A Beginners Guide To Bitcoin and Blockchain

You have probably heard the terms Bitcoin and Blockchain but maybe you don’t understand what they mean. The post below and accompanying infographic provides a beginners guide to Bitcoin and Blockchain.

Bitcoin is the first ever decentralized cryptocurrency which can be even termed as the digital or virtual currency, says cryptosuper.market. Bitcoin is fungible, portable, divisible and irreversible.

The Bitcoin was invented by the name SATOSHI NAKAMOTO in the year 2008 and it was later published as open source in the year 2009. But the person or group behind the invention have no traces of identity as the bitcoin was published by an unknown person or group using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.

After the invention of Bitcoins many cryptocurrencies emerged, where some used the same system and structure of bitcoin and others implemented the structure and made better digital form of currency. Though there are many forms, bitcoin stands first-1st among them. As the rest of the forms are derived from the bitcoins they are often termed as ALTCOINS which means Alternate coins of bitcoin.

At first Litecoin was taken as an altcoin which later lead to various Altcoins as Dogecoin, Ethereum, Monero and etc. Each and every altcoin has its own specifications where some of them even beat the functioning of bitcoin in some aspects as some of the Altcoins stand as the best by offering greater anonymity than bitcoin.

A Beginners Guide To Bitcoin and Blockchain – What is Blockchain?

To record all the transactions of the bitcoins a public ledger called BLOCKCHAIN has been invented where the blockchain stood as undeniably an ingenious or a creative invention. The blockchain plays an important role, the whole bitcoin network completely relies on the blockchain.

Blockchain is further classified as three types namely public, private and consortium blockchain. Generally blockchain follows a state of consensus where the transactions takes place between the users and are usually confirmed within 10 minutes of Block Time by the network, through a process called Mining.

Block time is often defined as the time taken by the network to generate an extra block in the blockchain. The Block Time differs for each and every Cryptocurrency form, the Block time for Ethereum is 20 seconds.

A chronological order is enforced in the blockchain system by mining. Mining allows different computers to agree on the state of system and it protects the neutrality of the network.

The first ever international blockchain transaction was completed on October 24, 2016. Brokered by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC).

Now there comes the question of storage of bitcoins, bitcoins are generally stored in the bitcoin wallet or crypto wallet. Cryptocurrency is not actually or directly stored in a crypto wallet.

Instead, a private key is stored that generally shows ownership of a public key. So in general a crypto wallet stores both private and public keys and allows to receive and send coins.

If a person loses his / her wallet due to the corruption of the wallet file or hard disk or the data disruption the lost bitcoins that are present in the wallet can’t be retrieved back and they are to be considered that they are lost forever. There are many offline and hardware wallets available.

The Bitcoins use peer to peer (P2P) networking system which doesn’t involve any third party interference in the transaction process. The success rate of the trade increases with the P2P networking system.

P2P networking system became first popular in 1999 with the introduction of Napster application, it is a file system which generally has a set of central servers that’s used to link people who had files with those requested files.

Since the transactions directly take place between the users without the interference of any third party, the transactions are irreversible.  But at one point it is possible to refund if and only if the receiver agrees to cancel the transaction.

Generally people often get confused about owning a cryptocurrency, the major point that concerns them which coin to select. Though bitcoin stands first it even has some drawbacks which are recovered in its altcoins. People now-a-days are interested in bitcoins because of its speed of transaction and very low transaction fee offered.

Bitcoin is the world’s most widely used cryptocurrency and thus bitcoin is increasingly viewed as a morganatic or legitimate means of exchange. But there is even a point to be concerned as the price of bitcoin is volatile, price of bitcoin can unpredictably decrease or increase over a short period of time due to its novel nature, young economy and illiquid markets.

It isn’t a tough task to own a bitcoin as there are 4 basic ways through which a person can own a bitcoin, a person can buy them form bitcoin exchange sources or can buy bitcoins from any of their friends or relatives or near by trader or by Accepting Bitcoins as payment for goods and services they provide or by mining the bitcoins.

All the three ways are simple and easy but care must be taken while dealing with unknown people or traders whereas mining isn’t that easy as it seems to be as it’s a process which involves in usage of special software to solve mathematical algorithms in exchange of bitcoins and it isn’t possible as it once was.

