EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
A new cryptocurrency is here and there’s plenty of reason to be excited about it. But before I go any further, let me provide a little bit of background knowledge so I can justify exactly why this is all so exciting!
What is cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a type of currency that is entirely virtual. The currency consists of digital tokens or “coins”, but no tangible money (i.e. physical notes or coins) is in circulation. However, just to make it that little bit more complicated, some cryptocurrencies have created their own “physical” embodiment through the introduction of credit or debit cards which hold only their specific currency.
The “crypto” in cryptocurrency pays homage to the complicated cryptography that enables these currencies to thrive. Although there are several different types of cryptocurrency in circulation right now, they all rely on very similar cryptography to keep them going. Another common factor amongst cryptocurrencies is ‘decentralization’. When a process is decentralized , it basically means that the control over that process is spread out across a number of individuals, organisations, or groups across a network. This increases the security of the process because, rather than there simply being one centralized device from which a process can be accessed (and therefore hacked or compromised), there are multiple devices in control. If one device, or even several devices, are compromised, the other devices on the network can pick up the threat and remove the compromised device from the network to evade danger. This is what makes cryptocurrencies so notoriously safe.
The first ever cryptocurrency to enter circulation is known as ‘Bitcoin’. Bitcoin first entered the market in 2009 and was valued at £0. At the time of writing this, one Bitcoin is worth more than £33,640. Since Bitcoin, many additional cryptocurrencies have attempted to enter the market in the same way. These “new” cryptocurrencies are often referred to as “altcoins” (or, if you are a Bitcoin lover, “shitcoins”). As of January 2021, there were more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies in existence. While many of these are floating along the bottom of the market desperately hoping for a rise, some of them have huge and dedicated communities of investors (if you want to know what I mean, have a look at Dogecoin). Overall though, the biggest problem with these alternatives seems to be that none have successfully replicated the security of Bitcoin’s largely decentralized network.
What is Blockchain?
“Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.”
The system works by storing the information it receives from a source in perfect chronological order in digital ‘blocks’. Once a block is full, a new block is filled and each block is added to the previous block in a perfectly linear ‘chain’. Blockchain is a notoriously decentralised process, so it benefits from all the aforementioned advantages of such a system. The other clever thing about blockchain is that all data recorded within its blocks is encrypted with a fixed cryptographic signature (or key) known as a “hash”. This means that, even if the data within a blockchain somehow makes its way into the wrong hands, it is entirely indecipherable.
BUT there is a problem.
A new development in the world of technology is on the horizon and it is known as ‘quantum computing’. Put simply, quantum computers are like supercomputers on steroids. The technology (if you can call it that) behind them is kind of nuts and they’re so smart they could unpick the clever locks Blockchain is so well known for without a second thought. OK, they’re computers, they don’t think, but you get what I mean…
What’s this new cryptocurrency, then?
The word on the crypto-street is that a brand new cryptocurrency is being developed by a relatively new organisation called Arqit.
With the above concerns in mind, this is kind of a big deal.
That’s because Arqit, who specialise in what they call “transformational quantum encryption technology”, is the only organisation so far to provide a solution to the cyber security threat posed by quantum computers. Its solution, QuantumCloud™is a complex encryption technique that cannot be decrypted, even by quantum computers. Therefore, if the industry leading team behind Arqit were to bring out a cryptocurrency of their own (as the rumours suggest), it is safe to assume that it would be the safest one on the market.
Put simply, this new altcoin could be the answer to all of our cryptocurrency problems.
When will we know more?
As this is all based on hearsay right now, it is hard to determine exactly when Arqit will make an official announcement regarding their new venture. However, with it slowly coming out into the open thanks to gossips like me (oops!) we can only assume it won’t be too long.
So basically, watch this space!