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An Overview of Our First 5 listed Coins

The first five coins we chose to list were chosen so intentionally since they are five reputable and trusted coins, each with their own unique aspects. Whether you're a newbie to the crypto trading game or a seasoned vet, we hope this quick overview of our first five listed coins will help you learn how you can use them on our platform!

Ethereum

Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Unlike Bitcoin, which is primarily a peer-to-peer digital currency, Ethereum is both a cryptocurrency and a blockchain platform for developers. The platform allows developers to build and deploy decentralized applications on top of the Ethereum blockchain. It’s native digital currency is Ether (ETH). It was launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin.

The Ethereum platform provides developers with the code and technical tools needed to build decentralized applications. On the platform, Smart Contracts are used to build and run Decentralized Applications (DApps).

One of the salient features of Ethereum is the Ethereum Virtual Machine, a Turing complete software that runs smart contracts. The EVM allows developers to easily and efficiently build DApps without having to create a new code from scratch. Using the ERC20 and the eRC721 standard, developers can also launch their own cryptocoins on the Ethereum blockchain. Since its launch, the platform has hosted hundreds of ICO projects. Some ERC20 standard projects have gone ahead to become high value tokens with practical use cases, like EOS.

Consensus mechanism

Like Bitcoin, Ethereum uses the puzzle-solving Proof of Work algorithm. Known as Ethash, this algorithm safeguards the network from centralized mining, essentially locking out expensive, specialized mining rigs from the mining process. Miners compete with each other to confirm and verify transactions. They are rewarded with 5 Ether every time they generate a block. Mining is important as it fights fraud in the Ethereum blockchain.  Although the Proof of Work consensus seems to work for Ethereum, it has its own flaws, including excessive use of electricity. Ethereum developers are keen on adopting other consensus mechanisms like Proof of Stake, to overcome the challenges of the current consensus mechanism.

How the wallet works

If you’ve mined some Ether, you’ll need a secure place to store them and that’s where a wallet comes in. Ether can be stored in a number of wallets, although the most popular one is MyEtherWallet. The wallet doesn’t store data or private keys on its servers but on your computer. It’s popular because of its enhanced security features and ease of use. Other wallet options for Ether include hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger Nano S. One thing that is of great appeal about Ethereum wallets is that you can store as much ERC20 coins as you wish as these wallets support those. Whichever wallet you chose to store Ether, you’ll quickly notice that they work in a similar way. Despite their different features, their main mission is to secure your coins.

Deposit/withdraw process

When you login to the ATAIX website, head over to your wallets. Click on “Deposit” on the top-right corner of the screen. In the “Choose Currency” dropdown, select Ethereum. If you’re sending Ether from a wallet, open the wallet and paste the address as the destination address. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on the screen from your wallet. In case your Ether is locked up in an exchange, log in into the exchange, and paste the address as the withdrawal address. The transaction shouldn’t take long before it’s completed. The withdrawal process is similar, only that you’ll need to input your destination wallet address. Once you’ve withdrawn ether from ATAIX, you will be sent a confirmation email with a link on the email address that you used to register on the website. You will need to open this email and click on the link to confirm that the withdrawal process was indeed initiated by yourself. Once this is done, the ether will be sent to your destination wallet.

Bitcoin

As the oldest and first cryptocurrency to emerge, Bitcoin is the most popular blockchain project. It was introduced as an alternative to fiat currencies by an anonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto.

Since its launch in 2009, it has evolved to become the financial behemoth that it is today. At its peak in December 2017, a unit of Bitcoin (BTC) was trading at a historic price of $20,000. Because of its high value, Bitcoin is known more as a store of value than as a means of payment.

Bitcoin’s main goal was to decentralize the global financial sector. The underlying technology is the blockchain. Blockchain keeps a digital ledger of all transactions and is distributed to many computers, meaning that it cannot be altered by anyone and is not controlled by any central authority, like a central bank. Bitcoin’s white paper promises to deliver fast, low-cost, global payments that are safe and secure.

Consensus mechanism

Bitcoin uses a consensus mechanism known as Proof of Work algorithm. In its basic form, this mechanism enables users to verify and confirm all transactions on the blockchain to prevent double spending of coins.

The process of verifying and confirming transactions is commonly known as mining. Basically, miners solve hard mathematical puzzles to create blocks of transactions which they attach to the blockchain. They get rewarded with Bitcoins every time they generate a block. Usually, the reward is given to the miner who runs the longest chain in the blockchain.

