Why Cryptocurrencies Matter [Opinion]

Why Cryptocurrencies Matter [Opinion]

After telling friends and family what I do for a living, I’m often asked, “Why cryptocurrency?” And it’s gotten me thinking: what is it about this space that I find so fascinating, so promising, and so important?

Of course there are a number of good explanations. There’s the obvious fact that cryptocurrencies are new and exciting from a technological point of view. Distributed networks are building censorship resistance; encryption is facilitating trustless online transactions; and blockchains are revolutionizing countless industries across the globe—even if the technology still needs work before realizing its full potential.

Then there’s the other obvious fact: that cryptocurrency is a multibillion dollar industry offering the prospect of lucrative financial returns. While 2018 has certainly put a damper on this side of the crypto industry, hope for the next bull run still lingers in the mind of every cryptocurrency enthusiast, myself included.

But these superficial characteristics are not enough to explain my interest in cryptocurrencies. If I wanted to write about technology, why not quantum computing, AI, genetic engineering or space travel? If I wanted to make money, then why not take the traditional finance route, which offers incredible wealth and significantly less risk?

The truth is that, while the obvious facts still matter, the real reason I and so many others care about this space is the unique set of principles that lie at the heart of cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency alone. What I think many outside of the crypto industry fail to appreciate is that cryptocurrency is more than technology, and it’s more than money. It is a concerted effort to reintroduce two basic principles that have been forgotten in the digital age:

  1. Individuals have a right to privacy.
  2. Decentralized power is preferable to centralized power.

These two beliefs are the foundation upon which nearly every cryptocurrency is built, and they do a decent job of summarizing what is unique about cryptocurrency compared to other fintech industries. What’s particularly interesting about these principles is that they transcend political lines: two individuals can agree with both of the above statements for very different reasons. This contributes to cryptocurrency’s widespread appeal, and is a big part of why cryptocurrency enthusiasts are so passionate about the space.

The remainder of this article will take a closer look at the philosophical underpinnings of cryptocurrency’s two most basic principles. Where did they come from? What reasons do we have to believe them? And how can we convince people outside of the cryptosphere to believe them too?

The Cypherpunk Ethos and the Right to Privacy

No group has played a bigger role in the creation of modern cryptocurrencies than the Cypherpunks. It’s a term you’ve probably seen thrown around in cryptocurrency circles, but maybe never heard a good definition of what it means. The most influential description of the Cypherpunk ethos comes from Eric Hughes’ A Cypherpunk Manifesto (1994), which describes the Cypherpunks as an ideologically motivated group of computer programmers who use cryptography to promote digital privacy.

For Hughes and other Cypherpunks, “privacy” is defined as “the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.” This power is essential in order for individuals to have a personal life that remains separate from their public one. It’s something we often take for granted in our face-to-face interactions, while simultaneously giving it up altogether in many of our interactions online.

Early discussions about privacy on the Internet tended to focus on naive children making poor choices, first by interacting with strangers in shady chatrooms, then by revealing too much personal information on their publicly viewable MySpace profiles. In retrospect, our concerns were far too narrow.

Only in recent years have we begun to realize how much of our personal data has been collected by tech companies like Facebook and Google. I say “begun to realize” because we still have not fully come to terms with it, and we still have many unanswered questions. Most obviously, what these companies actually do with our data remains somewhat of a mystery: we know that they sometimes sell it to advertisers and other vague entities, but it’s hard not to wonder what Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Pichai still haven’t told us.

Indeed, social media companies are a major concern, but they are arguably not the worst offenders with regard to privacy, only because it is still possible to remain anonymous on social media. The arena in which privacy has been completely cast aside on the Internet is in online payments.

Prior to the advent of cryptocurrencies, the only options one had for making payments on the Internet were banks and Paypal, both of which require users to complete know your customer (KYC) requirements which eliminate the possibility of privacy.

Cypherpunks recognized this problem back in the early 90s. “When my identity is revealed by the underlying mechanism of [an online] transaction,” writes Hughes, “I have no privacy. I cannot here selectively reveal myself; I must always reveal myself.”

The Cypherpunk solution to the above problem was to create “anonymous transaction systems.” It might sound unusual in the Internet age to think of anonymous payments, as we’ve become so accustomed to revealing our personal information in many everyday purchases; but people have been making “anonymous” payments for millennia in the form of cash, coins or trade. Such systems are anonymous in that they do not require you to reveal your identity in order to make a purchase. For example, if you buy something with cash at the store, the clerk won’t ask for your name and address—which is handy if you’d prefer some purchases to be private.  

The Cypherpunk influence is clear in the Bitcoin white paper, in which Satoshi describes Bitcoin as “a peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” And true to the cypherpunk emphasis on privacy, bitcoin allows two parties to transact with one another without having to trust each other, and without having to reveal their identities to anyone.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts generally resonate with the Cypherpunk ethos, but I’ve found when speaking to people outside the cryptocurrency industry that the right to privacy is not always taken very seriously. Many people are not particularly concerned about sharing their online payment histories with their payment providers. Nor are they concerned that such data might be compromised as it was in the notorious Equifax hack.

In my experience, such people are quite comfortable trusting the centralized third parties who make their payments possible. They either do not see any reasons why banks should not be trusted, they see the reasons but don’t find them compelling enough to explore alternatives, or, perhaps most commonly, they are willing to sacrifice some individual privacy in the name of safety/regulation/the common good: “Why would you need private transactions—unless you have something to hide?”

Ultimately this is why the right to privacy is the lesser of the two basic principles: because for many people, a transaction between you, your transaction partner, and your bank is private enough. But the types of people who are drawn to cryptocurrency tend to have stricter standards for privacy, standards that are based primarily on a belief that centralized power is inherently untrustworthy.

Decentralization: A Rallying Cry for Libertarians and Anti-Capitalists

A remarkable thing about cryptocurrencies is that they invite people to reevaluate their fundamental conceptions about how the world should work. For example, should governments and banks be in complete control of the money supply? It’s unlikely that this question would have been taken seriously 30 or 40 years ago, simply because there weren’t any viable alternatives to the existing system. With the advent of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, however, many enthusiasts have begun to imagine new worlds without centralized money.

The desire for such a world is rooted in the second, and most important, principle of cryptocurrency: decentralized power is preferable to centralized power.

I was careful when writing this principle to make it very broad, so broad that it is likely to be agreed upon by almost everyone who reads it. Centralized power in its most extreme form is called tyranny, and there is nothing more universally despised than a tyrant.

Many of the most important structures in modern society are explicitly designed to prevent tyranny: democratic voting, governmental checks and balances, term limits, anti-trust laws, anti-discrimination laws, and progressive tax systems. I could go on and on, but the point is that nearly everyone recognizes that too much power cannot reside in one place, or else that power will likely be abused.

With these ideas in mind, I ask once again: Should governments and banks be in complete control of the money supply?

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts answer this question with a resounding “No.” Together, governments and banks have a duopoly on money, which gives them too much control over society as a whole.

As mentioned in the introduction, much of the power of this principle comes from the fact that it can be shared by individuals with completely opposite political leanings. Libertarians and anti-capitalists, for example, are likely to have clashing views on nearly every issue, but can still agree on decentralization.

Libertarians are in favor of decentralization because they are most interested in protecting the rights of individuals, including the rights to privacy, to free enterprise, and to self-defense. Given the focus on the individual, it makes sense that libertarians are generally distrustful of centralized power, as centralization always brings with it an implicit threat of coercion.

