What is a Distributed Ledger?

Ledgers, the foundation of accounting, are as ancient as writing and money. Their medium has been clay, wooden tally sticks (that were a fire hazard), stone, papyrus and paper. Once computers became normalized in the 1980s and '90s, paper records were digitized, often by manual data entry. These early digital ledgers mimicked the cataloguing and accounting …

What Can a Blockchain Do?

Financial institutions have financed the disruption of countless industries over the last 30 years; they have an idea of what a revolutionary technology can do to static incumbents. So, to stay ahead of change, banks have been proactive in setting up R&D labs, building test centers and establishing partnerships with blockchain developers to fully understand …

How Does Blockchain Technology Work?

As stated in our guide "What is Blockchain Technology?", there are three principal technologies that combine to create a blockchain. None of them are new. Rather, it is their orchestration and application that is new. These technologies are: 1) private key cryptography, 2) a distributed network with a shared ledger and 3) an incentive to service …

What is Blockchain Technology?

" a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to …

What is Ripple?

Ripple, currently one of the top five cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalisation, has seen its fair share of controversy. On the one hand, supporters point out that the aim of the company to improve cross-border transfers through distributed ledger technology will have a significant effect on commerce and finance and thus a positive impact …

How to Mine Litecoin and other Altcoins

While it is now considered too late for hobbyists without expensive ASIC processors to start mining bitcoins, many of the alternative digital currencies are still well suited for mining on your home PC. In this guide, we'll take you through all you need to know to start digging up a few litecoins, feathercoins or dogecoins without …

How to Buy Litecoin

Having read our explainer of the differences between litecoin and bitcoin, you may be interested in buying some of bitcoin's more agile sibling. (*Please, never invest more than you can afford to lose – cryptocurrencies are volatile and the price could go down as well as up. You can follow litecoin's price and volume data here.) Storing …

What is the Difference Between Litecoin and Bitcoin?

In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched bitcoin as the world's first cryptocurrency. The code is open source, which means it can be modified by anyone and freely used for other projects. Many cryptocurrencies have launched with modified versions of this code, with varying levels of success.   Litecoin was announced in 2011 with the goal of being the 'silver' to bitcoin's …

Hard Fork vs Soft Fork

  Forks, or the threat of them, seem to be an established feature of the cryptocurrency landscape. But what are they? Why are they such a big deal? And what is the difference between a hard fork and a soft fork? A "fork," in programming terms, is an open-source code modification. Usually the forked code …

What is Bitcoin Cash?

  On August 1, 2017, the bitcoin protocol underwent a hard fork which split the network in two and gave birth to "bitcoin cash." Why did this happen and what are the consequences? Tired of the infighting and perceived lack of progress on bitcoin's scaling debate, and unhappy with the decision to go ahead with the SegWit upgrade (which would …

How Do Ethereum Smart Contracts Work?

Like many ideas in the blockchain industry, a general confusion shrouds so called 'smart contracts'. A new technology made possible by public blockchains, smart contracts are difficult to understand because the term partly confuses the core interaction described. While a standard contract outlines the terms of a relationship (usually one enforceable by law), a smart contract …

How Will Ethereum Scale?

Like other public blockchains, ethereum intends to support as many users as it can. The problem is that, today, we don't really know the limits of the platform. Because of a hard-coded limit on computation per block, the ethereum blockchain currently supports roughly 15 transactions per second compared to, say, the 45,000 processed by Visa. This limitation …

How to Mine Ethereum

Now that you know "How Ethereum Mining Works", you may want to know how to compete in the race to mine ether yourself. To recap, mining is the glue that holds ethereum's 'decentralized app store' together by ensuring that it comes to consensus on each change to any of the applications (dapps) running on the …

How Ethereum Mining Works

Today, miners play an important role in making sure ethereum works. This role isn't immediately obvious, though. Many new users think that the sole purpose of mining is to generate ethers in a way that doesn't require a central issuer (see our guide "What is Ether?"). This is true. Ethereum's tokens are created through the process of …

How Ethereum Works

Now that we've covered what ethereum is, let's dive deeper into how the platform functions under the hood. Consider the online notebook application described in "What is Ethereum?" Using ethereum, the app doesn't require one entity to store and control its data. To accomplish this, ethereum borrows heavily from bitcoin's protocol and its blockchain design, but tweaks …