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Wallets

What is a hardware wallet and why do I need one?

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Hardware wallet
Hardware wallets such as Ledger Nano S are more secure

One of the safest & easiest ways to store your ETH, Tokens, ETC, BTC, and many other coins is with a hardware wallet. This is a special type of bitcoin wallet which stores the user’s private keys in a secure hardware device. Hardware wallets have significant advantages over standard software wallets.

 What is a wallet?

The wallet is an application that stores your cryptocurrency and allows you to send and receive payments. In essence, it is a secure digital wallet.  There are a variety of wallets each with their pros and cons.

As of January 2018, there are over thirteen hundred cryptocurrencies.  The most well known is bitcoin. The cryptocurrency itself is not stored in the wallet. In the case of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies derived from it, the cryptocurrency is decentrally stored and maintained in a publicly available ledgerEvery piece of cryptocurrency has a private key. With the private key, it is possible to write in the public ledger, effectively spending the associated cryptocurrency.

 Why hardware wallets keep your cryptocurrency safer

Breakthrough in Cryptocurrency Technology

Cryptocurrency technology represents a huge new breakthrough in technology that will affect all of us in the long term. The cryptocurrency market is becoming ever popular with the surge in people deciding to invest in cryptocurrencies. We’ve already surpassed $800 billion as the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies. That’s a lotta money! Today, there are still some technical complexities to managing cryptocurrencies in things called wallets. Due to their design, the wallets are a prime target for hackers and malware that might infect one of your devices. To that end, we want to help you take care of your cryptocurrencies so that you can sleep soundly knowing your Bitcoins are safe.

Private Key Security Flaws

For the majority of cryptocurrencies today, including Bitcoin, you have access to your funds by owning something called a “private key”.  Each private key has a which has a corresponding “address.” Unfortunately, the way cryptocurrencies are designed means that whoever can access your private key has access to all of your funds in that address. Although there are good reasons for that design, it is the individual’s responsibility to keep their private keys safe from hackers and losing them. This is easier said than done. A quick Google search reveals many instances of people being hacked and having their funds stolen. People also lose their private keys – usually by throwing the hard drive away. So, what is there that allows you access to your coins, but makes it impossible for a hacker to compromise your private keys? Enter, the Hardware Wallet!

Hardware Wallets provide optimum security

Hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano S, contain your private keys and never expose them – not even to you! This ensures you can never copy it into the wrong box, send it to the wrong person, or share it in any way. Crucially, a hacker can never read it either. However, what good is your private key locked inside your hardware wallet – you need to be able to spend your bitcoins! Fortunately, as well as providing the highest level of security, hardware wallets also integrate with software wallets and enable you to send and receive your cryptocurrencies once you’ve input your pin code.

Multiple coin control

There are many hardware wallet offerings out there and you’ll need one that supports your particular cryptocurrency. You can find out which cryptocurrencies a wallet supports by referring to that particular vendor’s website. The Ledger Nano S, in particular, supports many cryptocurrencies and is most likely the best choice. However, double check if you’re interested in an obscure cryptocurrency.

Which hardware wallet do we recommend?

The Ledger Nano S  wallet is currently our recommended hardware wallet. It has great currency support, developed by a great company and continues to add and more cryptocurrencies to its supported assets. Ideally suited to everyone, whether you want regular access to your wallet, or to use it as a safe cold storage mechanism.

While there are alternative hardware wallets out there, there are none we’d prefer to use. Any reputable hardware wallet should give you a huge increase in security if configured properly, its just a case of ensuring your hardware wallet supports the cryptocurrencies you want to store on it.

What happens if you lose or damage your hardware wallet?

In the case of loss or theft, your coins are still safe in your hardware wallet. As long as no-one else knows your pin code, then you need not worry. The road to recovery involves ordering a new hardware wallet of the same model and restoring it as per the vendor’s instructions. You will then have access to all your coins again. If you forget your pin the same applies. Simply enter the wrong pin 3 times and your hardware wallet will factory reset.  You can then contact the vendor to reconfigure your hardware wallet from scratch and set up a new pin.

