7th eCoin4Dummies Guide: Top 10 Cryptocurrency and ICO

Cryptocurrency and ICO have been around for quite some time now. Some of it failed while some of them are still there, alive and making its own voices out in the public. In this guide, you will learn about the Top Cryptocurrency and What you need to know before choosing which is the right one for you.

  • How to Evaluate an ICO
  • Bitcoin

    At the time of writing these lines, 1 Bitcoin is worth 3,300 USD. On many websites, you might see how the Bitcoin grew over time but you do not need this in order to understand what a bitcoin is. So, for now, I will only leave you with a brief summary of that. You will learn some Basic Bitcoin Tutorial Here.

    Bitcoin was created in October 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto. And in August 2010, it was worth 0.06 USD. Over the next 7 years, it grew by more than 50,000%.

    Bitcoin is a digital currency, created and held electronically. Unlike any normal currency, Bitcoin is controlled by no one. Bitcoins are not printed, they are produced by people who run computers all over the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.

    Regarding its use, Bitcoin is no different from other currencies – you can use it to purchase products and services online, just like with any other currency. Only that, you can also easily transfer it from one side of the world to the other, in less than 10 minutes, and with fees that are insignificant comparing to today’s banks.

    Bitcoin is a limited coin, on its peak Bitcoin will hold only 21 million bitcoins. As US dollar consists of cents, each bitcoin consists of Satoshis. One bitcoin equals a million Satoshi (0.0000001 bitcoin = 1 Satoshi).

    When you first get a Bitcoin wallet (desktop/mobile/cloud/cold storage), instead of keeping track only of your own account status, you can keep track of everyone’s status.

    In a traditional bank account you might see that:

    My Balance: 19289.01 $

    While if you have a bitcoin wallet you will have this information:

    Name* Balance
    Dede Stam 150
    John Greaty 1000000
    Zack Smith 0
    Merry Ash 2000
    Muhamad Mustafa 1986

    When you are holding a bitcoin wallet, you also hold a ledger with the exact amounts that every person in the world holds.

    * On the table, I show names for better comprehension. In fact, in bitcoin wallet, instead of names, users have a unique serial number to be identified. Read more below to view other Bitcoin Tutorial.

    Bitcoin characteristics

    • Decentralized – Any central authority does not control the bitcoin network. Every person is eligible to mine bitcoin and process transactions. All the machines operating on the network work together. It means no individual will ever control bitcoin.
    • Easy Setup – When you want to open a bank account you go to the bank and sign forms, they call you the next day that you forgot to sign another form, and maybe once more. Opening a bitcoin wallet takes less than a minute.
    • Anonymity – since you do not use your name while making transactions with Bitcoin, no one can ever connect you and the purchases you have made with Bitcoin. You can also own as many accounts as you wish.
    • Transparency – even though no names are used when dealing with Bitcoin, EVERY single transaction that has ever happened is stored in the general ledger, it’s called “Blockchain”. If you have ever used a bitcoin wallet, anyone can know exactly how much money you stored in it, but no one can say for sure who stays behind this wallet.
    • Fees – I do not know about your bank, but it costs me at least 20 USD to send money across the world. With Bitcoin, all transactions are almost free.
    • Non-refundable – there is no way to refund Bitcoin. Only the person that receives the money can send it back to you. Otherwise, it is lost.
    • Fast – Transferring bitcoin internationally, no matter where takes less than 10 minutes. Doing so via bank takes at least 3 business days.

    I wrote some more on Bitcoin Advantages here and about Bitcoin Disadvantages here but too keep this article shorter I left this content in other articles.

    What is a Bitcoin Wallet?

    A wallet is basically your bank account. Holding a wallet allows you to receive and send bitcoins. Every wallet has 2 addresses: public address which is where other users may send you money, and a private address, which is for you to recognize yourself as the owner of this wallet. On this Bitcoin Tutorial, we will talk about different kinds of Bitcoin Wallet.

    There are 4 types of bitcoin wallet:

    • Paper Bitcoin Wallet – a document that contains both of your addresses usually with a QR code for a better usage. It is called a ‘’paper’’ because it can be printed and stored offline. This is a safe way to store your bitcoins, but there is a downside to it as well – once you lose that paper, you would have lost your bitcoins too. Learn more about Paper Bitcoin Wallet here.

