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Why Virtual Currency is a Wave of the Future

Why Virtual Currency is a Wave of the Future

While it has only been around for a few years, there are very few people today who haven’t heard of virtual currency, usually in the form of BitCoins.

A Brief History of Virtual Currency

The first mention of virtual currency was defined by Wei Dai in 1998 on the cypherpunks mailing list. This mailing list is an un-moderated list dedicated to discussing cryptography and its effect on society. In his original post, Wei Dai explained his idea of a virtual currency that would free people from government imposed restrictions and manipulations. He described a system where people could buy and sell products and services anonymously, using advanced cryptography which would control the virtual currency’s creation and transactions.

The first specifications and proof of concept of a virtual currency (called Bitcoin) were published in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. However, nobody really knows who this “Satoshi Nakamoto” is. While there has been much speculation and investigations, there is still many questions on the originator of Bitcoin, but we do know that since its original conception as Bitcoin, virtual currency has grown by leaps and bounds! As a matter of fact, at the time of writing this article, there are almost 800 different Crypto-Currencies available for trading and that number is expected to keep rising.

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Why does Virtual Currency remain so popular?

There are several factors that make Virtual Currency so popular. One of the main attraction to virtual currency is the anonymity factor. The way virtual currency (aka crypto-currency) is set up makes it almost impossible to match up a person with a transaction. This is a good thing for those who want to set up a nest egg, but don’t want their government to know about it.

Although Cryptocurrency can often be spent like any other currency, the government can only tax it when and if you are ready to cash out or make a purchase. This makes virtual currency something of a tax haven! Of course, many governments are now trying to figure out ways to tax virtual currency: To this day, however, it remains very difficult (if not impossible) to impose any taxes on a currency that does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.

Another thing that makes virtual currency such an attractive option is that, since it’s conception, many places across the world have actually started accepting Bitcoins (and other virtual currency) as payments. According to an article in Technology Review, there are tens of thousands of Bitcoin transactions every day, with hundreds of businesses (mostly online) accepting bitcoins (and other virtual currencies) as payment.

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As Virtual Currency becomes more entrenched in the world, we will find more and more businesses, vending machines, grocery stores, etc. accepting this type of currency.

What does the Future hold for Virtual Currency?

    While there may be hundreds of virtual currencies out there right now, only a few are really viable currencies. We’ve already discussed the most popular virtual currency, BitCoin, but few others seem to be making waves.

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    For instance, shortly after bitcoin’s emergence, we saw another virtual currency called Litecoin. Unlike the creator of the Bitcoin, however, the creator of Litecoin (the second most successful virtual currency) is well known. Charles Lee successfully launched Litecoin in 2011, based in part on the Bitcoin code, but using Scrypt as a proof of work function, instead of the SHA-256 function that Bitcoin uses. Basically, what this means is that it takes less computing power to generate the Litecoin, so more people can “mine” it.

    Other virtual currencies are appearing on the horizon every day that may give LiteCoin and even BitCoin a run for their money. The creators of virtual currencies are always coming up with new and inventive ways of mining and distributing these “coins,” such as OneCoin and YoCoin, which use different methodologies for distribution.

    As virtual currencies catch on, we will probably see many innovations and new ideas that will propel the virtual currency world further and further. Who knows, we may see a global currency, some day, based on the concepts of virtual currency, that will make real currencies a thing of the past. While many virtual currencies are a flash in the pan (based on poor coding or poor planning), you would do well to keep your eye out on emerging virtual currencies, as you never know what might be the next BIG thing. If you get in on the right one early, you can easily see a 500% or higher return on your investment. Take BitCoin as an example. When it first came out, BitCoin was trading at $1 per coin. Today, a bitcoin is worth over $500 (though this can fluctuate daily) and has fluctuated as high $1,242! So, you can see, although it may be considered ‘high-risk’ it’s definitely something to keep in mind as you consider making an investment in the future.

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    Featured photo credit: thewealthwatchman.com via thewealthwatchman.com

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    Erick Clifford

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    Last Updated on March 4, 2019

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

    I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

    Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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    Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

    Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

    Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

    I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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    I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

    If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

    Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

    The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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    Using Credit Cards with Rewards

    Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

    You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

    I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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    So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

    What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

    Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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