Finding work in Blockchain Space

As Blockchain technology is evolving while infiltrating various sectors to optimise business processes, the career prospects in the Blockchain sphere are excellent. Demand for certified individuals in Blockchain has continued to grow exponentially. The Blockchain related skills are second fastest growing skill out of more than 5000 skills in today’s labour market. On an average Blockchain Developer in the US makes around $158,000 per year compared to general software developers who make $105,000 per year.

Job posts in Blockchain sphere have increased by four times on LinkedIn in 2018, and vacancies are being filled in no time. As great as that sounds for the industry, there are not enough qualified individuals in Blockchain sphere to fill the positions. As far as certified individuals are concerned, currently there is a supply and demand gap in the Blockchain domain. In fact, in the US, a recent study showed that there is only one Blockchain Developer for every 14 jobs advertised.

There are various job roles in Blockchain Technology which are in high demand. Individuals can aim for positions as:

Blockchain Developer

It requires individuals to be good at server side programming and have excellent analytical skills. Understanding the end to end system of a Blockchain application is required. Requires in-depth knowledge of setting up nodes, submitting a Blockchain transaction and triggering Smart Contract functions from a web page.

Blockchain Expert

Blockchain Experts have an in-depth understanding of the Blockchain Technology. It requires knowledge as well as the ability to code for a  Blockchain like Bitcoin, Ethereum networks. As a Blockchain Expert individuals are required to build blockchain-based applications for businesses. Being a Blockchain Expert individuals should have exposure of all the various aspects of Blockchain Technology.

Blockchain Generalist

Individuals are required to have the understanding of the basic concepts and capability to understand, discuss and analyse its use-cases and applications in their ecosystem.

Smart Contract Developer

It requires the understanding of smart contract and excellent programming skills to write code for smart contracts.

A career in Blockchain is quite rewarding for various reasons such as:

Ample opportunities across top MNCs

Top Multinational companies across the globe such as IBM, Microsoft, Intel, JP Morgan Chase are exploring various applications of Blockchain Technology based on the impressive features of this breakthrough technology. These MNCs are recruiting certified Blockchain Developers in large numbers. It is expected that these corporations will require Blockchain professionals in bulk in coming years.

The Hype of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is quickly gaining acceptance throughout the world. This acceptance of cryptocurrency has led to Bitcoin exchanges and wallets to crop up. The demand for certified individuals in cryptocurrency such as ethereum and bitcoin is soaring.

There are certain prerequisites to start a career in the Blockchain sphere such as :

Get Certified

Getting certified in the Blockchain sphere gives you a competitive edge and wins the trust of companies in your credibility for the job. There are excellent certifications on various specific job roles of Blockchain available online.

Master the platforms, languages and principles of Blockchain systems

For a successful career in Blockchain, one needs to understand technology inside out. Professionals aspiring to work in the Blockchain sphere should gain a deep understanding of Ethereum, Hyperledger, Ripple,  R3 Corda, and hands On experience in the Blockchain programming language. Solidity is also a prerequisite for most of the job roles in the Blockchain sphere.

Develop your skills by taking parts in various Hackathons

Individuals need to develop their skills in Blockchain to be able to have a successful career in Blockchain. Individuals should do projects and contribute to open-sourced Blockchains (Bitcoin) to refine their skills and at the same time showing their competence. Being proactive by Joining discussions within forums and online platforms, sharing code and building on what you already know in development goes a long way when it comes to preparing for a rewarding career in the Blockchain. Individuals should never stop learning and exploring new ideas and implementing them whenever they get a chance.

Conclusion

Blockchain sphere is full of opportunities at this point and the requirement for skilled individuals will only keep on growing. The key to a successful career in Blockchain domain lies in sharpening your skills and updating your knowledge with time. With the right skill set sky’s the limit for you.

RecordsKeeper – A Global Distributed Storage System

RecordsKeeper is an open-source, public database leveraging Blockchain Technology. It is a platform offering record keeping with impressive features such as data immutability, data integrity, data authenticity, and data verifiability. RecordsKeeper stores information in the form of key-value pairs in a very structured manner with query-able storage over the Blockchain network. Inheriting the core features of Blockchain Technology. RecordsKeeper provides secure transfer, authorisation, integrity, and authenticity of data.

