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Is It Too Late to Invest in Bitcoin? Five Reasons to Invest in Crypto in 2019

  • Alex Morris
    📚 WikiCoin

    2018 was a brutal year for the cryptocurrency industry, but we’ve come up with major reasons why Bitcoin could still be your wild card this year


Is It Too Late to Invest in Bitcoin? Five Reasons to Invest in Crypto in 2019
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Since the Bitcoin bubble popped, there have been numerous stories about people losing their fortunes by throwing money into crypto when prices were going through the roof. However, despite market bears reigning supreme since January, there were 54 mln new users in 2018 (the number almost doubled compared to 2017). That essentially shows that the interest is still there (‘What is Bitcoin’ was among the most popular Google searches in 2019).

So, is it too late to invest in Bitcoin? Not really. There are actually plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t write off Bitcoin as a good investment opportunity.

Institutional money is coming

Crypto desperately needs a dose of reputational repair – Bitcoin, despite its ten-year long history, is still mainly perceived as the currency of drug dealing and crime thanks to loud headlines about Silk Road, Mt. Gox, etc. However, crypto is currently getting a much more positive response from institutional investors. Their learning curve starts with skepticism, which is absolutely understandable given the tainted history of crypto, but many institutions are fascinated with the technology.  

2018 was already a precursor to large-scale institutional adoption. As U.Today reported earlier, Wall Street permabull Mike Novogratz is certain that major institutions will start embracing the cryptocurrency space by Q1/Q2 2019.

Novogratz’s words have also been channeled by Asian crypto enthusiast Henri Arslanian, who claimed that more major banks would start dipping their toes into crypto in 2019. Banks around the world have already adopted many Blockchain-based solutions, but they retain a hostile attitude towards crypto.  

BlockTower Capital CEO Ari Paul, however, believes that Wall Street has adopted a lazy ‘wait-and-see’ approach. Now, he predicts that adoption won’t happen until Q3 2019, dismissing his previous prediction as ‘too optimistic.’

Fidelity also launched Fidelity Digital Assets in October 2018, finally crossing the threshold into cryptocurrencies. Thus, Fidelity became the first Wall Street incumbent to bridge crypto with the traditional market.  


At the time of writing this article, ICE-backed Bakkt is already on the verge of launching Bitcoin futures (the delay was allegedly caused by the government shutdown). Bakkt’s long-anticipated Bitcoin futures offer trading and hedging opportunities for Wall Street sharks.

Nasdaq, the world’s second largest stock exchange by daily trading volume, is expected to launch Bitcoin futures in Q1 2019. Notably, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) also decided to step its game in the Bitcoin futures niche by rolling out its own product. However, before these contracts can be offered to retail investors, they have to be given the green light by the US financial watchdog.

Adapting to the digital world

In 2019, the face of money will continue changing, and it’s not a huge reach to suggest that cash could become obsolete in the nearest future. PayPal, Visa, and other global payment services actually represent digital information. Cryptocurrencies are simply the next logical step given that they represent the first form of digital money.

The idea that cryptocurrencies will eventually replace fiat sounds a tad futuristic. However, one has to recall the quick rise of smartphones (there are around 2.5 bln smartphones in the world), which can serve as a one-fits-all storage solution for cryptocurrencies. The Samsung Galaxy S10 leak shows that the soon-to-be-released smartphone already has a built-in Blockchain KeyStore app.

Bitcoin is still number one despite criticism

Why invest in Bitcoin? Yes, it is natural that Bitcoin, like any other disruptive technology, is currently facing harsh criticism. For instance, the president of Western Union stated that the telephone had many shortcomings in 1876, and it couldn’t be considered to be a viable means of communication.

Bitcoin obituaries keep rising, but the coin, as you can see, is not going anywhere, and its fundamentals are actually becoming stronger. Generation Z could turn Bitcoin into the currency of the future. Guess who won’t be part of this future? Obviously, those who fail to buy crypto in 2019.

Bitcoin is very scarce

Of course, there are plenty of other options on the table, but Bitcoin is the ultimate OG coin whose hegemony has remained untouched over its ten-year run. Coinbase, the San Francisco-based crypto unicorn, has more users than the total Bitcoin supply, which is limited to 21 mln. The scarcity of Bitcoin will continue increasing while the number of BTC owners will actually decrease. Bitcoin holders are also scarce — less than 5 percent of addresses hold more than $1,000 in crypto. If that’s not enough, you should also take into account the fact that Bitcoin’s total market cap represents roughly 0.006 percent of the total world assets.

