A Bitcoin wallet address is equivalent to a bank account for tangible cash. In bank accounts the money is deposited, withdrawn and transferred to other users. Same is the case with bitcoin wallets. These wallets are used to store/withdraw bitcoins and transfer them to other users. There are three major types of bitcoin wallets: web wallets, software wallets, and mobile wallets.
Also known as “eWallets” or “browser-based wallets”; web wallets are the easiest to protect and give you complete freedom to use/obtain bitcoins.
Some of the examples of web wallets are:
- Green Address
Software wallets are installed on your PC. The users have complete control over Software Wallets and are responsible for bitcoins’ protection and backups.
Some Examples of Software Wallets:
- Bitcoin Core
- Green Address
The users with Mobile Wallets have the freedom to store bitcoins on mobile devices. Mobile Wallets are simple and easy to use while transferring coins. All a user has to do is to scan the QR code using “tap to pay”.
How Do Wallets Work?
Each Bitcoin wallet comes with a private key. The key allows a user to spend the coins. It’s usually the owner only who knows about the key. However, if you are not careful enough with protecting the key, there is a huge chance that someone else will be able to figure it out and spend your coins.
What Are Some of The Tips to Keep My Bitcoin Wallet Secure?
As mentioned above, the key-protection should be your top priority while using online Bitcoin wallets. Otherwise, someone else could easily hack into your account to steal your coins. To make sure your wallet is well protected, follow the tips given below.
Weak passwords are easy to crack. There are several programs that run different patterns, names, and combinations to crack these passwords. To make sure your password is resilient to these attacks, do not use commonly used patterns or names. Instead, go with the strings of random letters, numbers, and symbols.
Multifactor Authentication is an additional security authentication to your password. This could be something like a favorite quote, secret question or a captcha.
Private Key Encryption:
Encrypt your private keys. A private key in plain text is easy to guess and easy to access. So, make sure your key is encrypted.
If Possible – Use Open Source Software:
Use open source software where possible as it gives you the freedom to review the source code and ensure it does what it says.Moreover, an open source software is quick to fix the security laps than closed source software. A good example of open source software is Linux which is used by most of the world’s financial system.
Lastly – Keep Backup of Everything:
Keep backup of your private keys and every single information in your wallet. Having a backup is of great significance. If your data is only stored in one hard-drive, and the drive dies, the information will be lost for good.
The continuous demand and popularity as well as a sudden increase in the prices of various types of cryptocurrencies has aroused a wide scale interest. Instead of all that popularity and demand, the future of digital currency is still uncertain due to many reasons.
Cybercriminals played a critical role in this scenario when they started to demand ransom in the form of cryptocurrencies, most notably Bitcoin, which is the most popular and precious of these cryptocurrencies. It was already expected due to the safe and anonymous transaction facility. As a result, the demand of cryptocurrencies increased and automatically led to the mining of cryptocurrencies.
That’s why Microsoft has recently released a blog post elaborating the increasing threats of malicious cryptocurrency miners. Let’s see what actually cryptocurrency mining is:
Talking in simple words, coin or cryptocurrency mining is the process of running complex mathematical calculations in order to maintain the blockchain ledger. Though this process gets you a very small amount of coins but it pays well as the prices have gone up during the past few years. As a matter of fact, cryptocurrency mining will celebrate its 10th year in 2019. Because of the continued use of high level computing and uninterruptible power supply, it is not a too much popular practice. It is an intensive task that requires significant resources from dedicated processors and other hardware including heavy duty graphic cards.
Measures from Microsoft to Block Miners’ Attack
As mentioned earlier, Microsoft has shown some serious concern in this regard. The main reason is that technically, cryptocurrency mining can come in various malicious forms and can be implemented in a lot of ways. The largest threat is the so-called cryptojacking. Cryptojacking refers to remote browser-based coin mining that uses background resources to mine when a user visits the malicious URL turning his computer into a host. The same thing can also infect your computer with unwanted applications, while some hackers might be able to modify the startup settings of your computer, so every time you boot it, the unwanted malicious application will run in the background affecting your system speed.
The main reason for Microsoft’s concern is the core issue associated with the loss of computer resources. Corporate setups can face a huge drain of their available resources.
Fortunately, Microsoft has successfully blocked a major attack at the beginning of this month.
In order to stay protected, Microsoft has recommended to use advanced machine learning detection modes in Windows Defender ATP to identify and prevent such malicious threats.
Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by a programmer called Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is world’s first cryptocurrency. The code of Bitcoin is open source, which means it can be modified by anyone and freely used for other projects.
Since the launch of Bitcoin, numerous cryptocurrencies have been released with slight modifications in Bitcoin’s code, however, none has been able to dethrone Bitcoin from the top spot. One that comes the closest is Litecoin.
Litecoin was launched in 2011 with the objective of being the “silver” to Bitcoin’s ‘gold’. At the time of writing, Litecoin has the most noteworthy market value amongst other cryptocurrencies, only lagging behind the Bitcoin.
In this article, we put light on the essential differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Major Differences Between Bitcoin and Litecoin:
- The coin limit of bitcoin is 21 million while the Litecoin’s limit is 84 million.
- The block reward of Bitcoin is halved every 210,000 blocks. On the other hand, Litecoin reward is halved every 840,000 blocks.
- Initial reward: 50 BTC in Bitcoin, 50 LTC in Litecoin.
- Mean block time: 10 minutes in Bitcoin, 2.5 minutes in Litecoin.
- Difficulty target: 2016 blocks in Bitcoin, 2016 blocks in Litecoin.
- Algorithm used: SHA-256 in Bitcoin, “Scrypt” in Litecoin.
- Block explorer: “blockchain.info” for Bitcoin while “block-explorer.com” for Litecoin.
- Creator: Satoshi Nakatomo (Bitcoin), and Charles Lee of Litecoin.
- Bitcoin was created on January, 3rd, 2009 while the creation date of Litecoin is October 7th, 2011.
- Market cap: $10,467,596,650.78 (Bitcoin) and $540,274,528.26 for Litecoin.
Mining Differences Between The Two Currencies:
Just like Bitcoin, Litecoin is also a cryptocurrency generated through a process called mining. However, mining for both the currencies is done in a different way. The major mining differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin are as follows:
- A Litecoin block takes 2.5 minutes to generate while the same block in Bitcoin takes up to 10 minutes.
- The algorithm used in Bitcoin is SHA-256, which helps accelerate calculations in parallel processing. Due to this characteristic, the race in ASIC technology has become extremely intense, which also results in the increased bitcoin difficulty levels. On the other hand, Litecoin uses the “Scrypt” algorithm. The calculations in this algorithm are much more serialized as compared to the calculations in SHA-256.
- At the time of writing, the total hashing rate of Litecoin is just 95,642Terra Hashes per second, while the Bitcoin hashing is around 20,000 Mega Hashes per second.
Differences in Transaction:
The major difference between Bitcoin and Litecoin is the transaction time.
- Bitcoin transaction confirmations are relatively slow, while Litecoin has the ability to handle a higher volume of transactions, thanks to its higher volume of blocks.
- A downside of having a higher volume of blocks is that it increases the size of Litecoin’s Blockchain, which results in more orphaned blocks.
- Faster Litecoin transactions mean reduced risk of double spending.
- For two Litecoin confirmations, you will only need to sit tight for 5 minutes, while in Bitcoin, you are supposed to wait for 20 minutes for a similar number of confirmations.
A large number of people involved in Bitcoin often tout transaction and confirmation speed as moot points as the confirmations given by most merchants are zero for most purchases.
One thing to remember here is that all transactions are instant, it is just the network that takes the time to confirm it as it propagates.