CRYPTO CURRENCIES - A TIME TO INVEST?

Cryptocurrency has come far since the invention of Bitcoin in 2008. Its anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto has never actually been found, and no one knows who created the digital currency. From an original value of a few cents, it has gone today to over $600. The Huffington Post and many other mainstream publications have covered the rise of Bitcoin, and with this deserved attention it has become the money of the internet and the internet of money. Bitcoin has grown to serve unbanked populations in Third World countries with migrant workers using it to send their hard earned wages home. A more mundane example would be using Bitcoin to buy your daily brew.

Despite its price volatility, the advantages which Bitcoin has to offer have made it a good investment.

Many other crypto currencies have been launched since Bitcoin came to light and we have seen success stories in the early days of Litecoin and more recently from a project called Ethereum.

It you have the knowledge to choose the right coin, there is a lot of money to be made but tales of scams and price manipulation abound. In recent years it looks like new crypto currencies are popping up on a weekly basis. Most of these are simply get-rich-quick schemes. Some developers however, are truly working hard and are focussed on their projects. With the right amount of research, those investors who missed the rise of bitcoin, could do well to consider buying, holding or trading in some of the other respectable digital assets out there.

In 2013 the infamous Silk Road was successfully taken down by the FBI and the crypto currency was then viewed as a tool for drug dealers and weapons traders on the Dark Net. This did not stop it however, of reaching an all time high due to the publicity created.

One thing about Bitcoin which has been overlooked for a long time is that it is actually pseudo anonymous. In other words transactions can be and have been traced. Many of you reading this will think that this is fine as you have nothing to hide. But for those people who believe in privacy and in a life without surveillance, Bitcoin may be a great tool but it won’t be their currency of choice.

In recent months a digital coin called Monero (which trades as XMR) has become one of the biggest and fastest growing currencies not only in the crypto world, but in the Dark Net also. We have looked into the rise of XMR and have seen that a lot of early investors made a great amount of money. XMR is currently trading just under $10 but how far can it go? Will it be the next big thing and head in the same direction as Bitcoin which now trades around $602?

Some will find XMR to be an interesting investment given that it is being used on AlphaBay, which is today’s biggest Dark Market. This sounds positive for the coin but there is one major flaw. Dark Markets come and go, either with exit scams by some of the operators, or through the FBI who locate the servers, arresting the administrators, vendors and buyers. Monero is of course not traceable, which is a plus, but if your XMR is gone, it’s still gone.

Oddly enough, and despite the surging value of Monero, it has no GUI (Graphical User Interface) and this makes it harder to use for any newcomers into the world of crypto currency.

We searched for other coins which have the capability of untraceable transactions and found a tool with more potential than being just another crypto currency. ShadowCash (SDC) which has been developed by the Shadow Project, operates on a GUI which comes with some very interesting features. These could well drive both the adoption of the currency and the price itself.

Anonymity is the name of the game for SDC. Since it is based on the Bitcoin protocol, sending and receiving SDC would not be anonymous. However, to get around this, the developers have introduced ShadowSend (SDT) which is a private, untraceable token which cannot be linked to the blockchain. A simple analogy can explain it:

You walk into a casino with $100 which you change into chips. You play the slots for a while, then win or lose; you cash out and get a new set of dollar bills which are not related to the ones you entered with.

The Shadow Project has recently launched their new GUI which is called UMBRA. There is a built-in messaging system similar to Slack but the big difference is the end-to-end encryption. This feature will be very useful for those involved in e-commerce where fishing attacks and hacking of bank details is an ever present danger. Using SMS, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to conduct business risks leakage of meta data but UMBRA guarantees that all communications remains encrypted and anonymous.

The developers at the Shadow Project are soon to release a truly decentralized marketplace where anyone is free to participate and trade without interference. To minimize the likelihood of fraud occurring between the buyer and the seller, a two-party escrow system will be in place. This will stop either party from profiting by defrauding the other without risk. The buyer risks twice the value of the purchase price and the seller risks the purchase price plus the value of the item itself. A 2-of-2 multi-signature address needs the agreement of both parties for funds to be released.

The developers are working on a mobile platform and are actively making headway in China with translations of their website and press releases.

Prior to the release of UMBRA, SDC traded around $0.20 to $0.30 but now it sits between $1.20 and $1.40. As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of money to be made by investing in crypto currency but one needs to be armed with the best information.

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