Bitcoin miners were now caught in the same vicious cycle that real miners confront—except on a much more accelerated timeframe. To maintain their output, miners had to buy more servers, or upgrade to the more powerful servers, but the new calculating power simply boosted the solution difficulty even more quickly. In effect, your mine was becoming outdated as soon as you launched it, and the only hope of moving forward profitably was to adopt a kind of perpetual scale-up: Your existing mine had to be large enough to pay for your next, larger mine. Many miners responded by gathering into vast collectives, pooling their calculating resources and sharing the bitcoin rewards. Others shifted away from mining to hosting facilities for other miners. But whether you were mining or hosting, mining entered “a scaling race,” says Carlson, whose own operations marched steadily from 250 kilowatts to 1.5 megawatts to 5 megawatts. And it was a race: Any delay in getting your machines installed and mining simply meant you’d be coming on line when the coins were even harder to mine.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a distributed public blockchain network. Although there are some significant technical differences between the two, the most important distinction to note is that Bitcoin and Ethereum differ substantially in purpose and capability. Bitcoin offers one particular application of blockchain technology, a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. While the Bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of digital currency (bitcoins), the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application.
Ether is a fundamental cryptocurrency for operation of Ethereum, which thereby provides a public distributed ledger for transactions. It is used to pay for gas, a unit of computation used in transactions and other state transitions. Mistakenly, this currency is also referred to as Ethereum. It is listed under the code ETH and traded on cryptocurrency exchanges, and the Greek uppercase Xi character (Ξ) is generally used for its currency symbol. It is also used to pay for transaction fees and computational services on the Ethereum network.
Once you are ready to place an order, you will accept the market price or set what’s called a limit order. Limit orders provide investors and traders with a means of precisely entering a position without being victim of fluctuating prices. For example, a buy limit order can be place for $2.40 when a stock is trading around $2.50. If the price dips to $2.40, the order is automatically executed. If it’s a GTC (good ’til canceled) order, it will remain open until manually cancelled by the investor.
An initial coin offering (ICO) is a controversial means of raising funds for a new cryptocurrency venture. An ICO may be used by startups with the intention of avoiding regulation. However, securities regulators in many jurisdictions, including in the U.S., and Canada have indicated that if a coin or token is an "investment contract" (e.g., under the Howey test, i.e., an investment of money with a reasonable expectation of profit based significantly on the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others), it is a security and is subject to securities regulation. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency (usually in the form of "tokens") is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, often bitcoin or ether.
Another factor that sends shivers down the Bitcoin industry is constant attempts to hack the Bitcoin exchanges’ hot wallets. The curious case of Mt.Gox has been the biggest example, where a $450 million worth of Bitcoin amount was stolen. Later on, many other exchanges became victim to the similar thefts, including BitStamp , BitFinex and many others.
When you pay someone in bitcoin, you set in motion a process of escalating, energy-intensive complexity. Your payment is basically an electronic message, which contains the complete lineage of your bitcoin, along with data about who you’re sending it to (and, if you choose, a small processing fee). That message gets converted by encryption software into a long string of letters and numbers, which is then broadcast to every miner on the bitcoin network (there are tens of thousands of them, all over the world). Each miner then gathers your encrypted payment message, along with any other payment messages on the network at the time (usually in batches of around 2,000), into what’s called a block. The miner then uses special software to authenticate each payment in the block—verifying, for example, that you owned the bitcoin you’re sending, and that you haven’t already sent that same bitcoin to someone else.
If your objective is to earn substantial money as a second income, then you are better off purchasing cryptocoins with cash instead of mining them, and then tucking them away in the hopes that they will jump in value like gold or silver bullion. If your objective is to make a few digital bucks and spend them somehow, then you just might have a slow way to do that with mining.
If the Ethereum Platform is rapidly adopted, the demand for transaction processing and distributed application computations could rise dramatically and at a pace that exceeds the rate with which ETH miners can bring online additional mining power. Under such a scenario, the entire Ethereum Platform could become destabilized, due to the increased cost of running distributed applications. In turn, this could dampen interest in the Ethereum Platform and ETH. Insufficiency of computational resources and an associated rise in the price of ETH could result in businesses being unable to acquire scarce computational resources to run their distributed applications. This would represent revenue losses to businesses or worst case, cause businesses to cease operations because such operations have become uneconomical due to distortions in the crypto-economy.