Browse Author by jrmoreau
Opinion

Your Very Own Bullshit Meter – Indorse Gives Actual Weight To Online Reputation

Indorse.io Gives Credibility Back To Social Brands

Do you ever feel like someone is bullshitting you? Like, someone posts on social media and you can’t help but be like “Mmmmm, nuh uh. That doesn’t seem correct.” You know this person. What they’re claiming seems inflated or just wrong. But you can’t do anything about except ignore it, unfollow them or maybe report them to the site administrator if they’re doing something really heinous. But, what’s the point? Taking extra action maybe helps whatever social network you’re using, but does it help you? Not really.

One of the problems with centralized web services as we experience them in relation to social media and the identities created on them is that they’ll often lean to far one way or another in terms of privacy/anonymity and transparency. There are some good privacy solutions that deal with encryption and don’t take personal data from their users at any point. This is pretty cool and has a place, but the concept of a social network being social and a network means that identity has a place of importance if it’s to carry into the real world.

This is the quandary of personal branding. By “building your brand” you are, in essence, fashioning a story about yourself that you really want the rest of the world to know about. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this (obviously, I run and have ran this and other blogs as a personal branding experiments). Who doesn’t love a good story anyways? The problem is that sometimes on the internet, if a tree falls, nobody will hear it. Or, in other words, if you stretch the truth about yourself or something you talk about, you can mitigate the chances of getting called out in any meaningful way. Even if you do get called out, there’s little of consequence that can happen to you aside from getting your account suspended, or losing followers. So, as far as incentives go – there’s a greater incentive to tell a really great story that’s going to net benefit you, even if it is a lie, than there is to tell the truth.

Indorse.io Helps You Keep These Folks Out Of Your Network

 

That’s a big nut to crack and a tough problem to fix across the internet, but there are people trying their best to focus on one aspect of managing your own reputation as sort of a portable asset on the web, but also making sure that’s actually verified through confirmation of other people in your network. The fine folks at Indorse.io are making it possible to quantify with real accuracy and confidence the reputation validity of someone’s digital personality.

I won’t go into too much detail about the project besides saying that if you read the whitepaper or FAQ on their site and you have a general understanding of what Ethereum is useful for, you should get the concept pretty quickly. Indorse also addresses how they compare to other social networking sites based on blockchain already as well here on their blog.

A Bit About How I Got To Know This Team

A couple years ago I was getting familiar with the new Ethereum blockchain project which just had come online with a main net and people were – to put it lightly – excited. I saw lots of really cool use-cases cropping up where people were able to model and execute ideas using this new type of blockchain. They were doing things that Bitcoin in theory was also supposed to be able to do – someday. But Ethereum was working, even in its early stages.

The first use case that got me really excited and made me want to learn to write smart contracts and deploy them to the EVM was a prenuptial agreement pegged into immortality on the Ethereum blockchain. It was written by Guarang Torvekar of Attores in Singapore. Attores was also run by the CEO David Moskowitz, who I’ve come to know as well since meeting Guarang – both of whom are very active community members in Singapore and the larger Asian blockchain scene. I was blogging at the time and reached out to Guarang to write an article about his pet project and learn about why he did it. The fact that I was also myself engaged to be married to my now wife at the time made me excited because this was an actual real world, relatable, actionable use of the Ethereum blockchain.

Too often do we get wrapped up in high-minded ideas of systems that won’t and can’t operate in the real world for several years into the future. It’s important to have visionaries working for the future – certainly that’s more of what gets hardcore Ethereum devs excited. But applications that regular, non engineers can use and appreciate are what will help drive Ethereum into mainstream adoption – not just through the price of Ether going higher (which isn’t so meaningful). But rather, if people can use applications which affect them in a tangible way and make their lives better and also happen to be built on Ethereum – that is what will drive the ecosystem and technology as a whole forward and will usher in even more advancements in the capabilities and scope of what is possible.

Ok, enough psychobabble.

