Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin’s biggest weakness has always been scaling.  Bitcoin transactions are completed when a “block” is added to the blockchain but blocks are limited to 1MB every 10 minutes – or seven transactions per second.  If you compare this to the 2,000 per second that Visa can handle, you can see how scaling is holding Bitcoin back.

Many solutions were presented to solve the problem but the one that was chosen to help with the issue and was recently implemented on August 1 is called Segwit2x.  But a rival group consisting of miners and later exchanges decided to go in a different direction with Bitcoin Cash.

The current implementation of Segwit2x moves some of Bitcoin’s transaction data outside of the block and on to a parallel track to allow more transactions to take place. And to help things, even more, a plan is in place to double the “block” size to 2MB in November.

Bitcoin Cash, on the other hand, is a hard-forked blockchain that does not have Segwit2x implemented.  Instead, each “block” size to increased from 1MB to 8MB. The reason for this decision is that its backers are skeptical that the Segwit2x plan will follow through with doubling the block size later on.  And even so, Bitcoin Cash backers feel the Segwit2x solution is only a stop gap and not a true solution.

Only time will tell if Bitcoin Cash will survive as an altcoin or if it simply dies off due to lack of miner support.

Where to buy: Bitsdigit

Ethereum

ethereum - Cryptos R Us

Created by math prodigy Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is second only to Bitcoin in the hierarchy of cryptocurrencies. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a distributed public blockchain network. Although there are some significant technical differences between the two, the most important distinction to note is that Bitcoin and Ethereum differ substantially in purpose and capability.

Bitcoin offers one particular application of blockchain technology, a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. While the bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of digital currency (bitcoins), the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application.

Before the creation of Ethereum, blockchain applications were designed to do a very limited set of operations. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, for example, were developed exclusively to operate as peer-to-peer digital currencies.

Developers faced a problem. Either expand the set of functions offered by Bitcoin and other types of applications, which is very complicated and time-consuming, or develop a new blockchain application and an entirely new platform as well. Recognizing this predicament, Ethereum’s creator, Vitalik Buterin developed a new approach.

Ethereum’s core innovation, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a Turing complete software that runs on the Ethereum network. It enables anyone to run any program, regardless of the programming language given enough time and memory.

The Ethereum Virtual Machine makes the process of creating blockchain applications much easier and efficient than ever before. Instead of having to build an entirely original blockchain for each new application, Ethereum enables the development of potentially thousands of different applications all on one platform.

In February 2017, Ethereum organization announced the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). It is aimed at developing enterprise-focused solutions with the open-source Ethereum as a basis but that are, in some cases, more privacy-oriented. Conversely, the idea is to create a kind of positive feedback loop that leads to improvements of the public blockchain protocol as well.

There are major Fortune 500 companies, Microsoft, Intel, JP Morgan, BP, Samsung to name a few, that are all currently exploring Ethereum.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit

Ethereum Classic

ethereum classic

One of the most promising things about Ethereum was the DAO.  The DAO was a complex Smart Contract with many features and it should have allowed companies to make proposals for funding. The DAO launch went smoothly and proposals were created and voted on, security issues were raised during the coming weeks, there was a big community call for a moratorium, but it was not implemented and most of the security issues we not addressed fast enough.

On the 18th of June, members of the Ethereum community noticed that funds were being drained from The DAO and the overall ETH balance of the smart contract was going down. A total of 3.6m Ether (worth around $70M at the time) was drained by the hacker in the first few hours. The attack happened due to an exploit found in the splitting function. The hacker stopped draining The DAO for unknown reasons, even though he could have continued to do so.

It’s important to understand that this bug did not come from Ethereum itself, but from this one application that was built on Ethereum. The code written for The DAO had multiple bugs, and the recursive call exploit was one of them. Another way to look at this situation is to compare Ethereum to the Internet and any application based on Ethereum to a website – If a website is not working, it doesn’t mean that the Internet is not working, it simply means that one website has a problem.

The Ethereum community and team quickly took control of the situation and presented multiple proposals to deal with the exploit.  In order to reach a quick consensus, the hard fork proposal was voted on and approved by Ether holders, who had to send a transaction to a voting platform. The super majority of people (89%) voted for the Hard-Fork and it took place during the 1920000th block (20th July 2016).

This was when Ethereum Classic was born.

Ethereum Classic is not a new cryptocurrency, but instead a split from an existing cryptocurrency, Ethereum. Both blockchains are identical in every way up until block 1920000 where the hard-fork to refund The DAO token holders was implemented, meaning that all the balances, wallets, and transactions that happened on Ethereum until the hard-fork are still valid on the Ethereum Classic Blockchain. After the hard-fork, the blockchains were split in two and act individually.

When the hard-fork was implemented, users that did not agree with it decided not to upgrade their software and to continue mining on the blockchain that did not have this implementation. Since the hard-fork creates an incompatibility between the new and previous versions, the users that decided to remain on the “original” blockchain, have diverged into their own blockchain.

Recently China has been very acceptive of Ethereum Classic.  All major exchanges in China now trade Ethereum Classic.

Where to buy: Bitsdigit

Ripple

ripple coin - Cryptos R Us

One of the most hated cryptocurrency project by the community is Ripple. While Ripple has a native cryptocurrency – XRP – it is more about a network to process IOUs than the cryptocurrency itself. XRP, the currency, doesn‘t serve as a medium to store and exchange value, but more as a token to protect the network against spam.

Ripple Labs created every XRP-token, the company running the Ripple network, and is distributed by them on will. The goal of the ripple system, according to its website, is to enable people to break free of the “walled gardens” of financial networks – ie, credit cards, banks, PayPal and other institutions that restrict access with fees, charges for currency exchanges and processing delays.