RecordsKeeper an immutable, integrated global data repository.

RecordsKeeper was developed with a vision to create a robust and secure ecosystem for data sharing and verification, accessible to anyone globally.

RecordsKeeper provides many open-source libraries and APIs for publishing the records on RecordsKeeper blockchain through programming, backend services, mobile, desktop apps and many other. Once a record is uploaded, a condensed hash of records with metadata is pushed into the RecordsKeeper ledger whereas the actual data can be pushed to the encrypted storage layer. After the initial storage of data, any alteration results in a different hash with its immutable traces stored in the blockchain. Thus making it a fraud-proof recordkeeping system. With SHA-256 a hashing client can verify the authenticity of the data any time he wants.

Why should you consider RecordsKeeper?

  • RecordsKeeper serves as an excellent platform for storing, updating and verifying records securely. It provides a fraud-free and robust system while eliminating the third party role for any verification purpose. The data stored can be shared with other parties with the help of transactions.

  • RecordsKeeper lets you push 10MB of immutable data per transaction using XRK tokens.

  • It is a highly secure and completely open source system and lets you focus on your application without any need to understand internal architecture.

  • RecordsKeeper fixes you up with a running application within a day. You can always integrate it with other businesses for external use.

  • Several outstanding features of Recordskeeper makes it idle for data storage and sharing. It allows anyone to verify the records by entitling the person with read-only access without involving you.

XRK tokens-RecordsKeeper’s very own cryptocurrency

XRK tokens act as fuel for RecordsKeeper network. XRK token is charged to users as an upload fee that inturns miners earn from the recordskeeper network, resulting in a win-win situation for everyone including the XRK holder, user and miner. Currently, the upload fees are 0.1 XRK/KB. If you require to load 1MB of data, you will be required to pay 100 XRK tokens.

Miners are added only by the admin to the community. After the initial setup phase until block number 4204800, the mining community is open for everyone. However, the mining diversity is kept under control to the factor 0.2. Mining factor 0.2 means that if there are 100 miners in the community and a miner mines a new block, he/she will have to wait for 20 blocks to be mined before he/she can mine another one. Therefore miners can not mine continuous series of blocks, and thus they are kept under controlled to overpower the blockchain system and performing any fraudulent activity.

At the time of joining miners get rewarded 10000 XRK coins additional annual rewards are given for supporting and promoting the community. RecordsKeeper Blockchain is adding 10 XRK every 15 seconds through token mining. RecordsKeeper ecosystem currently has over 300 million premined XRK tokens, and the count is rising expeditiously.

XRK Light Wallet

RecordsKeeper offers an XRK light wallet enabling users to create, store and receive records on the RecordsKeeper Blockchain. Some of the Incredible features that are incorporated in XRK wallet are the data that can be retrieved when required as transactions and are stored in memory on disk in a suitable format. No full wallet scan are needed as transactions are indexed by specific criteria and transaction bigger than the size of  256 bytes are not stored in the wallet, instead, the wallet a pointer to the metadata stored in the recordkeeper blockchain.

What clients say about RecordsKeeper

Mark Dorsey from Austin, Texas says “Recordskeeper has made our lives easier. Now with one shared permanent record on the blockchain, there is no need of duplication elsewhere. It has also accelerated the regulatory review as reconciliation is no longer needed. It is really easy to update, share and verify records without worrying about any Fraud. Kudos to Recordskeeper for providing such a reliable platform for our regulatory compliances application. ”

Also, Samantha Pritchett says “ RecordsKeeper has proved to be a boon for monitoring, updating and storing the data of the supply chain for our company. It is quite reliable and has lifted the burden of such huge recordkeeping tasks from our shoulders. It seamlessly records the quantity and transfer of assets as they move between supply chain nodes, Tracks purchase orders, changes orders, receipts, shipment notifications, or other trade-related documents. Choosing RecordsKeeper is one of the best decision taken so far. Thanks!”

Scams on Blockchain and How to Outsmart Them

Last year, Blockchain came into the spotlight. The potential of the blockchain investor excited a general investor about the future. Unfortunately, every time something pathbreaking (like blockchain) comes into the picture, there are always con artists waiting for their next opportunity to scam the innocents.

