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1. What is Bitcoin (BTC)?
2. Bitcoin’s core featuresFor a more beginner’s introduction to Bitcoin, please visit Binance Academy’s guide to Bitcoin.
Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) modelA UTXO transaction works like cash payment between two parties: Alice gives money to Bob and receives change (i.e., unspent amount). In comparison, blockchains like Ethereum rely on the account model.
Nakamoto consensusIn the Bitcoin network, anyone can join the network and become a bookkeeping service provider i.e., a validator. All validators are allowed in the race to become the block producer for the next block, yet only the first to complete a computationally heavy task will win. This feature is called Proof of Work (PoW).
The probability of any single validator to finish the task first is equal to the percentage of the total network computation power, or hash power, the validator has. For instance, a validator with 5% of the total network computation power will have a 5% chance of completing the task first, and therefore becoming the next block producer.
Since anyone can join the race, competition is prone to increase. In the early days, Bitcoin mining was mostly done by personal computer CPUs.
As of today, Bitcoin validators, or miners, have opted for dedicated and more powerful devices such as machines based on Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (“ASIC”).
Proof of Work secures the network as block producers must have spent resources external to the network (i.e., money to pay electricity), and can provide proof to other participants that they did so.
With various miners competing for block rewards, it becomes difficult for one single malicious party to gain network majority (defined as more than 51% of the network’s hash power in the Nakamoto consensus mechanism). The ability to rearrange transactions via 51% attacks indicates another feature of the Nakamoto consensus: the finality of transactions is only probabilistic.
Once a block is produced, it is then propagated by the block producer to all other validators to check on the validity of all transactions in that block. The block producer will receive rewards in the network’s native currency (i.e., bitcoin) as all validators approve the block and update their ledgers.
Block productionThe Bitcoin protocol utilizes the Merkle tree data structure in order to organize hashes of numerous individual transactions into each block. This concept is named after Ralph Merkle, who patented it in 1979.
With the use of a Merkle tree, though each block might contain thousands of transactions, it will have the ability to combine all of their hashes and condense them into one, allowing efficient and secure verification of this group of transactions. This single hash called is a Merkle root, which is stored in the Block Header of a block. The Block Header also stores other meta information of a block, such as a hash of the previous Block Header, which enables blocks to be associated in a chain-like structure (hence the name “blockchain”).
An illustration of block production in the Bitcoin Protocol is demonstrated below.
Block time and mining difficultyBlock time is the period required to create the next block in a network. As mentioned above, the node who solves the computationally intensive task will be allowed to produce the next block. Therefore, block time is directly correlated to the amount of time it takes for a node to find a solution to the task. The Bitcoin protocol sets a target block time of 10 minutes, and attempts to achieve this by introducing a variable named mining difficulty.
Mining difficulty refers to how difficult it is for the node to solve the computationally intensive task. If the network sets a high difficulty for the task, while miners have low computational power, which is often referred to as “hashrate”, it would statistically take longer for the nodes to get an answer for the task. If the difficulty is low, but miners have rather strong computational power, statistically, some nodes will be able to solve the task quickly.
Therefore, the 10 minute target block time is achieved by constantly and automatically adjusting the mining difficulty according to how much computational power there is amongst the nodes. The average block time of the network is evaluated after a certain number of blocks, and if it is greater than the expected block time, the difficulty level will decrease; if it is less than the expected block time, the difficulty level will increase.
What are orphan blocks?In a PoW blockchain network, if the block time is too low, it would increase the likelihood of nodes producingorphan blocks, for which they would receive no reward. Orphan blocks are produced by nodes who solved the task but did not broadcast their results to the whole network the quickest due to network latency.
It takes time for a message to travel through a network, and it is entirely possible for 2 nodes to complete the task and start to broadcast their results to the network at roughly the same time, while one’s messages are received by all other nodes earlier as the node has low latency.
Imagine there is a network latency of 1 minute and a target block time of 2 minutes. A node could solve the task in around 1 minute but his message would take 1 minute to reach the rest of the nodes that are still working on the solution. While his message travels through the network, all the work done by all other nodes during that 1 minute, even if these nodes also complete the task, would go to waste. In this case, 50% of the computational power contributed to the network is wasted.
The percentage of wasted computational power would proportionally decrease if the mining difficulty were higher, as it would statistically take longer for miners to complete the task. In other words, if the mining difficulty, and therefore targeted block time is low, miners with powerful and often centralized mining facilities would get a higher chance of becoming the block producer, while the participation of weaker miners would become in vain. This introduces possible centralization and weakens the overall security of the network.
