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Should you invest in ethereum in 2018?

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invest in ethereum in 2018

If you wish to know the details of Ethereum without delving into highly technical depths of it, this is your best option. It is vital to understand the basic underlying principles of the working of Ethereum and how it is different from other cryptocurrencies. Just like Bitcoin, Ethereum uses the technology of blockchain and is an open source platform enabling distributed computing to feature smart contracts. These smart contracts run exactly as programmed and do not fall prey to any network downtime, fraud, system failure or third party interventions.

Blockchain has been reconfigured to allow developers to build smart markets, store logs of liabilities and move capital in accordance with long given instructions. This powerful shared global infrastructure helps in exchanging value and displaying ownership. Developed voluntarily for Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss non profit organisation, this platform is supported by several operating systems including Linux, Windows, MacOS, POSIX, Raspbian. Applications such as electronic voting, trading, digital record of property assets are being developed and deployed at faster rates and brilliant customer satisfaction.

In even more simpler words, Ethereum is an open source and public platform developed upon the concepts of blockchain to help users create smart decentralized applications.

 

How does Ethereum differ from Bitcoin?

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are decentralized, distributed open source, public blockchain networks however, there are major differences in its potential and purpose. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that enable transactions and purchases via Bitcoin payments. The Distributed Bitcoin network keeps a track of the ownership of each and every Bitcoin in the community. On the other hand, the focal point behind the concept of Ethereum is to run the programming code of a  decentralized application. Just like E-mail was one of the most particular and spectacular use of the Internet, it wasn’t the only use and many more applications were developed based upon its concept. Similarly, Bitcoin was the foremost application of the Blockchain technology but isn’t the only one application.

 

In the Bitcoin community, Bitcoins are mined. However, a different form of cryptocurrency is used in Ethereum called Ether. Users do not mine Ether but earn them and make transactions and purchases on the Ethereum network using this Ether. Settlements on Bitcoin take an average of 10 minutes to pull through, however, Ethereum aims at an even faster processing time of just 12 seconds. Unlike Bitcoin mining which has a notoriously energy consuming process and is recommended only on industrially large scales, Ethereum works on a ‘proof of work’ algorithm which enables and encourages even individuals towards decentralized mining.

Another feature to take note of is that the internal code of Ethereum is Turing complete. In simple terms this means that as long as one has enough computer power and time anything on the network can be computed. This gives developers innumerable possibilities to work with.

 

Currency and Fuel of Ethereum, should you invest in ethereum?

Ethereum in itself is not a digital currency but an open source decentralised platform which no single point of control. All operations are not run by a central governing authority but a group of volunteers all around the world. The computational asset used to pay for services on this network is Ether. Not only are transactions settled using Ether, but it is also used to make any changes in any applications on the Ethereum network. This is a sort of transaction fees one needs to pay for successful processing of changes and thus Ether acts as a ‘fuel’ in the Ethereum network too.

 

Why should you invest in Ethereum in 2018?

Owing to the decentralised nature of the Ethereum network, it is immutable. Censorship is impossible and it is corruption and tamper proof. With no point of central control and secure cryptographic methods used, it is immune to fraud and hacking activities. The distributed network is run by a group of dedicated volunteers worldwide owing to which there is no scope of network downtime or network failure.

Any and all centralized service or application can be turned into a decentralized application. The only limitation one encounters while working with Ethereum is their own personal creativity. Anything from bank loans to voting systems and regulatory compliance and much more can be executed on Ethereum. One can also build a DAO – Decentralized Autonomous Organisation. Run on an ensemble of smart contracts written on Ethereum’s blockchain, DAOs are run on a code which replaces a traditional structure. This eliminates the need of a single regulatory body.

 

What does one mean by a smart contract?

A smart contract is simply a code which enables exchanges with respect to money, property or anything that holds some value on the Ethereum network. Once run, it acts like a self operating program when required conditions are favorable. Ethereum gives its users the flexibility of doing whatever sort of operations they wish to.

 

How to access Ethereum?

If one has educated themselves with the basic working and principles of Ethereum (which is the most important step before starting any venture), one would now obviously want to know where they could actually do all this work.

One of the simplest ways to get started is using the ‘Mist’ browser. Not only does it provide a user friendly interface to build smart contracts but also provides you a digital wallet. A digital wallet or Ethereum wallet is where one holds and secures their Ether and/or other digital assets that have been developed using Ethereum which are basically your smart contracts. Needless to say, it is important to keep the private key of your digital account wallet in a safe and secure location to avoid any unfortunate incidents.

