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Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin Cash, the hard fork of Bitcoin

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Bitcoin Cash (BCC) is a cryptocurrency that offers scalability, flexibility, and lower fees compared to Bitcoin, its parent cryptocurrency.

Established on August 1, 2017 due to a hard fork in the Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin Cash has rapidly become one of the most popular and highly valued cryptocurrencies on the market. (1) (2)

Due to its similarities with Bitcoin and its improved transaction rate, Bitcoin Cash has been embraced by cryptocurrency enthusiasts as a reliable alternative to Bitcoin. Many vendors and business that accept Bitcoin have also begun accepting Bitcoin Cash, spurred by its faster transaction speeds and lower fees. (3)

Bitcoin Cash is an ideal cryptocurrency for users who value speed and efficiency above all else.

Overview

Bitcoin Cash was established on August 1, 2017 as the result of a hard fork in Bitcoin’s blockchain.

For years, Bitcoin users were divided on the issue of Bitcoin’s scalability and how to make the cryptocurrency accessible to more users.

Bitcoin’s block size limit, at only 1 MB per block, capped the number of transactions per day at 250,000. This design was implemented by Bitcoin’s developers at the beginning of its development with the intent of reducing spam transactions. (4) (5)

This resulted in increasingly long waits for transactions to complete, as more people and businesses began using Bitcoin. The block size limit has also led to a steep increase in the fees that people pay to speed up their transactions. (7) (8)

These problems lead to many vendors and users abandoning Bitcoin and moving to other cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin’s share of the cryptocurrency market falling from 95 percent to 40 percent. (9)

Many Bitcoin enthusiasts have long advocated that the block size limit be increased, which would allow for more transactions per day and thus faster transactions overall. Supporters of a block size limit increase argued that it would increase Bitcoin’s appeal and make it possible for more businesses and consumers to start using the currency. (10)

However, due to the technical complexity that increasing the block size limit would entail, the change was never implemented, and the Bitcoin community was torn over how to proceed.

Opponents of a block size limit increase argued that increasing the block size limit would hurt miners and independent mining pools, centralizing power in the hands of the largest mining pools, which would go against the spirit of Bitcoin. Additionally, many opponents of the block size increase also argued that Bitcoin was not intended to be a popular currency and should remain a small, underground commodity. (11)

Ultimately, on August 1, 2017, the problem was solved when the ViaBTC Bitcoin mining pool produced a 1.9 MB BCC block that was not compatible on Bitcoin’s network, creating a hard fork that birthed Bitcoin Cash. (12)

Bitcoin Cash features a block size limit of 8 MB, which allows for two million transactions per day, meaning that transactions are much faster than on Bitcoin and fees are also much lower. Bitcoin Cash also features improved protections against replay attacks, a common problem when cryptocurrencies go through a hard fork. (13) (14)

Additionally, unlike Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is fully decentralized, with multiple independent teams working to develop and enhance it in the future. (15)

Many businesses and vendors who previously used Bitcoin have now begun using Bitcoin Cash as well, making it one of the most popular cryptocurrencies currently on the market, though it has not yet caught up to Bitcoin’s visibility or popularity. Anyone who owned Bitcoin at the time of the hard fork on August 1, 2017 automatically became owners of Bitcoin Cash as well. (16) (17)

Some Bitcoin purists are opposed to Bitcoin Cash and have begun referring to it as “Bcash” in an attempt to delegitimize it. (18)

Mining

Mining Bitcoin Cash is not as popular as mining Bitcoin due to the former’s relative newness.

Despite this, many Bitcoin miners have switched to mining Bitcoin Cash because of its rising popularity and the likelihood that it will become more profitable in the future. The larger block size limit is a major selling point for miners due to the fact that it allows them to earn more transaction fees more quickly compared to Bitcoin. (19) (20)

However, due to the fact that Bitcoin Cash is a fork of Bitcoin, mining it carries many of the same problems that Bitcoin mining does. Mining Bitcoin has increasingly become an expensive and arduous endeavor due to the blockchain’s size and complexity, which precludes people from mining it with CPUs or GPUs, requiring miners to purchase dedicated rigs. (21)

However, because Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash use much of the same fundamental technology, mining rigs designed for the former are also compatible with the latter. (22)

There are many quality Bitcoin Cash-compatible mining rigs available for a variety of prices, designed for everyone from hobbyists to dedicated miners. For example, Bitmain offers a line of inexpensive mining rigs priced that can reliably mine Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. (23)

Keep in mind that mining Bitcoin Cash, like Bitcoin, consumes a lot of electricity, and as the blockchain continues to grow in size and complexity, miners will need more advanced equipment (and more rigs) in order to continue turning a profit on it. (24)

Despite this, mining Bitcoin Cash can be a profitable enterprise, and is likely to gain in popularity as the currency itself becomes more widespread.

FAQ

1. What is Bitcoin Cash? Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency that is descended from Bitcoin and very similar in operation. The primary difference between the two is that Bitcoin Cash has a larger block size limit than Bitcoin, which allows for considerably faster transaction speeds. This block size difference was created through a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain and remains controversial to this day.

2. What is the difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash? Both cryptocurrencies are largely identical aside from the fact that Bitcoin Cash has a larger block size limit. Bitcoin has a block size limit of 1 MB, while Bitcoin Cash has a block size limit of 8 MB. A larger block size limit allows more transactions to be processed simultaneously, with the end result being that Bitcoin Cash transactions are much faster than Bitcoin transactions. This makes Bitcoin Cash a better choice for users looking to utilize cryptocurrency for financial transactions, at least in theory.

3. Who created Bitcoin Cash? For years, many Bitcoin users had advocated for an increase in the block size limit as a way of dealing with bottlenecks in the blockchain’s operations. The increasing popularity of Bitcoin over the years led to an overall slowdown in the rate in which Bitcoin transactions were processed, leading to higher usage fees and frustrating sluggishness for some users. It also lead to massive loss in Bitcoin’s market share, with many vendors abandoning it due to the slower transaction speeds and higher fees. Many prominent users argued that Bitcoin could ultimately lose all of its value and become useless if the block size limit wasn’t increased. However, Bitcoin’s developers refused to increase the block size limit due to objections over how it would affect the use of the currency and the fact that the 1 MB limit had been created by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. These disagreements reached a fever pitch in July 2017, when a number of investors, miners, and other Bitcoin users revolted over Bitcoin’s skyrocketing user fees and increasingly sluggish transaction times. Bitcoin users were unable to arrive at a consensus as to how to deal with the problem, which paralyzed development and prevented a solution to the problem from being developed. This lead to a hard fork on August 1, 2017, splitting the blockchain into Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

4. Why was increasing the Bitcoin block size limit so controversial? Supporters of increasing the block size limit believe that Bitcoin should function primarily as a means of exchange, catering to business owners and customers who sought an alternative to fiat currency. This was seen as being in line with Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision for Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer currency that gradually replaced fiat currencies as a means of conducting business. Opponents of increasing the block size believe that Bitcoin should primarily function as an investment and store of value, pointing to the much lower price of Bitcoin Cash compared to Bitcoin. While increasing the block size limit was relatively simple, the lack of consensus from the greater Bitcoin community prevented any changes from being made, with the hard fork ultimately proving to be the only way of resolving the issue. Bitcoin supporters often deride Bitcoin Cash by referring to it as “Bcash” or “Btrash” or by arguing that it is a scam, while Bitcoin Cash users argue that their cryptocurrency has remained truer to Nakamoto’s original conception of Bitcoin.

