Crypto Basics

  • Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central bank or single administrator. The network is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes through the use of cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.

  • A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data.  Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.

  • Altcoin” is a combination of two words: “alt” and “coin”; alt is short for alternative (to Bitcoin) and coin signifies currency. They are attempts to improve or duplicate Bitcoin by tweaking parameters such as confirmation time, total coin supply, and mining algorithm. There are hundreds of them & with quite a bit of geeky fortitude, anyone could create one.

Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.

Blockchains are secure by design making them suitable for the recording of events, medical records, and other vital data keeping, such as identity, transactions, food traceability or voting.

Bitcoin

• Fully dencentralized & open source ledger system

• Will always stand out as the first – the original

• Has never directly been hacked into since its creation

• Most secure by having the most PoW (Proof of Work) & the most full nodes

• Deflationary by design in contrast to many other cryptocurrencies – many are inflationary

Bitcoin Use Cases

Digital Gold – Great volatility in the price of Bitcoin makes it more akin to silver and gold rather than that of a currency. In fact, it is more divisible than gold and is much more easier to move around. With the speed of digital transactions and cost efficacy of having no third party, Bitcoin and cryptocurencies alike will be around much longer than most people think.

Shopping Discounts – Startups, such as Purse.io and Foldapp are bringing dicounts to Bitcoin users who shop on Amazon and at Starbucks, Target among others. Some examples are 20% off when shopping at Starbucks and 8 percent off at Target. Bitcoin service Circle even offers USD balances, which allows users to avoid the volatility in the price of Bitcoin while still gaining access to the discounts provided by these Bitcoin-powered applications.

Trading & Speculation – While many believe there is nothing tangible in Bitcoin, the price continues to climb year after year. Many day traders around the world are now trading in cryptocurrencies with a USD value of 7.3Billion over the last 24hrs in Bitcoin alone at the time of this writing. Top analysts perdict the price to maintain its overall upward trend in the years ahead.

Ethereum

Launched in 2013, ethereum is a platform for creating & running smart contracts. Smart contracts are programmable applications that run exactly as intended – without any downtime, interference or censorship.

Smart Contracts put agreed-upon rules into computer code and then enforce them automatically. Take a jukebox for example: You put in $.05? No song. You put in $.75? Song plays! You put in $.75, but the song has been taken off the Jukebox? Pick another song or refund your change.

This is revolutionizing the way the internet works by allowing online networks to operate without ANY 3rd parties. So instead of using Apple’s and Google’s app stores, you can use apps online through a decentralized community. Check out DApps for more info.

Ethereum Use Cases

Health & Identity –  Because Ethereum uses Smart Contracts on its network making it possible to have information stored on the blockchain and remain there forever. With rules set in place by the Smart Contract, it can be changed or added to but never hacked into since the blockchain is maintained over thousands of nodes across the world. Imagine never having to worry about identity theft again. Or doctors not knowing who you are if you aren’t at your primary physician. Voting is another case where Smart Contracts come into play. With verified and confirmed ballots, the Sierra Leon has become the world’s first country to execute a presidential election using blockchain technology.

Decentralized Applications – We can’t mention Ethereum without mentioning Crypto Kitties. The networks first mainstream decentralized application that made millions in its first week. In short, Crypto Kitties is an application that allows users to buy and sell pictures of cartoon kittens. There are only so many of each kind but they can be bred with each other to create new ones. One only need to go to DappRadar to see the millions that are spent every day on Dapps. Its impossible to keep up with every Dapp added to the network. Even we could not keep from creating our first decentralized application – Magic Ether Ball. Its a refashioned version of the Magic Eight Ball digitized onto the Ethereum network with a fun twist. Soon, mobile browsers will be refitted to allow for the use of Dapps and Dapp stores.

Litecoin

Keyword being Lite. It can confirm a transaction without double spending in less than 2.5 minutes. That’s about five times faster than Bitcoin which can take more than 10 minutes.

  • LTC has a longer proven market history
  • LTC has more hash security
  • LTC has equivalent block capacity as BitcoinCash
  • LTC has segwit and Lightning Network capabilities

Litecoin Use Cases

Abra – This peer-to-peer financial service company, founded by by Bill Barhydt, a former software engineer for Goldman Sachs, uses Litecoin to store cash deposits and facilitate cash transfers between any two mobile devices. Litecoin runs on the lightning network meaning transactions are extremely fast and capable of handling many transfers per second. Some have dubbed it the “Paypal of cryptocurrencies”.

Fast Adoption – If you’re wondering where Litecoin is accepted. You’ll be surprised that many places are quickly adopting Litecoin as a mode of payment. From Overstock to Steam, Litecoin is faster and cheaper than just about every traditions form of payment. You can even buy gold and silver with Litecoin. Later this year, it is said that Paypal will soon accept it as well. Subway now has a store accepting it and Litecoin will soon be in many more store-fronts. It seems the sky is the limit with this cryptocurrency.