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You can find lots of advertisements and links related to ICO startup companies, but do you know what ICO really is? If you don’t, we’re here to help you out. In this blog, we are going to enlighten you about what ICO means, what it involves, and how you can avoid Initial Coin Offering scams.

initial coin offering

What is ICO?

ICO stands for “Initial Coin Offering.” ICO wasn’t known to many people until cryptocurrencies we created and became a trend. The word “ICO” is borrowed from IPO (Initial Public Offering). Now, you must be wondering, what’s IPO? IPO is the event in which a company goes public in the finance world. But, what happens when a company goes public? Well, it means that the company is going to launch stock options publicly, for each and every one out there to purchase its share, with this hope that these purchased-shares would have more worth one day. You can also say that an IPO is one of the possible exoduses of a venture-capital-investment.

 

What Makes It Different?

An ICO is usually used as a crowdfunding project by cryptocurrency startup ventures to fund a startup company. Funds are provided through well-recognized cryptocurrencies like; Bitcoin or Ethereum or in the form of traditional currency and in exchange, they are given a quantity of the cryptocurrency, which they’re funding with, which means, in the form of “tokens!” After the ICO project gets successfully completed, tokens are exchanged into the functional units of a cryptocurrency that is newly created.

 

No Regulations

Many companies find ICOs attractive since they are not under any regulations, and the startup ventures can collect funding without any exertion and cost for the regulatory acquiescence. On the other side, risks for investors also get increased as countries like South Korea and China have banned the ICOs.

 

For ICO crowdfunding ventures, the marketing heavily depends on social media platforms which also include paid-ads. Similarly, there are many ICO ads now, which are being shown on different websites. The social media giant, Facebook has already banned ICO-related advertisements; however, from June 2018, Google is also going to put a ban on advertisements related to ICO.

 

Is ICO a Scam?

No, ICOs are not always a scam. However, the way they work is the main thing that allows scammers to gain a lot of money from those investors who believed in the startup. Just because of this, few top-investors recommend “real businesses” to avoid these ICOs and continue their business in the same way they were doing before. The year, 2017 has shown that almost 46% of all-known ICO ventures have been proven to be unsuccessful and after the payments were made, the websites, as well as social media profiles were left abandoned or were quickly vanished.

Well, all of this data shows that all ICOs aren’t always a scam, however, like other crowdfunding ventures, especially investing in general, you have to very careful where you invest. While assessing Initial Coin Offering scams, make sure to do your research about the individuals behind it. A robust ICO will offer potential investors every single detail about the developers, security experts, advisors, and others linked with the project. A legitimate ICO will offer a variety of places and social media links where investors can communicate with developers. They’ll also provide their Facebook page of the project so that you could assess its engagement levels.

How to Avoid ICO Scams

If we look at the recent lists of Initial Coin Offering campaigns, it’s quite hard to come up with a reasonable filter, and there’s no doubt that experienced investors wouldn’t consider how sceptical it is, but as with any investment, nothing can be predicted related to ICO or about its certainty. Even in some cases, basic managerial accounting data isn’t available; however, many ICO trackers still try to combine lists of seemingly pertinent parameters.

Initial Coin Offering scams show that fraudsters are going to extraordinary-extents to scam gullible investors. Also, when it comes to taking decisions related to investment, it focuses on the needs of investors. According to the founder of Skill Incubator, Chris Dunn, the cryptocurrency community must have to become extra incisive towards new ICOs; otherwise, governments around the world are expected to take stricter stances into cryptocurrencies at a whole new level.

Also, an ICO whitepaper is the initial document for the project, which describes the aim, background, strategy, and concerns for the implementation of all blockchain-related projects. Whitepapers can be extremely skimpy like; companies that have an ostentatious website may unveil that they lack a basic-sound concept. Then again, a company with a website that contains spelling errors might have a whitepaper that shows a rigid concept and a prudently created implementation strategy.

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What Is Bitcoin Wallet and What Are the Main Types of It?

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What Is Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoin is a peer to peer currency which does not have any physical form. In other words, it’s a virtual currency. The currency is stored in Bitcoin wallets.

There are several forms of Bitcoin wallets – most common ones being desktop wallets, mobile wallets, online wallets and hardware wallets.

The goal of this article is to provide you with the necessary information about all these forms of wallets. So let’s get started with knowing what is a Bitcoin wallet are and what are the different types of it.

Desktop Wallets:

Desktop wallets are compatible with different desktop applications and each of them offers different features. For example, Hive is an OS X-based wallet which includes app store that connects directly to Bitcoin services.

Another example of desktop wallets is Bitcoin Core which relays transactions on the network and enables you to create a Bitcoin address for sending/receiving virtual currency.

