Category Archives: Cryptocurrency
What is a ‘Cryptocurrency’
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature. A defining feature of a cryptocurrency, and arguably its most endearing allure, is its organic nature; it is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes them well-suited for a host of nefarious activities, such as money laundering and tax evasion.
The first cryptocurrency to capture the public imagination was Bitcoin, which was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. As of September 2015, there were over 14.6 million bitcoins in circulation with a total market value of $3.4 billion. Bitcoin’s success has spawned a number of competing cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin, Namecoin and PPCoin.
Cryptocurrencies make it easier to transfer funds between two parties in a transaction; these transfers are facilitated through the use of public and private keys for security purposes. These fund transfers are done with minimal processing fees, allowing users to avoid the steep fees charged by most banks and financial institutions for wire transfers.
Central to the genius of Bitcoin is the block chain it uses to store an online ledger of all the transactions that have ever been conducted using bitcoins, providing a data structure for this ledger that is exposed to a limited threat from hackers and can be copied across all computers running Bitcoin software. Many experts see this block chain as having important uses in technologies, such as online voting and crowdfunding, and major financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase see potential in cryptocurrencies to lower transaction costs by making payment processing more efficient.
However, because cryptocurrencies are virtual and do not have a central repository, a digital cryptocurrency balance can be wiped out by a computer crash if a backup copy of the holdings does not exist. Since prices are based on supply and demand, the rate at which a cryptocurrency can be exchanged for another currency can fluctuate widely.
Cryptocurrencies are not immune to the threat of hacking. In Bitcoin’s short history, the company has been subject to over 40 thefts, including a few that exceeded $1 million in value. Still, many observers look at cryptocurrencies as hope that a currency can exist that preserves value, facilitates exchange, is more transportable than hard metals, and is outside the influence of central banks and governments.
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Cryptocurrency Definition | Investopedia
More than $300m of cryptocurrency has been lost after a series of bugs in a popular digital wallet service led one curious developer to accidentally take control of and then lock up the funds, according to reports.
Unlike most cryptocurrency hacks, however, the money wasnt deliberately taken: it was effectively destroyed by accident. The lost money was in the form of Ether, the tradable currency that fuels the Ethereum distributed app platform, and was kept in digital multi-signature wallets built by a developer called Parity. These wallets require more than one user to enter their key before funds can be transferred.
On Tuesday Parity revealed that, while fixing a bug that let hackers steal $32m out of few multi-signature wallets, it had inadvertently left a second flaw in its systems that allowed one user to become the sole owner of every single multi-signature wallet.
A cryptocurrency is a form of digital asset, created through a canny combination of encryption and peer-to-peer networking.
Bitcoin, the first and biggest cryptocurrency, is part of a decentralised payment network. If you own a bitcoin, you control a secret digital key which you can use to prove to anyone on the network that a certain amount of bitcoin is yours.
If you spend that bitcoin, you tell the entire network that you’ve transferred ownership of it, and use the same key to prove that you’re telling the truth. Over time, the history of all those transactions becomes a lasting record of who owns what: that record is called the blockchain.
After bitcoin’s creation in 2009, a number of other cryptocurrencies sought to replicate its success but taking its free, public code and tweaking it for different purposes.
Some, such as Filecoin, have a very defined goal. It aims to produce a sort of decentralised file storage system: as well as simply telling the network that you have some Filecoins, you can tell the network to store some encrypted data and pay Filecoins to whoever stores it on their computer.
Others are more nebulous. Ethereum, using the Ether token, is now the second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin and essentially a cryptocurrency for making cryptocurrencies. Users can write “smart contracts”, which are effectively programs that can be run on the computer of any user of the network if they’re paid enough Ether.
Of course, to many, the purpose is secondary. The only really important thing is that the value of an Ether token increased 2,500% over 2017, meaning some are hoping to jump on the bandwagon and get rich. Bubble or boom? That’s the $28bn question.
The user, devops199, triggered the flaw apparently by accident. When they realised what they had done, they attempted to undo the damage by deleting the code which had transferred ownership of the funds. Rather than returning the money, however, that simply locked all the funds in those multisignature wallets permanently, with no way to access them.
This means that currently no funds can be moved out of the multi-sig wallets, Parity says in a security advisory.
Effectively, a user accidentally stole hundreds of wallets simultaneously, and then set them on fire in a panic while trying to give them back.
We are analysing the situation and will release an update with further details shortly, Parity told users.
Some are pushing for a hard fork of Ethereum, which would undo the damage by effectively asking 51% of the currencys users to agree to pretend that it had never happened in the first place. That would require a change to the code that controls ethereum, and then that change to be adopted by the majority of the user base. The risk is that some of the community refuses to accept the change, resulting in a split into two parallel groups.
