Lebanon is in a deep economic crisis, and the country’s citizens are exploring alternatives to traditional banking that would free them from the strict restrictions imposed by their government. As the world’s largest and oldest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is an obvious choice, but there are some hurdles to overcome if you would like to purchase it from Lebanon.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency created by an unknown person called Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Since then, its market capitalization has reached an all-time high of more than $1 trillion, which is roughly half the value of all cryptocurrencies combined.
The main aspect that separates Bitcoin from other similar projects is the technology behind it, called Blockchain. Bitcoin’s blockchain is basically a public distributed database of transactions, which are verified by network nodes through cryptography, ensuring their immutability. In other words, once a transaction is recorded, it can’t be retroactively changed.
The process of transaction verification is referred to as mining, and it requires a substantial amount of computing power. Those who participate in it are rewarded with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees. If you would like to understand how Bitcoin actually works under the hood, then we highly recommend you watch the video explanation by 3Blue1Brown.
As a user, you just need to know that Bitcoin is a convenient (albeit volatile) alternative to fiat currency, allowing you to quickly and securely send and receive payments across borders without having to go through any third party.
How To Buy Bitcoin In Lebanon?
Unfortunately, buying Bitcoin in Lebanon is not as easy as buying Bitcoin in most other countries. Due to the United States embargo over Lebanon and the banking restrictions imposed by Lebanese authorities, almost all reputable cryptocurrency exchanges refuse to serve Lebanese customers.
While you could technically create an account on exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, or Gemini, features such as account verification and fund deposits (as well as crypto purchases) will not work even if you have an international credit card or bank account abroad.
Binance In Lebanon
One of the very few respected exchanges that does offer its services in Lebanon is called Binance.
Binance is an excellent option for buying Bitcoin as well as hundreds of altcoins (including the popular Dogecoin). Creating an account is fairly straightforward. Use your email or Lebanese phone number to sign up, fill in your basic information, and upload your Lebanese passport or ID card to complete the verification process. Once your account has been verified (this process may take a couple of hours), you’ll be able to make your first Bitcoin purchase. It’s important to mention that you will only be able to make purchases using a “fresh” dollar account credit/debit card.
If cryptocurrency exchanges aren’t your thing, there are at least three alternative options available, so let’s take a closer look at them.
As we’ve already explained, Bitcoin makes it possible for any two people to trade directly without the involvement of a centralized financial authority. This means that you can simply find someone in Lebanon who already has BTC and purchase some from the person in exchange for cash.
You can find local traders on peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplaces like:
Alternatively, you can join a Bitcoin community such as @lbbtcm on Telegram and find someone willing to trade with you that way. Just make sure to verify the person’s trading reputation to avoid getting scammed.
If person-to-person trading seems a bit too daunting to you, then you should consider buying BTC from a retailer like Bitcoins Lebanon, BTCLeb, or CryptoLeb. Lebanese Bitcoin retailers typically accept payments in person or via Western Union, and they offer professional customer support to put your worries at ease during the buying process.
Mine Them Yourself
New BTC is issued as a reward to those who verify Bitcoin transactions by solving extremely complex computational math problems in a process called mining. To participate in Bitcoin mining, you actually don’t need any specialized equipment, but don’t expect to earn any significant amount of BTC unless your computer is extremely powerful — the competition these days is simply too steep.
While you can increase your profitability by investing in specialized mining hardware and joining a mining pool, which is basically just a large group of miners who evenly split their rewards, you may not be able to break even unless you have access to free or nearly free electricity.
Tips To Avoid Bitcoin Scams
Money attracts scammers — that’s how it’s always been. The cryptocurrency space is, unfortunately, full of them, so you really need to take some time to learn how to protect yourself. Here are five tips to help you avoid Bitcoin scams:
- Verify, verify, verify: You should never send money to anyone you don’t 100% trust. Remember that screenshots can be faked, email addresses spoofed, and security credentials stolen.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: If this is your first time buying Bitcoin, we recommend you start small and avoid putting all your eggs in just one basket. That way, you won’t lose all your money even if you make a serious mistake and fall for a scam.
