The basics for a new user As a new user, you can get started with Bitcoin without understanding the technical details. Once you've installed a Bitcoin wallet on your computer or mobile phone, it will generate your first Bitcoin address and you can create more whenever you need one. You can disclose your addresses to your friends so that they can pay you or vice versa. In fact, this is pretty similar to how email works, except that Bitcoin addresses should be used only once. Balances - block chain The block chain is a shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies. All confirmed transactions are included in the block chain. It allows Bitcoin wallets to calculate their spendable balance so that new transactions can be verified thereby ensuring they're actually owned by the spender. The integrity and the chronological order of the block chain are enforced with cryptography. Transactions - private keys A transaction is a transfer of value between Bitcoin wallets that gets included in the block chain. Bitcoin wallets keep a secret piece of data called a private key or seed, which is used to sign transactions, providing a mathematical proof that they have come from the owner of the wallet. The signature also prevents the transaction from being altered by anybody once it has been issued. All transactions are broadcast to the network and usually begin to be confirmed within 10-20 minutes, through a process called mining. Processing - mining Mining is a distributed consensus system that is used to confirm pending transactions by including them in the block chain. It enforces a chronological order in the block chain, protects the neutrality of the network, and allows different computers to agree on the state of the system. To be confirmed, transactions must be packed in a block that fits very strict cryptographic rules that will be verified by the network. These rules prevent previous blocks from being modified because doing so would invalidate all the subsequent blocks. Mining also creates the equivalent of a competitive lottery that prevents any individual from easily adding new blocks consecutively to the block chain. In this way, no group or individuals can control what is included in the block chain or replace parts of the block chain to roll back their own spends. Going down the rabbit hole This is just a short summary of Bitcoin. If you want to learn more of the details, you can read the original paper that describes its design, the developer documentation, or explore the Bitcoin wiki. FAQ General What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet. Bitcoin can also be seen as the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system in existence. Who created Bitcoin? Bitcoin is the first implementation of a concept called "cryptocurrency", which was first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list, suggesting the idea of a new form of money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions, rather than a central authority. The first Bitcoin specification and proof of concept was published in 2009 in a cryptography mailing list by Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi left the project in late 2010 without revealing much about himself. The community has since grown exponentially with many developers working on Bitcoin. Satoshi's anonymity often raised unjustified concerns, many of which are linked to misunderstanding of the open-source nature of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin protocol and software are published openly and any developer around the world can review the code or make their own modified version of the Bitcoin software. Just like current developers, Satoshi's influence was limited to the changes he made being adopted by others and therefore he did not control Bitcoin. As such, the identity of Bitcoin's inventor is probably as relevant today as the identity of the person who invented paper.
Ethereum is the foundation for a new era of the internet: • An internet where money and payments are built in. • An internet where users can own their data, and your apps don’t spy and steal from you. • An internet where everyone has access to an open financial system. • An internet built on neutral, open-access infrastructure, controlled by no company or person. Launched in 2015, Ethereum is the world’s programmable blockchain. Like other blockchains, Ethereum has a native cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH). ETH is digital money. If you’ve heard of Bitcoin, ETH has many of the same features. It is purely digital, and can be sent to anyone anywhere in the world instantly. The supply of ETH isn’t controlled by any government or company - it is decentralized, and it is scarce. People all over the world use ETH to make payments, as a store of value, or as collateral. But unlike other blockchains, Ethereum can do much more. Ethereum is programmable, which means that developers can use it to build new kinds of applications. These decentralized applications (or “dapps”) gain the benefits of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. They are reliable and predictable, meaning that once they are “uploaded” to Ethereum, they will always run as programmed. They can control digital assets in order to create new kinds of financial applications. They can be decentralized, meaning that no single entity or person controls them. Right now, thousands of developers all over the world are building applications on Ethereum, and inventing new kinds of applications, many of which you can use today: • Cryptocurrency wallets that let you make cheap, instant payments with ETH or other assets • Financial applications that let you borrow, lend, or invest your digital assets • Decentralized markets, that let you trade digital assets, or even trade “predictions” about events in the real world • Games where you own in-game assets, and can even make real money • And much, much more. The Ethereum community is the largest and most active blockchain community in the world. It includes core protocol developers, cryptoeconomic researchers, artists, cypherpunks, mining organizations, ETH holders, gamers, app developers, grandmothers, anarchists, fortune 500 companies, and, as of now, you. There is no company or centralized organization that controls Ethereum. Ethereum is maintained and improved over time by a diverse global community of contributors who work on everything from the core protocol to consumer applications. This website, just like the rest of Ethereum, was built - and continues to be built - by a collection of people working together.
