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Bitcoin Highlights – 2017 Edition

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2017 has been an adrenaline-packed roller-coaster ride for Bitcoin so far. Especially taking in the fact that it hit its highest record, crossing over 2,900 USD towards the end of June.

Here we are going to take a look at this year’s top bitcoin news from around the world.

 

BITCOIN VS. GOLD:

Who could’ve ever thought that something that exists virtually could cross the value of something as valuable as GOLD?

On March 3rd, 2017, the cryptocurrency set a fresh record of $1,268 while Gold rested at $1,233. The precious metal seemed to be having a bad month as it had dropped more than 2 percent within the same week. Meanwhile, Bitcoin seemed to be on the rise, with a 7 percent rise in a weeks’ time.

This cross is something that will always remain symbolic due to Bitcoin’s incomparable fighting power.

JAPAN:

The reasons behind the success of Bitcoin, particularly in 2017 could begin with the legalization of the cryptocurrency in Japan, which is Asia’s richest economy. Following the announcement, retailers and companies began queueing up to accept the popular digital currency. Moreover, the number of retail storefronts has risen to 300,000 in 2017 alone, things are definitely turning around for Japan.

Also, let us not forget that Japan has officially eliminated the tax on Bitcoin which is bound to drive an increase in Bitcoin trading.

RUSSIA:

Russia announced their legalization of the use of cryptocurrencies in 2017. Their government confirmed in late April, that a draft bill would create the legal framework for trading in cryptocurrencies. Surprisingly, this is coming exactly a year after the same Russian institutions had announced that anyone caught using Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency would be jailed.

Why this change you may ask?

Russia plans on implementing the blockchain technology within its banking sector, to eliminate liquidity crisis and money laundering. Central authorities have closed down many banks but shutting down is not enough to wipe out frauds. Ultimately, authorities have decided to implement new technological applications that allow the government to surveillance people throughout. Thus, the sudden involvement is being shown in the digital world.

EDUCATIONAL INDUSTRY:

The University of Ohio has now officially begun hosting their first classes about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a part of its MFE curriculum. To follow up, several colleges have even started to accept Bitcoin as a payment method, a step that has definitely pushed Bitcoins to new heights.

In addition, two Montessori schools in Flatiron & Soho have now started to accept Bitcoin as a payment and 10 parents have already opted to enroll their kids using Bitcoin. Marco Ciocca, co-founder, and chairman of the schools added this payment option in June.

The above points prove that Bitcoin is becoming more and more popular as we type this article. People are intrigued to know more about the cryptocurrency and have adapted to the system to develop a better understanding. Obviously, because who wouldn’t want to exchange or shop for anything and everything without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

These are the major bitcoin highlights 2017 but, this is definitely not the end of it. Bitcoin is known for its staying power and we know that despite all of its competitors, it’s one tough cookie!

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Expected Blockchain Support By Cloud Computing Giant Salesforce

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Salesforce is a world famous company well known for its cloud computing software. It provides services related to customer relationship management in various industries, including healthcare, finance, media, retail, and manufacturing. The revenue generated by Salesforce in the year ending January 31st was $10.5 billion. And now Salesforce is ready for its blockchain integration with a brand new idea.

blockchain and cryptocurrency

Parker Harris, the co-founder of cloud software giant Salesforce has confirmed that his company is hoping to develop a product for Blockchain and cryptocurrency support by September 2018.

The same news was being disclosed by CEO of Salesforce Marc Benioff in an interview with Business Insider on March 28. In that interview he also stated that he had finalised this plan to work on Blockchain technology and various forms of digital currency while he had a chance to participate in the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland last January. It was simultaneously being held with a cryptocurrency conference, where Benioff’s conversation with another event attendee transformed into the above mentioned idea according to which Salesforce could actively participate in the utilization of blockchain and cryptocurrency into its current operation.

 

He further added that he had been thinking about various ways through which Salesforce’s strategy around blockchain and cryptocurrencies could be finalized.

What is in Benioff’s Mind?

There were a lot of things which the company CEO did not reveal about his forthcoming product in his interview. However, he stated that he was planning to have a blockchain and cryptocurrency solution for Salesforce and for all its clients.