Understanding the most common types of scam on Blockchain is essential to ensure that consumers don’t fall prey to tricksters. Most scams have clear warning signs, and just by being aware investments can be protected.

Below we talk about some of the common scams plaguing the blockchain, and ways to outsmart them.

Is your Hardware Wallet safe?

Most people agree that hardware wallet for storing cryptocurrency is enhanced security and privacy. However, if a consumer is not careful about purchasing the wallet from a trusted source — there can be potential vulnerabilities. Hackers can pre-built specific hacking algorithms into the hardware wallet. This opens up the wallet to hackers, and they can easily steal the cryptocurrencies. This type of scam is becoming more and more common. However, you can avoid it by purchasing a wallet from only a trusted and verifiable source.

Scams on Exchanges

Ironically, despite cryptocurrencies inbuilt decentralized nature, most of them are traded over exchanges. Most exchanges make lives of consumers easy by giving access to multiple cryptocurrencies at one place. The fact of the matter is also that governments do not govern most of these exchanges in most countries. Thus, the potential for scam multiplies if the consumer is not careful. It takes no complex algorithms to spot exchange scams. However, if you overlook the visible red flags — then you’re in for big trouble. The most common way to spot a scam is when an exchange is offering a massive discount on one or more than one cryptocurrency. This technique is usually a trap to lure everyday investor. Another way to confirm whether an exchange is authentic or not is by looking at its URLs certification and undertaking research.

Scams through ICO’s

Along with the word ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Blockchain’, investors have also been hearing the term ‘ICO’. ICO stands for the initial coin offering. Through ICO,  companies can raise capital for their unique ideas and projects. The popularity, however, also gives rise to people and organizations looking to cheat first-time investors. One way in which ICO scams take place is through the creation of fake websites for users to deposit coins. The bigger scams under ICO, however, take place when a group of people come together to create an organization to scam. There have been several cases like that in 2017 and before. As a rule of thumb, you should not invest in an ICO until you’ve done significant research about the organization. Don’t forget to give a thorough read to their white paper along with reading up on their team and other investors.

Fake Schemes Concerning Cloud Mining

A lot of companies these days are coming up with schemes that give outstanding returns once you rent a server to mine any cryptocurrency. Since the mining activity is unique and is known to be resource-intensive, the difficulty of mining cryptocurrency is significantly high. Most of these companies make fake bold claims about returns to scam the general public. Some even operate as a ponzi scheme right from the start. Before associating with mining cryptocurrency as an activity, it’s paramount to do intensive research.

Conclusion:

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have a long way to go, and their potential is just being realized. As the days pass, both transparency and security in Blockchain are bound to be better. All investors should be aware of the common scams on the blockchain and the ways to avoid them.

Trusting Blockchain exchange

With every passing week, the world’s interest in Cryptocurrencies is multiplying at a staggering rate. Whether it’s bitcoin, ether, or any any other cryptocurrency on the block – people around the world own and trade cryptocurrencies. To make the trading accessible to the general public, we’ve several cryptocurrency exchanges on the world wide web. Through these exchanges, anyone can buy, sell, or exchange cryptocurrencies either with other digital-based currencies or with traditional currency such as rupee or US dollar.

Types of Exchanges

There are three categories of cryptocurrency exchanges. They’re as follows:

Brokers – Through these brokers, anyone can go and buy the desired cryptocurrency at a preset price. Most of these cryptocurrency brokers are similar in function as foreign currency exchanges.

Platforms for Trading – These platforms specialize in connecting buyers and sellers. For every transaction that takes place through the platform, they charge a fee — which is also how they make money.

Direct Trading – The way direct trading differs from the other two is that there’s no fixed price. The seller decides the amount, and the buyers have to determine if they want to buy or negotiate for any particular cryptocurrency. Direct trading is usually peer-to-peer.

What are the key attributes to look at while deciding to Trust a blockchain exchange?

The meteoric rise of bitcoin has also contributed to a significant increase in con-artists and exchanges which are mostly scams. So, before you decide to put your hard-earned money to buy cryptocurrencies — it is crucial to do your research. Below are the three things to know about an exchange before trusting them.

Reputation: In the age of the Internet, it’s not too hard to find reputable reviews about anything — including blockchain exchanges. Right from forums to commercially reviewed websites, you’ll find loads of information that’ll make it easier for you to decide whether an exchange is a right fit for you or not.

