The price of bitcoins has gone through cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by some as bubbles and busts. In 2011, the value of one bitcoin rapidly rose from about US$0.30 to US$32 before returning to US$2. In the latter half of 2012 and during the 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, the bitcoin price began to rise, reaching a high of US$266 on 10 April 2013, before crashing to around US$50. On 29 November 2013, the cost of one bitcoin rose to a peak of US$1,242. In 2014, the price fell sharply, and as of April remained depressed at little more than half 2013 prices. As of August 2014 it was under US$600. During their time as bitcoin developers, Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn warned that bubbles may occur.
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and was released as open-source software in 2009. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. Research produced by University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Despite the fallout from The DAO hack, Ethereum is moving forward and looking to a bright future. By providing a user-friendly platform that enables people to harness the power of blockchain technology, Ethereum is speeding up the decentralization of the world economy. Decentralized applications have the potential to profoundly disrupt hundreds of industries including finance, real estate, academia, insurance, healthcare and the public sector amongst many others.
Ethereum blockchain applications are usually referred to as DApps (decentralized application), since they are based on the decentralized Ethereum Virtual Machine, and its smart contracts. Many uses have been proposed for Ethereum platform, including ones that are impossible or unfeasible. Use case proposals have included finance, the internet-of-things, farm-to-table produce, electricity sourcing and pricing, and sports betting. Ethereum is (as of 2017) the leading blockchain platform for initial coin offering projects, with over 50% market share.
As with other cryptocurrencies, the validity of each ether is provided by a blockchain, which is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. By design, the blockchain is inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is an open, distributed ledger that records transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum operates using accounts and balances in a manner called state transitions. This does not rely upon unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs). State denotes the current balances of all accounts and extra data. State is not stored on the blockchain, it is stored in a separate Merkle Patricia tree. A cryptocurrency wallet stores the public and private "keys" or "addresses" which can be used to receive or spend ether. These can be generated through BIP 39 style mnemonics for a BIP 32 "HD Wallet". In Ethereum, this is unnecessary as it does not operate in a UTXO scheme. With the private key, it is possible to write in the blockchain, effectively making an ether transaction.
Ethereum addresses are composed of the prefix "0x", a common identifier for hexadecimal, concatenated with the rightmost 20 bytes of the Keccak-256 hash (big endian) of the ECDSA public key (the curve used is the so called secp256k1, the same as Bitcoin). In hexadecimal, 2 digits represents a byte, meaning addresses contain 40 hexadecimal digits. An example of an Ethereum address is 0xb794F5eA0ba39494cE839613fffBA74279579268. Contract addresses are in the same format, however they are determined by sender and creation transaction nonce. User accounts are indistinguishable from contract accounts given only an address for each and no blockchain data. Any valid Keccak-256 hash put into the described format is valid, even if it does not correspond to an account with a private key or a contract. This is unlike Bitcoin, which uses base58check to ensure that addresses are properly typed.
^ Iansiti, Marco; Lakhani, Karim R. (January 2017). "The Truth About Blockchain". Harvard Business Review. Harvard University. Retrieved 17 January 2017. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
Augur is an open-source prediction & forecasting market platform that allows anyone to forecast events and get rewarded for predicting them correctly. Predictions on future real world events, like who will win the next US election, are carried out by trading virtual shares. If a person buys shares in a winning prediction, they receive monetary rewards.
In the blockchain, bitcoins are registered to bitcoin addresses. Creating a bitcoin address requires nothing more than picking a random valid private key and computing the corresponding bitcoin address. This computation can be done in a split second. But the reverse, computing the private key of a given bitcoin address, is mathematically unfeasible. Users can tell others or make public a bitcoin address without compromising its corresponding private key. Moreover, the number of valid private keys is so vast that it is extremely unlikely someone will compute a key-pair that is already in use and has funds. The vast number of valid private keys makes it unfeasible that brute force could be used to compromise a private key. To be able to spend their bitcoins, the owner must know the corresponding private key and digitally sign the transaction. The network verifies the signature using the public key; the private key is never revealed.:ch. 5
Physical wallets store the credentials necessary to spend bitcoins offline and can be as simple as a paper printout of the private key;:ch. 10 a paper wallet. A paper wallet is created with a keypair generated on a computer with no internet connection; the private key is written or printed onto the paper[g] and then erased from the computer. The paper wallet can then be stored in a safe physical location for later retrieval. Bitcoins stored using a paper wallet are said to be in cold storage.:39 In a 2014 interview, QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten explained that the company stored customer funds on paper wallets in safe deposit boxes: "So we just send money to them, we don’t need to go back to the bank every time we want to put money into it. We just send money from our Bitcoin app directly to those paper wallets, and keep it safe that way."
This dramatic volatility attracted global attention with the mainstream media running near-daily reports on the price of Ether. The publicity generated has been a major boon for the ecosystem, attracting thousands of new developers and business ventures alike. In 2018 the amount raised through Ethereum-enabled ICOs reached almost $8bn, increasing from just $90m in 2016. While the price of Ethereum has faced extreme volatility over the years, it is this volatility which has driven interest. After every boom and bust cycle, Ethereum comes out the other side with a fundamentally stronger platform and a broader developer community backing it. These fundamental improvements would suggest a positive long-term outlook on the price of Ethereum.
