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Ethereum Crash Course

We wanted to provide a simple introduction to the Ethereum blockchain and explain its purpose, value, and potential.

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Ethereum Crash Course

With BitPay’s launch of Ethereum support, we wanted to provide a simple introduction to this blockchain and explain its purpose, value, and potential. We have a list of resources at the end for anyone wanting to dive deeper into Ethereum.

What is Ethereum For?

Think about traditional money. If you’re buying a donut, you just need some cash. But if you’re buying a house or renting an apartment or setting up an annual subscription for your internet, it’s not as simple as paying with cash, a check, or a credit card. You have to sign an agreement and trust a third party to honor the terms of that agreement whether that’s a law firm handling your escrow, a landlord handling your rental agreement, or a company handling your annual subscription.

Ethereum Crash Course
For a list of places to spend your cryptocurrency, check out the BitPay directory

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies work well as digital currencies to buy goods and services online. But they have the same limitations as cash when it comes to more complicated transactions like mortgages and apartment leases.

You could build different blockchains for each of these types of purchases. You could have a blockchain just for mortgages, a blockchain just for renting apartments, a blockchain just for subscriptions to Netflix, and so on.

But that creates a problem. Every blockchain needs to be maintained and ones that are too small are vulnerable to attacks.

So what if you made a blockchain that was flexible and powerful enough to build all these kinds of things on top of? Well, Vitalik Buterein had exactly that idea back in 2013 and got to work with Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin, and others to create the Ethereum we know and love today.

How Does Ethereum Work?

Another way to explain the Ethereum blockchain is as a world computer. Think about your computer or smartphone. You can make changes on it, but those changes only are on your machine. For Ethereum, every change is made to this global, public machine (a transaction from A to B updates the blockchain ledger and counts as a change made to the machine).

But Ethereum isn’t just any old machine. It allows for Turing complete programming. If you want, you can take a deep dive into Turing completeness and Turing machines, but, simply put, it means that something that is Turing complete can solve any computational problem on a computing machine. In plainer English, it means you can build any and all kinds of applications on top of Ethereum just like you can build all kinds of software on top of Mac and Windows and Linux.

Ethereum Crash Course
Alan Turing, depicted on the £50 note, aided the Allies in cracking Nazi codes and is one of the fathers of Computer Science.

How do you build stuff for Ethereum? The same way you build smartphone apps or video games or operating systems: with a blockchain programming language. You use a blockchain programming language like Solidity or Vyper to program smart contracts. Smart contracts are computer programs run on the Ethereum network. They will run the same way every time and they can’t be changed (if you want to stop them from running, you have to run a SELFDESTRUCT code, but even that won’t erase their history from the Ethereum blockchain, it’ll just make sure they stop running).

Potential Dangers

If Ethereum can do so much, why wouldn’t other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have the same flexibility and functionality? Why aren’t all blockchains Turing complete? To see why, you can read through a list of things that are Turing complete by accident. Here are some fun examples. First, you can, with the right series of movements, turn Super Mario World

Ethereum Crash Course

into Flappy Bird.

Ethereum Crash Course

As another example, someone else figured out how to beat a Pokemon game in 90 seconds by modifying the code (see the full video here)

In the first case, someone was able to change the entire game into something it wasn’t intended to do. In the second, the player was able to win the game in a way the creators didn’t intend. This stops being all fun and games when the code or software or app you’re using is managing your money. In fact, this amount of freedom offered by Ethereum’s Turing complete design has already affected the community. This is why developers have to be careful when building DApps on Ethereum.

Bright Future

Cryptocurrency is a decade old and Ethereum has hardly been around for half that time. Much like people in the early days of the Internet, PCs, and Smartphones couldn’t have predicted their impact, we can’t even imagine the full impact Ethereum and Web 3.0 will have on the world. Even right now, Stablecoins show that these smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain have amazing potential for businesses making cross-border payments (we’ve already talked about that in a past blog post).

Resources and Additional Reading

Resources for Learning More About Ethereum

Resources about DApps and How to Build Smart Contracts and DApps

Stablecoin Resources

Source: https://bitpay.com/blog/ethereum-crash-course/

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TrustToken and Syscoin Partner on a Stablecoin Bridge

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Decentralized marketplace and e-commerce protocol Syscoin has partnered with the stablecoin platform TrustToken.

The goal of the collaboration is to speed up payments and to provide further solutions to Ethereum’s blockchain. It also means that the five stablecoins of TrustToken, namely TUSD, TGBP, THKD, TCAD, and TAUD, will run on Syscoin’s blockchain and be available for users.

A Collaboration Between Syscoin and TrustToken

According to a release shared with CryptoPotato, the popular decentralized marketplace and e-commerce protocol Syscoin has teamed up with stablecoin platform TrustToken.

Right off the bat, this means that the stablecoins provided by the platform will now run on Syscoin’s blockchain as well. These are TUSD, TGBP, THKD, TCAD, and TAUD.