Conclusion

To keep your cryptocurrencies safe, there is no better way than to use a properly configured hardware wallet. The initial upfront cost pales in comparison to what might happen if someone was able to compromise your private keys. Just think of the consequences if one of your devices fell victim to a phishing attack or other malware. Of course, another good option is to use an exchange like Coinbase .When properly configured with two-factor authentication, this can be a good option. However, do bear in mind that in the past exchanges have suffered hacks, compromises and insider dealing.  If you store your coins on an exchange, then there’s a chance they could be compromised. This is because quite simply,’someone else has total control of your coins and you probably shouldn’t trust that person’.  If you use a hardware wallet and don’t share your security details with anyone then you are as safe as you can be.

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Technology

Finally! A Cardano Mobile Wallet!

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The last few weeks have been pretty exciting for us at Planet Blockchain. With Coinbase proposing to list 3 of our top currencies, we’ve been working hard on our own contribution to the cryptocurrency space.

A real pain point for us when using Cardano was having to use Daedalus and sync it with the blockchain. This takes ages and is prone to require restarting Daedalus, and/or your computer! No thank you! Even when you achieve the Nirvana state of a sync’ed Daedalus, you now have to input your 12 secret words, aka your private key, to restore your wallet. If you’re not on a device you own and trust then this is obviously not an option. The owner of the device, or, heaven forbid, website, you enter your 12 secret words into has the ability to take all your funds, if they want to. They might do it instantly, they might do it tomorrow, or they might do it in a years time.

So what’s the solution?

A light wallet, or mobile wallet, where the only information you put into the wallet is your public address, or addresses. There is absolutely no way to take someone’s funds just from their address, which makes this a secure solution to looking up your balance. Many of these solutions exist for popular currencies like Bitcoin. If only there was one for Cardano.

Luckily for you, dear reader, we’ve built one.

Once you’ve set up your wallet through Daedalus, you can copy and paste your addresses into the mobile wallet in order to track your balance(s). Make sure to always protect your back up phrase for your wallet and never share it with anyone. Including us, and any other wallet software.

Check out the app and let us know what you think

                           

We at Planet Blockchain are super excited by Cardano and the cryptocurrency space in general and commit to bringing you the highest integrity information on the topics we care about the most. Thank you for being part of our small community and we hope you enjoy the app. You can read more about it here.

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Exchanges

The Easy Way To Buy Bitcoin

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When you first buy Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, it can be a very confusing process. There are dozens of options available and an overwhelming amount of information is required to dig through them all. We’ve got a very straightforward approach laid out that is the way all the cool kids do it, to super simply buy some Bitcoin. Literally, it couldn’t be simpler than this. Read on, courageous internet hero!

Other exchanges are available, but we’re not laying out options here. We’re giving you answers, and the answer is to use Coinbase. Simple. It’s the best company in the world for first-time buyers of cryptocurrency, without a doubt. Sign up here and get $10 free.

Coinbase is a San Francisco based company licensed by New York’s Department of Financial Services, to offer Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. It has over 8 million clients and serves over 30 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore and much of Europe. It accepts PayPal, bank transfers and credit/debit cards.

Before you know it, you’ll have a bitcoin wallet with an address. Easy! If you like, you can even get their mobile app to make things really easy to use your cryptocurrencies, however, you don’t need it. To our next challenge!

Buy Some Bitcoin

Now that we have a Coinbase account set up, we’re able to buy some Bitcoin. Buying, for instance, 0.1 Bitcoin can be done through the Coinbase interface and is no different to buying a table online. Simply enter your card details, buy a small amount, and wait till you can see your balance reflected in your bitcoin wallet. It really could not be simpler. At that point, with some bitcoin sitting in a Coinbase wallet, we could stop. It’s been a long weary journey – but you are now the proud, heroic owner of some Bitcoin. However, we must press on, for we are not out of the woods yet! One final step lies in front of us, with a bonus option for those dealing in larger sums of money. Bravely, we must continue!

Two Factor Authentication

bitcoin image

We must enable something called Two Factor Authentication (2FA) on our Coinbase account. To not do this would be reckless. Luckily, setting it up is easy and Coinbase will mostly guide you through the process. Go into account settings, and follow the guidance there. All this means is that when logging in there are two things at play – the password you use to log in, and then a special code only you have. So if someone manages to steal your password, they can’t just steal all your precious cryptocurrency treasure. With hackers getting more and more sophisticated this is a must have these days, so please please please invest one minute to set this up.

