As a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is generated through the process of "mining"—essentially using your computer's processing power to solve complex algorithms called "blocks." You earn around 50 Bitcoins once a block has been decrypted. The catch? Depending on how powerful your CPU is, solving a single block can take a year or more. Another means of obtaining Bitcoin is to simply buy it, exchanging physical currency for digital at a Bitcoin exchange like Mt. Gox or Bitstamp, or through a service like BitInstant.
AVA Trade is a forex broker that offers bitcoin trading through a CFD. Two bitcoin CFDs are available, Bitcoin Mini and Bitcoin Weekly. The Bitcoin Weekly CFD has a 20 to 1 leverage and expires every Friday at 21:00 GMT. The Bitcoin Mini only has a 2 to 1 leverage but doesn’t expire. Both contracts are using data from BTC-E and AVA Trade adds around 10$ premium on top of the exchange spread. You can find more about the bitcoin trading conditions here. Here’s a snapshot of AvaTrade’s MT4.
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Hey, where’s Bitsane here? I guess you would like to add it to the list, don’t you mind? I am not an expert to state the pros and cons but I can share some personal opinion. You can get confused there sometimes cause me for instance - I can’t get all that rules and f.a.q.s and special info to know that youngsters get on with easily. But what I am relieved with is the rate of low costs of fees for transactions to put your money in and out (for I can’t stand that crazy part of giving a shitty load of money from your own pocket to the user fees god-knows-what-for). And there are also pretty quick to get through, which is suitable in urgent cases that occur currently. So, here is the exchange I strongly recommend to include in the list. Please consider.
BTC/USD Live Spreads Widget: Dynamic live spreads are available when market is open. When market is closed and static spreads are displayed, the figures are target spreads. Spreads are variable and are subject to delay. The spread figures are for informational purposes only. FXCM is not liable for errors, omissions or delays, or for actions relying on this information.

Universal access – You can start day trading bitcoins anywhere on the planet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You simply need an internet connection. Plus, because you’re day trading you don’t need to have a long term view about whether cryptocurrencies will succeed. In addition, whilst the stock market can be a pricey place for normal investors, with Facebook and Apple shares costing around £110 per share, you can dive into the cryptocurrency market with just a dollars or pounds.
For all that potential, however, the basin’s nascent mining community was beset by the sort of troubles that you would have found in any other boomtown. Mining technology was still so new that the early operations were constantly crashing. There was a growing, often bitter competition for mining sites that had adequate power, and whose landlords didn’t flip out when the walls got “Swiss-cheesed” with ventilation holes. There was the constant fear of electrical overloads, as coin-crazed miners pushed power systems to the limit—as, for example, when one miner nearly torched an old laundromat in downtown Wenatchee.
Localbitcoins is quite a popular for p2p (person to person) transactions all over the world. Simply put, you interact directly with the guy selling to you. Out of all the bitcoin sites listed here, this is one of the first and most reputed. Escrow and dispute resolution is provided by the site. See my thorough review of Localbitcoins, I personally use it to cash out of positions quite often.
Regardless of whether or not you made a successful trade, there’s always a lesson to be learned. No one manages to only make profitable trades, and no one gets to the point of making money without losing some money on the way. The important thing isn’t necessarily whether or not you made money. Rather, it’s whether you managed to gain some new insight into how to trade better next time.
Every single transaction made and the ownership of every single cryptocurrency in circulation is recorded in the blockchain. The blockchain is run by miners, who use powerful computers that tally the transactions. Their function is to update each time a transaction is made and also ensure the authenticity of information, thereby ascertaining that each transaction is secure and is processed properly and safely.

In Bitcoin terms, simultaneous answers occur frequently, but at the end of the day there can only be one winning answer. When multiple simultaneous answers are presented that are equal to or less than the target number, the Bitcoin network will decide by a simple majority--51%--which miner to honour. Typically, it is the miner who has done the most work, i.e. verifies the most transactions. The losing block then becomes an "orphan block." 
In cryptocurrency networks, mining is a validation of transactions. For this effort, successful miners obtain new cryptocurrency as a reward. The reward decreases transaction fees by creating a complementary incentive to contribute to the processing power of the network. The rate of generating hashes, which validate any transaction, has been increased by the use of specialized machines such as FPGAs and ASICs running complex hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and Scrypt.[30] This arms race for cheaper-yet-efficient machines has been on since the day the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was introduced in 2009.[30] With more people venturing into the world of virtual currency, generating hashes for this validation has become far more complex over the years, with miners having to invest large sums of money on employing multiple high performance ASICs. Thus the value of the currency obtained for finding a hash often does not justify the amount of money spent on setting up the machines, the cooling facilities to overcome the enormous amount of heat they produce, and the electricity required to run them.[30][31]
Ethereum enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. A decentralized application or Dapp serve some particular purpose to its users. Bitcoin, for example, is a Dapp that provides its users with a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. Because decentralized applications are made up of code that runs on a blockchain network, they are not controlled by any individual or central entity.
There is only a limited amount of crypto coins that can be mined, and once these have all been mined, there will simply be no more. So, for example, there are 21 million Bitcoins in total, and once these have all been mined, they will be the only coins in circulation – no further Bitcoins will be added to the system. This is not just apparent to Bitcoins though, and refers to all other Cryptocurrencies.
Just because miners want power doesn’t mean they get it. Some inquiries are withdrawn. And all three county public utilities have considerable discretion when it comes to granting power requests. But by law, they must consider any legitimate request for power, which has meant doing costly studies and holding hearings—sparking a prolonged, public debate over this new industry’s impact on the basin’s power economy. There are concerns about the huge costs of new substations, transmission wires and other infrastructure necessary to accommodate these massive loads. In Douglas County, where the bulk of the new mining projects are going in, a brand new 84-megawatt substation that should have been adequate for the next 30 to 50 years of normal population growth was fully subscribed in less than a year.

The supply of bitcoins grows by the process called “mining” bitcoins. The supply is expected to increase by 10% in 2014 after going up 11.11% last year. The rate of block creation is 6 per hour with each block worth 25 bitcoins (around 25k USD). If more mining power goes online and the block generation increases to 7 blocks per hour for example, the so called “mining difficulty” will go up until the 6 blocks per hour average is reaffirmed. On the other hand if miners generate less coins then the difficulty will go down making it easier to generate new coins. You can read more about the supply of bitcoins here.

Launched in 2015, Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables SmartContracts and Distributed Applications (ĐApps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. The platform is also the basis for its own virtual currency, Ether. Ethereum is not just a platform but also a programming language (Turing complete) running on a blockchain, helping developers to build and publish distributed applications. The potential applications of Ethereum are wide ranging.
The Ethereum Platform rests on open-source software, and there is a risk that the Ethereum Stiftung or the Ethereum Team, or other third parties not directly affiliated with the Stiftung Ethereum, may introduce weaknesses or bugs into the core infrastructural elements of the Ethereum Platform causing the system to lose ETH stored in one or more User accounts or other accounts or lose sums of other valued tokens issued on the Ethereum Platform.