When it comes to the financial system, libertarians will argue that both the government and the banks have too much power. A favorite target of libertarians is the Federal Reserve and other central banks, which overtly manipulate a country’s money supply.

Libertarians point to the Fed and say that it is an affront to the free market and exerts too much power over individuals’ financial lives. Cryptocurrencies appeal to libertarian sensibilities because cryptocurrencies are capable of taking power away from the government and putting it back into the hands of individuals.

Anti-capitalists, by contrast, support cryptocurrencies and decentralization for entirely different reasons, usually emphasizing the power—and corruption—of banks rather than of governments. For the anti-capitalist, the ultimate goal is to produce a more equitable society in which resources are more widely distributed among all people. Government can be a valuable tool in bringing about this distribution; but banks consist of profit-minded “1 Percent-ers” who will happily cheat marginalized groups if it helps their bottom line.

For the anti-capitalist then, cryptocurrencies are valuable because they take power away from banks (and the wealthy people who run them) and redistribute that power across society.

The lines of thinking used by the libertarians and the anti-capitalists have almost nothing in common, yet decentralization of financial power is desired by both. It’s rare to find a principle that resonates with such a wide range of people while at the same time being so revolutionary. In my mind, this a strong indicator that there is truth in it.

Conclusion

Though crypto enthusiasts may disagree in profound ways, nearly everyone who cares about this industry shares a belief in two basic principles: individuals have a right to privacy, and decentralized power is preferable to centralized power. In its most favorable light—which admittedly is not the reality much of the time—the ultimate goal of cryptocurrency is to defend these principles in the digital age.

But is it all really necessary? In other words, do these principles really need defending?

If you’re reading this article, you likely live in a country with reasonably trustworthy financial systems. I for one am fortunate enough to live in the United States, which by global standards has incredibly fair institutions—even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

However, it’s important to never assume that stability and prosperity are permanent. A functioning society is a fragile thing, and hubris is a recipe for destruction.

The problem is not necessarily that our existing institutions are fundamentally broken, although many people would certainly agree with that statement. The problem is that we are all subject to those institutions whether we like it or not, and there’s a strong sense among us that the institutions are not always looking out for our best interests.

By providing individuals with privacy while simultaneously stripping power away from the nameless, faceless institutions that dominate society, cryptocurrencies offer a safeguard against tyranny in all its forms—and I cannot think of a more noble goal than that.

The post Why Cryptocurrencies Matter [Opinion] appeared first on UNHASHED.

Ontology Embraces Securities With New Token Standard

Ontology Embraces Securities With New Token Standard

Ontology, a blockchain with a focus on identity management, has announced a new token standard called OEP-506. This optional standard will allow developers to create and issue security tokens that are compatible with most Ontology wallets.

Security tokens created under OEP-506 can be controlled in a way that complies with regulations and satisfies user trust. The new token standard will also be tightly integrated with Ontology’s ID system, which can be used to approve investors and other parties.

Will this type of token become a prominent trend?

Security Tokens In a Nutshell

Securities are tradable assets that are subject to certain regulations. Although the SEC has made it clear that ICO tokens in general are securities, Ontology is using the term “security token” to refer to something slightly different.

By Ontology’s definition, security tokens are used to tokenize real-world securities such as corporate equity, trust shares, or precious metals — all of which are the target of the new standard. Traditional ICO tokens can still use Ontology’s regular token standards: OEP-4 and OEP-8.

However, the new standard does support practices that have become commonplace in both traditional ICOs and security token offerings (STOs). Most notably, the new standard facilitates KYC procedures by using Ontology’s ID system to approve investors who want to obtain a particular token.

In conjunction with Ontology’s ID system, the new standard can also provide different degrees of authorization and permission to different participants. For example, it could allow specific exchanges to access investor information. Additionally, the new standard would allow the creation of compliance and notification systems.

Ontology suggests that security token offerings have made access to security ownership widely available. It also claims that its own blockchain infrastructure and identity services will facilitate access on an even greater scale. With the help of Ontology, security tokens will indeed gain some amount of adoption thanks to the new feature.

Nevertheless, securities remain a controversial topic in the crypto world: some see securities regulations as exclusionary and overreaching, while others see blockchain-based securities as a vital bridge between traditional finance and the blockchain. In any case, OEP-586 serves a definite purpose and will likely remain a useful feature.

Suggested Reading Learn about the best EOS wallets.

Alternatives to Ontology

Ontology is not the only platform with an interest in supporting security tokens. In fact, Ethereum proposed a similar standard earlier this year. Since countless tokens can rely on a single underlying standard, this approach is extremely convenient: a new security token can be deposited in almost any Ontology or Ethereum wallet.

However, more full-fledged security token platforms are also available. For example, Swarm exclusively provides security-related features. Some platforms, such as OpenFinance, are committed to complying with U.S. regulations. These platforms usually introduce their own blockchain and token standard, but not always: for example, Tokeny is integrated with Ethereum.

As blockchain technology becomes more widely adopted by mainstream finance, it seems likely that controllable security tokens will become more prevalent — but whether specialized platforms will prevail over popular platforms remains to be seen.

The post Ontology Embraces Securities With New Token Standard appeared first on UNHASHED.

Razer Releases “Mining” Software for Gaming Loyalty Program

Razer Releases “Mining” Software for Gaming Loyalty Program

PC gamers invest tremendously into their computer rigs. This marks them as prime candidates to be cryptocurrency miners — primarily due to their powerful GPUs. However, getting involved with crypto mining can be confusing for non-enthusiasts. Computer peripheral maker Razer is here to change that.

Based in Singapore, the gaming hardware company revealed Razer SoftMiner this Wednesday via a tweet:

The software enables users with top-tier GPUs (Nvidia GTX 1050 or AMD RX 460 are recommended as minimums) to mine “Razer Silver” while their computers run idle.

Suggested Reading Learn about the best Monero wallets on the market today.

Mining For Fake Crypto

Miners are rewarded in Razer Silver—a digital (non-crypto) asset based in Razer’s loyalty program. Users can trade Silver for gaming mice, keyboards, games, and more. According to the website, a gamer with the “proper setup” can earn 500 silver per day. Silver lasts for a year before expiring and isn’t very valuable. As reported by CCN, the cheapest Razer Silver item is a $5 discount to the storefront, which costs 1,500 Silver. That match converts to $1.67/day or $0.07c/hour. Also, that number doesn’t include electricity prices.

Users cannot convert Silver to fiat currency, though they can purchase a $10 Domino’s Pizza gift card for 14,000 credits. That’s about a month’s worth of consistent mining. In fact, mining for 24 hours a day every day of the year only nets 182,500 Silver. That’s just under 100,000 less than the most expensive item, the Razer Huntsman Elite, at 280,000 points. This news, on top of Silver expiring yearly, doesn’t seem like much of a deal for miners.

Also, these numbers are going to drop as more people get involved. And that’s assuming Razer is entirely forthcoming about all the data.

Twitter users aren’t happy about this at all. The first reply reads, “Seriously? This is an early April fools joke right?” Another user states “Wow. What exploitative, bad for the environment, bad for people’s equipment, fing nonsense. Grats on loosing a customer for good.”

Unsurprisingly, Razer isn’t the only major PC company to release a software miner. Last month, Asus dropped its own version of SoftMiner in partnership with Quantumcloud. Interestingly, Asus enables users to cash out via PayPal or WeChat, while Razer miners are only rewarded in Silver.

We can expect to see some clarification from Razer in the coming days. That said, at least we are getting more mainstream exposure regarding cryptocurrencies. If only it were a bit more positive.

