While it’s still early days, Mist, MetaMask and a variety of other browsers look set to make blockchain-based applications accessible to more people than ever before. Even people without a technical background can now potentially build blockchain apps. This is a revolutionary leap for blockchain technology that could bring decentralized applications into the mainstream.
Properties of cryptocurrencies gave them popularity in applications such as a safe haven in banking crises and means of payment, which also led to the cryptocurrency use in controversial settings in the form of online black markets, such as Silk Road.[66] The original Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 and there have been two more versions in use since then. In the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of prominent dark markets increased from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings increased from 18,000 to 32,000.[66]
In August 2019, Coinbase announced that it was targeted by a sophisticated hacking attack attempt in mid-June. This reported attack used spear-phishing and social engineering tactics (including sending fake e-mails from compromised email accounts and created a landing page at the University of Cambridge) and two Firefox browser zero-day vulnerabilities. One of the Firefox vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to escalate privileges from JavaScript on a browser page (CVE-2019–11707) and the second one could allow the attacker to escape the browser sandbox and execute code on the host computer (CVE-2019–11708). Coinbase's security team detected and blocked the attack, the network was not compromised, and no cryptocurrency was stolen.[39][40][41]
An increase in cryptocurrency mining increased the demand of graphics cards (GPU) in 2017.[37] Popular favorites of cryptocurrency miners such as Nvidia's GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 graphics cards, as well as AMD's RX 570 and RX 580 GPUs, doubled or tripled in price – or were out of stock.[38] A GTX 1070 Ti which was released at a price of $450 sold for as much as $1100. Another popular card GTX 1060's 6 GB model was released at an MSRP of $250, sold for almost $500. RX 570 and RX 580 cards from AMD were out of stock for almost a year. Miners regularly buy up the entire stock of new GPU's as soon as they are available.[39]

Syscoin [40]	SYS	SHA-256	2014	Jag Sidhu, Dan Wasyluk, Sebastien DiMichele, Brad Hammerstron, Sebastien Schepis	$0,4 miljard	Gedecentraliseerde munteenheid en met eerste blockchain market platform (begin je eigen blockchain winkel, blockchain based vervanger voor diensten als eBay / Amazon / AliExpress / AlphaBay), SHA-256 proof-of-work and PoS combination with ZDAG [41] (voor het enorm snel verzenden van assets, eigen tokens / coins / stablecoins, heel snel via een gui eigen tokens maken met de Spark wallet software, en dan de Whitelabel Fusion wallet aanpassen naar je eigen token, zeer geschikt voor STO's (tokens als aandelen in een bedrijf), Stablecoins, etc).[42]

Litecoin, however, uses the scrypt algorithm – originally named as s-crypt, but pronounced as ‘script’. This algorithm incorporates the SHA-256 algorithm, but its calculations are much more serialised than those of SHA-256 in bitcoin. Scrypt favours large amounts of high-speed RAM, rather than raw processing power alone. As a result, scrypt is known as a ‘memory hard problem‘.

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IE… I have 50 ETH , and want to buy a ‘widget’ for 25 ETH given a particular set of circumstances (it works, or the temperature is >10c tomorrow). I agree with a seller on the conditions of a contract, and we ‘create’ a contract on an Ethereum platform, with appropriate sign-offs and verification. This could be 2 steps, or it could be 1000 steps. Once established in the ‘smart contract’, if it is indeed >10c tomorrow, the contract automatically shifts 25 ETH to your account and ships me my widget. The results are recorded in the blockchain.

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Despite bringing a number of benefits, decentralized applications aren’t faultless. Because smart contract code is written by humans, smart contracts are only as good as the people who write them. Code bugs or oversights can lead to unintended adverse actions being taken. If a mistake in the code gets exploited, there is no efficient way in which an attack or exploitation can be stopped other than obtaining a network consensus and rewriting the underlying code. This goes against the essence of the blockchain which is meant to be immutable. Also, any action taken by a central party raises serious questions about the decentralized nature of an application.

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Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a distributed public blockchain network. Although there are some significant technical differences between the two, the most important distinction to note is that Bitcoin and Ethereum differ substantially in purpose and capability. Bitcoin offers one particular application of blockchain technology, a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. While the Bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of digital currency (bitcoins), the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application.