    How to Make a Paper Bitcoin Wallet

    • Software Bitcoin Wallet – this wallet is software that you download and install on your computer or mobile phone (preferably both). This is the easiest way to own bitcoins. The advantage of Software bitcoin wallet is also its weakest point – it is entirely under your control. This means you are the only person responsible for your money. If you don’t back up your software and your computer breaks down, you lose your money forever. You should consider using software that supports both mobile and desktop wallets.
    • Web Bitcoin Wallet – Unlike the other types of wallets here you are trusting a 3rd party to secure your wallet. You install your wallet on the cloud and access it from anywhere. This is closer to having an online bank account. Both web wallet and software wallet is considered as “Hot Bitcoin Wallets” since they are online and available through an internet connection. Learn more about Hot Bitcoin Wallet here.
    • Cold Storage Wallet – Also called the Hardware Wallet, this wallet is a device that can talk to a computer and you can make Bitcoin transactions. This wallet is the most secure of them all. While your wallet is not available to your computer nothing can happen to your Bitcoins. Suitable mainly for storing big amounts of Bitcoin. Learn more about Cold Storage Wallet here.

    If you want to read more about Bitcoin Wallets click here.

    How Does It Work?

    Read this part of the Bitcoin Tutorial to learn how the Bitcoin Transaction works. When you first create your Bitcoin Wallet you receive two addresses – one is the private key that you should never share with anyone, and the other address is Public Key, which is the address you should give to others to receive money.

    When you want to send money from your account to another Bitcoin user, all the Bitcoin nodes will receive a message. The message contains your account number, the recipient account number and the amount of money that you have transferred.

    (optional info) When executing a transaction, a digital signature is added to show the authenticity of the transaction. Each transaction has a different digital signature. The signature is based on your Private Key and the transaction specifications.

    Every few transactions create a block that is added to the blockchain (general ledger). All the users in the world can see this information. Each block in the blockchain contains a few transactions and a mathematical calculation to show the authenticity of the block. Each block points to the next block where you can find executed transactions from the past.

    How to Get Bitcoins?

    This part of the Bitcoin Tutorial will tell you how you can acquire one. There are a few ways to get Bitcoins: receiving a payment; buying it from someone you know; or on bitcoin exchange platforms. On bitcoin exchange platforms, you can buy or sell bitcoins from and to other users. You should keep in mind to always store your bitcoins in your wallet. Money that you do not see in your wallet does not exist. There are no time delays of over 10 minutes, and a transaction is completely secure only an hour after a transaction starts.

    When choosing a bitcoin exchange platform you should make your own research. Properly read reviews and choose your platform carefully. This is like choosing a bank, you should trust the company to deliver your money. It is like choosing any other service out there. While most companies are legit, there are always scammers out there.

    Here is a list of a few bitcoin exchange platforms. I still advise you to read before using any of them, as things might change. you can also read more on the official Bitcoin website: https://bitcoin.org/en/exchanges 

    What is Bitcoin Mining?

    Bitcoin Mining is setting up a computer to work towards creating blocks for the blockchain. Every created block “earns” its creator a certain amount of bitcoins for the work it has done. The computer’s work is to execute calculations for verifying the block. We will talk about Bitcoin Mining on a separate Bitcoin Tutorial.

    Can I mine bitcoins?

    Yes, you can, but not every computer can mine bitcoin while earning money from it. For most personal computers, the electricity consumption costs you more than the “earned” bitcoins value.

    While your PC is not giving you the ability to earn money in the form of Bitcoins, there are a lot of computers specially designed to mine bitcoins. The Bitcoin Miner is a machine for dedicated bitcoin mining process.

    There are plenty of bitcoin miners available, but when selecting the one you should consider a few things:

    Hash Rate – This is the number of calculations your hardware can do in a second. Measuring units of Hash rate are MegaHash/sec, GigaHash/sec, TeraHash/sec.

    Energy consumption – All the calculations generated while mining takes time and in this case, power. It is worth checking your bitcoin miner consumption to know how much you are going to spend on electricity.

    Here is a short guide on how to calculate which miner you should get: https://www.coindesk.com/information/mining-profitability/

    My advice is to get the best miner machine that you can afford. Since the calculations get harder every now and then, your machine efficiency goes down accordingly.

    Bitcoin Faucets A Free Way to Start with Bitcoin

    Bitcoin Faucets are a free way to earn some small amount of Bitcoins. For those who are afraid to start, you can earn a small amount and play with it to understand the Bitcoin world better before making an investment. You should read the dedicated article for Bitcoin Faucets to understand what it is exactly, you can read it here.