XRP is the native cryptocurrency of the XRP Ledger. All accounts in the XRP Ledger can send XRP among one another and must hold a minimum amount of XRP as a reserve. XRP can be sent directly from any XRP Ledger address to any other, without needing a gateway or liquidity provider. This helps make XRP a convenient bridge currency. Some advanced features of the XRP Ledger, such as Escrow and Payment Channels, only work with XRP. Order book autobridging uses XRP to deepen liquidity in the decentralized exchange by merging order books of two issued currencies with XRP order books to create synthetic combined order books. (For example, autobridging matches USD:XRP and XRP:EUR orders to augment USD:EUR order books.) XRP also serves as a protective measure against spamming the network. All XRP Ledger addresses need a small amount of XRP to offset the costs of maintaining the XRP Ledger. The transaction cost and reserve are neutral fees denominated in XRP and not paid to any party. In the ledger's data format, XRP is stored in AccountRoot objects. Some of the desirable properties of XRP come from the nature of the XRP Ledger and its consensus process. The XRP Ledger does not require mining and the consensus process does not require multiple confirmations for immutability, which makes the XRP Ledger faster and more efficient at processing transactions than Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin Cash is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. It's a permissionless, decentralized cryptocurrency that requires no trusted third parties and no central bank. In 2017, the Bitcoin project and its community split in two. Perhaps the least controversial way to refer to each side is simply by their respective ticker symbols, BTC and BCH. Bitcoin Cash is usually represented by the BCH ticker symbol and is considered by its supporters to be the legitimate continuation of the Bitcoin project as peer-to-peer digital cash. With Bitcoin Cash, you can send money to anyone, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Like the Internet itself, the network is always on. No transaction is too big or too small. And you never need anyone’s permission or approval. The seizing of capital from account holders (“bail-ins”) that occurred in Cyprus and nearly in Greece, demonstrated that bank deposits are only as safe as political leaders decide. Even under the best of conditions, banks can make mistakes, hold funds, freeze accounts, and otherwise prevent you from accessing your own money. Banks can also decide to block your transactions, charge you fees, or close your account without warning. Bitcoin Cash gives you full, sovereign control over your funds, which you can access from anywhere in the world.
Launched in 2014, Tether is a blockchain-enabled platform designed to facilitate the use of fiat currencies in a digital manner. Tether works to disrupt the conventional financial system via a more modern approach to money. Tether has made headway by giving customers the ability to transact with traditional currencies across the blockchain, without the inherent volatility and complexity typically associated with a digital currency. As the first blockchain-enabled platform to facilitate the digital use of traditional currencies (a familiar, stable accounting unit), Tether has democratised cross-border transactions across the blockchain. Tethers exist as digital tokens built on bitcoin (Omni and Liquid Protocol), Ethereum, EOS and Tron blockchains. These transport protocols consist of open source software that interface with blockchains to allow for the issuance and redemption of cryptocurrency tokens, in our case, “tethers.” Tether Platform currencies are 100% backed by Tether’s reserves. Tethers are redeemable and exchangeable pursuant to Tether Limited’s terms of service. The conversion rate is 1 tether USD₮ equals 1 USD. The Tether Platform is fully reserved when the sum of all tethers in circulation is less than or equal to the value of our reserves. Through our Transparency page, anyone can view both of these numbers on a daily basis.1 Tether was originally created to use the Bitcoin network as its transport protocol—specifically, the Omni Layer—to allow transactions of tokenised traditional currency. Since this original version of Tether uses the Bitcoin blockchain it inherits the inherent stability and security of the longest established blockchain network. Tether on the Ethereum blockchain, as an ERC20 token, is a newer transport layer, which now makes tether available in Ethereum smart contracts or decentralised applications on Ethereum. As a standard ERC20 token it can also be sent to any Ethereum address. Since Tether is currently available using different transport protocols, when users send tethers to other addresses, they need to carefully check the destination address to confirm they are selecting the correct transport protocol.
BSV, which stands for Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision), is the new ticker symbol used by exchanges to identify the proper token that represents the original or legacy Bitcoin Protocol as defined by the Bitcoin White Paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin SV is much more than just a digital currency to be used for global payments; it is also an immutable global public data ledger that enterprises can use to power blockchain applications that transform their businesses in new and exciting ways. This “Satoshi Vision” was derailed by prior Bitcoin developers who artificially limited the capabilities of Bitcoin’s blockchain in favor of off-chain scaling strategies, but it is finally possible now that the Bitcoin Protocol is being fully restored to its original design. Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is the only protocol that can unleash the true power of blockchain technology. By using Bitcoin’s original design described in the white paper and locking down the original Bitcoin Protocol, Bitcoin SV enables application developers and major enterprises to build on top of a stable and regulatory-friendly blockchain much the same way as businesses built for years on top of a stable internet protocol.
Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. Litecoin is an open source, global payment network that is fully decentralized without any central authorities. Mathematics secures the network and empowers individuals to control their own finances. Litecoin features faster transaction confirmation times and improved storage efficiency than the leading math-based currency. With substantial industry support, trade volume and liquidity, Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complementary to Bitcoin. Litecoin is an open source software project released under the MIT/X11 license which gives you the power to run, modify, and copy the software and to distribute, at your option, modified copies of the software. The software is released in a transparent process that allows for independent verification of binaries and their corresponding source code.
EOSIO is a next-generation, open-source blockchain protocol with industry-leading transaction speed and flexible utility. Introduced in May 2017, it has since been widely recognized as the first performant blockchain platform for businesses across the world. EOSIO is a blockchain platform designed for the real world. Built for both public and private use cases, EOSIO is customizable to suit a wide range of business needs across industries with rich role-based security permissions, industry-leading speeds and secure application processing. Building on EOSIO follows familiar development patterns and programming languages used by existing non-blockchain applications so developers can create a seamless user experience using development tools they already know and love.
BNB powers the Binance Ecosystem. As the native coin of Binance Chain, BNB has multiple use cases: fueling transactions on the Chain, paying for transaction fees on Binance Exchange, making in-store payments, and many more.
Tezos is an open-source platform for assets and applications that can evolve by upgrading itself. Stakeholders govern upgrades to the core protocol, including upgrades to the amendment process itself. Self-amendment allows Tezos to upgrade itself without having to split (“fork”) the network into two different blockchains. This is important as the suggestion or expectation of a fork can divide the community, alter stakeholder incentives, and disrupt the network effects that are formed over time. Because of self-amendment, coordination and execution costs for protocol upgrades are reduced and future innovations can be seamlessly implemented. In Tezos, all stakeholders can participate in governing the protocol. The election cycle provides a formal and systematic procedure for stakeholders to reach agreement on proposed protocol amendments. By combining this on-chain mechanism with self-amendment, Tezos can change this initial election process to adopt better governance mechanisms when they are discovered. Proposed amendments that are accepted by stakeholders can include payment to individuals or groups that improve the protocol. This funding mechanism encourages robust participation and decentralizes the maintenance of the network. Fostering an active, open, and diverse developer ecosystem that is incentivized to contribute to the protocol will facilitate Tezos development and adoption.
Chainlink is a general-purpose framework for building decentralized oracle networks that give your smart contract access to secure and reliable data inputs and outputs. Each decentralized oracle network consists of a collection of independent node operators, a method for aggregating data, and pre-made "Chainlinks" (also called external adaptor) that act as middleware to give you access to any API you want to leverage for data and/or external services. You can take advantage of existing oracle networks, such as our Price Reference Data feeds for DeFi, providing highly accurate market prices, or you can build your own oracle network and external adaptor. Chainlink currently provides decentralization at both the oracle and data source level. By using multiple independent Chainlink nodes, the user can protect against one oracle being a single point of failure. Similarly, using multiple data sources for sourcing market prices, the user can protect against one data source being a single source of truth. Both of these ensure that the oracle mechanism triggering your important smart contract is as secure and reliable as the underlying blockchain. You can use Chainlink to connect to data providers, web APIs, enterprise systems, cloud providers, IoT devices, payment systems, other blockchains and much more.
Cardano is home to the Ada cryptocurrency, which can be used to send and receive digital funds. This digital cash represents the future of money, making possible fast, direct transfers that are guaranteed to be secure through the use of cryptography. Cardano is more than just a cryptocurrency, however, it is a technological platform that will be capable of running financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organisations and governments all around the world. The platform is being constructed in layers, which gives the system the flexibility to be more easily maintained and allow for upgrades by way of soft forks. After the settlement layer that will run Ada is complete, a separate computing layer will be built to handle smart contracts, the digital legal agreements that will underpin future commerce and business. Cardano will also run decentralised applications, or dapps, services not controlled by any single party but instead operate on a blockchain. This is the first blockchain project to be developed from a scientific philosophy, and the only one to be designed and built by a global team of leading academics and engineers. It is essential that the technology is secure, flexible and scalable for use by many millions of users. Consequently, considerable thought and care from some of the leading experts in their fields has been devoted to the project and informed design decisions. The scientific rigour applied to mission-critical systems such as aerospace and banking has been brought to the field of cryptocurrencies, with a high assurance implementation. We believe this is the first time that this has been done. A major innovation of Cardano is that it will balance the needs of users with those of regulators, and in doing so combine privacy with regulation. The vision for Cardano is that its new style of regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access for all to fair financial services.
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