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Blockchain Basics

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A blockchain, originally block chain, is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”. For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.

Blockchains are secure by design and are an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been achieved with a blockchain. This makes blockchains potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records, and other records management activities, such as identity management, transaction processing, documenting provenance, food traceability or voting.

The first blockchain was conceptualized in 2008 by a person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto and implemented in 2009 as a core component of bitcoin where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has been the inspiration for other applications.

The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several documents to be collected into one block.

The first blockchain was conceptualised by a person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. It was implemented the following year as a core component of the digital currency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions on the network. By using a blockchain, bitcoin became the first digital currency to solve the double spending problem without requiring a trusted administrator and has been the inspiration for many additional applications.

In August 2014, the bitcoin blockchain file size, containing records of all transactions that have occurred on the network, reached 20GB (gigabytes). In January 2015, the size had grown to almost 30GB, and from January 2016 to January 2017, the bitcoin blockchain grew from 50GB to 100GB in size. The words block and chain were used separately in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper, but were eventually popularized as a single word, blockchain, by 2016.

The term blockchain 2.0 refers to new applications of the distributed blockchain database, first emerging in 2014. The Economist described one implementation of this second-generation programmable blockchain as coming with “a programming language that allows users to write more sophisticated smart contracts, thus creating invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates which automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level”. Blockchain 2.0 technologies go beyond transactions and enable “exchange of value without powerful intermediaries acting as arbiters of money and information”. They are expected to enable excluded people to enter the global economy, protect the privacy of participants, allow people to “monetize their own information”, and provide the capability to ensure creators are compensated for their intellectual property. Second-generation blockchain technology makes it possible to store an individual’s “persistent digital ID and persona” and are providing an avenue to help solve the problem of social inequality by “potentially changing the way wealth is distributed”. As of 2016, blockchain 2.0 implementations continue to require an off-chain oracle to access any “external data or events based on time or market conditions [that need] to interact with the blockchain”.

In 2016, the central securities depository of the Russian Federation (NSD) announced a pilot project, based on the Nxt blockchain 2.0 platform, that would explore the use of blockchain-based automated voting systems. IBM opened a blockchain innovation research center in Singapore in July 2016. A working group for the World Economic Forum met in November 2016 to discuss the development of governance models related to blockchain. According to Accenture, an application of the diffusion of innovations theory suggests that blockchains attained a 13.5% adoption rate within financial services in 2016, therefore reaching the early adopters phase. Industry trade groups joined to create the Global Blockchain Forum in 2016, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

Structure

A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions inexpensively. A blockchain database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests. The result is a robust workflow where participants’ uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. Blockchains have been described as a value-exchange protocol. This blockchain-based exchange of value can be completed more quickly, more safely and more cheaply than with traditional systems. A blockchain can assign title rights because it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance.

Blocks

Blocks hold batches of valid transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree. Each block includes the hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two. The linked blocks form a chain. This iterative process confirms the integrity of the previous block, all the way back to the original genesis block.

Sometimes separate blocks can be produced concurrently, creating a temporary fork. In addition to a secure hash-based history, any blockchain has a specified algorithm for scoring different versions of the history so that one with a higher value can be selected over others. Blocks not selected for inclusion in the chain are called orphan blocks. Peers supporting the database have different versions of the history from time to time. They only keep the highest-scoring version of the database known to them. Whenever a peer receives a higher-scoring version (usually the old version with a single new block added) they extend or overwrite their own database and retransmit the improvement to their peers. There is never an absolute guarantee that any particular entry will remain in the best version of the history forever. Because blockchains are typically built to add the score of new blocks onto old blocks and because there are incentives to work only on extending with new blocks rather than overwriting old blocks, the probability of an entry becoming superseded goes down exponentially as more blocks are built on top of it, eventually becoming very low. For example, in a blockchain using the proof-of-work system, the chain with the most cumulative proof-of-work is always considered the valid one by the network. There are a number of methods that can be used to demonstrate a sufficient level of computation. Within a blockchain the computation is carried out redundantly rather than in the traditional segregated and parallel manner.

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Tether Prints Another 100M USDT On The Ethereum Blockchain

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Tether, the company behind the cryptocurrency with a value meant to mirror the value of the U.S. dollar known as Tether Dollars (USDT), has just printed another 100m USDT on the blockchain. Within the course of last week, Tether has emitted a total amount of $250m USDT into the Ethereum blockchain, remarkably stirring the air about  its claim of being a stablecoin. Tether has been known as a very controversial cryptocurrency in the cryptospace.

