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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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What is Flipkart?

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What is Flipkart?

Flipkart is India’s Amazon. It’s the country’s largest online retailer. In 2018 retail giant Walmart announced its intention to acquire a controlling stake in the company for $16 billion, making this the largest e-commerce acquisition, ever.

Flipkart was founded here in Bangalore in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, two Indian software engineers, that happen to share the same surname. They both worked for Amazon in the U.S. before returning to India to start their company.

Like Amazon, Flipkart began as an online bookstore. In its first full year of business, it delivered nearly three and half thousand shipments of books. Now its website has 10 million page visits a day and sells more than 80 different categories of goods, which includes everything from food processors to yoga mats.

This expansion has been supported by the company’s own digital ecosystem. In 2009 it founded Ekart, its in-house supply chain arm.

Ekart is now India’s largest logistics company delivering 10 million shipments a month for Flipkart, as well as independent brands and sellers. It also owns PhonePe, an app the company acquired in 2016, which helps facilitate electronic payments throughout the country. In addition, Flipkart’s purchase of two of India’s leading online fashion retailers, Myntra and Jabong ensured the company remained the leading player in India’s online retail industry.

Flipkart’s strong position in the market attracted $1.4 billion of investment in 2017 from the Indian e-commerce market as a whole is set to quadruple to $200 billion in the next eight years, and by 2034 it’s predicted to surpass the U.S. as the second largest e-commerce market in the world.

The predicted growth in e-commerce has increased competition between the big online retailers. Amazon has been taking on Flipkart in its own backyard. Both have been offering massive sales and discounts pegged to Indian festivals as they battle it out for more customers.

While Amazon’s size and profitable cloud computing service allows it to absorb these costs, Flipkart has suffered losses in its struggle to compete. However, the Flipkart Group as a whole still has the largest share of the market and remains the e-commerce leader in India.

Walmart’s online sales, however, account for just a little more than three and a half percent of its business in the U.S. Acquiring Flipkart gives them a considerable foothold in the sector. Yet when news of the deal broke, the American retailer’s shares tumbled four percent with investors concerned that the company had a long way to go before becoming profitable. The acquisition of a loss-making business also cut Walmart’s profits at the end of 2018 and its earnings outlook for 2019.

Walmart Acquiring Flipkart

Walmart Acquiring Flipkart | Image Courtesy: YourStory

The company also warned that e-commerce growth would be slower next year. For Flipkart, Walmart’s investment is seen by many as a major boost to the company’s logistical operations. It will also help it move into new areas like online groceries. Along with a strong food supply chain, Walmart’s financial support will also help Flipkart keep prices low in its battle with Amazon.

Several key investors have exited the company, including co-founder Sachin Bansal, and they leave with hefty profits. Venture capital firms Accel and Tiger Global invested when Flipkart was valued at just $50 million. They have now pocketed more than 400 times what they invested and still retain some shares.

Softbank is also a big beneficiary of the deal. Its Vision Fund invested $2.5 billion in 2017 and in just over 12 months the Japanese company sold its 20% stake for $4 billion.

Co-founder Binny Bansal had planned to stay on as the company’s chief executive but resigned after an internal investigation into serious personal misconduct following an accusation of sexual assault. He still owns 4.2% of the company and remains a director on the board. Amid the controversy Walmart increased its stake in the $20 billion company from 77 percent to 81.3 percent, offering another sign of its support of an online retail market that is still small by global standards.

The value and sale of Flipkart to a major corporation like Walmart will likely encourage investors to see India’s e-commerce market as an area of growth. Already the Indian startup Ola is competing fiercely with Uber in the taxi aggregation market and both have Softbank as a major shareholder.

As the world’s major tech companies focus more of their attention on India, Flipkart may be the first of many start-up success stories emerging from the growing e-commerce space.

So, do you think Flipkart has a chance against Amazon? Comment below to let us know.