The post Razer Releases “Mining” Software for Gaming Loyalty Program appeared first on UNHASHED.

What is Tezos? | The Complete Beginner’s Guide

What is Tezos? | The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Although it is a relative newcomer to the blockchain market, Tezos has been propelled through the ranks after enduring a rocky start. Tezos offers dApp blockchain features that make it comparable to Ethereum or EOS, but Tezos’ underlying blockchain introduces significant technical innovations. This guide provides a broad overview of the Tezos platform.

Table of Contents

  • What is Tezos?
    • Legal Roadblocks
    • The Long-Awaited Launch
  • The Technology Behind Tezos
    • Liquid Proof-of-Stake Consensus
    • Verifiable Smart Contracts
    • Self-Amending Updates
  • Tezos Advantages
  • Tezos Disadvantages
  • How to Buy Tezos
  • Tezos Wallets
  • Conclusion

Tezos was conceived by Kathleen and Arthur Breitman as a platform that would fulfill the same role as Ethereum: a programmable blockchain capable of supporting decentralized applications.

Tezos Co-founder Arthur Breitman

However, Tezos was also an attempt to innovate on existing consensus mechanisms, governance models, and upgrade practices. In short, Tezos was meant to be a flexible blockchain that would operate smoothly and continuously.

Tezos finally came into existence in 2017, when the Breitmans held an ICO to raise money for the project. This ICO campaign raised $232 million, making Tezos the largest ICO at that time. The project also gained high-profile investments from firms such as PolyChain Capital and independent investors such as Tim Draper. However, Tezos would soon face legal issues that would threaten the success of the project.

A few months after Tezos’ ICO ended, the Breitmans entered a dispute with Johann Gevers, who served as co-founder and president of the Tezos Foundation. This dispute concerned intellectual property ownership and Tezos’ free software license. In addition to causing Gevers to part ways with Tezos, this also caused Tezos’ launch to be delayed.

More critically, the dispute prevented Tezos tokens from being distributed to ICO investors. As a result, investors filed a number of lawsuits against Tezos, arguing that the project’s tokens were unregistered securities. These lawsuits sought refunds, although Tezo’s ICO had called investments “non-refundable donations,” which complicated matters.

The Tezos tokens were eventually distributed in June 2018 when Kathleen Breitman took the initiative to push through the project despite legal uncertainties. Unfortunately, more complications came with this decision: investors who had already purchased tokens were forced to comply with KYC identity checks. This quickly split the Tezos network into two parts: the standard Tezos chain, and an alternative chain without KYC called nTezos.

The standard Tezos network ultimately prevailed, putting the project back on track. Tezos’ first testnet was finally launched on June 30th, 2018, and this version of the platform was used to gradually implement and test the platform’s technical features. Later, in September 2018, the Tezos mainnet was launched, bringing the platform to the public. Tezos has now attracted over 450 “bakers” who produce blocks, plus many more general users.

Like all blockchains, Tezos uses a series of blocks to manage transaction data and other information. It also has a unique consensus mechanism, upgrade system, and programming language, all of which are explained below.

Consensus is the manner in which blockchain participants come to an agreement on the validity of blocks on a blockchain. Tezos’ consensus mechanism can be described as a combination of traditional and delegated proof-of-stake.

Traditional proof-of-stake, which is used in Ethereum’s upcoming Casper protocol, allows node operators to lock up their own tokens for a chance to validate blocks and earn token rewards. This system allows an unlimited number of nodes to vie for control over block validation, and the fact that countless stakers can exist makes the model highly decentralized. Unfortunately, staking is too expensive for many basic users: even if Ethereum lowers the minimum staking amount to 32 ETH, staking will still require thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) allows users to stake their tokens in order to vote for a limited number of block producers. EOS, for example, elects only 21 block producers, all of whom are large organizations that must dedicate massive amounts of computing power. This model has come under fire for centralizing power in the hands of a few block producers. However, delegation and voting make it possible for less wealthy users to have an indirect say over the course of the blockchain.

Tezos combines these two models with its unique “liquid proof-of-stake” mechanism. This model allows up to 80,000 block validators or “bakers” to accept delegated tokens. Bakers must hold 10,000 XTZ, which is, again, thousands of dollars. However, Tezos also allows users with smaller holdings to delegate their tokens to bakers and receive rewards in return. In other words, liquid proof-of-stake permits users to either become a full-fledged block validator or merely delegate tokens to validators.

The following infographic gets into some of the specifics of the baking process, which involves unique features like a “quality assurance team” and a “bonding” or “cooldown” phase:

Just like Ethereum and EOS, Tezos supports smart contracts, which are blockchain programs that can execute automatic transactions. However, Tezos uses its own programming language, which is called Michelson. Michelson is Turing-complete, meaning that it has a level of complexity that is found in almost all current programming languages. That means that Michelson can be used to program almost any modern program.

Additionally, Michelson allows for formal validation, a process that mathematically detects problems in code. This process is not perfect, but it does catch some bugs that would otherwise become costly when exploited by hackers.

Ethereum and EOS also have some third-party projects that are attempting to implement formal verification, but Tezos already has this feature built into its smart contract language. Incidentally, Cardano’s Haskell language also has formal verification features.

Tezos is self-amending, meaning that it does not need to go through regular hard forks in order to be upgraded. Even when hard forks are agreed upon by an entire network, they can create a lot of work for developers and node operators. Tezos has a more seamless upgrade process that does not involve regularly forking the blockchain.

That said, it is possible for part of the network to decide to fork Tezos — indeed, this has already happened during the initial KYC controversy.

  • Affordable staking: Tezos provides a relatively affordable way for users to stake or delegate their tokens and receive rewards. There is no minimum amount of tokens that a user must delegate, although some bakers may set their own limits. Users who delegate their tokens receive payouts every seven cycles (approximately 20 days).
  • Accessible governance: Tezos combines the best features of proof-of-stake and delegated proof-of-stake. In addition to generating and distributing token rewards, liquid proof of stake gives most participants a chance to influence the network, either directly or indirectly.
  • Seamless upgrades: Blockchains may experience downtime or price fluctuations around the time of routine hard fork upgrades — this was recently a problem for Steemit, for example. Tezos can avoid those issues with its self-amending ledger.
  • Verifiable smart contracts: Tezos’ smart contracts may provide improved security and resistance against attackers thanks to its formally verifiable contracts. Admittedly, the absence of attacks on Tezos is partially due to the fact that the platform hosts very few dApps at the moment.
  • Education initiatives: Tezos has offered generous grants in order to encourage developers to study the platform. So far, Tezos has given away at least $30 million worth of grants and is working with Kingsland University to provide online training.

  • Lack of commercial support: Although it is technically impressive, Tezos is not widely supported in commercial transactions, nor is this a major goal of the platform. Although XTZ tokens may be appropriate for investors, bakers, and delegators, those who intend to spend their crypto should stick with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another leading coin.
  • Immature network: Much of Tezos’ development team has a focus on programming language theory, possibly to the detriment of other areas. Although the network has gained a considerable amount of users, it is still fairly young and has not reached its capacity. It is difficult to predict what Tezos’ transaction fees and transaction speeds will be once the platform becomes more widely used, and developers have been mostly silent on this matter.
  • Delegation issues: Tezos allows users to delegate their tokens to bakers and receive rewards, as noted above. However, the growth of the network has caused many popular bakers to surpass their capacity, causing a number of users to miss out on their rewards without being notified. A solution to this problem is still uncertain as of December 2018.
  • Past controversies: Tezos’ past legal issues resulted in key Tezos figures (including Johann Gevers) leaving the organization. Although Tezos has restored its public image and seems to have a stable organization, it is not clear whether new divisions between key figures will form.

