blockchain

Crypto and Blockchain projects & tools (April 2019)

Crypto and Blockchain projects & tools (April 2019)

NOTE: All following project and tools reflect my own opinion and my own experience. This post is not an investment advice or advice to use them. Also, your mileage may vary. Please make sure you also read the disclaimer at the end of this post as well. This post contains affiliate/referral links.

For Users

Mass adoption. If you keep following the crypto and blockchain space, you might have heard this term a lot. At the moment, besides gambling dApps (decentralized applications) on different blockchains, there are only a few real-world products floating around. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Presearch

Presearch is a decentralized search engine that has more than 1 million users (as of writing this), which is quite impressive for a beta product, especially in this special area. Presearch tries to disrupt the dominance of Google (which acts as the gate to the internet for more than 70% of all users).

I have been using Presearch for a few months now as my personal gate to the internet, and I enjoy the aggregation of my preferred search engines. If you look at my start page, you can see all the search providers I have chosen. From Bing, Google to Github as well as iTunes and Spotify, everything gets searched with a click. If you open a new Tab with Presearch, you can filter the search once more. I often use the Presearch engine search, which just delivers the best results for me. I am helping the product to evolve with this behavior, as a little bonus, I get 0.25 PRE(search token) for the searches I perform.

Presearch

Presearch has protection against cheaters (AI powered) in place. I am obviously not cheating to help the product, and my honesty is rewarded with an account level of 9. They have a Chrome extension which sets the current search engine (Desktop) just by installing it. Presearch even has a mobile app (beta, iOS), which is currently not able to connect to your account which I use from time to time. However, as happened with Bing and Google before, I am using their mobile website most of the time on my iPhone.

Brave Browser

If you have been following me for some time, you know that I am a fan of Microsoft. Recently, however, Microsoft turned into a more business-oriented company, leaving the consumer to just go with the products of other providers. This led me to search for alternatives of my personal browser – so I ended up with Brave Browser.

Brave aims to be faster and more private than the default choices users have. Websites store all kind of data in cookies and use trackers to collect data from a user while the later one is browsing the web. With Brave, you get back a good amount of control of the data you are willing to share. Over time, your privacy level will grow again just by using Brave. The browser shows you how many trackers, cookies and scripts were blocked while you are browsing.

Since a few weeks, user can receive rewards for watching ads. Users will be prompted to view ads (mostly short videos), and receive some BAT, the native currency of Brave – which they can use again to reward content creators. This is an opt-in feature, so users always have the choice.

If you have a blog, website or YouTube channel, you can help the project to grow. Register your site/channel as a creator, and use your BAT rewards to tip others and invite them to join, too. This way, knowledge about Brave will spread across the web from all sides.

CoinPaprika

CoinPaprikais a market analysis tool, and it is a powerful one. I discovered the project last summer (shortly after they started). I like it “hot and spicy”, so the name alone immediately called my attention. As I have two or three app ideas that need a service like CoinPaprika, I was happy to learn they have an open API as well, with really generous API rate limits. I am contributing to the project in the form of maintaining a .NET library.

coinpaprika_client

CoinPaprika is somewhat different to other providers, as they do not rely on data of CoinMarketCap (which a lot of services in this area do). Instead, they are pulling in data of more than 250 exchanges on their own, resulting in over 2000 currencies they track. On top, they provide a great oversight on each project (click the coin stats links above to see some samples).

They are also working on a mobile app, which will combine their analysis tools with a non-custodial wallet (based on Trust Wallet’s core). You can get a short overview and register for beta notification at
https://coins.coinpaprika.com/.

AtomicPay

AtomicPay is a non-custodial payment service provider. While there are quite some providers of such services floating around, AtomicPay holds the flag of decentralization pretty high. The service just provides the invoicing infrastructure, while the payment itself is only tracked by the system. The effective payment is a direct customer to merchant transaction – the funds move directly into the merchant’s wallet. The whole infrastructure is built around Electrum and its derivations for other currencies.

atomicpay-title-image

By using common implementations like SegWit and HD (Hierarchical Deterministic) wallets as well as no address re-use, AtomicPay ensures security and privacy on a high level with a reasonable amount of initial administrative work. AtomicPay provides several integrations into already existing online shopping systems, an open Rest-API, payment buttons for websites and more.

I am also involved in this project and currently working on the official native apps for Android and iOS. We have already published a .NET SDK, which enables you already today to implement crypto payments into your apps. On our roadmap, we have a Xamarin.Forms ready plugin and SDKs for other programming languages as well.

For Developers

Being a mature programming language, C# has already quite some important and ready-to-use libraries to interact with certain blockchains. Here is a list of projects I am following:

Wallets and Exchanges

If you want to get some cryptocurrencies, you need some starting points:

  • Where to buy?
  • Where to convert/exchange?
  • Where to store HODLs?

While there are several options out there, I have found a combination that works for me.