- Use two-factor authentication: When trading BTC online, always enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. 2FA is the most effective protection against password-based attacks.
- Never let anyone remotely use your computer: Even if you really could use IT support, we strongly urge you to not let anyone remotely access your computer unless you know the person and fully trust them.
- Buy a hardware wallet: A hardware wallet is a special device that resembles a USB thumb drive. It lets you store your Bitcoin private keys in a secure manner, protecting them against malware and hackers.
Unfortunately, people who live in Lebanon don’t have the same options when it comes to buying Bitcoin as people living in most other countries. But having fewer options to choose from is still better than having no options at all. Peer-to-peer trading, for example, is easy to get into, making it a great choice for those who would like to bet on Bitcoin’s steadily growing (at least in the long-term) price.
If you found this guide helpful, you’ll definitely want to check out our beginner’s guide on how to make money with NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).
The Top 3 Altcoins To Keep An Eye On In 2021
If you’re a crypto enthusiast looking to diversify your portfolio, then these are the top 3 altcoins you should keep an eye on in 2021.
When most people think of cryptocurrency, they automatically think of Bitcoin. Bitcoin has seen a huge surge in popularity over the last five-or-so years, and although the market is now flooded with spinoff coins in hundreds of flavors, many newcomers to cryptocurrency still have no idea that other options exist. In this article, we’re discussing the top 3 altcoins we believe you should keep an eye on this year.
What Are Altcoins?
An “Altcoin” is simply a cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. All altcoins share common characteristics, and operate in broadly the same way as Bitcoin, but under the hood, they may use a different mechanism to conduct transactions.
Some altcoins are used purely for mining, whereas others are intended to be used as security or utility tokens. Ethereum and Binance Coin are probably the best know Bitcoin alternatives, but as of 2021, there are over 9,000 different cryptocurrencies in existence, and that number will undoubtedly rise in the future.
Should You Invest In Altcoins?
Some altcoins are more stable and mature than others, Ethereum being a prime example. With that being said, you only have to take a look at a recent Bitcoin price chart to see that even the most mature of cryptocurrencies can still be very volatile in nature.
Investing in altcoins then, is something of a gamble. Many of the Bitcoin alternatives are attractive to investors because they’re currently extremely cheap, and have the potential for huge growth. That means it’s relatively easy to build a broad portfolio of coins for relatively little outlay. It’s also perfectly possible to make a very good return if you choose wisely.
Here are some of our top altcoin picks for 2021:
Disclaimer: Any recommendations we give in this article are purely based on our own opinions. We’re certainly not giving you financial advice. Always do your own independent research before investing in cryptocurrency of any kind.
Our 1st Pick: Cardano (ADA)
Out of our “top 3 altcoins”, Cardano is perhaps the most interesting. So-called “meme coins” like Doge are getting a lot of celebrity hype right now, which means that genuinely innovative altcoins like Cardano aren’t always given the attention they deserve. That’s a shame, because Cardano is based around a genuinely useful (and ethical) set of features that could eventually see it becoming a very wise choice for patient investors.
What Is Cardano?
Cardano’s CEO, and former Ethereum founder Charles Hoskinson, describes the altcoin as:
“A collection of protocols and technology that allows you to transform, store, and manage value, identity, and governance.”
Hoskinson has focused his efforts on creating a technology that can help people in the Third World to create verifiable records and better access to bank accounts and loans, as well as a means of storing academic credentials that are recognized worldwide.
In addition to it’s ethical underpinnings, Cardano uses the “Proof of Stake” model to mine new blocks and verify transactions. This means that only a fraction of Cardano holders can mine on the network, which greatly reduces the overall carbon footprint of the blockchain, as it puts restrictions on the number of computers that can mine new coins.