Some desktop wallets are particularly designed to gain enhanced security. Armory is a prime example of such wallets.

Mobile Wallets:

Desktop wallets are handy, but only when you are at home. If you are out on the street, they are of no use. And this is the reason as to why these wallets are falling out of favor.

On the other hand, mobile wallets are more useful as everything regarding your bitcoins is just one tap away.

It doesn’t matter where you are, whether it’s a physical store, park or just a random street, if you have access to the internet, you can access your Bitcoin wallet and make transactions on the go. Some of the common bitcoin mobile wallets are Xapo, Mycelium, and Blockchain.

These wallets keep your bitcoin keys encrypted on the phone and also back it up on a web-based server.

Online Wallets:

Online wallets store user’s private key online and link it to mobile/desktop wallets. One of the biggest advantages of online wallets is that they can be accessed from anywhere regardless of which device you are using.

However, there is one major drawback: If a user fails to implement them correctly, it will put the organization running the website in charge of his private key which eventually takes his bitcoins out of his control. That could be a risky move, especially if you collect a lot of bitcoins.

Some examples of the best Bitcoin wallets online are:

Coinbase:

Coinbase operates worldwide. Users in the United States and Europe can also buy bitcoins through Coinbase exchanges.

learn more about how to buy Bitcoin with Coinsbase.

Circle:

Circle offers the feature to send, receive, store and buy bitcoins.

Strongcoin:

This service offers hybrid wallet which lets the users encrypt their private keys before sending them to its servers.

And Hardware Wallets:

Hardware wallets are dedicated devices that are used to facilitate payment and store private keys. Some examples of these wallets are Trezor Hardware Wallet and Ledger USB Wallets. These wallets are easy to carry in your pocket and can be physically moved from one place to another.

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Cryptocurrency-Mining Marked as a Malicious threat by Microsoft

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The continuous demand and popularity as well as a sudden increase in the prices of various types of cryptocurrencies has aroused a wide scale interest. Instead of all that popularity and demand, the future of digital currency is still uncertain due to many reasons.

Cybercriminals played a critical role in this scenario when they started to demand ransom in the form of cryptocurrencies, most notably Bitcoin, which is the most popular and precious of these cryptocurrencies. It was already expected due to the safe and anonymous transaction facility. As a result, the demand of cryptocurrencies increased and automatically led to the mining of cryptocurrencies.

That’s why Microsoft has recently released a blog post elaborating the increasing threats of malicious cryptocurrency miners. Let’s see what actually cryptocurrency mining is:

cryptocurrency mining

Cryptocurrency Mining

Talking in simple words, coin or cryptocurrency mining is the process of running complex mathematical calculations in order to maintain the blockchain ledger. Though this process gets you a very small amount of coins but it pays well as the prices have gone up during the past few years. As a matter of fact, cryptocurrency mining will celebrate its 10th year in 2019. Because of the continued use of high level computing and uninterruptible power supply, it is not a too much popular practice. It is an intensive task that requires significant resources from dedicated processors and other hardware including heavy duty graphic cards.

Measures from Microsoft to Block Miners’ Attack

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft has shown some serious concern in this regard. The main reason is that technically, cryptocurrency mining can come in various malicious forms and can be implemented in a lot of ways. The largest threat is the so-called cryptojacking. Cryptojacking refers to remote browser-based coin mining that uses background resources to mine when a user visits the malicious URL turning his computer into a host. The same thing can also infect your computer with unwanted applications, while some hackers might be able to modify the startup settings of your computer, so every time you boot it, the unwanted malicious application will run in the background affecting your system speed.

The main reason for Microsoft’s concern is the core issue associated with the loss of computer resources. Corporate setups can face a huge drain of their available resources.

Precautionary Measures

Fortunately, Microsoft has successfully blocked a major attack at the beginning of this month.

In order to stay protected, Microsoft has recommended to use advanced machine learning detection modes in Windows Defender ATP to identify and prevent such malicious threats.

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What Is Tom Lee’s Latest Bitcoin Prediction?

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The so called bitcoin bull Tom Lee sees cryptocurrency market to experience a massive outflow before the cryptocurrency taxes closing. Tom Lee is considered to be an authority on the bitcoin as he is the Managing Partner and the Head of Research at Fundstrat Global Advisors. His views are considered to be quiet solid and authentic about the crypto business.

crypto news

Alongwith the above predictions Tom Lee has also very optimistic views about the crypto currencies specially the bitcoin. According to him the current positive amendments and announcements about the cryptocurrency are the main factors that can undoubtedly act as a catalysts for the growth of bitcoin in the year 2018. He further predicted that at least 3 major publicly-traded corporations would short sure issue their own native digital tokens. And this prediction has been took serious in terms of valid crypto news as three major companies have already announced their efforts within crypto-currencies.