Such an act isnt unheard of: another hack, two years ago, of an Ethereum app called the DAO resulted in $150m being stolen. The hard fork was successful then, but the money stolen represented a much larger portion of the entire Ethereum market than the $300m lost to Parity.
The lost $300m follows the discovery of bug in July that led to the theft of $32m in ether from just three multisignature wallets. A marathon coding and hacking effort was required to secure another $208m against theft. Patching that bug led to the flaw in Paritys system that devops199 triggered by accident.
Parity says that it is unable to confirm the actual amount lost, but that the $300m figure is purely speculative. The company also disputes that the currency is lost, arguing that frozen is more accurate. But if it is frozen, it appears that no-one has the ability to unfreeze the funds.
The Parity vulnerability was the result of an incorrectly coded smart contract used by the Parity wallet to store tokens on the Ethereum network, said Dominic Williams, founder of blockchain firm DFINITY. The vulnerability made it possible for anyone to freeze the tokens held by that smart contract, making them immovable. At this time, the only method we are aware of to unfreeze tokens held by the vulnerable smart contract would be to create a new hard fork Ethereum client that deploys a fix. This would require every full node on the Ethereum network to upgrade by the date of the hard fork to stay in sync, including all miners, wallets, exchanges, etc.
Ethereum has rapidly become the second most important cryptocurrency, after Bitcoin, with its price increasing more than 2,500% over the past year. One token of Ether is now worth a little over $285, up from $8 in January.
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‘$300m in cryptocurrency’ accidentally lost forever due to bug …
Image: Jakub Kaczmarczyk/Epa/REX/Shutterstock
Amazon is not-so quietly shaping the future around its ever-expanding business, so it makes sense they’d want to get in on cryptocurrency, too.
The company wants to build a fleet of package-delivering drones. They maybe want to build giant drone hives in a city near you. They’ve got grocery stores and devices you can ask to set a timer or play a song. Now, according to Whois data, an Amazon subsidiary registered amazoncryptocurrencies.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, and amazonethereum.com on Oct. 31.
The news was first reported by DomainNameWire, and, as they wrote, Amazon might just be buying up the names so nobody else can profit off a feigned association with their brand. Coindesk pointed out that Amazon registered amazonbitcoin.com four years ago, and that just redirects to the company’s regular homepage.
Or maybe Jeff Bezos recently spent some time reading about how Bitcoin is doing better than ever, and decided to jump into the cryptocurrency pool.
We reached out to Amazon for more information, but didn’t immediately hear back.
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Amazon might want in on cryptocurrency – mashable.com
Everything You Need To Know about What is Cryptocurrency [Ultimate Guide]
Cryptocurrency has now become one of the most crucial digital terms.
It wont be wrong to state that all the financial institutes such as banks, central authorities, and accounting firms have conducted an extensive research on the working Cryptocurrency and how it aims to provide benefits to the parties involved in the money transaction process.
You must be thinking that what is Cryptocurrency and why financial institutes are so concerned about its working?
Cryptocurrency is a virtually encrypted currency which is backed by the security of cryptography.
The basic purpose of Cryptocurrency is to facilitate the easy transaction of money from one party to another and to keep a keen eye on the generation of currency units.
Cryptocurrency is one of those financial terms which aims to reduce the involvement of financial institutes in the transaction process.
You all must be aware of the fact that banks and financial intermediaries charge a huge amount of money before conducting any sort of monetary transaction. Cryptocurrency was introduced to solve the very similar problem.
It wont be wrong to state that originators of Cryptocurrency are still widely unknown however, some sources believe that foundations of cryptocurrency were established by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.
Now if we talk about the need of Cryptocurrency and how it aims to facilitate its users then, it is quite interesting to see that origin of cryptocurrency is directly connected with the digital cash system.
Since many years, a number of banks were trying to introduce the facility like cryptocurrency however, they failed to do so because of the system limitations and keys encryption process.
It is interesting to see that initially Satoshi and his group also focused on the centralized digital cash system and because of the very same reason they failed to establish the appropriate foundations of the digital cash system.
Soon after his first try, he realized that a viable digital cash system cannot be operated under the centralized system. Though it is true that decentralization of the digital cash system decreases its overall security, however, this problem is relatively solve-able in nature and can be corrected with the proper encryption of public and private keys.
As online money has become one of the most things, therefore, it was highly crucial to introduce a technology which is capable of storing and transferring the money digitally in a secure manner.
Though it is true that many banks still facilitate the online payment process, however, the steep fees charged by banks are capable of eating up the entire share.
Cryptocurrency was launched with the vision of providing less expensive yet highly secure transaction platform to those individuals who are interested in the working of digital currency and its attached units.
As cryptocurrency is the digital currency system, therefore, it does not consist of any sort of physical money. All the transactions of cryptocurrency are done on the basis of coins, which are transferred and even stored in the virtual wallets.