How the wallet works

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are digital assets and are stored in digital wallets. To store Bitcoin, you’ll need to install a digital wallet that’s compatible with BTC. The default wallet for BTC is Bitcoin Core. Digital wallets come in different kinds but serve the same purpose. Some are physical devices, while others are paper, software, mobile or online wallets. The wallets keep your private key that enables you to use the BTC address of your coins in the Bitcoin blockchain. The private key essentially allows you to sign off your transactions, or, to spend your coins.

Deposit/Withdrawal Process

When you login to the ATAIX website, head over to your wallets. Click on “Deposit” on the top-right corner of the screen. In the “Choose Currency” dropdown, select Bitcoin. If you’re sending BTC from a wallet, open the wallet and paste the address as the destination address. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on the screen from your wallet. In case your BTC is locked up in an exchange, login in to the exchange, and paste the address as the withdrawal address. The transaction should take about an hour to confirm on the blockchain. Once it is confirm, the funds will appear on your ATAIX wallet. The withdrawal process is similar, only that you’ll need to input your destination wallet address. Once you’ve withdrawn BTC from ATAIX, you will be sent a confirmation email with a link on the email address that you used to register on the website. You will need to open this email and click on the link to confirm that the withdrawal process was indeed initiated by yourself. Once this is done, the BTC will be sent to your destination wallet.

Stellar

Stellar is a cryptocurrency that allows anyone to make cross-border payments using any pair of currencies.  The platform forked from Ripple and kick started its blockchain journey with a $3 million loan from Stripe. Stellar’s native cryptocurrency token is Stellar Lumens (XLM). The cryptocurrency is known for fast transaction speeds of between two to five seconds. It uses distributed ledgers to connect banks, people, and payment systems. Launched in 2014 by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim, the project is backed by Stellar.org, a nonprofit.

The Stellar cryptocurrency is based on an open source, distributed ledger system that’s maintained by the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP). The consensus mechanism allows for flexible trust, decentralized control and enhanced security. The SCP is built around a unique Federated Byzantine Agreement model that allows it to support over a billion accounts and 1000 transactions per second. Stellar’s consensus model differs from other Byzantine models because it allows for open network participation to drive the growth of the network. One thing about Stellar Lumens is that they are not mined like Bitcoins. Instead, all Lumens were pre-mined in a genesis block, and a total of 100 billion XLM exist.

How the wallet works

Stellar Lumens are stored in digital wallets that are compatible with the Stellar blockchain. A wide range of wallets, including desktop, mobile, hardware and web-based wallets support Stellar Lumens. Unlike most other wallets that are free to use, Stellar wallets need every user to have at least 20 Lumens before they can be allowed to create a wallet. They say this safeguards the platform from spammers. You cannot use fiat currencies to buy Stellar Lumens so you’ll need to first buy BTC or ETH and exchange it later with XLM at an exchange. There are many services that allow you to directly buy BTC or ETH using Fiat currencies, Coinbase is a prime example of those.

Deposit/Withdrawal Process

When you login to the ATAIX website, head over to your wallets. Click on “Deposit” on the top-right corner of the screen. In the “Choose Currency” dropdown, select XLM (Stellar). If you’re sending XLM from a wallet, open the wallet and paste the address as the destination address. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on the screen from your wallet. In case your XLM is locked up in an exchange, login in to the exchange, and paste the address as the withdrawal address. The next step is inputting the destination tag. XLM has a little nuance in that for this cryptocurrency, rather than having a wallet for each user registered on ATAIX, we have one wallet for our entire user-base. The destination tag serves to differentiate transactions done by each user and that the XLM held in the shared wallet is properly assigned to its rightful owners. Hence, the next step in the deposit process is to copy the destination tag from ATAIX and paste it in your wallet, in the Destination Tag section. Once this is done, you can hit send from your wallet and the XLM should appear in your ATAIX account in absolutely no time.

Withdrawing XLM to your own XLM wallet from ATAIX is very similar, except you don’t have to worry about Destination Tags. You can leave that field empty, or put any random number. You’ll get your XLM anyways, as long as the withdrawal address is entered correctly.

Cardano

Like Ethereum, Cardano is a smart contract-based blockchain platform. Based on peer-reviewed research and scientific philosophy, the platform allows developers to build secure decentralized applications. Looking at the enhanced security and privacy features that Cardano brings to the table, it’s easy to see that the platform was built with the end-user in mind.  The Cardano blockchain runs the ADA cryptocurrency. Cardano’s vision is to take banking systems to the developing world, where majority of people lack a basic bank account. This explains why its developers are keen on building a project that adheres to global financial regulations as they seek to reach the unbanked in all corners of the world. The Cardano project was created by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood in 2015.

The Cardano team minted 45 Billion ADA when the project kicked off. Unlike Bitcoin or Ethreum which use the Proof of Work protocol to add new coins into the ecosystem, Cardano uses a unique consensus algorithm known as Ouroboros, a Proof-of-Stake mechanism. Their consensus model revolves around nodes which have to confirm transactions to generate new blocks. In a proof of stake protocol, coin holders set aside coins which they “stake” to be allowed to confirm transactions. Cardano miners earn ADA for their work in the blockchain.

How the wallet works

Daedalus is the official and the only wallet for ADA coins. It’s an open source multi-currency digital wallet that was created by the Cardano team. Available for both MacOs and Windows operating systems, this wallet allows users to freely exchange between different currencies that the wallet supports. With the Daedulus wallet, you won’t need to worry about the security of your ADA coins. The Cardano team is also expanding the wallet to support Bitcoin and Ethereum Classic.

Storing your coins in this wallet is easy and straightforward. You only need to download and install it in your PC. Mobile users will have to wait longer as there’s currently no mobile wallet for ADA. One of the key benefits of the Daedulus wallet is that you get access to tons of applications that have been built by the Daedulus community. Like with most altcoins, there’s no way to directly buy ADA using fiat currencies. You’ll need to first buy BTC or ETH and exchange them for ADA.

Deposit/Withdrawal Process

When you login to the ATAIX website, head over to your wallets. Click on “Deposit” on the top-right corner of the screen. In the “Choose Currency” dropdown, select ADA (Cardano). If you’re sending ADA from a wallet, open the wallet and paste the address as the destination address. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on the screen from your wallet. In case your ADA is locked up in an exchange, login in to the exchange, and paste the address as the withdrawal address. The transaction shouldn’t take long before it’s completed. The withdrawal process is similar, only that you’ll need to input your destination wallet address. Once you’ve withdrawn ADA from ATAIX, you will be sent a confirmation email with a link on the email address that you used to register on the website. You will need to open this email and click on the link to confirm that the withdrawal process was indeed initiated by yourself. Once this is done, the ether will be sent to your destination wallet.

Ripple

Ripple presents itself as both a cryptocurrency and a platform. The Ripple platform is an open source software that allows for fast and low cost transactions. Ripple runs a network of financial institutions like banks and payment service providers that use the Ripple network to offer frictionless payment solutions. XRP is Ripple’s native cryptocurrency. Ripple was first released in 2012 by Jed McCaleb.

Most cryptocurrencies tend to use the two most popular consensus algorithms; Proof of Work or Proof of Stake. But ripple uses none of these. Instead, it uses its own unique algorithm known as Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm. It’s a technically different protocol compared to that of Bitcoin or Ethereum. Essentially, there’s no mining involved as all the 100 billion XRP coins were mined at the launch of the project.  Ripple validates transactions and recommends to its users a list of trusted nodes that can validate their transactions.

How the wallet works

From software, hardware to paper, mobile and web-based wallets; you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to storing your XRP coins. There are many wallets out there that support XRP. Unlike Bitcoin wallets which are free to use, XRP wallets aren’t. Ripple requires all users to have a minimum of 20XRP to book their wallet. It’s a security feature that they say prevents spam. The XRP wallet functions about the same way as any other cryptocurrency wallet. They secure your private key, allowing you to use the public key, or address of your coins on the Ripple blockchain.

Deposit/withdrawal process

When you login to the ATAIX website, head over to your wallets. Click on “Deposit” on the top-right corner of the screen. In the “Choose Currency” dropdown, select XRP (Ripple). If you’re sending XRP from a wallet, open the wallet and paste the address as the destination address. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on the screen from your wallet. In case your XRP is locked up in an exchange, login in to the exchange, and paste the address as the withdrawal address. The next step is inputting the destination tag. XRP has a little nuance in that for this cryptocurrency, rather than having a wallet for each user registered on ATAIX, we have one wallet for our entire user-base. The destination tag serves to differentiate transactions done by each user and that the XRP held in the shared wallet is properly assigned to its rightful owners. Hence, the next step in the deposit process is to copy the destination tag from ATAIX and paste it in your wallet, in the Destination Tag section. Once this is done, you can hit send from your wallet and the ripple should appear in your ATAIX account in absolutely no time.

