bitcoin” (CC BY 2.0) by aronbaker2

Over the last few months, the topic of cryptocurrencies has been basically impossible to avoid. Whether it’s been the media coverage following bitcoin’s incredible surge in value or the rising adoption rates of ethereum, chances are you haven’t been able to go a week without hearing about cryptocurrencies. Throughout this time, we at Jungle of Life have been trying to figure out whether using cryptocurrencies can improve your everyday life, and if so, how? Plus, to figure that out, how can you actually acquire the cryptocurrency in the first place? Today, we’re sharing what we found in the ultimate guide to improving your life using cryptocurrencies.

1. Do Your Research

As with all financial investments, it is absolutely crucial that you do your research before making any sort of commitment. This is particularly true of cryptocurrency investments, as the process of acquiring and using cryptocurrencies can be extremely demanding. It can also be quite complicated, especially if you have no in-depth knowledge of what cryptocurrencies actually are.

We also think it’s important to note that there are no promises when it comes to financial wealth. At best, you will be able to purchase items from specialised cryptocurrency online retailers, trade digital money on the markets and, hopefully, you’ll be able to exchange your digital coins for traditional currencies. So, while investing in cryptocurrencies may not improve your life by making you a millionaire, it will definitely open you up to more viable opportunities and areas of the world wide web.

You don’t have to just trawl through Google search results to get all the information you need either. It is crucial that you keep up to date on current crypto news, as well as the events that led us to this coin-obsessed era. Ensure you follow blogs such as Coin Desk, which is full of trading advice, and follow digital currency-focused social media profiles on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for cutting-edge information. Another great option is opting into email lists and joining forums, as this is where the newest pieces of important info are usually shared first.

2. Acquire a Secure, Reliable Wallet

Like all currencies, crypto-coins require a place to be stored. Rather than a bank account, though, the place where you store your cryptocurrency is known as a wallet. A wallet is basically a software program that stores, receives and sends cryptocurrencies, although there are different kinds depending on your needs and which platform you are using.

Desktop wallets are downloaded onto computers and laptops, for instance, which means they are only accessible from a single desktop. These wallets are extremely secure, as long as your computer does not get hacked or receive a virus. Online wallets are cloud-based, on the other hand, thus making them accessible from any device with an internet connection. These wallets are far more convenient than desktop wallets, however, they are controlled by a third party, making them more vulnerable to hacks.

Mobile wallets are pretty much apps that are downloaded onto your smartphone, and are highly recommended for individuals carrying small amounts of cryptocurrencies that they plan to spend at retailers. These wallets are best paired with a hardware wallet, which can store far more data. Hardware wallets come in the form of extremely secure USB sticks that store your cryptocurrency offline and can be plugged into computers for easy exchanges. Once plugged in, the user simply enters a pin to access their currency, then sends or receives. Hardware wallets are far less open to hacks then desktop or online wallets, which is why they are so popular within the cryptocurrency community.

Finally, there are paper wallets that offer the highest level of security possible. As you may have guessed the term ‘paper wallet’ simply refers to physical copies (usually printouts) of your public and private keys. Though, it is sometimes used to refer to a piece of software that securely generates pairs of keys to be printed out. While paper wallets are secure, they require quite a lot of dedication, so you may want to really think about it before opting for this storage method.

For a more complete guide and a list of cryptocurrency wallets, we recommend checking out Blockgeeks.

3. Get Your Hands On A Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by zcopley

After researching and ensuring you know all you can about the world of cryptocurrencies, and investing in a reliable wallet, it’s time to actually get your hands on some. Fortunately, as cryptocurrencies become more popular around the world, it is becoming easier and easier to acquire. Here are just some of the best ways to acquire some of that crypto-money:

Purchase Some By Exchanging Traditional Currency

The most obvious way to get some digital moolah is to just buy some, although if you’re looking to invest in the big names like bitcoin you will need quite a lot of traditional money to exchange. Especially in recent times, as a single bitcoin was recently worth as much as $20,000 for a short while back in December. The value has decreased somewhat over the last few weeks, but you will still need to be willing to part with thousands to acquire a single bitcoin.

Of course, there are other cryptocurrencies to choose from out there, they just don’t receive as much media attention as the great bitcoin. Other options include Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin, which are worth $1,084, $1.27 and $198 respectively, at the time of writing this piece. Whichever currency you choose to invest in, take some time to consider what value that money will have in the long run. Yes, chances are fewer places are willing to accept Ripple instead of bitcoin, for instance, but you never know if those Ripples you bought for a dollar might one day be worth thousands.