If you’d like to learn more about Indorse, I suggest checking out their website, reading their blog, or joining their Slack to ask the guys a question directly about when Indorse will have an Alpha released and how you can become an early user. They also plan to integrate with Status when the project is accepting additions, so stay tuned for that as well. Say hello to me as I help them out with some community management during the Western Hemisphere hours when they’re sleeping in Singapore.

Review

Status – The Kind Of Ethereum Project You Can Get Your Hands On

Status is a project I’ve been excited to see launch on the main net since I first heard about it while living in Seoul. I believe I first read about Status on Reddit as a new social media and messaging app which would run on the Ethereum network. When I saw it was available for early adopters to download it and play around I jumped at the opportunity and was immediately delighted to see people I knew in the network. I was so excited actually that I sent an entire Ether to the wallet associated with my account, which I didn’t know, was on the test-net. Whoops! It was my own mistake and there was nothing that could be done to reverse it. The guys at Status were really helpful and generous when I mentioned it to them and even offered to get me my one Ether back. I just chocked it up to experience and let it be.

They were hiring for a job last summer as well. I believe I saw it posted on Ethlance or something like that – a place where only Ethereum related jobs were being posted. At the time, the team behind Status was located in Singapore and while I thought Singapore might have been one of the better places in the world to be located for a job related to Ethereum, I didn’t see the logistics of moving there as possible at the time. However, I am glad to see that they’ve been diligently working to bring this project to fruition on the Ethereum main-net.

Here are the main reasons why I am looking forward to this project coming live so much and plan to support them in their token sale (ICO), but also more importantly be a patron of the app.

Relatable Technology

Status as it stands is largely a messaging app which would resemble much of what you’d expect from other services such as WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk and others of the like. However the underlying tech which makes Status distributed and powerful is Ethereum and while many people may never realize that they are using a blockchain, they will be given an opportunity to use truly unique apps and services not available through other applications.

Community Driven

Status is open source and allows for just about any Ethereum based Dapp to be plugged into its ecosystem and interacted with through the platform. They recently launched a hackathon where over $25,000 USD was awarded to people who wished to build Dapps able to interact with the Status ecosystem. These Dapps range from decentralized Ether games, to job search tools, to payment systems, self-sovereign identity, to crytpocurrency exchanges and more.

Practical Focus

Some Ethereum projects are very interesting in their pure technological or societal promise, though neither might be achieved in the near-term future. This is why many of these businesses raise so much money in their ICO’s – they need enough runway to plan long-term in their development. However far flung ideas built on Ethereum are no good to anyone if no one ever uses them. Status is geared towards being an everyday tool to interact with the community and services around you based on Ethereum. So many aspects of Facebook are all consuming and they own all of the data you share with them. With Status as an open-source platform, you own your data and can choose how you want to interact with it.

More Than Investment Worthy, But Usage Worthy

I can say that even if I wasn’t planning to take part in this token sale, I would absolutely continue to use the app, test it out and offer feedback however possible. These are the kinds of projects that will help drive Ethereum and blockchain as a whole further. This will also help bring the community together more and won’t reinforce communities built on centralized networks such as Reddit, Facebook and places otherwise subjected to censorship. Another hopeful and separate platform for this same decentralized future is Akasha, which is also in Alpha.

There is an Alpha version of the app on Android and you can request access for the iPhone version as well on their homepage – both of which I suggest you check out and offer feedback on!

Newsletter

What Ethereum Is – Think Bitcoin and Then Some

It may take a while for the concept of what blockchain means to sink in when you consider what it does, what its applications are, what its strengths are and how it differs from modern technology.

If you did the homework from my last newsletter and blog post, you should have read the Satoshi Nakamoto Whitepaper about Bitcoin, where you would have begun to learn about the topics of double spending, “nonces” (funny word), and what proof of work consensus is all about. The Bitcoin Whitepaper is only about 9 pages – I think I read it in its entirety on a subway ride in Seoul. Not to say I understood everything the first time, nor should have you.

