iotacoin

IOTA – Addressing The Downfalls Of The Blockchain

IOTA is an open-source cryptocurrency that throws the focus on offering safe communications and ensuring secure payments between devices on the IoT. Its main goal is to set the grounds for a fully sustainable ecosystem that enables the creation and growth of open source technologies. It relies on the directed acyclic graph technology which validates node transactions via consensus funding. No blockchain is used in the process, since the main purpose of the creation of IOTA was to address the downfalls of the blockchain technology.

 

IOTA transactions are free indifferent of their size; they are also speedy and the system can handle an unlimited number of simultaneous transactions. IOTA is overseen by the IOTA Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that strives to constantly grow and maintain the technology in its license-free form.

Who Created IOTA?

IOTA was founded by David Sonstebo, Dominik Schiener, Serguei Popov and Sergey Ivancheglo in 2015. The IOTA Foundation has worked together with Volkswagen and Innogy in order to create CarPass. This is a special technology that offers safe automotive charging networks, along with audit trails and digital identities via IOTA. But the collaborations did not stop here. The Foundation has also worked together with Samsung, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom and Fujitsu to open up a data marketplace that relies on its technology. Moreover, the non-profit organization has contributed to the creation of the Trusted IOT Alliance, together with Cisco and Bosch, to name just a couple of the giants that are also part of it.

 

In 2017, the Foundation started a collaboration with REFUNITE, the largest database of missing persons on the planet. The purpose was to use the new technology to bring families back together during a conflict. The Flash Network was also activated, enabling fast speed and instant nano payments. This happened prior to Bitcoin and Ethereum got a chance to launch their own versions. A UK based cleaning company made it public that they would accept IOTA as a payment. Sopra Steria also expressed their willingness to partner up with IOTA in order to improve intra-device security.

 

Bitfinex Outlier Ventures invested a seven-figure sum into IOTA, and this was their very first investment into a distributed ledger technology.

 

The Foundation has a $100 million fund that can be used in order to promote the use of IOTA. The funds are received via tokens distributed to those companies that have chosen to build their technology with the help of IOTA. The fund does not support start-ups.

 

IOTA’S Technological Characteristics

Tangle is the name of the data structure that relies on the Direct Acyclic Graph; it does not require any miners or data blocks. Any network member who wishes to perform a transaction has to become an active participant in the network consensus. This is done by having two former transactions approved and it should be regarded as an attestation of validity. The more individuals adopt the IOTA model and complete transactions on it, its scalability will continue to expand. A transaction that has been sent has to accumulate a satisfying level of verification so that its recipient can confirm it. IOTA has just one administrator – referred to as the Coordinator – responsible for confirming all transactions. When the network reaches a satisfyingly large size, the Coordinator will be removed from it.

Approved participants will enjoy the unique IOTA functions, high transaction capacity with no limits on the number, zero transaction commissions, as well as a higher degree of decentralization compared to the blockchain. Higher levels of security are also to be expected along with the rest of the advantages of using IOTA.

All IOTA coins were released as soon as they were created, and no new IOTA coins can ever be mined. This also means that there is lots of room for new developments, since all the tokens that will ever part of the network are already present on the market. There are zero risks of any increased supply causing inflation. In other words, the only way direction IOTA can follow is an ascending one.

Since there are no miners, IOTA has no processing or transaction verification fees specific to other altcoins.

The Data Marketplace

IOTA has also developed a public marketplace that can be found here https://data.iota.org/. The marketplace is used for data that is generated by sensors from third parties. The main goal is to properly monetize the market for 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day and growing by the minute. The project attracted the interest of more than 20 international organizations in all parts of the world. This means that regular netizens will be allowed to sell their data on the marketplace.

What Are Flash Channels?

IOTA allows users to benefit from the advantages of instant, high throughput, bi-directional payment channels that are not on the Tangle. Parties can complete transactions at incredibly high speed while eliminating the need to wait for the regular confirmation. Whenever a new channel is made, each of the parties involved deposits the same amount of IOTA into an address with multiple signatures that will be managed by everyone involved. After every deposit is confirmed, the channel no longer needs to keep in touch with the network until it is time to close it. At the end of each transaction, the final balances are published to the IOTA network. This is a highly useful approach that can dramatically cut the large number of regular transactions (usually, a few thousands) down to only two.