    Cryptocurrency, WTF?

    According to Wikipedia Cryptocurrency is “a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.” But if you understood what a bitcoin is, I believe it is easier now to understand that Bitcoin is the first Cryptocurrency.

    Other Important Cryptocurrencies

    Ethereum – The second biggest cryptocurrency by market cap. Even though it is newer than some other cryptocurrencies, Ethereum value has grown fast and peaked at over 400$ for 1 Ethereum coin. After a hack in the first days of Ethereum, the coin founder decided to change security for the coin. As this action was without the consensus of the other founders, “Ethereum Classic” came into existence. Ethereum coins are minable.

    Ripple – Unlike the other two cryptocurrencies, Ripple is a total pre-mine, meaning that you cannot mine it. More coins are being released when the company, Ripple Labs, decides to do so. Having this said, the company can control the price of the Ripple.

    Bitcoin Cash – Currently holding the 4th place, is the Bitcoin Cash which has just split from the Bitcoin on the 1st of August 2017. This coin is a copy of Bitcoin.  The moment Bitcoin Cash emerged, everyone that had bitcoin received bitcoin cash. This system obviously added some value to the coin, as users already owned it and started trading with it a few days after its creation.

    I have written dedicated articles for some of the other coins: LiteCoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum and more.

    Bitcoin – The Future?

    While it seems that the community adopted Bitcoin and people trade with it daily because of the growing bitcoin tutorial there is, it hasn't yet seen support from banks and you cannot do most day to day tasks with it. It is a currency that you can invest in, for the future. The Bitcoin value has gone up every year since its creation, but it does not mean it will continue to do so for all the years to come. Like any other investment, Bitcoin has its pros and cons – everyone should do their own research before investing in it. I will try to supply you with as much information as possible and another bitcoin tutorial that you may need, to help you gain the necessary knowledge and take your decision for a possible investment.

    Ethereum

    At the time of writing this article, Ethereum value is 750$ per coin. Ethereum is a relatively new cryptocurrency, a bit over 2 years ago, on July 30, 2015 it went live and started trading for around 1$-3$ a coin for the first 7 month. For the next year it traded around 10$ a coin, and earlier this year it made a more significant jump and recently its traded around 300$, and in the recent month it jumped again to the 700$ – 800$ a coin.

    Vitalik Buterin invented the Ethereum in late 2013 and was up and running in less than 2 years. If you owned 100$ worth of Ethereum in late 2015, you would have today 30,000$ worth of Ethereum.

    Ethereum and Bitcoin are distant cousins and while they do share the fact they are both based on blockchain technology, they differ in a few prominent issues. While Bitcoin has the option of making a money transfer, Ethereum has the option of making a “smart contract transaction”. In Bitcoin you will see “David sent John 1 Bitcoin”, and in Ethereum you might see other types of transaction like “if David earned 1 Ethereum send 0.5 to John”.

    Ethereum is a limiteless coin unlike Bitcoin. And it currently has 96.5 Million coins.  There is no cap on the supply of new coins. But, there is a limitation on the coin creation through the mining process each year depending on the consensus rues.

    The same rules apply for Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets and some of the Ethereum wallets support both coins. So if you have interest in holding both coins, find a wallet that supports both.

    Ethereum is different than Bitcoin in more than a few things, ill try to mention the main one’s here:

    Ethereum characteristics

    • Decentralized Platform – The design of Ethereum is to be more than a payment system. It is “a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.” (Ethereum Foundation, 5 2016)
    • Smart Contracts – Ethereum support many different types of transactions.
    • Turing complete Language – Ethereum is written in 7 different languages (Bitcoin is written in C++).
    • Faster Transactions – Currently an Ethereum transaction confirmation takes place after 14 seconds, far less than the 10 to 60 minutes of Bitcoin (and even longer transfer time in busy moments on the Bitcoin network).
    • proof-of-stake model – Ethereum is still operating in the same “proof of work” system as Bitcoin (Have to solve math equations to validate transactions and generate new coins in the process). It is discussed on switching the Ethereum to Proof of Stake Model, in this Model there will be no miners, only validators, in order to validate a block you will need to “bet” your Ethereum on the block, and if its found to be fraud, you lose your stake, your Ethereum, it’s a different system designed to spend less energy on validations.