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Smart contract is just a phrase used to describe a computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Because smart contracts run on the blockchain, they run exactly as programmed without any possibility of censorship, downtime, fraud or third-party interference.
Homero Josh Garza, who founded the cryptocurrency startups GAW Miners and ZenMiner in 2014, acknowledged in a plea agreement that the companies were part of a pyramid scheme, and pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2015. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission separately brought a civil enforcement action against Garza, who was eventually ordered to pay a judgment of $9.1 million plus $700,000 in interest. The SEC's complaint stated that Garza, through his companies, had fraudulently sold "investment contracts representing shares in the profits they claimed would be generated" from mining.[70]

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Using Ethereum’s “Turing complete” smart contract language, Solidity, developers are able to deploy a set of instructions to the blockchain that operate indefinitely with a high degree of finality and fraud-resistance. With the first block being mined in July 2015, Ethereum has since become the largest smart contract platform of its kind, and the second largest blockchain of all time as measured by market capitalization.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous in that the cryptocurrency within a wallet is not tied to people, but rather to one or more specific keys (or "addresses").[41] Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain. Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.[citation needed]

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There is ongoing research on how to use formal verification to express and prove non-trivial properties. A Microsoft Research report noted that writing solid smart contracts can be extremely difficult in practice, using The DAO hack to illustrate this problem. The report discussed tools that Microsoft had developed for verifying contracts, and noted that a large-scale analysis of published contracts is likely to uncover widespread vulnerabilities. The report also stated that it is possible to verify the equivalence of a Solidity program and the EVM code.[41]

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In Ethereum all smart contracts are stored publicly on every node of the blockchain, which has costs.[56] Being a blockchain means it is secure by design and is an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. The downside is that performance issues arise in that every node is calculating all the smart contracts in real time, resulting in lower speeds.[56] As of January 2016, the Ethereum protocol could process about 25 transactions per second.[56] In comparison, the Visa payment platform processes 45,000 payments per second leading some to question the scalability of Ethereum.[57] On 19 December 2016, Ethereum exceeded one million transactions in a single day for the first time.[58]

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Despite the fallout from The DAO hack, Ethereum is moving forward and looking to a bright future. By providing a user-friendly platform that enables people to harness the power of blockchain technology, Ethereum is speeding up the decentralization of the world economy. Decentralized applications have the potential to profoundly disrupt hundreds of industries including finance, real estate, academia, insurance, healthcare and the public sector amongst many others.
There are also purely technical elements to consider. For example, technological advancement in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin result in high up-front costs to miners in the form of specialized hardware and software.[87] Cryptocurrency transactions are normally irreversible after a number of blocks confirm the transaction. Additionally, cryptocurrency private keys can be permanently lost from local storage due to malware, data loss or the destruction of the physical media. This prevents the cryptocurrency from being spent, resulting in its effective removal from the markets.[88]
Bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous in that the cryptocurrency within a wallet is not tied to people, but rather to one or more specific keys (or "addresses").[41] Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain. Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.[citation needed]

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Vroege pogingen om versleuteling (cryptografie) met elektronische valuta te combineren stammen van David Chaum, die DigiCash en ecash bedacht om elektronische geldtransacties versleuteld te kunnen verzenden.[20] De eerste echte cryptomunt was Bitcoin dat in 2009 door een softwaremaker met pseudoniem Satoshi Nakamoto werd ontworpen.[21] Dit systeem gebruikt de hashmethode SHA-256 als het proof-of-work-schema.[22]

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Later werd in andere cryptogeldsoorten gestreefd naar het decentraliseren, waardoor censuur op de munt bemoeilijkt zou worden, en de anonimiteit vergroot. Zo ontstonden Namecoin (een poging om met gedecentraliseerde DNS te werken), Litecoin (die scrypt als proof-of-work gebruikt en snellere transactiebevestigingen kan versturen) en PPCoin (die een hybride proof-of-work/proof-of-stake met reservecodeblokken gebruikt, en een inflatie van ongeveer 1% kent).[7] Veel vergelijkbare andere cryptogeldsoorten ontstonden daarna in rap tempo. Ze hadden echter niet allemaal succes omdat veel soorten maar weinig vernieuwing hadden, en de markten al volliepen met de al bestaande cryptogeldsoorten.