The worth of cryptocurrency units is determined with the help of baseline. Normally, the US dollar is treated as the baseline and is used to compare the value of the other currencies.
Once the accurate value of the currency is identified then, next step is all about the creation of cryptocurrency units during the transaction process which is further backed by cryptography.
It is highly important to understand that the word cryptocurrency itself is a huge phenomenon, which is further divided into different units.
For getting information about some of the key concepts of cryptocurrency, continue to read on.
In literal terms, cryptography is basically the way of writing computer based codes, however, when it comes to the contextual meaning then, cryptography refers to the process of key encryption (public and private) which is used to monitor the procedure of coin creation and their transaction verification of cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency ledgers is basically a database, which is also called as transaction block chains in the language of Bitcoin are used to update and store the identities of those people who are making the confirmed unit transactions.
It is important to understand that the records of the transaction makers are properly encrypted, however, the records of the transactions are publicly shared with all the users for the proper verification process. The basic purpose of cryptocurrency ledgers is to keep a check on the balance of the digital wallets and identify a number of coins that can be spent.
Moreover, these public ledgers are also used to avoid the chances of any sort of scam because they tend to keep a check on the new transaction and the units of coins involved, in respective with the digital wallets.
Transaction process can be called as the initiator of exchange, which facilitates the transfer of coins in between the digital wallets.
Before the confirmation of transfer, the data is posted on the public ledgers to perform the basic tasks such as verification of accounts, and a number of coins requested.
It is interesting to see that all the data posted on public ledgers can be reviewed with the help of hex editor (the binary file reader) however, if you are interested in viewing all the technical data such as transaction history, acceptance procedure and monitoring of the current rate through a more viable source then, it is recommended to use blockchain browser.
Once all the data is properly stored in the public ledgers then, next step is all about waiting for the confirmation. During the confirmation process, the digital wallets start the encryption process with the help of cryptography, which consists of the mathematical signatures of the transaction maker.
The purpose of encryption or mathematical signatures is to ensure that transaction is made by the valid owner and they consist a spend-able amount of coins in their digital wallets.
Once the encryption process is done (normally takes 10-15 mints) then, next step is linked with the mining of public ledgers.
It is important to note that there is a huge difference between the transaction process and confirmation of the transaction.
When any coin owner starts the transaction then, public ledgers are used to perform the work of scrutiny and once its done then, next step leads to the confirmation and extraction of coins from the digital wallets.
If you are thinking that mining process is similar or confirmation process is all about just accepting the transaction requests then, you are wrong.
When an owner requests the transfer of coins or posting on the digital wallets then, certain mathematical algorithms are needed to be solved by the miner.
It is interesting to see that mathematical algorithms are highly complex in nature and their complexity tends to increase in a rapid speed. These algorithms are basically the strong mathematical computations and are designed to increase the security of the coins.
As mining is open for everyone, therefore, the algorithms are used to ensure that not every miner is capable of adding the blocks in the blockchain for the confirmation process. Moreover, this process also aims to ensure the fact that not all coins belong to the one miner.
Once the miner successfully solves the puzzle then, next step is all about the updating of the ledger.
If miner become successful in updating the ledger and transferring the blocks then, small amount of is provided to the miner, which is further backed by the subsidy (on the creation of new coins)
It is important to understand that mining is not an easy task because its basic purpose is to minimize the chances of double spending and to keep an eye on those users who are trying to double use the invested coins.
Mining is one of the most crucial parts of cryptocurrency because this process is actually responsible for giving value to the generated coins. The entire mining process is backed by the proof of the work.
The two major players of proof of work system are known as blocks header and the target. If you become successful in dragging the value to the target or even lower the header then, peer network will start accepting the transactions.
However, the working of proof of system is not easy as it seems because this entire processing is revolving around the concept of probability and if you are interested in hitting the right number then, you are no doubt supposed to play around a hundred of times for the desired results.
You must be thinking that whats the right away of understanding the difficulty level of mining and how it impacts the rate of block creation.
Well, cryptocurrency is all about using your brain and then, following the past trends for predicting the future.
If you are interested in gaining information about the difficulty level then, you need to look for the past transactions in the public ledger. For instance, you can identify the difficulty level after 2016 blocks had been placed.
According to the cryptocurrency researchers, the giants players like Bitcoin tend to change the difficulty level after 2016 blocks and it can be measured by applying the formula on the hash value and the target to be achieved.
The target which is needed to be achieved is usually based on the 256-bit numbers, however, this number is dependent on the joining of miners. For instance, if more miners are trying to perform the mining for the same transaction then, block generation rate will eventually go up thus making it difficult for individuals to hit the target.
It is important to understand that the calculated value of difficulty might not be very accurate in nature however, it can be used for generating the rough idea about the upcoming requirements of the blockchain.