Withdrawing XRP to your own XRP wallet from ATAIX is very similar, except you don’t have to worry about Destination Tags. You can leave that field empty, or put any random number. You’ll get your XRP anyways, as long as the withdrawal address is entered correctly

BlogNov, 2018
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How Anonymous is Cryptocurrency?

Anonymity and decentralization are the imperative concepts which cryptocurrency is based on. Shockingly, it isn’t as anonymous as people thought it would be. Data leakage by web merchants is common nowadays. The deals signed with their clients are exposed to the public, which involves the risk of linking individual keys. Government intelligence agencies have come to the rescue by using AI to trace such activities taking place in the dark web.

It’s now confirmed that cryptocurrency is no longer private as there are forensic tools which authorities use to track the entire transaction leading to the formation of blocks. These tools are used to uncover all traded, sent and received addresses that can be linked to people interested in tracing certain individual details. A UK-based think-tank startup called Elliptic that deals with preventing and detecting criminal activity in cryptocurrencies discovered large-scale illegal operations where Bitcoin and Ethereum were involved.

It is possible for cryptocurrency to remain anonymous and untraceable as it was in the past. However, Sarah Meiklejohn together with her colleagues at the University of California has discovered a technique called clustering which is used to monitor and record all the activities occurring on a blockchain. The clustering process assists in scrutinizing operations which makes it possible to track Bitcoin transaction. The clustering formulates a pattern that can easily be recognized by any person who isn’t necessarily a programmer or computer scientist. Crypto is great for providing privacy and security, but it is always encouraged to keep transactions with cryptocurrencies legal and safe. It is also imperative to keep records of crypto exchanging and trading for taxes.

So, is cryptocurrency as private as they claim to be? No. But is it private enough? Yes. With the help of AI and clustering, steps are being taken in order to resolve the issues encountered. Cryptocurrency transactions are remarkably more secure than that of fiat.    

BlogNov, 2018
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A Quick Rundown of Some of the Most Popular Cryptos out There

With more and more cryptocurrencies coming into existence, our options of cryptocurrency investments are also multiplying. Since each cryptocurrency has its specific distinctiveness, it’s hard to decide which one to invest in. Each can be applied in different areas to serve for different purposes. Obviously this can be a bit overwhelming and confusing for beginners, so we decided to highlight some of the most popular cryptocurrencies and their appealing peculiarities.

1.   Bitcoin (BTC): Launched in 2009, Bitcoin is the father of all cryptocurrencies. As the most popular one on blockchain, it is a time tested, secure, and profitable crypto coin.

2.   Ether (ETH): Ether is the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, a platform which facilitates P2P contracts and applications. These P2P contracts are called smart contracts that have the ability to revolutionize how people and businesses interact.

3.   Ripple (XRP): Released in 2012, its purpose wasn’t to compete with Bitcoin, but to complement it. Ripple was created for large financial institutions and quick transactions that include different currencies.

4.   Bitcoin Cash (BCH): When blockchain and the Bitcoin cryptocurrency split into two as a result of a hard fork in 2017, Bitcoin generated a “spin-off” cryptocurrency which was named Bitcoin Cash. It has a larger block size which allows faster transaction times.

5.   Litecoin (LTC): Launched in 2011, Litecoin is similar to Bitcoin in its technical aspect. Litecoin can produce up to 84 million coins, whereas Bitcoin’s maximum is 21 million. Transaction time is 2.5 minutes when using Litecoin, while Bitcoin’s is a little over 10 minutes.

6.   Cardano (ADA): Released in 2017, Cardano’s distinctive feature lies in its transaction. This cryptocurrency allows you to add extra info and details to each transaction you make. Although it sounds similar to other cryptos, Cardano keeps the transaction and information in separate layers. You decide to fill the details whenever you find it necessary.

7.   Neo (NEO): A decentralized, open-source cryptocurrency and blockchain platform launched in China in 2014. Neo focuses on smart economy and offers digital identity, smart contracts, DApps and GAS.