Bitcoin on the other hand, uses a “Proof of Work” model. This puts zero restrictions on mining, meaning that wealthy companies not only have an unfair advantage in the amount of processing power they can bring to mining operations, but there is no ceiling on the amount of energy that can be thrown at mining.
Should You Invest In Cardano?
Obviously all altcoins are volatile in nature, so we can’t be certain that you’ll hit the big time by investing in Cardano. With that being said, the team behind this cryptocurrency has some great experience and credentials, and they’ve already proven the technology as viable. Cardano is also set to launch smart contracts within the next couple of months which experts in the field claim will skyrocket the price.
Think of this one as a slow burner, and not your typical “meme coin”, and you could see healthy returns in the longer term.
2nd Pick: Polkadot (DOT)
Founded by Gavin Wood (another Ethereum co-founder) back in 2016, Polkadot launched in 2020. To date, the cryptocurrency has raised over $200 million from investors and although its growth has been volatile, it’s seen some promising gains in 2021.
What Is Polkadot?
Polkadot is essentially a software that allows users to launch and operate their own blockchains. It features a main network (the so-called Relay Chain) for permanent transactions, as well as user created networks, known as Parachains, that can be customized for any number of uses.
The purpose of Polkadot’s design is to create an ecosystem that allows users to conduct more secure transactions with greater privacy, using blockchains that don’t disclose user data onto the public network itself.
So This Is Basically Like Ethereum?
Since the major Ethereum update known as Ethereum 2.0, it does share many similarities with Polkadot in operation and developers can even use Polkadot’s developer framework to simulate the Ethereum blockchain for use in custom blockchain designs.
Should You Invest In Polkadot?
Polkadot’s value grew rapidly in February 2021, with a huge price hike of 350% from the start of the year. Like many altcoins, there’s been a degree of volatility in Polkadot’s market price, but many experts are bullish about the future value of this coin, with some forecasters suggesting it could break the $100 mark by the end of 2021.
3rd Pick: Shiba Inu (SHIB)
Dogecoin was conceived as a Bitcoin parody way back in 2013, and Shiba Inu Coin takes the absurdity to the next level, using the breed name of the Japanese dog mascot of Dogecoin to create a “a meta parody”.
Although clearly created as something of a joke, Ryoshi, the founder of Shiba Inu, envisaged the coin as a fun experiment to build a token using a 100% decentralized community, and despite clearly being a meme-coin, it does show promise for future investors:
Shiba Inu – Made For Investors
Shiba Inu was created in such a way as to provide its investors with greater investment potential from its inception. The Shiba Inu team created an ERC-20 token that was priced low enough that anyone could own millions of tokens whilst they were still relatively undervalued.
Another decision made by the Shiba Inu team was to hand over half of the pool of coins available at launch to Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of Ethereum. The team hoped that “burning” a large amount of the currency would prevent the coins being bought up by a few big investors, which could have impacted its future use as genuinely useful coin.
As it turns out, Vitalik Buterin has now given away 10% of his entire portfolio of Shiba Inu to a COVID-19 relief fund in India, and burned the remaining 90% sending prices tumbling after their huge initial surge in early May 2021.
Should You Invest In Shiba Inu Coin?
The market for novelty “meme coins” is huge at the moment. Investors are constantly looking for the next big thing, and Shiba Inu still has decent growth potential, despite the loses suffered b Buterin’s huge coin dump. For that reason, and because it’s so closely tied to the fortunes of Dogecoin, we’d say that Shiba Inu still has a lot of potential left for the rest of 2021.
There are hundreds of promising altcoins making strong gains in 2021, and these are simply the top 3 altcoins we believe will see significant price rises towards the end of the year. It’s important that you go into the world of altcoins with your eyes open, and don’t make any rash investing decisions that you’ll later regret. However, for those of you that keep a level head and invest wisely, you could see some amazing returns from your portfolio!