 

 

If you look at the title of Satoshi’s White Paper, you’ll see it says “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Payment System.” Bitcoin operates on top of a blockchain and through some very sophisticated software and cryptography, enables revolutionary transactions to happen between humans electronically without the possibility of double spending. Amazing, right?

Well, imagine you could do peer-to-peer payments with that blockchain and with that proof of work consensus, but also do a lot more? Say, run computer programs?

Yes, Ethereum actually is a fully distributed, decentralized, node driven network of computers that operates on a blockchain and in addition to that, it can process files of code called “smart contracts.” Smart contracts can do a lot of different things, but think of them largely as contractual agreements between two or more parties on the blockchain that will execute and pay out money or do other cool computational work if conditions within the computer code are met.

Yeah, I know that’s sounding a bit out of this world. I get it – this stuff is hard. However just think about it this way – pretty much all of the computer systems you use are operated on or through centralized databases. These databases are owned by someone – who knows who? Your data is on there and sometimes it’s not aware to you where your data is and how much of that data you can access. Our world is full of intermediaries – lawyers, accountants, police, government, employers. So, imagine in the future – take as many intermediaries out of the equation as possible and being able to interact in many facets of like that we take for granted and believe are out of our control – all though these smart contracts.

You can even do ICO’s. But I’ll save that for later.

I’m going to let this sink in for a bit before we move into too much more detail about that. Ethereum is as amazing technologically as it is phillosophically in my opinion. Don’t ever ask me to talk about it with you unless you’ve got some time to spare while I talk your ear off.

To learn more about Ethereum, visit the Ethereum Foundation website, read the white paper and check out this video.

Newsletter, Opinion

Why Sign Up For Another Newsletter? Well, Here’s Why:

I first want to thank everyone who has reached out to me in the past year, asking me for advice and more information about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. I started off with zero knowledge just a few years ago in 2013 and remained relatively ignorant of the space and the power behind this movement only up until 2015. As I humbled myself and became a student of the truly great minds behind the successful (and some unsuccessful) projects in the space, I have been fortunate to learn from some of the smartest people in the industry and broaden my knowledge exponentially.

It’s important to remember a few things as you read this and take whatever I have to say, think or write as truth or not.

First, I am not a computer programmer. I’ve never been paid to write a line of code in my life outside of a handful of WordPress and basic HTML/Bootstrap websites I created to make extra money as a freelancer. So, when I opine on the strength of a particular cryptocurrency, platform or industry application, realize I am speaking from a lower level of expertise than some of the people I look up to in this space. Wherever possible, I will point you, the reader, to the best primary sources of information directly. I work in this space and know quite a bit about the business side of things nowadays, but I am still learning along with everyone else.

Second, I own a large amount of several different cryptocurrencies. I will disclose this whenever possible to ensure that I am, and will continue to be biased towards positions I have a stake in. This isn’t to say I am pro-Ethereum and anti-Bitcoin, or anything else – however I just want to be clear that even folks such as myself who proclaim to be “blockchain agnostic” still can have conscious or unconscious biases for or against specific technologies. Look deep within yourself – you’ll see your own consumer and ideological biases as well if you’re honest. In addition to that, I will and I must maintain confidentiality with the variety of employers, business partners and associates I’ve worked with over the years. So everything you read from me is publicly available information that you could access yourself without me – I’ll never share my confidential information.

Third, this content I create is not, has never been and never will be financial advice. If you buy any of the cryptocurrencies I cover or invest in any of the ICO’s I mention or anything else for that matter – I take no responsibility and assume no risk on your behalf. This content is purely for educational purposes about the space and the players in it and isn’t meant as financial advice in any way. This is computer money. There’s always the chance all your investments could go to zero. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Lastly, do your own research. Following my advice without knowing, at least on a superficial level, what the technology you’re investing in does is a bad idea. Whenever possible, download the applications if you can, play with the wallets, read the whitepapers, research the founders. Think for yourselves! This space changes incredibly quickly, so you’ll need to have an open mind and a curious one at that if you want to keep up. Enjoy the challenge of that and realize you’ll not be able to know everything all at once.

