Smart Contracts

Smart Contracts and how they were Imagined

Smart Contracts, you may have seen this term thrown around on Twitter or maybe even in the news, but very few know what they are and why they’re important. Personally, I thought Vitalik Buterin created smart contracts while creating Ethereum; it turns out, the idea was created and written about over 20 years ago!

In 1996, a legal scholar and computer scientist named Nick Szabo wrote an article titled “Smart Contracts”. In this article, he outlined the definition of a smart contract: “a set of promises, specified in digital form, including protocols within which the parties perform on the other promises”, and laid out a vision for the digital age where users could integrate a smart contract into the possession of physical property (Smart Property) and introduced the idea of Virtual Personas.

Personally, I had no idea about Nick Szabo until I came across a podcast episode called The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency - Nick Szabo.  In this discussion, Tim Ferriss discusses the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and much more with Nick and Naval Ravikant.

So, back to smart contracts. Essentially, smart contracts are created using code that allow a given transaction/task to be completed based on parameters that can not be changed once written to the blockchain. For example, if you wanted to send 1 Bitcoin to Bob on July 1, then the code would execute when the date is July 1, and Bob would receive 1 Bitcoin.

It is very easy to see where this sort of technology can lead. Imagine a world where there are no intermediaries...no middle men. Among the possibilities are the ability for a musician to distribute a digital copy of their music to their fans without a record label, banking without the use of a bank, and a more secure cloud storage environment.

I often feel like a crazy person when I talk about these possibilities…”it’s going to change everything!”, “we’ll have an entire world operating on code, instead stacks of paper”. But, I’m not the only one that sounds crazy. In the aforementioned podcast episode, when talking about how disruptive cryptocurrencies are and how easily they are to store value, Naval Ravikant said “I could cross borders with a billion dollars in my brain”.

What do you think? What do you think we’ll use smart contracts for?

Best,

Billy
The CryptoFizz Team


Investing in a bubble

 

Investing in a Bubble

If you’re in the cryptocurrency game, there is a good chance you have heard someone say “you shouldn’t invest in a bubble”. From personal experience day-trading in the stock market, I agree that buying at the wrong time can be catastrophic to a portfolio.

But, at what point is the bubble just a temporary speed bump? I doubt those that invested in Amazon back in 1997 when everyone was calling the internet a bubble are complaining today. In fact, from 1997-1999, Amazon grew over 6000% - that’s more than Bitcoin’s 4000% growth from 2009-2010!

I referenced the Amazon vs Bitcoin comparison above to provide some perspective. It is very easy to see the choppy charts and avoid the whole sector because it makes you nervous. But, again, Amazon’s charts were choppy when they were getting their feet on the ground, and despite the very obvious success of Amazon over the past 20 years, many dismiss anything new because of their lack of foresight.

Recently, I read an article about Mark Cuban potentially investing in a cryptocurrency that is set to go on pre-sale starting July 1, 2017; this is an interesting development considering back in November 2016, Cuban called Bitcoin a bubble. Now, most would read that and think “he’s a hypocrite, how can he invest in something that is part of a bubble?!”, but I don’t see it that way.

First, I think I need to clarify that Bitcoin is not the same as the blockchain, and I am not saying that Cuban is calling the blockchain a bubble. In fact, in the future, he believes  many Health and Financial services will be built on the blockchain. What I am saying is that I think Cuban understands the volatile nature of new technologies, and the risk involved in anything that is disrupting the status quo. I think he understands that despite the charts, despite the hysteria, and despite the critics, the underlying technology behind these blockchain startups is truly unique and powerful.

I am very excited about the future of the blockchain, and it seems I’m in good company!
What do you think?

Best,

Billy
The CryptoFizz Team


Antshares

Antshares (ANS) - The Ethereum of China?

 

Before I dive into the Antshares token, I want to apologize. I currently trade on Bittrex and have seen Antshares trending many times in the past few weeks, but not once have I invested in it nor given it a second thought. Why? The name, and logo. I did not think that a token called Antshares and a logo of an ant would represent a solid project with a bright future. I was wrong. Really, really wrong. It turns out, they are a legit, forward-thinking group of industry professionals partnered with many large companies including Microsoft. MICROSOFT! Now that I have that taken care of, let’s move on.

 

So, what is an Antshare?

According to their website, they are “...China's first ever original and open source public chain project...”. Now, here’s the thing - when I first arrived to the website today after checking them out on coinmarketcap.com, and saw that they were the first Chinese open source blockchain, I was excited (and still am!). First-movers are exciting, and I applaud their pioneering spirit.