One practical example is that of issuing a payment for someone who wants to charge a smartphone via the wireless technology in a coffee shop. If both the phone and the shop would open a IOTA Flash Channel, the payments would be completed from the smart device to the coffee shop. When the charge would be completed, the channel would be closed and the payment would be recorded on the Tangle. It’s that simple.  

The Official IOTA Wallet

This waller can be downloaded from GitHub and it asks users to generate their own private keys also referred to as keys.

IOTA can be traded for fiat currencies, Bitcoin, and Ether. You can use numerous online exchanges to complete your trade, including Bitfinex, CoinSpot, Binance, or Exrates.

At the time this article was written, the IOTA was worth $0.53 and it has a market cap of $1,497,902,378 USD, or the equivalent of 222,560 BTC.

What The Future Holds

IOTA plans on allowing companies to introduce new business-to-business models, in an attempt to turn all technological resources into potential services that can be sold in real time and with zero charges on open markets. The Tangle will be used to create safe and fully authenticated communication channels between different devices.

Physical resources tied to the IOTA network will be available for rental in the near future. This includes, but it is not limited to equipment, data storage volumes, and computer capacities.

Tangle is also getting ready for new opportunities for secure data transfers to eGovernance; electronic voting is a hot topic under discussion, and there are already a few companies that have initiated their research on the topic.

dashcoin

Dash – Next Generation Currencies

Dash is a next-generation digital currency that can be spent anywhere. It can be used to make instant payments online or in-store private payments with the help of a fully secured open-source platform. The platform is hosted by thousands of users around the globe. Dash gives a voice to anyone interested in introducing their own projects to the network. Marketing, development, and anything else that can help Dash grow is eligible for funding. Users simply need to submit a treasury proposal and present their idea to the network to receive funding for it.

 

Dash has also managed to solve many of the shortcomings associated to Bitcoin. For example, it enables faster transactions, more privacy for financial operations, while developing a decentralized governance and funding system.

What Is Decentralized Governance?

Dash has created a completely decentralized system responsible for governing and funding the future development of projects. Anyone interested in the network can come up with an idea for a project that can help grow the Dash ecosystem. The proposal needs to be voted on by Masternode owners. When at least 10 percent of the Masternodes have voted in its favor, the project will be considered approved.

Also, when a miner solves a block, they will receive 45% of the block reward, while another 45% will support the second tier of the network. The remaining 10% will be withed by the Dash network instead of being generated. Every month, withheld DASH is created by superblocks. There is one block per each proposal that gets approved, which generates the DASH necessary for funding the proposals. The emission rate is not altered during the process, as the exact same amount of DASH is created as would have been generated otherwise.

What Is InstantX?

InstantX is short for “instant transactions” and is refers to the technology that enables transactions to be confirmed in just four seconds. InstantX was rebranded to InstantSend. It relies on the second tier of the Dash network also referred to as the Masternodes and it creates a “lock” once there is a new transaction on the network. The DASH connected to the respective transaction are locked and it is impossible to be spent twice. Every time someone will try to spend the locked DASH, the network will automatically stop the attempt by rejecting it.

What Is The X11 Chained Hashing Algorithm?

X11 is a popularly known and utilized hashing algorithm that was developed by none other than the lead developer of Dash, Evan Duffield. This chained hashing algorithm uses a special sequence of eleven hashing algorithms for the proof-of-work. The purpose of the sequence is to boost the level of decentralization by making Application Specific Integrated Circuits hard to create.

The main goal is to avoid reaching the same level of centralization like Bitcoin ever since the implementation of Bitcoin ASICs. Plus, when it comes to the X11 algorithm compared to Litecoin’s Scrypt algorithm, GPUs require 30% less wattage and run up to 50% cooler than.

What is DarkSend?

The Dash client stores automatically pre-mixed, denominated Dash in the wallet of a user. It can be used at any moment, instantly. The user does not have to lift a single finger for the mixing and denomination phases. Every ten blocks, all user clients across the network send the unmixed Dash they might have in their possession via the anonymization phase. This is where Masternodes mix the received coins and separate them into homogenous denominations. Coins are then sent to the next Masternode in the chain, or they go back to the wallets of the users at some addresses that will be generated randomly. The coins of a user will always be sent to different addresses within their wallet, which means they will never actually leave their possession.

Who Created Dash?