Opinion

The Evolution of Using and Loving Digital Currencies – Diversification

When two friends are having a conversation about investing and money and one of them mentions “Bitcoin,” the direction of what the two people might talk about can go a few different directions. One of those directions could easily go in towards.

“Oh, what’s Bitcoin?”

or

“I’ve heard about that!”

The latter will also likely lead into the discussion about how volatile the price of Bitcoin has been. From the historical price rise past $1000 to the Mt. Gox scandal which caused an equally share decline in price. News about something like digital currency might seem too good to be true or far fetched to many average investors, but since Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper was released in 2009, there’s been plenty of proof that digital currencies do work, do hold and often times increase in value and some of them actually have some real merit behind them as investment vehicles.

However, for those just getting involved at the beginning, the learning curve to be knowledgeable and feel confident buying and trading digital currencies can be steep. It’s especially daunting when newbies come into digital currencies to learn about Bitcoin and once they’ve figured out how to set up their wallet, send, receive and even purchase Bitcoin, they realize that there are seemingly endless alternative currencies (alt-coins) out there.

Take your wading into the world of digital currencies slow, cautiously and with an open mind. It’s a great thing that Bitcoin exists for the world. Read the white paper by Satoshi and that’s clear. It’s also a good thing that so many alt-coins have been established as legitimate competitors to Bitcoin. When the price of Bitcoin swings wildly, like any digital currency can potentially do, there are options to hedge your investments and safeguard them against too major a loss of value in the markets.

Once someone is ready to invest and use digital currencies in their personal finances, they need to actively educate themselves or find resources to help them understand the differences between the top digital currencies, what they are used for and why exactly they are valuable. We’ve all heard of Bitcoin by now, many of us heard of Ethereum as well in the early part of 2016 as it received a lot of hype in the news about it being the next big competitor to Bitcoin as its market cap surpassed $1 billion.

However, many people don’t make the distinction that while Ether, the digital currency which fuels the Ethereum World Computer, does much, if not more than what Bitcoin is capable of, it’s wasn’t built to be so much as a transactional peer-to-peer currency as Bitcoin and other currencies like Dash and Litecoin were. Some digital currencies are inherently built to be excellent stores of value in peer-to-peer transactions. Other digital currencies might be able to constitute a store of value, however, they might also be fuel sources for blockchain powered systems. It’s extremely important to be aware of this distinction.

These and numerous other factors lead to the ultimate conclusion that putting all of one’s eggs into one basket, even if you believe strongly in one digital currency over another for good reason, might be foolhardy. The digital currencies markets are notoriously volatile, and while there are lots of opportunities to invest and make handsome returns on investment, doing so with discretion and and prudence with the help of an expert is probably the best bet for consistent and long term returns.

 

Blockchain and Digital Currency News

Dash’s Original DAO Continues To Progress As Designed With 12.1 Release

While almost all of the discussion regarding DAO’s (Distributed Autonomous Organizations) has been surrounding The DAO, built on Ethereum’s world computer, Dash, another blockchain based cryptocurrency and payment system has shown relative stability and progress with a DAO of their own.

Dash, a peer-to-peer payment system, formerly known by the names of Darkcoin and Xcoin, is the 7th most popular cryptocurrency among CoinCap’s current market capitalization reporting. In a recent forum post, Dash core developer Evan Duffield reported to the community that among a variety of improvements being brought to Dash in coming months, a “governance” system would be the first feature unveiled in 12.1.

Duffield said in his post:

“The most significant change included is a completely different underlying engine, which can be used to build various pieces of software. This new system will be known as the governance system. The first usage of this governance system is to clone the existing functionality from 12.0, from the basic budget system, except written purely using the governance system. So while you may not notice any immediate changes to the core functionality and capabilities, the important distinction is the way that functionality is implemented.”