Banks loves Ripple. There are now over 100 banks that are currently utilizing Ripple to process transactions.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit

Litecoin

litecoin - Cryptos R Us

Litecoin was one of the first cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin and tagged as the silver to the digital gold Bitcoin. Block transactions 7.5 minutes faster than Bitcoin, with a larger amount of token and a new mining algorithm (Scrypt), Litecoin was a real innovation, perfectly tailored to be the smaller brother of Bitcoin.  Litecoin facilitated the emerge of several other cryptocurrencies which used its codebase but made it, even more, lighter.  Examples are Dogecoin or Feathercoin.

Scrypt-based mining spawned a new generation of GPU mining that still exists today. Check out Build Your Own GPU Mining Rig for Ethereum and Litecoin.

These days the Litecoin blockchain is becoming an experimental playground preceding Bitcoin. Despite having no blocksize congestion like Bitcoin, scaling solutions, such as Segregated Witness, and Layer 2 protocols, such as the Lightning Network, are being tested in production on its live blockchain before ever being integrated into Bitcoin.

Recently Charles Lee who invented Litecoin, returned from Coinbase to head Litecoin once again.

Litecoin’s active trading volume is still very high, usuallly second or third overall in the cryptocurrency space.  Many exchanges are now opening their doors to Litecoin.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit

Monero

Monero coin - Cryptos R Us

Monero is the most prominent example of the cryptonite algorithm. This algorithm was invented to add the privacy features Bitcoin is missing. If you use Bitcoin, every transaction is documented in the blockchain and the trail of transactions can be followed. With the introduction of a concept called ring-signatures, the cryptonite algorithm was able to cut through that trail.

The first implementation of cryptonite, Bytecoin, was heavily premined and thus rejected by the community. Monero was the first non-premined clone of bytecoin and raised a lot of awareness. There are several other incarnations of cryptonote with their own little improvements, but none of it did ever achieve the same popularity as Monero.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit

Dash

Dash Coin - Cryptos R Us

Dash (originally known as Darkcoin) is a more secretive version of Bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it works on a decentralized mastercode network that makes transactions almost untraceable. Launched in January 2014, Dash experienced an increasing fan following in a short span of time. This cryptocurrency was created and developed by Evan Duffield and can be mined using a CPU or GPU. In March 2015, ‘Darkcoin’ was rebranded to Dash, which stands for Digital Cash.

On a basic level, Dash is very fast in its standard transactions and its Instasend and Privasend features have even more functionality for a bit more of a fee, making it ideal in a retail setting. If people started using Dash only for the purpose of sending and receiving digital cash peer-to-peer payments, it would be among the best options at the moment.

Where to buy: Bitsdigit

Siacoin

siacoin - Cryptos R Us

The idea for the project was conceived back in 2013 at HackMIT, which is a hackathon hosted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The idea is simple, allow anyone to rent out their storage space and in return reward them for their contribution.

With Sia, instead of everything being essentially hosted on central servers, Sia’s blockchain technology decentralize file storage and makes it open source. Sia also allows companies to get involved and host their own private decentralized cloud and sell that as a service to their customers. This drastically reduces hosting and storage costs.

Sia provides the platform that has users paying for storage and providers running their own private decentralized cloud. This is the beginning of “hosting of the future” in which is not entirely reliant on central servers anymore.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit

Stratis

stratis - Cryptos R Us

Stratis aims to make blockchain easier for everyone to understand. The project offers affordable solutions for blockchain development, testing, and deployment of applications.

One aspect of the Stratis project is their enterprise development platform. It is quite complicated to get involved in building blockchain-based applications these days. The team has created an accessible solution which takes away a lot of headaches associated with building blockchain apps altogether. A lot of enterprises will appreciate this aspect. Moreover, there is also the cryptographic token fueling the blockchain, known as STRAT.

One thing that makes Stratis stand out from other blockchain platform sis how it focuses on native C# and.NET applications. Rather than coming up with a completely new coding language, Stratis wants to make the transition for software developers a lot smoother. Moreover, the proprietary blockchain offered by the platform uses the latest advances in stability and security also found in the Bitcoin protocol. So far, the company partnered with leading blockchain partners, including Ledger, Microsoft Azure, and Changelly.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit

Golem

 golem coin - Cryptos R Us

Golem is a platform built on a peer-to-peer network which sources computing infrastructure in a decentralized manner to create a global market for computation. They call it the “worldwide supercomputer,” to which anyone can contribute and from which anyone can buy computation.

Today, the cloud computing space is dominated by giants including Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, resulting in pricing inefficiencies characteristic of oligopolistic markets. Golem’s market aims to disrupt this status quo and minimize such inefficiencies by providing near complete information, making complex applications such as computer-generated imagery (CGI) rendering, big data analytics and machine learning more accessible.

The platform will also provide value in the form of an Application Registry which enables anyone to deploy software to the network, along with a Transaction Framework which provides flexibility in the way such software is monetized. Together, these two components aim to create an environment conducive to rapid, community-driven innovation. Golem hopes that in the long run, centralized providers will utilize the network to adopt and pass on the aforementioned efficiencies to their customers.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit

Factom

Image result for factom

Factom is the first usable blockchain technology to solve real-world business problems by providing an unalterable record-keeping system. By creating a data layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, Factom’s distributed ledger technology secures millions of real-time records in the blockchain with a single hash using cryptographic isolation.

Businesses and governments alike can use Factom to document their information so that it cannot be modified, deleted or backdated. Factom’s technology decentralizes record keeping by ensuring that the integrity of stored data remains intact, providing complete transparency, while at the same time maintaining user privacy in an increasingly digital world.

Where to buy:  Bitsdigit


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