8.   Dash (DASH). This cryptocurrency is also forked from the Bitcoin protocol. Created in 2014, Dash is a lot more decentralized than other coins and its privacy features are solid. Dash has a unified and detailed roadmap on exactly how to be able to offer cheap and instant transactions at a rate of 4,000 or more per second.

The best cryptocurrency for investments depends on what your needs are. Before taking any risky steps, you need to conduct thorough research on the available coins and see which one fits your requirements best. Some want to trade regularly and quickly, while others need more stability for long term investments. These are only 8 of the 1,658 cryptocurrencies out there, so manage your time effectively before managing your crypto-investments.

Remember that we are continously adding cryptos to our exchange list so stay tuned to see which one of these (or any other coins) we might add next.

If you're ready to trade or just wanna try it out, join ATAIX today to start doing so immediately. 

BlogOct, 2018
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Buying Cryptocurrency Using a Credit or Debit Card

For anyone who wants to trade cryptocurrencies, the obvious first step is purchasing some crypto coins/tokens to begin with. Luckily, purchasing cryptocurrency with a credit card has become much more convenient in recent years. The problem of chargebacks has been mitigated through anti-fraud companies, and more exchanges allow credit/debit cards as a valid payment option for purchasing cryptocurrency.

What exchanges allow cryptocurrency purchases with a credit or debit card? 

Coinmama: Coinmama specializes in crypto purchases through credit/debit cards for over 180 countries worldwide. They have some of the most popular cryptos available for purchase on their site and users can buy them quickly and safely with their cards. Crypto purchased on Coinmama is received instantly and they do not limit the amount users can buy at once. It should be noted, however, that Coinmama does tend to charge more than other services and only allows users to buy cryptocurrencies, not sell them.

CEX.IO: CEX.io is a multifunctional cryptocurrency exchange established in 2013. It serves the United States, Europe, and some countries in South America, and is a reputable platform with over 2 million users. CEX.io allows users to purchase and sell cryptocurrency.

Coinbase: Coinbase is the largest crypto exchange platform worldwide. It serves 32 countries and has a whopping 20 million users in those countries. Coinbase transactions may take a few days based on the bank’s processing time, but they do allow both the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies on their platform. Coinbase also has a great referral program, wherein users can get $10 when someone they referred makes a purchase or sale of at least $100.

Bitstamp: Established in 2011, Bitstamp is one of the oldest and most reputable Bitcoin exchanges and is fully licensed by the Luxembourg ministry of finance. Bitstamp allows both the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies with a transparent progressive rate. Though Bitstamp was initially a EU centric platform, it has recently expanded to almost 60 other countries around the globe.

General steps of purchasing cryptocurrencies through the exchanges mentioned above.

  1. Visit the exchange’s website or webpage and sign up for an account, most platforms require some form of ID verification for security.

  2. Complete the signup process and go through all the requirements of the site. Once you sign up, you should now have a wallet address.

  3. After signing up, go to the purchase option on the site and select the coin/token and the quantity you want to purchase.

  4. Provide the wallet address for the coin/token you’re purchasing.

  5. Some platforms require a secondary ID verification during each purchase, and you may need to do this once more.

  6. Provide/confirm your credit/debit card information

  7. The coins or tokens will appear in your wallet after the processing time has passed.

  8. Once you have these cryptos in your wallet, you can deposit them into ATAIX and start trading!

Conclusion

Buying cryptocurrency using your credit card is a rather straightforward process as long as you have done your research and have settled on the right exchange. Of course, everyone’s needs are different and depend on various factors (country, quantity, coin/token), so not everyone will choose the same platform. See which one is your preferred option and start trading today!

BlogMay, 2018
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Is Cryptocurrency the Future of Transactions?

The word “cryptocurrency” is being thrown around more and more often these days. Looking it up in a dictionary, it’d be described as a “digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security”, i.e., it’s a sort of an alternative and digital currency. The core of cryptocurrency is blockchain, which serves as a public financial transaction database. Why opt for blockchain instead of central banking systems if both essentially perform the same function? The main reason is that the latter is centralized, whereas blockchain is decentralized. The data provided isn’t stored in a central location, but is distributed among countless groups, making it infinitely more secure.