5. Who controls Bitcoin Cash? Unlike Bitcoin, which is managed by a single team of developers, Bitcoin Cash has a decentralized structure, with many different development teams working to improve the cryptocurrency. While this has democratized Bitcoin Cash and made it easier for the community to implement new ideas, it has also lead to clashes over the future of the cryptocurrency, such as the Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin SV forks in 2018.

6. Is Bitcoin Cash better than Bitcoin? They ultimately serve different functions. While Bitcoin Cash’s higher block size limit makes it superior to Bitcoin on paper, the wider name recognition of Bitcoin combined with prejudice against Bitcoin Cash means that the latter is unlikely to supplant the former. Both currencies have their uses and are worth looking into depending on your needs and goals. Given the passionate nature of each currency’s communities and their penchant for insulting each other, you should seek out unbiased sources of information so you can better determine if or how you want to use Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

7. What is the difference between Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Cash ABC, and Bitcoin SV? Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin SV are hard forks of Bitcoin Cash that occurred in November 2018 over disagreements as to how big the block size limit of Bitcoin Cash should be. The “ABC” in Bitcoin Cash ABC stands for “Adjustable Blocksize Cap” and refers to the developers’ preference to increase the block size limit to 32 MB, a considerable improvement from Bitcoin Cash’s 8 MB limit. The “SV” in Bitcoin SV stands for “Satoshi’s Vision” and features a block size limit of 128 MB. Both currencies split from Bitcoin Cash in November 2018 in much the same way that Bitcoin Cash itself was forked from Bitcoin in 2017. Both have carved out separate niches in the cryptocurrency world and are entirely separate from Bitcoin Cash.

8. How widely is Bitcoin Cash used? Bitcoin Cash remains less popular than Bitcoin due to a combination of lower name recognition and prejudice against it from Bitcoin enthusiasts. However, a growing number of exchanges and merchants have embraced Bitcoin Cash due to its faster transaction speed and ease of implementation (due to its technology being nearly identical to Bitcoin’s). In general, those who prefer to use cryptocurrency as a means of sending and receiving payment have adopted Bitcoin Cash, while investors favor Bitcoin due to its greater value and higher name recognition.

9. How do I get Bitcoin Cash? Like other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin Cash can be purchased from exchanges, received as part of financial transactions, or mined using specialized hardware. In addition, if you owned any Bitcoin at the time of the fork (August 1, 2017 at about 13:16 UTC), you automatically received an amount of Bitcoin Cash that was equal to the amount of Bitcoin you owned. Note that if your Bitcoin was held via an exchange, you will need to contact them in order to ensure that you receive your Bitcoin Cash.

10. How do I receive or send Bitcoin Cash? Like with other cryptocurrencies, sending and receiving Bitcoin Cash is done via wallet addresses. Wallet addresses are random strings of numbers and letters that identify users on the blockchain. If you wish to send Bitcoin Cash, you’ll need the wallet address of the person you are sending it to, while if you are receiving Bitcoin Cash, they will need your wallet address. Like with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash wallet addresses can be converted to QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone for ease of use. Note that if you send Bitcoin Cash to a Bitcoin wallet address or vice versa, you will lose all funds sent due to the fact that the currencies are completely separate. Always make sure you have the correct wallet address before you transfer funds.

11. What are the upsides of using Bitcoin Cash? Bitcoin Cash, due to its shared heritage with Bitcoin, shares most of that currency’s advantages, including worldwide payment freedom, automation, low fees, and protection against fraud. In addition to this, Bitcoin Cash’s larger block size limit means that transactions are much, much faster than Bitcoin transactions. This makes Bitcoin Cash an appealing option for merchants or other users who rely on speed when using cryptocurrencies.

12. What are the downsides of using Bitcoin Cash? Like with its upsides, Bitcoin Cash shares many downsides with its parent cryptocurrency, including constantly shifting prices, an uncertain future, and more. Bitcoin Cash is also considerably less known than Bitcoin, and the existing bias against it from Bitcoin users has served as an obstacle to widespread adoption. The Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin SV forks have also further fragmented the community into smaller and smaller chunks.

13. Can I make money with Bitcoin Cash? Like any investment, there is no guarantee that any user will make a profit off Bitcoin Cash, but you shouldn’t let that deter you from purchasing Bitcoin Cash if you feel it is a good investment. Bitcoin Cash has carved out a niche in the cryptocurrency ecosystem due to its faster transaction speeds, and despite criticism from hardcore Bitcoin supporters, it has only grown in popularity. Indeed, due to Bitcoin Cash’s lower purchase price, it might serve as a good starter investment for those who are new to cryptocurrency in general. However, you should always do your research before you make any big financial decisions.

14. Are my existing Bitcoin wallets compatible with Bitcoin Cash? No. Following the hard fork on August 1, 2017, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are entirely separate entities. While they share much technology and work similarly, they are as functionally separate as Bitcoin is with any other cryptocurrency. Sending Bitcoins to a Bitcoin Cash wallet or vice versa will lead to the funds being irrevocably lost, so if you want to trade in both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, you will need separate wallets for both. Fortunately, many exchanges and wallets offer compatibility with both cryptocurrencies.

15. Is Bitcoin Cash a scam? While supporters of Bitcoin have accused Bitcoin Cash of being a scam, this is simply not true. Like any other currency, Bitcoin Cash retains value based on the usefulness it provides to people. While Bitcoin Cash is not as valuable as Bitcoin, its lower transaction speeds and superior scalability have helped it hold its own in the competitive world of cryptocurrencies. Like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash operates on network consensus, meaning that it is virtually impossible for any one entity or user to take control of the blockchain.

16. Is Bitcoin Cash anonymous? No. Bitcoin Cash, like Bitcoin, does not require you to input personal information when making a transaction in the way that credit and debit cards do. However, transactions on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain are publicly viewable, allowing third parties to track and trace them. Anyone who knows your Bitcoin wallet address will be able to see any transactions you have made using it.

17. Can Bitcoin Cash be used for illegal transactions? Any currency can be used to make illegal transactions, and Bitcoin Cash is no different. However, there is nothing about Bitcoin Cash that makes it uniquely suited for making illegal purchases. Indeed, the fact that all Bitcoin Cash transactions are publicly viewable means that illegal transactions can be easily traced. We do not support or advise the use of Bitcoin Cash (or any other cryptocurrency) for illegal purposes.

18. Is Bitcoin Cash mining better than Bitcoin mining? The higher block size of Bitcoin Cash combined with its lower popularity means that Bitcoin Cash mining can be more lucrative than Bitcoin mining. However, mining is still an expensive prospect, requiring specialized ASIC equipment and electricity. Like Bitcoin, the maximum amount of Bitcoin Cash that can exist is capped at 21 million, meaning that mining will become less lucrative as time wears on. One upside is that due to the similarities between the two currencies, equipment that can be used for Bitcoin mining can also be used for Bitcoin Cash mining.

19. How is the price of Bitcoin Cash determined? Like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash’s price is determined by the laws of supply and demand. Due to the limited amount of Bitcoin Cash in circulation compared to traditional fiat currencies, the price tends to shift rather rapidly.

Recap

Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency ideal for users who are looking for speed, low costs, and reliability.

Its greater transaction speed compared to Bitcoin has made it a viable alternative for vendors and businesses who want to increase their profits.

Additionally, Bitcoin Cash’s lower transaction fees also make using the currency less expensive, making it more accessible to lower-income users.

Bitcoin Cash’s growing popularity among vendors who already use Bitcoin have made it a good cryptocurrency for shopping and other basic business transactions.

