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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.
Sup folks! This is the final one of the catch up series. Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (15 Nov - 21 Nov'19):submitted by abhijoysarkar to ParachuteToken [link] [comments]
With the latest update in ParJar, you can now tip crypto to your friends pegged to fiat. For example, if you were ever stuck on “How do I send $PAR tokens worth 10 USD to Cap?”, you can now simply type “/tip 10 USD PAR” and boom! ParJar does the rest for you. Awesome isn’t it? Last week we didn’t even notice that ParJar had been featured on a number of crypto publications. Cap found out this week. From Decrypt to TronWeekly to BitcoinExchangeGuide, ParJar made a big splash everywhere. Friggin amazing! PAR4PAR lottery entered stage 7. 350k $PAR up for grabs. Charlotte's Math trivia in TTR was super fun. 10 questions, 2500 $PAR each. Doc Vic (from Cuba) made a group for CoD Mobile players from Parachute. Join in if interested.
No more wondering “How much is 5 USD in $PAR?” when tipping. Yay!
In this week’s creative contest (@captainparachute #fanciness) by Jason, Parachuters had to “draw fancy outfits for captain”. Tons of $PAR given out for making Captain fabulous. Haha. Weekly Parenas are back. This week’s Parena saw Carlos take home a cool 25k $PAR from the 50k $PAR pot by beating Brian in a quick finale. This week’s Two-for-Tuesday’s theme was live in concert bands. An epic Tuesday ensued. In this week's #PFFL update, Hang (9-2) has moved to first place with Clinton following closely at 8-3. Chris, Alexis and Andy are in third position with 7-4. For #wholesomewed this week, Parachuters shared pivotal events from their lives that made them what they are. As a Helium hotspot operator, Cap and Ice travelled to a meetup this week in NYC to explore synergies.
Peace Love’s late entry for last week’s #Parichristmas. Can you identify the face? Haha
Catch up on the latest at aXpire from CEO Gary Markham’s inaugural State of the Market episode. Plus, there’s the Week 46 update video by Joakim as well. This week’s 20k $AXPR burn can be tracked here. Do you work at a Law firm that is looking to improve profitability? Look no further. Bilr is here to help. Have a read of this article to know more. The ERC20-BEP2 swap bridge is now back online. Check out the cool new promo video of the 2gether card. Founder Salvador Casquero will be part of a webinar discussion with Manager Focus on digital currencies on the 28th. Mark your calendars! CEO Ramón Ferraz's full interview with Emprendiendo.TV from South Summit which happened several weeks back was published this week. He also wrote about DeFi (Decentralised Finance) and its impact on the financial sector in a recent CryptoDaily UK article. The story behind the present branding of XIO can be read in this tweet thread. A new gif contest was started just before of the reveal of the first set of nominated startups for the XIO incubator. Hope you had a chance to make a submission. The Birdchain community was invited this week to vote for their favorite entry in the Copywrite Challenge. Voting will be open till the 27th. Plus, a new referral bonus was started. Woot woot! Did you know that you could earn 5% interest for holding $ETHOS on Voyager? Read more about it here. The latest update of the Voyager app was released this week.
Thanks for making this ParJar branded coupon/label, Jose. I can already see so many uses for this
Tron is now live on the Switch-backed McAfeeDex. Its volume on the SwitchDex network can also be tracked from DappRadar. The Dex supports 70 languages as of now and will become as close to a DAO as possible by decentralising decision making from 2020. Mineable featured Fantom $FTM in his list of 7 promising cryptos video. If you are looking to stake $FTM when mainnet goes live, make sure to read this article to understand how it will work. For the latest roundup from Fantomverse, click here. And welcome to the $FTM fam, Samuel! The voting for the #UptrenndOC contest finalists was conducted. BeInCrypto joined Uptrennd this week. $1UP is now listed on P2PB2B exchange. The crew will be covering CoinPoint's Annual VIP Networking Party next year as a media partner. Congratulations to the winners of the ETH Prediction contest for winning 2k $1UP tokens. Sweet! Part I of the Uptrennd Sharing Contest got off to a roaring start. For the latest scoop on District0x, check out the District Weekly. The District Registry article in the education portal has been updated in preparation of its launch. How to win over customers in the Fintech space? Hydro breaks it down for you in this article. The Hydro Community Content Initiative looks at creative inputs from the community to spread the word on Hydro. The project won an international competition called APIficator hosted by Sia Partners at The Met in NYC. APIficator is an open innovation challenge that looks for the best banking and finance APIs from around the world. Woohoo! As Vault prepares for a 2020 launch, here’s a quick product update.
