Blockchain: What Is It in Simple Words?

alien blockchain

The word “blockchain” has recently become very popular, many people have heard about it, but not everyone understands what it means. We will try to explain the following things in simple words within the framework of this article:

  • How blockchain works?
  • Why is this technology considered a miracle of the 21st century?
  • Where can it be applied?
  • What problems are still to be solved?

So, let’s discuss everything step-by-step.

Contents:
(please click the topic to scroll down to it)

  1. What is blockchain in simple words?
  2. What is the blockchain system and how does it work?
  3. Where can you apply the technology of blockchain?
  4. Pitfalls of blockchain
  5. Conclusion

 

1. What is blockchain in simple words?

Etymologically, a blockchain system is a clearly-sequenced chain of blocks constructed according to predetermined rules that contain certain information.

If we do not dive deep into cryptographic terms, then there is nothing complicated in the algorithm of the operation of the blockchain technology. For the sake of simplicity, the system of blockchain can be compared with the accounting journal, which is found in the possession of tens of thousands of users simultaneously. This journal is constantly updated and does this in all its copies, each page refers to the previous ones. In order to fool the system and fake at least one record, you will need a titanic amount of processing power, since you will have to replace all copies. Theoretically it is possible, but practically, one substitution will cost its organizers trillions of dollars, so we will consider it impossible.

2. What is the blockchain system and how does it work?

The blockchain platform is a large number of blocks that are constantly updated and linked. These blocks are distributed among all participants through peers (similar to torrent, which is used by millions of people to distribute and download files).

Each unit has its own individual hash sum. This is a timestamp, it can be compared with the biometric data of a person (retina, fingerprints, etc.). The blocks are connected with great precision into a certain chain. Attempts to change the sequence of blocks will not succeed. The system detects it immediately, because the hash sums will not correspond to the original registry. There are several methods of protection against such interference in the technology of blockchain:

  • PoW, Proof of Work.
  • PoS, Proof of Stake.

blockchain scheme

3. Where can you apply the technology of blockchain?

By and large, everything can be recorded in the blockchain.The scope of this technology is potentially much broader than just a payment network.There is a large number of blockchain projects, which are used in various spheres of life. For example, the UAE government decided to transfer 50% of the document circulation to blockchain until 2022. Using this technology, you can store any data. You can conduct voting, polls in blockchain. The issue of falsification disappears by itself.

Another unique feature, which was born together with Ethereum, is smart contracts. With their help, you can get rid of legal paperwork and intermediaries. There is a virtual notary (Stampery project) that certifies contracts through the technology of blockchain.

We already know of several working cases of how blockchain has been successfully applied in the field of copyright protection (the Ascribe project). If we start to list all the things which can benefit due to blockchain, we will have to write the third volume of “War and Peace.”

4. Pitfalls of blockchain

Like everything else in this world, blockchain has two sides of the coin. The first one, revolutionary and promising, has already been reviewed by us. It’s time to talk about the flaws and problems that are in the arsenal of this technology.

  • In order to implement the technology of blockchain everywhere, it is necessary to completely rebuild huge established systems that have a lot of interested parties, and they will hinder innovations in every way. You will need a couple of years to fully switch to blockchain.
  • This technology is not yet very friendly with regulators. In order for the broad masses to begin implementing it everywhere, the trust is required that is provided by the legislative framework. So far, there is no single scenario for solving this problem.
  • Miners use a lot of energy to confirm blockchain transactions. In the future, when the blockchain system is implemented in a large number of spheres, the powers to maintain it will have to be many times bigger.

5. Conclusion

The blockchain technology is unique and has a good technological support. It can store a large amount of data that can not be compromised, destroyed or replaced. The help of smart contract technology makes it possible for the agreements between two or more persons to happen without the presence of an intermediary, the algorithm itself will monitor the fulfillment of the obligations of all parties.

In the nearest future, blockchain has every chance to become a new paradigm for the mankind, but it is still necessary to do a lot of work and solve some problems to make it happen.

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The Recent Filing of Apple to SEC Suggests Its Interest in the Blockchain Technology

It has been detected that one of the latest listing of Apple submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission called “Conflict Minerals Report” mentioned the blockchain technology as one of the methods to deal with the issue stated there.

