All About Bitcoin – What in the Blockchain is it All About?

So we hear about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies a lot in the media these days (or from your colleague probably named Dave who thinks he is a cryto-guru and sends you tons of info which you rather throw away). Or maybe you have seen the adverts online for Billionaire investments from kids who made their 1st billion from bitcoin which of which might be believable. Though what is the low-down on bitcoin? Is it a market craze should you follow it as some have FOMO (fear of losing out). Or is it a “bitcoin bubble” as Warren Buffet says which will eventually pop anyway. Should you invest? Read here to make an informed decision!

What is Bitcoin

It is a decentralized cryptocurrency that is currently being widely used almost everywhere in the world. Decentralized meaning it is not controlled by any bank or institution which generally controls money on the world. It touted as a P2P (payer to payer) payment system which allows you and me to pay for stuff without a middleman. These transactions are then recorded in visible ledger and encrypted records that are verified by network nodes in packages called a blockchain.

People are rewarded by receiving Bitcoins for creating records using computer processing power in a process called bitcoin mining. Miners have special programs and GPU/CPU installed in order to mine bitcoins or other cyrptocurrencies.

Bitcoin was created an anonymous developer/ developers in 2009 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto (in which the smaller fraction of bitcoin is called the Satoshi or 1/100,000,000 or a bitcoin).

There has been lot of people who have high hopes for bitcoin but there has also been a lot of people who are skeptical about bitcoin due to its volatility.

To Hodl or not to Hodl That is the Question

A lot of attention has been drawn to bitcoin lately as it has almost increased by 1400x in price or 300% within a span of few years. Though now it is currently dropping form it’s high of US$ 10,000 to current price of US$ 8,400/ per bitcoin. Again, this shows just how volatile bitcoin can be and a huge question: to Hodl or not to Hodl?

Hodl being a brand new word internet users made up if they wanted to “hold” onto their bitcoins or to sell it. Seems they were typing so fast that like Trump forget the spell-checker hence the word “hodl”.

To people are looking to buy or sell, it seems that blockchain technology still holds a lot of potential. Due to its secure system and ability to package quite an amount of information some have already looked its potential of blockchain for other technology. Some companies instead of selling stocks sell coins as part of their company which is called ICO (initial coin offering) which is sort of like a cryptocurrency. So bitcoin and its technology is still being explored even as we speak especially on how to make it useful for all. So it is a good idea to invest in.

On the other hand staunch opposers 1 famous dude named Warren Buffet for example feels it is an imaginary currency something that can not be held and could magically disappear. And governments have started cracking down on bitcoin especially as a lot of fraud and hackers use bitcoin to in order to convert money. This is also 1 reason why the price of bitcoin is currently tanking. Though some argue that similar to money or real estate leases, people only see it as valuable as is its value written on paper. No different to computerized records.

Currently cryptocurrencies are so easy to make that there is some many stupid ones as it literally takes minutes that some have come up with something called “Jesus Coin”. Seriously no joke. No wonder people are worried,

Hodl verdict: Hodl, but just enough. Never invest all of your money in it.

Being a FOMO

Some might have a fear of missing out (FOMO). Personally never let FOMO be the reason that you want to invest in bitcoin. As FOMO promotes fear and fear triggers you to make hasty decisions and you will do something you regret, especially due to bitcoin madness a lot of money-making schemes are based on bitcoin.

Some schemes guarantee you returns of 300% within 1 month. And some use ICO for people to throw money in their ideas. Some use programs that secretly hack into your bitcoin wallet to take a little of your bitcoin you bought or mined for their use.

Never invest in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies due to FOMO! Always throw caution to the wind.

Here is some potential currencies I like think are potentials. 

Word of Caution on Bitcoin and Crytocurrencies

The best thing to do is do some research on the cryptocurrency you want to invest in. Put a part of your investment within the crytocurrency you are most comfortable with (even if it is bitcoin) and leaving it. Never lose sleep due to the price of bitcoin. Because it is so volatile, if you kept on looking at the price of bitcoin it will definitely make you lose some part of your sanity.

