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Nowadays, the Internet is all abuzz about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Although for me, it is way far behind the dot-com bubble phenomena in the latter part of the 90s and early 20s. But, then, it is still a tech bubble, a phantom in the business exchange world, if I may say. The attention and speculations the cryptocurrencies get show that the world of the cryptocurrency market only makes it more interesting.

Cryptocurrencies to Watch

The cryptocurrency system as a whole produces decentralized cryptocurrency. Such regularity defined when the time the system was created and which is publicly known. In centralized banking systems, governments or corporate boards control the supply of the currency. This is done by printing units of fiat money or demand additions to digital banking ledgers. In a decentralized cryptocurrency, governments or organizations cannot create new units. Nor provided support for other businesses, corporate entities or banks holding asset value measured in it. Want to know more about Blockchain and what it is all about, scroll to the bottom for an in-depth explanation of cryptocurrencies.

 

Best Cryptocurrencies to Invest In Right Now (a safe portfolio)

Below is my selection of best crypto coins to invest in right now, to create a safe cryptocurrency portfolio of Bitcoin and its Altcoins. This might not be the riskiest of choices with the most returns, but rest assured, if you have a little bit of these coins, you are going to be a wealthy man or woman in a few years from now. this is a long-term investment portfolio of crypto.

Bitcoin rate

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency has at present $76.828 + Billion in market capitalization with bitcoin value of $4,469+ each and still rising as of this writing. The price of this cryptocurrencies has multiplied nearly 8x in the last year as of this writing.

Ethereum mining

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is arguably the second-most popular cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of around $36,000 + Billion as of this writing. The price of this cryptocurrency has exploded to more than 3000% in the last year. But in spite of the growth, it still remains at less than 1/10th of Bitcoin.

Ripple coin

3. Ripple (XRP)

Ripple is a payment protocol that allows instant transaction settlements and reduces transaction fees to cents. By using the power of blockchain, Ripple delivers one frictionless experience to send money globally. It is the quickest and very scalable digital asset, empowering real-time payments worldwide. Banks and payment providers can use Ripple XRP asset to further cut costs and access new markets. As of this writing, it has a market capitalization of around $7,821 + Billion.

Litecoin price

4. Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet digital currency acting in a complementary way to Bitcoin. Litecoin price rises more than 2000% in the last year. LTC enables instant, close-to-zero cost payments to anybody in the world. Litecoin offers quicker transaction verification times and value-added storage efficiency than the leading math-based digital currency. As of this writing, it has a market capitalization of around $3.449 + Billion.

stellar logo cryptocurrencies

5. Stellar (XLM)

The Stellar network is an open-source, distributed, and community-owned network used to facilitate cross-asset transfers of value. They help facilitate cross-asset transfer of value at a fraction of a penny while aiming to be an open financial system that gives people of all income levels access to low-cost financial services. However, unlike Ripple, Stellar.org is non-profit and its platform itself is open source and decentralized.

binance coin bnb cryptocurrencies

6. Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin (BNB) is the cryptocurrency of the Binance platform. The name “Binance” is a combination of binary and finance. As of 2019, many businesses accept BNB as a form of payment. It has grown significantly over the past 2 years and is definitely a must-have in a well-diverse portfolio.

IOTA coin price

7. IOTA (MIOTA)

IOTA is an open-source distributed ledger protocol that goes beyond blockchain through its core invention of their so-called “block-less Tangle”.  As of this writing, it has a market capitalization of around $2.465 + Billion. With no fees, IOTA enables companies to explore new business-2-business models by trading on an open market in real-time. Blockchains’ consensus is no-longer decoupled but instead an intrinsic part of the system, leading to the decentralized and self-regulating peer-to-peer network

Monero price

8. Monero (XMR)

Monero is a secure, private, and untraceable cryptocurrency. And as of this writing, it has a market capitalization of about $2,095 + Billion. Monero is more than just technology. It’s also what the technology stands for. It also gives the full block reward to the miners, who are the most critical members of the network who provide this security. Transactions are cryptographically secure using the latest and most resilient encryption tools available.

How to buy neo

9. Neo (NEO)

Formerly called Antshares, NEO is China’s first-ever open-source blockchain, claiming to be the Ethereum of China. It has a market capitalization of about $1.787+ Billion as of this writing. It is one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies in the market in terms of capitalization.

OmesiGo coin

10. OmesiGo (OMG)

OmesiGo is a Fiat & crypto-friendly, cross-chain compatible, and Ethereum-powered with a market capitalization of around $1,075 + Billion as of this writing. OmiseGO has the potential to be a global standard for exchange and payments. OmiseGO is the answer to a fundamental coordination problem amongst payment processors, gateways, and financial institutions.

Introduction to Cryptocurrencies

Transactions with cryptocurrencies are generally irreversible once a number of blocks are confirmed. Furthermore, one feature that is lacking in cryptocurrency as compared to a credit card is consumer protection against fraud, such as chargebacks. However, this is an issue of little importance since a third party multi signature-based escrow can be used effectively to mediate a transaction. This process is equivalent to enabling chargebacks. Actually, this attribute is an advantage, since it is also much easier than performing an irreversible transaction using a system with a native chargeback.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Have you been, in one way or the other encountered such words as cryptocurrency trading, cryptocurrency mining, or bitcoin value? The possibility is 95% YES! But, what really is a cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digitally designed asset functioning as a mode of exchange utilizing a form of writing called cryptography. It is primarily used as a way of securing transactions in businesses and control the formation of other currency units. They are classified as a subcategory of digital currencies and similarly classified as a subset of alternative and virtual currencies.

The best example is Bitcoin. Bitcoin became the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency and digital payment system in 2009. This system works without a principal repository or single administrator, hence decentralized. The system is peer-to-peer where the transactions can take place directly between users and without an intermediary. Since then, many cryptocurrencies have been mushrooming all around. These are often called altcoins, a fusion of Bitcoin alternative.

As of the end of 2019, thousands of cryptocurrencies exist. Most of these cryptocurrencies are analogous to and a derivative from the original fully decentralized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. In cryptocurrency, safety, integrity, and balance of ledgers are maintained by a community of distrustful parties called “crypto miners.” These are members of the general public using computers to help validate and timestamp transactions. These transactions are then added to the ledger in accordance with a specific timestamping system.

How do Cryptocurrencies work?

To fully understand how cryptocurrency works, you will need to understand a few basic specifics concepts, that are:

Publicly distributed ledger: A public ledger stored all transactions at every cryptocurrency’s formation. This is where the identities of the coin’s owners encrypted. To ensure the legitimacy of record-keeping, the system also uses other cryptographic techniques. The ledger makes sure that the matching “digital wallets” could compute an accurate spendable balance. Ethereum wallet and Bitcoin wallet or blockchain wallet is the world’s most popular digital wallets.

Peer-to-peer transactions: Any transfer of funds between digital wallets is called “transactions”. A transaction gets to be submitted to the public distributed ledger and waits for confirmation. Once the transaction is consummated, wallets use a cryptographic signature as proof that the transaction comes from the wallet’s owner. The confirmation process takes a little time, usually ten minutes for Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency mining: In simple terms, this is the process of confirming transactions and adding the same to a public ledger. In order to add a particular transaction to a ledger, “miners” must figure out a progressively-complicated computational problem. This computational problem is somewhat like a mathematical puzzle. The “miners” who solves the puzzle first add a “block” of transactions to the public ledger. This is the system in which the transactions, blocks, and the public distributed ledger work together. This system ensures that not a single person could just simply add or modify a block at will.

Blockchain technology applications

The Technology Behind Cryptocurrencies: Blockchain

Bitcoin and with its spin-offs use decentralization of control as against the centralized electronic money/banking systems. Here, all transactions are confirmed and substantiated by network nodes. And recorded in a public distributed ledger technology called blockchain.

