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Blockchain Technology : Explained

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BLOCKCHAIN

Blockchains are incredibly popular nowadays. But what is a blockchain? How do they work, what problems do they solve and how can they be used?

Like the name indicates, a blockchain is a chain of blocks that contain information. This technique was originally represented in 1991 by a bunch of researchers and was originally supposed to timestamp digital documents in order that it’s impossible to affect them or to tamper with them. Almost like a Notary. However, it slid largely unused until it had been tailored by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 to form the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin. A blockchain may be a distributed ledger that’s fully open to anyone. They have an interesting property: once some data has been recorded inside a blockchain, it becomes very difficult to change it. So how does that work? Well, let’s take a closer look at a block.

Each block contains some data, the hash of the block and the hash of the previous block. The data that is stored inside a block depends on the type of blockchain. The Bitcoin blockchain, for example, stores the details about a transaction in here, such as the sender, receiver and amount of coins. A block also has a hash. You can compare a hash to a fingerprint. It identifies a block and every one of its contents and it is often unique, just as a fingerprint.  Once a block is formed, it’s hash is being calculated. Changing one thing within the block can cause the hash to alter. Therefore in other words: hashes are terribly helpful when you need to discover changes to blocks. If the fingerprint of a block changes, it no longer is the same block. The third element inside each block is the hash of the previous block. This effectively creates a chain of blocks and it’s this technique that makes a blockchain so secure.

Blockchain Example

Blockchain Example

Let’s take an example. Here we have a chain of 3 blocks. As you can see in the above image, each block has a hash and the hash of the previous block. So block number 3 points to block number 2 and number 2 points to number 1. Now the first block is a bit special, it cannot point to previous blocks because it’s the first one. We call this the genesis block. Now let’s say that you tamper with the second block. This causes the hash of the block to alter also. in turn which will build block three and all following blocks invalid as a result of they no longer store a legitimate hash of the previous block. Thus ever-changing one block can build all following blocks invalid. However, using hashes isn’t enough to stop tampering.


Also Read:  What is Deep Web?


Computers currently are very fast and may calculate many thousands of hashes per second. You’ll effectively tamper with a block and compute all the hashes of different blocks to create your blockchain valid once more. Thus to mitigate this, blockchains have one thing referred to as proof-of-work. It is a mechanism that slows down the creation of new blocks. In Bitcoins case: it takes about ten minutes to calculate the desired proof-of-work and add a replacement block to the chain. This mechanism makes it terribly exhausting to tamper with the blocks because if you tamper with one block, you’ll have to compute the proof-of-work for all the subsequent blocks. Therefore the security of a blockchain comes from its inventive use of hashing and also the proof-of-work mechanism.

Blockchain Process

Blockchain Process

But there’s another approach that blockchains secure themselves and that is by being distributed. Instead of using a central entity to manage the chain, blockchains use a peer-to-peer network and anyone is allowed to join. When someone joins this network, he gets the full copy of the blockchain. The node can use this to verify that everything is still in order. Now let’s see what happens when someone creates a new block. That new block is sent to everyone on the network. Each node then checks and ensure that block to make sure that it hasn’t been tampered with. If everything checks out, each node adds this block to their own blockchain. All the nodes in this network create consensus. They agree about what blocks are valid and which aren’t. Blocks that are tampered with will be rejected by other nodes in the network. So to successfully tamper with a blockchain one need to tamper with each and every block on the chain, redo the proof-of-work for each block and take control over 50% of the peer-to-peer network. Only then will your tampered block become accepted by everyone else. This is almost impossible to do!

Blockchains are also constantly evolving. One of the more recent developments is the creation of smart contracts. These contracts are simple programs that are stored on the blockchain and can be used to automatically exchange coins based on certain conditions. The creation of blockchain technology caught the interest of a lot of people. Soon, many realized that this technology can be used for other things like storing medical records, creating a digital notary or even collecting taxes.

So now you know what a blockchain is, how it works on a basic level and what problems it solves. Hope you liked this article. Mention your queries in the comments section below. We will try to solve them as soon as possible.

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Business

SoftBank to acquire majority stake in WeWork.

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SOFTBANK to Acquire WeWork

SoftBank a Japanese telecoms and Internet Company, which is very intimate and well known for funding and acquiring stakes in various Multi National Companies. SoftBank is about to take over around 50 percent of the company WeWork.

WeWork is an American company founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey that provides shared Workspaces and Offices to Technology Startups and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startups, small and large Businesses.

SoftBank shares fell 5.4 % and suffered their biggest one-day drop in nearly two years on Wednesday (10 Oct 18′) partly on concerns about the prospects of eight-year-old WeWork whose outlook is tied closely to the ups and downs of the real estate market. Recent technology sector weakness also weighed on SoftBank’s shares, traders said.

WeWork_workspace

One of the sources told that the pricing and other details of WeWork investment are yet to be firmed up and the second source said Softbank is in talks to take a major investment in WeWork.

SoftBank and its giant Vision  Fund invested about $4.4 Billion August 2017 on WeWork and hold 2 board Seats in the Company. And Owns about 20 percent of the company.