 

However, in a recent briefing for its Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) software, the company appreciated the revolutionary blockchain technology for verification and maintenance contracts and automation of trust.

Salesforce is not Alone in this Race

In the past Blockchain was just used as a decentralized ledger to log all cryptocurrency transactions, but now its definition has changed. Now a great number of applications and technologies have a strong connection with it. In the present context,  blockchain keeps or is used to keep record of every digital transaction and exchange which might be in the form of goods, services or private data of any sort. With the passage of time it has been transformed into a global spreadsheet running simultaneously on millions of computers around the globe. The beauty of this technology is that every single individual connected to this peer-to-peer system can see all transactions being made, hence there is no need for a middle man.

 

It is clear that the involvement of Blockchain technology is getting deeper and deeper day by day and no field of life will be functional without it.

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How does Bitcoins work?

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Bitcoin- Quick Story

Currency gains worth and value when people tend to give it the value and start accepting it. A vast majority of the people are being attracted to the Bitcoin due to the fact that it’s decentralized and its regulated by no third party. It’s tied to no political or governmental system. Due to this, it’s not vulnerable and doesn’t get affected much by their failings or socio-economical collapses happened in the past.

It is a digital form of money, used for transaction online. The mechanism behind these coins resembles like that of gold due to its limited resource. The word cryptocurrency demonstrates that Bitcoin is encrypted in a way that prohibits it being copied. Every transaction performed using Bitcoins is recorded in Blockchain. Blockchain acts like a ledger where all the data is stored. All this data is encoded on the Bitcoin itself. This method aids in avoiding people to spend the same bitcoin more than once. Due to a connected, peer-to-peer network, every user will know that the particular bitcoin was just spent.

Keeping everybody’s identity complete anonymous just like that of its founder, these Bitcoin holders are associated with an ID code or a wallet code. This can be stored on your hard drive or phone or your computer.

Acquire bitcoins

Bitcoins can be acquired for a number of ways. Some of the ways include,

  • Accept them as payments against goods and services.
  • Exchange them as a typical form of currency.
  • Mine them

Again, like gold, these coins are mined. They are mined through suitable supporting powerful computers. Similar to gold, the more people mine these Bitcoins, the less they are to be found in the system for next process of mining. By solving complex algorithm problems, you can mine these Bitcoins.

But you are not the only one solving the puzzle. There are more people and coin holders solving the same mathematical problem. So, it’s more like a competition. When you enter the race, it’s easier to handle with lesser people. But when more people are included, the problems get way more complex and difficult.

When there are more people being flunked and stuck during the problems, the math problems will get easier to ensure,

  • a steady flow,
  • value is boosted, and
  • remain inflation proof.

By 2140, it is expected that all the Bitcoins will be mined from the system.

Risks with Bitcoins

Being extremely volatile and unpredictable in nature, Bitcoin value can never be guessed. You can manage to judge and guess the value of Dollar the next day, but the Bitcoin value can fluctuate in no time. Being under no regulation to a regulatory body or financial institution, it is monitored and scrutinized by nobody.

Bitcoin transactions are not completely anonymous. They are secured by could be tracked down. A lot of individuals were attracted towards bitcoin due to this feature. Including a lot of people from ‘Black Market’. So, you never know who you are dealing with during the transaction.

Security is a big risk associated with Bitcoins. The format Bitcoin runs on is good to go but the hackers don’t seem to miss their chance. Banks and exchanges that deal in Bitcoins are targeted largely by these hackers. But this isn’t the currency’s fault. The paper money gets robbed too and Bitcoin is no different.

Bitcoin has come with both pros and cons. For its furthermore acceptance with the people, its volatility needs to settle down quite a bit. It’s a totally unpredictable and high-risk currency which needs to adjust a bit to enable more people to get their hands on it.

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Beginner’s Guide to Tor

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Just a couple years ago, Tor was something known only by tech-geeks. However, since leaks about the surveillance strategies of US and UK spies have arisen, Tor has become a target of criticism, accusations of promoting a “dark web” of pedophiles, drug dealers, and arms traders.

 

What is Tor?

The Tor project is a non-profit association that allowed users to browse the internet anonymously. It is intended to stop individuals – including government organizations and partnerships – from knowing of your location or learning about your browsing traditions.