Stablecoins have grown in popularity over the past few months, mainly because of the DeFi boom, where they are used to enable staking, liquidity provision, and so forth. However, there was also an obvious challenge with all of it – scaling. Supposedly, Syscoin is intended to help with that. Using Z-DAG (Zero Confirmation Directed Acyclic Graph), the protocol claims to be able to settle transactions in less than 10 seconds with comparatively low fees.

The partnership will also enable users to mine two cryptocurrencies at the same time – SYS and BTC.

Distribution of the Roles

While Syscoin’s task would be scalability, TrustToken comes in for the stablecoin part. It’s a platform that aims at an open financial system through a selection of stablecoins.

The stablecoins it offers are collateralized, and it has also partnered with Chainlink, as well as other protocols.

The overall partnership is aimed at creating a solution for scalable and secure token payments at a lower risk interoperability with Ethereum’s network. It should make TrustToken’s stablecoins function quicker and cheaper following the enabling of the bridge.

Speaking on the matter was Syscoin’s Foundation Chairman Jag Sidhu, who said:

“Digital assets have growing needs for better usability, robust decentralized security, and a scalable way of ensuring every transaction complies with regulations. Syscoin uniquely aligns with all of these requirements. We look forward to TrustToken’s family of stablecoins becoming future-proof and gaining significant advantage with Syscoin.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/trusttoken-and-syscoin-partner-on-a-stablecoin-bridge/

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Visa And BlockFi Partner To Release A Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card

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  • The US-based cryptocurrency lending company BlockFi has partnered with the American multinational financial services corporation Visa to bring Bitcoin to the masses.
  • Bloomberg reported that the two US companies will offer a credit card that rewards clients’ purchases with the primary cryptocurrency, instead of traditional options such as cash and airline miles.
  • Dubbed the Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card, it will allow customers to receive 1.5% of their purchases back in BTC. 
  • Should the user spend more than $3,000 in the first three months after receiving the card, he will be entitled to a bonus of $250 in bitcoin. However, the innovative card will come with a $200 annual fee.
  • Evolve Bank & Trust, a subsidiary of Evolve Bancorp Inc, will be the card’s issuer. All three parties involved plan to launch the card in early 2021.
  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BlockFi, Zac Prince, commented that his company is “excited to add credit cards to our suite of products and expand Bitcoin’s accessibility to a broader set of customers.”
  • With the BlockFi partnership, Visa has doubled-down on its endeavors with bitcoin-related collaborations. Earlier this year, the US giant and the BTC-friendly shopping app Fold launched a Visa co-branded debit card that rewards users with up to 10% of BTC back for every dollar purchase on retailers like Hotels.com, Nike, Starbucks, and Uber. 
  • BlockFi raised $50 million in Series C funding earlier this year, and Morgan Creek Capital’s Anthony ‘Pomp’ Pompliano joined its board of directors.
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/visa-and-blockfi-partner-to-release-a-bitcoin-rewards-credit-card/

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Australian Crypto Exchange Accidentally Exposes Over 270,000 Customer Emails

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The Australian cryptocurrency exchange, BTC Markets, has inadvertently exposed more than 270,000 emails of its customers. The company apologized for the inconvenience and reassured that all other data, including users’ funds, is safe.

BTC Markets Exposes Customers’ Emails

A user going by the Twitter handle Stevosxrp.crypto took it to Jack Dorsey’s social media giant and Reddit to first complain about BTC Markets’ screw up. The Australian-based exchange later confirmed the breach on its official Twitter account.

The statement explained that BTC Markets “uses an external system to send client-wide emails.” Although the exchange has used this service for years “without an incident,” including sending test mails, this time, the testing “didn’t pick up that the sample email addresses in the batch were added to the same email, rather than sent individually.”

Consequently, the names and email addresses of account holders were exposed. BTC Markets claimed that this process was instant; therefore, “it was not possible to stop the batch send once the error was realized.”

The CEO of BTC Markets, Caroline Bowler, later revealed that all account holders were affected because the emails were sent in batches.

Funds Are SAFU, But The Damage Is Done

The exchange said that it will “self-report” to the Office of Australian Information Commissioner and “fully comply with the data breach reporting requirements.” Furthermore, the company plans to conduct an internal review.

Despite the data leak, BTC Markets reassured its users that the platform is still secure, no passwords were revealed, and all customers’ funds are safe.

Nevertheless, the exchange suggested that users’ should enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance the security of their accounts.

None of those reassurances seemed to have an effect on the users, though. The Twitter thread explanation was met with numerous complaints from customers.

While most highlighted their disappointment with having their personal emails and names revealed, some took it a step further. One user claimed that the BTC Markets’ name is “now as good as dog s**t.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/australian-crypto-exchange-accidentally-exposes-over-270000-customer-emails/

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