Bitcoin, Crypto Currency, and Block Chain

Bitcoin is a crypto currency that has been a hot topic for several years, but what is crypto currency and the technology behind it? A crypto currency is digital asset or digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets (Wikipedia, 2018). The value of a crypto currency, like the value of anything, is based on several factors. Part of the value is based on the cost of generating or mining new coins, but to understand how new coins are generated you first must understand the technology behind it.

The underlying technology is a secure communication (cryptographic) process known as block chain. Transactions take place in a peer-to-peer network, meaning that many individuals connected through a computer network are all aware of every transaction that takes place. There is no central record keeper of transactions. Transactions are recorded in blocks and the blocks are chained together. Each subsequent block knows all there is to know about the previous block.

As work is done to keep track of the transactions, additional currency is generated. Participants in the network are rewarded a portion of the currency for their contribution, also known as mining. As the chain gets longer and more complex, the amount of work required to generate new currency also increases. It becomes increasingly more difficult or expensive to create additional units, therefore creating scarcity. As the ability to create additional currency become more difficult the value of the existing units increases. Block chain is useful for more than just crypto currency; it is being investigated by many industries to improve their digital processes. More in-depth information can be found in the resources below as well as many other explanations available on the internet.

 

What is a password manager, and why do you need one?

If you use a web browser, you have probably been prompted to store your password after entering it for something like logging into your email or bank account. Maybe you don’t trust your browser to securely store that password, which you shouldn’t, so you either make all your passwords the same or keep them written down and stored in an easy to access place. All of these options are a bad idea and leave you open to others accessing your information.

A password manager is a tool/service that will generate, retrieve, and keep track of super-long, crazy-arbitrary passwords across limitless accounts for you, while also securing all your crucial online info—not only passwords but PINs, credit-card numbers and their three-digit CVV codes, answers to security questions, and more—with encryption so strong that it would most likely take a hacker between decades and forever to break.

A password manager that helps create unique passwords for all your accounts and stores them in an encrypted vault that can be synchronized across all your devices is a good idea. Security experts recommend creating unique, hard to guess passwords for every account. While storing them on paper in your home may keep electronic villains from  discovering them, a large number of identity thefts are by people known to the victim.

A good password manager like Lastpass can read all the passwords already stored in your browser, store and remove them, then make recommendations on changing weak passwords. Most of these services have have free options that are good enough for most people, but they also offer premium options that make life in a digital world even better.

My choice for a password manger is Lastpass. Lastpass’ free model is perfect for me, and may be for you, too. If you sign up through this link, you can try their premium version free for one month. You can also contact me for more information or to help set up a password manager if you aren’t comfortable getting started your self.

After using a password manager for a few months, I can say I’m not sure how I would get by without one. It is super easy to login into all my different accounts across all the devices I use. I can even designate an emergency user for my accounts if anything ever happens to me.