<![CDATA[Stewsgame - Blockchain Blog]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 23:49:03 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Update on my Etheruum]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 02:08:06 GMThttp://stewsgame.com/1/post/2017/04/update-on-my-etheruum.htmlI got it!! All 4.5 of them And now I love all the people at ShapeShit and Github. They know their stuff and don't seem to get an attitude when all  of us so-called noobs start having problems. Think I'm the only one? Take a look at the open issues here:
The problem is most of us are used to just clicking an "Install Now" button  and not having to even think about it or do any work.  If you go to an exchange that's pretty much how it is. But if you want to be where the action is and truly be part of the Ethereum Project you have to go to the Ethereum official site -   Ethereum.org.

I had to download the Mist app, create an account, fund it, and then wait for it to sync up - a process that was painful at times but definitely educational. In my case my old iMac didn't have enough
power to do the syncing. All it took was a couple of hours on my 64 bit Windows i7 7th gen. machine and that Ethereum popped right in there, 30% higher than when I actually paid for it. I feel rich and happy.

Current prices
Bitcoin $1086.80  Ethereum $50.80
BTC/ETH Ratio 21.39
<![CDATA[You can now buy Ethereum on Coinbase in NY]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 03:18:32 GMThttp://stewsgame.com/1/post/2017/03/you-can-but-ethereum-on-coinbase-in-ny.htmlAs of yesterday. Good news. You will pay a small premium. The Ethereum people have cleverly called this premium the gas price, as if there is fuel needed to make the transaction. Are we really getting rid of trusted 3rd parties or are they just being renamed? Where's the true peer-to-peer transactions we're all waiting for.

Ethereum price seems to be going up, while Bitcoin is slipping. Current ETH price 50.88, BTC price 964. The ETH/BTC ratio is 18.94 and it might go lower. It may not be the time to sell your BTC, but it's definitely time to buy ETH, (actually anytime before last week would have been an even better time).

<![CDATA[Ethereum 20   Stew 0]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 02:22:03 GMThttp://stewsgame.com/1/post/2017/03/ethereum-1-stew-0.htmlI've been trying to buy Ethereum for 4 days, (meanwhile it doubled in price).
First I tried Coinbase, who advised me they are not quite ready yet to offer Ethereum in New Yorks state. NY is apparently the only state that has a law against me buying Ethereum, for my own protection no doubt.

Next stop was ShapeShift, a company whose CEO I have heard speak and I really admire him. As soon as I hit their website a message popped up saying it looks like you are in New York or North Korea, sorry no Ethereum for you.

After some serious research I ended up at Ethereum.org. This has got to be the place. It looked a little too technical and was just a bit  forbidding, but hey, I've been researching blockchain for over a week already.  There was a
nice download that seemed perfect for my Mac. No problem, I got a base account established.

Messages informed me I would be able to hold, send and receive ETH but I would not see incoming transactions. As soon as my base account has at least 1 ETH I could then create a wallet and create contracts. I was very anxious to do this, although I don't have a clue yet about creating a contract. So the first step is to fund my account. I tried the button that said buy with credit card, but it would not let me - not sure what the reason was there.

Then I saw it, a neat button in the middle of the screen that said buy with bitcoin. This was for me! I immediately clicked. A transaction screen appeared that advised me to send bitcoin to an address I had not seen before, then the bitcoin would be exchanged for ETH and deposited to my account. Sounded great, I immediately send .15 BTC to the address, (a little over $150, I didn't want to look like a cheapskate). Then I waited.

When you login to Ethereum.org's application, a message come up that says your account is syncing then the message disappears, I figgured I was synced when the message went away - little did I know.  I did notice the grayed out header that kept changing the number of peers and the blocks left which always seemed to be in the two millions. Interesting, I wonder what that was about.

I waited two days. Nothing. I noticed on one of the screens that my transaction had been facilitated for Ethereum.org by ShapeShift. I contacted their help desk and opened a ticket. Over the next day a very nice person named Megan patiently checked the transaction and found it had gone through, (I knew this because the bitcoin had flown out of XAPO almost immediately. Anyway, Megan guided me through the learning process that those two million blocks had to be downloaded before my account would be synced. Then my ETH would magically appear.

I tried for the next two days to sync my account and never got above 10% - the blocks were adding faster than I could clear them. Ethereum.org doesn't seem to have a help desk, just a community chat, where everybody posts and hopes for an answer.  I was pretty bummed when I realized that about every fourth or fifth post was about the time it takes to sync, or transactions that never went through. That's what I get for thinking I can play with the big boys.