Blockchain Explained

A group or individual identified as Satoshi Nakamoto developed the technical system from which decentralized cryptocurrencies are based. The first working version was open-source software. Akin to the internet in its infancy, blockchain technology is difficult to comprehend and predict. This is due to a lack of knowledge about how these cryptocurrencies work. But turn out to be omnipresent in the exchange of transactions of digital and physical goods, information, and online platforms. The term blockchain embodies an entirely whole new suite of technologies. Can, therefore, implemented in a lot of ways totally contingent on the objective.

A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, simply called blocks. It is connected and secured using a writing form called cryptography or cryptology. A block consists of a typical hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. On purpose, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. Blockchain can record transactions between two parties efficiently and permanently. A blockchain can collectively manage a peer-to-peer network, strictly adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. A data in the one block cannot ex-post-facto modified.

Blockchain Technology Applications and Beyond

By design, blockchains are examples of a secure computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance.  Blockchains make a potentially apposite for events recording, medical recording, and other records management activities. Examples are identity management, documenting provenance, transaction processing, or food traceability.

Top cryptocurrencies

The objective is to apply the technology to other transactions such as keeping track of property ownership. This could revolutionize how businesses and governments operate and citizens carry out their lives. At present, Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency system carries out around two hundred thousand transactions per day. But for wider adoption, the system needs to be able to cope with many millions.

Synopsis in Cryptocurrency Trading

Below a dip in the water on trading cryptocurrencies, and the basics you should understand.

Why trade Cryptocurrencies today?

  1. The field with cryptocurrencies is a fair playing level for retail traders such as us to profit.
  2. Cryptocurrencies are growing and still a growing market.
  3. This is a 24/7 market where, you, with the right strategies, can profit heavily from the regular volatility of the market.

Trading Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency trading is the Foreign Exchange (Forex) of cryptocurrencies. It means, traders are able to normally trade different bitcoin and altcoin for USD and BTC. Trading cryptocurrencies do not need mining hardware nor a bitcoin investment in HYIPs (High-Yield Investment Program) or cloud bitcoin mining, which always bears the risk in their integrity).

Why trade bitcoin or altcoin and not Forex? The reason is, it is easy to go into. In less than an hour, you can start trading bitcoin and earning money. And you should not forget that cryptocurrency trading is too easy to leave.

A huge advantage over Forex is the so-called “smaller spreads”. This is the difference between the asking price and the bid price of the market. For example: In the EUR/USD spread. The asking price and bid price are 1.0933 and 1.0931 respectively. The spread is only 0.0002. Percent-wise, it is just 18% (a spread of 0.0002/1.0933 = 0.018%). Now, for the spread in Bitcoin to USD. The asking price for one BTC to USD is $429 and a bid price is the US $428.999. It amounts to just US $0.001 or 0.0002% percent wise (0.001/429 = 0.0002%). This means that a smaller spread when you exchange, you will have made an almost zero loss while in Forex after your exchange, you are already at a loss of 0.018%, which is significant.

Margin Trading vs. Leverage Trading

Margin trading and leveraging are possible on some Forex and in addition on Cryptocurrency Exchanges. In Margin trading, peer-to-peer margin fund providers allowed you to use capital from. This means you can borrow buying/selling power, but needed to allocate funds (=margin). But not accessible until you return the lending capital. For example, you want to buy 2 BTC but you only have the US $429. And can done, possibly. But then again on a condition that you will have to pay some interest after you close your position.

Best cryptocurrency to invest 2018

Let’s say the BTC closes at the US $450. It will result to making $21 x 2 = $42 winnings. In this example, you only need to subtract a low interest of about 2%, and you have your final winnings. But that is of course if you have predicted the trade correctly. However, you could lose more, when you have a losing position. Or you may opt to use leverage trading on some Forex and Cryptocurrency Exchanges. In leverage trading, you can possibly trade an amount, which at present you do not have at your disposal. Normally, a cryptocurrency exchange offers a leverage ratio of 1:10. Meaning for each dollar in your possession you get $10 of buying power. To sum up, this means higher risk and possible higher profit.

Investing in Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency investing is different than investing in regular stock. Here’s why? When investing in a company, you are buying shares of that company and essentially own a percentage of that company. Of course, it totally depends on how big is your investments. When you invest in cryptocurrency, for example, Bitcoin or Ethereum, what you received is digital tokens that serve different purposes. Bitcoin can get you a partially anonymous decentralized cryptocurrency. In Ethereum, what you get is a bit of the ascendancy that runs smart contracts and decentralized apps.

However, there are many other cryptocurrencies (1,300+ as of the last count) and blockchain companies on the stock exchange where prospective investors can channel their money. Many bigger decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges such as GDAX, Bitfinex, Gemini, and Kraken usually proffer solid volume to trade cryptocurrencies via bank transfers or credit cards. Poloniex is another exchange offering more than 80 cryptocurrencies for trading, but the catch is you can just use Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrencies to support these trades. Coinbase is likewise a good choice that is emergent in popularity thanks to its ease-of-use and built-in wallet. However, the tradeoff here is relatively higher fees.

Below we list the 10+ best types of cryptocurrency to invest in now [Q4-2019] based on Market Capitalizations. We hope that this list will further inflame the enthusiasm and understanding of the people interested in cryptocurrency.

Last piece of advice

Many cryptocurrencies are mostly duplicates of existing cryptocurrencies circulating in the market with just very minor changes to it. Also, there are so many ways to forever lose cryptocurrency from local storage precisely to malware or data loss. This can happen due to the loss of the physical media which will effectively remove a lost cryptocurrency from the markets forever.

Banning these cryptocurrencies is not the answer or quick fix to ending money laundering and illicit trades, just as banning cash is not an answer to these same problems. Unanticipated events could undermine the bitcoin value as would a superior cryptocurrency could out-compete and replace a bitcoin. The potentialities for failure are infinite, but the one reason for its failure should not because policymakers did not understand its inner workings and possibilities.
This article was originally posted on Technolocheese.

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Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency

Grade school might tell you anything is possible. Complete and total decentralization, however, is not– at least sustainably. 

The premise that decentralization is impossible hinges on the fact that decentralization “experiments” such as Bitcoin have approached towards degrees of centralization.

For example, Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism relies on many different nodes to “mine,” or verify and facilitate transactions. These miners are rewarded a portion of transaction fees and a shot at winning the Bitcoin block reward, which is currently 12.5 bitcoins or about $115,000– a not insignificant prize dished out about 144 times per day

This has incentivized the creation of “mining pools,” or a collection of nodes that work together and divide the prize among the operators. Mining pools have taken what would otherwise be a decentralized utopia and coalesced a degree of centralization. The current state of Bitcoin mining is far from a single entity controlling the network with a  51% lion’s share, but it still highlights the downfalls of decentralization. 

There are cryptocurrencies that utilize different consensus mechanisms such as Proof-of-Stake and Delegated-Proof-of-Stake, and they manage to address some of Bitcoin’s drawbacks (such as high energy costs to mine), but they still leave the glaring decentralization issue. 

A particularly noteworthy concept is that Bitcoin, a network with no single individual party dictating its future, has gravitated towards centralization on its own. Centralized entities may receive some flak in the cryptocurrency and blockchain community, but they are at least able to enforce and control certain elements, a task nearly impossible for a theoretical, fully decentralized entity

Do we really need full decentralization?

The core tenet of decentralization, at least among the common blockchain ethos, is that decentralization insulates the network from tyranny and corruption, a duo that has plagued human governance and economics since the dawn of organized civilization. 

The same concepts that power Adam Smith’s “free market” philosophy that underpins modern economics encourage decentralization as long as every party is properly incentivized (mining rewards) and has access to somewhat similar resources (electricity, reasonable utility costs, etc) as the next. 

The glory of today’s blockchains isn’t so much derived from the idea of a utopian decentralization, but more so as a rebellion against the status quo of centralized banks dictating the economy, individuals being tethered to the success of their government, and the ability for large tech corporations and banks to shut down financial accounts at will. 

There are several degrees of “decentralization”, and even though not “perfect,” even smaller decentralization improvements can be disruptive to the existing “centralized” status quo. 