BitPanda

Buying crypto currencies with bank transfer or credit card is pretty easy on BitPanda, an Austrian provider. They accept deposits in EUR, CHF, USD and GBP. Once your FIAT deposit is in your BitPanda account, you can exchange them for a variety of crypto currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, NEO and more. If you want to sign up and get a 10 EUR bonus after your first purchase, you can use my referral link (I am getting the bonus as well).

Binance

Binance is one of the biggest centralized crypto exchanges around. They have a huge amount of tradeable assets and also great liquidity. If a trading pair is available on Binance, chances are high that you will get the best price there. Their apps and website offer a good default set of indicators, so you normally won’t need any additional tools. Binance is also said to be one of the few exchanges to not fake their trading volume. If you haven’t signed up to Binance, feel free to use my referral link.

ChangeNOW

ChangeNOW is a decentralized exchange that is connected to big centralized exchanges to get the best rates. On certain pairs, you have a fixed rate option besides the quick-and-dirty approach that all such services provide. However, if you use that one, you will get a smaller exchange value than with the default option because of lowering the risk. In my experience, the exchange rates reflect the current market prices more often than not. Other providers have a bigger spread.

Transactions are executed as fast as possible, if something goes wrong and you provide your wallet for refunds, your funds will always be safe. Additionally, you can provide your mail address to get informed when the exchange took place (so you won’t need to constantly refresh the website).

KyberSwap

KyberSwapis another decentralized exchange, but just for Ethereum tokens (at least at them moment of writing this). It is based on the Kyber protocol, which allows fast and direct swaps of tokens (for example BAT=>KNC) without the need of exchanging first to Ethereum and then into the desired token. There are already quite a few dApps built on the Kyber protocol, you can see a list here. Recently, KyberSwap launched a nice and easy to use iOS app, which supports also a price alert feature (USD and ETH base pairs only, however).

Trust Wallet

Trust Wallet, the official non-custodial wallet of Binance, has a good reputation when it comes to storing your HODLs. It is available for both Androidand iOS, with a desktop version being worked on. They are constantly adding new coins, and the usage is even for new users pretty easy. Their Telegram support group is always just a message away in case you need some help.

MyEtherWallet and MEWConnect

If you want to perform advanced operations (like cleaning pending transactions or getting your *.eth address), there is a big chance that you will be able to do it with MyEtherwallet.

They recently launched a newer version of their website. However, not all functionality has been ported over (yet). If you cannot find an option on the new site, you will find it for sure at their vintage site. The most secure way to connect to MyEtherWallet is their MEWConnect app (available for iOS and Android), which transforms your phone into a hardware wallet-like device. You need to confirm transactions on the device before you can move on in the browser, adding in an additional security layer.

Etherscan

Etherscan is the best known Ethereum blockchain explorer around. It has tons of features, from viewing transactions or contracts to token details and ENS-Lookup. Whenever I need to verify or search something related to the Ethereum blockchain, this is my first goto-address.

O3 Wallet (NEO)

If you are searching for blockchains built with .NET, sooner or later you will run into NEO. I only recently began to explore the possibilities of the NEO blockchain and its native currency. NEO has a token ecosystem as well. IF you need a cross-platform wallet, I would give the O3 wallet a try. It integrates with Switcheo (another decentralized exchange) and quite a few other dApps (like registering your .neo address via NNS) running on NEO.

New projects

The crypto space never stand still. New projects are showing up almost every day. Here is a list of projects I recently started to discover. It is way to early to write a review on them, but I may do so in a follow up post.

  • WolfpackBot (beta, crypto trading bot running on its own blockchain)
  • Bravo (write reviews, receive crypto)
  • Switcheo (decentralized exchange for NEO and ETH tokens, EOS soon)
  • Electroneum (mobile (cloud) mining on its own blockchain, use 5576A9 to get a 1% bonus on your mining rewards (5% for me))

News Sources

It is always good to know what is going on in the crypto space. Here are some reliable news sources I use:

Conclusion

Besides the hundreds (if not thousands) of gambling dApps across all blockchains, there are also interesting real word projects one can use today. Some of them are more popular than others, but not every project is worth your attention. This post showed some of the projects I am interested in.

If you know a project/tool/dApp that is missing in this list, feel free to leave a comment below or ping me on social networks. Maybe your suggestions will make it into the next post of this kind.

Disclaimer: I am contributing to one or more crypto/blockchain projects with code written by me under the MIT License. Future contributions may contain their own (and different) disclaimer. I am not getting paid for my contributions to the project at the moment of writing this.

Please note that none of my crypto related posts is an investment or financial advice. As crypto currencies are volatile and risky,  you should only invest as much as you can afford to lose. Always do your own research!

Title Image Credit

Posted by msicc in Crypto&Blockchain, Editorials, 0 comments
2018 in review – Focus on Xamarin, RIP UniShare, the rise of crypto and blockchain

2018 in review – Focus on Xamarin, RIP UniShare, the rise of crypto and blockchain

This year, I had some rough time to keep me motivated on writing blog posts. In the early months, I was keeping my target to write about Xamarin Forms and my implementations, but I slowly lost pace around the summer.