Crytocurrencies and blockchain technology is great to put something in if you are a believer in future technology though it should always be something you will be comfortable with and not because someone pushed you to it. Always work your way around cryptocurrencies carefully.

Actually John Oliver makes a good intro on cryptocurrency you should take a look at:

Conclusion

As our world gets more and more computerized some cool and strange ideas will come up and it is completely up to you if you trust that technology or you prefer the tried and tested.

Bitcoin is not for everyone even though bitcoin and its fellow cryptocurrencies have potential they will always be computerized records. Again like money it is the value you see it holds.

So what do you think of the Bitcoin trend? Do you prefer to Hodl? Any cool ICO that you know are trending? I would love to know. Please leave a note to share.

Here is some places I go buy bitcoin and crytocurrencies from. 

To Make Money I opted to make online business using this No.1 Source.

 

Homestay: Making Money from Extra Space

Another great idea to make money is to make use of the extra space you have in your house. It is worth checking out as it entails you to do minimal work from the comfort of your own home. I have heard of people make a bit of money on the side just renting out the right space for the right time.

So What Is Homestaying

Homestay is fast becoming a popular term. It is basically renting out a part of your apartment for a lodger who is staying there to stay for a few days. Or if you are a visitor, going to find lodging at the residence of a local area you are travelling to. Due to the short time that they are staying, the price you charge can vary to fit what you feel is right.

Though this is best for someone with their own place I have heard of guys renting out a part of their apartment as well (though in some instances it is best to let your landlady know). As long as your area is big enough and the price not too high, it can be a welcoming place for people looking for an alternative to booking a hotel during their travels. It is also a great time to mingle with guests from other cultures and generally getting to know people.

Some people like to use a mediator website and some people like to communicate directly with their lodger (maybe the lodger was referred to by a friend). If you are using a website, they will take some commission but they are also useful as they provide escrow payments and mediation if problems arise. Regardless of what you use always be quick to communicate with the lodger if you are the host.

How Do You Make Make Money

You go through a website that facilitates the booking and during this time you can also directly contact the lodger as well. If it is certain, then he/she pays the amount for the duration of the lodging. When they get there you get to give them a brief introduction, show them the in’s and out’s of the city, and go through the house rules. After the lodger leaves, you clean up and await the next visitor that might come afterwards.

The website that facilitates the booking withholds your amount until you get to the threshold amount. After a few days they release it and pay you via Paypal or other money transactions methods.

What’s The Pro’s & Con’s of Homestay

It is great being a homestay but there are always going to be some pro’s and and con’s you willhave to think about. So here they go.

The Pro’s of homehosting are:

  1. If you are renting your own space, you literally working from home. I have known quite a few people who have made a good amout of money by providing some short-term lodging.
  2. It is a great way to meet people from various places and to mingle as you might be their guest while travelling.
  3. The website makes payment and receiving money really secure as it helps facilitates discussions if problems arise.
  4. Cleaning the area does not generally take a lot of time as most guests stay only for a few days at a time.
  5. The rating system for both guest and host helps to give a honest review of the lodging

The Cons are:

  1. You still have to clean up before and after the guest. Maybe a bit of vacuuming and cleaning the sheets.
  2. The website still charges few per cent extra to the guest as their income.
  3. Very rarely though sometimes you get bad guests and might need to be careful.

Things to Remember While You Host Your Home

So you have signed up to be a homestay and starting to figure out the in’s and out’s of it, but when you are going through the process remember these simple tips.