The goal is to figure out which areas will be impacted first; and which are the top use cases given the infrastructure’s properties (security, decentralization, scalability). 

For example, think of the idea of a decentralized “Uber,” a popular thought experiment in the blockchain entrepreneurial community. When someone needs a car to pick them up, what would they prefer: a nearly immediate connection to a driver courtesy of an efficient centralized server, or waiting for minutes and potentially hours for the transaction to be verified and processed? 

Final Thoughts

Although the push towards absolute decentralization is unfeasible, and in reality, decentralization benefits vary across use cases. Simply put, we don’t need decentralization for everything– centralization tends to work just fine for most things, and it shouldn’t be viewed as an enemy of what the blockchain movement seeks to accomplish. 

Ultimately, blockchain is simply just another technology to be leveraged to solve certain problems. 

Once upon a time, centralization was the solution to the disorganized chaos of the unpredictable. Our ancestors who lived in groups tended to live longer and better lives than individuals not in groups. 

These groups evolved into tribes that utilizes some form of centralization (leadership, hierarchy, enforced order) that protected its members and utilized resources more efficiently. Eventually, tribes expanded and, however indirectly, ended up becoming countries that function using the same centralized mechanics. 

Decentralization uses the evolution of the Internet and technological infrastructure to create systems that don’t require a centralized entity’s direct oversight. However, decentralized entities can only function within the scope of a centralized society.

Today’s projects are able to enjoy both the benefits of existing within the confines of a centralized society and the possibilities enabled by blockchain and the Internet. While full decentralization might be impossible, there’s no reason to fuss. 
This article was originally posted on Albaron Ventures.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
A number of VPN providers now accept payment via Bitcoin, but which is the best one? In certain circumstances, remaining anonymous is important. When you pay for services from your bank account, you create a trail that leads straight to your door. Bitcoin allows you to store your money outside the banking system. You don’t need to attach any personal details to the “wallet” that stores your money. Instead, a code identifies your value store. However, you can easily destroy that anonymity if you create a trail into and out of your wallet. Receiving payments into your wallet can also give away your identity. However, if you can’t make or receive payments without giving away your identity, what good is Bitcoin?

How Can I Keep My Bitcoin Wallet Anonymous?

You can keep your Bitcoin wallet anonymous with a little planning. Firstly, you need to create a pseudonym by which you can be recognized without giving your identity away. You create lots of pseudonyms in your life on the internet without any difficulty. The usernames that you select when signing up for services or social media platforms are essentially pseudonyms. However, these usernames are usually linked to some real-world form of identification. You can create webmail accounts without giving any personal details. You can then use those relatively anonymous email addresses to access services. The next step is to prevent anyone tracing your Bitcoin payments through your IP address. This can be achieved using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). When you connect to websites through a VPN, your transactions are identified by the VPN server’s IP address, not yours. VPN companies own thousands of IP addresses. They cycle through them regularly. Most successful VPNs also have millions of customers. That makes it very difficult to trace your activities. One weak point in the privacy that VPN services offer is that the VPN company itself can keep track of your activities. It can identify you through its cross-reference between your allocated IP address and your real IP address. If your VPN keeps that information on file, a court order can force it to hand it over to the authorities. The simple solution to this is to pick a VPN service that keeps no logs. You can read more tips on how to mask your identity when using Bitcoin further on in this article. However, first take a look at the five best VPNs for Bitcoin payments. For any VPN to qualify for this list, it has to keep no records of customers’ activities, provide unbreakable encryption, and accept anonymous Bitcoin payments. Remember to create a pseudonym to use with your Bitcoin account. Also, don’t forget that you have to protect your identity when collecting payments as well as when paying out of your wallet. You probably don’t need full anonymity in your day-to-day life. As such, why not run your regular finances through a standard bank account? You can then reserve your Bitcoin transactions for activities that you want to remain private. Avoid contact between your Bitcoin account and your bank account(s) to avoid links between you and your Bitcoin wallet.

The Problem with Paying for Digital Services in the EU…

Paying for digital services when you’re in Europe can present a problem. EU requirements specify that all charges for online services have to include Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is levied at the rate of the European country in which the customer is making the purchase. It is not levied at the rate of the service provider’s location. The VAT rule applies to companies that are based outside of the EU as well. That means that if you subscribe to a VPN service that is based in the US, such as IPVanish, that company has to identify your location and apply the VAT rate for the EU country that you’re in at the moment you pay. Vendors are required to seek two forms of location confirmation. Just about all of these include factors that will identify you. These can include the address of your bank account or your home address. These requirements make matters complicated if you’re travelling within Europe and not in your home country. That’s because online service companies have to provide the address of your bank account. This applies even if the payment is processed by a third party company. Thus having a PayPal account, or paying through Bitcoin, doesn’t protect you. The Bitcoin payment processor has to return details of your address to the service provider along with confirmation of payment. If the two identifying pieces of information don’t match the location of your IP address, the service cannot be provided.

…and the Solution

A simple solution to this problem is to make sure that you don’t appear to be in an EU country when you sign up for a VPN (or other service). That way, all of the location identification requirements disappear. You can perform this trick when signing up for a VPN by employing another VPN at the point of paying. This sounds a bit mad, but some free VPNs can help you out with that. AirVPN offers a three-day trial subscription for €1. You can take out that subscription using your real bank account, then turn the VPN on with a non-EU server location engaged. You can then sign up for another VPN service, such as IPVanish, or ExpressVPN. As a non-EU customer, the VPN company will not have collect your location details. You can thus proceed with the purchase via Bitcoin anonymously. So long as the VPN you use during your purchase doesn’t keep logs, there will be no way for anyone to connect you to the VPN account you set up with a Bitcoin payment. You can read the full article on BestVPN.com.
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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
The nonstop increase of Bitcoin price over dollar has shown its reverse side. It has given birth to a brand new cybercrime industry based on numerous scams, even if they are easy to get. Crafty rascals target naive internet users in a bid to cause them to lose their Bitcoins. This article lists most popular cryptocurrency-related scams to help you separate the grain from the chaff when dealing with Bitcoin transactions.

Fake Bitcoin Exchanges

Fake Bitcoin ExchangesWhenever you encounter an advertisement promising to sell you Bitcoins at a low price, be aware that it might be trying to lure you to a rogue cryptocurrency exchange website. The primary thing to look at when you visit any exchange service is whether or not it makes use of HTTPS. If the web address begins with HTTPS, it indicates that all interactions of your web-browser and the service are encrypted and quite secure. In the event it’s HTTP, using this kind of an exchange is dangerous. Another sign of a phony service is the PayPal to BTC exchange fraud. Such websites offer a web form for you to type in your PayPal email and the sum of money you plan to spend. After that, a QR code appears to confirm the transaction. However, instead of receiving your Bitcoins, you just get your PayPal account stolen.

Rogue Bitcoin Wallets

Rogue Bitcoin WalletsIt’s slightly more difficult to recognize rogue Bitcoin wallets, since the primary goal of any wallet is to store BTC rather than trade it. Thus, this kind of fraud isn’t generally geared toward immediate monetary gains. In fact, they most often seek to trick you into installing malware that can steal sensitive data. To identify fraudulent wallets, be on the lookout for suspicious hallmarks. Ask people you trust if they’ve used the service before. Check online reviews and scores. If the Bitcoin wallet is an application for downloading, examine it for risky code. Sites like VirusTotal can scan software binaries for known infections using two dozen anti-viruses simultaneously.