Dash was created on the 18th of January in 2014 by Evan Duffield. It was initially released as XCoin (XCO), but a month later it was renamed “Darkcoin”. At the end of March of the following year, Darkcoin became “Dash”.

 

Duffield first laid his eyes on Bitcoin in 2010 and was was impressed by it; but what he didn’t like was the slow speeds at which transactions were completed, and the fact that it didn’t offer enough privacy. He started brainstorming ideas on how to turn Bitcoin into an anonymous coin. However, knowing the Bitcoin’s core developers would never allow him to put his ideas into practice, he instead the BTC core code to build his brand new cryptocurrency.

Dash Coin Supply And Market Cap

Dash was created for a total supply of 18 million coins. It is estimated that the circulating supply of Dash will reach its limit in the year 2300. The variable block reward decreases at a 7.1 % rate with each passing year.

With an average block mining time of 2.5 minutes on the blockchain, Dash is four times faster than Bitcoin. And that is a huge advantage that definitely makes it an important competitor in the industry.

At the point of writing this article, the price of Dash was little over $142, with a market cap of $1,181,792,259.  

Dash Features That Make It Unique

Dash has a few features that make it really unique:

 

  • Private fund sending. Dash enables you to keep your payments entirely private and make sure no one can track you or your transactions. You will be the only person who can gain access to your financial information. Since your transaction will be mixed with other transactions, it would be practically impossible to identify your own. You will always have the option of using the anonymity feature, if you want to. There is a small catch, however, if you wish to use this feature, your sending amount will be limited to 1000 Dash.
  • Send transactions in 1.5 seconds with InstantSend. Keep in mind Masternodes charges higher fees for processing these transactions. InstantSend has also managed to solve the double-spending problem. Masternodes are special privilege nodes owned by Dash. Anyone can form Masternodes by holding 1000 Dash as collateral. These special nodes allow you to the PrivateSend and InstantSend functions, as well as earn 45% block rewards. InstantSend affirms installments in around four seconds.
  • Safe transactions. Thanks to the advanced encryption behind it, and the powerful protocol used to ensure complete security in the process of making a payment and using the anonymization process, Dash is one of the safest altcoins on the market.
  • Cheaper fees. It also enables you to send money in any location on the globe, using the same low fees and fast speeds as if you were personally sending money to a next door neighbor. The majority of transactions costs a few cents to send, which is considerably cheaper than popular services like Western Union or PayPal, or regular banks and Visa cards.

 

How To Buy Dash?

Using Wire Transfers

You can rely on a number of altcoin exchange websites that accept credit cards, SOFORT, Skrill, fiat currencies, or SEPA transfers for purchasing Dash. Most of these sites will require verification and they will set buying limits at a relatively small amount (600 Euros for BitPanda, available in Europe only). Kraken is another world-popular exchange for altcoins that allows you to fund your account using USD and EUR via wire transfers, then buy Dash directly. In some cases, you may need to wait a couple of days to receive your Dash after verification.

Using Cash

You can use Dash ATMs in Oregon, New York, and Florida and buy Dash with zero delays and complications. The fees might be higher compared to other options, but if you are in a real hurry to make a purchase, this is the approach that will require the least effort.

WallofCoins is an escrow service that seemingly simplifies the buying and selling of Bitcoin and altcoins such as Dash. You can easily buy Dash by keeping money at a nearby bank the United States, Canada, Poland, Germany, Brazil, Latvia, and the Philippines. After receiving conformation that the money has safely stored into your account, it will take around 15 minutes to obtain the Dash coins. There will be a fee of around 1%.

Exchanging Bitcoin For Dash

If you already own Bitcoin, you can use a main exchange and easily trade it for Dash. Some example of trustworthy exchanges include ShapeShift, Kraken, Bitfinex, or Changelly.

All in all, the future of Dash looks encouraging, and its relatively steady ascent in contrast with other altcoins makes it a good choice that is definitely worth looking into.

litecoin

Litecoin – Bitcoin’s Little Brother

Litecoin (LTC) is a virtual currency that enables instant payments with near zero fees to any person on the planet. It is an open source, fully decentralized global payment network secured by mathematics. Math also enables individuals to gain control over their finances. Some of the main advantages of Litecoin are the faster confirmation times for transactions, and its improved storage efficiency. Its trade volume, together with its degree of liquidity and impressive support on behalf of the industry turn Litecoin into an excellent proven medium of commerce that is complementary to the world-popular Bitcoin. However, Litecoin and Bitcoin are almost identical, from a technical point of view.