Since the beginning of this year, regular issuances of large amounts of the USDT have been  routine for Tether. There have been a record of about 10 prints of $20 million to $150 million so far this year, one occurring (roughly) every two and a half weeks. Before that, the last print–which was for $30 million–occurred on January 29th, 2018.

Tether’s recent printing of the $100 million USDT made its market capitalisation to catapult from  $2.8 billion from just a few months back to about a grand total of $3.5 billion.

Although Tether has printed a whooping figure of USDT, most of the coins have not been put into circulation as confirmed by Paolo Ardoino and the company’s official transparency page.

Paolo Ardoino is the CTO of Bitfinex. According to him the Tether that has just been emitted in the blockchain will not be issued quite yet. It has not been  authorized but will become a part of the circulation once the demand will be higher than the supply. He makes this utterance in reference to the USDT printing that  occured on June 11th. In his words, the new USDT is “authorized but not issued”; in other words, it “was created in the treasury wallet that will be used to fulfill future issuance requests.”

Quite similar to Paolo’s view or rather taken as a confirmation of what he says, Tether’s official transparency page avers that $99.8 million USDT is “authorized but not issued” on the Ethereum blockchain yet.

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Block.one Offers Early Backers a 6567% ROI Buyout Option

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Block.one offers Early Investors a 6567% ROI Buyback Option

Block.one, the Cayman Islands-registered firm which is behind the world’s largest ICO till date, $4 billion EOS software has recently sent out an email to early backers stating its intention to buy back some portion of its shares giving them a whopping 6567% ROI in less than 3 years according to a Bloomberg report.

In July of 2018, billionaire investor Peter Thiel invested into Block.one joining the like of Alan Howard and Louis Baycon who were early backers of the startup since 2017. These investors are faced with the mouthwatering option of either liquidating their shares of the company and cashing out huge gains or remaining with them.

Block.one in a March 19 e-mail to shareholders seeks to rein in external ownership of its equity by offering a $1,500 per share as compared to the $22 per share seed round. When asked about this move, a spokeswoman of the company merely said the company intends to use proceeds it generated from token sales to expand its resources while building its business strong clearly dodging the main question asked.

According to an email circulated to its investors, by February 2019, Block.one was valued at $3 billion as compared to $40 million during its seed round in 2017. And unaware to most of the public, it holds as much as $2.2 billion in U.S. government bonds as compared to the jurisdiction it is registered in the Cayman Islands.

Block.one had faced serious criticisms from industry stakeholders with many labeling it a shady enterprise that certainly didn’t need as much as $4 billion to launch a decentralized software. One of such critics is Richard Burton, San Francisco-based founder of Balance.io, a blockchain company that designs applications for open source financial products, he has once said

They designed a very clever mechanism to hoover up as much capital as possible,

He continued by saying,

Bitcoin was started on a shoestring and Ethereum raised just a few million dollars, which goes to show you don’t need anything like the money Block.one raised to launch and scale a successful network. It should be beholden on them to explain why they needed that much and what they are doing with it.

Brendan Blumer, the young CEO of Block.one however disagrees with such critics as he made his stance known in a Bloomberg interview in November of 2018, saying

too much transparency into everything that we are doing on an ongoing basis can actually take away a lot of the competitive advantage when we’re trying to put out new types of technology

clearly knocking off the argument of critics who demand squeaky clean transparency after raising so many funds.

When asked if they were willing to take up the buyback offer, Bacon and Howard declined to comment while Thiel ignored numerous messages sent to him privately, sources reported. On the other hand, early backer, Christian Angermayer made his stance known. He had this to say,

Block.one is one of the most promising and best-positioned companies in the blockchain industry, and its success story is just beginning,

Recall that Mike Novogratz had earlier liquidated his stakes in the firm and realizing as much as 123% in returns valued at up to $71.2 million in the transaction.

Although Block.one which holds up to 140,000 units of bitcoin as assets, cited extreme volatility as a major factor that impacted its valuation clearly halving its holdings valued at around $1 billion, which has since been recovered in the recent bitcoin really, it is looking promising and sure has the likes of Peter Thiel happy at any of the option it decides to pursue.

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Trouble Looming for Bitcoin with Stocks Plunge?

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Trouble Looming for "risk-on" Assets with Stocks Plunge?

Could bitcoin and other “risk-on” assets be open to a possible plunge alongside the traditional stock market?

With what is happening in the stock market, inferences could easily be drawn that social media (tweets particularly), not only affect the traditional markets but also has real-time effects on digital assets. With a recent revelation from the United States president-Donald Trump, where he makes plans to increase the tariffs on Chinese-made commodities from 10% to 25% in a few days time, global assets like stocks and bitcoin BTC, recorded a minus in the market.

