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Taming the Power-Hungry Blockchain Beast with Decentralized, Clean Energy

Taming the Power-Hungry Blockchain Beast with Decentralized,
Clean Energy

Throughout history, every great breakthrough often came with negative consequences

and side effects. Think about Marie Curie. Her research on radioactivity is what makes X-rays possible today. Unfortunately, her discoveries and remarkable research are also what killed her. What about the Internet? It’s the most revolutionary invention for generations and holds countless opportunities that benefit billions of people around the world. However, cybercrime has never been higher and expected to reach $2 tln by 2019. It’s the same story with Blockchain. The technology has the potential to revolutionize every industry it comes into contact with. However, its biggest application remains in the cryptocurrency industry. And with the current excitement surrounding this industry, it’s easy to overlook the side effects that come with such a disruptive breakthrough.

Energy-craving Blockchain can have devastating consequences for the environment

Mining popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, requires extremely powerful computer hardware that can solve complex mathematical equations. To run these computers burns up a lot of energy, mostly from non-renewable fossil fuels. And as the price of the digital coin sores so too does the number of people looking to get in on the action. Each and every Bitcoin transaction requires around 215 KWh (kilowatt-hours) to process. In comparison, the average American household uses 900 KWh every month. So around 30 KWh per day.

That means a single Bitcoin transaction uses the same amount of power as seven homes do in an entire day. What’s even more shocking is that a single Bitcoin mine relies on fossil fuels, like coal, can produce as much as 13,000 kg of CO2 emissions per Bitcoin mined. With 300,000 transactions per day, it’s easy to see what a significant impact the process has on the environment. And this is just from one cryptocurrency. Although Ethereum is less energy reliant, a single transaction on this network still requires the same amount of power as nearly two homes. In total, the network is equivalent in power consumption as the whole of Cyprus.

Centralized mining on a decentralized network

On a platform that is inherently decentralized, centralized mining operations seem counterintuitive. However, mining operations gravitate towards countries with cheap electricity. For example, China does over 80 percent of Bitcoin mining due to the country’s cheap supply of electricity. Unfortunately, the power supply comes mostly from dirty, non-renewable sources like coal. The country gets more than 70 percent of their electricity from coal.  In fact, a few years ago, it was reported that China burns as much coal as the rest of the world combined.

Burning coal releases large amounts of CO2 which is one of the biggest causes of the greenhouse effect and global warming. Apart from having a detrimental impact on the environment, large pools of concentrated mining pools spurred on by cheap electricity, have too much influence over the network. Look what happened to the price of Bitcoin when China announced their ban on ICO’s? The price becomes too reliant on single entities. This in stark contrast to the underlying concept of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain as a whole, which adds value exactly because of its dependency on a majority consensus to verify and approve transactions.

However, people and big corporations are becoming more aware of their social responsibilities and the size of the footprint that they leave on this earth. Development and adoption of renewable energy sources have seen a dramatic increase in the last few years, including solar, wind and hydropower. So much so that in many locations, there is an excess supply of electricity from renewable sources, that simply goes to waste. This is in great part due to the fact that the cost of building large-scale solar farms has dropped by as much as 50 percent in five years.

A three-fold solution

Envion is hoping to make cryptocurrency mining cheaper, cleaner and decentralized with their mobile data-centers. They’ve developed automatized mining units which are installed inside shipping containers. These containers can be relocated around the world with relative ease, reducing the dependency on single governments, economies or infrastructures.

The mining units, which exclusively consume power from reusable, green sources, are placed near energy supply points, such as solar plants and wind farms, reducing the cost of “transporting” electricity and enabling them to easily tap into excess energy production. In addition, the company developed a new, self-regulating cooling system, specifically for Blockchain mining, which is up to forty-times more energy-efficient and cost-effective than conventional, AC cooling units.

Envion further promotes environmental friendliness by recycling the energy produced from mining with the strategic placement of the mining units, close to objects and buildings that need heating, including warehouses and greenhouses. This enables them to reduce their energy costs even further. The end result is a mining solution that is more profitable due to lower energy costs, more secure due to mobile mining that puts less reliance on single entities, and more eco-friendly due to the usage of renewable, green power.