But I'm not giving up.
I decided my Mac was just too slow, (it's a mid-2007 iMac, I know, I know it should have been replaced 6 years ago).
I'm now on my fourth attempt to establish a new base account on a Windows 64 bit Intel i7 7th generation laptop. It's not working so far. I did read that it's possible to transfer accounts to a different machine if you have the keyfiles.

I've also begged Megan to help again, I'm not sure if it's the $150 that's frustrating me or the fact that I just may not be smart enough to get involved in this blockchain business.

<![CDATA[Ethereum]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 16:04:11 GMThttp://stewsgame.com/1/post/2017/03/ethereum.html
Ether, (ETH) is the second cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology that we will tackle. Founded by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer and launched just one year ago, Ethereum  already has a total value of about $1 billion, second only to Bitcoin's $10.5 billion among the world's hundreds of cryptocurrencies. 
Ethereum applications are built with the use of smart contracts - computer algorithms which execute themselves, based on incoming data from the network. The self-fulfilling nature of such applications allows them to run without reliability issues associated with human operators or trusted third party to enforce them. Smart are executed by machines making them efficient and reliable.

Ethereum Classic is one of two separate versions of Ethereum's Blockchain, the other being Ethereum itself. The split occurred after The DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization based on Ethereum, got hacked in June 2016, and $50 million worth of its funds were stolen. Because The DAO was crowdfunded, this event has resulted in a large number of people losing their stakes. After several weeks of heated debate, the community has decided to conduct a "hard fork" of Ethereum's Blockchain in order to "code" the stolen money back to its owners. In order to perform the hard fork, the majority of the users had to simultaneously take all the transaction records prior to the point of the hacking, and start anew from there, while discarding all transactions which have happened after that, including the hackers'. That doesn't mean that anything has happened to the previous version of the Blockchain - on the contrary, the hardfork resulted in two versions existing simultaneously: Ethereum (ETH), which is the new one, and the old one, which was renamed Ethereum Classic (ETC).

Several internet articles claim that Ethereum activity is very heavy in South Korea, up to 10% of all Ethereum activity. Could be just traders or some sort of corporate involvement.

Recent  Bitcoin and Ethereum activity in South Korea
Currency            Price           24hour volume ($)    24 hour Percentage (%)
Bitcoin  (BTC)      $1330.06       $6,719,420             58.99 %
Ethereum (ETH)    $19.86          $4,444,800             39.02 %
Classic (ETC)         $1.46            $227,360                2.00%

Data Source:

<![CDATA[Why Does the Price of Bitcoin Fluctuate?]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 04:53:34 GMThttp://stewsgame.com/1/post/2017/03/why-does-the-price-of-bitcoin-fluctuate.htmlBitcoins are transacted on an ongoing basis and around the clock. About 62,000 Bitcoin transactions are conducted daily with an average volume of $50mil per day.

Transactions over the Bitcoin network do not directly affect the market price of Bitcoin. In the sense that an active Bitcoin network reflects a healthy protocol enjoying plenty of usage and demand, there is an indirect influence. Only where bitcoins interface with other currencies – at exchanges – is there a direct impact on the price of Bitcoin. And that impact responds to supply and demand just like they taught you in basic Economics

Buying Bitcoin from an exchange

Every bitcoin exchange transaction that involves the purchasing of bitcoin via another currency, whether fiat or cryptocurrency, has the effect of pushing the bitcoin price up. Because the bitcoins are changing hands – from the exchange’s wallet to the buyer’s wallet – there is an accompanying Bitcoin network transaction. However, it is the exchange transaction that counts toward an uptick in the Bitcoin exchange rate. Routine purchases are made daily, for various purposes, and typically increasing toward month-end:

    Company salaries
    Wallet balance replenishment
    Buy-and-Hold investment purchases
    Incidental purchases destined for paying merchants
    Purchases intended for transmission

Selling Bitcoin to an exchange

Every exchange transaction that involves the selling of bitcoin, i.e. exchanging for fiat or another cryptocurrency causes a downtick in the price of Bitcoin. Let us consider the last example listed above, namely usage of the Bitcoin network as a means of money transmission.