Miners will also appreciate Bitcoin Cash’s profit potential, and the fact that Bitcoin Cash is compatible with preexisting Bitcoin mining rigs makes it all the easier to start profiting from mining it.

Ultimately, Bitcoin Cash is a reliable cryptocurrency, one that is certain to grow in popularity and value in the future due to its improvements over Bitcoin.

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Cryptocurrencies

EOS, the blockchain for commercial scale

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EOS is a smart contract cryptocurrency platform that has attracted attention for two claims: it seeks to completely eliminate transaction fees as well as allowing users to conduct millions of transactions per second.

Launched in 2018, EOS is superficially similar to other smart contract platforms such as Ethereum and Ripple, but it promises to supersede them through the aforementioned features.

The ultimate goal of EOS is to provide a platform that supports industrial-sized decentralized application hosting, decentralized enterprise storage solutions, and smart contract capability, combining existing smart contract functionality with cloud computing for an all-in-one technology solution.

While EOS has technically not launched yet, it is currently possible to buy EOS tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, the sale of which will fund the launch of the EOS blockchain itself later in 2018.

EOS’ developers are making bold claims, but they have shown themselves capable of backing those claims, making EOS a worthwhile investment for crypto investors interested in smart contract platforms.

Overview

EOS launched on January 31, 2018 by Block.one, a cryptocurrency development firm based in the Cayman Islands. The specifics of EOS were revealed in a white paper published in 2017, with the full platform set to launch as open-source software on June 1, 2018. To fund development, Block.one initiated a sale of EOS tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. EOS also boasts one of only two B-ratings from U.S.-based financial rating agency Weiss, with the other being awarded to Ethereum. (1, 2, 3)

As mentioned above, Block.one seeks to use EOS to solve two of the biggest problems with cryptocurrencies: transaction fees and transaction speed. Most cryptocurrencies have slow transaction times due to the nature of blockchain technology, with Bitcoin speeds in particular becoming increasingly slow due to the size of its blockchain. Fees are used to speed things up by paying miners to prioritize certain transactions, but these too have become increasingly expensive with certain cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. (4)

EOS aims to solve the scalability problem of currencies like Bitcoin by using multi-threaded technology, allowing it to run on multiple computer cores. Additionally, EOS uses a decentralized proof-of-stake system for its consensus protocol, making it similar to systems such as Cardano and Stellar that utilize all machines connected to their network to verify transactions, keeping the network from becoming centralized. (5)

EOS also seeks to function as an operating system, much like Windows or OS X, allowing programmers to develop decentralized applications. Two examples of platforms that utilize EOS technology are Steemit, a Medium-like blogging and content creation platform that is based on blockchain technology, and BitShares, a fully decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. (6) (7)

In addition to this, EOS’ native token, in additional to serving as currency, also doubles as bandwidth and storage, allowing anything contained on the EOS network to be instantly delivered to anyone who is connected to it. How much storage and bandwidth is allocated to each EOS user is determined by how many tokens they own. EOS tokens will allow users to participate in governing the blockchain, also in proportion to how many tokens the user owns. (8) (9)

Although not formally released, EOS has become popular among cryptocurrency enthusiasts and developers. As mentioned above, both Steemit and BitShares are being developed with EOS technology. Everipedia, a Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia, is also using EOS technology to incentivize content creation on its platform as well as defeat censorship. By using decentralized EOS tokens to store and deliver their site, Everipedia will be able to evade censorship from countries such as Turkey and Iran that ban Wikipedia and similar sites. (10) (11)

EOS is effectively positioning itself not merely as a cryptocurrency, but as a software development suite and content delivery system. EOS’ potential to host decentralized websites and applications as well as combat online censorship have made it a hot commodity among traders and a worthwhile investment.

Mining

EOS cannot be mined due to the proof-of-stake system it will use to verify transactions.

Much like Cardano, EOS’ proof-of-stake system verifies transactions not through mining, but through achieving consensus from all users on the network. This is part of what makes EOS’ claims of faster transaction speeds and no transaction fees possible, but it precludes users from being able to mine their own EOS. (12)

While it is technically possible to mine EOS at the moment, this is because the EOS tokens available for sale right now are based on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning that EOS miners are technically mining Ethereum. Once EOS’ own blockchain launches, this will no longer be possible. (13)

FAQ

1. What is EOS? EOS, or EOS.io, is a smart contract-based cryptocurrency platform that is focused on providing laser-fast transactions and eliminating transaction fees. It purports to do this through the use of multi-threaded technology, which will greatly speed up computing bottlenecks. This feature distinguishes it from other cryptocurrencies and has spurred interest on the part of investors and developers.

2. What makes EOS different than Bitcoin or Ethereum? EOS is primarily distinguished through its aim to eliminate transaction fees and speed transaction times, two issues which have long plagued cryptocurrencies. Aside from this, EOS is functionally similar to Ethereum because it aims to be an all-encompassing computer platform and not just a cryptocurrency.

3. Who created EOS? EOS was developed by private company block.one based off a white paper published in 2017. The actual EOS platform was not released until 2018, but EOS tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain were made available for sale before the launch of the actual EOS blockchain, with the intent of funding EOS’ operations. Released as open source software in June of 2018, EOS was intended to solve scalability problems present in existing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Its speed and reliability have led to it being adopted by various websites and services, such as Steemit, a popular blogging platform, and Everipedia, a Wikipedia-like encyclopedia. EOS’ nature allows for the creation of decentralized websites and platforms that do not rely on a central server, making them resilient to cyber-attacks and Internet outages as well as routing around country-level censorship.

4. Why was EOS created? EOS’ developers were inspired by scalability problems with existing cryptocurrency technology. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can only process a limited number of transactions per second due to the fact that each transaction results in the creation of additional blocks on the blockchain, a process that takes time. Additionally, because new blocks are generated through mining, cryptocurrency users must pay a mining fee in order to incentivize the processing of their transactions. As cryptocurrencies grow in popularity and more people begin using them, transaction times lengthen and mining fees skyrocket. This in turn hinders the cryptocurrency’s growth, as users are reluctant to use a currency that takes a long time to process transactions and charges outrageous fees for doing so. While a number of solutions have been proposed to increase transaction times, such as increasing block size and implementing technologies such as segwit, no cryptocurrency has yet managed to eliminate fees entirely and make transactions instantaneous. EOS is the first cryptocurrency to solve this problem.

5. How does EOS speed transaction times and eliminate fees? Unlike other cryptocurrencies, EOS’ blockchain is designed to use the RAM, CPU, and network bandwidth of computers that are connected to its network; indeed, it cannot function without using these resources. While this makes running and EOS-enabled system more taxing in terms of computer power, it greatly speeds transactions through the use of all available power. EOS utilizes multi-threaded technology, which allows it to be run on multiple computer cores simultaneously, greatly increasing the amount of computing power it has access to. To incentivize users to contribute computing power to the EOS blockchain, EOS periodically rewards users with additional EOS tokens proportionate to the amount of EOS that they hold. This is known as “proof-of-stake” due to the fact that EOS users are “staking” tokens as part of the network’s operation. In effect, this eliminates user fees and replaces them with inflation, allowing users to send and receive money for free at the cost of a potentially infinitely expanding supply of coins.

6. Who controls EOS? While EOS’ development is guided by block.one, its open-source nature means that anyone can contribute to its evolution. EOS users who stake their tokens are also allowed to participate in governing the network through a form of direct democracy, with each user having a vote proportionate to the amount of EOS that they own. This also makes it impossible for any one user to gain disproportionate control over the network, preserving the currency’s nature as a decentralized, worldwide computing system.