When Was Litecoin Released?

The altcoin was released at the end of 2011, with the help of an open-source client. Its creator is Charlie Lee, a talented Google employee. The Litecoin network went live on the 13th of October, 2011. It was originally a fork of the Bitcoin Core client, but it had a slower block generation time, a larger number of maximum coins, and it used a scrypt – a password-based key derivation function instead of the SHA-256 algorithm. It also came with a relatively new graphical user interface.

The following month after its launch, Litecoin’s value made a 100% leap within a time frame of 24 hours. And it managed to reach a mind-blowing $1 billion market cap at the end of 2013. Four years later, Litecoin is the first of the top 5 altcoins that adopted Segregated Witness – a soft fork change in the transaction format of the Bitcoin. In the spring, the very first Lightning Network transaction was done with the help of Litecoin. It took less than a second to transfer 0.00000001 LTC from Zürich to San Francisco.

How Is Litecoin Different From Bitcoin?

  • Litecoin has the same open source code like the one used by Bitcoin. However, engineer Charlie Lee wanted Litecoin to be faster than its big brother. About four times faster. Hence, the goal of the Litecoin Network is to process a block every 2.5 minutes, compared to the 10 minutes Bitcoin needs to complete a similar transaction. This allegedly enables Litecoin to provide faster transaction legitimacy confirmation. It can also process more transactions over the same time frame. This is extremely useful for merchants who need to many small transactions on a daily basis.
  • Litecoin relies on scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm. This is a sequential memory-hard function that solicits more memory compared to a non memory-hard alternative. This automatically leads to more money being spent on building complex field-programmable gate array and application-specific integrated circuit mining devices for it. However, the mining is simplified and consumes less energy.
  • One of the biggest reasons why lots of altcoins hold intrinsic value is due to their limited number or supply. The limit of circulating LTC will be four times that of Bitcoin’s limit, as officially stated at the launch. This means that for a 21 million Bitcoin limit, LTC will be limited to 84 million. At the moment, there are around 40 million Lite coins in circulation, which means this altcoin has reached half of its original limit supply.
  • Bitcoin is the incontestable leader of the market; but litecoin ranks among the top five cryptocurrencies at the time of this writing.
  • Litecoin is better protected against flood attacks. A flood attack occurs when when a network is flooded with spam transactions that fill up the blocks and clog up the blockchain. Charlie Lee claims he and his team have made flood attacks against LTC as economically infeasible as possible. Practically, Litecoin is immune to these attacks due to the fix patched in it. It refers to charging senders a fee for every small output they create. Attackers would have to pay a lot more to complete their spam attacks, which would discourage most of them.

How To Mine Litecoin

Mining Litecoin is somehow different from mining Bitcoin. The two have a slightly different hashing algorithm to solve blocks. The number of coins distributed every time a miner finds a solution to a math problem or a puzzle also differs. Whenever a new transaction is made, it becomes part of a group of other transactions that have been submitted recently within a block that is protected cryptographically.

Miners (computers) use CPU (central processing unit) or GPU (graphics processing unit) cycles to solve complex mathematical problems. This is done by passing the data within a block through a hashing algorithm up until the collective power can find a solution. When this occurs, all transactions found in the respective block are verified and labeled as legitimate.

Whenever a new block gets solved, miners receive a predefined number of coins. The coins are distributed among the hashers who contributed to finding the correct solution. The more powerful hashers receive most coins. If you wish to mine cryptocurrency, Litecoin in particular, you will need to join a pool and mix your computing power with other people to receive these coin rewards.

How To Buy LTC

If mining is simply not your thing, or you do not have the skills, time, or resources for it, there is always the alternative of buying. Find a reliable exchange site where other cryptocurrencies are sold. You should have no problem finding sites that allow you to buy LTC using fiat currency including US dollars and EUR.

Why Do You Need A Litecoin Wallet?

Since most cryptocurrencies are stored in digital wallets, you will also need one for your LTC buying needs. You can choose form a rich selection of wallets, including software-based wallets you can install on your computer or smartphone, and physical hardware wallets. You can also take into consideration the paper wallet solution – a rather obsolete and more complex way of storing LTC. It requires you to generate and print out private keys on a computer with no connection to the Internet. Each wallet comes with its own set of private keys needed to receive and send coins to and from your litecoin address. These wallets do have the security advantage of using keys that are not stored in wallets connected to the internet – eliminating the risk of hackers and cyber-attacks.