  1. Always keep the place your are letting out clean. Try to clean before and after the lodger leaves.
  2. Good communication is a must, even if you use a mediating website. Sooner of later the lodger will also need specifics from you. e.g How to get to the place? What time he/she will be checking in? Or if so-and-so date is available. So always be quick to reply.
  3. When the lodger arrives always make sure that he/she knows the house rules even if you have written them in your introduction on the website. Sometimes a mutual understanding is needed to make sure everything is still relatively tidy when they leave.
  4. If you are around. Enjoy the mingling! It is always great to get to know new friends and new places a little better.
  5. Always be aware of the lodger’s culture, sometimes he/she might do things differently to you.
  6. Remember to give them a rating if you feel you liked their experience or if you want to warn fellow hosts of dodgey lodgers.

A Few Good Websites to Try Out

The most widely used homestay site is AirBnB. They have rave reviews and have established themselves in the industry. Though there are other sites you can try as well. I will probably be trying them out as time goes on.

Final Word on Homestaying

If you have some space to rent out homestaying is actually a great way to generate extra cash with minimal effort. Though good communication is needed with guests so you both understand what is expected. Always be courteous as who knows you might be a guest in their place one day.

Do you have any experiences with homestaying? Is it good or is it bad? Please drop a comment to share.

 

 

6 Bitcoin Alternatives Everyone Can Try

It’s okay, we all have a fear of losing out.

Do you have the FOMO? Cryptocurrencies has become a huge trend lately that it has been on everyone’s to do list. Though with the many doom-n-gloom sayers and it’s relative volatility investing in Bitcoin has been a topic most are ambiguous about. Though apart from Bitcoin there are also lesser known cryptocurrencies that are also doing quite well and great for anyone to try out. Here are some alternative cyrtocurrencies to try out, if you are thinking for a good Bitcoin alternative.

LiteCoin (LTE)

This alternative is almost the replica to Bitcoin in terms of coding and how it is mined. Though it is different to bitcoin as:

  • The Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes, rather than Bitcoin’s 10 minutes. The developers claim that this allows Litecoin to have faster transaction confirmation.
  • Litecoin uses script in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function requiring asymptotically more memory than an algorithm which is not memory-hard. So technically needs less computing power to mine than Bitcoin.

The price of Litecoin is hovering at US$ 159.98 as is a lot more stable than Bitcoin as generally most attention is given to other coins.

A good place to buy Litecoin is from Coinbase and Shapeshift (which deal in smaller amounts), they also trade a few other well-known cryptocurrencies which makes it easy to exchange.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

This coin started as an internet meme during its early days though generally quiet it has started to be noticed by Bitcoin afficiandos everywhere as well. This coin is generally used as a tipping coin if you are using the web. Besides, it has a cute Shiba Inu that people all like. Most people who have bitcoin from earlier days still keep some Dogecoin around as the price is relatively steady and a few website services also use Dogecoin.

The sheer amount of these coins circulating means that the price is not affected by inlfation as other coins and also especially so as the founder removed the limit for Dogecoin.

The price of Dogecoin is currently US$ 0.003443 to 1 Dogecoin. The best place to buy and see Dogecoin is Shapeshift.io

Monero (XMR)

The cryptocurrency that focuses on decentralization and privacy that most people crave in cryptocurrency. It is a growing coin that bitcoin users turn to as all the restriction attention is turned to Bitcoin. It has improved on Bitcoin through:

  • The trading of coins is purely private the sender and receiver of Monero is supposed to be untraceable.
  • The mining of Monero is made to be divided equally by its miners making it more rewardable to mine.
  • The price of Monero is consistent even when it was going hard for Bitcoin.

The problem with Monero is due to its private nature hackers make use of it as their go-to currency as well. Though, this has not stopped people from taking interest in the coin.

The current price of Monero is US$ 209 to 1 Monero. I usually use CEX.io for trading in Monero for Cash.

Ethereum (ETH)

This cryptocurrency has also been growing in leaps and bounds as another go-to currency if Bitcoin is not your cup of tea. It is mined differently from Bitcoin and is more secure in terms of transactions this crytocoin is what governments and stock exchange companies look to as the answer for an agreeable crytocurrency. This currency rose by approx. 1500% within 5 years of its introduction.