Bitcoin Records Slight Dip with Trumps Chinese Tariff Statements.

While many will argue that President Trump’s intentions had a good possible economic result, the stock market took the news quite badly. As at 1 pm today, Futures for the S&p 500 were 1.75% down and this would invariably mean an open red. More so, as of the time of compiling this article, there exists a whopping drop for the SSE Composite Index of about 5.35%, which means the loss of billions of dollars in less than 24 hours.

Just as we mentioned earlier, bitcoin also recorded some losses alongside its counterparts in the traditional exchanges. this was pointed out by a crypto trader who saw this trend as the Monday Asian market opened. In this trading path, BTC fell in indicating a negative reaction to the tariff threat of the U.S. President.
If we argue that BTC price loss could be coincidental, we might also need to take a look at a similar situation where BTC lost almost the same value to the Hang Sang withing the same time frame. This is yet another proof to show that though BTC is sadly still vulnerable, it also now responds to market forces.

More insights show that cryptocurrencies are risk-on and this means that investors in these areas are particularly interested in markets trending higher.

Bitcoin To Become Safe Heaven As Digital Gold

From all the information provided above, it is clear that bitcoin maybe conforming to traditional markets’ risk-on assets after all.
Many might not have heard already, but bitcoin, alongside all other cryptocurrencies, have been disregarded an in fact touted as an uncorrelated asset. Check this out in the CNBC interview a few months ago where Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek mentioned that the correlation between BTC and the S&P (SPX) was practically non-existent. A confirmation was put forth by Three Arrows Capital’s Su Zhu, showing that given “high prices and low prices, high volatility and low volatility, the correlation between the aforementioned assets is still near-zero.

All of the correlations confirmed this Monday, have gone to validate the John Normand theory that gold remains a better safe haven or hedge against downturns than Bitcoin. John is the Head of JP Morgans’s cross-asset management arm.

According to optimists, Max Keiser’s explanation of a possible break-even for the digital asset class is a thread strong enough to hold onto. Max is of the opinion that BTC will eventually become a “risk-off” asset, hinting at a few characteristics that make it a form tradeable money.
Amongst many reasons for his belief are that BTC is a non-sovereign, decentralized, censorship-resistant and easily- transferable asset that is deliberately scarce and is not controlled by the whims of central banks and the various existing financial institutions.

The market and consumers alike may need a bit of a nudge in the right direction to truly comprehend this fact, and this is predicted to come from the impending financial crisis which experts say is much around the corner.

Have your say in our comments section below.

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Jaguar Land Rover To Reward Customers Using IOTA Cryptocurrency

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Jaguar Land Rover To Reward Customers Using IOTA Cryptocurrency

Jaguar automobiles have ventured into the world of Blockchain Technology seeking ways to better reward their customers, while also collecting feedback data for product improvement.

The areas where blockchain technology can be applied is becoming increasingly alarming and at the same time interesting. It is gaining value in areas of our private life on a daily basis.

Who would have thought that a technology that came to us only as a means of substitute money as we previously called it, would now be considered for mainstream Adoption and Integration in all sectors of our economy from supply chains to economics, automotive and also investment fields?

All these industries are not lacking in ways to deploy and implement the use of blockchain in application development all for the sole purpose of improving existing systems.

In a publication released by the International Business Times, Jaguar Land Rover seems to be currently testing new software that allows users of the automobile to earn digital assets (cryptocurrency) whenever the users give feedback on the issue of the cars’ performance in particular places. in other words, users get rewarded for providing data.

In line with this development, IOTA seems to be the cryptocurrency with which the app will be built. The automobile giant believes that this strategy is perfect for obtaining real-live information, and this will, in turn, help them guide against avoidable mechanism-failures and prevent accident for users of the Jaguar automobile.

IOTA wants to enable interoperability with all these different players. So there is no Jaguar coin, no BMW coin, but one Universal Token for this machine economy.

-Dominik Schiener, IOTA Foundation Co-Founder and Co-Chairman.

Speaking further, Schiener said IOTA is designed to easily solve most of the inefficiencies facing other blockchains particularly because he believes IOTA operates on top the Distributed Ledger Tech (DLT) called Tangle which is expected to connect IoT with Web 3.0.

Blockchain adoption has left its speculative days for good and is being explored by many more companies that could have been imagined. he benefits of the blockchain technology are too numerous and attractive to be turned down. It offers customers a reward system that can, in turn, build and attract customer loyalty to a specific brand.

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