    Microsoft Azure adopted Ethereum and started offering it as a service in November 2015. Microsoft announced that the reason they chose Ethereum over Bitcoin was: “while a platform like Bitcoin has many great uses specifically as a Cryptocurrency, Ethereum provides the flexibility and extensibility many of our customers were looking for” (Gray, 2015). By offering Ethereum as a service on Azure, Microsoft have “endorsed” Ethereum and by that partly secured its future.

    Ethereum Wallets

    By now almost all available wallets support Ethereum, if you wish to learn more about which wallet you should use to store your cryptocurrency, read our Bitcoin wallet article.

    Where to purchase Ethereum?

    Most of the exchanges in the world allow users to buy Ethereum, and any of the exchange platforms offered in our exchange platform article.

    XRP – Ripple

    Released in 2012, Ripple is a payment protocol. Many people lauded it as the Cryptocurrency answer to the PayPal.

    Currently SWIFT, which is the leading global transaction settlement system used by 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries takes around four days to settle the transfers. Ripple can process the payments within 3.5 seconds to anywhere on the planet. Moreover, only costs a fraction.

    The Ripple Coin, XRP is popularly known as ’’Banks Bitcoin’’, is used in the Ripple platform as a liquidity factor. So, any currency is converted to XRP and transferred. The supply limit of Ripple Coin is 100 billion and are pre-mined during the initiation. The platform is called RippleNet and used by more than 75 financial institutions including UBS, Santander. And many governments accept Ripple Coin as a legal tender. Ripple has obtained BitLicense which is a business license of virtual currencies in New York State Department of Financial Services, on June 13, 2016.

    In 2017 alone, XRP value increased by 40 fold.

    Wallets

    Many online and offline wallets are available.

    • Hardware Wallets – Ledger Nano S
    • Paper Wallets – ripplepaperwallet.com
    • Desktop Wallets – Rippex
    • Online Wallets – GateHub
    • Exchange Wallets – Bittfinex, Kraken, Bitstamp
    • Android and IOS wallets – Toast Wallet

    How to get XRP?

    Many Cryptocurrencies are minable, XRP Ripple is not one of them. If you want to buy in bulk then directly contact the people at Rippple.com. Otherwise, you can buy at exchanges like Coincheck, Korbit, CoinOne, Bitbank, etc.

    Also, if you have any other altcoin in hand, you can convert them to XRP ripple at shapeshift.io or changelly.com. When using this channel mind the transaction fees for currencies like Bitcoin and Ether as the conversion transactions on these platforms have a time limit of ten minutes.

    As the price of XRP ripple is only a fraction of a dollar now is the best time to buy.

    Read more about Exchange Platforms here.

    Litecoin – The Lite Bitcoin

    Litecoin came to life in 2011. Charlie Lee’s announcement stated that developers had teamed to produce a cryptocurrency that would be silver comparing to Bitcoin's gold or as later known, Lite Bitcoin.

    For the past months Litecoin price has enjoyed tremendous stability, recording up to 1,700% climb. This cryptocurrency, which has almost everything in similarity with Bitcoin, is currently valued at $80.28 (and still counting). Its resemblance to Bitcoin is so much that many liken the two to be digital siblings.

    Whereas Bitcoin has made headlines almost this entire year for hitting the $5,000 mark, the overall returns are much lower than that of Litecoin. Up until now, Bitcoin has gone up to 400% year-to-date but this is not even a quarter of Litecoin's 2017 performance.

    Litecoin Wallet

    Before buying this Lite Bitcoin (Litecoin), it's important that you have a Litecoin wallet. With respect to this, there are different options including:

    With that handled, we can proceed with purchasing your first (or more) Litecoins.

    Where to Purchase LTC

    There are various places you could buy the Cryptocurrency using different payment methods. Coinbase and BitPanda easily stand out as the most reputable places to purchase your Litecoin. You can use a credit or a debit card to do so. Additionally, you may choose to use Bank transfer this will require you to wait for at least 1-3 days in Europe and 5-7 days in the USA. When using Credit/Debit card, you will be charged about 4% fee while with bank transfer, you will incur 1.5%.

    You do not have a direct way to buy Litecoin using PayPal. To do so, you will first purchase Bitcoins using PayPal and then change the BTC to Litecoins (the conversion is direct considering the LTC/BTC pair is a popular trade).

    Like some other cryptocurrencies, you can also get LTC through mining. Just arm yourself with a powerful processor.

    EOS

    So, while we are seeing this wholesale blockchain cool off-price wise, EOS remains resilient and for good reasons. EOS ICO is an awesome product and is a brain child of a veteran in this industry, Dan Larimer who is also the co founder and the creator of Steemit.

