What is Cryptocurrency? Understanding Bitcoin and Beyond

Staff Writer / 10-02-2020 / News

At some point, you’ve probably heard the terms “cryptocurrency” or “Bitcoin”, but just what is cryptocurrency and why should you care?

There’s no denying that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are the future. The term cryptocurrency is defined simply as “decentralized digital money”.

According to crypto-expert and author Ray King, there are six distinct features that a cryptocurrency must have:

Digital

It is purely digital and exists only on computers. There are no buildings, banks or physical notes or coins involved.

Decentralized

They shouldn’t have a central computer or server. In fact, they are typically distributed across a number of computers. These are called Decentralized Networks.

Peer-to-Peer

Users deal with each other directly. There are no banks or trusted third parties such as Pay-Pal. The cryptocurrency is passed from one person to the other online.

Pseudonymous

This simply means that you don’t have to give out any of your personal information. Absolutely anyone can own or use cryptocurrency.

Encrypted

This is the basis of cryptocurrency. Every user has a special code that stops their information being stolen by other users. It’s called cryptography and is almo st impossible to hack because the data is encrypted.

Trust-less

Since there are no trusted third parties like banks involved, users always in complete control of their information and money thanks to the system, which doesn’t rely on a centralised database or “ledger” to track all transactions.

Global

The final feature of a cryptocurrency is that it is available in any part of the globe. Cryptocurrency can be bought and sold or transferred anywhere in the world. They literally have no borders.

The Rise of Cryptocurrencies

People have been trying to create cryptocurrencies since the early nineties, but it wasn’t until 2009 that someone got it right. Satoshi Nakamoto created the wor ld’s first fully decentralized digital cash system - Bitcoin, which uses blockchain technology. To prove just how private and anonymous cryptocurrency really is, nobody actually knows the true identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto – it could be a man, a woman or even a group of people.

Bitcoin quickly became popular amongst users who saw its potential. In April 2011, a Bitcoin (BTC) was worth just $1(USD). By the end of 2017, at its peak, a single Bitcoin was worth more than $20,000. However, since then it has dropped to around $7,500.

Apart from Bitcoin, there are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies around and all of them want to change the world. Some examples of these are Litecoin and Ethereum. The la tter has quickly skyrocketed in value since its inception in 2015. It’s officially the second most valuable cryptocurrency available and was used by UNICEF to raise money for children in Syria. Trading cryptocurrencies has also become a popular business for online platforms like Binance, Bitstamp and Coinbase.

Even celebrities are getting in on the action. Rapper 50 Cent, also known as Curtis Jackson, accepted Bitcoin as payment for his 2014 album and collected 700BTC. By January 2018, he confirmed that he made nearly $8 Million dollars according to celebrity website TMZ.

Cryptocurrencies are seen as the future. They help to stomp out corruption and also provides users with much needed security. You stay in control of your money and your information instead of giving those out to third parties like the banks who hold your personal information and your money. Here’s to the future of cryptocurrency.

TECH NEWS

previous
Going wireless? 5 tips to choose the best Bluetooth headphones

With more and more smartphone manufacturers ditching the headphone jack, it might be time you considered going wireless. From in-ear to on-ear and over-ear, Bluetooth (BT) headphones have been ruling the audio market recently.But with choice comes confusion. Here’s what to look out for if you’re cutting the cord and going wireless:1.    Headphones For Your lifestyleIf you’re looking for comfort, larger headphones that fit on or over the ear are ideal. The cushioned ear cups create a seal over your ears, for better sound and to reduce discomfort over long hours of use. However, they weigh much more than in ear options, so they’re not the best for very active users who like to exercise and stay on the move.2.    Battery Performance That LastsSince Bluetooth headphones are battery-powered, it means you’re going to have to spend some time charging up. On-ear and over-ear headphones generally last longer after a full charge because they have bigger batteries. Good quality options can last between seven and 40 hours, but the exact time will depend on the listening volume and whether noise cancellation is enabled.3.    The Sound You CraveIf amazing sound is what you’re after, on-ear and over-ear headphones are your best bet. Once again, it’s their bigger size that works to your advantage. It allows for larger speaker drivers than in-ear options do and provides better bass and overall sound quality. Industry big hitters like Sony, Apple and Sennheiser are leaders in sound and overall quality, but as expected, this comes at a premium price – usually above R3000.4.    Background Noise Be GoneTime to consider noise cancellation. A lot of wireless headphones use innovative microphone technology to reduce external sound around you. You can find this feature on more affordable Bluetooth headphones, but the best options are a mix of active noise cancelling (like voices) and passive noise cancelling (like air conditioner humming). These can usually be found for around R800 and upwards.5.    Sweat, Splashes And SubmergingIf you plan to use your headphones while exercising or want peace of mind when using them outdoors, choose water-resistant options with a minimum rating of IPX4, which protects them from sweat and splashing water (not submersion). The higher this rating (highest currently IPX9), the more water it will be able to withstand for longer periods of time.Ready to go wireless? Check out Garnish for Bluetooth headphones designed to fit your lifestyle.