Wallets that rely on apps exist in the form of desktop or mobile software. They are compatible with most operating systems and devices and they can be found in the form of third-party applications, or the official Litecoin Core, developed by the Litecoin Development team. Litecoin Core eliminated the need for middlemen when downloading the entire blockchain from the network.

What Is The Litecoin Block Explorer?

Litecoin transactions within a blockchain are available to the public and entirely searchable. This is also the case with other public cryptocurrencies. A Litecoin block explorer will significantly simplify the way one can use these these records and look for a certain transaction, block number or hash, transaction or public key hash, chain name, address balance. There are lots of block explorers to choose from, and you can search until you find one that bets caters to your individual needs. Whether you need a block explorer with complete REST and websocket APIs used for writing web wallets or something else, you should be able to find it at the end of your search.

What Are Atomic Swaps?

The introducing of the Atomic Swaps is another amazing Litecoin feature worth mentioning. An atomic swap allows a cross-chain exchange of coins without having to engage any third parties. Hence, the elimination of unnecessary transaction fees.

These swaps work with the help of Hashed timelock contracts. Also known as HTLCs, these are extremely convenient ways of making payments. The Lightning Protocol is also an implementation of the HTLC. Up until now, channels have been using timelocks. An HTLC utilized timelocks along with “Hashlocks”. They work by opening up of payment channels to transfer funds between parties before the pre-agreed deadline expires. The payments are acknowledged with the help of cryptographic proof. It also enables a party to forfeit the payment they have received and have it return to the payer.

Final Words

Litecoin is a cryptocurrency that is becoming more mainstream and gaining more trust from the public with each passing day. The activation of Segwit, the use of the Atomic Swaps, and the huge interest taken in showing the genuine goal and potential of cryptocurrencies through the risks taken by LTC are turning it into a critical actor in the market. Moreover, there is further interest to insert the lightning network into the system.

ethernum

Ethereum – Going Beyond Bitcoin

Even though Ethereum is often times linked to Bitcoin, blockchain technology features a lot more applications that are spread beyond digital money. How many? Just think of it this way: there are a few hundred applications that rely on blockchain technology as we speak. And Bitcoin is only one of them.

Up until not a very long time ago, in order to build a blockchain application, one was required to show complex mathematics, coding, and even cryptography skills. Things stand very differently today. Electronic voting and property assets that can be recorded digitally are just a few of the apps being created and spread at impressively fast speeds – faster that anyone would have imagined possible a few years ago. This means developers can take advantage of the wide array of complex tools and create completely decentralized apps. Ethereum is definitely making the wheels spin in this direction.

What Is Ethereum?

Shortly put, Ethereum is an open software platform that relies on blockchain technology to allow developers to build and use apps that are not centralized. It is also a ledger technology featuring the unique smart contract functionality.

While it might appear that Ethereum is similar to Bitcoin, this is not the entirely the case. The two do have some similarities, including the fact that they are both blockchain networks that are distributed publicly. However, they are fundamentally distinct in terms of scope and capability. Bitcoin is known to provide a very specific application of blockchain technology – the peer-to-peer electronic cash system that allows us to make Bitcoin payments online. Its blockchain therefore tracks ownership of bitcoins, whereas the Ethereum blockchain runs the code of decentralized applications.

What Is Ether?

Ethereum miners struggle to earn Ether, which is a token which provides fuel to the network blockchain. It has the ETH ticker and it can also be used to cover transaction fees as well as other services that belong to the network.

Application developers and other network users also receive ETH as incentives and compensation for bringing their contributions to the network. By looking at coin market capitalization, Ether is the second largest cryptocurrency on the planet. There are little over 101 million ETH in circulating supply, with a current market capitalization of $27.65 billion USD. This makes it the most valuable alternative coin in the market.

What Is A Smart Contract?

A smart contract is an application that runs exactly the way it was programmed, with zero risk of downtime, fraudulent activity, censorship, or any type of interferences from third parties. They can also be defined as computer code descriptions that simplify the exchange of money, shares, property, and other valuables. The moment a smart contract runs on the blockchain, it turns into something similar to a computer program that operates itself and executes when certain events occur.