Views from the Hydrogen HQ are to die for
If you want to see Silent Notary’s $SNTR token listed on Halodex, then don’t forget to vote for IDLedgers in the Halodex Listing Contest. Interested to become a Sentivate Ambassador? Get in touch with the crew. There will also be an Advocate Program for busy folks. Following the community's vote from a few weeks back to have more ELI5 content on core web technologies in video format, the team announced that they will be starting a podcast soon from their new office in Pittsburgh. Scott Melker (The Wolf Of All Streets) joined as an advisor to the project this week. Stay tuned to the upcoming AMAs to get in on exclusive updates. One of them will have more details on Artifacts. OST CEO Jason Goldberg wrote in depth about how OST’s tech makes Pepo such a powerful app. Pepo also got covered in detailed articles on Cointelegraph and Blockchain.news. Decrypt also did a brief feature of $OST. A Merkle Tree is a data structure that allows for quick verification in a large amount of data. SelfKey team published an article that explains how Merkle Trees make blockchains efficient. They also put together an eye-opening list of major data breaches in 2019. But what do hackers do with the breached data? Click here to find out. Busy week at Pynk with the crew travelling to Expanse Summit to speak on "Investing with AI" and then to Shift Conference in Croatia (where they made it to the finals) followed by FintechMatters in Vienna (where co-founder Mark Little talked about Crowd Wisdom) and finally to Slush in Helsinki (for biz dev).
Signing up for Pepo is pretty straightforward
Shuffle Monster’s $SHUF token is now a default token on Uniswap. Wibson team attended the Games Changer Summit hosted by Forbes Argentina this week. Head of Research Carlos Sarraute travelled to the University of San Andrés to train attendees on Big Data and talk shop. Read up on the Wibson journey so far from this article. Harmony had proposed a new staking mechanism called Effective Proof-of-Stake (EPoS) back in August. This week, it started to come to fruition with the latest commit. Click here to see what it takes to get it live. Harmony's Java SDK was released as well. Digital marketer Nick Vasilich shared his learnings from working on the development of Harmony DAO from the ground up. To stay upto date with Harmony news in your local language, don’t forget to follow the regional accounts. Welcome to Harmony, Wen! In this week's Harmony Insights episode, we learnt about market making. $ONE was listed on DeFi platform Constant which enables P2P lending. On that occasion, a special deal of lower interest rates for borrowing against $ONE was announced. Click here for pictures from Binance Turkey meetup that Harmony crew visited. Continuing from last week’s Harmony Bytes, the challenges of staking were discussed in the latest episode. As mentioned last week, the team was in Odessa as part of #CryptourUkraine. Next week, Vinnytsia.
And with that, we are 100% updated with the latest week. Yay! See you again with another weekly update. Ciao!
Binance held a two-day hackathon during Binance Blockchain Week.Get to know the winners of this competition, plus some of the highlights! At Binance, we support developers who constantly come up with solutions for improving the blockchain ecosystem, most recently through the just-concluded Binance SAFU Hackathon.Held in Singapore during the Binance Blockchain Week, more than 100 developers ... Visualization of a Merkle tree, L1-L4 are Bitcoin transactions. Now, the cool thing about Merkle trees is that someone that only knows the Merkle root/top hash can verify if a transaction is part ... How Merkle Tree Works in Bitcoin. A hash function is a process of converting input data into a bit string of a specified length. The received string, the hash, is very dependent on the array of incoming data. If even one character from the entire array is changed, the resulting hash will take on a completely different value. All transactions in the Bitcoin block are strings in hexadecimal ... Why are Merkle roots used in Bitcoin? There are a handful of use cases for Merkle trees, but here we will focus on their importance in blockchains.Merkle trees are essential in Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies. They’re an integral component of every block, where they can be found in the block headers.To get the leaves for our tree, we use the transaction hash (the TXID) of every ... What is a Merkle Tree? What’s the difference between a hard fork and a soft fork? How does Bitcoin development work? Is Bitcoin fungible? The question must not be related to Binance Exchange or Customer service questions. The question must have a detailed description. Duplicate questions do not count towards the bounty. If there are duplicates, the first question posted that meets the ... The world-class trading platform, Bitcoin.com Exchange announced it’s participating in the Cryptopia Exchange rescue consortium in order to help redistribute coins to customers. Bitcoin.com’s ... Many Bitcoin investors will never know how a Merkle Tree works or even what it is. But, if you are the kind of person that really likes to know how something works then this is a good starting point. As you delve deeper into Merkle Trees and what they mean to the blockchain, you are also going to need to become familiar with things like nodes and how Bitcoin transactions are processed. Merkle Tree – Definition und Nutzen. In der Kryptographie und Informatik ist ein Hash-Baum oder Merkle-Tree ein Baum, in dem jeder Blattknoten mit dem Hash eines Datenblocks und jeder Nicht-Blattknoten mit dem kryptographischen Hash der Labels seiner Kindknoten beschriftet ist.. Hash Trees ermöglichen eine effiziente und sichere Verifikation der Inhalte großer Datenstrukturen.
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