Fees: Before you even think about joining an exchange, do make sure you’re well-aware of all forms of costs that the exchange charges. The fee-model should include comprehensive details regarding withdrawal, deposit, as well as transactional fees. Compare it with other exchanges and then make an informed decision.

Verification systems: Any exchange worth its salt will have strong fortification in the form user verifications and securities. While the exhaustiveness of the verification might seem annoying while registering, it’ll protect your cryptocurrency and money from all sorts of scams.

Some well-known and reputable exchanges

We’ll make it even easier for you. Based on our research and user reviews, we’re going to tell you our favorite two blockchain exchanges that you can trust without worry.

Coinsquare: The first thing you should know about coinsquare is that it’s built on the same technology as the New York Stock Exchange. Yes, that’s right. According to their website, they manage their ledger at least 2346 times in a single day to ensure security. Reputable and secured, Coinsquare is a popular choice for both crypto-veterans and beginners alike.

Coinbase: Not only is Coinbase backed by some of the world’s best investors, but it’s also trusted as an exchange by millions already. One of the key features of coinbase is that coinbase insurance covers the stored currency. So, there’s that added layer of security. There’s a digital wallet also available as a mobile platform through which users purchase bitcoin, ether, and even litecoin.

Discovering Blockchain Loopholes

There’s no doubt on the potential that the blockchain technology has to offer. The world has accepted it at large. Blockchain developers are solving multiple problems across industries with this technology.

But there’s another side to the story wherein the hype is shadowing real implementation issues with the blockchain. These issues hinder the mass-adoption of this world-changing technology.

There’s no doubt that we’ll eventually get to the point wherein we’ve explored this great technology. However, to be able to that it’s essential to face realities both as developers and enthusiasts of the blockchain.  

Below we’ll be mentioning four implementation issues that plague blockchain as of today.

Limited Scalability –

One of the key advantages of the blockchain technology is decentralization. However, it comes at the cost scalability. As the number of transactions increase (and since every transaction passes through each block), the requirement increases too. Eventually, it’s not possible for every node to participate and the resources to process each block then rests with a limited few. However, that potentially compromises on the decentralization aspect of the blockchain. Scalability is probably the number one barrier when it comes to blockchain adaptability.


Storage Constraints –

Almost every application that’s built on the blockchain will require some form of storage. It can be either to store user identities, or it can be to record specific financial as well legal data. However, by property traits, every node stores the data. Along with it, no data will be able to be removed regardless of whether it’s needed or not. The above two cases put a considerable cost to the storage operation when it comes to the blockchain. Thus, storage constraint is a massive hurdle for any application to be able to build on the blockchain.


Lack of standards and governance –

No central authority governs public blockchain. While that’s great to build a trustless and open, it has its disadvantages. First, one is that there’s no who’s responsible for maintaining and upgrading the systems most efficiently. Even if some developers band up to create an organization, it leads to some form of centralization (take the instance of the Ethereum foundation.) However, we can’t even leave it completely open as over the years it’s proven ineffective on multiple levels.


Poverty in Available Tooling –

For any developer to work effectively and efficiently, the first requirement is adequate tooling. If inadequate, the developers can’t do much even with the best of the intentions. As a matter of factor, the currently available pool of tooling is not good enough, even for the most seasoned of the developers. Right from good testing frameworks to security auditing and even right blockchain analytical tool — the available tooling to a blockchain developer is severely limited. Along with hindering the potential of the technology, it also demotivates enthusiasts.

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, the hype makes blockchain appear invincible when the fact is that there’s a lot of work left. So, instead of making the technology glamorous, we need to focus on how to solve core implementation issues with the blockchain.

There’s not even an iota of doubt that blockchain is here to stay. However, the issues mentioned above and many more are not letting the technology become mainstream. It’s on us now — the developers, the investors, the blockchain enthusiasts — to work towards a unified vision.

How RecordsKeeper Blockchain Can Help in Preventing CBSE Exam Leak

Recently we came across a major story about the CBSE paper leak from various sources. Those who had access to the exam papers charged Rs. 35,000 per paper and even some parents took part in it by reselling the papers to others to cover their cost. Thus the leaked papers were available upto Rs. 5,000.