At this point, for most people, the journey is over. You are now the proud owner of a secure Coinbase account that contains some Bitcoin. Or maybe you bought some Ethereum or Litecoin. For as long as Coinbase remains secure and continues to do business, then your Bitcoin will be available to you. Of course, if something catastrophic destroyed Coinbase, then your cryptocurrency investment would be lost. However, holding a small number of coins on an exchange with two-factor authentication enabled is a reasonable approach, all things considered. For the lucky ones, your journey is over and may the force be with you. For those prepared to step once more into the breach…

Hardware Wallets

A hardware wallet will set you back around ~$120 so unless you’re investing at least a few hundred dollars, then they probably aren’t worth it, but nonetheless are an option. For those wanting to take control of their cryptocurrency then a hardware wallet is the answer and for most people, the Ledger Nano S is the perfect option. An alternative is Trezor although they supportfewer cryptocurrencies.

Purchasing a Nano is easy and setting one up once it arrives takes a few minutes and full instructions are provided. Once you’re up and running with your Ledger you’re free to send all your cryptocurrencies from Coinbase to your Ledger, where they will be securely stored. Make sure you enable two-factor authentication on your Ledger as well.

The downside of storing your cryptocurrency on your Ledger, of course, is that your 24-word recovery seed is the key to the kingdom you have built. To lose it risks losing access to your cryptocurrency forever. So make sure you understand how and where you will store it, such that if you lose your Ledger, you’re able to recover.

And that, brave warrior, brings us to the end of our journey. You now have a cryptocurrency investment residing on Coinbase, the world’s most trusted and reliable cryptocurrency exchange to date, or on a hardware wallet which protects your cryptocurrency from everyone but yourself. Stay safe and be sure to check out some of our other articles on the future of blockchain technologies. Until next time, young padawan.

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Proof of Stake

Is Nav Coin built for the future of cryptocurrency?

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Nav Coin graphic

What is Nav Coin?

The key differentiating factor between Nav Coin and Bitcoin is that Nav Coin is built on a proof of stake (PoS) platform and not a proof of work (PoW) platform like Bitcoin. This is a good thing for many reasons, with proof of stake being a much more modern technology. In fact, the fact that Bitcoin can’t adopt proof of stake like Ethereum is doing represents a massive problem for Bitcoin – and ultimately will lead to its demise.

Nav Coin Infographic

Nav Coin is a Privacy Coin

The cornerstone of Nav Coin is its privacy features. That is to say, that the blockchain is not publicly viewable, like bitcoin’s is. Uniquely, the coin runs on two blockchains, which serves to break any link there might be forged between sender and receiver. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, its ability for anonymous transactions is distinctive and will compete with other leading privacy coins like PIVX over the next few years.

Providing Privacy Features to All Cryptocurrencies

Nav Coin has plans to combine NAVTech’s anonymous transaction abilities with Changelly’s instant exchange. This fusion of technologies will be called NAVTech Polymorph. It will enable users to send a wide array of cryptocurrencies anonymously. This anonymity feature is a major pillar of Nav Coin and making it interoperate with other cryptocurrencies through Changelly is something that has never really been done before. Now, for the first time ever, users wanting to buy and sell bitcoin anonymously would be able too, with Nav Coin acting has the intermediary anonymising service. The ability to anonymously send trade a variety of cryptocurrencies including those that have no privacy features of their own is a huge feature that really sets Nav Coin apart amongst the privacy coins.

Nav Coin to Join forces with Apple

A continued signal of Nav Coin’s bright future came early in 2018. On January 16th, 2018 Nav Coin announced it had passed Apple’s iOS Store technical review process which means the coin is on its way to being an approved currency within the Apple Store. This development lends serious credibility and momentum to the coin.

How to Invest in Nav Coin

Nav coins is available on all major exchanges and can be traded for a variety of cryptocurrencies.

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Proof of Stake

Cardano Shelley Update: Why Everyone’s Excited!