Ethereum-based customized software and networks, independent from the public Ethereum chain, are being tested by enterprise software companies. Interested parties include Microsoft, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, R3, Innovate UK (cross-border payments prototype). Barclays, UBS and Credit Suisse are experimenting with Ethereum blockchain to automate Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II requirements.
Ether is a token whose blockchain is generated by the Ethereum platform. Ether can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant mining nodes for computations performed. Ethereum provides a decentralized virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. The virtual machine's instruction set, in contrast to others like Bitcoin Script, is thought to be Turing-complete. "Gas", an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.
To lower the costs, bitcoin miners have set up in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free. Bitcoin miners are known to use hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to reduce electricity costs. Miners are attracted to suppliers such as Hydro Quebec that have energy surpluses. According to a University of Cambridge study, much of bitcoin mining is done in China, where electricity is subsidized by the government.
The rapid price increase of Ethereum has not only attracted investors but developers too. Ethereum has tens of thousands of developers in its open source community, each contributing to the many layers of the “Ethereum stack”. This includes code contributions to the core Ethereum clients, second layer scaling tech and the “decentralized applications” (dApps) that are built on top of the platform. The appeal of Ethereum to developers is unique in that it was the first platform to allow anyone in the world to write and deploy code that would run without the risk of censorship. The community of developers which have formed around these core principles have led to the creation of technologies that could not have existed without the inception of Ethereum, many of which were never predicted. Some of the major use-cases of Ethereum so far have been:
Every 2,016 blocks (approximately 14 days at roughly 10 min per block), the difficulty target is adjusted based on the network's recent performance, with the aim of keeping the average time between new blocks at ten minutes. In this way the system automatically adapts to the total amount of mining power on the network.:ch. 8 Between 1 March 2014 and 1 March 2015, the average number of nonces miners had to try before creating a new block increased from 16.4 quintillion to 200.5 quintillion.
• وسائل الحصول على عُملات البيتكوين: بُناء عى حكم الفتوى رقم: 231460 لدار الإفتاء، أكدت إنه إذا كان الحصول على هذه العُملات الإفتراضية مثل عمليات التعدين والتنقيب يتم بشكل سليم بعيد عن التلاعب والغش والسرقة والنصب، فيجوز إدراجها تحت بنود العُملات المُحللة. ولكن بشرط التقابض وهو ما يحدث مع تداول عُملات البيتكوين، كما أن الإستثمارات الناتجة من أرباح عمليات بيع وشراء البيتكوين من ضمن الأسباب التى تثبت تحليل عملات البيتكوين، حيث إنه إذا كُنت شخص سليم النية ستقوم بإستثمار أرباحك بما يُرضى الله ولأن الله أعلم بالنوايا ستُحتسب في ميزان حسناتك.
• لا حرج من دفع عمولات تحويل العملات: كما هو شائع بالنسبة للبعض أن دفع العُمولات عبر شبكات الإنترنت مقابل خدمات تحويل أو شراء عُملات البيتكوين يُعد شكل من أشكال الربا غير المسموح بها. لكن إستناداُ إلى ما تم ذكره بحسب الفتوى رقم 259576 أن لا هناك أى حرج على دفع مثل هذه العمولات. حيث إنك تدفع مُقابل حصولك على خدمة معينة بما فيها خدمات تحويل وشراء عُملات البيتكوين الإفتراضية.
• إستثمار البيتكوين يُعتبر مُقامرة: طبقاُ إلى رأى أستاذ الفقه د/جلوى الجميعة أن البيتكوين ما هى إلا عُملات يتم إستخدامها للمقامرة. حيث أن عملة البيتكوين هى عملة إفتراضية إلكترونية ليس لها أى سند أو غطاء من الذهب أو الفضة وبالتالى هى في حُكم الدين تُعتبر سلعة مجهولة المصدر. وبالتالى تتيح حدوث الكثير من عمليات النصب والإحتيال نتيجة لعدم وجود أى جهات رقابية تراقب سير عملية التداول والإستثمار الخاصة بالعملات. كما نهى الرسول تماماً عن مثل هذا النوع من الإستثمار عندما قال ” صلى الله عليه وسلم عن شراء ما في بطون الانعام حتى تضع، وعما في ضروعها إلا بكيل أو وزن، ونهى عن شراء العبد وهو آبق، وعن شراء المغانم حتى تقسم، وعن شراء الصدقات حتى تقبض، وعن ضربة الغائص”.
بيتكوين ليست العملة الافتراضية الوحيدة المتواجدة حاليًا في الأسواق الافتراضية. فقد برزت بفضل نجاحات ال بيتكوين ، مجموعة متنوعة من ما يسمى ب "altcoins" أو العملات الافتراضية البديلة ذات قيمة جيدة في الأسواق. أهم الفروقات بين البيتكوين وهذه العملات البديلة هي: البتكوين الأصعب في التعدين والأكثر غلاءً بينما العملات البديلة يمكن الحصول عليها عادةً بطريقة أسهل وأرخص، ويمكن أن يكون سعرها أكثر ثباتًا من سعر البتكوين ذات السعر المتقلب، كما أنّ الكثير من هذه العملات تم إنشاؤها لتلافي المشاكل الحاصلة في نظام بتكوين. هذه لائحة بست عملات رقمية بديلة :