If a person wants to begin a transaction and he knows nothing regarding the process then that’s totally futile. We can conclude the information regarding beginning transaction process or steps of the transaction process in few steps as : a transaction can be termed a general transfer of value between the Bitcoin wallets that are involved in the blockchain.

Bitcoin wallets have private key which is generally used to sign transactions by providing a proof (mathematical proof) that the request have come from the owner of the wallet. The signature also prevents transaction being altered by others once it has been issued or started.

All transactions are between the users and are usually confirmed within 10 minutes of block time by the network through mining.

Nowadays for the convenience of the bitcoin users many Bitcoin ATMs have been installed and there are about 3164 ATM machines through out the world. Bitcoin kiosks (Look like traditional ATMs) are generally the machines which are connected to internet and allow the insertion of cash in exchange for bitcoins. As per the study, bitcoin ATM charges about 7% on transaction and 50$ as exchange rate.

Is Bitcoin legal?

There are many countries which legalized the usage of bitcoins and whereas there are many countries which have banned the usage of bitcoins and declared bitcoins illegal. In short we can say that the bitcoin isn’t legalized all over the world.

Countries or Nations like Ecuador, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia banned the usage of bitcoins and declared bitcoins illegal whereas, countries like United States, Canada, Australia and European Union accept the usage of bitcoin declaring it legal.

In cryptocurrency we usually have a fork which is given as change in protocol, the forks are classified into hard forks and soft forks. The first Bitcoin fork was NAMECOIN published or generated in the year 2010 and a hard fork published in the year 2017 was Bitcoin Gold.

The most common fork used is the SegWit which is a soft fork, SegWit (Short for Segregated Witness) and SegWit is a protocol upgrade that changes the way data is stored.

The total dollar market value is generally determined by Market Cap value or Market Capitalization value. The market cap value is mathematically calculated using MC=N x P, where MC is the market capitalization, P is closing price per share and N is number of shares outstanding.

Bitcoins are even helpful in the payment sector. For the first time University Of Nicosia, Cyprus accepted fees in the form of bitcoins. Bitcoins are even used in shopping, online transactions and payment.

There are many payment service providers (PSP) offering online services dealing with cryptocurrencies. There are many payment service providers where Bitpay and Coinbase are internationally top ranking exchange providers for bitcoins. The basic work of the payment service provider is to accept bitcoin on behalf of the merchant and convert it to the local or Fiat currency.

Lightning network effectively creates a layer on top of bitcoin and it helps in fast and cheap transactions which can net settle to the blockchain. Lightning Network is pretty complicated and is an extremely promising as a cryptocurrency game-changer.

DAO tokens came into existence in the year 2016, the main usage of the DAO tokens was that the were to receive DAO tokens and then vote for a project to fund. But the concept didn’t work successfully as many people didn’t want the system to be present.

ICO (Initial Coin Offering) refers to the creation and sale of digital tokens. The first sale was held in the year 2014, it’s a project that came into existence to create some certain amount of a digital tokens and sell it to the people usually in exchange of their cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.

We hope you have enjoyed this beginners guide to Bitcoin and the Blockchain, if you did please comment and share.

The infographic below helps explain further – courtesy of Bitcoinfy.net

A Beginners Guide To Bitcoin and Blockchain - bitcoin infographic

ICOs – An Innovative Way Of Fundraising

Through the years, many innovative ways of raising money emerged and the boom that cryptocurrencies made in the last decade meant that a novel way of crowdfunding for startups was created. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are the latest trend for startups to raise money and that is the main topic of today’s article.

ICOs are sources of capital for startup companies, and are used mainly because this way startups can avoid costs of regulatory compliances and intermediaries. Essentially, with ICOs you have several investors buying your cryptocurrency, and in doing so they fund your startup in hopes of getting a return investment in the future.

As of February 2018, BTXchange states that the most used blockchain platform for ICOs with more than 80% of the market share is Ethereum. According to a research by Cointelegraph, a site generalized in cryptocurrency news, the Ethereum network ICOs have resulted in phishing, Ponzi schemes, and other scams, which accounts for around 10% of ICOs.

2017 saw ICOs raise 40 times as much capital as they had in 2016, which shows the astonishing growth that ICOs are experiencing. The capital they have raised is lower than the one raised by its main counterpart called IPOs, or initial public offerings.

The downside that ICOs have is the potential for making scams.