Read More...

Disney+ in South Africa: Everything You Need to Know!

Disney+ has officially launched in South Africa and brought with mass entertainment at the lowest streaming price in the country right now.The Price of Good EntertainmentYou can use Disney+ for either a monthly cost of R119 or R1,190 per year. The streaming service allows you to upgrade or downgrade your account at any time, making it easy to test it out first by choosing the monthly option, and if you enjoy it, you can easily switch over to an annual subscription.Multiple Profiles On One AccountThe app lets you stream on four devices at the same time and setup up to seven unique accounts! It also allows unlimited downloads on up to 10 mobile or tablet devices, ensuring you have plenty to watch when loadshedding kicks in.Signup With Your CellCreate your account on the Disney website using your email and phone number. Your cellphone number will give you access to your account whenever you require it. For security purposes, Disney+ sends you a code to your cell number when you're signing up and logging in, so you don’t need to remember a password. This also means that when friends or family want to share your account, they first need to get the code from you, giving you control over who has access.What To WatchSouth African subscribers have been given access to thousands of movies and series owned by Disney. Some of these include:Pirates of the Caribbean franchiseThe Star Wars franchiseThe Pixar and Classic Animated Disney movie catalogueThe Marvel Cinematic UniverseNational Geographic documentariesThere’s also plenty of content from studios outside Disney with popular shows like The Simpsons, Grey’s Anatomy and Black-ish on the platform.There’s also some homegrown flavour on site in the form of two exclusive animated series currently in production – Kizazi Moto and Iwaju.Compatible devicesYou can stream Disney+ on most devices, including web browsers, iOS, Android, Android TV, Samsung TVs, Chromecast and LG WebOS. Sign up today and enjoy the best of Disney, from years gone by to the latest box office hits.If you’re in search of an A+ device or data deal to get your Disney+ fix, visit our top deals page.

Read More...

The New Sony Xperia 1 IV Experience

Sony’s latest smartphone release is spec-ed out and ready to take on the iPhone 13 range.The Sony Xperia 1 IV 5G launched in May and has excited tech-heads everywhere thanks to its impressive capabilities.Flagship ProcessorThe Sony Xperia 1 IV runs on the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon (SD) 8 Gen 1 chipset, making for a powerful, advanced machine with increased learning capabilities.It comes ready with Android 12 and boasts 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, which can be expanded with the help of a microSD card.Dynamite DisplayWith this flagship device you get a 6.5-inch 4K OLED display and a 120Hz refresh rate. This smartphone has the honour of being the first phone of 2022 to boast 4K HDR resolution. It also come equipped with a 3840 x 1644 screen resolution – that’s higher than even the iPhone 13 Pro Max – making for a sharper viewing experience.Battery BonanzaThe Sony Xperia 1 IV has a large 5000mAh battery under the hood. It offers 30W wired fast charging like its predecessor and supports wireless charging, keeping up with its own flagship standards.Camera QualityBased on the Sony Xperia 1 III, the IV didn't have to try too hard to deliver a superior camera. It doesn’t disappoint. Like the iPhone 13, it sports a 12MP triple camera setup with four lenses – 12MP Main, 12MP Telephoto with 5 x zoom and a 12MP Ultrawide lens.Sony has set out to rival the best with the Xperia 1 IV. Only time will tell, but with specs like these, they could achieve the impossible!Looking for the hottest mobile and data deals from SA’s leading networks? Be the first to be in-the-know when you sign up for our newsletter.

Read More...

next