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There is a lot of excitement around the upcoming Cardano Shelley update. The ambitious crypto project, Cardano is fast becoming a trailblazer. Branded as the 3rd generation of blockchain after Bitcoin (generation 1) and Ethereum (generation 2), Cardano encompasses many unique characteristics and features. The upcoming Cardano Shelley update is expected to be the next big release of Cardano.

Before we explore why everybody is eagerly awaiting Cardano Shelley update, here’s a quick recap of what Cardano is all about and the functionalities that are available in its current release.

Cardano Shelley Update: The 3rd Gen Prodigy

When Bitcoin, the first generation of blockchain came into existence, it introduced a brand-new financial transaction technology that was peer-to-peer in nature and permitted borderless transactions without the need for a middle-man.

Then came Ethereum, the second generation, wherein it implemented smart contract functionality. However, both the first and second generation blockchain technology had a major flaw – it caused splits whenever there was any major upgrade.

In the third generation blockchain technology, the main features in focus are scalability, treasury systems, sustainability, interoperability (side chains), and on-chain governance. Cardano plans to support easy scalability on the network by implementing layers on the Cardano blockchain technology.

Catering to Users and Regulators

The innovative blockchain-based platform of Cardano is based on scientific philosophy and a research-driven approach. Usually, a cryptocurrency starts off with a basic whitepaper. But in the case of Cardano, investors have a plethora of academic papers to explore.

Cardano basically provides a programmable blockchain and smart contracts for dApp development. It is jointly developed by a global team of expert engineers and researchers who recognize that technology should be scalable, flexible, and secure in order to thrive as well as remain useful to millions of users.

The company aims to combine privacy with regulation, thereby giving best of both worlds – balancing the needs of the users with the regulators. In their words, “The vision for Cardano is that its new style of regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access for all to fair financial services.”

The 5 Special Features of Cardano

Launched in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, Cardano platform utilizes a rigorously and academically peer-reviewed open source code.

Charles Hoskinson

The important features of Cardano are its coding language, proof of stake (PoS) protocol, layered technology, governance model, and treasury.

Jeremy Wood

Coding Language: Cardano is built from scratch using the functional programming language, Haskell. Haskell’s mathematical approach allows for code to be written in a more reliable and secure manner.

PoS Protocol: Cardano uses a proprietary PoS protocol with mathematically proven security called Ouroboros. Ouroboros assures that all the blocks that are being dealt with are legitimate and tamper-proof. Ouroboros can also enable many advanced scaling options like sidechains (wherein there are multiple chains that all interoperate) and sharding (wherein the larger blockchain is broken down into manageable chunks)

Layered Technology: Cardano aims to use a layered technology. The first layer called the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) will focus on transactions and accounts. The native currency, ADA will be transacted over CSL. The second layer called Cardano Control Later (CCL) and it is the computational layer for smart contracts. Having two layers basically helps Cardano to have enhanced flexibility as well as easier upgrades.

Cardano: Features

Governance: The future of a blockchain depends on its Governance model to a large extent. Cardano’s aim is to implement on-chain governance. Here, community proposed updates to the blockchain would be voted by the ADA token holders. Once approved, the updates would be encoded into the blockchain.

Treasury: The treasury is also decentralized, wherein 25% of the block rewards are planned to be placed. The voting by the ADA holders will decide how to spend this money.

Cardano’s Current Phase: Byron

Cardano is currently in the Bootstrap Era, which is code-named as the “Byron” phase.

George Gordon Byron

Interestingly, this phase is named after famed British poet George Gordon Byron.

Byron is the first major release of the platform. It basically establishes the baseline for Cardano for letting users trade and transfer ADA.

Here are the key developments in the Byron phase.

Cardano SL: The launch of Cardano SL MainNet was done on September 29, 2017.

Exchange Enhancements: The performance enhancements and improvements are being done to the code in Byron phase. This is to ensure that it can handle the increasing rates of activities on major crypto exchanges. Cardano aims to increase the number of users that can be served with a fixed volume of transactions. In order to support this feature, a brand new API (Application Programming Interface), is being delivered.

To ensure that Cardano can support multiple exchanges, many existing APIs are also being revised in this phase. There is already testing being done on Binance and Bittrex exchanges for quicker resolutions of any maintenance issues. A support tracking system is also created in order to monitor any incoming requests.