All blockchains can process code, but most of them are strictly limited. Ethereum does not give developers a limited set of operations, but it rather allows them to create the exact operations they want. Imagine thousands of different apps that resemble nothing we have experienced so far. That’s the power of Ethereum.

Who Created Ethereum?

The creator of Ethereum is a Canadian programmer born in Russia. Vitalik Buterin was only 19 in 2013, when he published his idea of a decentralized mining and software development network under a single roof. His revolutionary idea was turned into Ethereum two years later. Before he came up with his brilliant idea, Buterin won third place at the International Olympiad in Informatics. So his genuine passion for mathematics and informatics was not hard to guess. He had also been writing articles for websites revolving around the Bitcoin a couple of years prior to proposing the idea for Ethereum. In 2014, he was awarded a scholarship worth $100,000 from the Thiel Fellowship, but he never used it, as he dropped out of university and chose to instead focus on his crypto projects. He later created the Ethereum Foundation Switzerland together with Joseph Lubin, an entrepreneur from Canada. Their project kicked off in August 2014, and ether was originally sold to raise the money needed for funding the project. 2015 was the official launch year for Ethereum. When it was first introduced to the public, Ether was trading at $0.05 USD. In the first quarter of 2017, Ether was worth less than $10. One year later today, at the time this piece was written, its value is of $274.  But it even traded at $1,400 during a spike last year. Nevertheless, high volatility triggered a significant drop in the market value, and the price fluctuations brought Ether down to less than $400.

How Can Ethers Be Generated?

Ethereum mining is a complex process that also leads to the generation of Ethers. However, this is not the unique purpose of Ethereum mining. It is also mandatory for the inspection and proliferation of blocks on the blockchain database. Every data block is embedded with data on each transaction taking place on the network. Whenever someone initiates a transaction, the miner will check it by solving a cryptographic puzzle, as well as several complex math problems. When the puzzle solving is completed, the transaction is completed, which automatically adds it to the database so it is chronologically linked to other blocks.

Ethash is the algorithm that enables Ethereum miners to receive their rewards, based on their proof of work. They receive freshly minted coins, and a payment is valued at 3 ETH, plus the transaction fees. It only takes around 15 seconds to successfully authenticate a transaction. This is due to the GHOST protocol used by Ethereum. Users mine Ethers with the help of Graphic Processing Units with setups similar to those of graphic cards. These units have higher hash rates, which is the equivalent of faster block verification speeds. This makes mining a lot more lucrative.

Mining Ethers is a time consuming activity that eats up a lot of computational resources and processing power. This is the main reason why lots of miners embrace cloud mining or join other miners in pools and share the revenue among all active participants.

Nevertheless, it would seem that the Ethereum platform may not need miners for much longer, since the main plan is to replace the proof of work algorithm with a proof of stake one. The use of this algorithm would automatically mean that the platform would be secured by token holders that would be staking their holdings. This would lead to a distributed consensus system which would not be as time-, energy-, and resource-consuming.

Where Can You Buy/Sell Ethereum?

Any cryptocurrency exchange that supports ETH can be used to buy or sell ETH. You can buy or sell Ether against Bitcoins and alt-coins such as BCH or XRP. You can also trade it with fiat currencies such as the USD, EUR and others. If you wish to buy Ethers with the help of fiat currencies, you will need a credit or a debit card and a bank transfer to process the transaction. When the purchase has completed, the coins can be stored using an offline wallet, or the cloud. Wallets are similar to bank accounts used for cryptocoins. Users are allowed to store their funds on an address that will be generated by the exchange. They can also set up their wallets on different platforms. Some of the most trusted wallets for storing ETH are the native platform wallet, the Ethereum wallet, along with  wallets on MyCrypto, Blockchain.info, My Ether Wallet, and others.

What Is Ethereum Good For?

Like mentioned in the beginning of this article, Ethereum allows developers to build and use decentralized applications. Also referred to as Dapp on short, decentralized apps serve individual purposes to different users. They rely on code running on a blockchain network. This means no one and nothing can control them.

Moreover, a centralized service has the potential of being decentralized with the help of Ethereum. Think in terms of intermediary services in a variety of industries, including bank loans or voting systems.