When you’ve decided which cryptocurrency you want, it’s time to head to an online exchange. There are plenty of exchanges to choose from, though Coinbase is perhaps the most reliable and popular of all. It is a particularly great option for newcomers as the user interface is extremely easy to navigate, thus making your journey into the world of cryptocurrencies as simple as possible.

Work for Your Cryptocurrency

Your second option is to work for your cryptocurrency, you know, like how people usually work for traditional currencies. This is probably best for people interested in bitcoin as there are far more options. Arguably the easiest way to do this is by visiting a bitcoin faucet website such as Moon Bitcoin, Bitcoin Aliens and BTCclicks. These sites create revenue by hosting ads, then pay smaller amounts of this revenue to their users. You simply need to register an account with a bitcoin wallet address and you’ll soon see a few cents trickling through on a daily basis.

Another option is to complete microtasks in exchange for bitcoin. Smartphone app Bituro rewards the completion of small tasks such as watching ads and filling out surveys with bitcoins, while Bitcoin Reward is a website that does the same. Coinbucks is also a fun option if you enjoy playing smartphone games, where you will be rewarded with bitcoins as well.

Accept Cryptocurrency as a Payment Method

These days, there are millions of people selling things on the internet, and if you happen to be one of these people you may want to consider accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Chances are you will have to advertise whatever it is you’re selling and/or your business directly to audiences that use digital money to see any uptake, but once that happens, you should be set. After all, cryptocurrency users are constantly on the lookout for places to spend their coin. Do make sure you get the currency exchange rate right, though, as you wouldn’t want to shortchange yourself or overcharge.

Mine Your Own Cryptocurrency

Finally, the last option worth mentioning here is that you could mine your own cryptocurrency. This is by far the most complicated option, though, as it requires computers with incredible power. In fact, you may need to build a computer – or an entire farm of computers for that matter – with the sole intention of mining cryptocurrency, with top-quality graphics cards and other parts that result in the uppermost computing power. Said computer will also consume a lot of electricity, as mining can take days if not weeks of constant work. Needless to say, mining cryptocurrencies is extremely demanding and difficult, so we only recommend this to people who are more focused on the process of collecting digital money than they produce.

4. Actually Use Your Cryptocurrency To Improve Your Life

Alright, we’ve finally got to the good stuff!

Earlier this year, successful internet marketer and founder of onemorecupof-coffee dot com Roderick (also known as Nathaniell) wrote a compelling piece exploring whether the average man could make money by investing in cryptocurrencies. In this post, Roderick writes: “If you want to make money long term, don’t trade it.” He goes on to explain that by buying and holding on to cryptocurrencies for as long as possible is the best way to go. In the world of cryptocurrencies, this is jokingly referred to as advice to “hodl”. This makes sense considering individuals who bought bitcoin in 2012 for $10 each can now sell a single bitcoin for thousands of dollars.

Still, we assume there are some of you out there who want to get your hands on some cryptocurrency to actually use it, not just to “hodl”. Sure, holding onto it might (and that’s a very slight might) improve your life in the far-off future, but it can definitely improve your life right now. So, how and where can you actually spend your cryptocurrency?

Give to Charity

Making charitable donations is always a great way to not only improve your life, but the life of others as well. However, after the recent releases regarding where most charities actually spend your money, we wouldn’t blame you if you no longer want to give some charities your hard-earned money. Still, you can continue to help others and know for a fact your funds are being delivered to the right people by donating cryptocurrencies. Every transaction made using digital money is recorded, so you can be sure you’re giving to a good cause. For a complete list of charities that accept cryptocurrencies, click here.

Travel Around the World

One of the very first companies to accept the cryptocurrency bitcoin was Cheap Air, back in November 2013. This encouraged many other businesses in the travel industry to embrace cryptocurrencies and now it is one of the best ways to spend your digital coins. Destinia, ABitSky, airBaltic and Peach Aviation are just some of the airlines that already accept various cryptocurrencies. As for accommodation services, Expedia is a huge site with hotels and apartments to rent all over the world. Alternatively, you can visit eGifter or Gyft to purchase bitcoin gift cards for companies including American Airlines, Delta and Hotels dot com.

Play Online Games

When it comes to online payment methods, few industries are ever ahead of iGaming. These days, it’s pretty typical for an online casino to accept cards, eWallets and even those made via phone bill, that is if you have to deposit anything at all considering the wide range of free spin no deposit bonuses out there right now. Considering the fact that quite a few cryptocurrencies including bitcoin were apparently created to make exchanges in online games far easier and more secure, it is no surprise that industries such as iGaming have embraced cryptocurrencies. For years now, many big-name online casino brands have accepted bitcoin and other digital currencies as viable payment methods. More recently, sites that deal solely in specific cryptocurrencies have begun to pop up, often giving out huge prize pools.