Source: CNBC International
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Why Windows Phone Failed

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Why Widows Phone failed
 Windows Phone: a product with so much potential that had everything going for it, and yet one that failed spectacularly. Despite the billions of dollars and the priceless connections of Microsoft, the Windows Phone never took off and would go down in history as one of Microsoft’s most expensive mistakes.
We’re gonna look at the reasons behind its failure and the actions Microsoft could’ve taken to possibly prevent it.
When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone in 2007 he took the smartphone world by storm. Up until then, smartphones had a big problem: they had small screens with interfaces that were hard to navigate, and the reason for that was because half of the phone was occupied by a keyboard with tiny buttons you could hardly press with any precision at all.
Apple unvield iPhone in 2007

Apple unveiled iPhone in 2007

What Steve Jobs showed to his ecstatic audience was a game changer, but it wasn’t just Apple fans there were watching. The engineers at Google, which for the past two years had been building a smartphone of their own, had to scrap their entire project and to start over with a touchscreen design. Their final product, Android, would arrive more than a year later, at which point the iPhone had taken the smartphone crown.
The iPhone’s model was built on exclusivity: it was entirely produced by Apple to establish maximal control over the user experience and the quality of the product, which allowed Apple to charge a premium for their phones.
To succeed Android would have to adopt a different strategy: instead of going for exclusivity, Google tried to be everyone’s friend, partnering up with as many phone manufacturers as possible with the selling point of their phones being the fact that they were cheap, yet functional.
For a time, the smartphone world was in balance, with Android and the iPhone occupying very distinct segments of
the market. And yet, this balance would soon be disturbed by another tech giant, Microsoft.
Now, out of the three companies, it was actually Microsoft that had the most experience with mobile devices.
Back in 1996, Bill Gates unveiled what he called the handheld PC, which was really more of a tiny laptop. The operating system it ran was known as Windows CE, which was basically Windows 3 modified to function on the lowest specifications possible.
Over the next decade, Microsoft would add features and develop this product line extensively, making another 6 full releases. Between 2006 and 2008 Microsoft’s mobile devices claimed a 15% market share, greater than any of their competitors except Symbian by Nokia.
But this success is exactly what blinded Microsoft to threat of the iPhone.
When Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft at the time was asked about the iPhone his reaction, he was like that iPhones don’t have keyboards which will not make them good email machine. Also said that $500 for iPhone is not customer friendly.
When he was asked “How do you compete with iPhone?”, he replied ” Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year.”
We can clearly see the stark difference between the two men: the reporter very clearly sees the innovations
of the iPhone as a threat to the old smartphone establishment, but Microsoft’s CEO can barely look past the sales numbers. And just in case you’re thinking he’s an exception, the CEOs of Blackberry and Palm were equally skeptical of the new iPhone.
It took Microsoft a full year of declining market share to finally realize that something had to be done. Unlike Microsoft, Blackberry’s sales were still increasing, which gave them a sense of confidence they never recovered from.
Now, as they say, it’s better late than never and when Microsoft finally got around to it, their development was actually pretty fast.
Microsoft began developing a touchscreen-based mobile device in late 2008 and it took them only two years to get it ready for market. What Steve Ballmer unveiled was indeed a very unique product whose advancement of smartphone design isn’t really widely recognized, but it should be. At a time when the iPhone and Android were stuck with static icons, the Windows Phone gave you tiles with live information.