There have been comparisons between Ethereum and Antshares in the past and I don’t disagree. But, this Chinese blockchain company is much more than that. To keep things short, I will touch on three features that make them unique in the community.

 

Features

First, like Ethereum, they utilize a Smart Contract function allowing assets to be digitized and transactions can be automated based on specific conditions. The difference between most Smart Contracts and those available on the Antshare platform is the ability to create them in more than one industry standard language. For example, Ethereum has it’s own language called Solidity which developers have to learn from scratch. Antshares utilizes popular program languages like C# and JavaScript.

Second, it’s no secret that China wants to utilize it’s own tech, not something created in Silicon Valley. China is known for it’s firewall - keeping much of the Western world at bay. Also, Asia is known for early adoption in the tech arena. I mean, look at gaming and mobile technology.

Finally, Antshares launched their rebranding at the Microsoft Headquarters in Beijing onJune 22, 2017. They will be called NEO moving forward, and will be supported by Microsoft’s G.M. of Developer Experience. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, they partnered with Microsoft to create a consortium Blockchain called The Legal Chain. It has been created to provide digital evidence storage services, including digital contracts, intellectual properties, e-medical records, etc. I don’t think I need to explain to anyone the importance of this partnership.

But, if you want to learn more about it, check out:
https://cointelegraph.com/news/antshares-partners-with-microsoft-to-digitalize-real-world-assets-with-blockchain

As promised, I am keeping this article short and sweet. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave those at the bottom of the page or let us know on Facebook!

Best,

Billy
The Cryptofizz Team


You've heard of the blockchain, but what exactly is a block?

What is a block?

You may recall from my last article, The blockchain explained. In simple terms… that the blockchain is made up of transactions called blocks. But, what exactly is that? Let’s take a look.

Definition

Each block or collection of transactions during a specific time period are grouped together. Once these transactions are grouped together, the block is given a timestamp and a reference to the block that came before it. Think of a block as a brick with a date stamped on it, and the mortar between the bricks would be the reference to the previous brick so that there is a linear, chronological progression of blocks, or in this case, bricks.

Security

The blockchain is secure in part because of the way the blocks are connected to each other with a timestamp and a reference to the previous block. For example, let’s say someone wanted to hack the blockchain. They would have to not only forge/copy the block they’re trying to steal, but also every single previous one in the chain.

If these two elements did not exist, the blockchain would simply be a group of unrelated transactions floating around on a network somewhere, easily picked off, one by one, by a hacker.

Conclusion

To wrap things up thus far using the checkbook analogy, we have a checkbook (blockchain), that has groups of transactions (blocks) with a timestamp and reference to the group before it. And if someone wanted to steal one of those transactions, they would have to counterfeit every single transaction ever created in that checkbook. Next, we’ll discuss miners and how they provide value and security to the blockchain.

Billy
-The Crypto Fizz Team


The blockchain explained. In simple terms...

Hello.

Before we dive into the blockchain, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this article. You could have been anywhere in the world, and you’re here, with me.

While reading, keep in mind, I have kept this collection of thoughts as simple as possible, merely skimming the surface of what the blockchain is. I will write robustly on these topics in the future, but it is important to start off small and digest this extremely complex technology, one byte at a time.

What is it?

According to Wikipedia, a block chain, or more commonly used “blockchain”, is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks. Before we move forward, think of the blockchain as a giant checkbook, where everyone has access to view each deposit and/or withdrawal. Right about now you’re thinking, “I don’t want everyone seeing my transactions!!”, which is totally understandable. One of the main features of the blockchain is security.

What does it consist of?

If we continue with the checkbook analogy, you have a timestamp (date of the transaction) and a block (the record or single transaction being performed). What makes the blockchain unique and secure is that each block is attached to the preceding block. This may not make any sense at the moment, but we’ll come back to that in a moment.

Why do we need it?

To answer this simply, we need the blockchain to reduce the risk of double-spending (think counterfeit money). Normally, when we want to exchange a good or service, we have to deal with a middle-man/third-party. By utilizing a code based system (blockchain), we’re able to reduce transaction time, cost, and risk of fraud.

Conclusion

Alright, so basically the blockchain is a digital checkbook for the entire world that is more secure, more efficient, and more trustworthy than the traditional middle-man method. In future articles, I will unpack many, many, more facets of this mind-blowingly disruptive technology.