    Dan is an ingenious guy and right now he is working with Block one to create this platform that will likely revolutionize DApps development. Interestingly, its ICO is in progress-started on June 26, 2017 and it will last for a whole year ending on June 26, 2018. It’s the first of its kind. So far, it has received more than $196M in funding.

    EOS ICO in a Nutshell

    Simply put, EOS ico is an Ethereum based DApp platform that has some tad bit of similarities with Ethereum but amplifies the benefits of smart contracts and heighten scalability and performance courtesy of its Content of Events architecture.

    What is EOS
    EOS Main Features

    Besides performance and availability, DApps creators will have  wonderful and easily time creating apps because EOS offer these operating system like services  like user authentication, web storage and database management in platform.

    Because of Web Assembly language and DApps scheduling and communication, creators need not to rewrite code to access this system. This is the sole reason why EOS is so powerful and does something the Ethereum is not perfect at.

    EOS makes things easy for a DApp developer. All a creator need to do is own some EOS and he/she automatically qualifies for a stake in EOS server resources. Unlike Ethereum, they don’t need to pay ‘Gas’ to use the server resource.

    EOS Wallets

    Since EOS is based on Ethereum and are ERC-20 tokens, you can easily store them in most Ethereum (ETH) compatible wallets. Stories of fraudulent rife have been floating around and so make sure you download them from official Ethereum websites. These hot wallets can safely store your EOS coins:

    • Ethereum Wallet
    • MyEtherWallet
    • Exodus
    • Jaxx
    • Icebox
    • EtherLi Multi-Sig Wallet
    • Hold them in an Exchange’s wallet

    At the moment, the best way to store EOS offline is to store them in Ledger Nano S through MyEtherWallet.

    Where to buy EOS

    From Coinmarketcap, we can see that there are 89 different ways of buying EOS. Word of caution though, not every exchange is safe and we highly recommend exchanges with high trading volume and those which the blockchain community trust.

    Apart from this, most of them mandate that you own some ETH/BTC before transacting. However, with BitFinex, you can deposit at least $10,000 or its equivalent before they allow you to transact.

    These are my top 5 exchanges where you can get EOS:

    1. BitFinex
    2. Binance
    3. Kraken
    4. Bithumb
    5. Huobi

    Alternatively, you can also use ShapeShift straight from your Exodus wallet to convert ETH to EOS, after all, EOS ico is Ethereum compatible.

    If you want to own some EOS ico, there is a clear guide of how to buy EOS.

    Bitcoin Cash

    It wasn’t until August 1, 2017, that we had Bitcoin Cash, symbol BCH. So far, this free Bitcoin dividend is proving lucrative. In fact, statistics show that there is a growing demand for this Bitcoin alternative and it is no surprise that it’s the 4th most valuable and liquid coin in the world with a staggering $23.8B market cap.

    Bitcoin Cash was specifically created to address issues of scalability and transaction congestion prevalent within the main Bitcoin network.

    At the moment you might be wondering what scalability means and why is it popping up all across over the media. The answer is simple. We must understand that prior to this, the main Bitcoin network- which is still in use albeit with several improvements and contentious proposals -remains pretty much the same as it was back in 2009.

    The only thing that has changed is the number of users who are by the hundreds of thousands and this is definitely stressing the system. It’s logical that when the number of users explodes then delays and miner fee hikes are prevalent.

    The issue is even exacerbated by the blockchain architecture and block size limitation.

    Segwit 2X was a  viable solution that agitated for block size increment to 2MB. This, in turn, could increase the speed of transaction processing since more transactions are held within a single block. Statistics show that the Bitcoin network can process a maximum of 7 TX/S and that is nothing compared to 4000 TX/S processed by Visa.

    On top of that, with Segwit 2x threats of malleability attacks were neutralized and set the foundation for off chain solutions as Lightning Network.

    However, there was no follow through of BIP 91 and Segwit 2X even after New York Agreement (NYA) and User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) Segwit were adopted weeks before Bitcoin Cash hard fork. In fact, the politics of block size dragged on for 2 years.

    To address transaction processing speed, Bitcoin Cash increased their block size limit to 8MB. This was a compromise because as you increase block size so does the size of the blockchain increase. As such centralization is inevitable.

    Where to buy Bitcoin Cash

    From coinmarketcap, there are 235 different ways besides peer to peer transfer of how you can buy Bitcoin Cash.

