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How Do You Use Ethereum?

When most people ask this question they are actually asking how to use Ether, the main currency of the Ethereum platform. But the Ethereum platform can be used in many ways as well. Ethereum is a platform that can be used by developers to create decentralized applications (dapps), tokens/cryptocurrencies, and basically anything else that can be programmed. It was the front-runner of the race to develop what is sometimes called Crypto 2.0: blockchain technologies that go well beyond singular usage as digital currency and instead reach and revolutionize every aspect of digital technology in the world today. People can and do use Ether, the primary currency of the Ethereum system, to make transactions like a currency, or as an investment. Continue reading...

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform. Ethereum provides a cryptocurrency known as ether. Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs what are known as “smart contracts.” Smart contracts are applications that run on custom built blockchain, which functions on its own accord through rules programmed into the protocol, and which also makes decisions and keeps records based on consensus throughout a peer-to-peer network. A blockchain oversees its own activities without requiring any trust in a central authority or the other parties involved. Continue reading...

What are Multichains and Sidechains?

Sidechains are blockchains which handle assets off of the main blockchain and are able to return them to the main blockchain at a future date. As you understand by now, blockchains are comprised of interconnected computers serving as nodes in a decentralized consensus network. Everything that happens to assets on that blockchain is validated and recorded on that blockchain. If assets are taken to another chain, however, where different protocols may apply to suit the needs of the parties using the assets, this may be called a sidechain. Continue reading...

How Does Ethereum Work?

Ethereum uses a blockchain that looks very similar to Bitcoin’s until you get into the details. Ethereum is a platform on which transactions can be made using Ether or other tokens which have been made using the protocol, and smart contracts and decentralized applications (Ðapps) can be executed using the distributed computing power of what’s called the Ethereum Virtual Machine. When viewed from different angles, Ethereum is an open-source coding environment, a market upon which to distribute new blockchain-based applications, and a distributed computing machine that processes functions of the blockchain applications across a broad network. Distributed computing itself is not that new, but distributed computing on a blockchain is. Continue reading...

How Does Ethereum Mining Work?

Ethereum mining is the process of solving blocks of encrypted blockchain data using a proof-of-work algorithm and occasionally being rewarded with Ether. Blockchain data is validated and added to the distributed ledger by computers on the network performing the task of “mining,” which is continually attempting to solve puzzles, basically, which each unlock a block of encrypted data containing information about transactions, and, on the Ethereum platform, information about distributed application functions and smart contracts. Once a block is unlocked, the data within is shared with the network and added to the distributed ledger. Continue reading...

Why do ICOs Matter to Ethereum and Bitcoin?

ICOs can help the market and developers test the waters for new concepts using blockchain technology. When a new idea succeeds or fails after using an ICO, it could be said that the company had made use of every advantage at its disposal and that it had the best chance at success in that environment as it could have had anywhere else. It could have done so more cheaply, and with less interference, than in the “real world,” generally speaking. Continue reading...

Who Created Ethereum?

Who would have thought that a 19-year-old from Toronto could write a whitepaper nearly as influential as Satoshi Nakamoto’s (Bitcoin founder)? A few years after Bitcoin’s launch, a young programmer and student of blockchain technology named Vitalik Buterin wrote a whitepaper imagining the Ethereum platform. While Bitcoin’s blockchain was primarily designed to handle transaction information, Ethereum is designed to offer a blockchain protocol for anything that can be programmed, which includes wh... Continue reading...

What is Ether?

Ether is the currency that powers the Ethereum network, which is a platform of distributed blockchain computing on which transactions, smart contracts, and distributed applications operate. Ethereum is a blockchain code environment through which distributed applications, smart contracts, and financial transactions using the Ethereum protocol are tested, validated, and added to distributed ledgers by the mining computers acting as nodes in the network. Ether is the currency, or token, in the Ethereum world which is used to pay the miners and transaction fees which are specific to its blockchain. Continue reading...

What is Tokenization?

Tokenization is a concept that can take several forms, but essentially it means to create a tradeable item which holds value anchored in an asset which is not itself readily tradeable. If something of value is not easily traded, it is natural that a token is created which represents part or all of such value, which can then be held until redemption or circulated as currency. Historically, some things, such as hours of labor, could not easily be accounted for without a physical token. Continue reading...

What Was the DAO?

The DAO was somewhat of an experiment in corporate governance and structure built on the open-source Ethereum platform, and the ripples of its fall are still felt in the Ethereum world. DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and it was a crowdfunded business or venture capital fund that raised $150 million in a month-- in fact, it was the single-largest crowdfunding campaign ever. It was so big that about 14% of the total Ether in existence at that point was invested in the project, and it was listed on all the major cryptocurrency exchanges. Continue reading...

What is the Lightning Network?

The Lightning Network is a system that allows for extremely fast Bitcoin transactions off-chain. Lightning Network is a smart contract protocol that uses existing blockchains to mediate transactions off-chain to increase the speed at which they can be finalized. Such a technology is much sought-after in the Bitcoin community, where transactions can take hours to clear if the workflow for miners gets backed up. With the fast pace of business today, the emergence of many other options for faster settlement, such as Ethereum and Ripple, developers know that something like Lightning Network may be needed to keep Bitcoin relevant and make it more scalable. Continue reading...