If you are worried about the miners with malicious intents then, you need to understand the fact that working of cryptocurrency is backed by the proper network.
When one miner with malicious intents try to hit the difficulty and become successful then, all of his efforts are rejected by the peer network thus making the process zero. This system makes it pretty evident that each and every miner is supposed to full fill the requirements before starting the mining process.
Before Starting the discussion about the reward, I would like to highlight the fact that there are basically two parties involved in the process of the blockchain.
The first person is the one who is responsible for identifying the block in the blockchain. That person is called as the discoverer.
However, the person who is mining the block is different from the discoverer and his rewards are also different.
As discussed above, the miner is rewarded with the subsidy for solving the puzzle and the processing fees.
However, it is interesting to note that the fees of miners are dependent on the number of blocks they launch. For instance, if they become successful in mining more blocks then, their fee will automatically go up.
On the other hand, if the block is successfully discovered by the discoverer then, a certain amount of coins are provided to the discoverer on their success. The current amount of coins are provided are 12.5 bitcoins, however, it is important to note that this number might also vary with the change in difficulty level.
You must be thinking that whats the reason behind rewarding the discoverer when the complex task is being performed by the miner?
Well, here is the logic.
Discoverers are those people who are actually responsible for identifying the blocks based on the transactions. You must understand this concept like, if there are no blocks then, miners basically have no work to perform.
Discovery is the pre-requisite of mining and it should be performed with sheer perfection.
It is important to understand that cryptocurrency is basically a system which works on the principles of scarcity.
For instance, miners are responsible for generating the coins in the system and their scarcity is responsible for changing their value. This theory can easily be understood with a demand for gold in the realistic market.
For example, when golden prices are low in the market then, people start investing their money on it. Due to the low prices, the demand for gold increases which eventually causes the decrease the supply of the material.
Now when demand is boiled up then, producers start charging high amount thus leading to the change in the overall value of gold. It is important to understand that change in the value is not introduced by a single producer, however, the entire market participants in the decision-making and then, change the value of the gold.
Same happens in the market of cryptocurrency, however, instead of physical buying and selling procedure the transactions are made online and posted on the public ledger which is further approved by the entire network of the miners.
In simpler terms, the market of cryptocurrency is just like the foreign exchange and works in a similar manner. The extra units generated are always the reward for those people who are investing their money and expertise in the overall prediction process.
We do understand the fact that initially, it is difficult for people to digest the working process of cryptocurrency, however, once you start learning the basics of the system and start practicing it then, it gets easier with the passage of time.
Now, I would like to talk about some of the mining terms and how they tend to impact the entire mining process.
If you are interested in the working of cryptocurrency work system then, you must have heard about the cryptocurrency hashes and their working mechanism.
Well, if you are still confused about its working then, read on!
Cryptocurrency hashes are basically the computerized mathematical algorithms that aim to extract the data of a certain size as input which is further processed with the help of valid operations and then, a fixed output is generated for the meaningful use.
It is important to understand that the major function of cryptocurrency hashes is to gain information about the passwords and store them accordingly. Because of the very same concept, the working of cryptocurrency hash is not just limited to mathematical algorithms however, it also aims to impact the security of the stored data.
Now if we link the concept of mining with cryptocurrency hashes then, this function is used to determine the overall mining power based on seconds. It is important to understand that every time a miner become successful in solving the block then, new hashes are generated which are further processed for the generation of fixed length output.
This phenomenon is easy for coders to understand because coding is all about breaking or solving a number of hashes for the sake of data extraction. Same sort of formula is used in cryptocurrency hashes and is used by the miners for solving the algorithms for a successful transaction.
However, the transactions or algorithms which are being solved by the miners arenot confirmed in nature. Moreover, some people believe that small change in theoverall value of the hash wont impact its entire output, however, it is important tounderstand that a small change is no doubt capable of altering the proof of workthus resulting in the failure.
If you are interested in less failure attempt backed by the probabilitythen, you should also keep a keen eye on the working of hashes and how they areprocessing the input into fixed output.
Scrypt and SHA are both the valid components of hash function however, theydiffer from each other based on the level of difficulty involved.
As discussed above the entire working of cryptocurrency is dependent on thealgorithms which are responsible for the solving of blocks. Since mining is an opensource task, therefore, the high difficulty level is required to avoid the chances ofany fraud.
According to the cryptocurrency experts, SHA which is also abbreviated as SecureHash Algorithms with series 2, is backed by the highly secure encrypted keysknown as cryptographic functions.
It is important to understand that SHA-2 is designed by the National securityagency and they are operated on the digital data.
This function not only helps in solving of the complex security algorithms,however, it also aims to make the user aware of any changes made in thedownloaded files. For instance, if someone has tried to alter the algorithm filesduring their solving process then, the factor can easily be identified with SHA-2.
