Base58 is a group of binary-to-text encoding schemes used to represent large integers as alphanumeric text, introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto for use with Bitcoin. It has since been applied to other cryptocurrencies and applications. It is similar to Base64 but has been modified to avoid both non-alphanumeric characters and letters which might look ambiguous when printed. It is therefore designed for human users who manually enter the data, copying from some visual source, but also allows easy copy and paste because a double-click will usually select the whole string.
Compared with Base64, the following similar-looking letters are omitted: 0 (zero), O (capital o), I (capital i) and l (lower case L) as well as the non-alphanumeric characters + (plus) and / (slash). In contrast with Base64, the digits of the encoding do not line up well with byte boundaries of the original data. For this reason, the method is well-suited to encode large integers, but not designed to encode longer portions of binary data. The actual order of letters in the alphabet depends on the application, which is the reason why the term “Base58” alone is not enough to fully describe the format. A variant, Base56, excludes 1 (one) and o (lowercase o) compared with Base 58.
Base58Check is a Base58 encoding format that unambiguously encodes the type of data in the first few characters and includes an error detection code in the last few characters.
- "Base58" | 2018-11-08 | 95 Upvotes 43 Comments
Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and started in 2009 when its source code was released as open-source software. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. Research produced by University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions, its high electricity consumption, price volatility, and thefts from exchanges. Some economists, including several Nobel laureates, have characterized it as a speculative bubble. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.
Dogecoin ( DOHJ-koyn, code: DOGE, symbol: Ð) is a cryptocurrency featuring a likeness of the Shiba Inu dog from the "Doge" Internet meme as its logo. Introduced as a "joke currency" on 6 December 2013, Dogecoin quickly developed its own online community and reached a capitalization of US$60 million in January 2014.
Compared with other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin had a fast initial coin production schedule: 100 billion coins were in circulation by mid-2015, with an additional 5.256 billion coins every year thereafter. As of 30 June 2015, the 100 billionth Dogecoin had been mined. While there are few mainstream commercial applications, the currency has gained traction as an Internet tipping system, in which social media users grant Dogecoin tips to other users for providing interesting or noteworthy content. Dogecoin is referred to as an altcoin.
- "Dogecoin" | 2013-12-14 | 11 Upvotes 4 Comments
Mt. Gox was a bitcoin exchange based in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Launched in July 2010, by 2013 and into 2014 it was handling over 70% of all bitcoin (BTC) transactions worldwide, as the largest bitcoin intermediary and the world's leading bitcoin exchange.
In February 2014, Mt. Gox suspended trading, closed its website and exchange service, and filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors. In April 2014, the company began liquidation proceedings.
Mt. Gox announced that approximately 850,000 bitcoins belonging to customers and the company were missing and likely stolen, an amount valued at more than $450 million at the time. Although 200,000 bitcoins have since been "found", the reasons for the disappearance—theft, fraud, mismanagement, or a combination of these—were initially unclear. New evidence presented in April 2015 by Tokyo security company WizSec led them to conclude that "most or all of the missing bitcoins were stolen straight out of the Mt. Gox hot wallet over time, beginning in late 2011."
- "Mt.Gox does not mean "Mount" Gox" | 2013-04-12 | 51 Upvotes 43 Comments
Namecoin (Symbol: ℕ or NMC) is a cryptocurrency originally forked from bitcoin software. It is based on the code of bitcoin and uses the same proof-of-work algorithm. Like bitcoin, it is limited to 21 million coins.
Namecoin can store data within its own blockchain transaction database. The original proposal for Namecoin called for Namecoin to insert data into bitcoin's blockchain directly. Anticipating scaling difficulties with this approach, a shared proof-of-work (POW) system was proposed to secure new cryptocurrencies with different use cases.
Namecoin's flagship use case is the censorship-resistant top level domain
.bit, which is functionally similar to
.net domains but is independent of ICANN, the main governing body for domain names.
- "Namecoin" | 2014-03-16 | 150 Upvotes 51 Comments
A proof-of-work (PoW) system (or protocol, or function) is a consensus mechanism. It deters denial-of-service attacks and other service abuses such as spam on a network by requiring some work from the service requester, usually meaning processing time by a computer. The concept was invented by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor as presented in a 1993 journal article. The term "proof of work" was first coined and formalized in a 1999 paper by Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels.
A key feature of these schemes is their asymmetry: the work must be moderately hard (yet feasible) on the requester side but easy to check for the service provider. This idea is also known as a CPU cost function, client puzzle, computational puzzle, or CPU pricing function. It is distinct from a CAPTCHA, which is intended for a human to solve quickly, while being difficult to solve for a computer.
- "Proof-of-work system" | 2011-03-30 | 42 Upvotes 13 Comments
SHA-3 (Secure Hash Algorithm 3) is the latest member of the Secure Hash Algorithm family of standards, released by NIST on August 5, 2015. Although part of the same series of standards, SHA-3 is internally different from the MD5-like structure of SHA-1 and SHA-2.
SHA-3 is a subset of the broader cryptographic primitive family Keccak (), designed by Guido Bertoni, Joan Daemen, Michaël Peeters, and Gilles Van Assche, building upon RadioGatún. Keccak's authors have proposed additional uses for the function, not (yet) standardized by NIST, including a stream cipher, an authenticated encryption system, a "tree" hashing scheme for faster hashing on certain architectures, and AEAD ciphers Keyak and Ketje.
Keccak is based on a novel approach called sponge construction. Sponge construction is based on a wide random function or random permutation, and allows inputting ("absorbing" in sponge terminology) any amount of data, and outputting ("squeezing") any amount of data, while acting as a pseudorandom function with regard to all previous inputs. This leads to great flexibility.
NIST does not currently plan to withdraw SHA-2 or remove it from the revised Secure Hash Standard. The purpose of SHA-3 is that it can be directly substituted for SHA-2 in current applications if necessary, and to significantly improve the robustness of NIST's overall hash algorithm toolkit.
The creators of the Keccak algorithms and the SHA-3 functions suggest using the faster function KangarooTwelve with adjusted parameters and a new tree hashing mode without extra overhead for small message sizes.
- "SHA-3 NIST announcement controversy" | 2014-07-20 | 77 Upvotes 33 Comments
Gridcoin (ticker: GRC) is an open source cryptocurrency which securely rewards volunteer computing performed on the BOINC, a distributed computing platform that is home to over 30 science projects spanning a range of scientific disciplines.
Gridcoin attempts to address and ease the environmental energy impact of cryptocurrency mining through its proof-of-research and proof-of-stake protocols, as compared to the proof of work system used by Bitcoin.
- "Gridcoin: An open source cryptocurrency that rewards work performed on the BOINC" | 2021-02-23 | 220 Upvotes 115 Comments
Crypto-anarchism (or crypto-anarchy) is a political ideology focusing on protection of privacy, political freedom and economic freedom, the adherents of which use cryptographic software for confidentiality and security while sending and receiving information over computer networks.
By using cryptographic software, the association between the identity of a certain user or organization and the pseudonym they use is made difficult to find, unless the user reveals the association. It is difficult to say which country's laws will be ignored, as even the location of a certain participant is unknown. However, participants may in theory voluntarily create new laws using smart contracts or, if the user is pseudonymous, depend on online reputation.
- "Crypto-Anarchism" | 2021-02-27 | 74 Upvotes 46 Comments
Hashcash is a proof-of-work system used to limit email spam and denial-of-service attacks, and more recently has become known for its use in bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) as part of the mining algorithm. Hashcash was proposed in 1997 by Adam Back and described more formally in Back's 2002 paper "Hashcash - A Denial of Service Counter-Measure".