However, given a limited amount of transactions that can be stored in a block, making the block time too longwould decrease the number of transactions the network can process per second, negatively affecting network scalability.
3. Bitcoin’s additional features
Segregated Witness (SegWit)Segregated Witness, often abbreviated as SegWit, is a protocol upgrade proposal that went live in August 2017.
SegWit separates witness signatures from transaction-related data. Witness signatures in legacy Bitcoin blocks often take more than 50% of the block size. By removing witness signatures from the transaction block, this protocol upgrade effectively increases the number of transactions that can be stored in a single block, enabling the network to handle more transactions per second. As a result, SegWit increases the scalability of Nakamoto consensus-based blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Litecoin.
SegWit also makes transactions cheaper. Since transaction fees are derived from how much data is being processed by the block producer, the more transactions that can be stored in a 1MB block, the cheaper individual transactions become.
The legacy Bitcoin block has a block size limit of 1 megabyte, and any change on the block size would require a network hard-fork. On August 1st 2017, the first hard-fork occurred, leading to the creation of Bitcoin Cash (“BCH”), which introduced an 8 megabyte block size limit.
Conversely, Segregated Witness was a soft-fork: it never changed the transaction block size limit of the network. Instead, it added an extended block with an upper limit of 3 megabytes, which contains solely witness signatures, to the 1 megabyte block that contains only transaction data. This new block type can be processed even by nodes that have not completed the SegWit protocol upgrade.
Furthermore, the separation of witness signatures from transaction data solves the malleability issue with the original Bitcoin protocol. Without Segregated Witness, these signatures could be altered before the block is validated by miners. Indeed, alterations can be done in such a way that if the system does a mathematical check, the signature would still be valid. However, since the values in the signature are changed, the two signatures would create vastly different hash values.
For instance, if a witness signature states “6,” it has a mathematical value of 6, and would create a hash value of 12345. However, if the witness signature were changed to “06”, it would maintain a mathematical value of 6 while creating a (faulty) hash value of 67890.
Since the mathematical values are the same, the altered signature remains a valid signature. This would create a bookkeeping issue, as transactions in Nakamoto consensus-based blockchain networks are documented with these hash values, or transaction IDs. Effectively, one can alter a transaction ID to a new one, and the new ID can still be valid.
This can create many issues, as illustrated in the below example:
Since the transaction malleability issue is fixed, Segregated Witness also enables the proper functioning of second-layer scalability solutions on the Bitcoin protocol, such as the Lightning Network.
Lightning NetworkLightning Network is a second-layer micropayment solution for scalability.
Specifically, Lightning Network aims to enable near-instant and low-cost payments between merchants and customers that wish to use bitcoins.
Lightning Network was conceptualized in a whitepaper by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja in 2015. Since then, it has been implemented by multiple companies. The most prominent of them include Blockstream, Lightning Labs, and ACINQ.
A list of curated resources relevant to Lightning Network can be found here.
In the Lightning Network, if a customer wishes to transact with a merchant, both of them need to open a payment channel, which operates off the Bitcoin blockchain (i.e., off-chain vs. on-chain). None of the transaction details from this payment channel are recorded on the blockchain, and only when the channel is closed will the end result of both party’s wallet balances be updated to the blockchain. The blockchain only serves as a settlement layer for Lightning transactions.
Since all transactions done via the payment channel are conducted independently of the Nakamoto consensus, both parties involved in transactions do not need to wait for network confirmation on transactions. Instead, transacting parties would pay transaction fees to Bitcoin miners only when they decide to close the channel.
One limitation to the Lightning Network is that it requires a person to be online to receive transactions attributing towards him. Another limitation in user experience could be that one needs to lock up some funds every time he wishes to open a payment channel, and is only able to use that fund within the channel.
However, this does not mean he needs to create new channels every time he wishes to transact with a different person on the Lightning Network. If Alice wants to send money to Carol, but they do not have a payment channel open, they can ask Bob, who has payment channels open to both Alice and Carol, to help make that transaction. Alice will be able to send funds to Bob, and Bob to Carol. Hence, the number of “payment hubs” (i.e., Bob in the previous example) correlates with both the convenience and the usability of the Lightning Network for real-world applications.
Schnorr Signature upgrade proposalElliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (“ECDSA”) signatures are used to sign transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.