Phishing

Crypto PhishingPhishing is probably the most prevalent scam in the online world. It’s aim, in relation to Bitcoin, is to get you to visit a rogue website camouflaged as a well-known and legitimate service. By visiting pseudo services, you’re at risk of not only losing your Bitcoins but having all of your sensitive data compromised, along with your identity stolen. The malicious phishing email message may appear to originate from an exchange or wallet service you’re using. The cyber-crooks could have acquired your personal details after a big data breach like the notorious Yahoo hack. The general guideline is to avoid clicking on hyperlinks inside emails. A malicious hyperlink can seem entirely genuine. It uses several redirect steps to finally bring you to the site controlled by hackers. To stay away from this hazard, type URLs directly into your browser or use your bookmarks. You should also approach email attachments with Attachments frequently deliver viruses like ransomware. Fraudsters may also use web ads or black SEO to direct you to visit a bogus Bitcoin exchange or wallet while Googling terms like “Buy Bitcoin” or “Bitcoin exchange.” Booby-trapped sites will frequently show up among top search results. Again, use VirusTotal to check if websites are safe.

Bitcoin Ponzi Schemes

Bitcoin Ponzi SchemesCertain websites propose tempting BTC deals. They look too good to be true. That’s because they are. Based on their claims, you can increase your BTC twofold by the very next day. This is a typical Ponzi scheme. As soon as you send your Bitcoin, the likelihood of you getting even the initial quantity back is very low. Such websites usually include referral programs that allow their members to earn some cash from new customer leads. As such, a referral link in URLs on social media should act as a warning sign. Referral links look like this: website.com/?ref=826.

Cloud Mining False Promises

Cloud Mining False PromisesCloud mining relates to a model in which individuals group together and put in money to rent Bitcoin mining equipment. This idea is great and totally legit. However, crooks launch their scams to attract interested people and eventually give a lower return on investment, rather than keeping their promises. To avoid cloud mining scams, look closely at possible indicators of risk. Stay away from services marketed via referral links. Be sure the website is open and honest when it comes to what pool is employed for mining, who operates it and the amount of income you can get. A professional service will generally include a dashboard to manage the process and monitor all operations.

In-person Trading Thefts

In Person Trading TheftsBitcoin theft extends past the online world. With new legislation and control over cryptocurrency trading gearing up in certain parts of the globe, citizens may have problems buying and selling Bitcoins in the usual way. These challenges have stimulated the Bitcoin economy to begin migrating offline. Traders are starting to meet face-to-face to conduct exchanges. A number of cases show how risky peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanging may be. In April 2017, an entrepreneur from India was robbed when he tried to buy BTC at an attractively low price. He met with the supposed dealers at a shopping center. The crooks then abducted and robbed him. The lesson you can learn from this kind of offline cybercrime incidents is that it’s best to refrain from meeting unknown people in person to exchange BTC, especially when carrying large sums of money.

Bitcoin Security: Conclusion

The world of Bitcoin is growing. If you plan to be a part of it, hopefully the above steps will help you stay safe and secure while trading and using your BTC. You can read the full article on BestVPN.com.
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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
We repeatedly read that the blockchain is very cool – it’s a breakthrough, it’s our future, and so forth. If you believe all this is true, you’re in for a disappointment. Important note: this article deals with the implementation of blockchain technology, which is used for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. There are other applications and implementations of the blockchain and certain issues are resolved in some of them.

About Bitcoin

Bitcoin creators had a task: to make it work without a central control point; no-one should trust anyone. The authors fulfilled the task, the resulting electronic money functioned as intended and its adoption has grown. However, the decisions they made are monstrous in their inefficiency. The purpose of this post is not to discredit the blockchain. It’s a useful technology that has many great applications. Despite its shortcomings, it has unique advantages. However, in the pursuit of sensationalism, many journalists concentrate on the advantages of blockchain technology and often forget to assess the real state of affairs. They ignore the disadvantages. Therefore, it’s useful to consider the blockchain from all angles.

Myth One: Blockchain Is a Giant, Distributed Computer

Blockchain Distributed ComputerThose who don’t understand the basic principles of blockchain may be under the impression that it’s some kind of computer that performs distributed computing tasks, while its nodes around the world are gathering small bits of data to build something complicated and big. This is not the case. In fact, all the nodes that serve the blockchain are doing precisely the same thing. Millions of computers:
  1. Check the same transactions using the same rules. They perform an identical job.
  2. Add the same data to the blockchain.
  3. Store the whole history, which is the same and one for all.
There’s no parallelization, no synergy, no mutual assistance. There’s just duplication and, most importantly, it’s million-fold duplication. There’s no efficiency at all, as you can see.

Myth Two: Blockchain is Eternal – Everything Written There Will Remain Forever

Blockchain is Eternal The entire history of all transactions already runs to over 130 gigabytes of data. This is the full capacity of a cheap laptop or a modern smartphone. The more transactions that occur in the Bitcoin network, the faster the volume grows. The growth in the capacity of hard disks is probably not keeping up with the growth of the size of the blockchain. In addition to the fact that it needs to be stored, the whole database must be downloaded from the very beginning. It now takes several days to do so. You may ask: “Is it possible to store just part of the blockchain, since it’s the same thing on every node of the network?” Yes, you could, but then it would be a traditional client-server architecture instead of a peer-to-peer blockchain. Also, clients will be forced to trust servers. Thus the idea of “not trusting anyone,” which is the cornerstone of the blockchain, disappears. For most users, this principle has already gone. Bitcoin users are divided into two groups: enthusiasts who “suffer” and store it locally, and ordinary people who use online exchange services and wallets. The latter are much more prominent. These people trust the server and don’t care how it works.

Myth Three: Blockchain is Effective and Scalable

Blockchain is ScaleableIf each node of the network does the same thing, it’s obvious that the bandwidth of the entire network is equal to the bandwidth of one node of the network. Bitcoin can process a maximum of seven transactions per second – that’s it. In addition, Bitcoin transactions are recorded only once every ten minutes. After the record appears, it’s agreed to wait another 50 minutes, because some records spontaneously roll back from time to time. Thus if you need to buy chewing gum, you may have to wait an hour or so in the store in order to complete the transaction! With such a transaction speed, it’s impossible to increase the number of active users substantially. For comparison, Visa processes thousands of operations per second. It can also quickly increase this rate, as traditional banking technologies are easily scalable.

Myth Four: Miners Provide Network Security

Bitcoin Miners Provide Network SecurityYou’ve probably heard of miners, and of giant mining farms built next to power stations. What are they doing? They’re just wasting electricity! They “shake” the blocks until they become “beautiful” and can be included in the blockchain. Rewriting the financial history in this way takes as much time as creating it (provided you have the same total capacity). To build one block, you need the same amount of electricity as an average city consumes per 100,000 inhabitants. Add to that the costly equipment, which is suitable only for mining, and you can formulate the principle of mining (the so-called proof-of-work) as: “Burning the resources of mankind.” Blockchain optimists assert that miners ensure the stability and security of the network. The problem here is that the miners protect Bitcoin from other miners. If there were a thousand times fewer miners who burned a thousand times less electricity, Bitcoin would function just as well as now – the same one block every ten minutes, the same number of transactions, the same speed. With regard to most blockchain solutions, there’s a risk of the “51% attack.” The essence of the attack is that if someone controls more than half of all mining capacities, he can secretly write an alternative financial history, in which he doesn’t send his money to others. And then he may present his own version of the blockchain – which will become a new reality. Thus, he gets an opportunity to spend his money several times. It’s not possible to attack traditional payment systems in this way. Ultimately, Bitcoin is a hostage of its own ideology. “Superfluous” miners can’t stop mining because there will be a sharp increase in the likelihood that one entity will control more than half of the remaining capacity. As long as mining is profitable, the network is stable, but if the situation changes (for example, because electricity prices rise), the network may face massive double-counted transactions.

Myth Five: The Blockchain is Decentralized and Thus Unbreakable

Blockchain is DecentralizedYou may think that since the blockchain is stored on each node of the network, the security services won’t be able to shut it down (since the blockchain doesn’t have a central server or something similar). This is just an illusion. In reality, all “independent” miners are united in pools, or rather, cartels. They have to unite because it’s better to receive a stable but small income than to wait 1,000 years to get a huge one. There are only about 20 large pools. The largest four of them control more than 50% of all Blockchain capacity. It’s enough to knock on just four doors and get access to four Command & Control servers to have the opportunity to spend the same BTC more than once. In fact, the threat is even more real. Most of the pools, along with their computing power, are located in one country – China – which simplifies the potential Bitcoin takeover.

Myth Six: Anonymity and Openness of the Blockchain is Good

Blockchain AnonymityWe know that the blockchain is open and everyone can see everything. Though Bitcoin doesn’t list your name, it’s not completely anonymous. For example, if a cybercriminal gets a ransomwarepayment to his wallet, then everyone understands that this wallet belongs to a bad guy. And since anyone can monitor and follow all the transactions from this wallet, it won’t be easy for the crook to take advantage of this money. It’s enough to make a small mistake and reveal your identity somewhere for law enforcement officials to catch you. This happens more often than you might think. These days, almost all Bitcoin exchanges require their users to go through identification procedures. Therefore, hackers have to use the so-called “mixer” services. Such services mix dirty BTC with lots of clean ones. Crooks pay large commissions for this and take a lot of risks, since the mixer is either anonymous (and could run away with the money) or is already under the control of law enforcement authorities. The pseudo-anonymity of Bitcoin may be bad for legitimate users too. Here’s a simple example: Someone transfers a small amount of BTC to his mother. After that, mother knows:
  • How much money her son has at any given time
  • What exactly he spent it on
Or, if someone pays a debt to a friend, that friend now knows everything about the first friend’s finances. It’s the equivalent of opening the financial history of your credit card for everyone on Earth to see. This is a critical issue for businesses. All their counterparties, purchases, sales, customers, transfer amounts and everything else becomes public and accessible by competitors.

Blockchain Myths: Conclusion

You have just read about the six main Bitcoin shortcomings. You may wonder why the media doesn’t cover these issues. Unfortunately, it’s simply not profitable for them to write about these matters. Many of those who bought Bitcoin began to advertise and promote it, as well as to profit from it. Why, then, would they write about the blockchain technology’s shortcomings? Bitcoin has many competitors, who have tried to solve certain problems. Although some ideas are very good, they’re all built around the same basic blockchain principles. Yes, there are other, non-monetary applications of blockchain technology, but the fundamental drawbacks of the blockchain apply there too. You can read the full article on BestVPN.com.
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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
This is the ultimate guide to Bitcoin Privacy. Learn how to buy bitcoins anonymously and securely! How to spend it without worrying, and more! Of course, we’ll show you how to buy the best VPN anonymously, however, the same process can be used to anonymously purchase pretty much any product that accepts Bitcoins. Do note, however, that physical products need to be delivered to a physical address and/or be collected in person. This is an updated version of a guide I originally published on this website back in 2013. Since then, many things have changed. The value of Bitcoin has shot through the roof, well-known trading websites such as Mt. Gox have closed down, and much more. In some places, you can now even buy Bitcoins from ATM machines!

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency. It is a decentralized and open source virtual currency that operates using peer-to-peer (P2P) technology (much as BitTorrent and Skype do). Like traditional money, you can trade Bitcoin for goods or services (such as a VPN subscription) and exchange it for other currencies. Unlike traditional currencies, however, there is no “middleman,” such as a state-controlled bank.
Bitcoins are instead generated using a free computer program, at a predictable rate determined by the amount of processing power dedicated to their generation. This process is known as Bitcoin mining. In theory, anyone can do it. A Bitcoin is not a physical thing; it is a cryptographic algorithm consisting of a public key and private key. Some vendors do sell physical notes and coins denominated in Bitcoin, but what they are really selling is a private key (usually protected by a seal which you must break) together with a public key that you can use to verify the balance.

Bitcoin Mining

In practice, Bitcoin mining requires a large amount of processing power – so much so that mining is impractical for most individuals. However, it is possible to join a Bitcoin mining pool (or similar organization) to help spread the costs (and rewards). The prohibitive cost of Bitcoin mining is in part responsible for the current craze for mining alternative cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, which has a much lower entry point than mining for Bitcoins. Bitcoin mining is not the focus of this article, but if you are interested in the subject then there is an excellent article here. You may also be interested in our .

Other Cryptocurrencies

Since the release of Bitcoin in 2009, numerous other virtual cryptocurrencies have been developed. Many of these have features that offer distinct advantages over Bitcoin (including being more anonymous). None of these alternatives, however, have achieved anything near the popularity of Bitcoin. This limits their real-world usefulness when you want to buy things.

Bitcoin And Anonymity

There are two sides to the Bitcoin when it comes to anonymity. The first thing to stress is that Bitcoin is not inherently anonymous. However, it can be made so (at least to a high degree). Please always bear in mind that 100% anonymity can never be guaranteed. Central to the concept of Bitcoin is the . This is basically a public ledger that records Bitcoin transactions. Transactions in the form payer X sends Y bitcoins to payee Z are broadcast to the Bitcoin network for all the world to see. Thus, from this perspective, Bitcoin is much less anonymous than, say, good old cash. As Sergio Lerner, CEO of Argentinian company Certimix, notes, It is possible to purchase Bitcoins and hold a Bitcoin address without revealing your true identity. This only provides a form of pseudonymity, though. Interested parties can use advanced data analysis techniques to look for patterns to de-anonymize users. Such wide-scale and sophisticated data analysis is Google and Facebook’s entire business model. However…  You can use Bitcoin mixing techniques to further confuse who did what with Bitcoins. By randomly switching the ownership of Bitcoins, such techniques make de-anonymization via data analysis very hard to achieve. If you purchase and hold them without revealing your identity, and then properly mix them, Bitcoins canafford a high level of anonymity when performing transactions. I discuss ways to mix Bitcoins later in this guide. To more fully understand how Bitcoin and the blockchain works, The ultimate, 3500-word, plain English guide to blockchain by Mohit Mamoria is a fantastic introduction, as is our own Blockchain Explained guide.

The Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

Because nothing is ever easy, on 1 August 2017 Bitcoin split into two derivative currencies: Bitcoin Classic (BTC or XBT) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH or BCC). This split is known as the Bitcoin Cash hard fork and the reasons are highly technical.

Bitcoin Classic Vs. Bitcoin Cash

If you had any Bitcoin in your wallet and have possession of the private keys, then you are now also entitled to claim an equal number of Bitcoin Cash coins. Thus, if on 1 August 2017 you had a wallet with one Bitcoin in it, you still have that Bitcoin and can nw also claim one Bitcoin Cash coin (BCH). If you are just starting with Bitcoins, then you’ll need to decide between purchasing Bitcoin Classic or Bitcoin Cash. Some points to bear in mind are:
  • Bitcoin Classic is much better established and far more vendors accept it as a form of payment.
  • Most Bitcoin wallets and many exchanges don’t accept Bitcoin Cash.
  • However, Bitcoin Cash allows for more transactions per second. This translates to faster payments and lower fees.
  • 1,500 more blocks were mined on the Bitcoin Cash chain than on the original one.
  • The market price for Bitcoin Cash has fluctuated wildly over the last month, but in general it has seen steady growth.
As already noted, this article was written just one month after the hard fork. It will be interesting to see how the situation develops. For the purpose of this article, I will assume regular Bitcoin Classic is used. However, while there may be big differences between the currencies from an investment viewpoint (on which I am not qualified to comment), there is almost no difference in the front-end of how they are used. Indeed, they are based on the same code. As such, you can expect to see more Bitcoin Cash versions of existing Bitcoin software going forward, as tweaking code for the new currency is almost trivially easy. You can read the full article on BestVPN.com.
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Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency is the bipolar of the trading world. The volatility is insane; you’ll see major swings from 12% to 300% in a single day! With movement like this, it can be hard for anyone, let alone a newcomer to the cryptocurrency exchange, to make heads or tails of the market. Good news is there are a lot of people doing research on this exact topic (like us!) who can help you figure out the best way to turn a profit when cryptocurrency trading. So, if you’re in the mood to make some money but can’t make sense of all the cryptomarket lingo, check out some of these cryptocurrency trading hacks (spoiler, there are hacks for novices and experienced traders, so skip the first few if this isn’t your first rodeo). Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #1: Start at the beginning If you’re a newbie to the world of cryptocurrency trading, then the first and most important hack you can hear about is to learn! Jumping in without knowing what you’re talking about is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. So, before you put your money where your mouth is, get educated. Understand the market, terms, and trends. Know what terms like falls, rises, volatility, and swing trading mean. Understand what blockchain is and how it helps. Learn the different trading strategies and when to use which. Dylan from Six-Figure Marketers Club put out one of the best beginner’s cryptocurrency trading strategy videos. It starts at the beginning and proceeds to walk you through all the basics you’ll need to start trading bitcoin. The best part of this video (and all his videos, really) is that he speaks English clearly! You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find a good cryptocurrency video tutorial by a native English-speaker, so Dylan’s stuff is really golden. What’s more, Dylan explains everything clearly, so you will really walk away from this video understanding the ABC’s of cryptocurrency trading. As they say, knowledge is power! Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #2: Only invest what you can afford to lose Ok, this one doesn’t seem like a pro tip, but if you’ve ever lost money in any investment platform, you know that sticking to this rule is key. Picture this: You invest a large sum of money, probably more than you can really afford, but it’s ok because your broker ensures you that this is a solid bet. Lo and behold, the market swings the other way, and you lose everything you’ve invested. You’re devastated, heartbroken, and what’s more, you’re broke. Now, what do you do? The smart investor walks away, but that’s not everyone. Too many people get the itch. I’ve come this far, I’ve invested so much. I can’t turn back now. So, they invest more and more and keep sinking in deeper and deeper. This is a dangerous game you don’t ever want to play, so make sure you don’t even start your game strategy this way. Set a certain amount of money you’re willing to invest, and make sure that is only money you can responsibly afford to lose. This way, if you lose it all, you’ll still be able to pay your bills, make rent, and take care of your regular obligations without feeling any pressure. If you make a profit, that’s great! Go ahead and invest some of that too. Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #3: Use the right software/tool/trading platform Up there with knowing what you’re doing is knowing which platform to do it on. The right platform will give you the best advantages when trading cryptocurrencies. You’d be amazed at what a difference a convenient and smooth mobile app makes. Other features to look out for when scouting platforms include what type of security the exchange offers, the exchange, trade, and deposit-withdrawal fees charged. Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #4: Using the MACD Indicator for buy and sell signs I think this is one of the best beginner’s strategies. MACD aka moving average convergence divergence scale is an indicator that follows the momentum of an asset based on the movement of two averages of the security’s price. It sounds much more complicated than it really is (and if you’ve never used it before, let B from Your Altcoins show you exactly how it’s done), but once you play around with it, you’ll see just how simple it is. Basically, following the MACD indicator will show you when is the best time to sell your investments (it can also show you when is a good time to enter or not enter into an investment). There are different settings like you can micromanage down to every five minutes or let it go for days, so play around with it to see which ones you like best and which are most successful for you. Toggle the different timeframes, how often it displays, etc. until you find the groove that works for you. Regardless of which settings you use, the MACD indicator will show you two lines, one showing rise and one showing fall. If you follow these two trends, you’ll be able to see clearly when to sell to make the most profit. Try it out, you’ll be amazed at how easy this one is. Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #5: Use Momentum Momentum is a pretty simple concept: if things start going up, they keep going up. And when things start going down, they continue in that direction too. In general, the strategy works using this logic. Momentum says to buy a week after a currency experiences an upward trend (20% or more), and then sell a week or so later. Of course, this isn’t always the case (see the next few hacks for a solution to this strategy loophole), there are plenty of times that assets will keep climbing and you’ll kick yourself for having sold, but at least you’ll make some profit off of the currency using this strategy. Plus, you’ll be really happy if the asset drops suddenly since you won’t have lost everything in one fell swoop. I thought this was a great video for clarifying momentum. It’s only 15 minutes, but it explains the strategy pretty clearly. What’s more, this video is solidly backed by real research done by Yale University studies and findings. So, the information is really something you can take to the bank. Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #6: Take profits… One of the biggest mistakes that investors can make is not taking profits when they see a rise. It’s natural for you to want to hold out for a bigger gain, and that’s fine. But with such a volatile market and such rapidly moving changes, it’s just a bad idea to keep everything in for the big payout. If you want to see just how far you can ride the gravy train, by all means, go for it. Just do yourself a favor and take your profits out first. If you’ve invested $1,000 and you see a rise, and your investment is now worth $1,200, take that $200 gain as your profit. Then if you want to leave the initial $1,000, you haven’t lost anything more than what you originally knew you could lose anyway. Either way, you’re still up $200! Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #7: …But don’t take out everything Ok, so you want to make sure you take out your profit before the asset loses its value, BUT you don’t want to take out everything, and that’s the next cryptocurrency trading hack. Basically, you want to take out your profit and leave the rest. Why? Because when an asset goes up in value, it’s the time to make your profit. Yay! But there are so many times when a currency rises…and then continues to rise for quite some time. If you sold early on, you’ll be kicking yourself for months or even years that you didn’t hold out for a bigger slice of the pie. This CryptoLand video explains this concept really well, so if you want to learn more about it, check it out. Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #8: Use MTP Properly Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) basically posits that you set aside a certain amount of money that you are willing to invest (i.e., lose) and buy an assortment of assets consistently regardless of the price. The reason this works is because the assets aren’t directly correlated, so you aren’t going to feel the pressure of all your assets moving in the same direction at one time. A good spread of assets could yield an excellent return over time. The real hack here is to use MPT properly. That means diversifying your assets across markets, not just sticking to cryptomarkets. Why? Because all cryptocurrencies are too highly correlated right now to be considered varied enough to protect you against the risks. Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #9: Breakouts Breakouts are one of the most popular investment strategies (whether you’re buying low or selling high), and here’s a quick video that’ll tell you everything you need to know about it. Chris just has a personable air to him, but more importantly, he tells you all the right information in simple terms that anyone can understand. Plus, Chris actually makes trading sound like fun, so check it out! Cryptocurrency Trading Hack #10: Make sure you’re secure This last one also seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many people operate in this mode (scared face emoji!) Cryptocurrency trading is somewhat of a wild wild west of exchanges, and that means there are a lot of people looking to take advantage of you. There are plenty of built-in security features, but you’ve got to do your part to keep yourself and your investments safe too. When trading, make sure:
  • You have two-step authentication enabled
  • You’ve read up and are aware of phishing and email scams
  • You keep your cryptocurrency keys available (you forget your passwords, you’re screwed!)
With these ten hacks in hand, you can make a profit and really have some fun with this 21st-century investment trading opportunity. Go for it! This article was originally published at YouTubetoMP3Shark.
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Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
 