Improvements to the design of Daedalus: The graphical user interface (GUI) of Cardano wallet, Daedalus is being improved in this phase. The users will now be able to submit bug reports from within the Daedalus application.

All said and done, the fact remains that, right now, the only working protocol of Cardano is its settlement layer, wherein its currency ADA resides. Although Ouroboros is turned on, consensus is currently locked to private nodes (IOHK) until the system gathers momentum. Which means that Cardano is PoS centralized right now and the rewards are simply being burned.

If we strip all the frills, Cardano is now only a cryptocurrency and is yet to release other features for becoming a blockchain platform.

Cardano Shelley Update: Next Phase

By mid-2018, Cardano plans to roll into its next phase called Shelley. This is when things start to get exciting. This phase is named after the English poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

The ultimate aim of Shelley phase is for the technology to become a fully decentralised and autonomous system. Once Byron is stabilized and refined, IOHK plans to make significant improvements to its core components in the Shelley phase.

The important developments expected in Shelley phase are open Ouroboros delegation, multiSig transactions, enhanced Wallet backend, consensus and incentive fees, quantum-resistant signatures, light client mode, human-friendly addresses, networking, voting centre, paper wallets.

Open Ouroboros delegation: In Cardano, the transaction confirmations are not done with hardware (PoW) but with the user’s already owned ADA (PoS). This means that Cardano SL makes use of a proof of stake approach to reach consensus and ultimately produce blocks in the blockchain. A key element of decentralization is the ability of delegating stakes by stakeholders. In Shelley phase, users will have the capability to delegate their stake or to act as stake pools and have stake delegated to them.

MultiSig transactions: In Cardano Shelly phase, multisignature transaction will be enabled. It is a very useful security feature that allows Daedalus to support wallets that are shared across multiple people and which enables joint control of funds.

Enhanced Wallet backend: In Shelley phase, the wallet backend is aimed to be enhanced. The wallet backend basically gives Daedalus HD wallet capabilities as well as provide the link between Daedalus and the Cardano network. By enhancing the wallet backend, the performance of Daedalus would be increased, and also make it easier for third-party systems to integrate with Cardano.

Shelley Phase

Consensus and incentive fees: The incentive scheme in Shelley phase would be based on sound foundations of mathematics, economic theory, and game theory. This scheme is planned to be introduced to make sure that stakeholders will fully participate in the protocol and also setup the required infrastructure for running a node. The incentive scheme will have appropriate rewards for operating full nodes, a mechanism to set transaction fees, incentives to delegate stake, and more.

Quantum-resistant signatures: One of the major worries in crypto-verse is the development of quantum computers that would break cryptography. Cardano plans to mitigate this by adding a new type of transaction. This transaction will use a quantum-resistant signature scheme called BLISS. Even if the cryptography is broken, this would allow funds to be secured against being stolen.

Light client mode: Currently, using a wallet for the first time or after a while requires a long wait time. This is because of the time necessary for the entire blockchain to finish downloading. In the Shelley phase, Cardano plans to include light client mode feature that would significantly reduce the blockchain syncing time. For doing this, Daedalus wallet would subscribe to a trusted blockchain checkpoint provider. A checkpoint is basically snapshots of the Cardano blockchain in time. With this update, Daedalus would only need to sync the blockchain from the most recent checkpoint, rather than the entire blockchain, thus saving time.

Human-friendly addresses: The addresses of Cardano are presently a string of letters and numbers that are a lot longer than Bitcoin addresses. In the Shelley phase, the length of the address would be significantly trimmed, making them easier to communicate. This is planned to be done by minimising the information represented in the addresses and improving the way that stake delegation information is represented.

Improved networking: A new network layer that gives a degree of protection to large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and enables decentralization while supporting a wide and dynamic network topography over common internet infrastructure is planned for Shelley phase.

A voting centre: Instead of central authorities deciding on protocol and software updates, Cardano plans to have a voting centre for this decision making. Users can use their stake or delegate it to the stake pool to vote on upcoming updates and protocol changes.

Paper wallets: Paper wallets are now becoming increasingly popular as they can be used for placing funds in cold storage on a physical medium. Shelley update plans to make paper wallet available in Daedalus.