The Tezos coin (XTZ) can be obtained through a number of prominent exchanges, including Kraken and Bittrex. Each exchange has different trading pairs, meaning that you can purchase XTZ by spending ETH, BTC, Tether, or fiat currency.

A complete list of Tezos trading pairs is available on CoinMarketCap. Additionally, reviews of most major exchanges are available on Unhashed. These resources can help you decide which exchange to purchase coins on.

It should be noted that Gate.io, an otherwise minor exchange, trades a substantial amount of XTZ tokens. This is because Gate.io is involved with the Tezos baking process and distributes rewards to users of the exchange.

Since Gate.io is a minor exchange, this reward scheme is not recommended: you should instead purchase tokens from a well-known exchange and delegate tokens to trusted bakers.

Suggested Reading Learn more about Kraken and Bittrex respectively, here and here.

Unlike most cryptocurrencies, the Tezos team has not introduced an official wallet, nor does it intend to. Although the Tezos client does provide a command-line tool that serves this purpose, most users should select a community-developed wallet that is easy to use. There are several options to choose from:

  • Tezbox: Tezbox was the first-ever Tezos wallet, which makes it a reliable choice. It supports mobile devices and desktops, although it can also be accessed through a desktop web browser. It stores addresses locally on your device, which is a good security practice. Tezbox may also appeal to developers, who can integrate the wallet with their dApps.
  • Kukai: Kukai is a desktop wallet that supports Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. A web interface is also available. Notably, it features offline transaction signing, which implements security in a manner similar to hardware wallets.
  • Tezos.blue: Tezos.blue is available for Android, iOS, and Windows. Like Tezbox, it can be used by developers to connect a wallet to an application.
  • Galleon: Galleon is a desktop wallet for Windows, Mac, OSX, and Linux. It has a fairly basic GitHub page with little information and few instructions; it may not be a good choice for new users.
  • Wetez: Wetez is a mobile wallet for Android and iOS. It promotes itself as a security-focused wallet. However, its security features are fairly basic: it stores private keys locally, a standard practice that is also carried out by Tezbox and other wallets.
  • Magnum: Magnum is a web wallet. Unlike some web wallets, it merely is accessed through a web browser and does not store coins or private keys online. It stores private keys on your device, just like desktop wallets do.
  • Hardware wallets: Ledger (via a Tezbox plugin) and Trezor also support Tezos.

It is important to ensure that you are obtaining your wallet from the correct source. It is possible for phishers to upload fake software that impersonates a real wallet.

Although Tezos has not yet suffered such an attack, this problem has become increasingly common on app stores. Whenever possible, download wallets directly from official websites rather than through an app store.

Despite a rough start, Tezos has become a promising platform. It offers impressive technical innovations in the areas of consensus, smart contract security, and upgrade procedures. It has also attracted a fair amount of users and “bakers.” The XTZ token has achieved an impressive total value: as of December 2018, it is resting at #22, with a market cap of $342 million, and has remained in line with the overall crypto market for several months.

However, market cap is not everything. Tezos is still quite young, and it will have to attract plenty of app developers if it wants to succeed against up-and-coming app-focused blockchains like NEO and TRON. Tezos’ generous development grants may facilitate app development, although this is far from certain. Additionally, the platform’s lack of focus on commercial applications and user experience may hamper Tezos’ popularity with general audiences.

The post What is Tezos? | The Complete Beginner’s Guide appeared first on UNHASHED.

Interview: OpenFinance Network CEO Juan Hernandez Discusses SEC Regulation, Security Tokens, and Crypto Adoption

Interview: OpenFinance Network CEO Juan Hernandez Discusses SEC Regulation, Security Tokens, and Crypto Adoption

Exchanges are a key factor in the success of the cryptocurrency industry. These platforms provide a streamlined way for investors to purchase and trade digital assets.

There are thousands of different currencies in existence, with more coming every single day. We rely on exchanges to vet these projects and ensure that each listed coin has a valuable use case, a reliable team, and is actually real.

The OpenFinance Network (OFN) is one such platform. Established in 2014, OFN utilized blockchain technology to build the first-ever U.S. regulated security token trading platform. This exchange works with millions of investors involved in the alternative assets market, and represents a safe space for customers to get involved with security offerings.

Unhashed was provided the opportunity to interview the CEO of the OpenFinance Network, Juan Hernandez. Here, we asked about acceptance policies, regulation, and the alternative asset market as a whole.

Unhashed: Security tokens make up a majority of ICOs. With such a large amount of projects, how does Open Finance Network make the final listing decision?

Juan Hernandez: We are open to all types of projects to list on OFN. Our ATS is setup to list Reg D, Reg S, Reg A+, Reg CF, and REITS. We want to list all types of private placements, which raised $1.65 trillion in 2017. From real estate to venture funds, we are open to working with all types of projects. We make sure the fundraising was done correctly.

UH: While regulation is important to a degree, it also stands against the original intentions of blockchain and cryptocurrency: a decentralized space with no third-party involvement. What are your thoughts on the upcoming SEC regulation and how do you think it will affect the future market for crypto?

JH: This is somewhat true in its current form. We think that eventually regulation just becomes a codified implementation that you don’t need to worry about, since it is automatically accounted for. A complete lack of regulation leads to incredible amounts of fraud and bad actors. The rules we use are meant to protect investors. While they are far from perfect today, we are looking forward to helping evolve them into something fitting with technology today.

UH: To add to this, how is the lack of SEC ruling affecting crypto adoption in the rest of the world? Do you think we’ll see a massive change in other countries’ approach to cryptocurrencies based on America’s decision?

JH: It will mostly affect illegal ICOs that violate securities laws. There is definitely room for permissionless true decentralized systems, but when you sell a utility token with no accountability, you are breaking laws, and it actually hurts crypto in the process.

UH: As a decentralized exchange, what sort of issues has Open Finance needed to overcome that a traditional exchange wouldn’t have had?

JH: As a bit of a hybrid platform, we take the advantages of self-custody, such as increased security, user sovereignty, and p2p settlement, and combine it with an off chain matching engine, for increased throughput and immediate matching.

UH: What pulled you to launch a decentralized exchange? Because the market is still emerging, it’s a riskier venture than a traditional exchange would have been.

JH: We wanted to give users the control over their funds. Since with security tokens, there is a lot of overhead holding tokens on a centralized platform. So to put capital to better use, we went with self-custody. We are not entirely decentralized though, and we think this is attractive to all types of users.

Suggested ReadingLearn about the best cryptocurrency wallets available today.

UH: Where do you see the state of cryptocurrency adoption in three years?

JH: It is a long road to full adoption, but within the next three years security tokens will see a massive interest from large institutional players. Since they are regulated and can represent assets their companies may already own, they are more attractive and easier to get comfortable with than cryptocurrencies. However, once they are already interacting with security tokens on-chain, they will start to move more and more money into currencies such as ETH and BTC.

UH: You have a long history in traditional finance markets. What aspects from that market have carried over into alternative assets?

JH: We have been working in Alternative assets since 2014. Security tokens are pretty much all alternative assets. So the assets are the same, but it has become much more efficient to transfer these, thus bringing the cost of doing business way down. In the traditional world, it would sometimes take eight weeks to move from seller to buyer. Our first trade took 80 seconds, end to end.

