Invest with bitcoin

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In this April 3, 2013 photo, Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, looks over bitcoin tokens at his shop in Sandy, Utah.

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Caldwell mints physical versions of bitcoins, cranking out homemade tokens with codes protected by tamper-proof holographic seals. If you get wistful imagining the American penny discontinued, a topic that makes the rounds every once in a while, imagine the thought of getting rid of the penny, nickel, quarter, dollar and the rest of American currency—and using bitcoins instead. Bitcoins have been around for a few years, but there has been buzz in the mainstream media lately due to the digital currency recently both shooting up and plummeting in value. It can be hard to comprehend at first, in part because Bitcoin, in upper case, refers to the software code that makes the digital currency and the network that distributes it, and bitcoins, in lowercase, refer to the currency itself. Then there s simply grasping the concept: Although bitcoins have a logo thatThe past year has seen a flood of venture-capital investments into bitcoin-related companies.

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At the same time, the price of bitcoin has swung wildly and bitcoin investors have been left with little recourse in cases of fraud and theft, most notably with the collapse of the bitcoin exchange Mt.

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Gox.

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So just how risky is bitcoin and who should invest in it? “It is pretty much the highest-risk, highest-return investment that you can possibly make,” said Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of SecondMarket and founder of Bitcoin Investment Trust, during a MarketWatch Investing Insights event titled “Bitcoin: boom and bust,” held recently in New York. That’s because bitcoin’s outcome is going to be binary, Silbert said. “It is either going to become this global currency, this global store of value, this global remittance platform, this global payment system, this global money transfer network, or it’s not,” he said. Bitcoin is a virtual currency and its proponents say that bitcoin’sThe electronic currency Bitcoin just got a big vote of confidence from one of the world s most successful venture capital investors. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures just invested in a startup called Coinbase, which facilitates Bitcoin transactions. This investment doesn t mean that Bitcoin is guaranteed to become a mainstream currency, but it s a small step in that direction.

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So it s time folks who just instinctively ridicule Bitcoin took a moment to understand it. Bitcoin is an electronic currency--a new form of money. It s also, possibly, the next great asset bubble. (Or investment, depending on how the story ends. Or both, depending on when you get in and get out.) Bitcoins are strings of numbers that can be electronically owned by and transferred among individuals and organizations. For now, the currency is primarily used for payments by fringe retailers or illegal transactions, but it is being accepted more and more widely (Coinbase was created to help that process).

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AndBitcoin (BTC) is a decentralized cryptocurrency payment system designed by Satoshi Nakamoto. The software-based currency was released to the public in 2009.

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Since then, updates and improvements have been made by a network of developers, partially funded by the Bitcoin Foundation. It was not until 2013 that Bitcoin became a hot topic of interest. The virtual currency gained over 300% from 2011 to 2012 and since August of last year, Bitcoin has increased in value around 400%. While its recent performance has been lackluster, (down around 34% since January 1st), venture capital firms and investors around the world continue to bet on the cryptocurrency. In the first 6 months of 2014, venture capitalists firms made Q1 investments of 57 million and Q2 investments of 73 million for a total of $130 million placed in Bitcoin, an increase of almost 50% from last year’s total of $88 Million. Interesting to note, back in 2012, Bitcoin firms were only able to raise $2.2 Million. Despite the priceQ: Should I invest in Bitcoin? A: Bitcoin has been the currency of choice of many international drugdealers and smugglers. But could the digital money go legit? USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at [email protected] Q: Should I invest in Bitcoin? A: Bitcoin has been the currency of choice of many international drugdealers and smugglers. But could the digital money go legit for investors? Bitcoin is a currency that uses computer networks to facilitate trading and the establishment of value. Bitcoin has been mostly used for purchasing illegal materials and was a popular choice of consumers of the now-shut-down drug-selling site Silk Road. But some say the idea of a global currency that transcends the borders of nations and jurisdiction of central banks makes sense. TRACK YOUR STOCKS: Get real-time quotes with our free Portfolio Tracker In countries with currencies that are constantly beingBitcoin has broken down many of the barriers regular people face financially. One of the more significant ways it has done this, is by opening up a speculative asset market that is easily accessible and has the potential to be extremely profitable. I am, of course, talking about Bitcoin itself as a speculative asset. Let s face it, most of us missed out on the early gravy train that was Bitcoin. If we had invested in the currency back at its invention, or even just back in early 2013, we d all be stinking rich right now. But that doesn t mean it is over. This is still the early days of the technology, if you hold bitcoin right now, you are still an early adoptor. Bitcoin day-trading is not for the feint of heart. It is risky, stressful and bites most users in the ass more than it helps them. But what about investing in Bitcoin for the long haul? What if you just want to sit on your Bitcoins for a long time and sell them in twenty years when (hopefully) the currency is worth multipleThe BIT enables investors to gain exposure to the price movement of bitcoin through a simple investment vehicle, without the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping bitcoins. *Publicly quoted on OTCQX® under the Alternative Reporting Standards Invest in the first publicly quoted bitcoin investment vehicle The Bitcoin Investment Trust provides a secure structure to gain exposure to the price performance of bitcoin. Eligible shares are quoted on the OTCQX®, the top marketplace operated by OTC Markets under the Alternative Reporting Standards. Investors can buy and sell shares through most traditional brokerage accounts at prices dictated by the market.

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Are you an accredited investor †? Accredited investors are eligible to purchase shares of the BIT through its ongoing primary capital raise, giving them the opportunity to purchase shares at the daily NAV. * Market Price per share reflects the closing price of BIT shares at 4PM ET on OTCQX® under the symbol: GBTC as of the date.

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