7. What is proof-of-stake? Proof-of-stake is a system for generating new tokens on a cryptocurrency blockchain by using the computing power of existing users. It is distinguished from proof-of-work, also known as mining, in that users of a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency merely need to stake their tokens in a wallet in order to benefit. As such, proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies do not require specialized, expensive computing hardware in order to use. Individuals who stake their tokens will receive additional tokens periodically in proportion to the amount of tokens that they have staked, in a fashion similar to how a savings account will accrue interest over time. Many proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies require a minimum stake amount in order to receive benefits, with this amount varying over time due to the size of the blockchain.

8. Is EOS safe to use? EOS has become a popular cryptocurrency because its fast transaction speeds and lack of mining fees guards it against many common cryptocurrency attacks, such as double-spending attacks. A double-spending attack is when a user spends the same digital token twice, akin to how some people will tie a string to a coin before putting it in a vending machine, allowing them to pull the coin out and spend it again while still fraudulently getting something from the machine. Double-spending attacks take advantage of the period of time when a cryptocurrency transaction is initiated and when it is completed. EOS’ instant transaction times mean that double-spending attacks are effectively impossible. While no computer system is 100 percent perfect, EOS has proven itself to be a safe and useful cryptocurrency.

9. Is EOS better than Bitcoin and Ethereum? “Better” has little meaning when it comes to cryptocurrencies with widely different functions and feature sets. EOS may be faster and cheaper to use than other cryptocurrencies, but it has other downsides that inhibit its utility in some situations. Bitcoin, as the most well-known cryptocurrency in the world, has an advantage in that it is accepted by more vendors and used by more people. Ethereum is a computing platform on which a large number of applications are built. Ultimately, you will need to determine what you are planning to use cryptocurrencies for before you can determine which one is best for your needs.

10. How do I get EOS? Like other cryptocurrencies, EOS can be purchased on an exchange using fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies. You can also receive it in transactions. If you already possess EOS, you can stake it in the EOS wallet to earn more of it, though you may have to stake a minimum amount in order to receive any benefits.

11. How do I send or receive EOS? Similar to other cryptocurrencies, EOS is kept in wallets, which can be digital or physical constructs. Wallets are identified on the EOS blockchain through wallet addresses, which are random strings of letters and numbers. To send EOS to another user, you need their wallet address; to receive EOS, you need to give your wallet address to the person sending it to you. Like other cryptocurrencies, EOS wallet addresses can be generated as QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone or tablet.

12. What are the upsides of using EOS? As a cryptocurrency, EOS shares many advantages with other cryptocurrencies, such as total payment freedom, international availability, and 24/7 transactions. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, EOS lacks payment fees entirely, meaning you can make transactions for free. EOS transactions are also much faster than other cryptocurrencies, making it a useful investment for those who are interested in speed. Finally, EOS’ smart contract functionality, when combined with its speed, has made it popular among app developers.

13. What are the downsides of using EOS? EOS carries with it many of the disadvantages of other cryptocurrencies, such as price fluctuations. EOS also cannot be mined, unlike other cryptocurrencies, and is not as popular as Bitcoin and other competing currencies, meaning it is accepted by fewer vendors and is thus not the best when it comes to financial transactions. This may change in the future if EOS’ lack of transaction fees and fast transaction times become a selling point for more users.

14. Can I make money with EOS? Like any other investment, it is possible to make money trading EOS, though nothing is guaranteed. EOS’ primary selling point is its lightning-fast transaction times and lack of transaction fees, which have helped it carve out a significant niche in the world of cryptocurrency. However, like with any investment, there is no guarantee of what will happen in the future. Ultimately, it is up to you to determine whether EOS’ feature set makes it a good investment.

15. Can EOS be mined? No. Unlike most cryptocurrencies, EOS generates new coins through a proof-of-stake system instead of proof-of-work, aka mining. The primary difference between proof-of-stake and proof-of-work is that while proof-of-work requires machines to solve complex math problems to create new coins, proof-of-stake requires that users use their existing coins to contribute computing power to the network. Using proof-of-stake is why EOS lacks transaction fees; individuals who stake their coins (and thus contribute to the network’s functionality) are rewarded with additional coins as an incentive. This also means that in order to make money with EOS, you must already own EOS coins in order to stake them. While it was possible to mine EOS prior to its formal launch, this was because EOS was still operating on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning that EOS miners were technically mining Ethereum. Since the launch of the EOS blockchain, mining EOS is impossible.

16. Where does EOS’ value come from? EOS is like any other currency or commodity: its value is determined by the usefulness that its users find in it. As a cryptocurrency that has solved the problem of scale with fast transaction times and no fees regardless of how many users are on the network, EOS has carved out a place in the cryptocurrency economy. As long as users find EOS valuable in this regard, it will have monetary value on the market.

17. How is the price of EOS determined? Like any other commodity, EOS’ value is determined by the laws of supply and demand. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, EOS’ proof-of-stake system gives the currency continuous inflation, meaning that the supply of EOS will not level off in the future like Bitcoin’s will. This will have an effect of controlling how expensive individual EOS tokens get.

18. Could EOS ever become worthless? Yes. Any currency or commodity has the potential to become worthless if people stop seeing it as valuable or useful. While cryptocurrency users have embraced EOS due to its ability to solve problems of scale, there is no guarantee that it will grow in the future. It is a relatively young cryptocurrency that lacks the longevity of Bitcoin and other competitors. All investments are a risk, meaning you should be prudent with where you invest your money and how much of it you invest.

19. Is EOS a scam? No. EOS has proved itself to be a useful and adaptable cryptocurrency that is capable of fulfilling a wide variety of needs in the modern economy. Additionally, due to the decentralized consensus system that EOS users, all users have a say in the governance of its blockchain. Like other cryptocurrencies, it is virtually impossible for any single user or entity to gain control of the network, since doing so would require taking control of the majority of systems using the network. Indeed, one could argue that cryptocurrencies are less of a scam than regular fiat currencies due to their decentralized nature, lacking central banks and governments that can manipulate interest rates and currency supplies.

Recap

EOS represents a unique niche in the smart contract ecosystem: an all-in-one system for creating, hosting, and delivering Internet content.

EOS makes it possible to host any kind of web content—from blog posts to videos to podcasts and music—in a decentralized form that is impossible to censor. This makes it a valuable commodity in an era in which social media and the Internet is increasingly centralized and censorship is arguably becoming a problem.

Furthermore, EOS pledges to solve the problem of cryptocurrency scalability, which has dogged the growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. By eliminating expensive fees and shortening transaction times, EOS could easily become as useful and indispensable as traditional financial systems.

EOS’ one major problem is that a good deal of what it promises is just that: a promise. Because the EOS blockchain has not launched yet, there is no definite way of seeing how the platform can live up to its claims. While Steemit and other platforms have achieved success through using EOS technology, there are no guarantees that EOS will work as advertised when it finally becomes available to the public.

Having said this, EOS has the potential to become one of the leading cryptocurrencies on world markets. Its unique niche of offering content creation and delivery services that can’t be censored by governments or corporations sets it apart from its competition, and its pledge to eliminate transaction fees and speed up usage have plenty of appeal to all crypto users.

Because of this, EOS is worth keeping an eye on for both smart contract enthusiasts and traditional investors alike. No other major platform is doing what it is doing.

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Cryptocurrencies

Monero, the blockchain of anonymity

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Monero (XMR) is an open-source cryptocurrency that emphasizes privacy and decentralization above all else.