You might be somewhat familiar with the idea of blockchains, or you might have only heard of the phrase in passing (or you might not have any idea what a blockchain is but thought the article title sounded more interesting than the topic currently being discussed in the meeting your supervisor is making you sit through…). Either way, there are still a lot of questions that you probably have. What is a blockchain? How does a blockchain actually work? Are blockchains really as secure as they claim to be? Can you invest in blockchain itself? What is the advantage of blockchain? Maybe you’re getting more involved and want to delve deeper into the exciting and fascinating world of blockchains. In that case, your questions might be more advanced like: What programming language is used for blockchains? Is blockchain open source? Is blockchain hackable? Are there other use cases for blockchain beyond bitcoin storage? Will blockchain change the world? No matter what your string of queries, the best place to find the answers is always the internet. There are thousands and thousands of videos out there explaining the definition, uses, and inner workings of the blockchain. I know what you’re thinking. Great! Let’s sift through thousands of videos to find the ones that actually make sense, answer your questions, and give over the information you want in an appealing manner. If that doesn’t sound as much fun as a barrel of monkeys (why would a barrel of monkeys be fun anyway?!), then you’re in luck. Since we know how interested our readers are in the topic, we’ve aggregated the best videos from across the web that talk about blockchains. From the straight-up definition to the more advanced jargon that most of us will never really understand, check out the 5 most useful blockchain videos out there to help you get started down the path of blockchain wisdom. Great Blockchain Video #1: What is blockchain? CNBC Explains by Tom Chitty And here’s why: It gives you all the important information you want to know, starts from the beginning, and explains the entire concept well There are a lot of blockchain for beginners videos. You’ll recognize them by the names like, what is a blockchain, blockchain explained, or blockchain for beginners. The truth is, though, that most of these videos take a lot for granted, assume you know more than you actually do about the topic, or don’t really explain the concept in a practical way. And that’s why this CNBC exclusive done by Tom Chitty is our first recommendation for anyone who is just starting out on the learning journey to blockchain technology. If you can understand the accent and overlook the poor wardrobe choices, then you can actually learn a ton from this explanation video. Chitty goes through the ABCs of blockchains, showing the negatives alongside the positive uses for blockchains. He also shows you exactly how it works, why it is so secure, and what future applications might be possible for this technology. The CNBC video also takes you through the benefits and possible financial ramifications that are involved in embracing this technology. All in all, Chitty does a great job of explaining a complex topic and gives you a lot of food for thought. Great Blockchain Video #2: New Kids on the Blockchain by Lorne Lantz And here’s why: Practical ways people are currently putting blockchain to good use and how they will even more so in the future Aside from the fact that this is a TED talk, which automatically makes it amazing, Lorne Lantz explains exactly how blockchain works quickly and eloquently. He then moves on to break down how blockchain works within the bitcoin universe, something that most people are curious about. Finally, Lantz illustrates how blockchain can be used in other instances. This is not only fascinating, but it is a great way to educate the public about how this brilliant technology can be utilized in the future and within our day-to-day interactions. Great Blockchain Video #3: Understand the blockchain in two minutes by Institute for the Future (IFTF) And here’s why: It’s fast and easy to watch but surprisingly thorough for a two-minute video We all want to know more about various topics like cybersecurity, the effect of drug and alcohol combinations, or depression and prevention. But let’s face it, we’re lazy! And what’s more, our attention spans are shorter than Michael Jordan’s laughable attempt at becoming a baseball star. For this reason, I am highlighting this video from IFTF. The Institute for the Future does snapshots of interesting topics, trending concepts, and technological advancements that they deem worthy of a closer look. This video on blockchain is just two minutes long, but somehow it manages to explain everything you really need for a cursory understanding of the topic (and even a little more). So, if you’re already antsy just from reading this intro, check out the IFTF blockchain video (you can watch it double speed if you’re that strapped for time!). Great Blockchain Video #4: How the blockchain will radically transform the economy by Bettina Warburg And here’s why: Food for thought on a more advanced technology that is offering a safer and more reliable forum for value exchange Whether you’re a conspiracy theorist, a budding financial mogul, or just someone who thinks it’s really cool to see entire empires brought to their knees by the unlikely underdog (think David and Goliath or Spartans against the Persians), this is a must watch video. Bettina Warburg explains briefly how throughout history we have used various methods to exchange values within our societies. From protection to fish and coins and now to the more advanced banks and digital currencies, the world has always had its way of trading valuables for desired goods. In this video (yep, another TED talk), Warburg takes us through the process of how blockchain is the next chain in the evolution of value exchange. She expertly breaks it down, so you can see how this makes sense on a sociological, economic, and technological level. What’s more, she demonstrates how blockchain is the safest, easiest, and most reliable method we have come up with yet. So basically, Warburg’s video shows viewers how blockchain is like a solid, unbreakable safe, which makes it more trustworthy and evergreen than any other transaction method that came before it. I don’t want to spoil the video for you, so just watch it for yourself. Great Blockchain Video #5: Blockchain: Massively Simplified Richie Etwaru And here’s why: A fabulous twist This video starts off seemingly like all other beginner’s guides to blockchain. It talks about the early days of the internet (those dark times of dial-up modems and even earlier ARPAnet packet switching technologies) and quickly fast forwards to show you how kickass technology has become (as if we needed a video to tell us that). All very interesting stuff, but nothing new. And then Etwaru does something that nobody else we’ve seen so far attempt. He takes blockchain and explains how it can bridge a gap that no other technology has been able to traverse, a gap that is so fundamental to human interactions and our society as a whole that it’s truly a marvel that we’ve gotten this far in history without having a more reliable failsafe for it. In this video, Etwaru explains that inventions are all about bridging gaps in our society, world, and lives. He then continues on illustrating how blockchain bridges the gap of trust, one of the most core and necessary element of our society, one that holds trillions of dollars on its wobbly shoulders. With his mesmerizing voice, witty personality, and mind-blowing revelation, Etwaru really blows the top off of this simplified concept. And that’s what makes his video on blockchain really stand out. Blockchain Explained, Expanded, and Explored So, there you have it. Sure, you could sit there for hours and hours watching video after video, sifting through the crap and suffering through the clunky terminology, but why bother? We’ve rounded up the cream of the crop, the best videos out there, the ones that’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck. In fact, if you just watch these five videos, you’ll: • Know all the basic information about what blockchain is, how it works, and what it’s used for • Be able to hold your own in a conversation that is arguing the different sides of blockchain • Have some interesting ideas to help stir up controversy when everyone’s talking about this technology at the office water cooler, at your next family barbecue, or this Thursday night at the bar • Just generally sound like a smartass because you know more about an interesting topic than almost anyone else in the room Of course, if you are a real newbie to the blockchain concept, then here’s some quick information to warm you up to the subject and to ensure you don’t sound like a complete idiot the next time the subject comes up. • Blockchain is an online database that can be accessed by anyone and from anywhere in the world (provided you have an internet connection) • Blockchain is decentralized, which means its ledger is shared on every computer around the world, so it has no single central location • Blockchain can be added to by anyone, but once a record (or block of information) is created, it cannot be tampered with, changed, or deleted • Bitcoin is NOT the only use case for blockchain technology. In fact, it’s just the beginning baby! From banking to cybersecurity, crowdfunding, Internet of Things, and healthcare, blockchain has so many real-life applications. Now that you’ve got all this information in your head, knowledge is power. So, get out there and do the best thing anyone can do with a boatload of interesting information; flaunt it in front of your friends. This article was originally published at YouTubetoMP3Shark.
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Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
Facebook is reportedly working on a cryptocurrency money transfer application that will be integrated into WhatsApp. The service, which is set to be launched in India upon approval, will apparently target the remittances market. According to Bloomberg, WhatsApp is developing a stablecoin for the project, and its value will be pinned to that of the U.S. dollar. A stablecoin will be able to overcome the huge price swings that affect the value of digital currencies such as Bitcoin whose rates can shift by over 10 percent within 48 hours. Facebook has been carrying out research related to blockchain and digital coins for some time now. In May, it put together a research unit headed by former President of PayPal, David Marcus. He is currently also Vice President of Messaging Products at the company. The group currently has about 40 researchers. Marcus is believed to have played a key role in the company’s latest crypto venture. The Facebook exec has previously talked about the prospect of bringing cryptocurrency payments to Facebook Messenger and pointed out a few drawbacks. In his view, high transaction fees and slow processing times would definitely hinder widespread adaptation of such a feature. He was, however, optimistic that the cryptocurrency community would in time come up with solutions that would make a crypto payment integration feasible. Facebook is reported to be on a hiring spree to build up its crypto-blockchain research and development team, which is currently comprised of former PayPal and Instagram execs. Some Facebook employees have also been recruited and including Geoff Teehan, who is Head of Product Design and Morgan Beller, a member of the Corporate Development team at the company.

Why Crypto Payments in India?

India tops the list of countries with the highest volume of cash remittances from abroad. Figures from 2017 stand at about $69 million, according to a recent World Bank report. This was a 9.9 percent increase from the previous year. Total global remittance figures reached $613 billion in 2017. Facebook is thought to be targeting this market with its WhatsApp crypto application. India currently has over 200 million WhatsApp users. The application also has a market penetration of about 28 percent, according to data from Statista.