Developers can also build Decentralized Autonomous Organizations with the help of Ethereum. These are fully autonomous organizations that do not have a leader, but they are rather run by code on smart contracts found on the blockchain. The code replaces the rigid rules as well as the structure of traditional organizations. People and centralized management are no longer necessary. DAOs are owned by anyone who buys tokens. These give people voting rights, instead of equity shares and ownership.

Final Thoughts

Ethereum is turning into a de factor leader as the industry keeps investigating blockchain platforms and helps it reach its maturity. ETH is slowly, but surely changing the way we use the Internet. We are running towards the Internet of value, leaving the Internet of information behind. We are getting ready to exchange value on the spot, with zero intermediaries. Stay tuned and find out what are the unimagined possibilities that await.

bitcoin

Bitcoin – A Step-By-Step Guide

Bitcoin – Internet fab or fad? You might have heard of it before, but it somehow slipped your mind. Or you dismantled it straight up as another scam. Until you’ve started hearing about it again in 2017. It was all over the news. On the very first day of 2017, the price of Bitcoin was just under $1,000. Ever since, the virtual coin has grown at an incredible rate. It reached $5,000. Then $10,000. And it even got to a staggering $20,000! We are, of course, talking about the price for a single coin. So the fact that you are intrigued about the mind-blowing evolution of Bitcoin should come as no surprise. The only surprise is why you haven’t gotten into it sooner. After all, it’s money that got you here in the first place. We know. You were confused. You had no idea how and where to start. We hear you. And we’re throwing a hand at you. So, first things, first…

What Is Bitcoin?

In an attempt to cut through the confusion surrounding it, it would be a good idea to have Bitcoin separated into its two main components: Bitcoin-the-token and Bitcoin-the-protocol. The first is a small sequence of code representing the proprietary rights of a digital concept. Generally speaking, Bitcoin is a digital currency used and distributed electronically. The Bitcoin protocol, on the other hand, is a distributed network used to keep a ledger of balances of the token. You will, however, find both of them are called “bitcoin”.

The protocol allows users to send payments to one another without having to go through a payment gateway or any other form of a central authority. Bitcoins are therefore not printed, but generated by computers across the planet with the help of free software. Bitcoin is the first example of today’s “cryptocurrencies” – a class of assets that features a few of the features of traditional currencies. Their verification is completed via cryptography.  

The amount of Bitcoins is limited to 21 million – this is the maximum number that can be created.

Who Are The Creators Of Bitcoin?

Bitcoin was first presented to the public almost a decade ago, in 2009, as an open-source software under the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto. The person or persons behind the alias were a programmer or a group of programmers who wanted to remain anonymous. Many rumors were started around the true identity of the Bitcoin creator, but to no avail.

At some point, Nakamoto claimed to be a 37-year-old male living in Japan. Nonetheless, some people argued his flawless use of the English language and the lack of any Japanese software labeling were proof enough to contradict him. One year after Bitcoin was introduced, Nakamoto left it in the hands of a few of the most prominent members of the Bitcoin community. The creator of the Bitcoin later named Gavin Andresen a lead developer.

According to estimates, Nakamoto owns one million Bitcoins, which is the equivalent of  approximately $3.6 billion as of September 2017.

Who Has Control Over Bitcoin?

Gavin Andresen began his “reign” over Bitcoin by focusing on its further decentralization. His main goal was for the Bitcoin to continue to exist autonomously, even if something tragic would happen to him. Most people find Bitcoin so advantageous thanks to its incredible independence from the often time dreaded banks, corporations, and world governments.

Since there isn’t a single authority than can interfere into Bitcoin transactions worldwide, there are no transaction fees involved. Each transaction is stored in a massive distributed public ledger known as the Blockchain. This ensures a high degree of transparency for each transaction. Users have total control over their finances.

How Does Bitcoin Work?

Bitcoin owners only see the amount of Bitcoins in their wallets, as well as their personal transaction results. As mentioned before, the Bitcoin network shares a public ledger called the “blockchain”. This contains every transaction that has ever been processed. All of the digital records associated to each transaction are combined into “blocks”.

If a person attempts to change even a single number or letter in a block of transactions, it will create a domino effect on the following blocks, affecting them as well. Since it is a public ledger, any fraud attempt or unintentional mistake can be immediately noticed and fixed by anyone.

The wallet of each user can accurately check the validity of every single transaction completed at some point. The authenticity of a transaction is safely guarded behind digital signatures that are tied to the sending addresses. A Bitcoin transaction may take a few minutes to process, due to the verification process. This time frame also depends on the trading platform that is being used. Each block takes around ten minutes to mine, according to the original Bitcoin protocol.

