Atomic Swaps

Last weekend I went to a crypto meetup where the topic was atomic swaps. Of course I had no idea what this was so I was totally intrigued.

Atomic swaps are basically a way for 2 parties to swap different cryptocurrencies on their own without the need for an exchange which we all know can come with high fees and wait times. The “swap” on the other hand can be done without the need of an exchange or miners being involved. This kind of swap also has no to low transaction fees and can be done on or off the blockchain. The basic idea is sort of like a 3-way handshake between both parties that want to set up a transaction between themselves. Once they decide what they want to trade, they set up a contract that cannot be broken and only completes when both parties get what they agreed to.

Right now the only catch of these transactions are that:

  • Both currencies support HTLC
  • Both have the same hashing algorithm

This transaction is possible through a process called Hashed Timelock Contracts(HTLCs). Both parties agree to predetermined contract that is set up for them to verify the transaction and trade their coins through a secret channel that only they have access to. A more detailed explanation can be found at Blockgeeks website.

I thought this was pretty cool because this a great way to get something that you want without going through a lot of hassle and paying a lot of money in fees. The technology is still fairly new but there have been successful swaps and I’m definitely looking forward to more news on swaps in the coming year.




Altcoin Fantasy…Fun or Fantasy?

Remember the show Fantasy Island? (I’m definitely dating myself…but actually that was the first thing I thought of when I heard the name Altcoin Fantasy. Turns out, I wasn’t too far off the mark on this one.

Altcoin Fantasy is a cryptocurrency simulation platform where users learn to trade cryptocurrencies RISK FREE. It’s like your money making fantasies come true!

You get to play with virtual USD cash which you can use to make trades while learning about trading. The best part is that you actually win bitcoin and prizes if you win the contest.

I’m not a big gamer but I’m totally on board with playing the type of game where you don’t lose your own money and your learn something in the process. I cant find any negatives with this one at all. Here is a great article featuring the founders of Altcoin Fantasy where they talk about the motivation behind the company.

I’m going to definitely play this game to learn more about trading before taking the plunge for real. I will update my experience and share my thoughts in future posts.

Happy virtual trading!!



Tokens Vs Altcoins

Before I start investing, I wanted to make sure that I understand the difference between Tokens and Altcoins.

Altcoins are basically an alternative coin from Bitcoin. They are a fork of Bitcoin, which is an open source original protocol for generating Bitcoin. With Altcoins, there are changes in the underlying code that can take advantage of a different set of features. Some altcoins are not open-sourced like Bitcoin. They have their own Blockchain and protocol that supports their own currency. Ex: Ethereum. The main thing to remember is that each each altcoin possess its own independent Blockchain where each transaction uses its own coins.

Tokens operate on top of the Blockchain and represent a particular asset or utility. They can represent any asset that is worth value. Tokens are usually made using smart contracts. As an investor you receive tokens when you invest money into a company offering an ICO (Initial Coin Offering). Its pretty similar to a stock with some important differences.

You can read more here. This article also includes useful guides on various exchanges and wallets.

I also learned a great analogy today: Ethereum represents an app store in your smartphone. More on that here.

I also came across a crypto podcast that you can listen to on iTunes: Crypto101. I’ll give my thoughts on the podcast in another post.