An ICO for the environment

Many of the ICO’s we see these days are largely based on Speculation. The EVN token is however fully backed by the hardware that it represents which is already operating successfully. The EVN token will be on sale for 31 days from Dec. 1, 2017, with a max cap of 150 mln. Once invested, token holders will have the right to dividends from the mining operations including 100 percent from proprietary mining operations (75 percent immediately and 25 percent reinvested to boost future payouts) and 35 percent from non-proprietary operations. Finally, token holders will also get a say in company strategy by voting on decisions.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614

Can BitIndia Become the Paytm of Digital Money in India?

Can BitIndia Become the Paytm of Digital Money in India?

Bitcoin has been gaining popularity

in one of the most populous countries in the world, India. The digital currency is backed by the Blockchain technology, which has established itself as the driver and backbone in many fields. Both Bitcoin and Blockchain technology have been around since 2009 when Bitcoin emerged on the world stage and have steadily impacted the financial services industry and how it delivers products and services. Recently The Hindu Business Line, an Indian newspaper, quoted Nicolas Cary, President of Blockchain, one of the world’s largest Bitcoin Software

Company as saying:

“Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen unprecedented activity and growth in India. We think India could be the most significant market in the world for digital financial services. Within the next five years, it can potentially be bigger than that of the US.”

However, what will it take for India a country with 22 major languages, a billion plus people a geographic span of 3.2 mln kilometers to get onboard the Blockchain revolution? India needs specific solutions and BitIndia, a company that is promising to deliver a Blockchain wallet and decentralized crypto exchange “for the streets of India,” is emerging as an India centric platform that can act as a driver for the growth of both cryptocurrencies and Blockchain in the subcontinental country.

Indian solutions for India

The Indian market is so diverse and segmented that products and services that do not take an Indian hue and color often fail to impress the local populace. It is also important to understand that the rural population of the country is as high as 68 percent and constitutes a significant economic backbone of the country.

Back in the 1990s when India was undergoing what the local media dubs as ‘liberalization’ of the economy, newly-launched MTV played English music and had only English speaking VJs. Fast forward to today — MTV in India has completely taken a ‘regional’ hue. Businesstoday described the TV channel as neither ‘fish nor fowl.’ Localization and understanding of the market is the key to success for any business in the country and BitIndia is well aware of that. In a whitepaper, they underscore their approach towards

the Indian market:

“BitIndia wants to create a user-friendly, secure, decentralized atmosphere for India so that people can carry everyday transactions through BitIndia wallet. BitIndia further envisions to reach out to every person in India, starting from urban areas to educate at least 20 percent of the population about Blockchain and cryptocurrency.”

Can BitIndia be the Paytm of digital money in India?

BitIndia is emerging as a total financial platform that provides users with a mobile wallet for their Apple and Android devices as well as their web browsers and allows them to store cryptocurrencies securely. They are also working on building an ‘instant exchange,’ which will allow people to transact between digital currencies and the local currencies — this even as the user will have complete control over their private keys.

An Alpha version of the product will be available for download by the end of 2017. The currencies that will be traded on the platform include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin. BitIndia wants to offer comprehensive services for users, who can buy, sell and save in digital currencies, allow merchants to accept payments with very reasonable and low transaction fees and help traders find opportunities to profit from cryptocurrencies. If BitIndia can reach 20 percent of the Indian population as is their stated aim they would be in a position to challenge established players like Paytm, who have already found a niche in the sprawling Indian market. Keep in mind only 0.5 percent of Indian population currently transacts in digital currencies according to BitIndia.

A strong India centric team backed by John McAfee

Cointelegraph covered recently how BitIndia is supported by John McAfee, the founder of the famous McAfee Antivirus. McAfee’s confidence is not misplaced as BitIndia has built a strong team to deliver their platform to the Indian public. John McAfee acts as a partner and advisor in BitIndia.

Sahil Kohli, the CEO of BitIndia knows cryptocurrencies and has a strong background in crypto trading. Kohli is also the co-founder of Applancer.co. Saumil Kohli, Founder of BitIndia, has co-founded two tech companies and also has a crypto trading background. The technology lead is Kunal Nandwani, the founder and CEO of uTrade Solutions, a company operating in the financial trading domain. BitIndia have found support in a strong advisory team which includes Reuben Godfrey, co-founder of the Blockchain Association of Ireland, Victor Wong, CEO of Sparkle Coin and others.