Characteristics Of Bitcoin

Bitcoin differs from fiat digital currencies in several critical aspects we are going to briefly discuss here:

Decentralization

The creator of Bitcoin had the independence of the network from any governing body at the forefront of his plan. Bitcoin was designed in such a way so that any person, business, or machine that has anything to do with its mining or transaction verification can become part of an ample network. In the unfortunate event of something happening to any part of the network, the money is designed to continue to move.

Anonymity

Banks know the credit history, spending habits, phone numbers, home addresses, and virtually everything under the sun about their clients. It’s definitely not something to bring peace of mind to any bank account owner. A Bitcoin wallet does not have to be linked to any information that can identify you as a person. There is, however, the controversy of terrorists, drug dealers, and other wrongdoers being able to thrive in the relative degree of anonymity offered by Bitcoin.

Transparency

Bitcoin is only relatively anonymous, since every transaction is promptly stored in the Blockchain. By studying a wallet address that has been used publicly, anyone will know much money is found in the wallet. And they solely have to look at the blockchain ledger for this. Nevertheless, it is still almost impossible to trace an address to a person.

So those of you who wish to remain anonymous when completing a Bitcoin transaction can remain out of the spotlight by taking a few precautions. For example, there are some wallets that throw the emphasis on opaqueness and security. You can also use several addresses and avoid transferring large amounts of money to just one wallet.

Fast Transactions

Payments are processed almost instantly via the Bitcoin network. A person on the other side of the globe could receive the money in the blink of an eye, whereas a regular bank transfer would take a few days. Bitcoins are highly portable, which means they can be easily carried and used. You can carry any sum on a flash drive in your pocket, or store it online.

Cryptocurrencies give people freedom to send and receive money with just a scan of a QR-code or a click of an online wallet. It takes little to no time, there are no outrageous fees and the money goes from person to person without any unnecessary intermediates; all you need is Internet access.

Bitcoin Cannot Be Counterfeited

You will get rid of the potential risk of being falsely accused that you never paid someone for a good or service they have provided. Once you have sent Bitcoins to a person, it is impossible to get the cryptocoins back. That is, unless the recipient wishes to send them back to you. Since all payments are guaranteed to be received, there is no room for scams and false claims.

Bitcoins Are Eternal

Since they do not exist in a physical form, they cannot be damaged in any way, like it would normally happen with coins and paper money.

How Can I Get Bitcoin?

First of all, you can buy Bitcoin. Find the coins in different exchanges, or complete transactions with Bitcoin owners using the available marketplaces. You will need to set up your own wallet for this. You can use cash, credit and debit cards, or other cyrptocurrencies to pay for your Bitcoins.

You can choose from a number of wallet options, but online wallets and software wallets you can save on your hard drive are the most common solutions. While none of them is entirely safe, you will need them to complete your purchases. You can also opt for a mobile wallet, featuring a huge storage capacity that can carry an entire blockchain. To stay better protected against potential hacker attacks or hardware failures that threaten online and software wallets, you can rely on hardware wallets and paper wallets that use two QR-codes. These codes are not stored in any digital form, which means they are not affected by standard cyber-attacks and regular hardware problems.

You can also get Bitcoin through mining, even though the process is not as simple as it was a few years ago. Back when Bitcoin was first introduced, pretty much anyone with a powerful computer was able to mine Bitcoins. Unfortunately, things have changed and this is no longer possible – or equally easy. The continuously growing popularity of the Bitcoin has stimulated large companies to start using mining-specific devices. So mining has turned into a complicated and timely process. Not to mention the amount of Bitcoins that are still available for mining is constantly decreasing at a drastic rate.

Bottom Line

The blockchain technology has the fascinating ability to completely change the way trading is done, or the way we spend. And even how we connect and interact to one another. Think of it as the dot-com boom reloaded.

Bitcoin might be the pioneer, as well as the most visible representative of the new and often times bewildering technology most of us are still getting acquainted with. But it is definitely not unique. We are talking about more than 1,600 different alternatives to it, and counting more every day. Each comes with its own goal, vision, and smart and capable team behind. Some are excellent, some are average, some are plain bad, and most will probably crash at some point. But they all have in common the desire to revolutionize the financial system, so they are worth looking into.