As explained in the forum post, 12.1, which will be unveiled for testing in late July at the d10e conference in California, won’t necessarily be something users or developers of Dash will notice immediately as it’s part of a larger ecosystem rollout for the technology as a whole. As of now, Dash’s entire development, operational marketing system is currently supported more or less through a DAO and it seems to be working quite well thus far. By reserving 10% of the block reward created through mining, Dash has been able to fund itself in a closed loop system.

In what has been kept under wraps up until recently, the news about Dash’s upcoming releases appear to be bent towards more complex and robust governance capabilities with their DAO features. Showing potential for real applied uses of a Dash DAO within the ecosystem that produces and keeps Dash going is probably enough to get developers excited to start playing with the new features after they’ve been released to the public.

Since the high-profile failure and theft of the Ethereum based DAO, other platforms such as Lisk, Rootstock and NXT are quickly stepping up to offer alternatives to Ethereum’s Solidity based smart-contract structure for safer development. Could Dash be throwing their hat more into this arena more officially in the near future?

Blockchain and Digital Currency News

Blockchain Based Social Network Steemit Grows Market Cap By 1000%

The blockchain based social network site Steemit has experienced massive growth in the past week with over 1,000% growth in the value of the Steem token according to CoinCap.io. With a fairly eventful Summer shaping up in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain as far as Bitcoin’s halving, the DAO’s collapse and Ethereum’s hard and soft forking debates, a vacuum and opportunity seems to be opening for additional digital currencies to come on the scene and capitalize on the volatility.

Steemit has positioned itself as being an alternative to reddit; a platform that in theory is censorship resistant, as opposed to reddit which is often heavily censored depending on which subreddits and moderators are involved. More information about the impetus behind Steemit’s creation can be found in their whitepaper hosted on their website.

Steemit is an incentive based social network which uses upvotes similarly to how reddit and other forums validate content that has earned community approval. However, the incentives also merge into a payment system where users who post popular upvoted content will receive a digital currency called Steem in their Steemit accounts which are also cryptocurrency wallets.

There are currently two different types of digital rewards associated with Steemit on their website – Steem Power and Steem Dollars. Steem Dollars are the only digital currency which is actually tradeable for other digital currencies on exchanges. A video on the Steemit website claims that a Steemit Dollar is always worth about $1.00 USD. Steem Power is a sort of digital reputation measurement which gives a user power within the community.

As Steemit has only been around since early May, having a Steem Dollar market cap of over $180,000 million USD (at the time of writing this post), the investment and interest in the site as being a way to contribute, engage with and discover content within a rewards based system has garnered much interest.

Steemit isn’t the first blockchain and cryptocurrency based social network to come along – Ethereum-based Akasha is also developing a censorship resistant platform and Zapchain also built a Bitcoin rewarding social content site where users could tip each other.

The liquidity of Steem Dollars remains unclear as only two exchanges support the trading of Steem; Bittrex and OpenLedger. The price per of Steem was well over $4 USD per share and has settled down around $2.50 USD. It appears that users of the site will need to add their own funds to their accounts on Steemit in order to continue to participate in the community over time as they use up the initial value of what basic amount of Steemit Power is pre-charged to their accounts on signup.

The functionality of the site still appears to be in the early stage as there are few features to customize as far as how email notifications are set up and how to create post with content such as video and photos in a streamlined way. Qualitatively, there seems to be some decent blogs being written on the site, however there also appears to be quite a bit of spam accounts and low quality posts being shared, so that’s an obvious issue that Steemit will need to address moving forward in order to make the social network a worthy place to spend time and attention. However, if the market cap and signups continue to grow at the current rate, it seems likely that more improvements will be coming shortly.