Rearing to go post token sale

BitIndia have recently concluded a token distribution and launched their ERC 20 compatible BitIndia token. They are planning to launch token trading by December 2017. Their roadmap indicates that they would like to create a future in which 25 percent of the global Blockchain trading will occur in India. Not an unlikely scenario if India is to surpass the US as the biggest digital financial services market in the world. The potential is there, the conditions are ripe, and we will all just have to wait and see if BitIndia can snag the opportunity and become the Paytm of digital money in India.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614

Security Issues With Social Networking Sites

Security Issues With Social Networking Sites

Social Networking Security Issues
 

Social media is possibly the most vital sector of the Internet, but, being open and social creates legitimate concerns about privacy and safety. Headlines warning of online security breaches is just one reminder of the vulnerability of all websites, including social media outlets.

Six Common Security Problems

Despite these justifiable security concerns about the Web, some of the reasons a person's social media account is compromised are self-induced. Five common mistakes that can expose an account include:

1. Forgetting to Log Out

Increase the security of your social media account by always logging out when you step away from your laptop or computer. It's best to go one step further and close down the browser you were using to view your account. If you leave your account logged in, you set yourself up to be hacked because anyone who can get to your computer can access your account, change the password or even post items and communicate with your friends as if they are you. Logging out and shutting down the browser is even more important if you use a public computer.

2. Clicking on Enticing Ads

Viruses and malware often find their way onto your computer through those annoying, but sometimes enticing ads. However, on the Web, just like in real life, if an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Save yourself a potential security headache – don't click.

3. Connecting With Strangers

Be careful of who you accept invitations from when building your online network. Connecting and sharing information with people you don't know can be dangerous. If you receive friend requests from strangers, it's best to stay away.

Further, if you receive friend requests from people you do know, but are already connected with via the same site, it's possible that someone has set up a fake account. Avoid accepting duplicate requests, instead of checking in with the 'real' person to see if the request is legitimate.

You should also be careful when connecting with a celebrity's account, as scammers sometimes pose as famous people. Make sure it is their official, legitimate account and not a stranger pretending to be them before you accept their 'friend' invitation.

4. Using Third Party Apps

Part of the appeal of social media sites are all the various games and apps. Even though a significant number of them are safe, you do grant the app a certain level of permission concerning your information. Make sure you know what the app is viewing and sharing before agreeing to the terms.

5. Exposing Too Much Information

Make sure you understand the level of privacy – or lack of privacy – you are agreeing to when volunteering personal information. Do you really want an app badly enough to allow it to announce where you are?

Also, participating in seemingly innocent games, like posting answers to a list of 20 questions, may actual also allow cyber-criminals gather important personal information. For example, the question, "What is your most embarrassing moment?" is probably fine to answer, but answering questions like, "What is your pet's name?" or "Where did you and your significant other meet?" may expose answers you gave to security questions for legitimate sites like Amazon or your bank.

6. Failing to Utilize Security Settings

Social media sites provide you with the ability to restrict who has access to your information. For example, Facebook (like others) lets you decide who your friends are and what content they can view. One practice to increase your account's security is to disable most of the options and then re-open them once you understand what the settings specifically mean to your account.

In reality, you probably want different types of content to be displayed to different people, with the most being available to known friends and the least to acquaintances.

Three Major Security Events

Each year, it seems, another significant security breach is announced. Major companies like CNN and Burger King have had social media accounts hacked. Most of these breaches mean passwords have been swiped and sometimes even banking and credit card information is compromised. Each of the major social networking sites dealt with one or more security breachs. Three well-known breaches are:

1. Heartbleed Bug

Possibly the most invasive security problem the Internet has faced and experts advise people to simply presume they have been affected by the bug. This is because it's not just an issue of your phone or computer being infected, the bug impacted software that powers many of the services you use. Compromised by the bug was OpenSSL — the most widely used open source cryptographic programming module — and TLS (transport layer security) implementation, the component used to encrypt traffic on the Web.

2. Zendesk, Facebook, and More

Although no passwords were obtained when Zendesk, a customer service provider for Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter, was hacked, the breach did impact thousands of users emails. The Zendesk hack came just months after the November 2013 security breach where hackers stole usernames and passwords for nearly 2 million accounts at Facebook, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and 93,000 other websites. The breach occurred when malware installed on user computers lifted log-in credentials for thousands of sites for more than a month.

3. Syrian Electronic Army

In early 2014, the Syrian Electronic Army briefly took over at least two of Skype's social media accounts: Twitter and Facebook. The group has also successfully hacked the New York Times and hijacked the Associated Press' Twitter account releasing a tweet stating the White House had been attacked which briefly impacted the stock market.

