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Why Use a Blockchain?

Blockchains create an indisputable digital record that is decentralized, i.e, cannot be changed by a single actor. Using blockchain is generally for digital security. Here are  few reasons to use a blockchain: Tokenization A user can authenticate a unique physical item by pairing them with a corresponding digital token. In that sense, these tokens serve to connect the physical and digital worlds. With a token assigned to each physical good, that can revolutionize supply chain management, managing intellectual property to prevent against counterfeiting, and fraud detection. Continue reading...

What are Blockchain’s Issues and Limitations?

Blockchain is an emerging technology and arguably one of the next “big things.” As with anything so big and impactful, it comes with a few issues and limitations. Before even diving into the technology behind blockchain and potential issues, perhaps one of the broadest issues facing blockchain is gaining the public’s trust. Blockchain is not only a new technology, it also comes with its own language, literally. There are numerous terms and definitions that accompany a person’s grasp of blockchain, and it can take some commitment of reading and learning to figure out. Not everyone is willing or able to do that. Continue reading...

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology is a decentralized network structure used to obtain consensus on changes to a ledger shared and distributed throughout a system. Blockchain technology allows for peer-to-peer trust-less validation and record-keeping that is superior to centralized database systems in many situations, in terms of security, reliability, and efficiency. Blockchains tend to be integrated with smart contract technology that serves as the mechanical-legal framework for interactions between the co... Continue reading...

How Could Blockchain Technology Change the World of Finance?

Blockchain, if applied on a broad basis, could lower costs substantially for both financial institutions and consumers, while also preventing fraud. This could upend the financial markets as we know it, in a good way. With blockchain, virtually any type of asset can be stored digitally and securely, meaning that money, equities, bonds, contracts, deeds, etc.. can be moved from peer to peer with little to zero fear of fraud, and no vulnerable (or costly) intermediary like a bank or a government. 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...

What are Some of the Applications of Blockchains?

The overarching theme of blockchains is that they can provide security and asset verification in a decentralized system, which is perhaps the best-known method for preventing fraud. Blockchains are a technological revolution that provides an opportunity to establish strong systems for digital identity. Here are some of the applications and uses for it: A user can authenticate a unique physical item by pairing them with a corresponding digital token. In that sense, these tokens serve to connect the physical and digital worlds. With a token assigned to each physical good, that can revolutionize supply chain management, managing intellectual property to prevent counterfeiting and fraud detection. Continue reading...

How Does Blockchain Technology Work?

Blockchains are intended to maintain integrity in the system without anyone needing to monitor or control it. By instituting a system of checks and balances that 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 is the Difference Between Public and Permissioned Blockchains?

Blockchain technology does not always have to be implemented in a public peer-to-peer system. Blockchains rely on a network of computers, representing nodes, that collaborate and distribute the information required for the blockchain to function. The nodes in some blockchains can be established by any computer willing to run the client software for the network. Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies are intended to function this way: as a public, open-source, permission-less, and trust less network. The nodes are used indiscriminately by the rest of the network as long as the node is performing the functions required of nodes, and this is called a proof-of-work system.  When Satoshi Nakamoto coded the first blockchain, his intention was to keep the network functioning with only one tier: “one CPU, one vote.”  That vision has encountered obstacles in the form of ASIC mining and other unforeseen circumstances that have empowered some nodes and groups of users over others. Continue reading...

What is the Technology Sector?

The Technology sector consists of companies involved in the research, development, and sale of technology products. It is perhaps the most relevant and exciting growth sector in today’s world, with new technologies being developed and tested on nearly a daily basis. Technology is a cyclical sector, and one where leadership changes hands often. Companies can be in the business of developing hardware, software, web-based applications, and so much more. Continue reading...

Keywords: stocks, technology,

What is a Distributed Ledger?

A distributed ledger is a records system in which the same information is held redundantly across many nodes in a network, and is essential to blockchain technology. Centralized databases used to be the primary way that important records of transaction histories and so forth were held.  Databases validate the identity of those requesting access to the records by asking for and retaining personally identifying information. If that office building were to lose power, was hacked, or was destroyed, it is possible for all of the information to be lost or given over to hands of bad actors. Even with cloud storage backups, the security and financial risk to any one of these storage depositories remain a problem. 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...

How do Bitcoin Transactions Work?

Two words: blockchain technology. Transactions in bitcoin are encoded, packed into a block of other transactions, and all of these are sent out to thousands of computers running blockchain computations, known as hashes. All of these computers are running similar algorithms designed to force honest work and to take time for the computers to complete. The purpose of this step is merely forcing the blockchain to require time, energy, and effort, and to be randomized and decentralized when it is validating transactions. Whichever computer solves it first receives an incentive reward, and the entire blockchain, comprised of all computers running bitcoin client software, then updates the ledger to include the most recent validated transactions. 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...

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

The pseudonymous inventor(s) of bitcoin and blockchain technology, Satoshi Nakamoto, likely walks among us today. Satoshi Nakamoto was the pen-name of the author(s) who anonymously gave the world the design and code for bitcoin and blockchain technology. Penning a white-paper entitled “Bitcoin: a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” the author(s) described the need for a decentralized digital currency and proposed blockchain technology as the way to validate digital transactions with a distributed ledger. Continue reading...

What is the commodity market?

The commodity market is an international network of exchanges which trade commodity spot contracts, futures contracts, and derivatives. The largest commodities exchange in the world is the CME Group in Chicago. Futures are a large part of commodities trading, and the commodities futures market includes currency futures and swaps, index futures and single-stock futures, and other derivatives based on futures contracts. Continue reading...

What is a Merkle Tree?

A Merkle Tree is a technique widely used to create the blocks in blockchains. When records of numerous transactions are blended together into a block and sent to a blockchain to be deciphered and validated, Merkle Trees are generally the design with which they are put together. Ralph Merkle first designed this hashing method in 1979 but didn’t see it popularized for some time. They are sometimes called hash trees. In case you are unaware, the difference between hashes and encryptions is that hashes are not intended to be decryptable unless someone has the original content. Hashes are basically symbols of a certain length generated using the “seed” of the actual content that was fed into the hash function. If the same content is entered as the seed, it will produce the same hash, but any differences will yield a completely different result. Continue reading...

What is Ripple?

Ripple is a protocol for cryptocurrency transactions primarily focused on offering solutions to the financial sector for implementing blockchain technology. Banks and other financial institutions have been experimenting with ways to implement blockchain technology for years. Many of these have gravitated toward Ethereum, with its platform distributed applications and smart contracts, but the San Francisco-based startup Ripple has been gaining traction in this space recently. Continue reading...

How is Ripple Different Than Bitcoin and Ethereum?

Ripple’s XRP has the third-largest market cap in the cryptocurrency world, but what gives it value? Ripple Lab’s intent was not to be a store of value or a currency, per se, like Bitcoin. Neither did it intend to be a platform for developers to explore the possibilities of blockchains, like Ethereum. Ripple was always focused on being a payment system, facilitating transfers between banks, currencies, and countries in a way that would not be possible without blockchains. Continue reading...

What Can a Blockchain Do?

Blockchain technology is already being used and developed for many important and impressive applications, and much more is yet to be discovered. Blockchains use distributed work to obtain consensus for changes to a distributed ledger.  Because of their nature, blockchains are incredibly powerful tools that can be used in many realms and applications. They offer security in that they are almost unhackable; any attempted unauthorized changes to the system are immediately obvious to the entire system because it is built on agreement and consensus among its many nodes. Because this structure gives each addition to the ledger, and the record in the ledger, a high degree of integrity and security, future applications of blockchains are being researched in various fields around the world. 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...