  • In February 2018, Crypto startup Giza raised $2.4 million (2,100 ether) in a fake ICO, which engaged more than 1,000 investors.
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission has frozen PlexCoin’s $15 million gathered in the ICO in 2017 for advertising astronomically huge return of 1,354% which couldn’t be delivered.
  • In 2017, scammers behind Benebit blockchain token system with faked team photos collected money during ICO and walked away with $2.7M – $4M.

Take a look at the infographic created by BTXchange.io to find out more information about ICOs, and what is expected from them.

 

ICOs infographic image

Is Bitcoin Actually Useful?

It’s hard to look at trending investments in 2018 without seeing news about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Increasingly viewed as commodities, these digital currencies made serious waves in 2017. Bitcoin nearly hit $20,000 in value, undoubtedly allowing a lot of early investors to cash out with serious gains. And though it has since declined fairly significantly, the 2017 surge is still on people’s minds. Everyone from amateur investors to serious hedge fund managers is at least keeping an eye on the crypto markets.

Is Bitcoin Actually Useful? - Bitcoin image

The question we have at this point, and the one anyone dabbling in cryptocurrency ought to think about, is whether it’s actually useful. Bitcoin was originally designed as an alternative currency, meant to take over as a secure, anonymous means of conducting basic transactions. This hasn’t happened yet, and in fact we’re nowhere near that point. But there are some ways in which bitcoin can be useful.

Online Retail Shopping

The slowest area for bitcoin adoption has been in-person retail. While there are certainly brick-and-mortar restaurants, coffee shops, and stores that will accept bitcoin payments in person, they tend to be few and far between, and you almost have to go out of your way to make use of them. Online, however, some of the biggest retailers in operation have begun to accept crypto payments. Overstock, eGifter, Shopify, and numerous travel-related platforms (like Expedia and CheapAir) are among those usually included on the list.

Bitcoin Debit Cards

This can almost seem a little bit unnecessary, but if you’re someone who’s determined to make practical use of bitcoin and you don’t have enough opportunities to do so, you can actually load up a debit card with cryptocurrency. It then functions just like any other debit card (meaning you can use it just about anywhere), but instead of being backed by a checking account, it’s simply loaded up with a dollar value backed by your bitcoin.

Gaming & Betting

There’s actually a lot of competition between online gaming and betting platforms as they attempt to find different ways to appeal to players. There are several factors that must be considered when choosing a platform to engage in real money gaming activity with, and increasingly one such factor is payment methods. Many people prefer more secure and anonymous means of making deposits, and for this reason more and more of these sites are accepting bitcoin payments. In fact, some online casino platforms now exclusively take bitcoin.

Short Term Potential

This won’t help you today or tomorrow, but it’s also worth noting that bitcoin advocates haven’t given up on its potential to replace ordinary currency. Only a few months ago a man who’s already made millions in bitcoin predicted that it will replace fiat currency in five years’ time. That may be a little bit optimistic, but there’s an argument to be made for exploring cryptocurrency now because it’s probably going to get at least somewhat more useful in day-to-day transactions.

The Incredible Growth of Fintech (infographic)

The name Fintech was coined by merging two words: finance and technology. With the evolution of every aspect of society, it wasn’t a surprise that modern technology would find its way in finance as well. The latest technological breakthroughs are used in banking, investing and cryptocurrencies.

The financial crisis in 2008 opened the doors for novel ways of providing financial services. The investment in Fintech in the same year was $930 million and in the next 7 years it increased to more than $22 billion. This shows the huge growth of the new financial industry which specializes in areas such as insurance, trading, and risk management.
The major characteristic which attracts customers is that the products and services that these firms offer are cheaper and more innovate that those by traditional banks.

One of the innovations is that many of the companies have shown interest in cryptocurrencies in the past years. Fintech uses software because it is mainly based of digital information. In turn, this makes it vulnerable to hacking attacks, which is why the leading companies opted to using cloud computing as a new solution for data security. Such example is Expedia which was one of the first to adopt Bitcoin when it partnered with Affirm.

Even though Fintech companies experience a rapid growth, it is unlikely that in the foreseeable future they will be able to “kill off” traditional banks. At the very least, the banks are trying to stay in touch with modern technologies, despite their rigid structures.
Take a look at the infographic below which has many statistics that will help you understand the incredible growth of Fintech.

Growth of fintech infographic