Page 21 - Geektime Blockchain Report
P. 21

Private/public keys and digital wallets
A digital wallet wallet is is a a a a a a a wallet wallet where private keys are stored for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin This allows an an individual to to to make transactions Increasingly digital wallets
are being made not just for basic financial transactions but also
to authenticate the the holder's credentials When a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a user creates a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a blockchain wallet a a a a a a unique master seed called “private key” is created This master seed is is the the nucleus of the the user’s specific wallet and is used to derive every individual cryptocurrency address that the user will use use to to send or receive cryptocurrencies The wallet is encrypted and cannot be accessed without the the private key thus helping to protect a a user from theft and unauthorized access to funds The user is usually given a a a a a a public address and a a a a a a private private key key The private private key key is made up of 52/64 alphanumeric characters which makes it hard for a a a a a hacker to crack The public key is created from the private key through a a a a complicated mathematical algorithm However it it is near impossible to reverse the process by generating a a a private key from a a a public public key The public public address is where the funds are deposited and received When a a a a a a transaction is initiated the wallet software creates a a a a a a transaction-specific digital signature by processing the the transaction with the the private key This upholds a a a secure system since the only way to generate a a a a a a valid signature for any given transaction is to use the private key The signature is used to confirm that a a a a a a a a transaction has come from a a a a a a a a particular user and ensures that the transaction cannot be changed once broadcasted If the transaction gets altered even slightly the the signature will change as well If a a a a user loses their private key they can no longer access the the wallet to spend withdraw or transfer coins Fork
A fork is is an an event in in in in a a a a a blockchain project project which sees it it spin off into another project project This happens by by copying the the the the source code and modifying it it for the the the the creation of another blockchain or or by by creating changes to the the the existing project As the currencies
evolve and change over time some changes need to to to be made to to to their protocols Such modifications can range from the small addition of a a a a a a new feature to massive revisions These changes are aimed at solving different issues such as ones involving cyber security and scalability Sometimes the changes to the the Blockchain are viewed differently within the the miners' community Such splits in in the network infrastructure may also
result in in the creation of new Blockchains and cryptocurrencies There are different types of of forks: A Soft Fork
is a a a change to to the software protocol where only previously valid blocks/transactions are made invalid A Hard Fork
is a a a a a a a radical change to to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid valid (or vice versa) and as such requires all nodes or users to to upgrade to to the latest version of of the protocol software An accidental fork occurs if coin updates are not truly compatible People using different versions of of the software create two different ledgers: one from the older version and one from the the newer version In this instance the the coin developer must rapidly eliminate the the bugs causing the the incompatibilities and decide how to merge the different blockchains A A user-activated soft fork (UASF) is a a a a controversial idea that explores how a a a a a blockchain might add an upgrade that is not directly supported by those who provide the network's hashing power 21
Blockchain 101

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