Disclaimer: Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopediamakes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns less than 1 BTC, and no positions in any of the other companies mentioned in this piece. Investopedia does not make recommendations about particular stocks. 
The development for the WildRig Multi AMD GPU miner continues with the latest 0.12.9 Beta bringing some more performance improvements for various supported algorithms on the table. It fixes the hashrate drops observed with X22i and adds performance improvements for that algorithm up to about 10% compared tot he 0.12.8 release that also brought some speed improvements for all algorithms. There is also a slight boost in performance for the X16r, X16s and X17 algorithms in the latest update.

On 21 November 2017, the Tether cryptocurrency announced they were hacked, losing $31 million in USDT from their primary wallet.[71] The company has 'tagged' the stolen currency, hoping to 'lock' them in the hacker's wallet (making them unspendable). Tether indicates that it is building a new core for its primary wallet in response to the attack in order to prevent the stolen coins from being used.

For us non-miners, getting Bitcoin is now easier than it was a year ago. Now, one only needs to be in a right country to purchase and sell Bitcoins, where exchanges legally act as intermediaries for currency transactions — something that also protects your funds from being mismanaged by external and internal attacks. These exchanges instantly convert your Bitcoin into USD or other fiat currency, and based on the price fluctuations between these two, one can simultaneously sell and purchase their holdings and make good profits — a process we know as arbitrage (explained further below)

Sure. As discussed, the easiest way to acquire Bitcoin is to buy it on an exchange like Coinbase.com. Alternately, you can always leverage the "pickaxe strategy". This is based on the old saw that during the 1848 California gold rush, the smart investment was not to pan for gold, but rather to make the pickaxes used for mining. Or, to put it in modern terms, invest in the companies that manufacture those pickaxes. In a crypto context, the pickaxe equivalent would be a company that manufactures equpiment used for Bitcoin mining. You can look into companies that make ASICs miners or GPU miners. 

It’s a tough question in my opinion. Each will have an upside compared to others. Check a few out and look up on forums to see what users are saying about the service provided, and which they think are the best Crypto Exchanges to buy bitcoin easily. Localbitcoins.com is a really cool crypto exchange p2p bitcoin exchange for beginners wanting to buy for their first time. The service is all over the world, meaning you can use euros, pounds, yen, australian dollars, swiss francs, canadian dollars, krona, rubles, lira, rupees and so on. If you pay by physical cash then you get to meet the person in real life. Alternatively you can do a fast bank transfer and the site will hold your coins in escrow for you once it goes through. Obviously there are more simple ways to start using a crypto exchnages and bitcoin exchange and buy altcoins. Some like to buy with paypal, but not many leading bitcoin exchanges accept this because of chargebacks.

Cryptocurrency mining is a way to get Bitcoins. Of course, it is possible to buy them, but Bitcoin mining creates new ones by making new parts of the blockchain. In defining cryptocurrency mining, it should be stated how it actually works. In order to mine, there must be a peer-to-peer computers network so that tasks can be performed with their combined computing power. The more computers and less centralized the system, the faster tasks will be operated. Each computer is called a host in the blockchain and the network works based on a cryptographic protocol. By recording and confirming new operations into a virtual, replicated, and distributed public database known as the blockchain, miners (those who do mining) create new parts of the chain and they receive 12.5 Bitcoins for each new part as a reward. The new block can be made just once in 10 minutes so that to synchronize all operations, assure they are mathematically accurate and be able to spread it around all users.

A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.[1][2][3] Cryptocurrencies are a kind of alternative currency and digital currency (of which virtual currency is a subset). Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems.[4]
That opportunity may not last. Huffman, who is also a former utility executive, argues that ever-cheaper power rates in other states, like California, could undercut the basin’s appeal to blockchain miners, who may begin to look for other places to mine. For that reason, Huffman argues that the basin should be actively recruiting more miners, even if it means importing power. “I think there’s a window here,” Huffman says, “and it’s unknown how long that window will be open.” Yet he, too, knows that any such talk will lead to criticism that the basin is yoking its future to a volatile sector that, for many, remains a chimera. “Some folks think that bitcoin is just a scam,” Huffman concedes. “And in the conversation, you usually don’t get past that.”
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.
Kraken works well through SEPA, has an easy verification process (expect 4-6 weeks vetting with current backlog) compared to Bitstamp, and is very knowledgeable when it come to cryptography and security. As of early 2017, this platform has been re-positioning themselves as a crypto exchange by adding multiple new altcoins. I've written an in-depth Kraken review with everything you need to know..
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.