Bitcoin, one of the biggest names in the cryptoworld, was introduced 10 years ago by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous programmer behind the first cryptocurrency. It was only a matter of time before others followed his footsteps and created other alternatives. Ether, Bitcoin Lite, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash were quickly introduced to the cryptoworld, providing users with more cryptocurrency options.

The rapid growth of its popularity has started to threaten the traditional ways of transacting money. Cryptocurrency is now becoming the norm. The reasons why people are more inclined to opt for virtual currency are A) reduced transaction fees, B) a safer ecosystem, C) peer-to-peer transactions with no third parties involved. Since its creation, 18% of US citizens have adopted the usage of cryptocurrency. Malta is in the process of possibly becoming the first country to have Bitcoin as their national currency. If cryptocurrencies continue growing and expanding at the current rate, crypto-analysts have deduced that by 2050, cryptocurrencies will become mainstream.

Why aren’t we ready to fully adopt cryptocurrencies yet?

Although it’s been around for almost a decade now, cryptocurrency is still a new concept to the world. Although it is a safer option than fiat currencies, it does have its cons. As a complex notion, people have difficulties understanding how it works. Its market volatility can, at times, lead to unstable and unregulated cryptocurrencies. Other risks include illegal activities through the dark web. However, these are all problems that traditional fiat currencies face as well.

Since cryptocurrencies provide decentralized alternatives to fiat currencies, financial institutions tend to oppose it. But, with its accelerated development, more and more cryptocurrencies are emerging, bringing along more opportunities to the cryptoworld. The issues encountered are being addressed and cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly more stable as more people begin to use them. Perhaps not tomorrow, but it’s only a matter of time until we adopt cryptocurrencies as a replacement for fiat.

BlogMay, 2018
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Cryptocurrency Gains Taxes

Profits made off of cryptocurrency trading and investing are taxed in most countries around the world. It’s important to be aware of these laws follow them accordingly. Here is a brief rundown on how cryptocurrency trading gains are taxed in the biggest markets around the world

United States: In the US, cryptocurrencies are legally considered to be property, not tender, as per the IRS. When trading crypto, the IRS views it like they view trading stocks.

“General tax principles applicable to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.”

Canada: In Canada, gains from cryptocurrency trading are treated like gains from any investment. It is considered capital gains, and is subject to a 50% tax. Canadian traders can find more information and tips on this helpful article.

European Union: There is no general consensus for taxing cryptocurrency trading in the entirety of the European Union as of now, and each country has an individual approach. However, it seems that Brussels is working on coming to a decision regarding crypto taxing, and traders in the EU should be attentive in the coming months.

That being said, most nations within the EU are treating cryptocurrency gains as capital gains and are taxing them as such. Check the laws for your specific country to make sure you report your gains accordingly. More information can be found at this bitcoin.com article, which goes over how some of the nations within the EU are approaching crypto trading.

Japan: Japan treats gains from stock investments/trading and gains from cryptocurrency investments/trading differently. In Japan, cryptocurrency trading is considered miscellaneous income, and should be filed and reported as such. A progressive tax put on miscellaneous income means in Japan gains from cryptocurrency trading can be taxed anywhere from 5%-45% as per Japan’s National Tax Agency.

We understand that there are various other markets around the world and we have traders outside the four we have listed here. Our goal here was to make sure everyone is aware that cryptocurrency gains are generally taxed and traders should be aware of this in order to report their gains accordingly. Make sure you keep records of all trades and exchanges to be able to do this. For more information on how cryptocurrencies are legislated and taxed around the world, please visit this page, which covers a comprehensive list of countries.

BlogMay, 2018
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The Decentralization of the Web

As it stands now, we are in the middle of an internet revolution. Who’s we? Everyone on the internet: website owners, users, posters, bloggers, and anyone in between. This is because the internet as we know it is changing and users are slowly taking back ownership of the web. How? Through gradual decentralization.

Web 1.0

Back in the early days of the internet, websites weren’t very interactive, and often were just static pages for users to browse. But strangely enough, the internet in those days was decentralized.

What does this mean? It means that anyone who wanted to start a website had to buy their own server and host the site on it. All the files were stored on this individual server. Of course, there were many technological changes from then until now as well, but that is a natural consequence of time. From a retrospective point of view, Web 1.0’s most important aspect was that it was an even playing field between all users.

Web 1.0 was basically a massive network of dispersed and decentralized servers wherein nobody had any more value than anyone else and everyone owned their own data. During the dot-com bubble, however, everything changed.