    Ok, BitFinex is a great way of acquiring Bitcoin Cash but I think it’s simpler to buy from CoinBase. It is simple and everything is locked to prevent those wild fluctuations common with prices.

     

    This is how you do it:

    • Go to CoinBase, create, verify and set a 2FA for your account.
    • Click on Buy/sell and click Buy. From there you can link your Bank account and chose the number of Bitcoin Cash you want to buy.
    • Click buy and your Bitcoin Cash will be sent to your Bitcoin Cash wallet.

    Secure Bitcoin Cash wallets

    After buying, the best thing to do is transfer from your Bitcoin Cash to a secure 3rd party wallet. Cold wallets like Ledger Nano S are secure and hacker proof and that’s where I recommend storing your new BCH coins at. Then again, Ledger Nano S wallets support Segwit just like Bitcoin Cash.

    The hard fork planned on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain is intended for improving the network only. And not for creating a new currency.

    The hard fork would go live on 14th November 2017.

    In Bitcoin Cash network, for every 2016 new blocks found the Difficulty adjusts. This is as same as the Bitcoin network.

    Bitcoin cash has a problem. Both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash uses same mining algorithm, i.e., SHA-256. The miners of Bitcoin can also switch to mine Bitcoin Cash. Here, the mining reward is the critical factor. If the miners are to stay mining BCH, the reward should be on par or better than the Bitcoin mining reward.

    Considering the value of both the currencies the Bitcoin Cash mining should be reduced based the BCH and BTC value factor.

    Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA)

    EDA adjusts the mining Difficulty so that the mining rewards are as better as Bitcoin mining.

    For example, if fewer than six blocks are mined in 12 hours, using EDA, the Difficulty falls by 20% for the upcoming block. When miners coordinated well or time the situation appropriately, within a day, the Difficulty drops by 75 percent. And mining to their advantage.

    This leads to miners switching between the networks causing the instability on both the networks. Only the end users suffer as the transaction confirmations might take too long in some days. The miners would game the system to their benefit.

    Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm (DAA)

    A DAA is proposed and would be implemented on the Bitcoin Cash network using the hard fork. The DAA solves problems like:

    • Adjusting the Difficulty with the available hash rate so that the block time stabilizes at 10 minutes
    • Avoiding steep changes in the Difficulty
    • Resisting timestamp manipulation attacks

    Bitcoin Cash Fork Conclusion

    For this upgrade, Cryptocurrency exchanges, and users should be aware of upgrading their wallets to be compatible after the hard fork.

    Monero

    Launched in 2014, Monero is a privacy-centered Cryptocurrency. With Monero, every transaction is untraceable. Even if you want to make a transparent transaction that is not possible. There would be no accidental leaks of private information.

    The network implements a unique mechanism of stealth addresses, Ring Signatures, and Ring Confidential transactions. So, in every transaction, the data related to the address, and the amount transferred is hidden. So, no one can ever trace a transaction.

    Unlike Bitcoin, there is no limit on block size. The block size can vary depending on the transactional volume. The standard block time is two minutes, i.e., one new block per two minutes. Therefore, no delay in transaction confirmations.

    The symbol for the Cryptocurrency is XMR, and it has no total supply limit. The current supply is 15 million XMR. The block reward keeps on decreasing until a threshold falls to 0.3 XMR per minute. After that threshold, the XMR is being generated as long as the Monero survives.

    XMR Wallets

    GetMonero.org provides wallets for various platforms like mobile, desktop, MacOS, etc.

    The Hardware wallets are not available yet. But, expected to launch soon.

    Monero has a particular wallet version called Light wallet/Client. It works better for slow internet connections. But, not recommended as few nodes in the network can know when you are receiving a transaction. But, no one can ever know how much you have received and from whom.

    How to get Monero (XMR)?

    It is a minable Cryptocurrency. Even your CPU could well-perform mining.

    There are some JavaScript libraries like Coinhive are available for mining this Cryptocurrency through the web browser. Because of this advantage, ThePirateBay.Org, a popular torrenting site, is mining Monero in visitors’ computers without their knowledge. Be careful when visiting such untrustworthy sites. Read more about it here.

    Many Cryptocurrency exchanges will trade Monero: Bitfinex, HitBTC, Poloniex, Bittrex, Kraken, etc.

    These days Monero is very popular with dark web marketplaces which sell illegal goods.