The Cardano Shelley update will prepare Cardano for a range of impressive features, including smart contracts, metadata, side chains, multi-party computation, and more. Those protocols will be added gradually over time.

What’s next after Cardano Shelley Update?

After the Cardano Shelley update there will be 3 more releases for Cardano. First will be Goguen, which centres on the integration of smart contracts. For this, they plan to launch an IELE Virtual Machine. The testnet version of IELE will be running on the Ethereum Mantis client. After that is Basho, which focuses on performance improvements. Voltaire would be the final phase, wherein IOHK will add a treasury system and governance.

Charles Hoskinson has made it clear that the Cardano Shelley update is an important step in Cardano’s grand scheme of things. The goal of Cardano is to create a secure, reliable platform that will span decades, and they have numerous experts working tirelessly towards it. We are living in amazing times indeed!

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Wallets

Introducing Cardano’s future-ready Daedalus Wallet

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The Daedalus Wallet is the open-source wallet for Cardano, created by the Cardano Foundation.

Daedalus will eventually be a multi-currency wallet where you can freely exchange between the supported currencies. The wallet will begin the expansion of support with Bitcoin and Ethereum Classic.

The future-ready Daedalus Wallet

Blockchain projects are now a dime a dozen. But very few among them are ‘future-ready’ with the software stack that is flexible, scalable and developed with the most rigorous academic and commercial software standards like Cardano. Just like every lock’s got to have a fitting key, the customized wallet created for Cardano is called as Daedalus. However, before we learn more about the Daedalus wallet, here is a quick overview of Cardano.

 

A Brief Introduction to Cardano

 

Touted as the “Ethereum of Japan”, Cardano was founded by the former CEO of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson, in 2015. Cardano is actually made of three distinct entities, each with independent teams and leadership, as follows:

1) The Cardano Foundation

2) IOHK and

3) Emurgo

Developed by blockchain development firm, IOHK, Cardano is said to have more advanced features than any protocol yet developed. It is also the first to evolve out of “a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach”.

The Cardano Project

The Cardano project is often called as the next generation blockchain that has focused on scalability, through peer-reviewed research and highly-secure coding practices. Just like any blockchain project, Cardano also consists of a platform and a cryptocurrency, as follows:

  • Cardano is a completely decentralized public blockchain and cryptocurrency project which is a fully open source.
  • The platform incorporates concepts like mechanism design, distributed systems, and cryptography.
  •  The Cardano blockchain is written in the Haskell programming language and implements the Ouroboros protocol, a form of PoS (Proof of Stake).
  • Cardano is developed in two layers that separate the ledger of account values from the reason why values are moved from one account to the other. They are, Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) and Cardano Computation Layer (CCL)
    • The first layer, CSL acts as the balance ledger.
    • The second layer, CCL contains the information on why transactions occur.
  • The proprietary proof of stake algorithm used by Cardano is called Ouroboros.
  • Cardano’s cryptocurrency is called Ada (ADA) and is currently ranked #5 [Ref] among cryptocurrencies by market cap. (Interesting trivia: ADA is said to be named after the first programmer, Ada Lovelace. The smallest denomination unit of the cryptocurrency is called a Lovelace.)
  • Cardano applications can be customised to meet the regulatory requirements on an application-by-application basis.

Cardano Roadmap – Overview

The technology is now in the Byron phase, also known as the bootstrap era. Byron established the baseline for Cardano in allowing users to trade and transfer Ada. The next phase is Shelley which is expected Q2 2018. When moving from Byron to Shelley, the technology would grow into a fully decentralised and autonomous system.

After that is Goguen, which will see the integration of smart contracts. The phase after that is Basho phase, which is centred on performance improvements. The final phase is Voltaire, wherein IOHK will add a treasury system and governance.

Now that you have a basic idea about Cardano and its roadmap, let’s take a look at Daedalus wallet.

Why the Name Daedalus?

There is an interesting fact behind the naming of Cardano wallet. Daedalus is the name of a mythical Greek architect, inventor, and sculptor, who was said to have built, among other things, the paradigmatic Labyrinth for King Minos of Crete for housing Minotaur. Minotaur is a mythical creature portrayed in Classical times with the head of a bull and the body of a man.