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In February 2014 the world's largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, declared bankruptcy. The company stated that it had lost nearly $473 million of their customers' bitcoins likely due to theft. This was equivalent to approximately 750,000 bitcoins, or about 7% of all the bitcoins in existence. The price of a bitcoin fell from a high of about $1,160 in December to under $400 in February.[67]

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In March 2017, various blockchain start-ups, research groups, and Fortune 500 companies announced the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) with 30 founding members.[16] By May, the nonprofit organization had 116 enterprise members—including ConsenSys, CME Group, Cornell University's research group, Toyota Research Institute, Samsung SDS, Microsoft, Intel, J. P. Morgan, Cooley LLP, Merck KGaA, DTCC, Deloitte, Accenture, Banco Santander, BNY Mellon, ING, and National Bank of Canada.[17][18][19] By July 2017, there were over 150 members in the alliance, including recent additions MasterCard, Cisco Systems, Sberbank and Scotiabank.[20][21]
Cryptogeld wordt geregistreerd in een blockchain. Soms is er een aparte blockchain voor één cryptovaluta, in andere gevallen registreert één blockchain meerdere valuta en/of ook andere data. Een bedrag van een bepaald aantal maal de munteenheid is een output van een transactie die gebruikt is of kan worden als input van een latere transactie. De gegevens per transactie zijn de publieke sleutel van de nieuwe eigenaar, een hash van de combinatie van de gegevens van de vorige transactie en deze publieke sleutel, en de digitale handtekening van de vorige eigenaar. De nieuwe eigenaar kan vaak zelf niet gemakkelijk controleren of een van de vorige eigenaren het bedrag niet meermalen heeft uitgegeven. Dat doet een netwerk van knooppunten die elk een overzicht hebben van alle (recente) transacties.[4] Het kan daardoor even duren voordat de nieuwe eigenaar hier voldoende zekerheid over heeft. Dat duurt in ieder geval tot de transactie in een blok is verwerkt; dit kan, afhankelijk van de cryptovaluta, lang duren als de betaler een lage fee betaalt in verhouding tot het aantal bytes (onafhankelijk van het bedrag van de betaling zelf). Vervolgens wordt naarmate nieuwe blokken op het blok met de transactie voortbouwen het door het netwerk terugdraaien van de transactie snel steeds onwaarschijnlijker.

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Homero Josh Garza, who founded the cryptocurrency startups GAW Miners and ZenMiner in 2014, acknowledged in a plea agreement that the companies were part of a pyramid scheme, and pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2015. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission separately brought a civil enforcement action against Garza, who was eventually ordered to pay a judgment of $9.1 million plus $700,000 in interest. The SEC's complaint stated that Garza, through his companies, had fraudulently sold "investment contracts representing shares in the profits they claimed would be generated" from mining.[70]
Bij gebruik van een webwallet worden de private sleutels beheerd door een vertrouwde derde partij. Sommige webgebaseerde portemonnee-providers gebruiken twee factoren (zoals Google Authenticator ) voor extra beveiliging. In dat geval is een keylogger niet genoeg voor een hacker om de inloggegevens te stelen en toegang te krijgen tot de portefeuille. Cryptocurrency-uitwisselingen koppelen de portemonnee van de gebruiker aan hun centraal beheerde portefeuille (s). Bijvoorbeeld: bij het verhandelen van bitcoins tussen gebruikers op de Kraken-uitwisseling, worden de transacties geschreven in hun privé-grootboek (off-chain-transactie). Alleen wanneer een gebruiker zijn cryptocurrency in de exchange wil invoeren of wanneer hij zijn cryptocurrency uit de exchange wil halen, wordt de transactie op de openbare bitcoin blockchain (on-chain-transactie) geschreven. Om een transactie te initiëren of te verifiëren, maakt de cryptocurrency-portefeuille verbinding met een client of knooppunt op het netwerk om het verzoek te verwerken. Een veiligere manier voor het bewaren van de munten is door gebruik te maken van een hardware wallet[24]. Deze kan thuis worden bewaard, en er komt geen derde partij bij kijken. Met die wallet wordt er een private key gegenereerd waar alleen de gebruiker bij kan. Deze moet goed bewaard worden: als de hardware wallet kwijt is geraakt zijn de munten voor altijd verdwenen.
Vaak wordt een proof-of-work-schema gebruikt voor een systeem van consensus op basis van rekenkracht dat bescherming moet bieden tegen manipulatie en vervalsing. Er worden vaak meerdere transacties verwerkt in ieder blok (bij bitcoin bijvoorbeeld per blok alle transacties in een tijdsinterval van ongeveer 10 minuten, dat zijn er ongeveer 3000 in december 2017[5][6]). Zodra een blok gevonden is wordt het openbaar gemaakt. De andere nodes controleren het, en de nodes gaan op basis hiervan en van de inmiddels nieuw uitgevoerde transacties beginnen met het zoeken naar weer een nieuw blok.

