Digital currency is a topic of continuous debate and the fluctuations of Bitcoin’s value has been all over the place, ranging from a high of over $1,000 and an average low of about $200. As the worlds first digital, decentralized currency, owners of Bitcoin are pseudo-anonymously tied to their wealth with no government taxation or linked social security identification. This has lead to many legal battles with governments trying to identify the stance to be taken on Bitcoin.
Some countries of the world favor in trying to regulate Bitcoin, but some try not to consider it legal tender. Other countries, like Australia, are trying to tax Bitcoin users. Regardless of the governments stance on Bitcoin, it is clear that more and more people are getting involved in the crypto-currency world.
People like Gavin Andresen, Marc Andreessen, Adam Draper, Ross Ulbricht, Roger Ver, and Ben Lawsky are some of the most influential people involved in the Bitcoin industry and its regulations. Whether or not you want to get involved in Bitcoin is up to you, however, it is rather easy for someone who is at least a little bit savvy with technologically.
First off, you need to download a Bitcoin wallet onto your computer or mobile phone. Remember, if you are given the option, always use two-factor authentication (2FA) and be sure to use a strong password. Upon downloading the wallet that you chose, you will be given a Bitcoin address which will be used to send and receive Bitcoins. As it stands at the time of this writing, there is is roughly 13 million Bitcoins in circulation, however, there is a hard cap of 21 million which will be reached sometime in a century from now.
Once you have your wallet set up, you can choose to exchange dollars to Bitcoin through a service like Circle, or you can mine Bitcoins. Since the birth of Bitcoin, mining Bitcoins simply consists of completing a 256 bit mathematical problem (SHA-256 to be exact). As groups of miners get together to solve these “blocks” of problems, this essentially increases the overall strength of Bitcoin’s network.
In other words, you are being paid Bitcoin for solving mathematical problems to verify transactions across the network while securing it in the mean time. In order to take part in mining Bitcoins, you need to have the available hardware that can successfully mine blocks.
When Bitcoin first came out it used to be primarily all CPU mining, however, it slowly transitioned over to GPU mining. After GPU mining, ASIC mining came along here in the last couple of years. Since the Genesis Block though, the same principal has existed: the more efficient and powerful miner you have on hand, the higher the payout you will get. As it stands, ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), are the most efficient way to mine for Bitcoins.
So by now you’re probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with mobile apps? Well, the popularity of Bitcoin has drastically increased thanks to mobile users taking advantage of mobile wallets, price tracking apps, or even news-related apps. Similar to how you can download an app for your bank, you can also download your digital Bitcoin wallet to your smartphone as well. Through the Google Play Store, Android users can download apps like freeBitcoin, where you solve CAPTCHAs to earn small fractions of a Bitcoin, or Bitcoin Faucet, where you earn Bitcoins simply by downloading apps. Earlier last year, Apple also reversed their policy on the use of Bitcoin apps within the App Store. Apple’s stance is somewhat unclear on this decision, but many Bitcoin enthusiasts are greatly appreciative on this decision’s reversal.
Other Bitcoin related apps you may want to check out would include Sarutobi, a simple game that tips players in Bitcoin if played long enough. With that said, Sarutobi is also the first mobile game that we know of to implement Bitcoin tipping to players. As Bitcoin’s adoption increases, it would be nice to see more games implementing this as well. Users looking for a mobile wallet on iOS should also check out Coinbase, Blockchain.info, breadwallet, or Hive Wallet. Another alternative would be Mycelium, probably the best and most advanced wallet to date.
There’s also a couple price tracking and news apps out there like ZeroBlock, CoinDesk, and Bitsoup. Depending upon what you’re looking for or what your needs are, there’s probably some Bitcoin related app out there. As the market continues to flow with more Bitcoin enthusiasts, everyone and their smart phones can earn digital currency for practically nothing more than their free time. It will be interesting to see the changes digital currency will have on our global economy, and the resulting political influences Bitcoin will have.