Moreover, SHA-S is said to be one of the securest systems because of its inputprocessing system. For instance, only one value is assigned to the single inputwhich is further responsible for the generation of unique hash.
In this way, it is relatively impossible for any person to malicious change thehashes associated with the block codes and use them for causing corruption.
On the other hand, if we talk about Scrypt then, this hash function is not used bythe majority of cryptocurrency however, it is still pretty famous amongst the usersof cryptocurrency.
The working of the Scrypt is basically backed by the password-based system andaccording to a number of researchers, the system of scrypt not highly secure innature, however, it is still capable of consuming a lot of time with money.
It is interesting to see that before the advent of SHA-2, many software companiesused to work on the principles of scrypt because they had no option. However,when SHA-2 was introduced in the market then, companies got the chance ofusing a less expensive coding system and they took the full benefit of theopportunity.
If we look at the entire workability of scrypt then, it is clear that scrypt isnt a badcoding system however, it is important to understand that during the algorithmsolving process, a number of computer intensive programs are running in thebackground and they need the right operations.
When software companies used scrypt, at that time, they faced the difficulty ofmanaging the background programs however, SHA-2 was introduced to solve thevery similar problem and now it is used by a number of cryptocurrencies.
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What is Cryptocurrency – earnlite.com
Theres something new to add to your fun mental list of invisible internet dangers. Joining classic favorites like adware and spyware comes a new, tricky threat called cryptojacking, which secretly uses your laptop or mobile device to mine cryptocurrency when you visit an infected site.
The idea for cryptojacking coalesced in mid-September, when a company called Coinhive debuted a script that could start mining the cryptocurrency Monero when a webpage loaded. The Pirate Bay torrenting site quickly incorporated it to raise funds, and within weeks Coinhive copycats started cropping up. Hackers have even found ways to inject the scripts into websites like Politifact.com and Showtime, unbeknownst to the proprietors, mining money for themselves off of another sites traffic.
‘Theres no opt-in option or opt-out. Weve observed it putting a real strain on system resources.’
Adam Kujawa, Malwarebytes Labs
So far these types of attacks have been discovered in compromised sites’ source code by usersincluding security researcher Troy Murschwho notice their processor load spiking dramatically after navigating to cryptojacked pages. To protect yourself from cryptojacking, you can add sites you’re worried about, or ones that you know practice in-browser mining, to your browser’s ad blocking tool. There’s also a Chrome extension called No Coin, created by developer Rafael Keramidas, that blocks Coinhive mining and is adding protection against other miners, too.
“Weve seen malicious websites use embedded scripting to deliver malware, force ads, and force browsing to specific websites,” says Karl Sigler, threat intelligence research manager at SpiderLabs, which does malware research for the scanner Trustwave. “Weve also seen malware that focuses on either stealing cryptocurrency wallets or mining in the background. Combine the two together and you have a match made in hell.”
What complicates the cryptojacking wave, experts argue, is that with the right protections in place it could actually be a constructive tool. Coinhive has always maintained that it intends its product as a new revenue stream for websites. Some sites already use a similar approach to raise funds for charitable causes like disaster relief. And observers particularly see in-browser miners as a potential supplement or alternative to digital ads, which notoriously have security issues of their own.
Early adopters like the Pirate Bay have made a pitch to their users that the technology is worth tolerating. “Do you want ads or do you want to give away a few of your CPU cycles every time you visit the site?” Pirate Bay asked its users in mid-September. Most commenters on the feedback request supported in-browser mining if it reduced ads, but one noted that if multiple sites adopt the technique, having multiple tabs open while browsing the web could eat up processing resources.
The concerns run deeper among audiences unaware that their devices are being used without their knowledge or consent. In fact, malware scanners have already begun blocking these mining programs, citing their intrusiveness and opacity. Coinhive, and the rash of alternatives that have cropped up, need to take good-faith steps, like incorporating hard-coded authentication protections and adding caps on how much user processing power they draw, before malware scanners will stop blocking them.
Everything is kind of crazy right now because this just came out, says Adam Kujawa, the director of Malwarebytes Labs, which does research for the scanning service Malwarebytes and started blocking Coinhive and other cryptojacking scripts this week. But I actually think the whole concept of a script-based miner is a good idea. It could be a viable replacement for something like advertising revenue. But were blocking it now just because theres no opt-in option or opt-out. Weve observed it putting a real strain on system resources. The scripts could degrade hardware.
To that end, Coinhive introduced a new version of its product this week, called AuthedMine, which would require user permission to turn their browser into a Monero-generator. “AuthedMine enforces an explicit opt-in from the end user to run the miner,” Coinhive said in a statement on Monday. “We have gone through great lengths to ensure that our implementation of the opt-in cannot be circumvented and we pledge that it will stay this way. The AuthedMine miner will never start without the user’s consent.”
