Can Bitcoin Scale?
Last updated: 22 February, 2018 A few years after Satoshi Nakamoto unleashed his bitcoin paper on the world, the cryptocurrency’s users began to notice a potential problem: bitcoin wasn’t very liquid. For a system that many claimed could replace fiat payments, this was a big barrier. While Visa handles around 24,000 transactions a second, bitcoin could […]
What is Bitcoin's Lightning Network?
Last updated: 21 March, 2018 Hailed as one of the most potent solutions to cryptocurrency scaling currently under development, the lightning network effectively creates a layer on top of bitcoin, enabling fast and cheap transactions which can net settle to the bitcoin blockchain. Proposed by Thaddeus Dryja and Joseph Poon in a 2015 white paper, […]
What are Bitcoin Mining Pools?
Last updated 10th March 2014 One of the first questions that anyone interested in mining cryptocurrencies faces is whether to mine solo or join a ‘pool’. There are a multitude of reasons both for and against mining pools. However, if the hash rate distribution across the bitcoin network is anything to go by (and it is) then […]
What is Blockchain Technology?
“The practical consequence […is…] for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The […]
How Does Blockchain Technology Work?
As stated in our guide “What is Blockchain Technology?”, there are three principal technologies that combine to create a blockchain. None of them are new. Rather, it is their orchestration and application that is new. These technologies are: 1) private key cryptography, 2) a distributed network with a shared ledger and 3) an incentive to […]
What Can a Blockchain Do?
Financial institutions have financed the disruption of countless industries over the last 30 years; they have an idea of what a revolutionary technology can do to static incumbents. So, to stay ahead of change, banks have been proactive in setting up R&D labs, building test centers and establishing partnerships with blockchain developers to fully understand […]
What is a Distributed Ledger?
Ledgers, the foundation of accounting, are as ancient as writing and money. Their medium has been clay, wooden tally sticks (that were a fire hazard), stone, papyrus and paper. Once computers became normalized in the 1980s and ’90s, paper records were digitized, often by manual data entry. These early digital ledgers mimicked the cataloguing and accounting […]
Why Use a Blockchain?
As the implications of the invention of have become understood, a certain hype has sprung up around blockchain technology. This is, perhaps, because it is so easy to imagine high-level use cases. But, the technology has also been closely examined: millions of dollars have been spent researching blockchain technology over the past few years, and […]
How Could Blockchain Technology Change Finance?
This question has been asked by every futurist research lab in many of the largest banks, central banks, financial institutions, think tanks, consulting firms and government committees around the world. R3CEV, a consortium effort financed by some of the world’s largest banks, is busy trying to answer this question. Goldman Sachs, McKinsey Consulting and Consumers’ Research […]
What are Blockchain's Issues and Limitations?
There are treacherous passes in any technological revolution. Some people in the blockchain industry have pointed out that blockchain has become overhyped, when, in reality, the technology has limitations and is inappropriate for many digital interactions. But through research and development, success and failure, and trial and error, we’ve learned the current issues and limitations of blockchains. […]
Hard Fork vs Soft Fork
Last updated: 16 March, 2018 Forks, or the threat of them, seem to be an established feature of the cryptocurrency landscape. But what are they? Why are they such a big deal? And what is the difference between a hard fork and a soft fork? A “fork,” in programming terms, is an open-source code modification. […]
What is SegWit?
Last updated: 22 February, 2018 SegWit (short for Segregated Witness) is a protocol upgrade that changes the way data is stored. It was activated on litecoin on May 10, 2017, and on bitcoin on 23 August, 2017. Developer Pieter Wiulle first presented the idea at the Scaling Bitcoin conference in December 2015. Many hailed it […]
What is Ethereum?
Before you can understand ethereum, it helps to first understand the internet. Today, our personal data, passwords and financial information are all largely stored on other people’s computers – in clouds and servers owned by companies like Amazon, Facebook or Google. Even this CoinDesk article is stored on a server controlled by a company that […]
How to Use Ethereum
The thought of using ethereum might sound intimidating, but it could be rewarding. If the ‘unstoppable world computer’ develops according to plan, it could provide alternatives to the Facebooks and Googles that many people use everyday (as explained in “What is Ethereum?“). Ethereum might not be as intuitive as the web as we know it today, but […]
How Ethereum Works
Now that we’ve covered what ethereum is, let’s dive deeper into how the platform functions under the hood. Consider the online notebook application described in “What is Ethereum?“ Using ethereum, the app doesn’t require one entity to store and control its data. To accomplish this, ethereum borrows heavily from bitcoin’s protocol and its blockchain design, but tweaks […]
What is a Decentralized Application?
Internet users don’t have sole control over the data they share on today’s websites. Ethereum is unique in that it attempts to wield the blockchain as a way to correct what its designers believe is a problematic part of the internet’s design. It’s like a “decentralized appstore” where anyone can publish their unstoppable apps (dapps), […]
How Do Ethereum Smart Contracts Work?