The issue itself regarded the mining, production and shipment of minerals used to produce smartphones and other electronic devices.

We have covered the topic earlier and informed you about the company Ford that cooperated with IBM and other giants in order to combat child labor in Africa. Their primary goal was to focus on cobalt mines in Congo, where minors were and maybe still are working illegally.

Meanwhile, Apple has some big plans on that cobalt, since this mineral is crucial for the company to manufacture their devices. However, using cobalt from the infamous mines in Congo would mean direct support of the human rights abuse.

Many experts have repeatedly pointed out that the supply chains of Apple were involved in multiple scandals involving the violation of human basic rights. Thus, the company had to make sure it got rid of the “dirty” reputation.

Apple is deeply committed to upholding human rights across its global network of suppliers that support the manufacturing of its mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and related accessories. Apple works to safeguard the well-being of people involved in its supply chain and to protect the places where materials are sourced,” the filing reads.

Conflict Minerals Report was mainly about the work ethics of Apple and the possible ways to ensure the legitimacy of supply chains, using the blockchain technology, as well as educating other businesses how to use blockchain for security purposes.

Thus, we might draw a conclusion that Apple is getting closer to using the blockchain technology, even though it is indirect so far. Bigger step towards using the potential of blockchain might follow soon.

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A Major Japanese Bank Is Developing a Blockchain-Based Payment Network Due in 2020

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) is on the most prominent financial institutions in Japan, moreover, it is the world’s fifth largest bank in the world. Located in Tokyo, MUFG has branches in 50 countries all over the globe and over 150 thousand employees.

The financial group provides services in the various fields like leasing, asset management, commercial banking, credit cards, securities and others. It also constantly collaborates with the largest banking establishments in America, Europe and Asia.

MUFG and blockchain

Following the example of its competitors and partners, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group decided to involve innovative technologies in order to upgrade and advance its payment systems.

According to the official press release of the bank, it is partnering up with the Massachusetts-based company Akamai Technologies, which is a leading provider of content delivery and site accelerating services.

MUFG and Akamai Technologies, Inc. (“Akamai”) announced today that they have agreed to strengthen their strategic alliance towards the full-scale launch of a new payment network business and establishment of a joint venture, Global Open Network, Inc.,” is mentioned in the press release.

The main purpose of the collaboration, the development of a blockchain network for payments, is planned to be launched in 2020.

As stated by the bank representatives, they want to experiment with “diverse payment schemes” which will allow to expand their range of services.

We remind you that another global financial establishment, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, is also working on implementing cutting-edge technologies and launched a financial management app.

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Report: Blockchain Investments Cannot Overcome Fintech Funding

European blockchain companies set a record in 2018, however, they are unable to overcome funding that comes to financial technology companies.

Blockchain boom in 2018

At the end of 2017, the rate of Bitcoin skyrocketed to incredible price of $19,000. As the first cryptocurrency began gaining popularity, people started to wonder about the technology that stayed behind. After that people understood that blockchain can be used not only in crypto, but also in other spheres of life.

Some companies began to create their own blockchain and implement it into financial sector, political sector, etc. For example, Western Union supports cryptocurrency and blockchain, and it seeks the ways of their implementation; LG Uplus released a blockchain cross-border payment system.

After the cryptocurrency prices collapsed, the blockchain technology remains to be quite popular topic on different IT conferences and summits.

Blockchain investments cannot overcome fintech funding

According to Innovate Finance’s ‘2018 FinTech VC Investment Landscape‘ report, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry in Europe has witnessed a series of significant deals, but notably just four deals amounted to over $300 million. These deals include such projects, as Paxos (Bankchain), Dfinity, SEBA Crypto, Bitfury. They raised from $65 million to $103 million in different periods of the year.

Analysis shows that fintech companies are much more popular among investors than blockchain. European challenger banks Revolut and N26 alone raised $461 million across 7 deals. They closely followed by personal finance and wealth management ($333.61 million), and alternative lending and finance ($306.64 million) industries.

Fintech’s big picture

If we take the investments of all financial companies all over the world, we will see that they raised $36.6 billion from venture capital investors.

