THE new sunday express Voices Buffet MAGAZINE Pushpesh Pant S Vaidhyasubramaniam Shilpi Madan Ravi Shankar Amar Bhushan Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev People Wellness Books Food Art & Culture Entertainment january 23 2022 SUNDAY PAGES 12 Cryptoman Rises Cryptocurrency and NFTs could change the world for the good as the currency of the future. Or is there a different ending? AD 2008. An age of invasive government. The Orwellian nightmare of an omniscient and omnipresent system that monitors every aspect of an individual’s life had dawned. Nothing was a secret from the government’s prying eyes. The miraculous solution was worthy of the Matrix trilogy— a galaxy made up of billions of strings of code populated by planets of which the largest is Planet Bitcoin. After the virtual Big Bang came other smaller altcoins like Etherium, Cardano, Avalanche, Ripple and more, all fighting to reduce Bitcoin’s gravitational pull. Bitcoin’s origin is also the story of its enigmatic creator. In 2008, the evasive Nakamoto bought the domain name .org and uploaded an academic document titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.’ It was his manifesto of individual financial freedom, outlaying the theory and design of a new digital currency system beyond government control. Nakamoto wrote: “The root problem with conventional currencies is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency but , the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.” An idealist, like all anti-establishment heroes, Nakamoto believed in trust of a different sort. A year after sending Bitcoin into its orbit on January 9, 2009, the mystery man or woman disappeared, leaving the most powerful economic project since the Industrial Revolution How to Invest By Darshan Bathija, CEO & Co-founder, Vauld, a Singapore-based crypto platform 1 Begin by researching each coin’s tokenomics, or the factors that impact the demand and supply of tokens 2 When you are starting out, a two-four percent exposure to digital assets is recommended 3 Diversification of a portfolio is recommended, which is why even though Bitcoin rules the roost, look at other cryptos to distribute your funds 5 The final step is to have a ‘wallet’, an online app that can hold your currency. You create an account on an exchange, and then you can transfer real money to buy cryptocurrencies. 4 Look at a project’s USP that includes its supply conditions and its raison d’etre. Whether the coin’s supply is finite or not can determine its worth. Every project tries to solve a bigger problem, and this narrates the coin’s reason for existing in the market. Look at transaction cost, transaction speed, divisibility. to its own fate. And what a fate! Just like Banksy in art, claimants to Nakamoto’s identity crop up at various intervals, the latest being Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist. The comparison of Nakamoto with Banksy is spot on, considering both are secretive, faceless figures who command the power of billions of dollars; Banksy’s artwork ‘Love is in the Air’ is being chopped up into 10,000 fragments, each to be owned by a different person, thus democratising art. But more on that later. Superheroes love to untangle mysteries. Cryptoman’s software is transparent; an open source that can be viewed, used and to which more code can be added for free. Many companies and organisations, including MIT, are engaged in constantly improving Cryptoman’s weapons systems. What is his secret sauce? You don’t need real money to purchase Bitcoin and its fellow travellers, but you can exchange them for real money Does . Bitcoin have a physical form? Yes. Mike Caldwell from Utah created $85 million worth of physical gold-plated brass coins, which he named Casascius Bitcoins. Each one is tied with the Bitcoin server and possesses a unique Bitcoin address. How can you cash a Casascius Bitcoin? By using a redeemable “private key”. Where is the key? Hidden under a hologram on the coin, it enables an online payout. To check for tamper- What is it? How Does it Work? Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that doesn’t rely on banks to verify transactions. It lets you buy goods and services, or trade them to make a profit. When you transfer crypto funds, the transactions are recorded in a public ledger technology called a blockchain. The word ‘crypto’ in itself refers to a system of encrypting and decrypting information, which is used to secure transactions between users. Advanced coding is required to facilitate this process. The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which was founded in 2009 and remains the top cryptocurrency. Crypto works on a sophisticated public ledger technology called ‘blockchain’ that digitally records data and keeps track of all transactions. Simply put, a blockchain is a virtual chain of blocks, each containing a group of transactions and data. Once fed into the system, the information becomes immutable. Units of cryptocurrency are created through mining, a process that involves solving complicated mathematical problems that generate coins. One can purchase currencies from brokers too. You can store these in what’s called a wallet. Transactions include bonds, stocks, and other financial assets. performers I n the sci-fi universe of Marvel and DC, superheroes and supervillains from other galaxies are constantly fighting over the fate of the world. Many a time, there is little difference between good and evil, as exemplified by the Incredible Hulk or the black-suited Spider-Man—a grey moral area where power corrupts. All superhero stories are about state control, disruption and superweapons. But the plot is the same—control the earth’s economy and run the cosmos. The superhero of the day now is Cryptoman who was created by a mysterious digital vigilante or group named Satoshi Nakamoto. This is their story. ing, simply peel off the hologram sticker and check if the honeycomb mark is intact. Unfortunately for the coiner and his customers, the US government shut him down. How did Nakamoto, the Tony Stark of cyber finance, envisage Cryptoman‘s system? In the crypto galaxy digital , money is power. Cryptoman’s power is not tethered to a specific location unlike Superman’s; no digital bank, no vault. Nakamoto’s genius lies in Bitcoin’s nervous system called the blockchain—a series of contiguous interlinked data ‘blocks’. The process is as much fun as it is tough—a bit like a metaphysical puzzle in The Matrix Revolutions. Tech geniuses race each other to solve complex mathematical puzzles on a worldwide network of super-sophisticated computers (nodes). Each time a puzzle is solved, a new coin is generated. Then the process starts all over. This entire operation is called ‘mining’ in crypto lingo. During mining, thousands of data transactions are sparked in the ‘nodes'— each Bitcoin block holds over 500 transactions, with an average size of 1MB at the source. The chain of data blocks makes up a shared digital data ledger on which all activity and information within the chain are recorded concurrently according to the ‘Proof of Work’ (PoW) protocol. So, no cheating, no tampering. The ledgers are stored across thousands of different servers internationally Blockchain is so transpar. ent that anyone on the network can see and verify all the entries in real-time as the blocks fill up with new data. Bitcoin Cash’s block size could even be 8MB. Here comes another Matrix twist in the “I am Morpheus and I have to find Nemo” red pill, blue pill saga—new Bitcoins continue to enter circulation as they are mined, but there can only be 21 million of them at any given time. Of these, 18.77 million have already been ‘mined’. Turn to page 2 Top By Ayesha singh Cryptocurrency Bitcoin Founded in 2009, it is the most commonly traded cryptocurrency Ethereum It is a blockchain platform with its own cryptocurrency, called Ether (ETH) or Ethereum. Developed in 2015, interest in it has increased in the last few months. Litecoin Set up by Charlie Lee in 2011, it is similar to Bitcoin. The coin has built its credibility because of faster payments and processes that allow more transactions. Ripple A distributed ledger system that was founded in 2012, it is used to track different kinds of transactions and not just cryptocurrency How to protect your crypto wallet By gaining access to a Bitcoin owner’s computer hard drive, a hacker can steal their private encryption key and transfer the stolen Bitcoins to another account. To prevent this from happening, store the Bitcoin on a computer not connected to the internet, or use a paper wallet by printing out the Bitcoin private keys and addresses, and erasing them from the computer.
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