This caused a huge uproar among the students which led to a re-examination. The current investigation is currently focusing on the role of CBSE officials, invigilators and school staff, coaching centres and printers. The leaked Economics paper was being circulated on social media for several hours before the test started on Monday. The Delhi government also reported that it received complaints from the CBSE about the Class 12 Accountancy paper being leaked too.

The past months saw many downs for the education system in India and challenged the way we share information in our country. This whole fiasco could had been resolved if the education system was driven by the power of Cryptography and Blockchain. We at RecordsKeeper thrives on latest technology and the power of Blockchain. This specific use case is the prime example of where RecordsKeeper comes into play and provide the utmost security in the shared information world.

RecordsKeeper: What is it?

RecordsKeeper is an open source platform for open record keeping & data security. Using RecordsKeeper’s public Blockchain anyone can publish a key-value pair of records which are immutable & verifiable.

Let’s discuss some of the major problems and how RecordsKeeper can solve them with respect to the CBSE paper leak.

  • Multiple mediums present for the exam paper

Currently the CBSE paper is presented in multiple mediums which gives a person with authority to take it out and sell over the black market without being noticed. Using RecordsKeeper as the storing medium for the exam papers, it limits the exam paper presence on multiple mediums. Once the exam paper is over RecordsKeeper Blockchain then there is only one single medium of shared ledger available.

  • Hacking of central storage

If the CBSE exam is shared over some relational Database or central storage then there is always a possibility of a malicious attacker trying to access the information or Denial-of-Service (aka DoS) attack but with the use of RecordsKeeper Blockchain we can provide immutability and security for the same. Once the exam paper is over the RecordsKeeper Blockchain, it cannot be modified, deleted or tampered. Moreover the security is provided with the Cryptographic algorithms being used with RecordsKeeper where you can encrypt the exam paper and store it over the RecordsKeeper Public Blockchain. As the RecordsKeeper network is made up of multiple peer-to-peer nodes, there is no central storage available for conducting Denial-of-Service attack as all the the nodes are synchronized with each other.

  • Authorities leaked the exam paper

The major concern point of the CBSE exam paper leak was that the authorities who had access to the exam papers were the focal point for the leak of the exam paper. RecordsKeeper provides a solution to this in a very neat and effective technological way. In RecordsKeeper, everyone who has access to the Blockchain has their own private-public key pairs. Everyone – be it schools/students/authorities/agencies can create a private-public key pairs. The CBSE board can have multiple private-public key pairs for different exam papers. Now the private key is to be securely kept with the person but they can share their public key to the rest of the world. In our scenario, the following path can be taken to solve the problem.

  • CBSE board generates a key pair for each exam.
  • The people/agencies who need the access to the paper can share their public keys through secure internal channels with the CBSE or the CBSE board themselves can generate key pairs for all the schools who require the access to exam papers and share it with them. This process can be online & automated.
  • The exam paper (in JSON/XML Format) is encrypted using the exam private key by the CBSE board. (First Encryption)
  • After that, once the head of CBSE has all the public keys of different schools then they can encrypt the exam paper again (second encryption) by the school’s public key to make sure that only the school registered with the CBSE only has access to the exam paper through their respective private keys. Here the public-key of the respective school needs to be the part of the exam itself to trace back school easily in-case of any leak.
  • The encrypted exam paper is published over the RecordsKeeper blockchain along with . This will create multiple transactions entry over the RecordsKeeper for individual school. There may be 30,000-40,000 CBSE Schools all over the country.
  • The uploaded exam paper’s record identification key is shared with all the respective schools once it is uploaded over the RecordsKeeper Blockchain. This will ensure that they all have the encrypted exam paper ontime. Ideally can be done 24-48 hours before the exam. Now the magic of RecordsKeeper comes into play – the school have the access to the exam paper through their respective individual recorded transaction and they can decrypt the exam paper using their own private key. Please note they will still not able to access the exam as it is also encrypted by CBSE’s private key & they need the public key of the CBSE to decrypt it.
  • This way of uploading data over the RecordsKeeper Blockchain provides a way for the CBSE board to monitor the access of the exam papers and it also makes sure that the exam is not reached to an unwanted party.
  • CBSE announces the exam public key just before the exam. May be 30 minutes or so.
  • The authorities now can decrypt the exam using the exam public key. Convert it into printable format using simple tools like JSON/XML to PDF converter.
  • Finally the exam paper is distributed to the students.