Web 2.0 

Entrepreneurs eventually realized how revolutionary the world wide web was, and began opening websites dedicated to all sorts of different things. Investors provided capital and technological advances were made that changed the nature of the internet. Websites were no longer static pages for merely observing and interaction on the user’s end now became intrinsic to the system.

The shift to Web 2.0 was gradual. There is no clear date on when Web 1.0 ended and 2.0 began. For users, the shift was part of the organic evolution of the internet. Websites didn’t become what we know them as today overnight, and improvements were made to the system step-by-step. These improvements, however, led to a mass centralization of data.

This network of individual, decentralized servers was replaced with massive cloud computing companies like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure that provided a cheaper and more convenient alternative to anyone who wanted to host a website. And thus, we found ourselves sacrificing privacy and security for convenience.

As user interaction became critical to how sites began to operate, their data became a coveted and valuable part of the platforms they were using. Sites such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook created massive networks of servers to store this data on in order to better tune their own platforms and personalize them for users based on their information. This made the user experience much better and far more convenient, but it also meant users were giving up their data (and hence, their security) to these websites for free in exchange for this benefit.

Web 2.0 is a double-edged sword. We’ve received all the wonders of a fully interactive and personalized network of websites that seem to operate with their users in mind, but we’ve also sacrificed our privacy for it. The thought of massive servers storing all our data is a bit unsettling in and of itself, but it’s proven to be downright disastrous when this data has been compromised. And as we continue to move forward, these data breaches have only gotten bigger and more catastrophic, affecting more and more people.

Looking back on the shift from 1.0 to 2.0, such a centralization was necessary. There was really no other way to create and operate the platforms we’ve all grown to love so much without these companies collecting and utilizing our data. And, as with everything, it’s been a give-and-take relationship with a clear set of risks we’ve put up with to receive certain rewards. Now, however, it doesn’t have to be this way. These risks and rewards are no longer interdependent, and we are now able to reap all the benefits of this system while leaving behind all of its drawbacks.

Web 3.0

With Bitcoin’s astronomical rise in popularity, blockchain has hit the mainstream. And blockchain is an integral part of Web 3.0 and the decentralization of the web. With blockchain, there is no need for a central data processing or storing service. Using any blockchain-based applications means your data is encrypted and stored on a network of thousands of independent servers around the globe.

Blockchain has come about due to a demand for any two parties to be able to transact with each other in a climate of trust, but without any intermediaries like banks, payment processors, or notaries. Such big, consolidated intermediaries exist because they are universally trusted to guarantee and sign off on transactions then put them into a database. However, this leads to all this data becoming centralized and thus extremely volatile. So we need a new way to achieve trust in a decentralized fashion, which is where blockchain comes in.

It’s vital to note that blockchain is not only decentralized and without intermediaries, but also infinitely safer. Any blockchain is a DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology), which means that the ledgers (databases of records and transactions) within its system are distributed and stored amongst thousands, if not millions, of computers, which are continuously updated and maintained through a consensus mechanism. Without a central owner collecting all the data, it becomes nearly impossible to hack into, because if a ledger is maliciously altered on one computer, the system automatically rejects it. A hacker would need the capabilities to hack into all of the hundreds of thousands of computers on the network, which at the moment is technically impossible.

Many platforms around the world are already beginning to implement this technology for uses that range from financial transactions to social media to journalism. People are putting their faith into blockchain, not only because there’s virtually no risk in doing so, but also because they’re sick and tired of large online conglomerates tracking and storing their information then using it for their benefit or selling it to others. With blockchain, your information is secured and only shared with your permission.

Of course, outside of decentralization, Web 3.0 will have many other benefits. There will be security, not only from data breaches, but also in reducing errors and service failures. Applications and devices will be more interoperable, working seamlessly with each other. Everything will be connected, but in a much safer manner.

The best part about all of this is that the transition from 2.0 to 3.0 will be painless. Just as we saw with 1.0 and 2.0, it will happen gradually and users will slowly find themselves using blockchain based platforms, sometimes without even realizing it. There are already platforms around the world that are recreating all the existing platforms we’ve grown accustomed to, but building it on blockchain technology. Slowly but surely, we’re taking back our information and decentralizing the web to make it work for our benefit.

BlogMay, 2018