Earlier the Wall Street Journal reported Softbank’s investment would be between around $15 billion to $20 billion and is most likely to come from the Softbank’s giant Vision Fund. Earlier June Journal says that the smaller Softbank investment discussion valued WeWork at up to $40 Billion.

wework_image

SoftBank’s other real estate-related investments include Compass, an online real estate marketplace, Katerra, a construction startup, and Indian hotel chain OYO Hotels.

SoftBank Group Corp, Tokyo Stocks

Image Courtesy: Reuters

SoftBank had earlier invested Billions of Dollars in U.S. ride-services firm UBER Technologies but owns a minority stack in the firm.

The Chinese unit of WeWork raised about $500 million in July from the investors including Hony Capital, SoftBank, Trustbridge Partners, to drive and expand its existence in the nation.

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Education

What’s inside your smartphone?

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smartphone,inside view,smartphone inside

As of 2018, there are around 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world. If we broke open all their newest phones, which are just a fraction of the total that’ve been built, and split them into their component parts, that would produce around 85,000 kilograms of gold, 875,000 of silver, and 40 million kilograms of copper. How did this precious cache get into our phones, and can we reclaim it?

Gold, silver, and copper are actually just a few of the 70 or so chemical elements that make up the average smartphone. These can be divided into different groups, two of the most critical being rare earth elements and precious metals. Rare earths are a selection of 17 elements that are actually common in Earth’s crust and are found in many areas across the world in low concentrations. These elements have a huge range of magnetic, phosphorescent, and conductive properties that make them crucial to modern technologies. In fact, of the 17 types of rare earth metals, phones and other electronics may contain up to 16. In smartphones, these create the screen and color display, aid conductivity, and produce the signature vibrations, amongst other things. And yet, crucial as they are, extracting these elements from the earth is linked to some disturbing environmental impacts. Rare earth elements can often be found, but in many areas, it’s not economically feasible to extract them due to low concentrations. Much of the time, extracting them requires a method called open pit mining that exposes vast areas of land. This form of mining destroys huge swaths of natural habitats, and causes air and water pollution, threatening the health of nearby communities.

Another group of ingredients in smartphones comes with similar environmental risks: these are metals such as copper, silver, palladium, aluminum, platinum, tungsten, tin, lead, and gold. We also mine magnesium, lithium, silica, and potassium to make phones, and all of it is associated with vast habitat destruction, as well as air and water pollution. Mining comes with worrying social problems, too, like large-scale human and animal displacement to make way for industrial operations, and frequently, poor working conditions for laborers.

Lastly, phone production also requires petroleum, one of the main drivers of climate change. That entwines our smartphones inextricably with this growing planetary conundrum. And, what’s more, the ingredients we mine to make our phones aren’t infinite. One day, they’ll simply run out, and we haven’t yet discovered effective replacements for some. Despite this, the number of smartphones is on a steady increase; by 2019 it’s predicted that there’ll be close to 3 billion in use.

This means that reclaiming the bounty within our phones is swiftly becoming a necessity. So, if you have an old phone,you might want to consider your options before throwing it away. To minimize waste, you could donate it to a charity for reuse,take it to an e-waste recycling facility, or look for a company that refurbishes old models. However, even recycling companies need our scrutiny. Just as the production of smartphones comes with social and environmental problems, dismantling them does too. E-waste is sometimes intentionally exported to countries where labor is cheap but working conditions are poor. Vast work forces, often made up of women and children, may be underpaid, lack the training to safely disassemble phones, and be exposed to elements like lead and mercury, which can permanently damage their nervous systems. Phone waste can also end up in huge dump sites, leaching toxic chemicals into the soil and water, mirroring the problems of the mines where the elements originated. A phone is much more than it appears to be on the surface. It’s an assemblage of elements from multiple countries, linked to impacts that are unfolding on a global scale. So, until someone invents a completely sustainable smartphone, we’ll need to come to terms with how this technology affects widespread places and people

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Business

Drop in shares of Tesla after SEC charges CEO Elon Musk with Fraud

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Elon Musk

On the last Thursday, Tesla shares dropped more than around 13 percent after the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed securities fraud charges against Chief Executive Elon Musk.

According to SEC, the tweets posted by Elon Musk were ‘false and misleading‘ and so files fraud charges against Musk. Musk Tweeted on August 7, that he had secured funding for taking the Company private at $420 per share.

 

Security and Exchange Commision said that the tweet let to the “Significant Market Disruption” is seeking civil penalties without noting an amount and to bar Elon from serving as an officer of a Public Company.

That Thursday afternoon Musk sent a statement calling it as an unjustified action.

The statement that Musk gave:

“This unjustified action by the SEC leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed. I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors. Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”

Elon Musk tweeted in August for considering taking the company Tesla private, which was not embraced by the Tesla board members and many shareholders, and eventually arouse SEC to investigate.

Later on August 24, after the news of the SEC quest had become known, Musk blogged here that the Tesla will remain a Public Company.

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