchange rate. You can use tools like Bitcoin Wisdom or Cryptowatch to analyze historical Bitcoin exchange rate data.

Many people are attracted to Bitcoin because they heard of people who bought hundreds of Bitcoins for $20 USD back when the cryptocurrency first hit the internet. Those people became millionaires overnight when the price of Bitcoin shot up. If you’re buying Bitcoin because you expect that type of success, then you’ll probably be disappointed. If you’re interested in that type of overnight success, however, then there is a chance that it can be found in the altcoin markets.


Altcoins Vs Bitcoin

When visiting Bitcoin exchanges and websites, you may see information about buying “altcoins”. Altcoins are cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to become really popular. Since the rise of Bitcoin, however, hundreds of other cryptocurrencies have emerged. People invest in altcoins because they’re hoping for a Bitcoin-like rise in value. The vast majority of altcoins, however, have virtually no value.

In general, you should avoid buying currencies that go through sudden spikes and drops in price and volume. However, if you’re feeling brave, and don’t mind exposing yourself to risk, then certain altcoins are worth the price. A growing number of altcoins are accepted as online payments – just like Bitcoin.


Importance Of Blockchain Technology

The blockchain is an essential part of the cryptocurrency world. Without the blockchain, Bitcoin wouldn’t exist. The blockchain was created by Satoshi Nakamoto – the mysterious creator (or group or creators) behind Bitcoin. It’s an ingenious invention that has already changed the future of banking and global economics.

A blockchain allows digital information to be distributed – not copied. It’s the reason Bitcoin works as it does. As explains, “blockchains create the backbone of a new type of internet”. It was first used to create Bitcoin, but blockchains are already being used in all corners of the tech world. Here’s the best definition of the blockchain, from Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016):


What Is Blockchain Technology?

In a more simplified sense, picture an Excel Spreadsheet that’s duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Now, imagine that the network is programmed to constantly update all of those spreadsheets simultaneously. That’s basically what a blockchain is. It’s like Google Docs for banking.

The blockchain consists of a shared database. That database isn’t stored on any single person’s computer. There’s no centralized version of the blockchain. The blockchain exists everywhere at the same time – which means the information on the blockchain is public and easy to verify. With the blockchain found on millions of computers worldwide, it’s easy for anyone to verify information on the blockchain. All you need is an internet connection.

Bitcoin and its blockchain were first invented in 2008. Amazingly, since 2008, the Bitcoin blockchain has operated without any significant disruption. It’s proven itself to be transparent and incorruptible over the years. About every 10 minutes, a new “page” or “block” of valid transactions is confirmed through the Bitcoin blockchain. That means new files need to be added to the files on all the computers.


What Makes Up A Blockchain?

The blockchain is essentially a network of “nodes”. A node is an individual computer connected to the blockchain network. Each node gets a copy of the blockchain. That copy is automatically downloaded when you join the blockchain network. As part of the blockchain network, each node also has the job of validating and relaying transactions on the blockchain. Each node is a blockchain administrator.

Why would someone become a node? Each node has a chance of winning Bitcoins. Each node is constantly solving computational puzzles. You know how people talk about Bitcoin mining? Essentially, Bitcoin mining is just using a powerful computer to solve algorithms.


How Can Blockchain Technology Be Used In The Future?

Bitcoin was the first major use for the blockchain – but it certainly won’t be the last. The potential for blockchain technology is enormous. The biggest implications for the blockchain are on the world of finance.

Blockchains could cut out the middleman for money transfers, for example. That could facilitate the transfer of money worldwide. Instead of having a middleman – like a bank – charging money for each transaction, we could use the blockchain to securely transfer money worldwide at minimal cost.

Bitcoin Exchange Guide