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What is blockchain technology?

For the past several weeks, you’ve likely heard some of the following terms if you’ve paid attention to the world of finance: Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. But what do they mean? And why is cryptocurrency suddenly so hot?Bitcoin and Blockchain Financing Trend

First, we’ll explain the blockchain basics.

As society become increasingly digital, financial services providers are looking to offer customers the same services to which they’re accustomed, but in a more efficient, secure, and cost effective way.

Enter blockchain technology.

The origins of blockchain are a bit nebulous. A person or group of people known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakomoto invented and released the tech in 2009 as a way to digitally and anonymously send payments between two parties without needing a third party to verify the transaction. It was initially designed to facilitate, authorize, and log the transfer of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

How does blockchain technology work?

Blockchain tech is actually rather easy to understand at its core. Essentially, it’s a shared database populated with entries that must be confirmed and encrypted. Think of it as a kind of highly encrypted and verified shared Google Document, in which each entry in the sheet depends on a logical relationship to all its predecessors. Blockchain tech offers a way to securely and efficiently create a tamper-proof log of sensitive activity (anything from international money transfers to shareholder records).

Blockchain’s conceptual framework and underlying code is useful for a variety of financial processes because of the potential it has to give companies a secure, digital alternative to banking processes that are typically bureaucratic, time-consuming, paper-heavy, and expensive.

 

FILE PHOTO: Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are essentially just digital money, digital tools of exchange that use cryptography and the aforementioned blockchain technology to facilitate secure and anonymous transactions. There had been several iterations of cryptocurrency over the years, but Bitcoin truly thrust cryptocurrencies forward in the late 2000s. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies floating out on the market now, but Bitcoin is far and away the most popular.

How do you mine cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies don’t just fall out of the sky. Like any other form of money, it takes work to produce them. And that work comes in the form of mining.

But let’s take a step back. Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, ensured that there would ever only be 21 million Bitcoins in existence. He (or they) reached that figure by calculating that people would discover, or “mine,” a certain number of blocks of transactions each day.

Every four years, the number of Bitcoins released in relation to the previous cycle gets reduced by 50%, along with the reward to miners for discovering new blocks. At the moment, that reward is 12.5 Bitcoins. Therefore, the total number of Bitcoins in circulation will approach 21 million but never actually reach that figure. This means Bitcoin will never experience inflation. The downside here is that a hack or cyberattack could be a disaster because it could erase Bitcoin wallets with little hope of getting the value back.

As for mining Bitcoins, the process requires electrical energy. Miners solve complex mathematical problems, and the reward is more Bitcoins generated and awarded to them. Miners also verify transactions and prevent fraud, so more miners equals faster, more reliable, and more secure transactions.

Thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto’s designs, Bitcoin mining becomes more difficult as more miners join the fray. In 2009, a miner could mine 200 Bitcoin in a matter of days. In 2014, it would take approximately 98 years to mine just one, according to 99Bitcoins.

Super powerful computers called Application Specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC, were developed specifically to mine Bitcoins. But because so many miners have joined in the last few years, it remains difficult to mine loads. The solution is mining pools, groups of miners who band together and are paid relative to their share of the work.

Blockchains in Commercial Production at Scale

Current & future uses of blockchain technology & cryptocurrency

Since its inception, Bitcoin has been rather volatile. But based on its recent boom — and a forecast by Snapchat’s first investor, Jeremy Liew, that it would hit $500,000 by 2030 — and the prospect of grabbing a slice of the Bitcoin pie becomes far more attractive.

Bitcoin users expect 94% of all bitcoins to be released by 2024. As the number moves toward the ceiling of 21 million, many expect the profits miners once made from the creation of new blocks to become so low that they will become negligible. But as more bitcoins enter circulation, transaction fees could rise and offset this.

As for blockchain technology itself, it has numerous applications, from banking to the Internet of Things. In the next few years, BI Intelligence expects companies to flesh out their blockchain IoT solutions. Blockchain is a promising tool that will transform parts of the IoT and enable solutions that provide greater insight into assets, operations, and supply chains. It will also transform how health records and connected medical devices store and transmit data.

Blockchain won’t be usable everywhere, but in many cases, it will be a part of the solution that makes the best use of the tools in the IoT arsenal. Blockchain can help to address particular problems, improve workflows, and reduce costs, which are the ultimate goals of any IoT project.