The price of Ethereum is currently around US$ 600 to 1 Ether. You can buy and trade Ethereum at CEX.io and at most trade sites as it is a widely liked alternative to Bitcoin.

Ripple (XRP)

Ripple is a cryptocurrency that uses something called a RTGS (real-time gross settlement) system that was established by the Ripple Company.

  • Basically means that it is based on a real-time database or ledger that keeps track of transactions which means it can be used as real-time currency.
  • Because of its nature, a lot of banks and investment companies prefer to use Ripple as the go-to cryptocurrency. It is also a great cryptocurrency if you are looking for something more secure than Bitcoin.

The current market price for Ripple is US$ 0.66 to 1 Ripple. You can trade and buy Ripple from CEX.io and Kraken as well.

Honorable Mention: Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

This coin has gained some traction as the “other” Bitcoin as it was created from the change in mining that halved the way Bitcoin was originally mined. The original programmers have had argument on how Bitcoin was supposed to be mined and divided therefore giving rise to Bitcoin Cash. The prices initially soared but have mellowed down as most people still preferred Bitcoin.

The price of Bitcoin Cash is currently hovering at US$ 978 to 1 BCH. It can be traded in various places that trade Bitcoin as well such as CEX.io, Coinbase, Shapeshift and etc.

Choose Alternative Crytocurrency Wisely

Crytocurrency still has its potential as a worldwide currency that everyone can use and most shops and stores have tried to adopt them in their payment system, but it also has its own dangers as well due to its volatility and risk tp been stolen by hackers. The technology called blockchain still has not reached its full potential.

If you are planning on investing in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies always make sure you are ready to part with your initial income as these currencies are still more volatile than other forms of investment. Also, various currencies also have different characteristics so always do a little bit of research into the cryptocoin before planning on buying or mining it. And if you are a bit FOMO (fear of losing out), you should keep 1~2 coins in storage just for keepsake or memento.

Though if you get it right even though the risk is great but the rewards for getting it right are worth it.
Any good news on Bitcoin or the above crytocurrencies? Please leave a comment to share.

 

 

 

 

10 Awesome Household Money Saving Tips

Part of ‘making money’ is saving the money that you already have.  Here are some money saving tips that have helped me and hopefully it will help your money go a little further without much compromise.  I’ve also included a few things to keep in mind when saving money.

A Little Goes a Long Way

This can easily be saved by just being a little more prepared – a travel mug to take coffee that you’ve prepared at home, a re-usable bottle for water (better for the environment too) and snacks that you can pre-pack into a little bag or Tupperware dish to take with you – and voila, a killer saving!  I had a habit of buying water or a coffee while out, this could cost up to £4 per week (at work), so this works out at £200 a year!

There’s nothing wrong with still buying something now and then, but the point is to get out of the habit of spending small bits and get into the habit of saving small bits of money, you’ll soon see that it adds up.

Shopping Online – Offers & Vouchers

One of the great things about shopping online is that many places have special online offers or vouchers that you can’t get instore.  Some have these emails piling up into their inbox and can’t be bothered to look through them.  Some great people put these vouchers online and you can search for them.  So if you are shopping online, it’s always worth having a little search on your favorite search engine (usually Google) to see if there’s any deals or vouchers about.  In some places I’ve already decided what I wanted, but manages to save 20% and delivery just by using this little money saving trick.  I just look for “*name of shop* offers or vouchers” and see what comes up there’s usually a website like voucher cloud, which has a bunch of different vouchers on the site.

Shopping Online – Basket Hack

Caution, this doesn’t work with all shops, but some places – supermarkets especially, where you’re signed in and you’ve done some shopping – if you leave things in your basket and leave it for a few days, a magical little voucher or deal comes through your email to encourage you to check out.  Another way save some money when you’ve already though you were going to spend the money there anyways!  There are many baskets that people don’t bother checking out, this is a company’s way of trying to get you to check out and buy from their site.  This has happened on a grocery shopping site (Sainsbury’s) and I’ve heard it happens on other websites too.