These social media attacks were in addition to online security breaches that affected major store chains like Target.

What to Do if Your Account Is Hacked

Regardless whether your account is compromised because the social networking site was hacked or just your individual account was infected, you need to take several steps to resolve the issue.

Clean Your Device
The aforementioned hack that compromised Facebook and Google was caused by malware on users machines. In cases like this, use well-known quality malware removal software to scan your machine. The software will contain and/or destroy known and suspicious files. You may even consider reformatting your computer.

Once your machine is clean, the best way to prevent it from becoming infected again is to keep your antivirus software and browsers current. Set them to automatically install updates.

Change Your Passwords

Once an account has been compromised, it is best to presume all your passwords are compromised. Some security experts advise using a different, strong password for each site.

Get a Password Manager

Since security is dependent on multiple strong passwords, it can become difficult to remember them all — although there are tricks to make it possible. Consider using a password manager to reduce your vulnerability. You can use the program's password generator to create strong, hard-to-break passwords and you only need to remember one password to access the manager.

Report It

Make sure you report the situation to the social network site. This is especially true if you have been locked out of your account. If this happens, you may have to prove to the social networking site the account belongs to you, but be persistent and follow through. If you don't, someone could potentially post information as if they are you – which, at the very least, can damage your online reputation.

If a crime has been committed, such as banking information stolen, also report the incident to local authorities and appropriate federal law enforcement agencies.

Use Two-Step Verification

If the social media site offers a two-step verification process, use it. The added layer of security makes it much harder for a would-be hacker to access your account. The extra log-in steps will save you time and headaches in the long run.

Staying Safe on Social Media Sites

Each social media site offers tips on how to use their service and still maintain a high level of security. Read their policies, follow their security guidelines and adopt their best practices.

  • Facebook: There is a comprehensive help page on Facebook where you can find details on protecting your account against hacking and other security threats. Check it frequently to make sure your practices and settings are up to date. CNET also offers practical advice such as being sure to block your ex and carefully manage who has viewing access.
  • Foursquare: For a better understanding of who can see information associated with your Foursquare account, visit the Help Center. This page explains methods for creating security settings for every account scenario. Ensure your check-ins are safe and secure by utilizing these five tips from CIO.
  • Instagram: If you have an Instagram account, read their official page for ways to keep your account safe.
  • LinkedIn: Visit LinkedIn's Help Center for a wide range of account security articles. A few of the topics covered on the page include methods for protecting your privacy, your identity, and your account. They also offer tips for dealing with phishing, spam, and malware. If your LinkedIn account is associated with a business, How Not to Have Your Account Hacked provides ways to keep passwords safe even if several people have access to the account.
  • Pinterest: To keep your Pinterest account secure, you will need to access two main sections on the site: privacy settings and account security. If your account has been hacked or placed in a Safe mode by Pinterest, you will use the account security section to resolve the issue. However, most likely you will only need to use  the privacy settings section. This is where you control what others can view and the degree of personalization desired. Scams are one issue the site has dealt with in the past.
  • Tumblr: If you use Tumblr, one of the best ways to improve security is to utilize the recently implemented two-factor authentication. For all your settings, though, access the site's security settings page. Here you can learn how to revoke third-party application permissions as well as how to remove spam from your blog. For increased security, according to Entrepreneur magazine, you may want to refrain from using free themes.
  • Twitter: Visit Twitter's Help Center to learn best practices for your Tweets or if you want to know how to connect with or revoke third-party applications. Also, visit this page to discover methods for controlling account settings so you can get the level of security you want.
  • YouTube/Google+: If you have a YouTube and/or Google+ account, bookmark Google's Keeping Your Account Secure page. This page is a great source to learn about their two-step verification process, malware and virus issues, general information about your account settings and best practices for protecting your privacy and identity.

One situation people sometimes overlook is what to do if they want to close a social media account. Should the account be deactivated or deleted? According to the Center for Internet Security, you need to take several steps before for your account is deleted from the social media site.

It's All Public Information

Although technically you can post both public and private information on many of the social media sites, due to the onslaught of security breaches in recent years, it is in your best interest to presume anything you post is available for public consumption. Reduce privacy and security risks by only posting information that you would be okay with everyone knowing.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor