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The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed their use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in eight countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. In the United States and Canada, state and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.
Just when it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse, they did. As mining costs were rising, bitcoin prices began to dive. The cryptocurrency was getting hammered by a string of scams, thefts and regulatory bans, along with a lot of infighting among the mining community over things like optimal block size. Through 2015, bitcoin prices hovered in the low hundreds. Margins grew so thin—and, in fact, occasionally went negative—that miners had to spend their coins as soon as they mined them to pay their power bills. Things eventually got so grim that Carlson had to dig into his precious reserves and liquidate “all my little stacks of bitcoin,” he recalls, ruefully. “To save the business, we sold it all.”
Cryptocurrency is also used in controversial settings in the form of online black markets, such as Silk Road. The original Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 and there have been two more versions in use since then. In the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of prominent dark markets increased from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings increased from 18,000 to 32,000.
Although there are many names for ether denominations, we will use only two: “ether” and “wei”. Wei is the atomic unit of ether, and is the one used on the system level. Most day-to-day transactions will be done with ether, which is equivalent to one quintillion wei, or a 1 followed by 18 zeros. So before sending any transactions, it’s very important to convert the amount to wei, and for that, you can use the web3.toWei function.
Bitcoin is more volatile than practically any other type of asset, including gold or the stock market. Cryptocurrency is still a young technology, and faces many challenges. While I believe the overall trend for bitcoin is upwards, trading this currency comes with considerable risk. Bitcoin prices are highly impacted by public sentiment about the currency. It will continue to fluctuate as companies and financial institutions make decisions of how to incorporate (or not incorporate) it into their businesses and workflow. It’s also highly sensitive to regulatory changes, as I will get to in a minute.
It is possible that the Ethereum Platform will not be used by a large number of external businesses, individuals, and other organizations and that there will be limited public interest in the creation and development of distributed applications. Such a lack of interest could impact the development of the Ethereum Platform and potential uses of ETH. It cannot predict the success of its own development efforts or the efforts of other third parties.