Please note each paper will have the public-key or record-key of the school printed in small letters (in background, like water mark) of the question paper all over the question paper. Not at just one corner or page of the exam paper. This will easily allow the regulators or investigators to trace the school in case of any leak. Since only the principal will have the access of the private key pinpointing the human will be much easier.

Using RecordsKeeper Blockchain to distribute exam makes sure that every activity is being tracked and if somebody tries to maliciously access the paper then it will be recorded over the RecordsKeeper Blockchain and the culprit can apprehended as soon as he/she tries to access the exam paper.

We can take a step further in security by creating the key pairs for students and with that the students will have direct access to the exam without any 3rd party mediums and dependencies.

Please check RecordsKeeper’s technical documentation here or reach out to us here for any PoC on RecordsKeeper.

Check the RecordsKeeper Tools & Resources at below links:

RecordsKeeper is here to make sure we change the way we share information and with its use we can uplift the security, immutability and transparency in our education industry.

RecordsKeeper streams vs RecordsKeeper assets

RecordsKeeper technology is a platform that allows the users to form a private blockchain. The entity then uses it to carry out transactions of varied nature. 

Its highly customizable nature highlights its advantages. It allows users to configure the max block size, the number of transactions, and even the type of transaction.

While setting up, roles and permissions to each user are assigned. But those can be reassigned and modified with time. Also, a vital feature of a multichain is that it can create multiple assets and not just one. As an instance, the blockchain active on the Bitcoin network can support only one coin — BTC.

What is a RecordsKeeper Asset?

RecordsKeeper allows establishment and support of assets at a native level. Each transaction type encodes classification of an ‘asset’ along with its quantity. Another feature of a recordskeeper is that it’s not necessary to have a native currency. The recordskeeper maintains and highlights the input-output ratio of an asset. Also, each transaction can contain any number of assets, as there’s no upper-limit to it.

Difference between Assets and Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency, as per definition, is a native currency of a particular blockchain which is open and publicly accessible. It also classifies itself as a new form of ‘money’ and thus can be sent, received, transacted, earned by anyone across the world. Bitcoin and Ether are examples of native currencies.

An asset, however, is a type of ‘token’ issued and is a representation of something that doesn’t derive its value straight from the chain. As an instance, a financial institution that issues an asset into a blockchain to indicate that it holds a certain value of ‘cash.’

What is a RrecordsKeeper Stream?

Unlike RecordsKeeper assets, the focus of Multichain Stream is to provide a reliable mechanism for general data storage as well as its retrieval. There’s no transfer of assets or change of ownership that takes place in this type of set-up. Every item that is a part of a ‘stream’ has fixed characters including publishers, an optional key for retrieval, a timestamp, and data. In fact, the data can be anything right from a small paragraph of text to quite some megabytes.

Think of legal firms — filled with lawyers, court cases, partners, third-parties. They’ll find use case with the multichain stream as they can record the case and other details. Multiple parties can then access this information without fearing data immutability or damage. 

Conclusion:

As for what is the best choice between recordskeeper assets and recordskeeper streams, there’s no single answer. The decision lies with the organization based on the results they are trying to achieve. It would depend on the context along with the long-term objectives of the organization that is building it. In general, however, if you’re looking to create a scarce ‘asset’ that can be owned or transferred, you should use multichain assets. However, if you’re looking for general data storage and retrieval without any change of ownership, then you can use multichain streams. RecordsKeeper technology has been a game-changer, and it’s here to stay.

Breaking Blockchain Conjecture

Our political, economic, as well as legal environment structures itself in the form of contracts, transactions, and its record. It is a system as old as time with evidence of world’s first civilizations too creating a system to keep track. Along with verifying identities and making a note of the exchange, these records serve as history also in many ways.

However, these systems that held on for centuries are shaking in the face of digital transformation. The processes have just not been able to keep up with the pace with which the world is evolving. In this digital era, like most things, the way we maintain these tools along with its execution also needs to change.

Where does Blockchain come into the picture?