No one can say for sure whether it is too late to invest in Bitcoin. However, 2019 could be a nice opportunity to secure your place in the sun when in the imminent era of digitalization arrives.

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Bitcoin can act as a store of value

With the trade war between the US and China and the looming global economic crisis, people turn to digital currencies as a source of stability. That explains the skyrocketing popularity of Bitcoin in the Latin American region, which is mostly plagued by economic woes.

A recent JPMorgan article vividly shows that it cannot act as a hedge asset given its price volatility, but one has to take into consideration the fact that Bitcoin is not controlled by any centralized body. On top of that, it doesn’t have to be transported in its physical form like gold. Learning how to invest in Bitcoin today could make it much easier to fight the financial turmoil.     

Bitcoin follows natural market cycles

There is also a theory that the current crypto rout is simply the result of a natural market cycle, which flies in the face of those who push the crypto narrative. aXpire’s CEO Gary Markham claims that there are actually many similarities between Bitcoin and gold futures – the graph below shows practically the same price pattern. Gold futures started trading on New York’s exchange on Dec. 31 in 1974.   

Is It Too Late to Invest in Bitcoin? Five Reasons to Invest in Crypto in 2019
As you can see, the launch of the futures was followed by a brutal price drop (it took almost two years for the gold price to bottom out). This bearish trend was followed by a ten-fold increase compared to its previous ATH. Taking this into consideration, one could predict the Bitcoin price could skyrocket up to $180,000 when it’s time for another bull run. However, one should also take into account the fact that there are numerous discrepancies between the two markets, which complicate the task of making any concrete predictions:

  1. Many market participants were unaware of Bitcoin futures.

  2. Unlike the precious metal market, the cryptocurrency market is much more competitive with more than 2,000 coins and tokens listed on CMC.

  3. Bitcoin as an investment is more susceptible to different kinds of speculations. Its price highly relies on whales, the industry and, of course, the underlying technology. For example, quantum computing attacks could put a damper on the public-key cryptography that underpins Bitcoin.  

Want to look at a similar price? Then look at the so-called ‘Wall Street Cheat Sheet’, which perfectly displays the oscillation of human emotions. ‘Euphoria’ is the highest point when an investor is willing to go all-in without a modicum of rational thinking.    

Beyond Bitcoin: security tokens saving the crypto industry?  

Security tokens (STOs) represent a pivotal opportunity for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies given that they combine the best from both worlds: an emphasis on regulations is combined with more liquidity and more funding opportunities. They have numerous advantages over traditional financial assets while simultaneously appearing to be a much safer option than ‘wild west’ ICOs, 70 percent of which failed to exceed their initial valuation.

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Polymath and tZero are the startups that are actively working on the implementation of security token offerings, and these are the companies that you should definitely watch in 2019. U.Today earlier published a tutorial on how to create your own STOs with Polymath.     

tZERO is an SEC-regulated Blockchain subsidiary of the e-commerce behemoth Overstock. The security token exchange platform went live on Jan. 29. As of now, tZERO will only operate during Wall Street hours given that they have to work in sync with broker-dealer Dinosaur. However, in the long run, they want to allow their clients to trade around the clock.  

There are those who are shooed away by the word ‘security’, supposing that it would bring greater scrutiny to the space, but, as mentioned above, that could actually be a significant advantage over ICOs. Their enhanced legitimacy could trigger a ripple effect and attract many institutional investors on board.
On top of that, STOs could be a major catalyst for cryptocurrency growth in 2019, a spillover effect.  Tokenized securities have the potential to bridge companies globally, substantially expanding the community of investors.      

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How to Learn Solidity and Start Blockchain Programming

  • Eric Croix
    📚 WikiCoin

    If making an Ethereum-based dApp or creating an ERC20 standard token sounds compelling to you, than you need to learn the language called Solidity. In our tutorial we provide you with the foundation of coding smart contracts


How to Learn Solidity and Start Blockchain Programming
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Contents

Blockchain programming has become one of the best paying and challenging software spheres during the recent decade. Although blockchains are language-agnostic and many of the existing languages, like C++ and JavaScript (JS), are used by blockchain engineers, there are some tasks that couldn’t be conveniently realized by existing languages, which opened up the demand for new, crypto-specific options. One such language is Solidity.

Solidity was born as a core part of the Ethereum ecosystem. It absorbed C++, JavaScript, and Python. It has many contemporary features like libraries and inheritance. Solidity is designed to write programs that interact with Ethereum accounts, which are called smart contracts. Smart contracts are executed on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), enabling users utilizing them perform tasks like crowdfunding, blind auctions, voting, and many others in a decentralized manner. The most famous killer-app of smart contracts was decentralized funding in ICOs, which started the bull rally on the crypto markets in 2017.