Get Educated

It was the University of Nicosia in Cyprus that first began accepting cryptocurrencies in exchange for tuition and other educational fees through payment processor Bitpay. Now, there are plenty of other universities, including The Lucerne University for Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland, ESMT Berlin and King’s College in the United States. Hopefully, in the future, even more universities and schools will begin to accept cryptocurrencies, and perhaps even start courses that focus on the world of digital currencies.

Buy, Buy, Buy!

With each passing day it seems like the list of retailers that accept cryptocurrencies grows. Right now, you can use various cryptocurrencies to purchase items from the like of Overstock, Newegg and Shopify. Meanwhile, you can purchase fast food and groceries from KFC Canada, Subway and Whole Foods with no problem. Really, you’d be surprised how many everyday items you can purchase using nothing bit cryptocurrencies.

However, if you happen to bag a bunch of cryptocurrency than you can look further than the usual stuff that you purchase from your corner shop. At sites like BitPremier, you can purchase expensive artwork, while MyCOINreality is the best online real estate site for wealthy cryptocurrency owners. If you’re more of a car enthusiast, there are plenty of luxury online cryptocurrency marketplaces that sell lavish cars from Teslas to Lamborghinis, and if that still isn’t enough for you Virgin Galactic will accept bitcoins in exchange for a seat on their future flights into outer space.

So, do you think you’ll be investing in cryptocurrencies anytime soon, and are there any other ways that you believe digital money can improve your life? Let us know in the comments below.

Having overtaken Las Vegas as the leading gambling destination in the world, Macau not only boasts many of the biggest and most spectacular casino resorts, it also has a rich and diverse cultural history just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. East meets west in the most spectacular of ways, ensuring that visitors will always have plenty to tantalize all of their senses, both in the variety of games like poker, roulette and blackjack as well as in entertainment and dining options. Let’s take at the past which guided this location to where it is today, and what modern visitors can encounter in this thriving Asian destination.

The Oriental trading gateway between east and west

Nestled on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China, the peninsula and islands of Macau were home to the Tanka boat people and migrating fishermen for many centuries, until the Age of Discovery brought Portuguese naval adventurers exploring the coastal areas of Africa and Asia, early in the 16th century. Already beginning to establish trade bases in the region, it was only after a shipwreck in 1535 that Portuguese traders were allowed to weigh anchor in the small harbors of Macau. Despite initial friction between the Ming Dynasty and Portuguese Empire, aid from the European nation in eliminating piracy along the southern Chinese coast brought more cordial relations.

In 1557, the Ming court consented to a permanent trade base in Macau for the Portuguese, who paid 44 pounds in weight of silver annually as rent. By the end of the 16th century and after the establishment of a small colonial settlement, Macau quickly became an important Asian trading hub and a location of strategic importance as well as a key center for Catholic missionaries in the region. The Portuguese colony flourished for almost two centuries, although British trading dominance and control of nearby Hong Kong by the mid-19th-century brought a gradual decline as the key port in the area.

Although there has always been a popular gambling and betting culture in Macau since the earliest colonial days, it was only during the 1850s when the Portuguese colonial government introduced legislation to legalize gambling, including real money poker and roulette. Just a few years later, a licensing system was also introduced for over 200 Chinese Fantan gambling houses, which were then required to pay gambling rents and taxes to the colonial government. Trade had always been the principal source of revenues, but such was the popularity of gambling in Macau, it quickly established a reputation for itself as the so-called “Monte Carlo of the Orient” and eventually, gambling revenues soon outstripped all others.

Image Source: Wikipedia (Public Domain)
Caption: 1639 map of old Macau

The Tai Heng Company was granted a gambling monopoly in 1937, although the economic potential it controlled was never fully realized. However, In 1962 the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) was formed, a syndicate established jointly by businessmen from Macau and nearby Hong Kong. Granted monopoly rights to all forms of gambling by the Portuguese government, they modernized marine transport links between Hong Kong and Macau and brought popular western-style games such as baccarat and poker to the casinos. This attracted millions of eager gamblers from Hong Kong each year, where laws and legislation much were stricter.

Macau became a special administrative region of China (SAR) in 1999, as Portugal relinquished control of their former colony, just two years after Britain had done the same with Hong Kong. Despite no initial changes to gambling, in 2002, the Macau government ended the monopoly system and casino and poker room operating concessions were granted, bringing an influx of western casino operators and within just five years, Macau rapidly cemented its place as the gambling capital of the world, vastly surpassing even Las Vegas since 2007 in terms of revenues.