Microsoft unveiled first Windows phone in 2010 at MWC

Overall, critics had much to praise: in terms of design the Windows Phone user experience was right up there next to Apple and because Microsoft had very strict requirements for the hardware used by phone manufacturers, all of the early Windows Phones were very powerful machines for their time. And yet, Microsoft ran into a big problem very early on.
Microsoft was trying to do something very difficult: it was emulating Apple in trying to establish strict control over the user experience and hardware, but unlike Apple, it wasn’t actually making its own phones. This approach made the Windows Phone a very refined product, but the degree of control Microsoft wanted to be made working with them much more difficult for phone manufacturers compared to working with Android.
Unsurprisingly, most phone manufacturers decided to partner up with Google, which left Microsoft in a very bad position: it had a great product and no one to make it. The only saving grace for Microsoft was a lucky connection: when Nokia replaced their CEO in September 2010, the new guy, Stephen Elop, was a former Microsoft executive and the first item on his agenda was to try to restore Nokia’s declining market share by abandoning Symbian and pivoting towards Windows Phone.
Now, you can tell that this was a very premeditated plan because of this massive transition, during which Nokia completely changed their product offerings, happened in the span of a single year. Nokia started selling their first Windows Phone in November 2011 and I can tell you right away that this was possible thanks to the billions of dollars Microsoft poured into Nokia as “platform support payments”.
Nokia was supposedly paying Microsoft a licensing fee, but in reality, it was actually getting $250 million back from Microsoft every quarter, which more than made up for their expenses. Of course, the other phone manufacturers knew that this was happening, which pushed them even farther away from Microsoft.
After all, why would they fund their own development and pay a licensing fee to Microsoft, when Nokia was getting it all for free?
Effectively, Microsoft had gone all in with Nokia and there was no going back. But sadly for Microsoft, it was far too late. By the time Microsoft solved its production issue, four years after the introduction of the iPhone, it had fallen to a 2% market share. Nobody was developing applications for the Windows Phone and why would they, considering that Android and iOS were clearly the winners here.
For its first three years, the Windows Phone App Store was empty: it didn’t have Instagram, it didn’t have YouTube, it barely had anything. By 2013 the stock price of Nokia had fallen by 75% at which point angry shareholders were threatening to just fire Stephen Elop and get rid of Microsoft altogether.
In the end, that didn’t happen, Microsoft instead just purchased Nokia’s mobile phone division for $7.2 billion in 2014. Here’s the funny thing though: the very next year Microsoft wrote off their investment for $7.6 billion, and then to top things off they fired almost 8,000 employees. Microsoft kept Windows Phone on life support until October 2017, but it was clearly dead a long time before that.
And yet, it’s easy to imagine the different path Windows Phone could’ve taken had it only not been as greedy with its original philosophy. Had Microsoft been willing to compromise on its control over production, it would’ve
easily convinced the big manufacturers to use Windows Phone instead of Android.
After all back then Google had practically no ecosystem to speak of, while Microsoft had been a software titan for decades.
This was how the Windows Phone ran the path for its downfall.
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WhatsApp CEO to visit India again in October end for Fake News issues

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WhatsApp Fake news @newsbooklet

WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels has planned to make his second trip to India in three months to help the Government Officials of India to find out the root cause of the Spreading Fake News all around the Country via social Media Platform WhatsApp.

A delegation of WhatsApp officials along with the company’s global policy head Christine Turner with Daniels will visit India to meet with Government Officials at Prime Minister’s Office and the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY).

It is reported that the delegation will be arriving on 24th of October, Wednesday.

During the Visit, CEO Chris Daniels is expected to meet the designated authorities on wide range of issues but the main focus would be rather on the data encryption and data sharing. Government of India has asked WhatsApp to find out ways to catch the origin of fake Messages and news, but things would not be that easy. As because WhatsApp runs on end-to-end Encryption.

Government requested WhatsApp to figure out the way to find alternative to find the solution and stop the unnecessary fake news to spread in a larger audience.

CEO chris daniels with Govenment Officials

Visit in August | Image Courtesy: Digit

Lately Fake news over WhatsApp has been leading to very bad condition of Mob lynching in some parts of the country.

Earlier when CEO Chris Daniels visited India for the First time, he was asked to appoint a grievance officer and set up a corporate entity in India to tackle the wide spreading of Fake news all over the Country. Also government demanded for a system to be developed for tracing the origin of fake News.

On demand Chris appointed a grievance officer to look upon the complains of fake messages all over the country. But data sharing and tracing the origin of the fake messages would not be that easy as mentioned earlier, although Indian Government stating “It’s not a rocket science”.

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