Like many ideas in the blockchain industry, a general confusion shrouds so called ‘smart contracts’. A new technology made possible by public blockchains, smart contracts are difficult to understand because the term partly confuses the core interaction described. While a standard contract outlines the terms of a relationship (usually one enforceable by law), a smart contract […]
How Ethereum Mining Works
Today, miners play an important role in making sure ethereum works. This role isn’t immediately obvious, though. Many new users think that the sole purpose of mining is to generate ethers in a way that doesn’t require a central issuer (see our guide “What is Ether?“). This is true. Ethereum’s tokens are created through the process of […]
How Will Ethereum Scale?
Like other public blockchains, ethereum intends to support as many users as it can. The problem is that, today, we don’t really know the limits of the platform. Because of a hard-coded limit on computation per block, the ethereum blockchain currently supports roughly 15 transactions per second compared to, say, the 45,000 processed by Visa. This limitation […]
How to Mine Ethereum
Now that you know “How Ethereum Mining Works“, you may want to know how to compete in the race to mine ether yourself. To recap, mining is the glue that holds ethereum’s ‘decentralized app store’ together by ensuring that it comes to consensus on each change to any of the applications (dapps) running on the […]
What is Ether?
As we explored in “What is Ethereum?“, ethereum aims to function both as a kind of decentralized internet and a decentralized app store, supporting a new type of application (a “dapp”) in the process. But while no one owns ethereum, the system that supports this functionality isn’t free. Rather, the network needs ‘ether’, a unique piece […]
Who Created Ethereum?
In 2008, an unknown developer (or developer group) invented bitcoin as a new way to send value over the internet. Four years later, a 19-year-old dreamed up a new platform based off of this innovation in an effort to transform the internet entirely. Vitalik Buterin, a programmer from Toronto, first grew interested in bitcoin in […]
How to Trade Crypto On Bitfinex
A cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong and founded in 2012, Bitfinex is one of the market’s largest and most liquid exchange services providers, has long attracted a clientele drawn by its offerings of leverage and more advanced trading tools. An early market entrant, Bitfinex has experienced the bumps and bruises that accompany such distinctions. […]
How to Trade Crypto On BitMEX
Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX) is a “crypto-products trading platform” founded in 2014 by a group of former bankers behind HDR Global Trading Limited and is currently operating in Hong Kong while being registered in Seychelles. BitMEX is probably best known for its margin lending capabilities, which allow its users to conduct a leveraged trade as […]
How to Trade Crypto On Bitstamp
A key player in the first generation of cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitstamp’s largest competitors for many years were mostly exchanges that no longer exist today. Now eight years old, Bitstamp has currently amassed over 3 million users, largely in Europe. Once based in Slovenia, Bitstamp is now regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de […]
How to Trade Crypto On Bittrex
US-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is one of world largest cryptocurrency exchanges, often finding its way into the top 3 US exchanges in terms of trading volume. Based in Seattle, Bittrex is also one of the largest suppliers of alternative cryptocurrencies, which currently lists hundreds of different coins to choose from. Founded in 2013 by Bill […]
How to Trade Crypto On Coinbase
Based in San Francisco California, Coinbase may have achieved the strongest brand recognition amongst cryptocurrency exchanges since its founding in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ersham. It has since grown from a small-medium enterprise (SME) into something much larger, employing more than 500 people and growing rapidly over its seven-year history, to where it stands today […]
How to Trade Crypto On Gemini
Gemini aims to take the “Wild West” out of the cryptocurrency industry by providing its users with a set of safety and legal standards not reciprocated by many other trading platforms. Founded by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in 2014, the investors who sued Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg in 2008 for idea theft, Gemini was […]
How to Trade Crypto on Huobi
Founded in 2013, Huobi is a Singapore-based global cryptocurrency exchange that has perhaps evolved more than any other major exchange in its time in the market. Meaning “currency” in Mandarin, Huobi today still consistently ranks as one of the world’s top 10 largest exchanges by trade volume. Yet, at times in its history, Huobi was […]
How to Trade Crypto On Kraken
Kraken is one of the world’s oldest and best-known cryptocurrency exchanges and has built upon its reputation for both security and as a leader in bitcoin to euro trading volume. Founded by Jesse Powell in July 2011, the exchange offers 47 market pairs with seven base currencies ranging from the US dollar to the British […]
How to Trade Crypto On Poloniex
An exchange that dates back to the colorful early days of cryptocurrency, U.S.-based Poloniex has had a long journey to its current version. Acquired in a $400 million deal by Goldman Sachs-backed Circle in Feb. 2018, it does not allow users to trade government currencies for cryptocurrency. But while less appealing for beginners today, early […]