This course-correction is a positive step, but numerous cryptojacking scriptsincluding Coinhive’s originalare already out there for hackers to use, and can’t be recalled now. Experts also see other potential problems with the technique, even if the mining process is totally transparent. “An opt-in option…doesnt eliminate the problems of potential instability introduced by this,” Trustwave’s Sigler says. “When dozens of machines get locked up at a company, or when important work is lost due to a mining glitch, this can have a serious effect on a organizations network.”
Still, the positive potential of in-browser miners seems worth the complications to some. “Im hoping that within a year well see even more evolution of this technology to the point where it cannot be abused by website owners who want to trick people into running these miners,” Malwarebytes’ Kujawa says. “But if it’s only associated with malicious activities, then it might take awhile for the technology to evolve to a place thats more secure, and for anyone to trust using it.”
Like so many web tools, cryptojacking has plenty of promise as an innovationand plenty of people happy to exploit it.
Cryptocurrency facts takes a simplified look at digital currency like bitcoin to help everyone understand what it is, how it works, and its implications. On this site, we cover everything you need to know about:
As of 2017, cryptocurrency has been used as a decentralized alternative to traditional fiat currencies (which are usually backed by somecentral government)such asthe US dollar (USD).
For theaverage person using cryptocurrency is as easy as:
What is a cryptocurrency address?: A public address is a unique string of charactersused to receive cryptocurrency. Each public address has a matching private address that can be used to prove ownership of thepublic address. WithBitcoin the addressis called a Bitcoin address. Think of it like a unique email address that people can send currency to as opposed to emails.
The first decentralized digital cryptocurrency can be traced back to Bit Gold, which was worked on by Nick Szabo between 1998 and 2005. Bit gold is considered the first precursor to bitcoin. In 2008,Satoshi Nakamoto (an anonymousperson and/or group) released a paper detailing what would become Bitcoin.
Bitcoin became the first decentralized digital coin when it was created in 2008. Itthen went public in2009. As of 2017, Bitcoinis the most commonly known and used cryptocurrency (with other coins like Ethereum and Litecoin also being notable). Given thepopularity of Bitcoin as well asits history, the term altcoin is sometimes used to describe alternative cryptocurrenciesto bitcoin (especially coins with small market caps).
As of January 2015, there wereover 500different types of cryptocurrencies or altcoins for trade in online markets. However,only 10 of them had market capitalizations over $10 million.
As of September 2017, there were over 1,100 cryptocurrencies and thetotal market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies reached an all-time high surpassing $60 billion!
In other words, although the future is uncertain, cryptocurrency seems to be more than just a fad. Here in 2017 cryptocurrency is shaping up a growing market that (despite its pros and cons) is likely here for the long haul.
On this site, we explore every aspect of cryptocurrency. Simply choose a page from the menu,visitour what is cryptocurrency page for a more detailed explanation of cryptocurrency, or jump right in to the how cryptocurrency works section to start learning about transactions, mining, and public ledgers.
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Introduction to Cryptocurrency – CryptoCurrency Facts
When you think of cryptocurrency, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is Bitcoin.
By now, Bitcoin is something that most people are aware of even if they arent exactly sure what it is.
Accepting cryptocurrencies can make sense for your business, whether you sell physical goods or whether youre a freelancer. But using a cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange doesnt mean you have to go with Bitcoin.
In fact, there are a surprising number of cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin.
One of the cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin thats gaining a lot of ground right now is Dash. Thats because Dash is open source and very centered on privacy.
On top of that, there are low fees that come with Dash. To tell the truth, most cryptocurrencies are going to come with lower fees than what you pay with bank and credit card transactions. However, there are cases where its even free to send Dash.
Its also nice that Dash is an instant peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. You dont have to worry about it because payments are private, and instantly appear to the person on the other side of the transaction anywhere in the world.
Theres a reason Dash is one of the most popular Bitcoin alternatives out there.
One of the oldest cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin is Litecoin. This cryptocurrency has been around for several years. Interestingly enough, even though it is capable of handling a higher transaction volume than Bitcoin, it still isnt as well-known.
Litecoin makes use of open source software and the decentralized network makes use of mathematics for security. Litecoin also comes with some cool features:
Due to its availability and other features, its no surprise Litecoin is on the rise.
Peercoin is one of the most potentially inflationary cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin. Theres a lot that goes into rewarding miners and there is no upward limit to how many will be mined. Minting uses Proof of Stake for security in the network, which means that Peercoin security is not impacted the same way that Bitcoin mining is when it comes to Selfish Mining.
Its also worth noting that Peercoin is derived from Bitcoin. So if you have hardware that works with the Bitcoin network, it will also work with Peercoin.