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Whether you are an experienced developer or just starting out in crypto, it’s a good idea to start learning Solidity because smart contracts have become a crucial part of the blockchain ecosystem. Aside from being actively implemented by dApps, they are being actively integrated into infrastructure-layer blockchains and even in Bitcoin via providers like RSK. By knowing how to build smart contracts you will make your blockchain career more sustainable and be able to produce better quality solutions. Let’s not pull it off any longer and get our hands dirty with coding!

Understanding the basics of a smart contract

A smart contract account consists of three sections: balance, storage, and code. The balance represents how much Ethereum a smart contract has. Storage holds data like strings and arrays that are specific to an application. The code section has the raw machine code that is compiled from what we write in Solidity.

Unlike user accounts, smart contract accounts are not external to the respective networks. In other words, you can use your wallet with various networks like Kovan and Ropsten, but you can’t do this with a smart contract. Smart contracts are internal.

Each smart contract has a source, which is stored on an author’s device and instances, which are stored on the blockchain. In order to create an instance (account) of a smart contract, we need to deploy it to the network. It very much resembles the relationship between classes and instances in traditional object-oriented programming (OOP) and languages representing it (JS, Ruby). To give you a more visual representation, let’s create a class ‘Bike’ and add an instance of it.

Bike class & instance

Bike class & instance

Source: Image by U.Today

What we will be writing is a contract definition, which will then run through a compiler that will produce two files: bytecode and application binary interface (ABI). Bytecode is what will be actually fed to the EVM and ABI is a layer between bytecode and regular JavaScript code that allows building a user interface (UI).

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Choosing an IDE & version of Solidity

Before we start, we need a proper integrated development environment (IDE). In other terms, we need a convenient terminal with the necessary tools to write our code in. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will pick Remix, an IDE created by the Ethereum foundation that allows writing, testing, debugging, launching smart contracts and many more. You can use it either straight in the browser or download it locally if you would like.

Once you launch Remix, you will be presented with the code editor in the center, the file manager on the left, and a compiler on the right.

Initial Remix window

Initial Remix window

Source: Image by U.Today

There will be some pre-written code – we won’t need that. To create out first-ever smart contract let’s press on the little plus icon in the top-left corner of the terminal and give it a name.

Creating a new project in Remix

Creating a new project in Remix

Source: Image by U.Today

As we have the blank .sol document now, we should specify the version of Solidity that the compiler will run. At the time of this tutorial, the latest version is 0.5.7. If you are not sure which version to use, you can specify a range of versions.

2 types of specifying the version of Solidity

2 types of specifying the version of Solidity

Source: Image by U.Today

Lastly, let’s give our smart contract a name, followed by a parenthesis.

Smart contract naming

Smart contract naming

Source: Image by U.Today

Writing your first smart contract

Once we have our canvas ready, it’s time to define the basic building blocks – variables. While experienced software engineers will have no issues understanding this concept, we will briefly introduce it to beginners. Variables are placeholders for chunks of information that are later referenced by a program that runs them.

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Let’s create a couple of variables: a string (a sequence of symbols) and an integer (a number). In Ethereum’s case, variables are stored in the blockchain along with the rest of parts of contracts and can, therefore, be accessed and updated from anywhere. Another key characteristic of Solidity variables is that you can make them private by writing ‘private’ next to the variables. Finally, for the integers, Solidity has two types: signed (can be positive & negative) and unsigned (can only be positive). To specify an unsigned variable, we should just put ‘u’ before it.

A private string and an integer

A private string and an integer

Source: Image by U.Today

Once we have the ‘name’ variable, we need to write out the methods of setting and getting it. This looks like a JS function. Remember that Solidity is statically typed, so we have to define variable types. Now any value we put in the ‘setName’ will define the ‘name’ string. For the getter, we will use ‘getName’ and specify what variable we expect to see. Now, it’s time to do the same for the ‘age’ variable. The method is constructed similarly to the ‘getName’.

Name/age setters and getters

Name/age setters and getters

Source: Image by U.Today

Let’s test our little chunk of code. Go to the ‘Run’ tab of the compiler and press ‘Deploy’ under your contract’s name. At the very bottom of the compiler, you will now see the ‘Deployed Contracts’ section that has our methods available. In order to pass a name to the ‘newName’ value, we need to make sure that our string is written in JSON, otherwise, the ‘getName’ will return nothing. For the ‘setAge’ just put your age without quotes. As you see, we can now set and receive the ‘name’ and the ‘age’ variables through our smart contract.