UH: What surprised you the most when entering the emerging market? Did your past experience make it a natural transition or did you have to start from scratch?

JH: We saw blockchain and security tokens specifically as the perfect answer to the problem we had been facing for years. It became very clear very early that this was a clear-cut use case and great application for a problem we were facing for a while. We are very excited to see how easily this tech could solve issues that have been plaguing the industry for decades.

The post Interview: OpenFinance Network CEO Juan Hernandez Discusses SEC Regulation, Security Tokens, and Crypto Adoption appeared first on UNHASHED.

Best Bitcoin Cash Wallets in 2019: Picking a Bitcoin Cash Wallet for Your Needs

Best Bitcoin Cash Wallets in 2019: Picking a Bitcoin Cash Wallet for Your Needs

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the controversial project forked from the original Bitcoin client, is now the fifth-most valuable cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization. As a result, there are now dozens of established Bitcoin Cash wallets that will allow you to send, receive and store BCH. But how do you know which one to choose?

In our Best Bitcoin Cash Wallets guide, we are going to present you with four different options, including one of each of the major wallet types: a mobile wallet, a desktop wallet, an online wallet, and a hardware device. By the end of this guide, you will be able to make an informed decision as to what Bitcoin Cash wallet best suits your needs!

Before getting started, let’s take a quick look at some of the important factors that you need to consider in your search for the best Bitcoin Cash wallet:

  • Security: What security features does the wallet offer? The most secure wallets (aside from hardware) will offer either two-factor authentication, multi-signature log-in, or a combination of both.
  • Private Keys: Are your private keys held by the wallet provider, or are they stored locally on your device?
  • Cost: Is the wallet free to download? Are there any hidden costs that you need to be made aware of?
  • User-friendliness: Is the wallet easy to use? Does the wallet make it easy to send and receive coins?
  • Supported coins: Does the wallet only support Bitcoin Cash, or can it store other cryptocurrencies too? If so, which ones?
  • Device compatibility: Is the wallet accessible on multiple device types such as both mobile and desktop?
  • Convenience to transact: How easy or difficult is it to facilitate transactions? 

Now that you know what you need to look out for when choosing a Bitcoin Cash wallet, we’ll start by covering Edge!

Edge – Best Mobile Bitcoin Cash Wallet

Edge Wallet Review

If you want the freedom to make transactions with Bitcoin Cash on the go, then we would suggest taking a look at the Edge wallet. Created in early 2018, the wallet supports lots of different cryptocurrencies, including Ripple, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and over 100 ERC-20 tokens. Edge is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices and is available for free on both platforms.

Security is also very good at Edge, as the wallet offers 2FA. This means that you will need to enter a unique code that is sent to your mobile device every time you perform certain account features. Furthermore, Edge does not have any access to your private keys or password credentials, so you are in full control of your Bitcoin Cash.

In terms of usability, navigating through the Edge Bitcoin Cash wallet is ultra-simple. Therefore, if you are just starting out in the cryptocurrency space, Edge would be a good wallet to use.

An additional feature that Edge offers is the ability to buy and sell certain cryptocurrencies from within the wallet. By using the in-built Glidera API, there is no need to leave the wallet interface to make a purchase.

Whilst Edge is at the top of our recommended list for Bitcoin Cash mobile wallets, we would also suggest taking a look at the following:

  • Mycellium: A multi-currency mobile wallet available on both Android and iPhone devices. Simple to use and received the “Best Mobile App” reward from Blockchain.info in 2014!
  • Coinomi: Coinomi is a very popular mobile wallet that supports Bitcoin Cash, alongside a range of other cryptocurrencies. Very simple to use, however only available on Android.
  • BRD: Formally known as Bread, BRD is an ultra-secure multi-currency mobile wallet for Bitcoin Cash. Clean interface and an option to buy coins from within the wallet.

So now that you know about Edge, in the next part of our Best Bitcoin Cash Wallets guide we are going to cover Jaxx Liberty!


Jaxx Liberty – Best Desktop Bitcoin Cash Wallet

If you are more of a traditionalist and prefer to use your desktop device, then we would recommend the newly rebranded Jaxx Liberty wallet. Building off the success of the original Jaxx wallet, Jaxx Liberty is among the most popular wallets in the industry, mainly because it is really easy to use, has a slick UI, and offers a wide range of features.

In terms of compatibility, the desktop wallet is supported on Windows, Mac and Linux. Moreover, it also comes as a Chrome extension and an Android/iPhone app. Each of the wallet types synchronizes with one another, so you don’t need to create a new wallet for each one.

When it comes to security, Jaxx Liberty boasts “AES-256 encryption enhanced by 5000 rounds of pbkdf2 password hashing.” In addition, your private keys will always be stored locally on your device, out of reach from Jaxx or anyone else. Last but not least, Jaxx Liberty also gives you a 12-word backup phrase, as well as the option to create your own security password which will be encrypted on your device.

On top of supporting Bitcoin Cash, Jaxx Liberty also facilitates a range of other cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, as well as some ERC-20 tokens. If you want to see the full list of supported coins, check out this link here.

A really cool feature built within the Jaxx Liberty wallet is an integrated ShapeShift API. As a result, you can trade cryptocurrencies without needing to leave the wallet! Additional unique features include market cap information, block explorers, and a news aggregator all within the wallet.

If you are still unsure on whether or not Jaxx Liberty is the right Bitcoin Cash wallet for you, take a look at the following alternatives.

  • Exodus: Launched back in 2015, Exodus supports a range of different coins. Exodus also comes with the ShapeShift feature, which allows you to trade cryptocurrencies from within the wallet.

So now that we’ve covered the best Bitcoin Cash wallets for both mobile and desktop devices, we are now going to discuss Coinbase!


Coinbase – Best Online Bitcoin Cash Wallet

Before delving in to the advantages and disadvantages of Coinbase, it is worth mentioning that online wallets are the least secure wallet type. The fundamental reason for this is that the platform hosting the wallet has full control over your private keys, and therefore your funds. However, some people prefer online wallets because they are really convenient, which is why we are discussing them.

Coinbase is not only one of the most established cryptocurrency brokers in the industry, but they also have excellent security features on their wallet. First and foremost, Coinbase claims to store more than 98% of their cryptocurrencies offline in cold storage – making them virtually invulnerable to theft.

Furthermore, Coinbase also offer their users a full-set of security controls. This includes 2FA, multi-signature logins, unrecognized device email confirmations and the Coinbase Vault – which when utilized, automatically puts a 48-hour delay on withdrawals. All in, Coinbase’s security features are some of the best in the industry.

In terms of user-friendliness, the Coinbase platform is ultra-simple, so it’s ideal for beginners. An added bonus with using Coinbase as a wallet is that you have the option to purchase additional coins using real-world money, as well as being able to withdraw funds back to your bank account. In times of uncertainty, you can exchange your Bitcoin Cash coins into your USD wallet, which itself is in receipt of FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 (note – this is only for U.S. residents)!

As great as these features are, you need to ask yourself whether you feel comfortable knowing that Coinbase ultimately has control over your Bitcoin Cash. You have no access to your private keys, and should the worst happen, your coins might be at risk. That being said, although there are a plethora (running in to the hundreds) of other platforms that will let you store your Bitcoin Cash online, none has the same level of security features as Coinbase.

So now that you know about the Coinbase wallet, in the next part of our Best Bitcoin Cash Wallets guide we are going to cover the Ledger Nano S!

Suggested Reading Here’s how to transfer coins from Coinbase to Binance.