    Tether

    Tether is a Cryptocurrency pegged to fiat currencies and based in Hong Kong. Hence the name Tether.

    It uses Bitcoin blockchain with the Omni layer technology (the first project ever to launch an ICO). And the team has been testing the Omni protocol on the Litecoin blockchain for more efficient transaction fees and confirmations.

    For example, if you buy USD pegged tethers then you will have the ticker symbol USDT. Or if EUR then EURT. So, to maintain the value for Tethers, the company maintains an equal reserve of corresponding fiat currencies.

    Support for more currencies will be coming soon. GBP and JPY are expected to be added. And a KYC verification is required to purchase the tokens from the official site.

    No conversion fees are applicable while purchasing. Also, there are no transaction fees for the transactions between the officially provided wallets. But blockchain fees shall be born when sending a transaction to an external tether wallet that is not issued by the website teher.to.

    One benefit of tethers comes with the use in Cryptocurrency exchanges. Individuals can move their money more smoothly and efficiently, and can cold store without any issue of volatility.

    Tether Wallets

    Tether.to, the official website, provides mobile wallets for IOS and Android platforms. Also, the site itself gives web wallet, where you can buy and sell tethers.

    Conclusion

    Tether is not at all a minable Cryptocurrency. The only way to get them is to purchase.

    Some of the best know Cryptocurrency exchanges like Poloniex, Bittrex, Kraken, HitBTC, and Bitfinex support the tether deposits despite the project currently being in a beta version.

    Currently, the Taiwanese bank partner used by the Tether team is refusing the international wire transfers sent for purchase orders. But the customers having a Taiwanese bank account as well as the ones doing blockchain transactions are not facing any delays.

    And it is intimidating to see banking partners creating troubles even though Cryptocurrency based companies are doing everything according to the rules and regulations.

    Cardano

    Started in 2015, Cardano is a platform that has multiple layer architecture. Thus, it is easy to maintain each layer separately and enforce protocol upgrades on the fly through soft forks. The platform uses Haskell, a programming language, for the implementation and development.

    Also, the blockchain platform is the first of its kind to built using the extensive academic research.

    Cardano Settlement Layer is the first layer of the platform. It uses a Proof-of-Stake algorithm called Ouroboros. Soon, Deployment of another layer called Control Layer would take place. It will help in validating proofs to verify certain kinds of computations carried out correctly.

    Cardano will also support sidechains. The sidechain concept comes in handy to move funds to other layers in the ecosystem. Or to any separate blockchain that supports the protocol.

    Ada (ADA) is the Cryptocurrency of the platform and takes six decimal places in representation. It will also act as the native token for the application built on the Cardano platform. The maximum supply is 45 billion ADA. And the current circulating amount is 25.9 billion tokens.

    A sale was conducted, and 25.9 billion ADA were sold. 5.1 Billion ADA has been distributed to the three organizations – IOHK, Emurgo, and Cardano Foundation – which are responsible for technical and business development.

    Cardano is in Bootstrap phase. In this stage, there are no transaction fees and there will be no creation of new coins.

    Wallets

    The official wallet is called Daedalus. Currently, it is available for Windows and MacOS. Soon, The Linux version will be available.

    Also, the support for paper wallets in is development phase.

    How to get ADA tokens?

    As of now, mining is not an option. And there is no information available about when would minting new coins will start.

    The Cryptocurrency exchanges – Bittrex, Binance, and UPbit – are trading ADA. Moreover, Bitt and Cryptopia are the exchanges that are going to add support for the ADA tokens.

    IOTA

    Went live in 2016, the objective of the IOTA platform is to provide broad support Internet of Things. The core feature of IOTA is feeless transactions. Also, the platform acts as a data layer for the device to device communication.

    Due to the no-fee transactional system, IOTA is a heaven for micro and even nano transactions.

    Tangle, the distributed ledger of the platform, also a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), with transactions themselves acting as blocks.

    The architecture of Tangle ledger is entirely different from that of a Bitcoin blockchain or Ethereum blockchain. However, the Tangle ledger profoundly follows the universal blockchain principles which address the double spending problem.

    Also, the platform has recently introduced Flash channels which enable off-chain transactions making transaction confirmations instantaneous.

    The currency of the platform is also IOTA coin. In some places, the Cryptocurrency is also called MIOTA or just IOT. The supply limit is  2,779,530,283,277,761 tokens, and the tokens are pre-mined when launching the platform. So, there is no miner reward model.