Experts believe that blockchain is the solution. Blockchain, as a technology, resides at the crux of Bitcoin along with what’ve now become other virtual cryptocurrencies. In layman’s words, blockchain is a distributed ledger. Being open, it records peer-to-peer transactions without including third-party intermediaries. It promises data immutability along with its permanency. Verifiable data and records form the network. In fact, as the technology evolves, there are concepts such as ‘Smart Contracts’ that can even trigger transactions automatically.

What’s all the Hype About?

More than anything else, blockchain shows a glimpse of the world could be. A system wherein transactions are recorded, stored, and verified on a digital network. Every record has a timestamp along with a signature, and no data can be tempered with, recreated, or in any way corrupted. A self-sustaining system to the point where intermediaries like lawyers, brokers, and bankers will not be needed anymore. Different parties will transact directly with another with little or no friction whatsoever. That is the vision that blockchain promises.

Will Blockchain Live up to the Expectations?

By now, every business has heard that Blockchain will revolutionize everything in the coming few years. Moreover, while we share the vision of this technology, we think we might overstretching our expectations from Blockchain. Not only blockchain as a technology is in its nascent stage, but there are also security issues that seriously need to be pondered upon. However, the critical thing is that blockchain is a foundational technology. By foundational technology, we mean that several other structures (political, legal, financial) can be evolved and created with it. However, that just might take decades.

So, what should we expect from Blockchain?

There’s little doubt about the potential that this technology holds. In fact, in some industries like finance and healthcare, we already see its impact. The future result will be even more enormous; however, it will not happen next year or even in five years. It will take its own time to slowly but steadily seep into all our structures for good and to change it from within. So while we continue to marvel at the potential, we should also continue to innovate and explore it at this stage.

Conclusion:

The blockchain is here to stay. However, the world needs to start small to correctly understand and structure how and in what ways do we want to evolve Blockchain. The level of development of it will also depend on how effectively it adapts to the ever-changing need of multiple industries. For now, we know that blockchain is going to affect both your business and your world. As for when – the time will have to tell.

Password Strategies for your Crypto Wallet

The digital nature of the cryptocurrencies and crypto wallets is such that it can leave you open to security risks and vulnerabilities if you’re not cautious enough.

On Internet forums, you’ll find stories by people who’ve lost their money because they didn’t adequately secure their cryptocurrency wallet.

The first thing, of course, that everyone does right after creating a crypto-wallet is to set-up a password. Setting a password that is strong is the first layer of protection that you provide to your cryptocurrency wallet. So, set a password which can’t be exploited.

Password choice is a security measure that is 100% in the control of the user. An excellent approach to password-creation is making it close to impossible to guess. A user can use a healthy combination of letters, numerals, and symbols to create a secure, unguessable, password. Another critical point to remember is to avoid using anything personal (like name, birthdate, current identification markers) in a password to protect it from any form of social hacking.

Another way and one that has become popular in the recent times, to secure cryptocurrencies is through 2-Factor Authentication (2FA). If you haven’t yet activated 2FA on your crypto wallet, then you are at a security risk.

What is 2-Factor Authentication?

Along with the login details, 2FA is an added layer of security authenticated via an independent source. When 2FA is activated, it’ll require a code for accessing the wallet in addition to the username and the password.

People often end up not setting strong passwords. And if that’s the only security measure in place, then it creates a security loophole. Not to forget, the password can also be stolen via multiple methods including but not limited to phishing attacks, keylogging, and network sniffing. With 2FA activated, you create an independent mode of authentication. The combination of secure password along with 2FA is a robust strategy to amplify your crypto wallet security.

What Authenticator to use?

The traditional usage is, of course, through getting an SMS on your number. This method is frowned upon by experts because it’s risky and vulnerable regarding security. The ideal approach is to set-up 2FA through an independent, third-party authenticator, such as Google Authenticator.

Some people even prefer email 2FA, because they’re concern about losing their phone.

Types of 2FA Set-up

A lot of crypto wallets platform will ask to choose the type of OTP you want while setting up your 2FA. Technically speaking, there are two forms of set-ups. The first one is called HMAC-based One Time Password (HOTP), and the second one is called Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP). The key difference is that HOTP is valid for an unknown period while TOTP changes in every 30 seconds.

As you can tell, the TOTP approach is safer than HOTP since it doesn’t give the space for the OTP to be copied or stolen in any way. The appropriate change in TOTP ensures security.

