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The death of MTGox is the greatest thing to happen to cryptocurrencies in a long, long time. You might ask why considering the numerous calls for regulation and unbridled chaos its dissolution has left. The unfortunate reality is that roughly $400 million USD in Bitcoin was lost and isn't coming back. No one except the people responsible at Gox can fix that. As crypto users, however, it's our responsibility to ensure this never happens again by keeping online exchanges accountable, decentralized and transparent. MTGox screwed customers over by withholding withdrawals, leading many to wonder where their money was (and still is, for that matter) and ensuring their was confusion as to what was really happening. Shutting down and reorganizing isn't the answer to fixing the problem. A core point of BTC, to avoid placing currency in unstable banks, was thrown out the window the moment MTGox became popular. I get that folks wanted to protect their hard-earned scrap, but an online wallet handled by programmers that were way in over their heads wasn't the way to do it. MTGox was a trading card site that somehow became the most popular cryptocurrency exchange on the net. MTGox used outdated security protocols and a shifty proprietary wallet system; there were red flags everywhere. And while Bitcoin industry leaders have recently assured users this will not be repeated, it's ultimately up to us to keep cryptocurrency use alive. As mentioned before, the first step is doing away with online wallet banking and centralized institutions. We've all seen how that's worked out for physical currencies and Bitcoin users. Banks are not secure; offline wallets are far safer alternatives. While I understand the fear of unreliable hard-drives, the simple solution is to back-up your wallets to various safe locations. An online wallet is an even bigger gamble than the crypto gaming sites. If you're worried about thieves hacking and stealing your coins, encrypt the wallet. It's as simple as that. The second step is to decentralize the currency system. In other words, every coin on the market needs to divest itself from Bitcoin. Each altcoin has a purpose and use. The value of said coins should not be dependent on Bitcoin. Achieving relative independence can be done through more exchanges that convert cryptos to and from existing world currencies. It will be a challenging process but can ultimately make adoption easier and strengthen the overall health of the market. Bitcoin is important, no doubt, but other coins need not be tied into BTC since they're not being backed by the grand-daddy currency. The third step is to make widespread adoption a feasible, desirable option. This means opening more markets and businesses to cryptocurrency use. Imagine paying for your coffee with Dogecoin or buying a brew at the local bar with Litecoin. Some entrepeneurs have already taken the initiative and integrated crypto payment systems. We have to take it a step further, however, and solidify cryptos as a viable means of payment. We don't need to back these coins with precious metals or cash, but it's important to stabilize the crypto economy in order to introduce the coins to a larger audience. Paperless payment is the future. Step four is simple: introduce your friends and family to cryptocurrencies. There's been this prevailing notion that cryptos are for the tech elite and geeks. While some technical knowledge is required to mine, the general process can be easily taught in a matter of minutes. All it requires is you to help guide the way and get them thinking in the way of the future. Cryptos shouldn't be made cryptic when we, more than ever, need to bring in new users. If they start with Dogecoin, that's perfectly fine. If they wish to start with Bitcoin, that's fine too. Help your friends find the coin they enjoy and like to use. It's all about founding crypto communities before we get to the Moon (a shibe-ism, if you aren't familiar). Locking out potential adopters makes little sense when cryptos offer so much promise. Where will the future take cryptocurrency? That's a good question, but the growing market rebound from the MTGox scandal has already shown that we're a resilient lot. No budding currency is going to progress without extreme growing pains. When all is said and done, we've come a long way in providing a glimpse at an alternative payment system not dependent on weakening banks. And even though there are bad eggs, we've made a lot of progress without regulation. What currency can claim to have experienced the same growth cryptos have? We're on the edge of a new digital frontier. It's up to us to keep pushing the boundaries and make this frontier a home.
Harrison Lee posted a blog entry in Harrison's SoapboxFor the longest time I was an ardent supporter of Bitcoin. Like many of the libertarian and tech-savvy users of BTC, I saw a future of paperless, bankless money just waiting to be explored. That is, until I spent my 1.8 BTC on a new Nvidia GPU for my rig. At the team each coin was worth about $140 or so. In my mind, it was a great investment. I hadn't paid any direct energy fees (yay college tuition!) and essentially received the card I mined for free. And then a few months later, I decided to check how much BTC was worth. It was a rude surprise to see they were worth over a grand a piece. This made me upset for many reasons, chief among them being that I'd felt I had made a poor choice in my investments. And then came the feeling of remorse that I'd gamed the system of bizarre user-centric values for my own personal benefit. It felt no different than the barons who currently only millions of dollars worth of BTC, albeit I'm much poorer than they. With that blast-off of coins and the eventual difficulty increase in mining due to ASICs, I left the land of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency for months. I attempted mining Litecoin but that only ended in futility. I even considered returning to BTC but ASICs had made my GPUs more or less obsolete. And then along came Dogecoin. I'd heard of this meme-based cryptocurrency as it made the rounds on tech news sites for its sheer preposterousness. Dogecoin, based on the titular doge meme, is as ridiculous as it sounds. But there are more than a few fascinating reasons to take the altcoin quite seriously. For one thing, dogecoin is as newb-friendly as it gets. Even those with virtually no tech experience can hop along and experiment freely. And because dogecoins essentially have no real limit on how many can be mined, it's relatively easy for anyone to start mining. The other, more important reason dogecoin is a true contender is the community. I've never encountered a friendlier e-coin community than dogecoin's userbase. The folks here are genuinely kind and generous. Every one has a light-hearted approach to the coin and welcomes new users with open arms. Despite the high number of new member threads and beginner questions on Reddit, there's always someone willing to answer and guide new shibes (as well call ourselves) into the fold. While dogecoin mining is the easiest to jump into, having helping hands to assist you is never a bad thing! Generosity from the dogecoin community has even sent Olympic delegations and individual members to the most recent Winter Olympics in Sochi. Just ask the Jamaican bobsled team or the Indian men's single-luger and they'll tell you dogecoin helped get them to Sochi. It's a remarkable feat of the online community to rally together and donate so much money. And from the way things are looking, this trend will only continue as new shibes and old ones alike continue spreading dogecoin across the web. The most interesting part of dogecoin's growing power is how quickly it's become a top-four or top-three cryptocurrency. In just these past two months, dogecoin's risen 1000% in value. While it's still only worth about two-tenths of a penny, that's impressive considering it was worth .00025 cents several weeks ago. And even more BTC and other altcoin users are trading their stocks for dogecoins! What started off as a joke is becoming a widely-accepted e-coin. Because it's not scarce and finite as Bitcoin is, dogecoin makes more sense as a daily currency, only reinforcing the potential value of this internet phenomenon. As you can tell, I love dogecoin. The concept is bloody brilliant and could only have spawned from the internet. Heck, it's based on a meme declared dead as of last year! It's clear that doge has found a new residence inside our online wallets. Time will tell if dogecoin can continue its surge in popularity and value but, from where I'm standing, we'll reach the moon soon enough! For more information on dogecoin and advice on how to get started, check out this Reddit page. If you'd like a few dogecoins to start fueling your rocket to the moon, get a wallet and I'll send you some! For now, that's all. Shibe on!