The Daedalus wallet is named after Daedalus, the Greek figure whose meaning loosely translates to ‘cunningly wrought’. But that’s not all. The bullhead/maze logo of Daedalus is said to be inspired by the description of Minotaur and the maze that housed it.

Quite intriguing, isn’t it? Well, now you know!

What is Daedalus wallet?

Daedalus is an open source cryptocurrency wallet for Ada that is built to grow with the community.  Presently, it is the only wallet that supports Ada.

Daedalus is a highly engineered wallet with advanced security features. It is created using the strongest cryptography yet developed, thus ensuring the protection of assets. It is also a multi-platform, hierarchical deterministic wallet.

The front end of Daedalus is deployed on Electron, which is an open source project maintained by GitHub. Electron has already proven itself as an open source development platform to build cross-platform desktop apps using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

The wallet is currently only available for Mac and Windows. However, a mobile wallet on Android and iOS is planned to be released soon.

Currently, the first generation of Daedalus wallet has been deployed.

IOHK – The Powerhouse behind Daedalus Wallet

As we say, “the proof is in the pudding”, right? The brain behind Daedalus wallet is IOHK, an engineering company with a track record of building cryptocurrencies and blockchains for academic institutions, government entities, and corporations.

IOHK has already proven itself time and again, especially with the success of its latest product – Mantis. Mantis is an Ethereum Classic client that was built specifically for the Ethereum Classic (ETC) community. Mantis is written in Scala and includes approximately 12,000 lines of code.

An intense security audit of Mantis was performed by Kudelski Security. This was done 1) to demonstrate that it has the technical competency and culture to be a leader for ETC’s development, 2) to dispel the myth that ETC is an independent and viable alternative to Ethereum and not a “copy and paste” coin done with other people’s code, and 3) to prove that Scala is a functional programming language which offers security guarantees that other languages do not.

After a thorough audit, Kudelski Security reported their findings as follows: “We did not find any critical security issue, but report 3 medium-severity issues and 4 low-severity issues. Mantis otherwise shows good security engineering, with secure defaults, defensive coding, and a clear code base that facilitates auditing. Our audit report is available here.”

The medium severity issues reported and resolution done are as follows:

  1. Insecure hash function (MD5) used for integrity checks. Resolved by replacing MD5 with SHA-512 in the pull request.
  2. Potentially insecure network protocol (RLPx). Mantis has taken steps to adhere to the protocol to ensure interoperability.
  3. Incomplete gas values validation. This issue was resolved with a patch update by Mantis.

Currently, ETC Daedalus Wallet with Mantis Integration has been made available.

Features of Daedalus Wallet

The key features of Daedalus Wallet are as follows:

  • Guarantees unlimited accounting as you can manage any number of wallets thanks to the hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet implementation. This gives more control over how your funds are organised.
  • All private keys are held by the client, as they all are stored right within the PC. The keys are never set or stored on a server outside the device.
  • Has cryptography to protect funds against attack and also offer spending passwords and seeds for all accounts. These private keys and spending passwords are encrypted.
  • Facilitates cold storage, as wallets can be exported to paper certificates.
  • Ada redemption is built directly into Daedalus Wallet. It also supports encrypted and unencrypted redemption certificates.
  • Has configurable transaction assurance level monitoring. This feature allows users to be sure when transactions become irreversible.
  • Has a powerful backup/recovery feature that can be used to recover funds if necessary.
  • Using it, you can send and receive ADA tokens, as well as view history of your previous transactions

What’s next for Daedalus?

In later generations, Daedalus is expected to develop into an application framework with a store, universal integration APIs (Application Programming Interface) and SDKs (Software Development Kit). This means that future releases of Daedalus will have the capability which will allow third-party developers to build innovative applications directly.

The frameworks and design specs would also be provided in future releases, which means you can create a great UI without needing to hire a designer.

These apps can be customized as per need – think custom plugins, automation, rich and secure APIs to interact with cryptocurrency backends, and more. Microcredit, setting up periodic payments or even directly exchanging coins would be possible with future releases of Daedalus.

In the future releases, complex behaviour such as cryptography, database mechanics, and managing a distributed network is planned to be abstracted away. This way, the developer can just focus on user experience and their application’s core logic.

