Learn Blockchain

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and is exchanged throughout the world.  The currency was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto.  The currency exists independently from central banking authority.  Bitcoin’s advantages include low transaction fees and near instant transaction times.  Bitcoin uses blockchain technology to create a peer to peer economic network of absolute immutable truth in transactions.  

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A blockchain is an incorruptible decentralized ledger of economic transactions.  Every transaction is posted on a block until the block has reached it’s maximum capacity.  At that time a new block begins and is added to the chain.  Every transaction is visible with 100% transparency and cannot be altered.  

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You can think of crytpocurrency as digital cash, or a medium of exchange stored on the blockchain.  This currency will exist in a network of peers.  Every peer participating in the network has a complete history of all transactions and account balances for complete transparency.  There are several confirmations that take place within the network before transactions are finalized.  

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A distributed ledger is unique in the sense that it has public witnesses. The digital data is stored and maintained on a string of decentralized computers.  The information is secured by using cryptography. Each user in the network can access the information using their individual private keys.

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A smart contract is an agreement between parties that resides on the blockchain.  What makes a smart contract so appetizing is that it automatically enforces the obligations of the contract without waiting for a third party arbitrator.  The smart contract directly controls the transfer of digital currency or assets between parties involved.

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Ethereum exists in attempt to replace third party data holders.  This network, or ecosystem as many of these networks are referred to, specializes in smart contract deployment.  Ethereum’s premise is that it can build a world computer.  With all of it’s nodes, data no longer has to be stored on servers and clouds.  In essence, you are the one in control of your data stored on Ethereum’s blockchain which you access with your private key.

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An exchange is a place where individuals can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency.  Some exchanges such as Coinbase and Gemini allow purchasing through fiat currency (ie USD,) to purchase cryptocurrency.  Other exchanges such as Bittrex and Binance allow the trading of cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency.  The prices fluctuate depending on the supply and demand, similar to other marketplaces.

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Buying bitcoin can be a seamless process and is not something to be intimidated of.  There are a number of exchanges one could go to for this.  Coinbase or Gemini would be a good place for a beginner to start.  Simply go to www.coinbase.com or www.gemini.com and hit the “Sign Up” button.  You will then verify your information and link your bank account to the exchange.  If you have questions during the process, both Coinbase and Gemini have pretty responsive support teams that can walk you through the process.

Bitcoin Exchanges

Mining can be thought of as a twofold process.  First, mining is the process of new coins being released into the ecosystem.  Miners work through a computationally difficult process to unlock new coins and are rewarded for their time and energy.  Second, mining involves verifying transactions that take place on the blockchain.  Remember, these networks are decentralized distributed ledgers that are sharing information across the world.  Miners allow confirmations of these transactions to sustain complete accuracy.

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More and more you will hear this term come up with different coins that allow you to stake them in individual desktop wallets.  A master node is simply a node with the highest distinction and wallet balances.  If you recall earlier in blockchain explanation, information is constantly being shared, processed, and validated through the ecosystem by nodes.  Master nodes are privy to higher rewards because their stake in the system is higher.  Depending on the circumstance, the masternodes may be asked to do more computationally difficult work than the average node.

A Bitcoin Futures Contract is basically betting on the future price of Bitcoin.  This terminology is becoming more prevalent in the industry because the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange)  is going live with Bitcoin Future Contracts in December, 2017.  If investors want to open a positive position then they go with buy contracts.  If investors want to open a negative position, then they go with sell contracts.

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More and more you will be hearing about “alt” coins, short for alternative coins.  These coins all have different functionality and use cases.  As mentioned in “What is an Exchange” section, we recommend using either Bittrex or Binance to purchase these coins.  This process would entail you transferring your bitcoin off of coinbase or Gemini, and sending it over to Bittrex or Binance.  The first few times can be a little nerve racking, but after you see the speed and ease of use you will understand why we believe this is the wave of the future.  

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We embrace cold storage hardware wallet use for optimum security in this space.  This is your private key/signature that you never have to display on your computer monitor to access your wallet.  If you visit https://www.fullhodl.com/product/ledger-nano-s/ we offer a full tutorial and write up on the Ledger hardware wallet and it’s exemplary security functions for cryptocurrency.  If this doesn’t sound like a viable option for you, you can look into other desktop wallets such as JAXX.

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Ledger Nano S


It’s very important to take proper steps to ensure the security of your currencies.  It is of our opinion that a lot of instances of wallets being compromised could have been avoided.  One way we have seen people get their coins stolen is by having malware on their computer with a hacker being able to see them type in their private key.  If you had a Ledger hardware wallet, however, you wouldn’t be typing that private key on the screen because it’s held in your device.  Another common way coins are stolen are through phishing posts or emails where an unfortunate gullible hodler gives information or sends coins to a hacker’s account.  It is always very important to do your research, take your time, and know the outfits you are dealing with.  

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We consider the exchanges we previously mentioned (Binance, Bittrex, Coinbase, Gemini) as well as some others, reputable and safe in this space.  That being said, anything online can potentially be compromised and it is imperative to take necessary steps to ensure you are doing everything in your power to protect yourself.  For example, using two-factor authentication on every exchange is an excellent tool to help secure your account.  Read about two-factor authentication here: https://www.pointsharp.com/solutions/two-factor-authentication-2fa/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIpdiW54bv1wIVk7bACh1MewsAEAAYBCAAEgLjavD_BwE

It’s a good rule of thumb to take any coins you aren’t currently trading off the exchanges and put them in your cold storage hardware wallet for added protection.  When copying and pasting addresses make sure you are going into/out of the correct wallet every time.  A lot of common pitfalls are mainly user error.