Ledger Nano S – Best Hardware Bitcoin Cash Wallet

If you favor security over all other factors, then it is highly likely that the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet is the best choice. As a hardware wallet, the Ledger will store your Bitcoin Cash coins in offline cold storage, making it practically invulnerable to hacking. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that somebody actually stole the device from you, they still wouldn’t be able to access your funds.

This is because in order to send funds from the Ledger Nano S, you need to physically enter a PIN number onto the device. Every time you get the PIN combination wrong, you have to wait a certain amount of time before you get another go. As this time-frame increases in size with each incorrect guess, you would have sufficient time to remotely transfer your funds to another wallet using a 24-word backup phrase!

In terms of supporting other coins, the Ledger Nano S is compatible with over 700 different cryptocurrencies! This includes the vast majority of top 10 coins (such as Bitcoin, EOS, Ripple and Litecoin), as well as lots of ERC-20 tokens.

On the downside, the device will cost you around $100 if you purchase it from the official manufacturer (which you should always do anyway for security purposes). However, it could be the best crypto investment you ever make. 

The only other downside of the Ledger is that it is not the most convenient wallet type. If you need to quickly send funds to somebody, you first need to plug the wallet into a desktop or laptop device with Internet access. Therefore, the Ledger Nano S is perhaps better suited for long-term holdings, rather than for everyday usage.

As an alternative to the Ledger Nano S, take a look at its nearest competitor, which we have listed below:

  • Trezor: Also retailing at around $100, the Trezor is another multi-currency hardware wallet. Excellent security features and reasonably straightforward to use.

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Bitcoin Arbitrage: Is It a Profitable Crypto Investment Strategy?

Bitcoin Arbitrage: Is It a Profitable Crypto Investment Strategy?

Bitcoin has become a popular and accessible target for investors, and there are countless ways of actually making an investment. Some investors prefer to play things safe and make long-term investments in various cryptocurrencies. Others prefer riskier and fast-paced investment models, such as day trading. However, one investment method that is not widely discussed is arbitrage, a traditional investment strategy that is making its way into the crypto world. This guide will explain the pros and cons of Bitcoin arbitrage in order to help you decide if the method is worthwhile in your situation.

Table of Contents

  • What is Bitcoin Arbitrage?
  • Bitcoin Arbitrage Strategies
    • Crypto-Crypto Arbitrage
    • Crypto-Fiat Arbitrage
    • Selling on Peer Exchanges
    • Automated Bitcoin Arbitrage
  • Factors to Consider
  • Conclusion

Arbitrage simply involves buying an asset, in this case Bitcoin, and selling it immediately at a higher price. In some ways, this resembles short selling, which involves anticipating changes in a coin’s overall market value so that you can sell it at a profit. But unlike short selling, arbitrage does not involve anticipating a coin’s future value — it involves looking for price disparities across different exchanges at the same time.

For example, if you look up Bitcoin on a market data aggregator, you will find the coin’s market price. Although that price is very close to what you will find on most exchanges, it is not exact. Each exchange prices Bitcoin differently depending on various factors. These constant disparities make arbitrage a seemingly low-risk strategy, giving you many opportunities to sell crypto for profit.

Since exchange prices are constantly changing, you should always be able to find an exchange that will buy your Bitcoin for more than you originally paid — at least in theory. However, the process is not as simple as it seems at first glance. There are a number of arbitrage strategies, each with its own benefits and shortcomings. Here are a few approaches:

Many exchanges allow you to instantly move your crypto holdings between exchanges. Any crypto token can be used for arbitrage, but let’s consider Bitcoin in this example.

If there is a significant difference between Bitcoin prices on two exchanges, arbitrage becomes a possibility. Consider trading Bitcoin and Ethereum in this situation:

ExchangePrice
Exchange A1 BTC  ⇆ 36 ETH
Exchange B1 BTC  ⇆ 37 ETH

You would be able to purchase 1 BTC on exchange A for 36 ETH, then sell it on exchange B for 37 ETH. Of course, 1 BTC is a fairly large investment — about $4000 at the moment. But if you did make the investment, you would make a profit of 1 ETH — over $100 at time of writing.

This is a simple example: more complicated strategies such as triangular arbitrage also exist. But even the simplest strategy introduces a number of problems. Even though many exchanges provide instant cross-exchange crypto transfers, some exchanges will correct their prices too quickly for you to perform arbitrage.

Furthermore, even if you manage to sell coins at a profit a few times, you will undoubtedly miss an opportunity at some point. You may still get a reasonable exchange rate and minimize your losses, but in general you should seek out exchanges that do not adjust their prices quickly.

Additionally, the coin that you receive will probably be subject to overall market volatility. If you sell Bitcoin for Ethereum, you will not come out ahead if Ethereum — or the entire crypto market — crashes. However, selling crypto for stablecoins like Tether may provide a limited amount of protection against volatility.

Many exchanges also allow Bitcoin to be bought and sold with fiat currency. Consider this situation:

ExchangePrice
Exchange C1 BTC ⇆ $3700
Exchange D1 BTC ⇆ $3800

A $100 disparity offers a significant profit, assuming you can afford to buy nearly $4000 worth of Bitcoin. This level of disparity is fairly common, but even larger disparities occurred in January 2018, when Coinbase sold BTC at $15,255 and Upbit sold BTC at $22,674.

Suggested Reading See why Coinbase is one of the top Bitcoin exchanges.

Actually exploiting these opportunities is difficult, as time is a major obstacle in crypto-fiat arbitrage. It can take several days to transfer fiat currency to and from exchanges. Domestic exchanges take a few days to handle fiat currency, and international exchanges can take even longer.

If you have previously invested in several different types of crypto, or if you have already deposited funds in several different exchanges, you may be able to quickly take advantage of almost every arbitrage opportunity. However, this would be a very large investment.

Additionally, foreign exchange rates, bank fees, and exchange fees can cost hundreds of dollars and eat into your profits, meaning that crypto-fiat arbitrage is not particularly viable.

Although it is not technically arbitrage, one strategy involves selling Bitcoin on peer exchanges such as LocalBitcoins and Paxful. This method can be considered “flipping,” as you will need to put substantial effort into finding a buyer.

Unlike regular exchanges, peer exchanges allow users to sell coins at their own rates, which are almost always higher than market rates. However, buyers greatly outnumber sellers, resulting in plenty of competition between sellers. Yet this method does provide one advantage: setting your own rates protects you against market fluctuations and removes the pressure to act fast.

But in order to attract customers who are willing to pay high prices, you will need to have an excellent reputation or accept niche currencies and payment methods. Whereas regular exchanges will almost always buy crypto from you, there is no guarantee that anyone will buy your Bitcoin on a peer exchange.

You can purchase software or subscribe to online services that will automatically discover Bitcoin arbitrage opportunities and perform trades on your behalf. However, these services will almost certainly cost you money or take a cut of your profits.

Additionally, some services that offer automated arbitrage trading may not be legitimate. Beware of sites that promise high returns or other offers that are too good to be true, as these are likely to be scams.

Alternatively, complex trading platforms such as SFOX can automatically provide you with in-depth market information, but will let you decide which opportunities to exploit on your own. This means that only the first step — collecting information — is done automatically, leaving you to invest your funds safely on your own terms.