So, Why Daedalus Wallet?

In a nutshell – because the development team behind it have proven their mantle. Also, Daedalus is committed to accommodating for the future. This is best explained with a practical example.Unlike cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, ADA can’t be mined as it is not a Proof-of Work consensus. However, it can be staked.

What does it mean? Basically, the transaction confirmations are not done with hardware but with your already owned ADA. Cardano uses the Ouroboros Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm to reach consensus on the state of the ledger.

In future releases, Daedalus plans to bring in Staking. Staking would enable Ada holders to participate in the block generation process, and earn more of the currency.

As you can see, Daedalus is going places, and the roadmap for that is already set!

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Discussion

Why Two-Factor Authentication is important for Bitcoin

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Two factor authentication
Why aren't you using two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is essential for investors in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Why aren’t you using Two-Factor Authentication?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are some of the most exciting and important asset classes in this generation. It is a true and rare event that we can participate in the birth of a new asset class. It is evidence that the ability for the common man to able to access the worlds financial markets is becoming increasingly easy. So too, is the ability of people with bad intentions to target your information and privacy.

Why is two-factor authentication important for Bitcoin?

two-factor authentication

For this article, the examples I am going to use for two-factor authorization are Coinbase and LocalBitcoins. Coinbase is perhaps the most well-known, professional and legitimate cryptocurrency and Bitcoin exchange. I use it myself. You can purchase Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. You can also convert those currencies to dollars. LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer exchange to sell your Bitcoin. Even locally.  It’s a sort of Craigslist for buying and selling Bitcoin!

Why should you use two-factor authorization? Beyond the security of keeping things like your e-mail and social network accounts safe, two-factor authorization for your Bitcoin wallet is arguably more important. It’s your money after all! If someone can easily hack your social network password, they can just as easily get access to your Bitcoin wallet. But! If you have two-factor authentication, a hacker can input your real login and password all day and he is still prevented from gaining entry. Let’s look at how to set up two-factor authorization for both of our exchanges.

Setting up Two-Factor Authorization for Localbitcoins

Click on your profile icon in the top right and navigate to the ‘Account security’ link. Mine says, ‘Account security: weak.’ But it soon won’t!

two-factor authentication

This screen will come up and we’ll want to click on ‘Two-Factor Authentication’.

two-factor authentication

Now we’ll be given a screen that tells us that two-factor authentication is currently disabled, so we’ll want to select, ‘Enable two-factor authentication’.

Bitcoin, two-factor authentication

We are then given two options.  The most ideal is the mobile app option. You’ll then be prompted to scan a QR code and then you will input the code.

Bitcoin, two-factor authentication

After all is said and done, our security is no longer weak, but strong!

You can check out Localbitcoins.com here.

Setting up Two-Factor Authorization for Coinbase

From the main menu, select ‘Settings’

Bitcoin, two-factor authentication

Then, from the ‘Settings’ page, select ‘Security’.

Bitcoin, two-factor authentication

Now that you are on the ‘Security’ page,  we can see that we have the first of two options for setting up two-factor authorization. The first is SMS (text message). When you enable this option, you will be prompted to enter a code that will be texted to your phone. There is a limited amount of time that the code is active. If you enter the code incorrectly, you can re-send a code to your phone.

Bitcoin, two-factor authentication Bitcoin, two-factor authentication

The second two-factor authentication is adding an app. The most common and popular app used for this form of authentication is the Google Authenticator. It can be found on the Google Store and is downloaded for free. When you use this app, you will have a limited (but long enough) time to input the code. It automatically generates new codes.

Buying Bitcoin and participating in this new and exciting currency should be safe and protected. One of the great attractions of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is that it provides a level of anonymity and protection. You can buy and sell and keep your transactions private. But there is an inherent danger with this: stolen Bitcoin can be sent as easily as it is bought and the transaction is anonymous. The strongest line of defense for your account is going to be using two-factor authentication. Again, even if a hacker gets your account long and password they won’t have access to your text message and/or your Google Authentication App. Two-factor authentication is the single greatest and easiest way to protect your Bitcoin and your money.

You can check out Coinbase and what they have to offer as an exchange here.

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