Someone working in the US, and paid in US Dollars, wants to send money to their family in Zambia. Instead of using the illustrious Western Union, they opt for the Bitcoin payment network. No queues, no forms to fill in, no proverbial rubber gloves, and no extortionate fee. They purchase bitcoin via an exchange that offers BTC/USD, send the bitcoins to a relative’s Bitcoin address, and 30 minutes later the relative in Zambia redeems some (or all) of the bitcoin for Kwacha via a local exchange offering BTC/ZMK.]]>
<![CDATA[Getting Bitcoin]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 02:39:09 GMThttp://stewsgame.com/1/post/2017/02/getting-bitcoin.htmlBitcoin is the most common type of cryptocurrency we will cover. Units of bitcoin are expressed in decimal exponents such as BTC ("bitcoins"), mBTC ("millibitcoins") and μBTC ("bits"). In order to send, receive, or store bitcoins you must have a bitcoin address and a place to store your bitcoins. There are three main choices:

Store your bitcoins online. In order to buy or receive bitcoins, you first need to create a storage site for your bitcoins, and this is the first step to purchasing bitcoin. Currently, there are two ways you can store bitcoins online:

  • Store the keys to your bitcoins in an online wallet. The wallet is a computer file that will store your money, similar to a real wallet. You can create a wallet by installing the bitcoin client, which is software which powers the currency. However, if your computer is hacked by a virus or hackers or if you misplace the files, you may lose your bitcoins. Always back up your wallet to an external hard drive to avoid losing your bitcoins.

  • Store your bitcoins via a third party. You can also create a wallet by using an online wallet via a third party site like Coinbase or blockchain.info, which will store your bitcoins in the cloud. This is easier to set up, but you will be trusting a third party with your bitcoins. These sites are two of the larger and more reliable third party sites, but there are no guarantees about the security of these sites.

Create a paper wallet for your bitcoins. One of the most popular and cheapest options for keeping your bitcoins safe is a paper wallet. The wallet is small, compact, and made of paper that has a code. One of the benefits of a paper wallet is the private keys to the wallet are not stored digitally. So it cannot be subject to cyber attacks or hardware failures.

  • Several online sites offer paper bitcoin wallet services. They can generate a bitcoin address for you and create an image containing two QR codes. One is the public address you can use to receive bitcoins and the other is a private key, which you can use to spend bitcoins stored at that address.

  • The image is printed on a long piece of paper that you can then fold in half and carry with you.

A hard-wire wallet to store your bitcoins. Hard-wire wallets are very limited in number and can be difficult to acquire. They are dedicated devices that can hold private keys electronically and facilitate payments. Hard-wire wallets are usually small and compact and some are shaped like USB sticks.

<![CDATA[Getting Started]]>Tue, 28 Feb 2017 05:09:09 GMThttp://stewsgame.com/1/post/2017/02/getting-started.html
My original interest in blockchain was based on greed, I watched the price of bitcoin rise from $175 when I first started watching it to it’s present level of just under $1200. Not only does it seem like a good investment but like gold and silver, it is a separate asset class, one that is non-correlated to the stock market, which all the finance wizards tell us is set to topple any day now.

We will start with the basics. If you are one of the smart guy’s that already knows stuff, please check back in a few weeks and see where it’s going. In the meantime please help by providing any information or suggestions.

Here we go, blog style so please comment. I’m seeing a lot of crazy terms and will attempt to add definitions as I run into them. I will also point out any information on possible investment opportunities, although I am not recommending that you put any cash, real or crypto into any of them.

Paraphrasing Greg Maxwell, CTO of Blockstream, blockchain is transformative for society. But you have to sort through the hype. Blockchain and bitcoin mean different things to different people;

  • it’s a form of money
  • it’s a chance to operate under a different regulatory regime
  • an opportunity to refresh technology
  • a way to improve security
  • can fix some of the systemic risk in the internet by decentralizing and minimizing trust.

Bitcoin is peer-to-peer electronic cash that exists independently of any 3rd party or any centralized or issuing authority. This is what makes it distinctive and is different than anything that has come before.

It’s a revolutionary idea and is still experimental. It may be gone in the future although it has been around for 8 years. It is a fiat money whose value comes from network effects. In other words, like the $50 bill in your pocket, it has no intrinsic value, it’s value comes from the fact that people are willing to accept it.

How does Bitcoin use Blockchain

Zoko Wilcox of ZCash explains it very simply. Think of bitcoin’s blockchain as a replicated spreadsheet with a column for sender, receiver, and amount sent. Whenever a transfer occurs a new row is added to the spreadsheet. All the computers in the network inspect whether the sender’s address had enough bitcoin to cover the transfer and that the bitcoin had not been committed to someone else. In order to do this each computer had to be able to see the whole history of that bitcoin. You can’t lie or change your story. There is also no privacy in these transactions. ZCash is currently working to add encryption to the fields, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

I’m starting to get the picture. Today’s transaction networks are all centralized, a central authority like PayPal, Visa, or your bank needs to be in the middle to certify ownership and clear transactions. Bitcoin’s blockchain uses a distributed ledger which requires no 3rd party. Distributed ledgers can be open, verifying anonymous actors in the network, or they can be closed and require actors in the network to be already identified. Bitcoin is the best known existing use for the distributed ledger. There will be plenty of others.