Compiler, with a name and an age

Compiler, with a name and an age

Source: Image by U.Today

Defining Wei and Gas

One of the most remarkable features of smart contrasts is that to deploy them to the Ethereum network you will need to initiate a transaction, which costs some amount of money that is paid in Ether. It’s crucial to understand how the fees are utilized in the system, as they will be deducted each time you interact with EVM.

What’s Wei?

Let us assume that reading this far into our tutorial you have used Bitcoin at least once. You probably made a small transaction that was way less than 1 BTC. In that case, you used Satoshis, which are something like pennies for a dollar. Wei is like a Satoshi – it’s the smallest part of 1 Ether. If we think of it in programming terms, it’s the lowest unsigned integer in the network. While interacting with the network, you will mostly encounter Gwei, which refers to Gigawei and equals 1 billion Wei.

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What’s Gas?

Gas is an essential part of the mechanism of smart contract execution. It has two values for each transaction: Gas consumed and its price. It’s worth mentioning that a user initiating a transaction defines these values. However, if the set value of Gas won’t be enough to process a specific operation, then the Gas will be consumed, but the transaction will fail. Moreover, if the price for Gas will be set too low for the network at a given time, the transaction will not be processed by the nodes, eventually making it unsuccessful. There are several services to check optimal values for your transactions, one of them being ethgasstation.info. To get a better understanding of Gas and why it costs any money, let’s code some of it by ourselves.

Get back to your Remix window and initiate a new file. In our example, we will call it ‘Gas’ and create a contract with the same name. Bear in mind that the more data we will require to store on the blockchain, the more Gas we will need. That being said, for the purpose of this tutorial we will create a cheap contract; the more you will add to it, the higher the fee will be.

There will be a function that returns an integer that is a sum of two inputs. To make it as lightweight as possible, we will specify that our contract will store nothing on the blockchain, and for that we will put ‘pure’ next to the function.

Cheap contract

Cheap contract

Source: Image by U.Today

Now you can deploy it in the compiler and input any two numbers to get the integer ‘c’. To check the price of our transaction we should take a look at the terminal located beneath the code section. There is a transaction cost and an execution cost. The first one refers to how much data a transaction has. The second one refers to how much of EVM’s power was required by the transaction.

Cheap contract’s cost

Cheap contract’s cost

Source: Image by U.Today

This is an extremely basic transaction that costs almost nothing for the network. In writing meaningful smart contracts you will add more details, which will increase their weight and therefore transaction fees.  

Creating & deploying your own ERC20 token

Let’s face it, the majority of the blockchain developers that are just starting out are eager to play big and create their own blockchains and tokens. While this is an extremely difficult topic that attracted some of the best software engineers from other spheres, building a basic ERC20 token isn’t rocket science.

First, we need to create another file in Remix and uploading the ERC20 interface, which is the following:

ERC20 standard

ERC20 standard

Source: Image by U.Today

The ‘totalSupply’ function lets us see how many tokens we have in total. The ‘balanceOf’ function is used to get amounts of tokens on specific addresses. The ‘transfer’ function allows users performing transactions between each other. The ‘transferFrom’, ‘allowance’ and ‘approve’ functions are there to allow people to let some other users initiate transactions on their behalf. Events are the logging tools for the ledger.

In addition to the interface itself, we will need a separate .sol file for our new token. Here we will import the ERC20 interface and specify our token’s symbol, name, and decimals.

uToday token

uToday token

Source: Image by U.Today

Before we compile it, we need to specify constraints.

  • Let’s start with the total supply – it’s a constant integer variable that we will make private. The total supply of our tokens will be 1 million, we also write a function to return this value.

  • Second, we need to store our token somewhere. For this, we will need to outline the mapping that will return a balance for any address specified.

  • Third, there should be a function for token transfers, which will essentially have an address of a receiver and an amount of token transferred. This function should also be able to check whether or not a sender has enough tokens on their balance, which can be realized through a simple if/then statement. In addition, we will set conditionals for ‘_value’ in a way that blocks users from sending transactions with 0 tokens as this would only flood the network with junk.

  • Fourth, we should create the mapping for the remainder functions, which is a mapping of mapping to an integer.

  • Then we will specify a few checkers in the ‘approve’ and ‘allowance’ functions and put conditions for the ‘transferFrom’.

  • Finally, not all the tokens will be available on the market. Some of the tokens are usually left out for teams, foundations, advisors and other purposes. Hence, it’s essential that we make it clear how many tokens will be circulating. As we created the tokens, the circulating supply equals our balance.

uToday token constraints

uToday token constraints

Source: Image by U.Today

The code is ready, so let’s test it. Proceed to the ‘Run’ tab of the compiler and deploy our token contract. You will see that we have our token data along with the total supply, balances, and allowances. Congratulations, you deserve a pat on the back!