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Ethereum enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. A decentralized application or Dapp serve some particular purpose to its users. Bitcoin, for example, is a Dapp that provides its users with a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. Because decentralized applications are made up of code that runs on a blockchain network, they are not controlled by any individual or central entity.

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Smart contract is just a phrase used to describe a computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Because smart contracts run on the blockchain, they run exactly as programmed without any possibility of censorship, downtime, fraud or third-party interference.
Litecoin was released via an open-source client on GitHub on October 7, 2011 by Charlie Lee, a Google employee and former Engineering Director at Coinbase.[2][3] The Litecoin network went live on October 13, 2011. It was a fork of the Bitcoin Core client, differing primarily by having a decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes), increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm (scrypt, instead of SHA-256), and a slightly modified GUI. 

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Een initial coin offering (ICO) is een vorm crowdfunding, waarbij een bedrijf of organisatie (al of niet met cryptogeld als hoofdactiviteit) het publiek tegen betaling digitale tokens (een vorm van cryptogeld) verstrekt. Bij een meerderheid van de ICO's wordt gebruik gemaakt van de blockchain van Ethereum, onder meer wegens Ethereums smart contract feature (ERC20 tokenstandaard). In veel andere gevallen wordt een eigen blockchain gebruikt. Verder is er nog het Waves platform, dat niet alleen zijn eigen cryptovaluta heeft, maar ook ontworpen is om organisaties bij te staan bij hun eigen ICO.[28]
Ethereum enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. A decentralized application or Dapp serve some particular purpose to its users. Bitcoin, for example, is a Dapp that provides its users with a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. Because decentralized applications are made up of code that runs on a blockchain network, they are not controlled by any individual or central entity.

Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a distributed public blockchain network. Although there are some significant technical differences between the two, the most important distinction to note is that Bitcoin and Ethereum differ substantially in purpose and capability. Bitcoin offers one particular application of blockchain technology, a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. While the Bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of digital currency (bitcoins), the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application.
On 21 November 2017, the Tether cryptocurrency announced they were hacked, losing $31 million in USDT from their primary wallet.[71] The company has 'tagged' the stolen currency, hoping to 'lock' them in the hacker's wallet (making them unspendable). Tether indicates that it is building a new core for its primary wallet in response to the attack in order to prevent the stolen coins from being used.

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This dramatic volatility attracted global attention with the mainstream media running near-daily reports on the price of Ether. The publicity generated has been a major boon for the ecosystem, attracting thousands of new developers and business ventures alike. In 2018 the amount raised through Ethereum-enabled ICOs reached almost $8bn, increasing from just $90m in 2016. While the price of Ethereum has faced extreme volatility over the years, it is this volatility which has driven interest. After every boom and bust cycle, Ethereum comes out the other side with a fundamentally stronger platform and a broader developer community backing it. These fundamental improvements would suggest a positive long-term outlook on the price of Ethereum.
Ethereum-based customized software and networks, independent from the public Ethereum chain, are being tested by enterprise software companies.[47] Interested parties include Microsoft, IBM, JPMorgan Chase,[33][48] Deloitte,[49] R3,[50] Innovate UK (cross-border payments prototype).[51] Barclays, UBS and Credit Suisse are experimenting with Ethereum.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme.[14][15] In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid.[16]

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