Appealing tourist delights of every era and style

Just an hour across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong by boat and a hop over its peninsula border with China, Macau has been a hugely popular destination for tourists within its own region for many decades. Since the turn of the 21st century, Macau has also enjoyed an ever-growing surge in popularity as a go-to location for tourists from practically every corner of the globe looking to play Texas Hold’em, baccarat, French roulette and more, having reinvented itself with a revolution of modern development, alongside its historic trading past.

Undoubtedly, the huge growth of recent years has been the fruit of massive investment and jaw-dropping construction projects. After the first major international casinos such as Sands Macau opened in 2004, great demand for limited space led to two square miles of the Seac Pai Bay being reclaimed from the sea, forming what is now the Cotai Strip. This is where the biggest casino resort hotel complexes can be found, such as The Venetian Macao, which is impressively even bigger than its Las Vegas counterpart. It boasts over 3,000 suites, 3,400 slot machines, and 800 gaming tables; including exclusive VIP poker tables for the high rollers, mainly offering Texas Hold’em games.

Nevertheless, moving away from the glamor and glitz of the luxurious casino resorts, there’s a wealth of fabulous sights to see and delicious tastes to savor. What genuinely defines Macau is the rich fusion of Chinese and Western cultures, with the beautifully preserved historic center recognized as being of Outstanding Universal Value, after achieving UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2005. This wonderfully intertwined union of cultural influences has also led to Macau being designated as an important UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, thanks to the culinary combinations of Chinese, Macanese and Portuguese cuisine.

Image Source: Wikipedia
Caption: Senado Square, Macau – (CC BY-SA 3.0) by luchangjiang~???

Sightseeing in Macau and taking in the wildly contrasting sights is like taking a walk through the chapters of time itself. Discovering the ancient A-Ma Temple, visitors will encounter a monument that pre-dates the city of Macau itself, with pavilions dedicated to the worship of various beliefs within Chinese culture, including Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs. The Christian missionary influence is also represented, with various sites such as the hilltop Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, founded in 1622 as a place of prayer for sailors, before they set sail on the open seas.

The urban center of Macau for centuries, Senado Square is the heart of the Portuguese colonial influence, surrounded by their European architectural influence and bringing a Mediterranean look. Of course, the city also needed to defend itself from rival colonial factions as they jostled for power in the Orient, which is represented by the imposing Mount and Guia Fortresses. Amidst all these architectural wonders are beauties of nature and horticulture, which also demonstrate the uniting of cultures in both style and design, offering a tranquil escape from the surrounding urban hustle and bustle.

Staying entertained in a city that never slumbers

Without any shadow of a doubt, what has firmly put Macau on the modern map is its place as the gambling capital of the world – having taken over from. Some of the best poker venues in Asia are here, such as the City of Dreams with a dedicated poker room, the Wynn Macau, where no-limit hold’em poker and pot-limit Omaha games can be played, no matter the hour of day, and the Casino Lisboa, which is one of the most historic venues in Macau and offers a three-table poker room with the lowest stakes in town in no-limit hold’em games, making for a thriving and vibrant poker community filled with professionals and enthusiasts alike. Along with the slot machines, other western-style table games such as baccarat, many of the biggest casino resorts also feature traditionally popular Asian games like sic bo and of course, the game on which Macau’s gambling empire was built, fantan.

Taking a break from the poker tables and slot machines filling the casino floors, there’s never any shortage of entertainment on offer at the casino resorts themselves. All year round, visual spectaculars such as the Chinese Show Monkey King at Sands Cotai Theatre, or the spectacular Performance Lake in the open arena in front of the Wynn, are filled with amazing sights and sounds to enjoy. For a cultural treat, check out the Yueju Opera, which dates back over 300 years and continues to expressively employ the Cantonese dialect in performances. If you just want to just kick back and relax with a drink or two, then beyond the hotel resorts themselves, there are many with stunning sunset views over the Pearl River.

Image Source: Wikipedia
Caption: Nam Van Lake, Macau – (CC BY-SA 4.0) by Diego Delso

There is quite literally something for every preference for visitors to enjoy in Macau, whether you’re hitting the poker tables at one of the luxurious and spectacular modern resort hotels, or surrounding yourself with cultural and architectural wonders; all before treating your taste buds to the fabulous and varied cuisine. It’s no wonder Macau is now the gambling capital of the world, but it’s so much more than that.