The leader in fintech investments is China, Chinese company Ant Financial set a record for  both fintech and venture capital, raising $14 billion. In overall, China led with $18.9 billion invested across 90 deals.

Next place is taken by the United States; it has raised $10.6 billion across 1,042 deals. The United Kingdom followed on in third place with $1.7 billion invested across 261 deals.

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How To Read Trading Charts

Cryptocurrency exchanges work on the same principle as traditional exchanges. Potentially, it is possible to earn very good money on these platforms, but for this, it is needed to be able to correctly read the cryptocurrency coin chart. Of course, in order to become a professional trader, it needs to learn and practice a lot, but if your goal is to understand the basics, this article will be an excellent starting point in the exciting world of trading for you.

There are a huge variety of different charts, but the most common is the “Candlestick chart”. The chart is a much more informative tool than digital or text analysis. Using graphics, it is possible to quickly navigate and understand the current mood of the crowd, as well as the balance of power between sellers and buyers of a particular asset. Based on the obtained data, it is possible to calculate the potential profitability or unprofitability of a particular deal.

1. The main types of stock charts

As it was mentioned above, there are a huge number of different types of charts, but the main ones are lines, bars, and candlesticks. All of these tools (with the exception of the line charts) can tell about:

  • price at the beginning of the selected period (1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, etc.);
  • price at the end of the selected period;
  • the minimum and maximum rate of the selected period.

By and large, the crypto chart clearly shows the history of the struggle between bulls and bears. In the process of this confrontation, a large number of deals are made. It should be understood that even a slight fluctuation of the price means that some have already earned on it, while others, on the contrary, have suffered losses.

2. “Candlestick chart”

Let’s take a closer look at the most common version of charts, namely “Candlestick chart”. It was invented almost 400 years ago by a rice seller from the country of the Rising Sun. The process of observing a line chart is not entirely convenient; for this reason, the construction of “Candlestick chart” is based on the principle of dividing the total time into specific periods. This principle helps to quickly navigate what is happening on the market and, accordingly, to give the Bitcoin trend prediction or any other financial asset forecast.

3. How to read the chart “Candlestick chart”?

One candle represents the range of prices for an asset for a certain period of time. The boundaries of the candle are the lowest and highest asset price in this period of time. If the candle`s color is green, this means that the asset has increased in value over a given period of time; if it is red, then, on the contrary, it has fallen.

Source: https://www.tradingview.com/

If you look closely at the above chart, you will notice:

  • the candle corresponds to the time interval – 60 minutes;
  • the minimum asset price was $3485,24;
  • the maximum asset price was $3733.58;
  • This hour began with a price of $3506,42 and ended with the price of $3687 (for this reason, the candle is green).

The main parameters that should be paid attention to when reading cryptocurrency charts are:

  • asset price;
  • time;
  • trading volume.

By and large, the entire analysis of charts is an ordinary calculation of the balance between supply and demand. It is possible to estimate the level of the strength of bulls or bears through the asset price (vertical axis) and the volume of transactions (horizontal axis). These skills allow experienced traders to take the right position in advance and earn money on any price movement.

4. Conclusion

In this article, we talked about how to read cryptocurrency charts. As it was mentioned above, there are a huge number of different types of charts, but the most popular and often used is the option “Candlestick chart”. The basic principle of this type of charts is to divide the time into certain periods. It is quite informative and easy to read. If you want to start trading, then you definitely need to get a deeper understanding of this topic.

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Soft Fork and Hard Fork in Simple Words

Many people do not want to understand the subject of cryptocurrency, because they think it is very difficult, and to understand how everything works, it is necessary to spend a lot of time. Indeed, for an unprepared person, some terms may seem very complicated: blockchain, hard fork, soft fork, etc. Of course, if you want to learn how to code, create algorithms or new cryptocurrencies, then you need to get a profile education, which will take more than one year. But if your goal is a trivial desire to understand the basics, then you will need to read just a couple dozen guides, which, by the way, you can find on our website.

In this material, we will tell you in simple words how hard fork differs from soft fork, and also recall the main Bitcoin hard forks.

