Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies Explained

What is Bitcoin? Everything you wanted to know about cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency are currently trending buzzwords: But what is actually behind the cryptocurrency? How do Bitcoin work and what can you do with it?

A year ago, critics of the cryptocurrency would probably not have expected to crack the € 13,000 mark – but that’s exactly what Bitcoin did in December. Meanwhile, the price has dropped a bit but slowly recovering.

The Bitcoin seems to have generated more awareness among the people and also has created some interest in companies. But many are still relatively unfamiliar with the digital currency. So what exactly is Bitcoin and how does it work?

Bitcoin crypto explained

What exactly is Bitcoin?

As mentioned above, Bitcoin is not a physically-printed currency, but a digital form of payment that is created and stored electronically. This process is called in the jargon “mining” or “digging”. That is, computers create the currency with complicated mathematical formulas. On a normal PC and for the layman, however, this can hardly be accomplished. Due to this, several computers join together or powerful GPU’s are used to generate the bitcoins.

Anyone who owns Bitcoins can use them to purchase goods and services or even conduct financial market transactions, as with other means of payment. What sets Bitcoin apart from other currencies, such as the euro or the dollar, is its decentralization. No state institution such as the central bank can intervene in the system and manage money or set framework conditions. The network controls itself.

Who invented Bitcoin?

A software developer named Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the concept of digital currency 2008 on an internet message board and in January 2009 the first 50 bitcoin blocks were calculated. However, no-one knows who the person is, even today.

 

How does Bitcoin work?

Bitcoins are purely mathematical and can be generated using the software. This software is an open-source software, which means: Everyone can understand how exactly it works.

Behind the Bitcoin is a so-called blockchain technology, which created great interest in companies and governments. It is also often referred to as a digital account statement because in the concatenated blocks, all transactions that have ever been made are stored in encrypted form and can be viewed by anyone.

unlike other currencies, however, there are no institutions behind the digital currency that stand for value stability. Decisions are made in the Bitcoin network only with a consensus mechanism defined by a program code.

 

How do I buy bitcoins?

You can either buy Bitcoins in one of the numerous Bitcoin exchanges using a conventional currency or you can receive them as a means of payment for goods and services you provide.

If you buy bitcoins, you can either leave them on the exchanges and use them as a kind of online account or get a digital wallet, which can be installed on a computer or smartphone. The advantage is that you can open an account at any time without having to provide any evidence. Also, there are no names or residential addresses associated with the accounts, so you can make your transfers anonymously.

More and more Internet shops, but also restaurants, service providers or schools accept the cryptocurrency as a means of payment.

 

How much is the Bitcoin value?

The cryptocurrency has no fixed value, which means that its value is the ratio of supply and demand. In the early stages of Bitcoin he was only a few cents worth – currently, it is around 12,000 euros.

Critical financial experts or regulators, however, are constantly warning of a huge crash because Bitcoin is a “speculative object” or has only an exchange value that can only be expected to be accepted in the future. However, that does not stop many Bitcoin prospects from jumping on the train and cutting off a piece of the pie for themselves.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of bitcoins?

As mentioned earlier, bitcoins bring some advantages over traditional currencies. These include the following:

  • Bitcoins are largely counterfeit-proof
  • they protect the anonymity of the owners
  • the value cannot be artificially distorted by the state or banks
  • A Bitcoin account can be created without bureaucratic hurdles
  • There are hardly any transaction costs
  • Bitcoin payments are processed within minutes and do not need a middleman like a bank. The transfer takes place without detours and reaches the recipient directly.

But the freedoms that the Bitcoin allows unfortunately also make it unpredictable. The price of the digital currency is still rising, but it is difficult to predict how the cryptocurrency will last in the future. This inevitably results in disadvantages:

  • no institution can stand for value stability
  • Without a computer, the currency cannot be used
  • the anonymity is taken advantage of by dodgy bitcoin exchange businesses
  • Once a transaction has been made, it can not be undone

Check if your facebook account data is leaking

Access to your Facebook account data – Check which apps are snooping on you

Facebook data reveals a lot about a user. No wonder many apps like to use them. You can find out those apps snooping on you easily. And also, what they actually know about you.

facebook scandal

The Facebook scandal and the user data scraped by Cambridge Analytica are shocking.

With a single app, the company was able to tap the profiles of 50 million users. It is not the only app. We’ll explain how to find out which snooping apps are allowed to read your profile – and what those apps know about you.

Whether it is games on Facebook itself, a registration in an app, a website or a raffle. More and more offers sites and apps rely on log-in via Facebook – and thus get access to parts of the profile. Find out which apps you’ve allowed over time.

On the desktop
Log in to Facebook via the browser . In the menu bar at the top, click on the triangle symbol on the far right and then on “Settings”. Select “Apps” from the list on the left. Already you get an overview of which apps your profile, your friends and other data may read.