However, many developers now advocate for replacing ECDSA with Schnorr Signature. Once Schnorr Signatures are implemented, multiple parties can collaborate in producing a signature that is valid for the sum of their public keys.
This would primarily be beneficial for network scalability. When multiple addresses were to conduct transactions to a single address, each transaction would require their own signature. With Schnorr Signature, all these signatures would be combined into one. As a result, the network would be able to store more transactions in a single block.
The reduced size in signatures implies a reduced cost on transaction fees. The group of senders can split the transaction fees for that one group signature, instead of paying for one personal signature individually.
Schnorr Signature also improves network privacy and token fungibility. A third-party observer will not be able to detect if a user is sending a multi-signature transaction, since the signature will be in the same format as a single-signature transaction.
4. Economics and supply distributionThe Bitcoin protocol utilizes the Nakamoto consensus, and nodes validate blocks via Proof-of-Work mining. The bitcoin token was not pre-mined, and has a maximum supply of 21 million. The initial reward for a block was 50 BTC per block. Block mining rewards halve every 210,000 blocks. Since the average time for block production on the blockchain is 10 minutes, it implies that the block reward halving events will approximately take place every 4 years.
As of May 12th 2020, the block mining rewards are 6.25 BTC per block. Transaction fees also represent a minor revenue stream for miners.
submitted by fleta-official to fletachain [link] [comments]
If you’ve ever heard the word cryptocurrency, then you’ve probably heard about the mining as well. If you still don’t know what cryptocurrency mining is and about profitable, keep reading!
In order to understand crypto mining, you need to fully understand what a cryptocurrency is first. Unlike traditional currencies (aka fiat currency), a cryptocurrency is a digital asset that works in a decentralized way; it does not require a bank or a third-party to operate. Someone can send someone else a cryptocurrency directly without any third-party involved.
The first ever cryptocurrency created was Bitcoin.
Every single cryptocurrency has a blockchain, which is an immutable digital ledger. A single transaction is recorded on the blockchain permanently, which no one can edit or delete it randomly.
A blockchain works by incentivizing miners to confirm the authenticity of each transaction. A person who confirmed the authenticity of the transaction, get the cryptocurrency as a reward.
Since the cryptocurrencies are based on cryptography, the miners need to solve extremely complicated mathematical problems to verify each transaction. They are incentivized to do it because they are rewarded for it.
Anyone can participate in mining from anywhere in the world as long as they have a computer. When the number of miners increases, it allows cryptocurrencies to be more secure. Even if an attacker would want to attack the blockchain network, somehow, an attacker needs to know 51% or more miners. Since the miners are spread around the world, this task is close to impossible and most likely not economically viable.
Types of Crypto MiningBitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to introduce the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm, where users have to solve complex mathematical problems in order to process transactions and secure the whole network.
Bitcoin was quite easy to mine at first, and you could do it with your CPU, there was no need for special equipment, and the rewards were huge. However, today, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty has increased considerably, and users need specialized and expensive equipment to mine it.
There are four main types of mining when it comes to the PoW algorithm. There is a CPU, GPU, ASIC, and Cloud mining.
The first three are essentially the same, but they use different parts of your computer. There are some cryptocurrencies specifically created to be mined only through CPU and to be ASIC resistant. Other cryptocurrencies can be mined through all three methods.
Cloud mining, on the other hand, is a process where a user basically pays to rent out a mining machine somewhere else. You don’t have to buy the equipment physically but it is wise to carry out due diligence and research into who and what you are paying for.
Proof of Stake ‘Mining’With the introduction of the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, cryptocurrency mining changed forever. In this case, users don’t have to solve computationally intensive puzzles. In PoS-based cryptocurrencies, the creator of blocks is chosen via random selection or wealth.
Validators in the PoS consensus have to lock up some of their coins as a ‘stake’ and will get rewarded for it.
There are many benefits over the traditional PoW like lower cost and more energy efficiency. Additionally, because PoS encourages users to hold the coin in the wallet, it stabilizes the price a bit more than conventional cryptocurrencies.
Today, you can find plenty of exchanges that support staking, including the most popular exchange, Binance. The safest option, however, is always going to be staking using your own private wallet.
Proof of Formulation ‘Mining’FLETA has developed the most innovative and newest consensus algorithms known as Proof-of-Formulation (PoF).
This PoF consensus algorithm uses something called the ‘Synchronization Group’, which allows all of the miners to mine in an orderly manner. The generating block time only takes 0.5 seconds, and the observer node checks the irregular blocks in real-time, which prevents the fork and double-spending. Furthermore, FLETA’s PoF algorithm is currently undergoing the patent process through the United States Patent Office (Application Number: 62717695).
The users can easily create a FLETA formulator through the official FLETA wallet. The minimum amount to create a single Formulator is 200,000 FLETA. The blockchain network is operated by FLETA and requires a 6-core CPU or higher.
As you created at least four Formulators, you will be able to upgrade it, which allows you to get 1.3 times more rewards.
Besides creating a Formulator, users can contribute to mining with a minimum amount of 100 FLETA.
ConclusionToday, various mining methods exist, each with their pros and cons. However, cryptocurrency miners are still craving more convenient (and less costly) ways to earn rewards.
FLETA’s Proof-of-Formulation consensus is not only fast, but it is also highly secure the added layer of protection between observer nodes, formulator, and the synchronization group.
With plenty more to come, in terms of DApp development, games and partnerships, FLETA’s PoF is increasingly becoming the preferred consensus of many developers due to the speed, security and convenience of the platform.
Last year Bitfury’s multidisciplinary Blockchain specialists announced the possibility of revealing the identities of more than 16% of all owners of Bitcoin addresses. Several years ago, a team of CryptoLux developers, having conducted a study of transaction privacy on the Bitcoin network, concluded that 60% of all addresses can be deanonymized. Summarizing all this, it’s worth highlighting three existing methods that can successfully deanonymize private transactions.submitted by Stealthex_io to StealthEX [link] [comments]
ClusteringThe easiest way to cluster (link Bitcoin addresses) is by analyzing transactional networks. In other words, this is a method that allows finding several inputs combined in one transaction. The second clustering method is “distribution analysis”. It allows calculation the percentage of cryptocurrency at the certain address that comes from another specific address and it becomes clear whether these addresses are connected by one direct transaction or a chain of transactions or not.
Graph analysisIt consists of quantitative and temporal analyzes. Quantitative analysis studies not certain transactions, but amounts. Time analysis tracks specific periods.
Memory Pool MethodWhen a transaction is made through the user’s wallet, the input nodes send information about the transaction to the Blockchain network. The purpose of this method is to identify the set of input nodes through the wallet and the user. In this case, the IP address of the client can be associated with its transactions. There are certain private cryptocurrency-leaders which are popular and trusted among users. Using one feature-privacy, they have different ways of functioning.
Basic principles of work: anonymous cryptocurrencies (Monero, Dash, Zcash)
MoneroThe platform focuses on privacy and decentralization. The coin uses three levels of protection:
• Ring signatures, that hide the origin of the sender by mixing the user’s address with the addresses of other group members. • Ring confidential transactions, which hide the amount of the transaction. • Stealth addresses, that allow a user to hide the recipient’s address.
Such way guarantees the privacy of the sender and the recipient. Monero can be bought on Poloniex, Bitfinex, Livecoin, and Kraken crypto exchanges. It is possible to store Monero via an online wallet. More secure is its computer wallet. Due to its privacy, the popularity of the coin is expected to grow, so it makes sense to add a coin to an investment portfolio.
• Increased privacy. Cryptocurrency is suitable for those who are afraid of deanonymizing network transactions. • Unlimited and difficult mining. • It takes less time to find blocks. • Resistance to the centralization of mining capacities.
• Resources. All currency protection technologies require impressive machine performance for normal operation. The Monero block size is constantly growing, and this requires additional resources of network participants. • The popularity in the dark web leads to problems in working with regulatory authorities, exchanges often delist it. Speaking of reputation, Monero’s reputation is far from the best. The coin is often used on the dark web as payment for various illegal services. It happens to almost all crypto coins that provide privacy. • Large transaction sizes. Since Monero Blockchain is five times larger than the Bitcoin Blockchain in terms of one transaction. • Problems with scalability.
DashThe Dash platform is a classic decentralized Blockchain-based payment system and the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. It implements multi-off-chain money transfers without loss of reliability and overall security of the Blockchain. Its confidentiality is rather an additional option that can be used optionally. In the case of anonymity, it is possible to send a hidden transaction, but at a more expensive cost, which also requires additional time. Dash developed a hashing algorithm with eleven cryptographic functions-X 11 for the first time. The coin developers have released apps for other platforms. Today it is possible to use Dash for IOS, Zeal for Linux, LovelyDocs for Android and Velocity for Windows.