 

There are also clear indications that all the major financial corporations might start moving towards crypto-currencies before Wall Street makes its mind to do so. The Rakuten Coin is a well elaborated example of this progress, it was launched by the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. All these are the positive developments in terms of crypto market which are somehow related to the previous predictions made of Tom Lee.

Facts which do not Match Tom Lee’s Prediction

Though some of Lee’s predictions were a real good shot in the past but some of his famous flops in this regard should also be considered. For example the large sell-off in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies predicted by him at the start of this year was a total flop. The starting price of Bitcoin this year was above $17,500 which witnessed a rapid downfall to about $6,115 by February 6th. Though prices did recover with a steady pace but it was a shock for most of the investors which ultimately broke their heart.

 

Lee’s next price prediction for Bitcoin stands at $20,000 by June this year. He also gave a target of  $25,000 for the end of 2018. Other famous prediction by Tom Lee included that the famous social media network Facebook and ecommerce platform Amazon will announce its own crypto strategy this year.

Other Examples Cited By Lee

Some other significant examples cited by Lee are as follows:

 

Line, the famous Japanese messaging announced that it is going to launch “Line Financial”. It will be a division allowing users to exchange digital currencies.

Expected use of the blockchain technology by Starbucks. Moreover Mark Zuckerberg also announce in an online post this January that his company would look into cryptocurrencies this year

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BEST VPN FOR DARK WEB

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The Dark Web

The dark web is basically a concealed portion of the world wide web that can be accessed only using TOR or any other anonymous network such as Project Freenet. People use these mediums in order to access services, products, and content that cannot be accessible on the normal web. You can find videos, music, pictures, books and various other illegal items here. A very well-known dark web marketplace that goes by the name of Silk Road, has everything you can think of.

Related: Read more about TOR

Now, when you use TOR it is recommended that you use a VPN and route your traffic through it.  What happens is that your ISP is unable to find out if you are accessing the Dark web and even if your IP address happens to leak due to some security flaw, it is not your actual IP address but of the VPN server you are routing your connection through.

All in all, a VPN is that extra layer of security you need to avoid any feds banging on your door at 4 AM.

However, not all VPN service providers are genuine and could land you in trouble. Here are the safest options you could go for:

NordVPN:

 

 

With NordVPN, you can be assured that your anonymity remains no matter what. It does not keep any logs so there are no chances of any data leakage or exposure online. Along with this, it has a peer-to-peer friendly VPN service and you can use up to 6 devices simultaneously. Bitcoin is accepted here and NordVPN operates from the Panama.

Besides a few glitches in the performance and variations in the speed at peak hours, there aren’t many drawbacks of this.

 

Perfect Privacy:

The headquarters of Perfect Privacy’s servers are located in New Zealand. They ensure that no logs are stored to avoid any risks in the future. Forget data breaches as Perfect Privacy is ready to put its company at stake for your privacy. Also, it doesn’t require any third-party tools, which decreases any chances of issues. It even provides you server-based-Ad and malware filters to ensure you maintain a secure browsing experience.

However, one setback is that it takes quite some time to set it up initially.

 

Torguard:

Similar to a fellow VPN service provider, Torguard also operates from the United States. But they’re known to have privacy as their main aim which means they would even consider relocating if it were ever necessary. Torguard as well does not keep any logs which is essential for safe browsing of the dark web.

Also, Torguard has an impressive amount of servers located worldwide making it a tough competitor.

 

ExpressVPN:

ExpressVPN allows you to conduct any peer-to-peer activities while ensuring that no logs are kept. It’s also known for its fast downloading speed, which makes it so much easier to browse the dark web.

The only drawback is that you can use only two devices at a time and you have to separately log in to each device.

 

IPVanish:

Don’t be alarmed that IPVanish is located in the United States as this does not make it unsafe as a VPN option. Similarly, it accepts Bitcoin as well. No logs are stored and the OpenVPNsecurity protocol along with the 256-bit AES encryption allows you to browse the web without any issues.

A drawback is that only two devices can be used simultaneously.

 

The Choice is Yours:

We’ve outlined the top 5 VPN service providers that include all the specifications for safe and secure web browsing. It is your choice to experiment with whatever that seems suitable for you as the five companies mentioned above have you covered!

Let us know in the comments section below if you try any of these out. Also, check out this list of Darknet marketplaces you can visit with the help of the above-mentioned VPN service providers.

 

Story Credits: vpncomparison.org

Image Credits: vpnguru.com

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