A lot is possible on the blockchain. But, the blockchain does not have power to solve every problem thrown at it.
Diamond provenance protection, asset trading, land title registry, passport issuance, smart contracts, currency... you name it, there is already a startup building the solutions for it on the blockchain (the decentralized public ledger that underlines most cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin). And the list of possible opportunities that the technology has to offer seems to grow longer each passing day.
As a matter of fact, it is now almost a given that at every Bitcoin meetup, conference or forum you attend, there will be someone who sees it as the right place to let the world know of the new blockchain innovation they have been working on. What's more, the impression that there is nothing that can't find a solution from the distributed ledger technology has done more than take hold in the Bitcoin community. It is now catching on with the mainstream financial institutions, technology companies and even beyond.
I have a phone, and I have no idea how it actually works despite the fact that people, like me, created it. I know that there are detailed descriptions of its operation, nevertheless, when I make a call, it is magic for me. I am used to it, and I perceive it as something routine, but it is still a kind of magic.
We are surrounded by these "black boxes" that perform some operations we do not understand. We have created some of them and, generally, understand what they do. Some "boxes", however, were created by nature and we have poor understanding of their magic, or we have none at all.
What are we going to discuss here? The point that a number of small super-efficient systems are better than one large system. Does that mean that a number of alternative DNS root are better than one large ICANN? Well... What about Blockchain-powered roots?
You must have heard of "51 percent attack", "double spend" and other frightening phrases that disturb cryptocurrency-related communities. Although such caution is not unfounded, the fuss together with ignorance give rise to numerous rumours. Are Bitcoin and other digital currencies in danger? Let's clear things up and review the most widespread attacks that might affect the sphere.
We cannot help starting with the most familiar attack, which was described in the article by Satoshi. This one covers a situation when someone (one person or a group) has more than half of all the mining powers in the network.
This blog post continues blockchain projects topic that we've discussed in our previous article. Last time we've talked about how blockchain influenced cloud storage, communications, DNS and other services. Today we continue presenting projects that successfully utilize blockchain technology.
Universal identification: nameid.org, shocard, aliases
It would be logically to develop the idea of Namecoin for registering not only domains but also any names. Actually, this function is already available in Namecoin itself. While domains are registered with prefix "d/", or, in more technical words, "in namespace d/", there also exists a prefix "id/" for registering private names and associated data. Therefore, it is not a problem to input your data in the blockchain. The problem is what to do next.
How would we remember Bitcoin? No, it is not a start of an obituary, and no one buries anyone! What I am asking is, what the specialness of Bitcoin technology is, what novelties it has? We have seen e-cash before it (DigiCash by David Chaum), used proof of work in the real life, and digital signatures can actually be considered as classics. Trustless P2P networks? Not a novelty, yet a warmer guess.
Some might say that a combination of abovementioned is the winning hand, but I would like to emphasize a single feature. Blockchain. Had the first blockchain-based application been not Bitcoin and its coins, but a BitZombie (a service for coordinating survivors in case of a Zombie-apocalypse), then it would be called the innovation that changed the world...
Aggregate addresses (or multi-addresses) is the new scheme for efficient bulk processing of CryptoNote transactions. It was introduced in Bytecoin 1.0.6 to improve experience of e-commerce services that accept Bytecoin and other CryptoNote currencies.
Today Bytecoin Team has released the whitepaper that defines the aggregate addresses scheme: Aggregate Addresses in CryptoNote: Towards Efficient Privacy". It is available in the new section of the website devoted to Bytecoin and CryptoNote technical documentation...
This is a guest post by Ray Patterson.
This blog post continues the series of articles on how various cryptocurrencies work. In the previous part we've given the overview on how Proof of Stake is different from Proof of Work and what issues its design causes. To learn more about how various Proof of Work algorithms work, check out "History of Proof of Work" post.
Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake: what else?
To sum up the arguments of the previous post, the energy efficiency of Proof of Stake is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the energy is not spent, on the other, the decentralized consensus model seems unstable without these expenses...
This is a guest post by Ray Patterson.
This is another article from the series of publications on how various cryptocurrencies work. By popular requests this post is devoted to Proof of Work, Proof of Stake, and some other proof-of-something comparison. Make sure to check our previous article, "The Proof-of-Work in Cryptocurrencies: Brief History".
Proof of Work criticism
As we remember, the Proof of Work was born in the long past 1993, in the cryptographers' family; parents intended it to become the defender from DoS attacks and spam. However, it received an offer it could not refuse by some anonymous with Japanese accent: to become a basis for distributed timestamp server. The scheme seemed simple: network nodes "vote" for their version of transaction history by introducing their computational powers into calculating "rare" hashes. The version that gets the majority of votes is accepted by all nodes as the reference version...
This is a guest post by Ray Patterson
Read the first part here.
Crossmating: The Altcoin Boom
By the mid-summer of the year 2013, more than a hundred altcoins were up and running, with almost half of them appeared in the latest couple of months. Should we mention that all those 'newbies' were LItecoin forks and utilized scrypt? Another trend of the season was an upstart Proof-of-Stake from PPcoin, so scrypt+PoS combo could be called 'standard alt-coin-beginner package'.
Such (quantitative) popularity of scrypt and exponential growth of Bitcoin complexity led to a simple thought: scrypt-ASICs will appear as soon as they are profitable. Despite the fact that giant November bubble (when Bitcoin was rated up to $1200) was far from beginning to balloon, the search for the new PoW function started again...
In the previous post I wrote about general direction of business development in the 21st century, and touched the subject of tools it would require. I am going to elaborate on the case from that post and tell you how can production and delivery of the 'customized' flakes be organized.
Let us have a look at the principal scheme of custom flakes business based on smart contracts. In the simplest case there are three actors entering contractual relations.
This is a guest post by Ray Patterson
Before Bitcoin: Hashcash & Moderately Hard, Memory-bound Functions
The Proof-of-work concept appeared for the first time in the paper "Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail" in 1993. Despite the fact that authors never used this notion in the article itself (it is 6 years before it appears), we are going to name it this way (or PoW).
So, what was the Idea proposed by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor in their paper?..
This is a guest post by Ofir Beigel @ 99Bitcoins.com
Almost a year ago the Israeli police apprehended a 20 year old computer technician in suspicion of fraud. Of course this story wouldn't have made it to the headlines if it didn't involve the controversial currency Bitcoin.
Here's how the story evolved:
A naive Bitcoin merchant was looking to sell his coins through one of the many Bitcoin trading groups on Facebook. The suspect contacted the merchant and offered to buy his coins from him for a total of $5,000. The merchant agreed and requested that the suspect wire the money to him.
Shortly after, the merchant received a screenshot with the wire confirmation and transferred the coins to the suspect's public address. Having felt that this was "just too easy" the merchant inspected the screenshot in greater detail only to find out that it was fake and didn't actually belong to the suspect's bank account...
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