When hearing the word « crypto currency », most people think of the Bitcoin. But there is so much more to crypto currencies than that. In fact, according to coinmarketcap.com (1), there are 841 crypto currencies currently on the market and some of them could one day surpass the Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin was invented in 2008 and lauched in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (who, to this day, remains anonymous). On January 1st, 2017 it was worth $997.69 and it peaked at $2,476.30 on May 24th, 2017 (2).
The second biggest crypto currency was launched in 2015 and is called the Ether (the currency is called Ether and the protocol for decentralized exchange associated with it is called Ethereum). It was worth $8.33 on January 1st, 2017 and reached its peak ($192.82) on May 24th, 2017.
Even though the prices of the most used crypto currencies drop a little sometimes, their growth is steady.
The Ether, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, SiaCoin, Golem, Stratis, etc are not just currencies you can exchange for cash on the Blockchain. And they are not linked to illegal transactions as you might be lead to believe. The transactions as well as the currencies involved are legal and they are used for specific purposes.
Only about 14 seconds separate each transaction (3) which makes it much faster than the Bitcoin or the Litecoin.
The Ether is mostly used to pay for smart contracts. Once you send a transaction, an order is sent to mine a contract on the Blockchain. All the blocks that are part of the contract are linked to each other. There is no way someone can go and change a block without altering the whole chain which makes it impossible to change the contract after it has been written. It is a way for people to protect their own interests and make sure no one backs out on their end of the deal.
The company Nebulous, Inc. is from Boston and created SiaCoin during HackMIT 2013 (4).
SiaCoin is, according to Nebulous’ CEO, a “decentralized storage protocol” (5). In other words, it is a cloud storage network. Their goal was to “emulate Amazon S3”.
Instead of the data being stored on servers belonging to one company, it is stored on multiple hard drives that belong to multiple people. The people who rent their hard drives get payed in SiaCoins. This service is more secure than any other “regular” data storage platform since everything is crypted.
If crypto currencies become more accessible, they might change the way we conclude contracts and store our data.
Smart contracts and prenuptial agreements payed for with crypto currencies and created on the Blockchain might become as valuable and as legally binding as “regular” contracts signed before a judge.
The drawback is that the currencies are kept in a secure wallet and the user is the only one with the encryption key and if they lose it, they lose all the money they have stored.
Crypto currencies have the possibility to be the future of transactions and to change the way we do things. But in order to achieve that, people need to trust them and use them.
By Marine Rouet
Published on June 1st, 2017
(1) https://coinmarketcap.com/all/views/all/ (2) http://www.coindesk.com/price/ (3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZF6aryEzy4 (4) https://sia.tech/about/ (5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVuUZm4l-ss