Debuting in 2014, Monero’s main selling point is total anonymity. Unlike other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, Monero transactions cannot be traced or tracked, making it ideal for users who value their online privacy above all else. Monero’s focus on privacy has made it popular on the black market and other people looking to keep their financial activities hidden from the prying eyes of police.

In addition to this, Monero’s egalitarian mining structure makes it one of the easiest and most lucrative coins to mine, with even low-end users able to get in on the action.

Monero’s unique features and potential for growth make it one of the most important cryptocurrencies for any investor to own.

Overview

Monero was launched in April 2014 by a pseudonymous BitcoinTalk forum user called “thankful_for_today” under the name “BitMonero,” a reference to both Bitcoin and “monero,” the Esperanto word for coin. The name was shortened to “Monero” not long after. (1) (2)

Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, a cryptocurrency design created by pseudonymous author Nicolas van Saberhagen in 2013. CryptoNote was designed to fix a fundamental flaw in Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies: while they promise anonymity, it is still possible to track transactions due to the ledger keeping a public record of everything that happens on the network. (3) (4)

Monero fixes this by using ring signatures to obscure spenders’ addresses with a randomly selected group of other spenders, making it far more difficult to narrow down who has conducted which transaction. Additionally, Monero also uses stealth addresses to make it impossible for anyone other than the sender and the receiver to uncover the destination address of a transaction. These features make Monero all-but impossible to trace and track through the network. (5)

Monero saw much of its growth in the year 2016, largely due to its adoption by black market traders, who were interested in its anonymity features. In particular, the popular darknet website AlphaBay used Monero as its primary currency until its shutdown in July 2017. (6)

In 2017, Monero further enhanced its privacy with the adoption of the RingCT protocol, based off of Confidential Transactions, an algorithm created by Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell. RingCT adds additional protections to Monero transactions by hiding the amounts of money being transacted in each exchange. This change further enhances Monero’s reputation as one of the most secure and anonymous cryptocurrencies available. (7)

Additionally, Monero has gained steam as a means of transaction due in large part to Bitcoin’s increasingly slow transaction times and high fees. Many online vendors that already accept Bitcoin have begun accepting Monero as well. Due to Monero’s unique features, cryptocurrency experts assert that it is one of the most important currencies and the most likely to survive a hypothetical crash in the market. (8) (9)

Even if you have no interest in black market transactions, Monero’s privacy features are worth considering. Given that online anonymity is fast becoming a thing of the past, Monero stands alone among cryptocurrencies in guaranteeing security to the vendors, traders, and buyers who use it.

Mining

Monero is perhaps the easiest major cryptocurrency to mine due to its unique, egalitarian design.

In contrast to Bitcoin and Bitcoin-derived currencies, Monero is based on the CryptoNight proof-of-work algorithm, which was explicitly designed to be accessible to a much larger range of computer hardware. While it is still possible to form and join mining pools like with other cryptocurrencies, Monero’s low barrier to entry means that pools cannot monopolize mining like they do with other coins. (10) (11)

Monero is notable in that it is one of the only major cryptocurrencies where CPU mining is still profitable. The official Monero client even includes a CPU miner built in, allowing casual users to mine coins without much effort, though users with access to GPU-enabled computers or an ASIC miner will be able to mine more coins more quickly, as is the case with all other cryptocurrencies. (12)

The egalitarian architecture of Monero allows websites to mine coins by installing services such as Coinhive, which pool the CPU processing power of all users who access the site. Both well-known sites such as Salon and black market ones such as The Pirate Bay have used Coinhive in order to mine Monero by taking advantage of their users’ CPU power. In particular, Salon has sold Coinhive as an alternative to ads, which most users block through the use of browser ad-blocking plugins. (13) (14)

Website Monero mining has come under fire due to the fact that many sites that use it do not inform their visitors of what is happening. Furthermore, cybersecurity experts have cited the possibility of hackers using Monero mining scripts to insert malware into websites and attacking users’ computers. Because of this, many anti-virus and anti-malware programs block Coinhive and other website mining scripts, and script-blocking browser plugins block them as well. (15)

FAQ

1. What is Monero? Monero is an anonymous cryptocurrency targeted at consumers who want to make transactions in total privacy. While functioning similarly to other cryptocurrencies, its unique anonymizing features have made it popular among those who want as much privacy in their financial life as possible.

2. What makes Monero different from Bitcoin? Unlike Bitcoin, Monero transactions are completely anonymous and are not publicly viewable on the blockchain. Monero wallets are also anonymous and no users other than those who have access to the wallet itself can tell how much money is a Monero wallet or what transactions it engages in. Given the greater popularity of and scrutiny towards Bitcoin, this has led to Monero being adopted by privacy-conscious consumers.

3. Who created Monero? Monero launched in 2014 under the name “BitMonero” by Bitcointalk forum user “thankful_for_today.” The launch was poorly received due to severe problems with block time, block reward, and other issues, with “thankful_for_today” leaving the forum and ceding development to a team lead by “Johnny Mnemonic.” In 2016, Monero experienced rapid growth due to its adoption by darkweb markets such as AlphaBay and Hansa Market, who were attracted by its privacy features. In 2017, it experienced further growth after adopting Gregory Maxwell’s Confidential Transactions algorithm, which masks the amount of Monero in transactions.

4. Who controls Monero? Monero is still managed by the same development team that took over in 2014, but it is an open source cryptocurrency and anyone can contribute to its development.

5. How does Monero’s anonymity work? By default, cryptocurrencies are more anonymous than credit or debit card transactions because crypto transactions do not contain any identifying information other than the wallet addresses involved. However, in the case of Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, all transactions are publicly logged on the blockchain and are visible to anyone who knows at least one of the wallet addresses involved. Moreover, it is possible to see how much Bitcoin is in a Bitcoin wallet by using publicly available information on the blockchain. This means that if someone knows your wallet address, they can track all of your Bitcoin transactions. Monero allows anonymous transactions through the use of ring signatures, which group multiple transactions together, making it much more difficult to determine which transaction is going to which wallet. Monero also uses “stealth addresses,” individually-generated addresses that make it impossible for anyone to determine the destination of a transaction. Finally, as mentioned above, Monero obscures the actual amount of money exchanged in transactions. Because of these features, Monero offers near-total anonymity in the realm of financial transactions, and is popular for primarily these reasons.

6. What is CryptoNote? CryptoNote is the proof-of-work hash algorithm that Monero is built upon, distinct from SHA-256, the algorithm that Bitcoin uses. It is because of CryptoNote that Monero has all of the privacy features that it is known for. Additionally, CryptoNote allows Monero mining to be more egalitarian than Bitcoin mining since it cannot be mined easily with dedicated hardware; the vast bulk of Monero mining is done with consumer-grade computers.

7. Is Monero safe to use? Monero has retained its place in the cryptocurrency economy due to its unique anonymity features. In a world in which people’s information is constantly being tracked, many users are looking for ways to protect themselves from unwanted snooping, be it governmental or from the private sector. Monero is one means by which these users are taking back their privacy from the prying eyes of social media sites and other online entities. While Monero is more difficult to obtain and use for newbie crypto users, its unique features make it worthwhile for those who want to minimize the risk of being snooped on while engaged in commerce.

8. Is Monero better than Bitcoin? “Better” is a subjective term. If your goal is to keep your transactions from being spied upon by outside forces, Monero is certainly better than Bitcoin. However, if you are looking to engage with the widest possible number of vendors and consumers, Bitcoin is a better option due to its greater popularity. Ultimately, Bitcoin and Monero serve entirely different functions and whichever one is better is based on what you want to accomplish.