1. What is soft fork?

Soft fork is the process of software updating or changing the code of a particular cryptocurrency. When conducting softfork, there is no need for a total replacement of computer software that ensures the operability of the coin network. All innovations that are made during the soft fork have full compatibility with older versions of the network. This means that if the coin creators want to cancel this update, they can do it without any problems.

To make it clear for an ordinary person who does not understand the nuances of the blockchain’s work, let us draw an analogy with the denomination of the ruble of the Russian Federation. In 1998, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation artificially raised the rate of the national currency in 1000 times. But after that, old-style banknotes were still in use for some time. If the Central Bank specialists considered this experiment unsuccessful, they could have easily canceled it and returned the previous exchange rate of the ruble.

Basically, soft fork is conducted because of the need to improve the network, as well as the liquidation of detected errors. During these updates, there is no change in the basic principles of the network.

2. What is hard fork?

Cryptocurrency hard fork is a cardinal change of the blockchain network code, which implies the lack of compatibility with older software. Roughly speaking, in the process of carrying out hard fork, a completely new cryptocurrency is being created, which cannot work with the old version within the same network. After hard fork, an alternative blockchain is created and it works on a completely different principle.

To simplify the process of understanding the above information, let’s also give an analogy from real life. Most people know that the euro currency has now been entered as legal tender in the European Union. Its introduction began in 1999. In the process of development, the euro has stopped to depend on the franc or dychmark and has become an absolutely independent currency.

The main reasons why developers spend cryptocurrency hard fork:

  • implementation of improvements that require major changes;
  • elimination of major bugs;
  • a desire to create a new cryptocurrency based on an already working product.

The main hard fork meaning is to create a separate blockchain, which will have its own miners.

3. The main hard forks of the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin

Hard forks in Bitcoin happen much more often than in any other cryptocurrency. Now let’s talk about the main forks what happened in Bitcoin network lately.

Bitcoin TX. This project is noticeable by only the fact it was the first hard fork in the Bitcoins network. The development team led by Mike Hearn held this hard fork in August 2015. The principal difference between the new project and the original Bitcoin was an increased block size (up to 8Mb). This solution would increase the capacity of the blockchain to 24 transactions per second. For the further development of Bitcoin XT, it had to be supported by ¾ of all the miners of the original Bitcoin network. But in fact, the first hardfork got support of only 12% miners. For this reason, the project was forgotten over time, and its network became incapable.

Bitcoin Classic. The developers of this project took into account the Bitcoin XT errors and decided to smoothly increase the block size: initially increase it to 2 MB, and only after 24 months – double it to 4 MB. It occurred in January 2016. But, unfortunately, this hard fork also failed. The reason was all the same low support from the miners. Officially, the project was closed in November 2017.

Bitcoin Cash. As of today, it is the most successful and popular Bitcoin hard fork. It is the only BTC fork, which not only got, but also stayed for a long time in the list of TOP-10 cryptocurrency projects. It was initiated in August 2017. The main advantages of this project over the original BTC are: increased capacity, low commissions. Subsequently, Bitcoin Cash had its own hard fork (November 15, 2018), which slightly weakened its position, but the project is not forgotten and continues to develop.

4. Conclusion

Briefly and in simple words, hard fork definition is a large-scale update of an existing cryptocurrency, in the process of which a new coin appears. Soft fork can be compared with a planned software update, which does not imply the emergence of a new cryptocurrency.

If to look at the history of Bitcoin hard forks, it appears, that no project has even managed to come close to BTC, so far. At the moment, the only more or less successful project is Bitcoin Cash, but developers need to put much efforts to help their brainchild to compete to its older brother.

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SEC is Looking for Partners to Collect Blockchain Data

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have published an announcement that they are in search of companies that are involved in analyzing blockchain data.

According to official information, the SEC is looking for both large and small companies. As part of the cooperation, the regulator expects companies to provide data on the “most widely used” blockchain registers based on the volume of transactions in order to “monitor risk and improve compliance” associated with cryptocurrencies.

In addition, the companies will have to provide the Commission with information on how this data is extracted, transformed and verified.

Those who would like to cooperate with the SEC should send an application by e-mail with a brief description of their activities until February 14.

We want to remind you:

Does Blockchain Bring a Threat to the US National Security?

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