What is the Ethereum Virtual Machine?

Ethereum has a Turing-complete platform built into it that allows the blockchain to function like a large distributed computer. The Ethereum Virtual Machine is a part of every Ethereum client software on the blockchain, and it allows the interconnected computers to function as one processor. Distributed computation such as this is not really a new thing, but the fact that it allows all developers in Ethereum to decentralized their projects makes this one of the most revolutionary aspects of the Ethereum platform. Continue reading...

How Will Ethereum Scale?

With cryptocurrencies, there is always a question of how the blockchain will scale as technology changes and the currency grows in demand. Blockchains are meant to be immutable, meaning that once a change has been made to it, such as the data for a particular transaction, the record of the transaction cannot be changed or forgotten. This means that, for one thing, the distributed ledger that holds the record of all the transactions will inevitably get larger and larger, and any computer that wishes to be a node may have to download a potential cumbersome file with all that data. Continue reading...

What is a Decentralized Application?

The Ethereum platform allows developers to use it as a coding environment and distribution network for applications built on the blockchain. The ability to create distributed applications on a blockchain is a novel idea that has gained a lot of momentum since Ethereum’s release. Developers can write and distribute their applications over the blockchain network, at little to no cost, while removing the necessity of running a website or a large server database because the blockchain satisfies these needs. The code for the application becomes part of the blockchain ledger, and users who wish to use some functionality of the decentralized application, or Ðapp as they are called, will submit requests to the Ethereum blockchain, pay the transaction fees for the distributed network to process the requests, and the network will call on the code of the Ðapp stored in the blockchain and process it using the computing power of the distributed network sometimes called the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Continue reading...

What is a Bitcoin Fork?

The code for most cryptocurrencies is open-source, and the community operates by consensus, so sometimes newly modified code is released that is adopted by some, creating what’s called a fork. A Bitcoin Fork is when the blockchain, made up of interconnected computers holding a distributed and permanent record of all bitcoin transactions up to that point, is offered a modified currency protocol that is adopted by some of the Bitcoin community, which creates a “fork” in the previously longitudinal history of the ledger (i.e. “a fork in the road”), where one ledger continues to grow based on the changed protocol, and one ledger continues to grow with the old protocol still intact. Continue reading...

Bitcoin’s Source Code, Part 2: What Does It Mean That Bitcoin Is Open-Source?

Open-source software code can be viewed and changed by anyone, but it actually works in the favor of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s source code was uploaded by Satoshi Nakamoto to a code-sharing site called Sourceforge, which enabled anyone to download, use, and modify the code as they saw fit. In fact, he encouraged the community to do so. The fascinating thing about the design of Bitcoin and many other open-source software is that they will work, and will continue to exist, without anyone owning the rights to the code. In most people’s concept of ownership and responsibility, the owner is responsible for maintaining something, for protecting it from attacks, manipulation, vandalism, fraud, etc, and is also responsible for making sure that it is safe for other people to use. Continue reading...

What is Working Capital?

Working capital is computed by subtracting a business’s current liabilities from its current assets. Current means that the assets and liabilities exist within the current year. The appropriate amount of working capital will vary from business to business. Some businesses have a need for a large amount of working capital, and some can maintain a healthy balance sheet with relatively little working capital. Whatever the situation is for a particular business, the approximate calculation for the amount of working capital that they have to use is arrived at by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Continue reading...

What is Form 8891?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 8891 was previously used by individuals with retirement plans held in Canada when they were living in America, each time they took distributions. The process proved to be cumbersome for many good-natured Canadians, and caused the IRS a lot of trouble as well. This form has been retired in favor of an acknowledgement on the IRS Form 1040. Form 8891 is no longer used, which came as a relief to many Canadian-Americans who had retirement plans from work they did in Canada. Certain filing requirements still exist, such as a new form replacing the FBAR, for foreign bank accounts, now called the FinCEN Form 114. Continue reading...

What Is Ethereum and How Does It Work?

In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, Ethereum stands as a beacon of innovation and versatility. It's not just a cryptocurrency; it's a global, decentralized software platform that has revolutionized the digital landscape. In this article, we'll delve into what Ethereum is and how it functions, shedding light on its pivotal role in the blockchain ecosystem. At its core, Ethereum is a decentralized global software platform powered by blockchain technology. While it's most renowned for its native cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), Ethereum's capabilities extend far beyond mere digital currency. Continue reading...

How does Bitcoin Mining Work?

Anyone with a computer connected to the internet can potentially be a bitcoin miner. Bitcoin’s blockchain technology requires that a large network of computers, running the same client software, be used to randomly succeed at validating blocks of encrypted transactions every 10 minutes or so. That’s where bitcoin mining comes in. Mining is the act of letting one’s computer run what’s known as the “hash function” over and over and over in an attempt to crack the codes on the blocks that need validation. The codes that need cracking are all similar and are only difficult enough to require an average of 10 minutes for a random mining computer to get the right answer. The code and the answers are only significant in that they take time to complete, and that they allow the transactions to be validated and added to the ledger of all bitcoin transactions. Continue reading...