9. How widely is Monero used? As mentioned above, Monero picked up steam in 2016 and 2017 due to its popularity among dark web markets, for whom privacy and anonymity are paramount. However, it has since been adopted by a wide variety of exchanges and vendors. It has also gained popularity because its transaction times are considerably faster than Bitcoin’s. However, Monero’s reputation as a “black market” cryptocurrency has impeded its adoption in certain markets due to the fear of being associated with illegal activity.

10. How do I get Monero? Like other cryptocurrencies, you can purchase Monero at an exchange using other cryptocurrencies or fiat currency, receive it as part of a transaction, or mine it using computer hardware.

11. How do I receive or send Monero? Much like other cryptocurrencies, Monero is kept in a wallet and sent and received via wallet addresses. Wallet addresses identify particular wallets on the Monero blockchain and consist of a string of random numbers and letters; for reasons of security, Monero addresses are much longer than other cryptocurrency addresses. Additionally, some Monero transactions require a payment ID, a separate string of letters and numbers that acts to further secure and anonymize the transaction. To send Monero to another user, you simply need their wallet address and a payment ID if necessary; if you are receiving Monero, the other person requires your address and ID. Much like other cryptocurrencies, Monero addresses can be generated as QR codes which can then be scanned by smartphones or tablets for ease of use.

12. What are the upsides of using Monero? As a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin, Monero shares many of that cryptocurrency’s upsides, including total payment freedom, low fees, and 24/7 transactions. In addition to this, Monero’s built-in privacy features make it ideal for those who require anonymity in their financial transactions. All Monero transactions are anonymous by default and there is no way to turn this feature off, meaning that you cannot accidentally expose yourself when using the cryptocurrency. If you want to take back control of your online life, Monero is an easy means to do so.

13. What are the downsides of using Monero? Like other cryptocurrencies, Monero is vulnerable to price fluctuations and other issues. Additionally, Monero’s anonymity features have led to it becoming associated with the black market, which has limited its penetration among merchants, who do not want to be seen as being affiliated with illegal activity. This stereotype is unfair, as there are many reasons why users might want to make purchases with an anonymous currency, but as long as it persists, Monero will have difficulty gaining acceptance in the wider world economy.

14. Can I make money with Monero? Like all investments, it is possible to make money if you are careful and do your research. As the only truly anonymous cryptocurrency in circulation, Monero has retained its value in the face of competition from other cryptocurrencies. As with all investments, this could change in the future, so always do your homework before you begin spending money.

15. Is Monero truly anonymous? While no computer system or online interaction is ever 100 percent anonymous, Monero’s anonymity features make identifying users on its blockchain next to impossible. As such, Monero can be regarded as anonymous, making it ideal if you want to conduct transactions without being tracked. However, even if individual Monero transactions cannot be tracked, if you are careless with personal security, all the anonymity protections built into Monero won’t protect you. Always safeguard your wallet information and make sure that your passwords for Monero-enabled exchanges and other platforms are hard to guess. By practicing basic security protocols, you can ensure that your transactions and money remain safe.

16. Is it legal to use Monero? Yes. Despite its reputation as a black market cryptocurrency, Monero is perfectly legal to use, though some countries have passed laws regulating the use of cryptocurrencies in general.

17. Can I use Monero for illegal transactions? Because of Monero’s anonymity, many individuals choose to use it to purchase drugs, weapons, and other illegal goods via dark web merchants. This is because it is nearly impossible to track Monero transactions with existing technology. Having said this, engaging in illegal activity is always risky and wrong, no matter how you do it. While we cannot control how you use Monero, we cannot advocate that you use it for illegal activity.

18. Can Monero be mined? Yes, and Monero is much easier to mine than other cryptocurrencies. This is because Monero’s proof-of-work algorithm is designed to work inefficiently on ASIC hardware, dedicated mining hardware that is used to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This means that Monero must primarily be mined using consumer-grade hardware. Modern CPUs and GPUs are the best ways to mine Monero; if you own a reasonably modern computer, you can likely use it to mine Monero in your spare time. Keep in mind that mining cryptocurrency is taxing on your computer, causing increased heat output; if your computer is inadequately ventilated, you could cause permanent damage to its internal hardware through Monero mining. Additionally, mining takes advantage of unused CPU or GPU cycles, meaning that it will naturally slow down when you are using the computer. Finally, mining Monero or any other cryptocurrency will increase your computer’s electricity usage, which will increase your electric bill. Depending on how much electricity costs where you live, mining Monero may not be worth the higher power costs, so check your local power supplier to see if the investment is worth it.

19. Is it possible to mine Monero through a website? Yes. Beginning in 2017, services such as Coinhive began offering JavaScript Monero miners that can be embedded in websites. These miners run on the CPU of anyone who accesses the site, allowing the administrator to earn Monero by utilizing the collective computer power of all the website’s users. The Pirate Bay, a popular website for pirated movies, music, and other media, is one of the most prominent sites using a Monero miner. However, using a Monero miner on a website is considered unethical by many users due to the fact that the miner is using computer processing power from other people without permission. Additionally, Monero miners have been used to distribute malware and viruses. Because of this, many browser adblockers now block Monero miners from running, and antivirus software is programmed to recognize web Monero miners as a threat. There are some websites that choose to use Monero miners as an alternative to advertisements; users are allowed to choose whether they view ads on the site or run the Monero miner to ensure the site makes money from their visit. While we cannot tell you how to run your website, we do not recommend surreptitiously running Monero miners on it for various reasons.

20. Where does Monero’s value come from? Monero derives its value from the same place all currencies do: its utility. Countless users rely on Monero to perform transactions all around the world, and Monero’s anonymity has allowed it to carve out a position for itself in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. While there’s no way to predict the future, Monero has established a strong track record over the course of its life, and it has proven itself to be a worthwhile means of storing and exchanging value among consumers and individuals.

21. How is the price of Monero determined? Like any commodity, Monero’s price is determined by supply and demand. Similar to Bitcoin, Monero is relatively limited in supply, meaning that the price frequently fluctuates.

Recap

Monero is easily one of the most important cryptocurrencies available today due to its rising popularity and original architecture.

In a world in which users are increasingly paranoid about their online security, Monero provides total privacy to its users, allowing people to conduct transactions without worrying about others spying on them. Monero has continuously added to its security features over the years, allowing it to stay one step ahead of attempts by hackers to crack its code.

While Monero originally had a shady reputation due to its popularity among black market vendors, its privacy and ease of use have made it increasingly popular among the general population. Due to Bitcoin’s increasingly high fees and lengthy transaction times, Monero is rapidly gaining traction as an alternative currency among vendors and merchants.

Monero’s privacy features set it apart from virtually every other cryptocurrency available today and make it a must-have investment for any crypto trader. Its resiliency in the face of a potential market crash makes it one of the top cryptocurrencies available, and its anonymity will further boost its popularity in an era where online privacy is increasingly under siege.

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Cryptocurrencies

Ripple, the blockchain for banks

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Ripple (XRP), also known as the Ripple Transaction Protocol, is a cryptocurrency and real-time gross settlement system designed to make financial transactions simpler and easier.