TOTP occurs through an authenticator app (such as Google Authenticator). The way this app work is that it synchronizes your smartphone with their app server; thus, providing for that extra layer of secureness in the form of a variable OTP in a 2FA set-up.

What if I lost my phone?

Since the entire idea was to strengthen the security of your crypto wallet, you won’t be able to log into your account. However, there are always a set of private keys, which you should keep as a secure backup. Otherwise, the process of acquiring your account back can be a time-consuming and be taxing.

If you’re using Google Authenticator, you can quickly restore that account by scanning the saved QR code into your new device.

Conclusion:

The holistic approach to password strategy for cryptocurrency involves setting a secure password as a first measure. However, to adequately secure the wallet, one must enable 2-Factor Authentication with a trusted authenticator such as the one that Google provides.

Blockchain consensus protocols and how to use them?

A consensus is a dynamic way to reach an agreement in a group. It is done with an aim to benefit the entire group as a whole. The method through which consensus decision-making is achieved is called “consensus mechanism.”

Now, which consensus protocols should be used for a wavering entity like blockchain?

As understood, blockchain is a decentralized peer-to-peer ledger without a central authority or a leader controlling it.  It creates a system which is devoid of corruption from a single source. In blockchain, independent nodes in the network must come to a consensus on the ledger status. This consensus mechanism ensures that all participants of a distributed ledger are on the same page.

Below are some standard consensus protocols used in the crypto space and their working:

Proof-of-Work ( PoW )

Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, invented the proof-of-work protocol. Going by the protocol’s name, the mechanism requires nodes to prove the work that has been done to have the right to add a new transaction to the blockchain. The transactions are done by ‘miners’ who solve cryptographic puzzles to “mine” a block to add to the blockchain. When a miner solves the puzzle, they present their block to the network for verification and in turn receiving the newly created cryptocurrency unit provided by the protocol as a reward. This entire process is energy intensive as it involves the nodes hashing data through high-performance, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips. Proof-of-work involves high computation energy and electricity which makes it an expensive process.

Proof-of-Stake ( PoS )

Proof-of-stake differs from the proof-of-work protocol. In this consensus algorithm, mining new blocks become easier for those who hold the highest amounts of the cryptocurrency. In other words, a proof-of-stake system requires the user to show ownership of a certain number of cryptocurrency units. The miners or creators of the new block are chosen randomly. It depends on the user’s wealth, also defined as ‘stake.’ In the proof of stake system, blocks are said to be ‘forged’ or ‘minted,’ not mine. Forgers are referred to users who validate transactions and create new blocks in this system. Validation of a transaction and creation of a new block requires the forgers to put their coins at ‘stake.’ Proof of stake protocol is a lot more resource-friendly than proof-of-work.

Proof-of-Capacity (PoC)

Proof-of-Space or proof of capacity algorithm uses the existing free space on hard drive to mine coins. Its very nature makes it more decentralized and low on power usage. Assigning more hard drive space will allow users to have more “plots” of data. The nodes receive a reward in the form of the native coin depending on the space made available by the nodes to the network.

Proof-of-Burn ( PoB)

Proof-of-Burn is consensus protocol which is an alternative to Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake. In this algorithm, the coins are sent by the miners to an unspendable address ( eater address), and efficiently burning them. The burnt coins cannot be accessed an spent again. The idea behind burning a cryptocurrency is that the user is willing to undergo a short-term loss for a more long-term investment. Users are rewarded over time as they earn a lifetime privilege to mine on the system. The more coins a user burns, the higher the chance he or she will have of mining the next block. Proof-of-burn works like virtual mining.

Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (DBFT)

The Byzantine alternative or distributed Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm is named after the Byzantine Generals problem. It addresses the issue of achieving consensus in distributed systems. DBFT recognizes two kinds of participants in the blockchain ecosystem: professional node operators or bookkeeping nodes, who run nodes to make money; and users who are just interested in making use of the blockchain. Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance utilizes this division of labor to provide better security for blockchains. The professional node broadcasts its version of the blockchain to the network. If 66% of the other nodes agree with the information, a consensus is achieved. When the consensus is not reached, there is an appointment of a different professional node broadcast its blockchain version until a consensus can be established.