Unfortunately, there are a lot of smart people in the world who would rather cheat or steal than work for a living. But fortunately, the ability to nip that in the bud is one of the root benefits of blockchain technology.
Indeed, the whole point of blockchain is to let people do business and share data in a tamperproof way without knowing or even trusting each other.
With Bitcoin, for example, the history of every transaction is wide open to anyone who wants to look at its ledger, which is distributed broadly across the internet. Ergo the term “Distributed Ledger Technology” (DLT), Bitcoin’s landmark innovation.
That ledger is stored in thousands of computers called “nodes.” Each time there is a Bitcoin transaction, those nodes get checked for validity.
This verifies that the person spending or selling the Bitcoins actually owns them. And the record of this new transaction is then added to the chain, or “blocks,” of all previous transactions.
Put simply, blockchain is a transaction ledger — a database — that maintains identical copies on more than 115,000 computers. Like DNA, the same code is replicated in every cell of the network.
The system makes the transactions tamperproof for two simple reasons: If one person tries to falsify — or just makes an error — on just one of those computers, then the other 114,999 computers will reject it. And it is impossible for any one individual to control more than a small fraction of the computers on the network.
That’s how people who don’t know or trust each other can share valuable data. This includes information about such things as Bitcoin ownership, titles to real estate and much more.
Best Blockchain Stocks
Blockchain is best known for its role in cryptocurrencies, but there are countless other uses for its technology as well.
The banking industry, for one, is ripe to benefit from adoption of blockchain technology. If they play it right, blockchain could do to banking what the internet did to the news media.
Forward-looking companies that promptly adopt blockchain technology into their business model will be the winners, boosting their profits for decades to come.
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Those that fail to adapt — or take too long to catch up — will be losers.
Investing in those forward-thinking companies is bound to be extremely lucrative for stock investors.
The billion-dollar question is: Who are they?
Cowen & Co. released a report identifying publicly traded companies that are most likely to profit from the blockchain revolution.
Its No. 1 pick: “Among public providers, Accenture (ACN) is most visible in blockchain development efforts.”
[Last month, we looked at Accenture’s big crypto hiring spree in 2017, plus its move into maritime blockchain solutions.]
Cowen also praised Virtusa (VRTU), Luxoft Holding (LXFT), IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon.com (AMZN), SAP (SAP) and Oracle (ORCL) as other blockchain winners.
I agree with Cowen & Co. about the above companies. But my list of biggest blockchain winners is very different. And I’ll share those with you when we launch our new Weiss Crypto Investor newsletter, co-edited with Juan Villaverde.
[Stay tuned to your email in the coming weeks for more information about that. In the meantime, this is your last chance to download your list of 93 Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings, with our compliments. We are constantly updating our data and expanding our cryptocurrency research, and our next data run will be for our paid-up subscribers only. Grab this one-time FREE gift while you still can.]
The Folly and Danger of Losing Crypto Keys
Chainalysis, a cryptocurrency research firm, estimates that between 2.78 million and 3.79 million (between 17% and 23%) of all Bitcoins have been lost by owners losing track of their private keys or by hard-drive crashes.
In fact, many people believe that Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of Bitcoin — who hasn’t touched his estimated 1 million coins since 2011 — lost his private key for his Bitcoin account.
One of the best-known cases of lost keys is that of James Howells, an IT worker in London.
He reportedly lost 7,500 Bitcoins, or around $50 million-plus, when his laptop was accidentally thrown away in 2013.
Now it seems Howells is still trying to get permission to dig through five years of trash to locate his lost computer.
Moral of the story: Don’t forget to take double and triple steps to protect and remember your crypto wallet passwords.
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