YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Bitcoin is a type of blockchain cryptocurrency that uses “peer-to-peer” technology to manage and operate its decentralised network, which has no central authority or banks or government interference. It’s essentially open-sourced, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin. It’s been designed for the public so that everyone can get involved.
Institutions like Bank of England like to call cryptocurrencies as “crypto-assets”. Because cryptocurrencies have value, they can be exchanged for goods & services and also to buy other cryptocurrencies that have an intrinsic value. The classical definition of currency falls short when dealing with cryptocurrencies; hence, they are called crypto-assets too.
A utility token is a ‘coin’ supported by a project and is one of the most common and widely known types of investment. Usually, these tokens are Ethereum based as it is one of the easiest ways for introducing and then programming the new token. Generally, the investors get some defined benefit in return, like access to a particular system or the receipt of a coin that in turn offers some service.
Unlike utility tokens, Security Tokens need not have utility. Instead, they correspond and represent a share or stake in the issuing company. Hence, they are often compared with traditional buying of stocks and sometimes referred to as equity tokens. In simple terms, Security Tokens are much more regulated by the government than its utility counterpart. They can offer the speed and ease of blockchain without sacrificing the protection against fraud and mis selling.
The complication and complexity for ‘mining’ bitcoins stem from its blockchain. This public ledger is designed to support and keep tracks of every single transaction taking place in its network. Every time a transaction is made, a crypto miner in charge of validating and authenticating the information updates the blockchain with that transaction. The process itself involves the miner solving complex mathematical problems with cryptographic hash functions correlated to a block containing the transaction. In the pool, miners are competing amongst themselves to solve the block. The miner earns a small amount of cryptocurrency every time a transaction is authorised.
ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) miner, is a mining machine with chips that are specially designed to mine cryptocurrencies, and they are often pre-programmed to carry out mining for a cryptocurrency. ASIC miners are much more straightforward and user-friendly, almost like plug-and-play with significantly higher returns.
On the other hand, GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) mining comprises of several GPUs (often video cards like Nvidia GTX 1080Ti) bundled together to form a mining rig. Though GPU mining rigs are less noisy, they consume more power and are generally less efficient. But they can still be used for something else and are reprogrammable, which is not the case with ASIC miners.
Bitcoin address, or BTC address, is a series of alphanumeric characters that represent a possible terminal for the bitcoin payment. These addresses can be generated for free by any user of Bitcoin or by using an exchange or online wallet services. A bitcoin address is a single-use token, meaning people have many different addresses, and a unique address should be used for each transaction. Addresses can also be generated offline using free software tools.
The main security feature for Bitcoin transactions is the 254-bit private key that enables transactions. The private key generates a unique mathematical signature each time a transaction takes place, ensuring it cannot be stolen or copied, and the user can use the same private key again. When this key is generated, the user should store it in a safe place as it is the only entry to the wallet, and whoever has it can access all the digital assets. Some enthusiasts prefer to memorise the private key, but in case the user forgets the key, for instance, then the cryptocurrencies linked to that address will be lost forever.
Bitcoin mining pools are a way for the miners to “pool” together their hashing power and then divide the rewards equally according to the number of shares they contributed solving a block. Bitcoin mining in pools started when the network difficulty got too high to the point that it could take years for miners to generate blocks. The solution was to pool their resources together and share the hashing power so that blocks could be solved quicker and hence receive more rewards.
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