Mobile website
Touch the three overlapping lines icon. Then scroll down the list and select “Account settings” and “Apps”. Here is a complete overview, the apps are divided into categories. The most exciting is the areas “registered with Facebook”. Behind it hide external apps that you have signed up for via Facebook. The apps and plug-ins on Facebook itself that have access to the data are not visible on the mobile page.

Apps for Android and iOS
Again, there is the overview, as on the mobile website, behind the menu icon of three dashes. In the Android app it is placed on the top right, in iOS lower right, then tap “Settings”, “Account Settings” and “Apps”.

What do the apps know about you?
To find out what an app knows about you, just tap the app icon in the app settings. While reputable apps typically retrieve only the data they need, such as the email address and general access to the profile, others pick up on what’s going on. Maybe a game wants to know about everything, from relationship status, past employers to split posts. Fortunately, you can also remove the access to individual information from the apps in the overview – or remove the app altogether.

facebook data leak

How the Scandal Unfolded?

Like no US president, Donald Trump has his choice to thank for the power of social networking. He dominated the game with Twitter, also on Facebook and Co. with targeted advertising, voters were addressed precisely.

Under the leadership of former Trump chief strategist and Breitbart boss Steve Bannon, Cambridge Analytica had succeeded in building accurate psychological profiles from Facebook data. “We exploited Facebook in order to tap the data of millions of user profiles. Then we created models that took advantage of our knowledge of them took their inner demons to target. That was the basis on which rested the whole company,” Christopher Wylie told the “Guardian”.

He is the architect of this system – and actually wanted to create something completely different. The 28-year-old, who, according to a article in the “Guardian”, is described as gay, Canadian vegan and can be seen on photos with pink hair, wanted to find out how to influence fashion trends. That was at least the topic of his doctorate. Because he had worked for politicians before his studies, he discovered at the age of just 24 that his ideas could also be applied to politics. The British Liberals, for whom he was analyzing at the time, did not want to hear that. Instead, he got the hearing of the election counseling SCL Elections – which then became Cambridge Analytica.

Wylie suffers from ADD and spelling weakness, dropped out of school at 16. Nevertheless, he managed to work his way up from the intern in the Canadian Parliament to the opposition leader’s office within a year – at only 17 years old. At 19, he taught himself programming, at age 20 he began law studies at the London School of Economics and advised the British Liberals. A high-flyer who happened to hit the ideological brain of the American right.

“Bannon understood it immediately,” says the young exceptional talent. “He believes in Andrew Breitbart’s doctrine that politics is downstream of culture, so culture must be changed to change politics.” Fashion trends would work quite similarly.

Bannon carried Wylie’s ideas to Robert Mercer, the billionaire sponsor behind Cambridge Analytica. With his money you could now finance the data robbery on Facebook. The idea behind it was simple, people were paid to do a personality test on Facebook. In addition, they had to give an app access to their Facebook profile – and that of their friends. A complete success: The almost 320,000 participants handed Cambridge Analytica an average of 160 profiles per person, almost 50 million psychograms could be created without the users knowing anything about it.

There are serious allegations. Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have already denied to a committee of inquiry of the British Parliament that the data was collected by Facebook. However, Wylie was able to present to the “Guardian” and the “New York Times” a whole stack of files, e-mails, bills and the like – and thus underpin his story.

There are ambiguities anyway. The role of Russia, for example, is not clear in the whole affair. Which is probably because that whistleblower Wylie had left the company at the end of 2014. Before, however, the Russian oil company Lukoil had shown great interest in the data. “That made no sense to me,” Wylie told the Guardian. “Why should a Russian oil company want information about American voters?”

He is sure, however, that the company would work for everyone like mercenaries. “Rules do not matter to them, they see it as a war – and every means is right,” he told The New York Times . The reputation of the company has been damaged due to the reports. So far, neither a party nor a support organisation has been open to their services in the midterm elections known at the end of the year, the newspaper writes. It is therefore increasingly turning to the commercial market. According to insiders, last year Cambridge Analytica would have sought out Mercedes Benz, AB Inbev, the world’s largest brewery group, and insurer Metlife. But contracts have not yet been concluded.

According to Facebook, the responsible data collector only had a license to collect research data and these could not be used for commercial purposes. The entire company was blocked by Facebook. Christopher Wylie was also blocked on Facebook and the associated services Instagram and Whatsapp. He refused to be investigated on the case while he was locked out, the company told Techcrunch. Wylie posted on Twitter. “Suspended by Facebook. for blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for 2 years.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp co-founder Brain Acton who sold his company to Facebook for $16 billion tells everyone to delete Facebook.

The tweet came after a bruising five-day period for Facebook that has seen regulators swarm and its stock price plunge following concerns over data privacy in the wake of revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of user data.