Xamarin posts

Within the first half of the year, I was keeping a pretty constant 2 week frame for new blog posts, targeting Xamarin and Xamarin Forms. I touched several topics (some of which may be obsolete since Xamarin Forms 3.x). Here is a short recap:

The rise of crypto and blockchain

Since 2017, I was loosely following the area of crypto currencies and blockchain. This year, however, marks the beginning of a deeper dive into the blockchain area – and of course also into crypto currencies. I am not advising anyone to invest any money into crypto currencies, but there are certain projects out there that are really interesting. Two of them are social networks, similar to Tumblr: Steemit and Trybe. While Steemit is running on its own blockchain, Trybe is utilizing the EOS blockchain. Sadly, the .NET world seems to be widely ignored, so I stepped down a bit from posting on those two. I also tested several other networks running on or with blockchain, but none of them took me like the two mentioned above. If you want to learn more about the crypto currencies/projects I am interested in, just head over to my crypto page.

Open Source

Even if I did not made a lot of sound around it, I have worked on some libraries this year. I am not going into detail on every one, just head over to my Github:

I am currently working on another library (targetting crypto payments) – I will write about it once it is ready to be used in your projects.

RIP UniShare

One of the sadest moments this year was the death of UniShare, my most popular Windows (Phone) app. Long story short, due to some changes Facebook made to their API, I had to take UniShare to its funeral at the end of October. Read more about it here.

Looking forward to 2019

In 2019, I will continue my journey within the crypto/blockchain world. Like I wrote above, I am working on a crypto related project at the moment, which I hope to have ready in the early weeks of 2019. One of my other projects, WindowsUnited, will be taken over by another developer in 2019 (because he can invest more time into their official apps and work form them more ore less exclusively). This will free up some recsources, which I am trying to invest in my other projects and the rise of my blogging pace (again).

Thanks to all of you for reading my posts this year. I hope you’ll be with me in 2019 as well. I wish all of you a good arrival in 2019 and a happy new year once it arrives.

Until the next post, happy coding, everyone!

Posted by msicc in Crypto&Blockchain, Dev Stories, Editorials, 0 comments
How Steemit changed the way I use traditional social networks

How Steemit changed the way I use traditional social networks

What the h*** is Steemit?

Steemit is a social network that (might) pay you for using it. You can earn rewards for posting quality posts, for commenting on others posts and also for curation (voting on other people’s posts).

There is a learning process (which I am still in, even if I advanced already a little), but you can also use some bots to get some attention and make money. Better and also more sustainable than (only) using those bots, however, is to participate in the community itself by commenting and voting as well as taking part in one of several challenges on Steemit. Take a look at the extensive FAQ on Steemit to learn more.

I was following Steemit ever since I stumbled upon it, and after two days of exploring, I created my account (which took around one week back then). There were several reasons for doing that, the most important ones are

  • the community activity I saw and liked
  • my general interest in real life, average joe usable blockchain projects
  • being tired of Facebook, Twitter and the likes
  • earning some bucks (of course)

First steps on Steemit

As soon as my account was created, I started to explore Steemit more deeply. A major part of this exploration included apps I can use on my PC and my phone. After some research, I found my combo of apps/frontends for Steemit:

Being on Steemit also includes promoting it on my other existing social network accounts. And of course, I do share my posts on Facebook and Twitter, using the proper hashtags to make people (hopefully) curious.

Changes…

Yesterday, I took the time to review my last month activity on those popular and established networks. My former daily social media routine included Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to explore new stuff and things that interest me, besides following certain RSS-Feeds (using Inoreader).

Over time, one follows a lot of accounts because of a few posts they made, but once they are no longer interesting, we do not remove them. So there is a whole lot of bullsh*t in our timelines, and it takes a lot of time to get rid of them. Also, the networks themselves do promote posts we might be interested in, which (at least for me) often miss their targets. The result is, that I avoid using these networks in my daily routine and even stop interacting with them. They are “stealing” my time, literally, if I use them.

Steemit has a few interfaces and apps that make it a bit easier for me to see the stuff I am interested in. Not so much on my developer interests, but on all other interest I have (sadly, there is very little activity of the .NET community on Steemit). So in my daily routine, Steemit took already over Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I do check the later ones only occasionally or when I get a notification that someone interacted with one of my accounts. This is the first time this happens within just a month.

I am posting a lot of stuff I would normally post directly to the established ones on Steemit, just to share a link to my Steemit account on those after that. I could also stop that, but I do hope that I can help to promote Steemit to the outer world by doing so.

Conclusion

Steemit is a blockchain based social network rewarding its users. The beginning of my Steemit journey was comparable with the one I had when I joined Twitter or Facebook years ago. You need to find out how everything works, build some connections, interact with others. The Steemit community (at least the parts I am interacting with) still has its spirit, which I am missing on the established networks for a long time. I will continue to focus my social activity on Steemit and to improve my interactions. I hope some of you will join and follow along.

 

image credits:

Steemit Logo

Background

 

Posted by msicc in Archive, 0 comments