By now, it should be clear that it is difficult to perform Bitcoin arbitrage consistently. As such, you should consider several factors before you consider arbitrage as a serious strategy — and certainly before you take any opportunity that arises. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Transfer times: If exchanges take too long to handle fiat currency or crypto assets, you could miss out on a Bitcoin arbitrage opportunity, even if you notice it right away. You should become familiar with exchanges and find out how quickly they adjust their prices when a disparity exists.
  • Market uncertainty: If you are selling Bitcoin for another cryptocurrency, market volatility will probably affect any crypto coin that you end up with, including stablecoins. However, this is a double-edged sword: variations in the crypto market can also cause the disparities in pricing that you need in order to profit.
  • Exchange turmoil: In addition to market variations, price differences exist when exchanges are in turmoil. These troubles are often caused by sudden regulatory changes in different countries. Some commentators have argued that the best arbitrage opportunities have disappeared over the past year due to exchanges becoming more stable. However, less extreme factors like technical difficulties, security risks, and bad press coverage can also create price disparities.
  • Certainty of transactions: The possibility that you will be unable to sell your coins is mainly an issue on peer exchanges. However, traditional exchanges will sometimes suspend trades, deposits, and withdrawals in the event of a market crash, security risk, or technical difficulties.
  • High investment requirements: Fees imposed by banks and exchanges can easily eat away at your profits. This is mainly a problem for crypto-fiat arbitrage, but exchange fees will also apply to arbitrage performed entirely with crypto. The result is that you may have to invest thousands of dollars to avoid being gutted by fees.
  • Exchange restrictions: Even if you can afford to invest thousands of dollars, exchanges may put restrictions on large trades. Sometimes new users are only able to trade a limited amount of funds. Furthermore, exchanges with small trading volumes may prevent anyone from trading large amounts. This means that exchange prices alone will not determine whether your Bitcoin arbitrage attempt will be successful.
  • Improved synchronization: In traditional finance, many arbitrage opportunities have disappeared in recent years, as exchanges are becoming better at aligning asset prices and fixing pricing errors. As the crypto market grows and the underlying technology becomes more advanced, crypto exchanges may similarly become more synchronized. This will eliminate many unintentional price disparities, thereby reducing arbitrage opportunities.

Bitcoin arbitrage may be a worthwhile strategy if you can do the research that is necessary to find optimal trading opportunities. Even though arbitrage escapes some of the risks that other investment strategies suffer from, it nevertheless depends on market conditions and real-world forces, which produce pricing disparities between exchanges.

Although some arbitrage opportunities truly are golden, hidden costs and exchange policies will make or break how consistently you can execute your arbitrage plans. As regulations tighten around crypto exchanges, and as exchanges become more stable and established, Bitcoin arbitrage may become decreasingly viable. Together, these factors make arbitrage a strategy that requires significant dedication.

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How to Buy Ethereum with PayPal Using Localethereum

How to Buy Ethereum with PayPal Using Localethereum

As you may know, you can buy Ethereum (ETH) with debit and credit cards. However, it’s less known that you can buy Ethereum with PayPal as well.

PayPal enables anyone to send money with only an email address. The process is instant and secure – much of what we expect out of blockchain transactions. Plus, PayPal links to your bank account for easy access to funds, and you can even open a credit line with the service.

PayPal also enables users to avoid lengthy know-your-customer (KYC) processes common with exchanges. The platform charges lower transaction fees, and it’s also just a convenient service. In an industry as complicated as cryptocurrencies, convenience is something to applaud.

One website, Localethereum.com, enables that experience as it supports PayPal payments when purchasing Ethereum. As a peer-to-peer platform, Localethereum holds privacy in the highest regard. The website offers a browser-based wallet in which users can store and trade Ethereum with their local fiat. All trades are locked into an escrow smart contract to prevent theft. The platform accepts PayPal as a viable payment option – all without requiring you to provide sensitive information to the site.

In this post, we’re going to break down the steps for buying Ethereum on Localethereum with PayPal.

Localethereum Account Creation

First off, you must create an account to trade with. This can be done via the Localethereum platform or through logging in with a previously established wallet like MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet.

The website recommends an on-site account.

According to the website, creating an account is the ideal approach, because third-party wallets don’t integrate as well as the built-in one.

Buying Ethereum With PayPal

There are two ways to purchase Ethereum on the platform: you can either browse the different offers that accept PayPal as an option, or you can create an offer to buy the asset.

Should none of the existing offers appeal to you, creating your own is the best bet. Creating an offer also means that the seller will pay a 0.75 percent fee, while you only pay 0.25 percent. To make one, you’ll head to the ‘Offers’ page.

Creating An Offer

Here, you’ll select the ‘Buy ether for money’ box. You’ll have to insert your city, preferred payment method (PayPal), and your accepted local currency. The page will then have you choose percentage margins and your preferred exchange market price, such as Kraken or Bitfinex. Once done, you can select your maximum and minimum limits in your preferred fiat currency.

The variety of options leads to all sorts of combinations.

Then you have the targeting options. Here, you can choose to create a headline for attention, place a description of the transaction, and display your “standard hours” of availability. These options are all skippable, but are essential for drawing attention to your offer. Finally, decide if anyone can trade with you, or just users with a verified phone number.

Create an appealing offer for the fastest results.

Upon hitting confirm, your offer will be live. You can choose to edit or cancel it at any time from within the website. When someone decides to match that offer, you’ll be placed into a chat section which we’ll get into later on.

Fulfilling An Offer

Sometimes creating an offer takes a little while. Maybe you need Ethereum right away. This is where fulfilling an offer comes into play.

Head to the main page and select an offer that seems fair to you. There are sorting options such as payment method and location. Once selected, you can offer a price based on the seller’s limits. Some require a minimum purchase of say $40, while another may stick to $10.

After picking one, you’ll go into a chat with the seller. You can discuss the process with them directly, though you’ll have to wait until they deposit the Ether in escrow before moving forward.

The seller will send their PayPal address for you to use.

When the seller places the Ether in escrow, they’ll send a PayPal e-mail in the chat. You have two hours to log into your PayPal account and send the funds over — otherwise the seller can cancel the order. Once you’ve sent the funds, you’ll go to the payment within PayPal and select “confirm receipt.” Go back to Localethereum, select “mark as paid,” and the transaction will be sent to the Ethereum blockchain for confirmation.

The final chat. Everything looks good.

After confirmation, the Ethereum will be in whichever wallet is connected to your account. Leave the seller a rating and enjoy your newly acquired digital assets.

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What is Basic Attention Token? | The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

What is Basic Attention Token? | The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is an ERC20 token seeking to disrupt and decentralize online advertising by removing middlemen from the equation. Instead the BAT team would like to see advertisers, publishers, and end users paying each other directly in a more useful and egalitarian way.

The advertising industry is currently using antiquated methods for reaching consumers that have become widely ineffective, and many times violate users privacy. The brute force methods that used to work on television and billboards are easily circumvented online.

In fact, people have become so fed up with ads that hundreds of millions now use ad blockers, reducing overall revenue for advertisers and their brands significantly. This loss of profit is a driving force for these agencies to seek other methods of generating income, often leading to the sale of users personal data.

To fix this problem BAT is directly integrated into the privacy-focused Brave browser, which blocks native ads and enforces some basic security best practices by default. The browser is available for all platforms and includes a built-in wallet for BAT, along with tools to attract more users.

In our guide to the Basic Attention Token, we will cover the following topics:

  • What is BAT
    • Team Members
    • What They’re Trying to Accomplish
  • How BAT Works
    • Technical Info
    • Development Status and Future Plans
  • ICO & Token Supply
  • How to Buy
  • How to Store
  • Conclusion

The team at BAT and Brave Browser are lead by founder Brendan Eich. Eich is known for co-founding the Mozilla project, creating the JavaScript programming language, and he is currently the CEO of Brave Software.