Launched in 2012, Ripple was designed not merely to function as a cryptocurrency, but an all-in-one payment processing and remittance system for banks, businesses, and consumers. (1)

Ripple was created with the express purpose of replacing existing payment infrastructure with a model that is decentralized, open source, and accessible to all. Additionally, Ripple allows users to create various types of custom cryptocurrency, fiat currency, and other types of currency via its token system. (2) (3)

Ripple has been adopted by numerous banks, financial institutions, and other major banking organizations due to its reliability, flexibility, and functionality. (4)

Ripple is an effective and worthwhile investment for anyone looking for an all-in-one cryptocurrency and payment processing system.

Overview

Development on Ripple began in 2004, inspired by the RipplePay.com system created by Canadian web developer Ryan Fugger. Fugger designed RipplePay.com with the intent of creating a decentralized monetary system that allowed users to invent their own currencies for any purpose they wanted. (5) (6)

Developers Jed McCaleb (who later found Stellar), Arthur Britto, and David Schwartz saw RipplePay.com and sought to expand it through the use of Bitcoin’s blockchain technology, fulfilling Fugger’s dream. (7)

Ripple was conceived as a solution to several problems Bitcoin possessed: excessive electricity usage, slow transaction speed, and excessive centralization. Unlike Bitcoin, Ripple would verify transactions through a community-wide consensus instead of relying on miners. (8)

After being joined by developer Chris Larsen in 2012, McCaleb, Britto, and Schwartz obtained Fugger’s consent to continue developing RipplePay.com into a full-fledged cryptocurrency and monetary system. Ripple would launch that same year. (9)

Forming the corporation OpenCoin (later renamed Ripple Labs), Ripple’s developers focused their efforts on creating the Ripple Transaction Protocol, a system that allows instant, direct transfers of money between two separate parties. The protocol was compatible with everything from the U.S. dollar and other currencies to airline miles. (10) (11)

To accomplish this, Ripple was programmed to rely on a central ledger that is maintained by a number of servers that continuously compare and verify transaction records. (12)

To facilitate transactions, OpenCoin created XRP, a cryptocurrency that allowed users of the Ripple protocol to transfer money without the wait times and fees of traditional banking networks. Ripple also linked Bitcoin to their system, allowing people to use the Ripple protocol to send a payment in any currency to a Bitcoin wallet. (13) (14)

In 2013, Ripple Labs released Ripple’s reference server and client as open source software, allowing anyone to contribute to Ripple’s future development. (15)

Beginning in 2014, Ripple shifted their focus to the banking market, with hopes that their system could replace the existing, outmoded systems that banks rely upon to make transactions. (16)

That year, Munich-based Fidor Bank became the first bank to adopt the Ripple Transaction Protocol. Cross River Bank in New Jersey and CBW Bank in Kansas would also adopt Ripple that year. (17) (18)

In December of 2014, Ripple announced a partnership with Earthport, a global payments service whose clients include Bank of America and HSBC. Since then, more banking clients have joined the Ripple system, including Western Union, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and the Royal Bank of Canada. (19) (20) (21) (22)

In 2015, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network fined Ripple Labs $700,000 due to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. Ripple Labs responded by adding AML transaction monitoring to the Ripple protocol to bring it into compliance with U.S. law. (23)

In recent years, Ripple Labs has expanded globally, opening offices in Australia, the U.K., and Luxembourg, and more and more banking institutions have begun using Ripple in some fashion. (24) (25) (26)

In Ripple, transactions take place when users make cryptographically signed transactions that can be done using either XRP or a fiat currency of their choice. XRP transactions are monitored through the use of Ripple’s internal ledger. (27)

While Ripple originally lacked real-world enforcement of transactions, its integration with numerous banks and payment systems gives it a credibility and security that many cryptocurrencies lack. (28)

Ripple derives its name from the fact that transactions between parties require trust; if two users have not established a trust relationship, the transaction will “ripple” throughout the network until it finds a path in which each link is between those who do have a trust relationship. (29)

Due to its use by many banks and financial institutions, Ripple brings a level of security, stability and trustworthiness that few cryptocurrencies can match, making it a popular option for investors and traders.

Mining

Unlike most cryptocurrencies, Ripple cannot be mined due to its unique design.

In contrast to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, where miners are responsible for processing transactions on the network, Ripple transactions are processed through a system-wide user consensus. Thus, mining is unnecessary to maintain the integrity of the network. (30)

Additionally, Ripple’s designers created 100,000,000,000 XRP when Ripple first came online, and they have steadfastly refused to make more. They have also been criticized for the way in which the currency was originally distributed, with the founders retaining 20 percent of all XRP in circulation. (31) (32)

Because it is impossible to mine Ripple, the currency has had a deeply polarizing response from cryptocurrency enthusiasts, with Bitcoin fans deriding it for being “pre-mined.” (33)

The inability to mine Ripple has limited its use and growth to a certain extent. It is unknown if Ripple’s designers plan to allow mining or to issue new XRP in the future.

FAQ

1. What is Ripple? Ripple is a currency exchange, real-time gross settlement system, and remittance network that is powered by blockchain technology. More than just a cryptocurrency, Ripple aims to be a system to support global financial transactions via a decentralized worldwide network in a fashion similar to Ethereum. Ripple is built on XRP, a cryptocurrency that is used to enable the network’s various functions. Due to the all-encompassing nature of Ripple, many financial institutions have begun adopting it in various forms.

2. What makes Ripple different from Bitcoin or Ethereum? Like Ethereum and unlike Bitcoin, Ripple is not simply a cryptocurrency, but is a fully-functioning financial services platform that can be used for a wide variety of functions. In contrast to Ethereum, which is primarily designed as a computing platform, Ripple was designed from the outset to perform financial functions such as remittances and more. This has led to its adoption by many banking institutions and has given it a stability that is not present in other cryptocurrencies, which were not designed with existing financial laws in mind.

3. Who created Ripple? Ripple was conceived in 2004 by Canadian software developer Ryan Fugger. Fugger created a website called RipplePay.com whose purpose was to allow users to invent currencies for any purpose that they desired. Some years later, RipplePay.com was noticed by developers Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, and David Schwartz, who realized that it could be greatly enhanced through the use of blockchain technology, the missing link in Fugger’s original vision. With Fugger’s consent, the developers launched Ripple as we know it in 2012. This deployment of Ripple was noted for the Ripple Transaction Protocol, which greatly expanded RipplePay.com beyond its original scope. Beginning in 2014, Ripple began targeting the financial sector, realizing that its technology could be used to make financial transactions more secure and efficient. As such, Ripple has been adopted by banks worldwide to a degree that other cryptocurrencies have not.

4. Who controls Ripple? Ripple is far more centralized than other cryptocurrencies, with Ripple Labs maintaining a leading role in its development as well as a controlling share of XRP, the platform’s cryptocurrency. However, in 2013, Ripple Labs released Ripple’s client and reference server as open-source software, allowing anyone to take part in Ripple’s future development.

5. What is the Ripple Transaction Protocol? The Ripple Transaction Protocol, also known as the Ripple Payment Protocol, is the unique means by which transactions on the Ripple network occur. In contrast to other cryptocurrencies that use blockchain consensus to process transactions, Ripple uses “trust relationships” to guarantee transactions against fraud. Transactions between two individuals on the Ripple network require a preexisting trust relationship in order to proceed. If two users have not established a trust relationship already, the transaction will “ripple” through the network until it finds a linear path in which everyone involved has a trust relationship, allowing the transaction to occur. This ripple effect is where Ripple derives its name from, and is based on Islamic banking principles, in which banking is conducted through mutual trust relationships instead of through charging interest. The Ripple Transaction Protocol also eliminates the need for mining, as transactions are processed on their own instead of requiring miners to generate new blocks.