Another option available is the MetaMask browser extension available on Google Chrome. One could easily get it from the Chrome Web Store here.

 

How to get Ether?

The next obvious step for a user would be to learn about how to get Ether. One of the most easiest and convenient sources to buy Ether is from a cryptocurrency exchange. There are several options one could explore such as Bitstamp, Coinsquare, Coinbase, Kraken, Cex.io, Shapeshift, Poloniex, Coinmama. It is important to choose the exchange which falls under your area of jurisdiction i.e. one which is not illegal in your country since you wouldn’t be wanting to face any criminal charges. Simply set up an account on either of these exchanges and use you money – hard cash via wire transfers or money in your bank accounts, to buy your Ether tokens. Always make sure that you store your assets in a secure digital wallet which is mostly always provided by these exchanges too.

One could also get their Ether tokens via peer-to-peer trading or by mining. However, the supply of Ether is virtually unlimited unlike Bitcoins (where only 21 million Bitcoins are available), users usually get their Ether tokens via a secure exchange. Once you have as many tokens as you wish or require, you can start building your own decentralised applications on the Ethereum platform.

 

What next?

Ethereum has slowly gained mainstream attention and more and more people are now actively considering building smart contracts using this decentralised platform. Ethereum is an invention which is here to stay and would soon change the way the Internet works. Ethereum is set to revolutionise the way industries work and the way services and products are provided to their users.

If one is still unsure about working with the Ethereum platform, there are several online courses one could make use of. Blockgeeks is one such option one could look into for assisted guidance. There have recently been several books in both paperback and Kindle editions, which could guide you and clear your doubts regarding Ethereum. Introduction to Ethereum and Solidity by Chris Dannen, Ethereum: A look into the world of Ethereum and how to trade and invest this cryptocurrency! by Ben Abner, Investing in Ethereum: The Ultimate Guide to Learning and Profiting from Cryptocurrencies  by Oscar Flynt a few books one could look into.

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#Ethereum

Ethereum hard fork vulnerability: Constantinople delayed yet again.

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Ethereum Constantinople hard fork after ChainSecurity, smart contract auditing firm has found a major vulnerability in one of the objectives of the upgrade.

Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork after ChainSecurity, a smart contract auditing firm has found a major vulnerability in one of the objectives of the upgrade.

ChainSecurity said yesterday that EIP 1283, which was one of the planned changes is vulnerable to attacks as it can provide hackers a loophole in the smart contract code to take over the user’s funds. As a result, the ethereum developers, the client developers as well as all other projects have agreed to delay the Constantinople hard fork for the time being till the issue is evaluated and resolved.

The next date for the Constantinople hard fork shall be decided on 18th of January during the Ethereum dev call which would include people such as Vitalik Buterin, Nick Johnson, Hudson Jameson, Evan Van Ness, Afri Schoedon and others.

The ethereum developers have decided to delay the Constantinople hard fork for now as according to them the issue might take longer to be resolved. The Constantinople hard fork was earlier planned to be executed on 17th January at around 04:00 UTC.

 

Constantinople Vulnerability:

According to Joanes Espanol, the CTO of Amberdata, the vulnerability found in the EIP 1283 is known as Reentrancy Attack. The following attack allows the hacker or attacker to reenter the identical function multiple times in the absence of the user knowing about the state of affairs. Under the Reentrancy attack, the hacker or the attack could withdraw the user’s funds forever.

According to ChainSecurity, the storage operations on the ethereum network is currently costing 5000 gas which exceeds the 2300 gas which is sent while calling a contract using ‘send’ or ‘transfer’ function. After Constantinople is implemented dirty storage operations will start to cost 200 gas and the attacker contract can then use 2300 gas stipend to control the endangered contract’s variable.

This is the second time that the Ethereum hard fork Constantinople is being delayed. Previously, it was scheduled to be launched last year but was delayed due to issues with the Ropsten testnet.

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#Ethereum

Ethereum is centralized: 2 mining pools control more than 50% hashrate

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Ethereum is turning centralized with just two of the Ethereum mining pools: Ethermine and SparkPool controlling more than 52% of the total network hashrate.