BAT and Brave Founder Brendan Eich

Eich has attracted a team of individuals with similar experience and expertise. Among them are co-founder and lead engineer of the browser, Brian Bondy. Bondy has also had a notable career, previously working at Evernote, Khan Academy, and Mozilla.

Following in the mission to respect users privacy, Yan Zhu was added to the team as a security and privacy engineer. Zhu is known within the security community from her past work at HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, and Tor Project.

It is worth noting that the group assembled here is much more renowned than a typical cryptocurrency team. Almost every individual among them has a past worth mentioning. I’m not sure what has attracted all of this talent to one place, but it’s a good sign that so many well respected people are clamoring to work here.

Brave and BAT are trying to revolutionize the way that content is monetized and advertisements are delivered. They want to present these to users in a way which is intuitive and respectful of privacy.

In order to facilitate this, the team has implemented many unique tools which help to create an ecosystem that lives within the browser. They hope that this will help to mend the one-sided relationship that exists between users and advertisers, where users are bombarded with ads and their private information is pilfered and sold.

There are three participants in the BAT ecosystem: advertisers, publishers, and users. These are the main players in most marketing landscapes, but here BAT and Brave believe they have found an equilibrium in their co-existence.

Advertisers are self explanatory; they create the advertisements and buy either prominent website space or a content creators’ time. Typically users are annoyed by ads and pay little attention, which causes wasted income on ads that are ignored. To increase efficiency in that regard Brave gives advertisers an attention measuring system and tools for targeting ads.

Additionally, advertisers can reward users for spending their attention on ads with BAT. With targeted advertising this can actually be beneficial for both parties, because the user is much more likely to buy an item they are being paid to learn about.

The next group, publishers, are website owners and content creators. Websites will have banners or ads, and content creators can do product placement through various methods. Brave also acts as the exchange for publishers and advertisers using BAT as its currency. According to the Brave website, “Publishers receive BATs based on user attention. Revenue increases as inefficiencies decrease.”

Furthermore, the Brave browser includes an analytics dashboard for each of the participants to fine tune their craft. This is designed to give advertisers and publishers a visual interpretation of their statistics to not only understand what has or hasn’t been working, but to also project figures into the future with confidence.

The last member of the ecosystem is the end user, people that just want to browse the web. Brave strives to provide users with a more private browsing experience by blocking most ads. As you spend time on Brave, an anonymous profile will be built on you that allows for targeted ads. This is meant to be more personal and useful to users than a normal browser while also honoring their privacy.

Users can opt to not be shown any ads at all by using BAT to pay Brave. While that use case is not very interesting by itself, it does get exciting when you think about users getting paid BAT by advertisers for actually paying attention to their content. Now people have an incentive to watch ads, which are targeted to be interesting to you anyway.

The more that people are receiving BAT for creating content and watching ads, they will want to use it for something. The most obvious use for BAT is exchanging it on the market, but what the creators are ultimately hoping is to create a closed economy. They hope that, once popular enough, even the products in the ads will be sold in BAT. This would greatly limit the necessity of exchange listings and promote further growth of the economy within the browser itself.

As outlined in their roadmap, over the remainder of 2018 the BAT team intends to continue improving their attention measuring algorithms and the accuracy of their targeted ads. Another goal is to get BAT integrated into other platforms such as other web browsers, communication, and social media apps.

Onboarding new users is a major hurdle for both cryptocurrencies and web browser alike, and thus is a priority for these projects. The BAT team intends to achieve this via their donation of BAT to new users from the “User Growth Pool (UGP),” and creating revenue for content providers and advertisers through the use of these donated tokens.

In an effort to increase privacy for users of the system, zero knowledge proofs (ZKP) are yet another plan in the works. ZKP will allow for token transfers which hide sender, receiver, and amounts from the blockchain.

The BAT ERC20 contract was created on May 30, 2017, producing 1,500,000,000 BAT. The next day the team held their ICO in which, of the total 1.5B supply, 1B tokens were sold at a rate of $0.04/ea or 6,400 BAT for 1 ETH.

They raised a total of 156,250 ETH, worth an estimated $35,000,000 at the time. These funds are allocated for various necessities of a company such as contractors, administration, team members, and unforeseen costs.

The remaining 500M BAT tokens are split up between the UGP (300M BAT) and the development team pool (200M BAT). The development team pool has a 180 day time lock on 60% of the tokens, while 66M are already available.

The BAT token can be bought on many exchanges. The are over 50 trading pairs, which means the token can be exchanged for many cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, or other tokens.

Since BAT is an ERC20 token, any Ethereum-supporting wallet should be sufficient for storing and transacting. This also includes hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger.

In addition, the Brave browser has a native wallet which can be used to set up payments based on attention given to multiple parties or services while web browsing. This is where you can claim your free tokens as a new user from the UGP.

BAT and Brave are a unique idea that is trying to revolutionize an industry that desperately needs it. The advertising methods that once worked are no longer relevant, and in some instances create the opposite of their intended effects.

As our society spends more and more time interacting online, we are also becoming more efficient at routing around inconvenience and protecting our privacy. To give our attention we must be truly engaged by either the presenter or the product. This is why targeting the correct product, in a way that respects privacy, is so important.

At this early stage there’s no way to know if BAT is the right solution to the problem, but at the very least, it is a step in the right direction and possibly a glimpse into what the future of marketing may look like.

The post What is Basic Attention Token? | The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide appeared first on UNHASHED.

Will Binance Add Ripple To Its Base Pairs?

Will Binance Add Ripple To Its Base Pairs?

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, has sent out a Tweet asking to be convinced of Ripple’s value as a base currency. Currently, Binance only allows Ripple (XRP) to be traded with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and its own Binance Coin. The addition of XRP as a base pair would allow investors on Binance to trade the XRP token with many other cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.

Zhao’s tweet reads as follows:

Zhao’s message has provoked a staggering amount of debate, and the tweet has generated over 3300 replies from the crypto community. Presumably, many of these replies were supportive: the tweet also received over 3000 retweets and nearly 7300 likes, both of which promote the idea of XRP as a base.

Many sources believe that Zhao is seriously considering the argument for XRP as a base currency, partially due to the fact that he posted instructions for listing coins on Binance. However, Zhao’s tone does seem to be dismissive, especially given the fact that he refers to Ripple supporters as “shills.” Some have suggested that Zhao is merely trolling the Ripple fanbase: many of the replies are ironic or argue against the addition of a Ripple base pair.

Suggested Reading Learn about the best XRP wallets.

Is XRP a Good Base Pair?

Nevertheless, the Ripple token is in a fairly good position to serve as a base pair, which is a role that is normally reserved for Bitcoin and a few other coins. XRP has recently become the second largest coin by market cap, stealing a position that has been held by Ethereum for quite some time.

More generally, XRP has maintained a high price, even though the crypto market is falling as a whole. The coin is also designed to be used as a bridge between currencies thanks to its low fees, fast transaction speed, and integration with fiat gateways. XRP could allow exchanges to perform trades more efficiently.

In theory, any cryptocurrency can serve as a base pair. Most exchanges use Bitcoin and Ethereum as a base currency due to the fact that they are so ubiquitous. However, Tether has become widely adopted as a base pair as well — its relative stability makes it an attractive choice for investors who are trading in a volatile market.

But whether XRP can become a prominent base pair is unclear: only a small number of exchanges, such as CoinField and DCEX, use Ripple as a base pair. Of course, that could change in the future if Ripple gains enough popularity.

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