Buying in Bulk

Although things in larger packs look more expensive, if you look at the amount you are spending per g or per unit, it’s usually cheaper.  For example, rice.  For 100g you may spend £1, but for 1kg or 1000g the price is £8, so per g its 20% cheaper to buy the larger quantity.  You may want to think about the space you have at home first, there’s no point if you don’t have any space to put 1kg of rice but it will save you money in the long run.  Sometimes this can just be in the supermarket where they have larger packs, either that or Amazon is quite a good place to find things in bulk.  There are some shops that specialize in selling things in bulk too like Costco.  I but some we cat food – about £5 for 1pk (12), I found the same brand on Amazon, 5pk (60) for about £20 – saving me £5 for 3 months (£20 over the course of the year).

Quality Over Quantity

With some things its worth spending a little bit more money on.  You may have heard of the saying, save a penny but spend a pound.  Sometimes buying something cheap means that it doesn’t work properly or that it doesn’t last.  I particularly find this true with shoes.  A good pair of shoes with decent soles may cost a bit more, but often last years.  I’ve also been on the other side, I’ve bought cheap shoes and they’ve only lasted a couple of weeks.  Be sure you actually like the more expensive item though, like I said, sometimes it lasts years!  For shoes examine the sole of the shoes, make sure they’re not too thin and are of good quality, try them on and make sure they’re comfortable and that you can’t feel too much of the ground (if the soles are thin you’ll feel the difference).  Look online for reviews and get the opinions of others too.

Keep an Eye on your Accounts

Not just for suspicious activity, but it is worth seeing if there are things like gym memberships, magazine subscriptions or any online memberships, that you don’t need anymore.  Cancelling these can really save your household some money.  Look out for those direct debits too – make sure if you’re no longer you’re receiving a service from a company e.g. you’ve changed phone contract providers, they’re not still charging you!

Clearouts

De-cluttering and having a clear out is good to make more space in your own house, but you may be able to sell things online and make some money out of those unused/unwanted items.   If you haven’t used it in the last year, then realistically you probably don’t need it anymore.

Recently for me I’ve also realised the value of buying PS4 games on disc rather than from the Playstore.  The Playstore may be convenient, but after completing the game you have nothing you can sell on.  I’ve made over £30 selling 2 games we no longer play.  We were then able to use that money to buy other games we were interested in.

Buying New Items through Bidding Websites  (Check it is a Good Deal Though!)

This is a new avenue of saving money I’ve come across more recently.  Others going through their items may be selling them online, sometimes unused and in its original packaging – but cheaper than you would find from the store itself.  If there is a particular brand, for me again usually shoes, that you like, sometimes you can find it “new, BNIB (brand new in box)” for a price you like – bargain!  Caution, make sure you look through all the pictures to make sure its new and to your liking and read the description carefully.  There was someone in the news who ended up buying a picture of an item and not the real item!  I personally have a look on eBay, there are sometimes brands that I’ll look for (e.g. Heavenly Feet shoes) that can be expensive, and checked the price in their sale.  Sometimes if the sale is good I’ll buy it off the original site I’ll buy it from there.  Other times I’ve found Clarks real leather shoes, new, going on eBay for <£10 (RRP >£50)

Savings Accounts

This is just a small note about savings account – there are so many, and it often depends on your circumstances what’s best for you.  Just remember, try to get a savings account (especially if you’re saving over a period of years) that will give you a return (% interest) that is better than inflation.  For example, If you have £100, and your saving account gives you 2% per year (so think +2%) but inflation is 3% (think -3%) then it may be worth thinking about using the money for something else or looking to save somewhere else.  Tax free ISAs in the UK are good – but shop around and see what’s available.

Save by Habit

Get in the mindset of looking out for a bargain (a real one, not just an advertised one) and have a good money saving ethic.  This will help with those household savings that you can keep for a rainy day or sunny holiday.

 

So any awesome ideas on how to save? Please let me know.