This is great for mining, but it can also allow you to accept payment for more than one cryptocurrency without the need to use different networks.
The peer-to-peer technology used for feathercoin is designed to create borderless payments. One of the cool things is that feathercoin is somewhat unique among cryptocurrency alternatives in that it has a number of features to really bypass banking.
In fact, feathercoin is working on open source projects for ATMs and Point of Sale equipment. Right now, it can be cumbersome to use cryptocurrencies. In many cases, its hard to use cryptocurrencies in real world transactions that take place offline.
That might change if feathercoins projects come to fruition. Physical, laser-etched coins and access to the cryptocurrency easily at Point of Sale terminals and ATMs really set this digital currency apart.
When it comes to mining, Quarkcoin offers the opportunity to just about anyone with a CPU. It doesnt give the advantage to special equipment or server farms. So, if you are looking for a way to mine a little bit more, the Quarkcoin can help.
Like Bitcoin and cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin, Quarkcoin is peer-to-peer. You can make payments directly to the person you want to, almost instantly. Plus, there is a high level of security with Quarkcoin. Were talking nine rounds of hashing, as opposed to one hash used by most cryptocurrencies.
One of the interesting things about Digitalcoin is that it is accepted by a number of businesses. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find someone willing to accept your cryptocurrency payment if it isnt Bitcoin or Dash. Digitalcoin offers stability as well, with a block rewards produced at a lower rate than many other digital currencies.
Digitalcoin, like other cryptocurrencies, is decentralized and secure. You can send and receive the currency anywhere in the world, and its free to use.
This is another of the highly private cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin. Stablecoin is distinguished by the fact that the transactions are not only encrypted, but also untraceable. While this currency isnt quite as well-used as many others, it is working hard to move forward, especially in China. If this catches in China, which is a huge economy, it could grow elsewhere.
The essential question is whether or not you should buy cryptocurrencies with the idea of capital appreciation in mind. Do you buy (or mine) these cryptocurrencies in the hope that you can sell them on an exchange and make a profit?
There are those who look at the widely-accepted Litecoin and refer to it as silver to Bitcoins gold. But does that really make sense in the long term?
While it can be tempting to think of cryptocurrencies as investments, the reality is that they might not be solid. Sure, mine cryptocurrencies. But they might be most useful as mediums of exchange. They are inexpensive, and blockchain technology allows for almost instant transfer so its possible to set up a low-cost global payment system.
The real value might be in the way Bitcoin and the way cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin are changing the way we think about money and do business.
Some of the more interesting blockchain developments are Ethereum and Namecoin.
Ethereum is interesting because it is at once a digital currency and an application layer. If you are hoping to get involved with smart contracts, one of the best choices is Ethereum.
The decentralized, open source Ethereum allows developers to create their own applications. This includes smart contracts, as well as token systems. The systems can be used as part of the smart contract process. Its possible to layer on the applications using Ethereum, which means that this blockchain development could change the face of business.
Namecoin is another interesting blockchain development. Namecoin technology isnt about currencies and money. Its all about decentralizing the Internet itself. Namecoin is about increasing privacy, resisting censorship, and improving the security of the infrastructure of the Internet. This is an interesting open source project that could change the way the Internet itself works.
Innovation in the way we see money and the way we do business are the main results of blockchain technologies. Bitcoin really brought the blockchain and cryptocurrencies into the mainstream consciousness. However, what comes next in terms of the way we conduct business on a global scale could be even more exciting.
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Cryptocurrency Alternatives to Bitcoin – due.com
It’s about time you learned how Bitcoin works.
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Learn BitCoin and master the world of cryptocurrency
A popular digital-coin exchange isdrawing scrutiny from U.S. regulators over a June flash crash that erased most of the value in thesecond-largest cryptocurrency before traders had time to blink their eyes.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has requested information from Coinbase Inc. about a June 21 incident on its GDAX platform in which the ether digital token suffered a precipitous drop, falling to 10 cents from $317.81 in milliseconds before quickly recovering, said two people familiar with the matter.
Among the issues the agency is focused on is what role leverage might have played in the plunge, as Coinbase allowed traders to use borrowed money to make bigger wagers than would have otherwise been possible, said the people, who asked not to be named because the review isnt public.
The CFTC inquiry is the latest sign that federal authorities aregrowing worried about a market with scattershot oversight that has attracted big money. Coinbase, which says it has served 10.6 million customers and facilitated $20 billion in digital currency transactions, is regulated by various states through a patchwork system.
Its not registered with the CFTC, the main U.S. watchdog of currency futures. Coinbase doesnt allow traders to buy and sell derivatives, and firms dont typically fall under the regulators direct jurisdiction unless they allow swaps trading. Coinbase does hold licenses with financial agencies in dozens of states, as well as Puerto Rico, according to its website.