Blockchain and Digital Currency News, Opinion, Review

Review: Smart Contract Betting Serves As Educational Resource For Ethereum Enthusiasts

As far as games and betting go, I’m certainly not one to spent my leisure time that way. Maybe it’s because I got whomped on by all my friends playing Super Mario when I was a kid and figured I’d be better off developing my skills in other areas. Regardless, I typically avoid delving into digital games of any sort, especially those where money is at stake — that is until I discovered the vDice.io betting game which is based on Ethereum smart contracts.

gggg

I am a blockchain nerd who keeps up on developments in the space on social media, so when the owners of the site reached out unsolicited on Twitter and offered to let me play with some of their own funds to get an honest review, I decided to give it a go. What I found out quickly about this betting “game” is that it’s easily as effective a tool for educating people on how to transact with Ether and how smart contracts work as it is a good way to pass the time.

The “house edge” and fees are clearly stated up front in the FAQ and in running about a dozen bets to try out the service, I found the ratio of winning to losing with respective smart contracts to be honest. Each smart contract has its own odds and conditions that are clearly stated as well. What’s cooler is that this entire website operates anonymously and does not require a user account or any info. You only interact with the site through your Ethereum wallet.

Screenshot from 2016-06-24 21-42-27

The site is cleanly built and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Well, except for the creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin’s head quoting famous one-liners from Arnold Schwarzenegger action films. If you leave the browser open with the volume on this is an amusing feature you’ll hear every minute or so. You can turn that feature off as well from the homepage. What I’d love to see is a more dynamic feature of how the site shows transaction data such as recent bets and wins without needing to refresh the page and continually turn off the Vitalik talking head.

The site recommends that users play using either a Jaxx browser wallet which is available for Chrome or the Mist wallet built by Ethereum. However, any wallet of any brand that supports Ether will do. They have an easy to follow set of instructions for both Jaxx and Mist. The Jaxx wallet is definitely the simpler and more straightforward process of the two; however, the Mist wallet tutorial is actually rather educational. As someone who has downloaded the Mist wallet on their personal machine and invested in the DAO using it, I can say that the tutorial on how to use the contracts feature in Mist is useful and appreciated, in case I wish to interact with other smart contracts related to other things besides betting in the future.

Not only is there the option to bet on specific contracts listed at the bottom of the homepage, but there’s also the option to invest in contracts. The difference between betting and investing in these smart contracts is that if a user sends an amount of Ether to the contract address within the specified amount range, a random number will be assigned to that user. If that random number is higher or lower than the specific figure of that contract, which is all transparent and open source, then the user wins their money back plus a percentage. They’ll receive their funds almost instantly. Currently, their confirmations take about 15-30 seconds; however, they’ll be launching 0-confirmation transactions in July. When a user wants to invest, they’ll receive partial profits from the income received as people play a certain contract and lose. All of the contracts are verified and openly available for auditing on Etherscan.

Screenshot from 2016-06-24 21-42-56

COO of vDice.io Steven Sager talked about how this particular game is unique not only in the realm of Ethereum, but in cryptocurrencies and blockchain related websites as a whole:

“Implemented as a Smart Contract, it’s completely on-chain. Also, it’s the first live, commercial Dapp, connected to the main-net, using an Oracle. As a result, it’s trust-less. We don’t touch funds. There are no accounts (such is the power of Ethereum). Bettors send their Tx to the smart contract address. The smart contract computes and returns the result. Essentially, it functions like classic Satoshi Dice. But, unlike Classic SD for BTC, there’s absolutely no server…not even for randomness. Instead we use random.org.”

Besides plans to make betting transactions much quicker with 0 transactions in the summer, there is also a crowdsale planned at a date yet to be determined in July.

With the existing situation with the DAO being compromised and potentially destroyed by current events, Sager commented on the importance of truly simple but useful Dapps being built and implimented such as vDice.io:

“This illustrates why the simple Dapps need to come first, in my honest opinion — even if they happen to be ‘betting’ Dapps. Higher-level stuff can build on simpler projects at the right time. Ethereum is only one year old!”

With vDice.io’s straightforward build and the transparent nature of how the site works, it’s an exciting way to show how a Dapp can be used in real world applications through betting. It is also a great opportunity for those who are less than expert in blockchain, smart-contract and Ethereum technology to learn in about it in a safer environment where the most at stake is as low as a fraction of Ether per bet.