6. What is XRP? XRP is the cryptocurrency that powers Ripple, in the same way that Ether powers Ethereum. Like Ether, XRP can be bought, sold, and traded like any cryptocurrency, but it also has a large number of functions that other cryptocurrencies lack.

7. What makes XRP valuable? Like any currency, XRP’s value is determined by whether people find it useful. Due to Ripple’s versatility as a financial services platform, many banking institutions have adopted Ripple in order to enhance the quality and breadth of their services. This has given XRP a value and strength that few cryptocurrencies can match.

8. Where does XRP come from? When Ripple was launched, 100,000,000,000 XRP were created for use in transactions. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, XRP cannot be mined and there are currently no plans to increase the amount of XRP in circulation, with pleas to Ripple Labs to create additional XRP falling on deaf ears. Some cryptocurrency users have criticized Ripple Labs for this approach, as well as for the way in which XRP was distributed upon Ripple’s launch, with the system’s founders retaining 20 percent of all extant XRP. XRP is sometimes referred to as “pre-mined” because of this.

9. How does one obtain XRP? Like other cryptocurrencies, XRP can be purchased from exchanges or as part of financial transactions. Uniquely among top cryptocurrencies, XRP cannot be mined due to the Ripple Transaction Protocol making mining unnecessary. Transactions are otherwise conducted in a similar fashion as other cryptocurrencies, with XRP being stored in wallets and transferred through the use of wallet addresses. To receive XRP, you must give your wallet address to the person who is sending it to you, and to send XRP, you must obtain their wallet address. Wallet addresses appear as a random string of letters and numbers and can also be rendered as QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones or tablets.

10. What are the upsides of using Ripple? As mentioned above, Ripple is backed by numerous financial institutions, such as the Royal Bank of Canada and Western Union. This gives it a security that other cryptocurrencies lack, given their quasi-underground status. Because Ripple was intended to be adopted by banks from the beginning, it does not face the legal rigmarole that other cryptocurrencies have when it comes to government regulation. Ripple can also be used to generate custom tokens in a fashion similar to Ethereum, allowing developers to adopt Ripple for a wide variety of purposes. For example, Ripple has been used to trade frequent flyer miles, cell phone minutes, and even other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The sheer versatility of Ripple means that new uses for it are being invented every day, allowing it to carve out a unique space in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. On top of this, Ripple retains the advantages that other cryptocurrencies possess, such as low transaction fees, payment freedom, worldwide availability, and decentralization. Finally, Ripple is one of the fastest cryptocurrencies available, many times faster than Bitcoin, which has aided its adoption by global financial institutions.

11. What are the downsides of using Ripple? Ripple’s biggest problem is its limited and finite supply of XRP. Despite pleas from the Ripple community, Ripple’s developers have adamantly refused to create more XRP, which has led to deflationary and supply problems. The fact that 20 percent of XRP was distributed to Ripple’s founders upon creation has put further pressures on the monetary supply. Additionally, the fact that Ripple cannot be mined eliminates a major incentive to use it. Many cryptocurrency fans have shunned Ripple for these issues, which have proven to be an obstacle to its adoption even as it grows in popularity among financial institutions. Ripple Labs has also gotten in legal trouble before; it was fined by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in 2015 for violating the Bank Secrecy Act, and it was sued in 2018 for alleged fraud in attempting to create what was called a “never-ending initial coin offering.” These legal problems have created bad publicity for Ripple that have hurt its growth. Another issue with Ripple is that XRP transactions can be frozen by the system, which is what happened to founder Jed McCaleb when he tried to sell $1 million worth of XRP some years ago. The idea that XRP transactions can be halted by a third party runs counter to the spirit of cryptocurrency and has further fueled criticism of Ripple.

12. What are some ways Ripple is used? Ripple has gained popularity as a mediator in fiat currency exchange. Many currencies cannot be directly exchanged with each other and are required to use the U.S. dollar as a middleman, exchanging money for dollars and then the dollars with the desired currency. Ripple fulfills the same function, but at a considerably lower cost than the U.S. dollar. Ripple has also been used to speed up international financial transactions thanks to its speed of four seconds per transactions, which is not only faster than other cryptocurrencies, it is faster than regular banking systems. Finally, because Ripple allows users to create custom tokens that are backed with XRP, it has been used as a means to create custom currencies for easy transactions. For example, collectors of vintage action figures can create a currency using Ripple to represent the figures, making the process of buying and selling them much simpler.

13. Is Ripple safe? No computer system is 100 percent safe, but Ripple’s purpose as a financial services platform meant to be used by banks means that it has a level of security that most cryptocurrencies lack. From the outset, Ripple was meant to exist within the confines of existing financial law, meaning that it conforms to the same regulations that traditional banking institutions do. While recent legal troubles with Ripple Labs are a cause for concern, Ripple’s widespread adoption in the banking industry has lent it an extra patina of security that it will retain for the foreseeable future.

14. Is Ripple a scam? Many cryptocurrency fans have derided Ripple for its centralized nature (relative to other cryptocurrencies), its lack of support for mining, and some of the other actions of its founders. However, because Ripple has adhered to traditional financial regulations from the outset, it has not suffered many of the problems that other cryptocurrencies have. While Ripple will not replace Bitcoin or other, more traditional cryptocurrencies, its usefulness as a financial services platform has given it a certain longevity.

15. If Ripple is more advanced than Bitcoin, why don’t people use it instead of Bitcoin? Ripple and Bitcoin have two entirely different functions. Bitcoin is intended to function purely as a currency, a means of storing value and allowing financial transactions to occur between users. Ripple is designed as a financial services platform to make transactions easier and more secure. While Ripple is considerably more feature-rich than Bitcoin, this richness of features can be disconcerting to individuals who simply want to use cryptocurrency to invest and make transactions. Bitcoin’s simplicity is precisely what allows it to maintain relevance even when systems like Ripple that are technically more advanced are developed. Additionally, Ripple faces an uphill battle in terms of adoption among many vendors due to the radical differences between it and other cryptocurrencies. Ripple’s static supply of XRP and its lack of support for mining have earned it the derision of many cryptocurrency fans, which has helped limit its adoption in certain sectors. Even to this day, far more merchants accept Bitcoin than XRP, which gives the former a certain heft in the cryptocurrency market. At the end of the day, whether a currency has value is determined by how useful it is to the general public. So long as Bitcoin and Ripple remain useful to a large enough number of people, they will both retain their value and carve out their own niches in the economy.

16. Can I make money with XRP? Like with any investment, Ripple does not guarantee a profit to those who invest in it. However, given Ripple’s enduring popularity and its adoption by banks, it has a certain profit potential that other cryptocurrencies don’t. The versatility of the Ripple network means that users are constantly finding new uses for it, which has helped propel it into the ranks of the world’s most traded cryptocurrencies. It is up to you to determine whether Ripple’s advantages as an investment outweigh its flaws. As always, you should do your research before making any big financial decisions, and you should always invest prudently and cautiously.

Recap

Ripple is a cryptocurrency that offers a suite of security and convenience features that few if any other cryptocurrencies possess. Its consensus-based transaction system frees it from reliance on miners and gives it a stability when it comes to sending or receiving money.

Additionally, Ripple’s compatibility with mainstream fiat currencies gives it a flexibility that most cryptocurrencies lack. The sheer number of financial institutions using Ripple for their transactions has further buttressed its reliability.

Because mining Ripple is impossible, the currency may turn off some cryptocurrency users who are looking to make money with minimal effort.

However, those who are looking for a reliable cryptocurrency and transaction system built into a single package will definitely want to check Ripple out.

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