WhatsApp Has Been Pushing for a Payment Service Approval

WhatsApp CEO, Chris Daniels, was recently reported to have sent a letter to the Reserve Bank of India requesting to extend payment services to its users in the country. The letter, which is dated November 5, sought for the approval of a BHIM UPI (Unified Payments Interface). The company is reportedly also working with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to fulfill regulatory requirements and has already started to implement recommendations from the RBI. They include data storage requirements that oblige the company to provide unfettered access of payments info to the RBI. The proposal is still awaiting approval. In February, WhatsApp began testing its payment platform in India. The project was undertaken in conjunction with ICICI Bank. Around 700,000 users reportedly took part in the program. The rollout was postponed after the Cambridge Analytica scandal exploded. It led to serious privacy concerns that prompted the Reserve Bank of India to issue a new directive targeting data storage and access requirements forcing the company to remodel the project. A crypto-payments system approval from the Indian government would make WhatsApp a leading funds transfer platform in the country.

The Impact on the Remittances Market in India

A cryptocurrency remittance feature is likely to lead to reduced costs in transactions, as well as, faster processing as opposed to conventional modes of money transfer. Regular cash transfer platforms charge transaction fees that can reach and exceed 5 percent of the total figure transacted. Making cross-border payments can attract a currency conversion fee. In many cases, the process can take a few days for the funds to reach the recipient. On the other hand, cryptocurrency transaction fees are usually extremely low. TRON transactions, for example, only lead to a fee of about $0.0000901, while Monero trades cost about $0.01. This is according to data obtained from Bitinfo Charts. Tether, which is the most popular stablecoin by market trade volume, does not charge any rates for transfers but applies withdrawal charges. This article was originally published at CoinCentral.com.
 
 
 
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Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency
On May 22, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint against Titanium Blockchain, an Israeli start up in the middle of its ICO at the time. According to the SEC, the firm had violated the commission’s registration and anti-fraud regulations in the process of raising funding from investors. Charged with securities fraud, company founder, Michael Stollaire stands accused of falsifying information. Allegedly, the company was caught claiming false ties to large firms like Boeing, Disney, and PayPal.

WHAT IS TITANIUM BLOCKCHAIN?

According to their official website, Titanium Blockchain is a research, development and consulting company that offers full-scale blockchain development services to enterprises in several industries. They are focused on exposing corporations to the applications of blockchain technology for benefits such as increased efficiency and speed. The firm claims that it delivers deep insights to its clients, based on a wealth of experience within the field. They follow a comprehensive roadmap which encompasses every stage of operation, from elaborate planning and product architecture to selecting the best technical solutions, product definition, outlining R&D processes and final execution. Their main services include consulting, private and public blockchain development as well as ICO services. The Tel Aviv-based firm makes use of several existing blockchain applications including Hyperledger, NEO, Ripple, Waves, Cardano, Quorum, AION, Wanchain, Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), and Ethereum-based decentralized applications among others. In September 2018, Titanium blockchain announced that it officially became a technology partner of WLTH, a health blockchain platform which rewards users for achieving health goals. Some other significant partnerships include:
  • Gaby, a community management tool
  • Millentrix, a cryptocurrency management service
  • Verv, a smart home energy assistance that provides information on electricity usage
  • Bidipass, an ID verification solution
  • The ICO platform
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WHAT WAS THE TITANIUM BLOCKCHAIN INFRASTRUCTURE SCAM?

According to a statement by Robert Cohen, head of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit: “This ICO was based on a social media marketing blitz that allegedly deceived investors with purely fictional claims of business prospects. Having filed multiple cases involving allegedly fraudulent ICOs, we again encourage investors to be especially cautious when considering these as investments.” In detail, the Titanium fraud involved an inflation scheme that allowed it to profit from deceiving investors. It entailed orchestrating a social media campaign, using fake testimonials and false claims of corporate relationships with over thirty well-known companies, to create the illusion of credibility and expertise to unsuspecting investors. This generated a high demand for their digital asset during the ICO stage since the brands that were falsely named gave the firm an extra layer of credibility. They also offered incentives and created a sense of urgency leading to FOMO (fear of missing out) which prompted investors to buy into their tokens without analyzing the project properly.

SEC COMPLAINT

In its complaint against Titanium Blockchain, the SEC has also sued the firm for evading a valid offering exemption and registration. EHI Internetwork and Systems Management Inc., another company linked to Stollaire, was also mentioned in the complaint. Following the initial complaint, regulatory officials successfully obtained an emergency asset freeze which applied to the Titanium ICO in which over $21 million was raised. The SEC is focused on the retrieval of investor funds with interest and several penalties. The regulator also has plans to ban company founder, Stollaire, from any further participation in future digital offerings. Following the issuance of a temporary restraining order by the SEC, all involved parties have agreed to a preliminary injunction for the status of the firm to become a permanent receivership. This case can be linked to the recent focus on cracking down on fraudulent misrepresentation within the industry. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has also increased its efforts to dismantle fraudulent activity carried out by cryptocurrency firms. To this effect, operation Crypto Sweep was launched in April 2018 and is currently investigating more than 50 firms. This is not the first time an ICO has been deemed fraudulent. In September 2017, the SEC filed charges against Maksim Zaslavskiy when it was revealed that fraudulent blockchain projects, REcoin and Diamond Reserve Coin ICOs only existed on paper. Through aggressive marketing tactics, Zaslavskiy was able to con about 100 investors out of $300,000. Neither coin issued investors’ tokens nor developed blockchain infrastructure as advertised. Recently, Centra, another budding blockchain startup, along with its three co-founders were accused of a similar case of misrepresentation in which they claimed strong ties to card network giants, Visa and Mastercard.

WHAT LESSONS CAN BE LEARNED FROM THIS SCANDAL?

Now that the cryptocurrency regulatory atmosphere is becoming stricter by the day due to new initiatives by regulators, there will likely be a reduction in fraudulent cases like that of Titanium Blockchain. If one thing is clear, it is that there is a lesson for both firms and investors within the space who either perpetrate fraud or fall prey to it. Firstly, in any ICO, issuers must adhere to publishing only truthful representations of their business model, promises, and operations in their whitepapers, press releases and any other documents that can be classed as marketing material. This also applies to social media use, since there is a large audience on several platforms who can become investors in future. Issuers must also check with regulators to see if their marketing tactics are legal and properly placed in a way that does not mislead the public on the nature of products or services being offered. This should be done before any marketing campaign begins, to avoid any problems. Generally, for issuers who use testimonials as a way to boost credibility and gain trust, extra care should be taken to ensure that they do not contain any misrepresentation, whether intentionally or not. Misrepresentation may lead to complaints and accusations from investors who feel that they have been defrauded. It goes without saying that the use of information, including logos and names from other companies without permission, attracts a legal consequence. The same thing goes for falsifying records such as certificates and degrees to show a high level of expertise. Any of these acts can invite regulatory scrutiny. The Howey Test may also be carried out, to determine the contract nature of the asset being offered. Investors who are looking to buy tokens from an issuer must be careful to carry out checks on such companies. These checks should typically include the background information of the company team members, their past companies, and performance. It is also imperative that investors confirm if such a firm is licensed to offer its tokens and which regulator issued the license. As for issuers who use testimonials from companies, investors could contact some of them to find out whether such claims are true.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Regulatory issues have plagued the cryptocurrency scene for a long time and have acted as a blockade for future development. If users are too scared to invest in blockchain projects because they are afraid of being scammed, how is the ecosystem supposed to move forward? Firms such as Titanium Blockchain, while under the guise of building the blockchain industry, have inadvertently contributed to tearing it down. Blockchain investment can be highly rewarding. However, due to fraudulent parties, it can also be disappointing. While regulators combat these parties and bring them to book, investors must be shrewd when deciding which projects to put any amount of money into. This article was originally published at MinDice.com.
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