The Tor network conceals your identity by moving your traffic across various Tor servers while encrypting the traffic. This makes it almost impossible for anybody to recognize the source of the data or region of the web client.

Tor’s software package, the Tor browser bundle can be downloaded easily and does not require any setup procedure. Although, you’ll experience a much slower internet than usual due to the number of relays your data goes through.

 

Who created Tor?

It was originally developed by the US Navy and received 60% of its funding from the State Departments and Department of Defense, along with several other backing bodies.

When it was initially launched in 2002, the project’s main focus was on securing every internet users’ privacy from corporations over governments.

Related: How to use Tor browser on iPhone

Who uses Tor?

Tor users fall into four main groups:

  • Normal users looking to just keep their browsing activities concealed from websites and advertisers
  • Cyber-spying concerned users that do not want their personal information to be tracked by any corporation.
  • Journalists and activists in countries with restrictions on the internet.
  • Whistleblowers can leak information to journalists while maintaining their privacy and having the freedom to express their true opinions.

 

The dark side                

Regardless of all its perks, everything has its drawbacks as well. It is important to be fully aware of what you click on while browsing with Tor. While many sites are socially acceptable or legal for that matter, others are known for having disturbing content. Stumbling upon such a web page showcasing criminal behavior or anything of that sort could land you in serious trouble.

Additionally, along with cloaking your identity Tor is also able to host websites, which means these sites are only accessible by people on the Tor network. These are known as criminal sites or in more obvious words “the dark web”.  The FBI and NSA have tracked down many of such sites, promoting disturbing content, drug purchases, illegal arms trading and much more.

Related: What are top 5 Proxies to access .Onion sites without Tor Browser?

What’s next?

We’re in an era of free-flowing data available to us with just a click of a button. Moreover, the internet is expanding on a daily basis and its depths are still unknown. With Tor becoming more widely used by internet users, the FBI and NSA have become more persistent in attempting to crack the network. In the end, it all depends on the user and for what activities they use Tor.

 

Image credits: i-novice.net

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Introducing Blockchain-Based E-Voting system in Moscow

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It was in 2014 when Moscow’s Mayor, Sergei Sobyanin launched an innovative Active Citizen app. This app was actually an e-voting platform designed solely for the residents of Moscow to vote on municipal projects pertaining to non-political city decisions, e.g.; naming of subway stations, setting up speed limits, plotting of bus routes, replacing the building’s entrance door or even hiring a new management company etc.

The Active Citizen app was a huge success since its launch, more than 2,800 polls were being administered and over 2 million users participated via the app. But according to some critics this app grew vulnerable to manipulation with the passage of time.

That’s why, Moscow officials announced that they have piloted the Active Citizen onto the blockchain technology in order to minimize the vulnerability issue.

Usually, the term of blockchain is referred to the cryptocurrency transactions. It is a sort of a digitalized and decentralized online database pertaining to public ledger of crypto transactions and interactions. Though specific for tracking secure financial transactions of cryptocurrency, it will now also be used in the e-voting platform of Moscow.

blockchain based e voting

What makes it a safest choice?

Russia’s National Settlement Depository (NSD) has successfully tested this blockchain based e-proxy voting system. This voting system is comprised of the following steps:

  • In the first step a Bondholder will pass vote to a nominal bondholder (NB)
  • The Nominal bondholder will in turn submit that vote to the blockchain
  • The designated Counting commission will count the votes and submit their results to the blockchain
  • Bondholder can latter verify whether the votes were counted correctly or not.

Hence it can be easily concluded that the process of blockchain based e-voting will resemble the secure crypto transactions to a great extent. Once the vote will be placed, it will be listed in a ledger consisting all the votes taken place across a node-to-node fully secure network. So, there will be no chance of data loss, fraud or third-party alteration once the vote has been casted.

In other words, blockchain is becoming a hallmark of digital accountability and security. It comprises of such a complicated mechanism of digitized security that it is almost impossible for the general public to ‘’hack’’ it in their traditional way.

According to some experts the use of blockchain technology will improve the transparency of e-voting system in Moscow and it should also be tried in the general elections as well.

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