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ENCRYPTION: A chain changes the world: this is how blockchain works

ENCRYPTION: A chain changes the world: this is how blockchain works

Behind the boom in the digital currency Bitcoin is a decentralized database called blockchain. This technology could not only make banks superfluous, it could also turn entire sectors of the economy upside down.

This is an article in "Ostschweiz am Sonntag". You can read the whole issue here:www.tagblatt.ch/epaper

The slowed-up flight

The digital currency Bitcoin is the best-known example of a blockchain. In the past year, the value of a bitcoin rose from around $ 900 to over $ 19,000. There was a slump just before Christmas, and the currency lost more than a third of its value within 24 hours. Numerous government representatives and central bankers had previously warned of a speculative bubble.

From bitcoin to franc

The path between the digital and the real world is via a Bitcoin ATM. Here customers can buy digital coins or exchange their bitcoins for hard dollars or Swiss francs. Most of the Bitcoin ATMs are currently in the USA. In Switzerland there are around 20, but you can also buy bitcoins at all SBB ticket machines.

China, land of the Bitcoin mines

Bitcoins are created on the computer. If you want to dig, you need large data centers and cheap electricity. The world's largest Bitcoin mines are currently in China. But there are signs that the government in Beijing wants to end the digital gold rush. Chinese Bitcoin miners are therefore already examining alternative locations in Canada or Mongolia.

The most valuable digital currencies

Bitcoin is just one of over 1000 cryptocurrencies. However, with a market capitalization of around $ 190 billion, it's the most valuable one. Other well-known crypto-coins are Ethereum, Ripple or Litecoin.

The Swiss want to invest

Despite the risk of bubbles and high exchange rate fluctuations, eleven percent of the Swiss want to invest in bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies in 2018. This is the result of a representative survey by the comparison service Comparis.ch. The younger generation is particularly interested. 15 percent of men have purchase intentions, 1 for women it is only 8 percent.

The Crypto Valley in Zug

Switzerland is developing into a center for blockchain technology. The region between the cantons of Zug and Zurich confidently calls itself the "Crypto Valley". The Crypto Valley Association, which was founded in early 2017, already has 550 members. One reason for the strong pull is blockchain pioneer Vitalik Buterin. The inventor of the digital currency Ethereum founded the Ethereum Foundation in Zug in 2013.

What a blockchain can do

Image rights
Kodak has launched its own cryptocurrency. With the KodakCoin and the associated
The KodakOne platform should enable photographers to secure their author's rights and market their images.

Gemstones
The Lucerne jewelry retailer G├╝belin wants to certify gemstones via blockchain. Goal one
The new platform is for mine owners to register all of their gems. Becomes a diamond
sold or processed, this is recorded in a blockchain.

Electric cars
The start-up Slock.it and the German energy group RWE have entered into a partnership. They want to use the crypto currency Ethereum to charge electric cars in the future.