Opinion

Fear The Reaper – Don’t Leave Funds On Crypto-Exchanges

If you’ve been around the world of digital currencies for a few years, you may have heard of someone saying that they got “goxx’ed” at some point or another. While this saying may sound relatively benign, it’s no doubt a nightmare for those involved to recall seeing their digital currencies disappear overnight and have no recourse to get them back. It’s become a fact of life that exchanges, at some point or another, get hacked and that leaving your funds in a trading wallet, in any amount is asking for trouble. Even the best ones out there that brag that they’re virtually un-hackable, get hacked. Take for example, Gatecoin’s latest security breach and Shapeshift’s hotwallet heist.

I know all of this first hand as my funds were tied up in a recent crypto-exchange theft and, while I eventually got all of my assets returned from the exchange, I realized during the whole ordeal that I could have avoided such trouble all together if I had just take the advice I’d seen posted time and time again on places like Reddit.

After you exchange your funds, secure them as soon as possible.

Trusting your crypto-funds to an exchange or any wallet provider isn’t a safe, long-term strategy. There are plenty of bad-guys and gals out there innovating in every possible way to access funds of others and steal them. While living under a cloud of fear as a crypto-currency holder exactly a good way to live, considering prudent levels of security for your assets will at the very least pay dividends down the road.

Unfortunately for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, there are many stages that almost everyone goes through before they are comfortable with handling any one digital currency. By the time they get to this point of feeling comfort, they still might not be using it safely. Ignorance may be bliss for some users, as the illusion of safety and security is provided by lots of different exchanges, web and mobile wallets, but there are certainly plenty of very skilled hackers out there who won’t hesitate to swipe your funds for their own gain if given the chance. While there’s no 100% safe way of owning any form of wealth in this world, there are some basic steps that should be taken by any savvy cryptocurrency holder.

Deep Cold Storage

What’s the most secure form of storage for just about any time of cryptocurrency? Most people would consider that to be an offline, unconnected machine that has no possibility of access from the outside world. While this option, in and of itself isn’t even 100% certain of protecting our digital currencies barring fire, flood or asteroid, it’s certainly an option that those who are serious about keeping their assets safe should consider. Do you have a spare laptop laying around that you can keep away from Ethernet cables and any wifi connections? Try loading your digital currencies onto it and throwing it in a safety deposit box. That’s just about as safe as you can keep your digital currency assets.

Cold Storage and Hardware Wallets

As far as offline storage gos that you can more easily access and connect to, paper backups of private keys, USB drive storage, specialized hardware wallets and actual novelty items like physical Bitcoins are all good options to keep your funds away from hackable servers most of the time.

There are also hardware wallet options where a full on computer isn’t needed to safely store cryptocurrencies. Currently most of these hardware wallets are built to store Bitcoin, however with the rise of Ether’s value, market cap and overall popularity, some hardware wallet providers are releasing upgrades to the code of existing hardware wallet models to support the safe storage of Ether.

Strong Passwords

Passwords are important for anyone involved with important information or data security online. In a realm where cryptographic experts are running the game, using a simple password that includes your birthday or other silly simplistic figures simply won’t hold any water if your account is targeted for a hack. Random password generators are always a good idea if you can’t dream up a super random, odd and varied combination of letters, numbers and symbols that you can remember.

Also, as far as many experts are concerned in cryptocurrency forums, brain wallets are usually a bad idea as well as many have been drained due to their relative simple form of security.

As for trading margins and making money on ETH, BTC or any other combinations of digital currencies, that’s a whole other matter of studying and hoping to have good luck in order to not lose money. Don’t be careless and don’t be a fool – don’t leave your cryptocurrencies unguarded.