To make our token actually function on the network, we need to deploy the smart contract (note that this is different from deploying it for testing in Remix). For the sake of this tutorial, we will use Remix and Metamask, but there other ways of doing so. Metamask is a simple but efficient Ethereum wallet program with a nice UI that integrates as an extension to some of the most popular browsers. In our case, we will use Opera. Firstly, go to metamask.io and download the extension. Once it’s done, you will see a fox icon in the top right of your browser.

Downloading Metamask & location of the icon

Downloading Metamask & location of the icon

Source: Image by U.Today

Press on the icon and proceed through the offered instructions to create a wallet. Do not forget to store the secret phrase! When you have your wallet, press on the Metamask icon and change the network to ‘Ropsten’ because we don’t want to mess with Ethereum’s mainnet.

Changing Metamask to Ropsten

Changing Metamask to Ropsten

Source: Image by U.Today

The last step is to generate some Ether (unfortunately, you won’t be able to use these for any real purchases, but they are necessary for testing). Head over to faucet.metamask.io and request 1 Ether.

Now you are all set. Return to your Remix window and change the environment to ‘Injected Web3’ in the compiler. Take a look at the account tab too – your address should be the same as that of what you generated with Metamask. Select the smart contract you want to deploy, which is your token contract and not the ERC20 interface and press on the respective button. A Metamask window will pop up with a transaction, its details, and options to interact with it. Submit the transaction, and our token will come into life.

Metamask popup

Metamask popup

Source: Image by U.Today

You can now play around with all the functions we specified earlier. Let’s look at our contract from another side to verify that it works properly. Like any other blockchain, Ethereum has multiple block explorers which serve the essential purpose of monitoring what’s happening on the network. In our case, we will stick to etherscan, though there is a handful of other great alternatives. Note that if you just go to etherscan, you will see the Main network. As we need to see the Ropsten network, you will need to put ‘ropsten.’ before the website’s address. Search for your address and you will see two transactions – one is for free Ether you received, and another is for deploying the contract.

User’s address in Etherscan

User’s address in Etherscan

Source: Image by U.Today

To find the address of your contract, press on the TxHash and navigate to the ‘To’ field. Here you can check your smart contract’s transactions, code, and events. At this point, we need to verify and publish our contract. Go to the ‘Code’ section and click on the ‘Verify and Publish’ link. Here you will need to again specify the name of your token, the version of the compiler (in our case the latest version of Solidity we used was 0.5.7, so we will stick to the related compiler version). Now you should copy the token’s smart contract code along with the ERC20 interface code from your Remix window to etherscan and press ‘Verify and Publish’ at the bottom of the screen.

Verifying the smart contract

Verifying the smart contract

Source: Image by U.Today

It’s time to go back to your contract’s address. The code in the ‘Code’ tab will now be verified. In addition, you will now have two more tabs: ‘Read contract’ & ‘Write contract’. In the reading section, we can check the functionality of our token. Input your (not the contract’s) address into ‘balanceOf’ field to see how many tokens you have; it should show 1 million that we hard coded as the total supply and gave it circulating to our wallet. That means that our token is now correctly working on the testnet.

Receiving the balance

Receiving the balance

Source: Image by U.Today

Summary

If you are looking to start a career in the crypto industry, you need to understand that despite its relative simplicity in basics, blockchain has incredible deepness to it. Since 2017 blockchains have evolved significantly and their use cases went beyond just financial transactions. With the advent of Ethereum, a whole new layer of networks appeared that hosts various dApps and blockchain-based solutions. The tool behind this evolution was a smart contract, and if you want to make your experience more valuable and future-proof, you should know how one works.

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While you can code smart contracts using other languages, Solidity is a better fit for such a purpose. Moreover, if you want to become an Ethereum developer, or create an ICO/ERC20 token for your project, this is your go-to choice. If you had some experience with C++ or JavaScript, coding on Solidity should be relatively easy. You will have to understand some differences between the client-server and decentralized models of launching software, though. Thanks to Ethereum Foundation and some third-party organizations, developers are presented with a set of convenient tools like Remix and Etherscan to code and deploy smart contracts.

We hope that our tutorial helped you with getting around the majority of Solidity’s concepts to be able to start your blockchain journey. Remember that you can always check with the latest documentation on Solidity. We wish you good luck and will be happy to use some of your dApps someday!

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