    Mining Mechanism

    Apparently, the transaction initiator has to verify two other transactions in the network with a small Proof-of-work. After that, the network accepts and verifies the new transaction. This enables the ultimate feeless model.

    Wallets

    Due to the unique method of transaction processing, the software client has to take care of all the transactional work. So, there are not many out of the box wallets available.

    The IOTA.org provides the GUI client. Within a few days, the Source Code would be available for compiling the code for whatever platform you need. So, get ready to play with the Internet of Things.

    How to get IOTA tokens?

    As there is no mining reward model, you have to get the IOTA tokens from Cryptocurrency exchange. Or a friend who is willing to trade his tokens.

    The recommended Cryptocurrency exchange is Bitfinex, for which the base location is Hong Kong, the planet’s financial hub.

    How to Evaluate an ICO

    Wonder why you need some skills on how evaluate ICOs before investing? Well, the Cryptocurrency arena is transforming from hype-based to value-based. For example, if a currency has speculations that it might go big then it would work as people think it is the next big thing.

    Similarly, ICOs in the early 2017 and before were so few and so successful. But, Nowadays ICOs are becoming mainstream, and they are coming up like weed plants. Having a little understanding of how to evaluate an ICO is vital.

    There are elements like the concept behind the ICO, marketing efforts, community outreach, token metrics, etc. Let’s look into each aspect.

    Concept

    If anybody is doing an ICO, nobody will participate if there isn’t a substantial product or service behind it. Much similar to IPO, but still has its clutches.

    You have to wear the venture capitalist hat, and must ask, how this product is solving a real problem? The problem could be anything. Addressing privacy issues, security threats, cutting costs, or increasing the availability of a service. Remember that being a new concept doesn’t always mean it is giving an efficient solution to a market problem.

    Competitors

    A major mistake is to assume that if a crypto-project has no similar rivals in the blockchain space, then it’s going to triumph with a monopoly. Often, these blockchain projects do have services already operating.

    For example, there are many freelance platforms available, but blockchain based projects are coming up with the same concept saying they’d reduce transactional costs, and would not take service fees as other platforms would do.

    One thing you have to keep in mind is with every token generation event the team behind will allocate themselves a chunk of coins. So, the team gets some profit when the token gains value. If not, they can just abandon the project with just an announcement.

    Marketing and Community

    Open blockchain projects rely on communities that engage. Bitcoin would be worth nothing if there no community around.

    The ability to evaluate ICOs allows you to see determine which coins have a good community. If a product has an active community, and discussions are going well, then it indicates the project would perform well. And that will in return rise the value of the token.

    Marketing If well done, can attract bigger industry bodies. For example, Ripple – a banking solution – has done good marketing, and the efforts paid off attracting and partnering with huge institutions like American Express, UBS, Santander, and others counting over one hundred.

    Token Metrics

    When thinking about participating in an ICO, it is essential to understand the token stats and facts.

    For example, how many tokens are being created? Is there a supply cap?

    If there isn’t a limited supply, it is something you should dig deeper. But not a red flag though. Understand inflation rate, and how it might affect if you’d participated.

    On the other hand, you should also understand what the token distribution timeline is. Let’s take a case; the token sale will have multiple stages with the different discount rate. The first phase has a massive discount of 80%, and the following two stages only have 10% and 5 % respectively. When the first phase finishes and the tokens are distributed immediately, then the participants in the first stage can sell them in the secondary markets like hand-to-hand, or on decentralized exchanges like EtherDelta, at a lower price than the other stages and the seller could get profits.

    This kind of situation can hurt the token, and it eventually leads to complete dumping of the token.

    So, understand situations, and metrics like these if you want to avoid pitfalls.

    In addition, how the token is going to be used on the service or platform is also important. If there are no good use cases of the token, it is better to look somewhere else. All this requires some strong skills on how to evaluate ICOs, and tell the good from the worthless, from a technical viewpoint.

    Team

    Lasts, but not least, the team is a significant factor.

    If the teams consist of rock star blockchain developers, superstar entrepreneurs, and renowned advisors, then the project is going to do well, and it can create good traction in terms of buzz and hype.

    Conclusion

    In the end, it seems like the ability to evaluate ICOs is all about value investing. But it’s not. Understanding the crypto-market direction is another factor to pay attention. And diversifying your positions well according to the knowledge you have.

    All the above factors do not weight in particular order. They depend on the various circumstances of the initial coin offering.

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