As well known, the CoinJoin is an anonymization method for crypto transactions, which is used by Dash as an improved version called the PrivateSend. Its mixing sessions are limited to 1,000 DASH for each session and will require multiple mixing sessions to anonymize a large amount of money.
• High transaction speed. It is achieved via InstantX technology, which enables the confirmation of operations in less than 4 seconds. • Law transaction fees. • Energy consumption. Unlike Monero, it does not require a lot of power or high commission costs.
• “Transparency” of the network. Without triggering the “mixing” mechanism, the directions of transactions and their balances are publicly visible to everyone. • Lack of proper cryptographic technologies that provide privacy, but can provide a sufficiently high level of protection. • Transaction visibility to the founders and the team.
ZcashAn open-source decentralized cryptocurrency that provides users with maximum privacy. Zcash is the first private cryptocurrency, using cryptographic protocol zk-SNARKS, a zero-knowledge security layer. It allows users to make hidden and open transactions.
Mathematically guaranteed privacy is something cryptocurrency can not be proud of. This fact makes the currency specific. All Zcash coins are identical, it means that interchangeable coins do not contain information about past use created. In this regard, the connection of coins with their history on the Blockchain is broken, which makes them universal and identical to each other. Zcash blocks are generated 4 times faster than Bitcoin. The currency trades on Huobi, Bitfinex and Binance exchanges, and after purchase, it can be stored on the exchange’s internal wallet, as well as transferred to Jaxx, Cryptonator and Coinomi multi-currency wallets. Coins can also be stored on hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor.
• Privacy. Since no information except the time stamp, is recorded in the Blockchain, transactions cannot be tracked, and the identity of the sender and recipient is almost impossible to establish. • Interchangeability. Due to interchangeability, all coins have a “clean” history. This means that it is practically impossible to determine which transactions coin was used. • Security. Lack of information about user keys, which protects user wallets and the network.Mining energy efficiency. Zcash mining hardware consumes less electricity than Bitcoin mining ASICs. • The difficulty of mining. Zcash is beneficial for those who want to get coins for block creation. Bitcoin mining becomes more and more complicated, so miners cannot earn enough money via their computers with high capacity.
• 6 users can decide to leave the transferred data completely open. • It takes a lot of calculations to complete a transaction. • Insecurity. There are fears that the system could be hacked, or users may accidentally open the data. • Legally ZCash is supported only by Linux, however, it provides users with wallets for other platforms: Jaxx, Ledger, Trezor, Trust, Zecwallet, Ibitcome, Exodus, Guarda, Coinomi, Cobowallet, and Bitgo.
Private cryptocurrencies are necessary for anyone who values the privacy and confidentiality of financial transactions. Privacy can generate more value, than danger, as Eric Hughes says: “Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world”.
Owing to the ASIC dominance, Bitcoin's dedicated hashpower increased exponentially, leading to enormous climbs of the difficulty of Bitcoin mining. The continuously rising Bitcoin price also led to ASICs becoming increasingly performant, with many new participants joining the block-mining race. Chart 2 - Mining hashrate in the “ASIC era” (2015-2019) (in TH/sec) Sources: Binance Research ... In the world of cryptocurrencies, the term ASIC is widely used to refer to the specialized hardware that are being developed and regularly improved by companies such as Bitmain and Halong Mining. These hardware are designed with the sole intention of mining Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies). Other highlights of the eToro platform include the ability to trade CFDs, which isn’t possible on Binance, its user-friendly interface and the fact it’s regulated by CySEC, FCA and ASIC. Like Bitcoin, Monero uses Proof-of-Work to add blocks of transactions to the blockchain. As with all CryptoNote-based protocols, though, it's designed to be ASIC-resistant . The aim behind this is to prevent the dominance of mining pools running specialized, high-performance mining hardware. Binance Reports that Bitcoin (BTC) was Decorrelated with other Cryptocurrencies in Q2 of 2019. On July 5 Binance has released a report regarding cryptocurrency correlations, stating that Bitcoin (BTC) became less correlated with other cryptocurrencies in Q2 of 2019. According to the report, this was because of a possible “flight to quality” in the most recent Bull Run experienced by the ... Bitcoin mining manufactures and pool operations have failed in great numbers over the last five years with companies like Butterfly Labs, Mining ASIC Technologies, BTC Guild, and Cointerra. At ...
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