The CFTC sent San Francisco-based Coinbase a letter with a list of questions, including queries about margin trading, one of the people said. Coinbase began offering margin accounts in March, as it sought to attract institutional investors by providing them loans to amplify their bets. The company disabled the service after the June crash.
As a regulated financial institution, Coinbase complies with regulations and fully cooperates with regulators, the company said in an emailed statement. After the GDAX market event in June 2017, we proactively reached out to a number of regulators, including the CFTC. We also decided to credit all customers who were impacted by this event. We are unaware of a formal investigation.
CFTC spokeswoman Erica Elliott Richardson declined to comment.
Coinbases ether plunge was caused by a single $12.5 million trade — one of the biggest ever — that prompted selling by other investors. The decline triggered automatic sell orders from traders whod requested to bail on the currency if prices dropped to certain levels, and led GDAX to liquidate some margin trades.
While the drop was dramatic, it was also temporary. Computer algorithms quickly started issuing buy orders that drove prices back up to $300 within 10 seconds.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have surged this year. But regulators and financial executives are concerned that investors are inflating a bubble thats destined to pop. South Korea banned margin trading in bitcoin and ether Sept. 29 after China earlier cracked down on digital currencies. Last month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon likened cryptocurrencies to the infamous Dutch tulip bulb mania of the 17th Century.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has been grappling with how to police digital currencies. SEC Chair Jay Clayton warned lawmakers last week that initial coin offerings are probably full of fraud. The next day, the agency sued a company for misrepresentations tied to a bitcoin offering purportedly backed by diamonds and real estate.
One risk of allowing margin trades is that in a sharp market reversal, trading platforms could run into problems if investors cant repay the money theyve borrowed.
Thats what happened in January 2015 when the currency brokerage FXCM Inc. almost toppled after Switzerland shocked markets by letting its currency appreciate. When the franc jumped, FXCM customers lost more money than they had in their accounts, forcing the company to seek a $300 million bailout from Leucadia National Corp.
Coinbases GDAX had a margin funding limit of $10,000.To qualify, investors had to meet at least one of several qualifications laid out under federal law.
For instance, individuals can only trade with borrowed money if they have more than $5 million invested in various financial markets and are using their margin accounts purely to hedge risks. Individuals are exempt from the hedging requirement if they have more than $10 million invested. The rules are looser for institutional investors, such as hedge funds and corporations.
Last year, the CFTC sanctioned a different digital token market, Bitfinex, for allowing investors who didnt meet the $10 million threshold to make margin trades. Bitfinex also broke the law because it didnt deliver some bitcoins that investors had bought using leverage within a required timeframe, the CFTC said. Instead, it held the tokens in accounts that it owned and controlled, according to the regulator. Bitfinex agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the case, without admitting or denying the allegations.
Coinbase has suffered outages and other performance problems as its struggled to handle the surge in volume thats accompanied skyrocketing cryptocurrency prices. It has also faced a sharp increase in customer complaints. Almost 500 consumer grievances have been flagged about the company this year on a database maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, compared with just six for all of 2016.
Coinbase and investors who use it to trade have piqued regulators interest in the past. In 2016,the Internal Revenue Service asked a court for permission to serve a summons against Coinbase, seeking records about taxpayers who have traded digital currencies.
It also has attracted prominent investors including Marc Andreessens venture capital firm and the New York Stock Exchange. In August, Coinbase received $100 million from a group led by Institutional Venture Partners, a Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm.
With assistance by Nick Baker, and Matthew Leising
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Cryptocurrency Flash Crash Is Said to Draw Scrutiny From CFTC …
If you’re still pondering whether or not to invest in cryptocurrency, this should help you make up your mind.
Almost every single cryptocurrency in the world is tanking right now. Bitcoin lost over 11% in the 24-hours before time of writing, Ethereum and Litecoin had plunged almost 20%, and Ripple nosedived 14%. Some, like EOS and Qtum, had lost almost 40%. Among the larger coins, only Tetherthe 19th largest cryptocurrency by market capwas holding out with a 3.2% gain.
Here’s how the top end of the cryptocurrency market looked as of 11:31 PM ET on Sept. 4:
So what’s behind the crash?
On Monday morning, China said cryptocurrencies had seriously disrupted the economic and financial order and outlawed Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)also known as token salesthe means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture.
China’s ban hit the market especially hard in the immediate wake of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warning against the legality of some ICOs, Tech Crunch reports.
The across-the-board tanking of cryptocurrencies also coincides with the latest provocative nuclear test by North Korea, suggesting traders are not betting on them as safe-haven assets in times of global turmoil.
Turns out it might be time to revert back to the old refrain: buy gold.
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Almost Every Cryptocurrency Is Tanking Right Now | Time.com