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Virtual Coins: A Virtual Goldmine.

Virtual Coins: A Virtual Goldmine.

Back in 2009 when the first virtual coin, Bitcoin, came on the scene, very few people knew what to make of this new currency. Some said it was the wave of the future, while others said it would never catch on.

The person who allegedly created the Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto said (shortly after its release), “It might make sense just to get some in case it catches on. If enough people think the same way, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once it gets bootstrapped, there are so many applications if you could effortlessly pay a few cents to a website as easily as dropping coins in a vending machine.”

Not only did this new virtual currency catch on, but it spread like wildfire. Within five years of its release, over 31 million transactions had taken place, with over 25 million people using the currency. Even though few people really understood the programming behind this virtual currency, the fact that it could be traded, bought and sold just like any other currency, made bitcoin an exciting prospect for early traders.

Within seven years of its release, many merchants jumped on the bitcoin wagon, including Fiverr.com, Overstock.com, and many other online merchants. Even some bars and restaurants are now accepting bitcoins! As a matter of fact, you can buy just about anything with bitcoin. You can even make purchases from Amazon and Ebay by using All4btc, which is a kind of go-between that lets you order from practically anywhere on the web.

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Mining Bitcoins

What really makes Bitcoin so popular, however, is the fact that anyone can create their own Bitcoins. The only drawback is that mining – the process of creating bitcoins – requires a significant amount of computer power. Many bitcoin miners, however, will work with other users to create “mining pools.” This allows them to collectively create new blocks and then split the Bitcoins.

Another thing that makes bitcoins so exciting is the ever-fluctuating value of the bitcoin. When bitcoin was first released, it was valued at 1BTC (Bitcoin) = 1USD (U.S. Dollar). As its popularity grew, the value of Bitcoin rose until, at one time, 1BTC was worth almost as much as 1oz of Gold! This meant, if you bought Bitcoins from the beginning, you would have seen a 1000% return on our investment. Bitcoin values, however, have decreased over time and seem to have steadied themselves at 1BTC = around 600USD. At the time of this writing, according to Preev.com, the exact value of 1BTC is 603.2 USD.

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How to know which virtual coins will catch on

While most investors don’t foresee any dramatic movement in the Bitcoin market, that doesn’t mean that you’ve missed the boat if you didn’t purchase Bitcoins when they were cheaper. Fortunately, new virtual currencies are being created just about every day. Most of these coins may never see any action, but there are a few notable ones. The likes of Litecoin (created by Charles Lee in 2011); Peercoin (created by Scott Nadal and Sunny King in 2012); or OneCoin, created by Dr. Ruja Ignatova in 2014 may be as much of a virtual goldmine as Bitcoin was in the first few years of its existence!

The trick is to find the “movers,” or the virtual coins that seem to be catching on. You don’t want to buy them when they have already reached their peak value, however. One of the best ways to find newer virtual coin markets that show signs of movement is by watching the market, through sites like coinmarketcap.com, which tracks virtual currency movements and display them via graphs. You can also keep an eye out for new virtual currencies, by going to Reddit, which has its community of users that discuss new Cryptocurrencies every day!

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If you have your eye on the market and you keep your ear out for new opportunities, you are bound to find some new virtual coin that may just be the goldmine you’ve been looking for. All you have to do is find them and mine them! Happy Mining!

Featured photo credit: quifinanza via quifinanza.files.wordpress.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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