 

 

Written By: Andrew Meola

 

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bitcoin dropped to a more than four-month low on Friday, continuing a downtrend after more negative headlines such as Japan’s financial regulator ordering six digital currency exchanges to make improvements on their anti-money laundering systems. The original virtual currency fell as low as $6,085.59 (£4,589) BTC=BTSP on Bitstamp, the lowest since early February and not far from this year’s trough of just below $6,000. It was last down more than 8 percent at $6,177.45.  So far in 2018, bitcoin has fallen nearly 56 percent, after soaring more than 1,300 percent last year. The order from Japan’s Financial Services Agency on Friday includes bitFlyer, Inc, one of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Early this week, the cryptocurrency world was racked by news South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb was hacked of 35 billion won ($31.5 million) worth of virtual coins.

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The Bithumb attack was preceded earlier this month by a “cyber intrusion” at Coinrail, a relatively small cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, causing a loss of about 30 percent of the coins traded on the exchange.

“Often swings in prices are blamed on events like hacks of crypto exchanges, or news from regulators,” said Chris Tse, founding director of the Cardstack project in New York, which is leading efforts to create a new blockchain-based internet.

Blockchain, the system powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, is a shared database that is maintained by a network of computers connected to the internet.

 

Tse noted that bitcoin, even before these recent events, has been in a bearish momentum.

“If the crypto market were a NASCAR race – there would be a yellow caution flag waving right now. There was massive exuberance, then a massive crash, and now we’re cleaning up the debris and figuring out what’s going on,” Tse said.

Other digital currencies also declined in sympathy with bitcoin on Friday. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, was down nearly 10 percent at $472.99 ETH=BTSP.

The third-largest, Ripple, lost 7 percent to $0.49 according to cryptocurrency price tracker coinmarketcap.com.

In a recent report explaining the slowdown in the market, Fundstrat Global Advisors managing partner Thomas Lee said there have not been sufficient inflows into the cryptocurrency space this year.

 

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“Incremental retail and institutional demand was expected to materialise in 2018, but regulatory actions by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) have impaired progress,” Lee said.

“The SEC has taken needed steps in 2018, targeting ICO (initial coin offerings) scams, but the uncertainty around which projects are securities versus commodities has created substantial uncertainty,” he added.

 

Reporting By: Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing By: Frances Kerry

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Something truly amazing is FINALLY coming to the Hamptons!!! A true one hundred percent vegan café!

 

And while there are certainly plenty of suitable options for the health-conscious out East, the Hamptons is finally getting a 100%, totally vegan café. The Plant Based Coffee Shop, set to open this June, is the brainchild of Marley and Lennon Ficalora, two vegetarian-raised brothers who set out to create an establishment which would “make healthy plant-based food affordable and accessible to everyone.”

 

So, for those who want to maintain their Gwyneth-approved lifestyle (or just try it out), this café is the best thing to hit the East End since the SoulCycle BARN.

 

 

Plant Based Coffee Shop, 2487 Main Street, Bridgehampton

The Plant Based Coffee shop will feature cafe staples such as wraps and bowls, along with cold brew and kombucha on tap. It will be open daily from 10 am to 4 pm. Stay tuned!

Written By: Danielle Spoleti

Eva-Longoria

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Eva Longoria has been an actress, a producer, and an activist, but now, she’s taking on a brand-new role as a first-time mom.

On Tuesday, Longoria welcomed a baby boy named Santiago Enrique with her husband Jose Antonio Bastón.

Eva and Jose shared the first photo of their little boy with Hola! USA, telling the site, “We are so grateful for this beautiful blessing.”

 

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In March, she talked about how she intends to raise a feminist son.

“I’m so excited that I’m having a boy because I think the world needs more good men,” she said in an Instagram video on International Women’s Day.

“This boy, my son, will be surrounded by very strong, educated, powerful women and I think it’s important that he sees those types of role models in his life so he knows how to support it, how to applaud it and how to honor it.”

The new mom is currently hard at work directing episodes of Black-ish and producing the ABC drama pilot Grand Hotel. She continued to work far into her pregnancy, posting pictures of herself on set up until this month.

 

Written By: Alexandra Whittaker