Ethereum, the 2nd top cryptocurrency by market capitalization is turning centralized with just two of the Ethereum mining pools: Ethermine and SparkPool controlling more than 52% of the total network hashrate.

ethereum-mining-chart

Source: BTC.com: Ethereum Pool’s Distribution

Ethermine controls around 28% of the total network hash rate while SparkPool controls more than 24% of the total hash rate. Apart from these NanoPool, F2Pool and MiningPoolHub control around 13.5%, 11% and 6% of the network hash rate simultaneously. Apart from the major mining pools just around 17% of the Ethereum network hash rate is controlled by others.

Bitcoin is way more decentralized In comparison to Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum as the top two mining pools of bitcoin: BTC.com and Antpool control just around 29% of the total network hashrate.

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#Ethereum

Ethereum Hard Fork: Constantinople Explained, Beware of Scams.

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Ethereum is having the Constantinople hard fork on 16th January. Ethereum Nova is basically fishing for people's private keys and stealing money.

Ethereum is having the Constantinople hard fork on 16th January and the first thing to note is that it is a hard fork so there will be a new Ethereum blockchain but its really important to point out that this is not a contentious fork. When we earlier had the Ethereum classic and Ethereum split, there was a serious disagreement on different concepts and we had two camps who went their own separate ways over that conflict.

Constantinople: A Non-Contentious Fork

Now with the current Ethereum hard fork, it’s not contentious, the assumptions are that the miners will be switching to the new chain, all of the current smart contracts on the current Ethereum blockchain will be replicated on the new chain. This is really about an upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain overall and not some kind of split between the community. Due to the upgrades to the Ethereum blockchain being so significant, this is why they require a hard fork. There are some major changes that are going to take place and because of that, they need to do a hard fork.

Whenever there is a hard fork, there can be a new coin created but Constantinople is an upgrade so a split is not a very probable outcome. Now there is the potential that at the 11th hour, some big mining pool could decide that they don’t like them and they want to go to their own separate direction and make a new coin. That’s possible but most likely there will be no new coins produced.

Currently, Ethereum is in an absolute critical transition phase. The transition phase is either going to make or break Ethereum in the long term. That is, of course, the move from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake. The Constantinople upgrade is a part of that upgrade. If Ethereum wants to stay the preeminent leader in the Dapp world they have to scale. We do have the layer 2 scaling solutions but the new upgrade is going to make Ethereum cheaper and faster and at the same time it will be decreasing the reward for mining down from three Ethereum a block to two Ethereum a block.

 

What will happen to your ERC20 tokens during the Constantinople upgrade?

ERC20 tokens are a form of smart contracts running on the Ethereum blockchain. So they will migrate to the new chain with everything else. So there is absolutely no need to do anything. In fact, the new Ethereum improvements are going to make your ERC20 and ERC721 tokens require less gas.

 

Constantinople is helping to Optimize State Channels:

Another important part of the Constantinople upgrade will be helping to optimize state channels. So we could actually really see the second layer solutions taking off in a big way. The hard fork is going to help make that process even easier.

 

ASIC Resistance: Not included in Constantinople

An important thing to know that is not being included in the Constantinople hard fork even though it is being discussed at the moment is ASIC Resistance. There has been a proposal put forward to make progressive proof of work that would eventually block Asics, which are giant mining boxes or specific computers for mining cryptocurrencies. Previously, Ethereum was only mineable using a graphics card but Asics have changed the game and substantially a lot of home miners or smaller miners are very upset about these changes and do want to see the ASIC Resistance brought in but this is not going to be happening during the current hard fork.

 

If you are an Ethereum Miner:

If you are an Ethereum miner are you are mining via a pool, the pool operators will be updating the software, so again you don’t need to do anything.

 

Beware of Scams!

Kindly beware of scams. There is already something going around called the Ethereum Nova which is basically fishing for people’s private keys and stealing money. Just remember that you don’t have to do anything specific for the Constantinople hard fork. Don’t put your private keys anywhere, there’s not going to be any free airdrop or any free tokens. These sites that you see claiming to be alternate forks are going to be nothing but scammers. So you really don’t need to do anything except to avoid giving these people your private keys so they can steal your money. Be careful!

 

What if your Ethereum or tokens are on an exchange:

Although you should never be storing your cryptocurrencies on an exchange as an exchange is not a safe deposit box, it is a marketplace. But if you are running trades, you can actually leave your cryptocurrencies on the exchange and they are going to be fine as all major exchanges have already come out saying that they are supporting the hard fork and they will be running the upgrade so again you don’t need to do anything.

 

What are your thoughts on the Constantinople hard fork? Tell us in the comments section below.

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