Un-Sponsored Resources (I don’t get any kickback or payment for these)
Ledger Wallet – I use the Nano. It’s pretty easy to use and setup. It’s a little buggy on my Linux machine, but works like a dream with my Chromebook and every Windows and Mac machine I’ve ever plugged it into.
Trezor Wallet – This is a bit more high tech than Ledger from what I understand. I know some pretty savvy people prefer Trezor and Trezor should support ETH storage soon too.
MyEtherWallet – You can make a paperwallet from this site. Follow the steps carefully when setting up and don’t send too much ETH to your paper wallet until you know exactly how it works and have backed everything up.
Jaxx Wallet – This isn’t as secure as the list resources above, but it’s pretty secure as far as mobile wallets goes and offers multiple backup options that other mobile wallets do not. They also handle Bitcoin, Ether and DAO tokens all in one app. I really like it.

Blockchain and Digital Currency News

Gatecoin Grows As A Marketplace For DAO’s To Successfully Crowdsell

Today, the Hong Kong based cryptocurrency exchange Gatecoin has announced that they are adding new Ethereum based tokens for purchase and trading through their online exchange. Already offering REP tokens from the crowdsale of Augur (REP), Gatecoin will now offer Digix DGD tokens as well as Slock.it DAO IOU’s.

I first learned about Gatecoin when I wrote a piece about them on BTCManager highlighting that they rode the fine line between being highly compliant with regulation standards as well as highly innovative, which is generally rare. Gatecoin was at the very cutting edge of selling Augur’s REP tokens and has remained bullish not only on Ethereum’s ETH cryptocurrency but on DAO issued tokens as well.

Digix got everyone’s attention last month when they had a crowdsale of tokens to raise funds for their gold-backed DAO. The crowdsale wound up being a fire-sale of sorts and over $5 million dollars were raised in a short time. Many people were upset that the crowdsale ended so fast and many other DAO creators took notice of how such a fundraising event could be held.

Enter Gatecoin for creating a marketplace filling the demand for these crowdsale tokens. Gatecoin was a first-mover on offering crytpocurrency exchange traders to trade Augur’s REP tokens and now is offering tokens from Slock.it and Digix.

Currently the Augur REP tokens and Digix DGD tokens can be traded in real time. The Slock.it crowdsale has not finished, so the Slock.it DAO tokens will actually be issued as IOU’s once the crowdsale is complete and details surrounding funding are finalized.

Depending how the adoption of buying, selling and trading tokens goes, Gatecoin could be onto something here. Some DAO’s will need lots of funding to operate successfully and being able to access a market of speculators who wish to have access to a variety of tokens might create a strong channel for businesses and investors to come together.

Currently registered and approved users of Gatecoin can purchase and trade for DGD and REP using Bitcoin, Ether, USD, EUR and HKD and CNY soon as well. Slock.it DAO. 100 Slock.it DAO IOU shares will be issued for the equivalent of 1 Ether. The DAO IOU’s will be converted to actual DAO tokens once the crowdsale is complete.

As of 12pm HKT (GMT+8), April 28, 2016, the Slock.it crowdsale was scheduled to have begun. Users of Gatecoin must undergo a fairly basic KYC style verification process that is standard with most major exchanges that deal with banks.

Gatecoin is currently the 3rd largest volume trader of Ether in the world and their focus has been both on remaining highly aligned with industry compliance standards as well as embracing the ideals of Ethereum.

“We see great potential for an increasing number of ‘blockchain assets’ such as DAO tokens for dapps being built on top of Ethereum, such as Slock.it and DigixDAO, which have tangible, real-world, disruptive potential. We are very proud to collaborate with both organizations as an additional gateway for token trading and hope this brings greater visibility and wider participation in their DAO. In the long run we want to be the reference exchange for dapps, enabling more innovative projects to raise capital, and provide mainstream investors with an alternative asset class offering promising returns and additional utility.”  Aurelien Menant, CEO and Co-Founder, Gatecoin.

It will be interesting to see what exchanges follow suit in offering crowdsale access to tokens as well as the ability to trade them in the near term. Hopefully this experiment is a success and we see this as a boost to Ethereum’s overall ecosystem.