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Our DeFi experts demystify and explain decentralized finance, how it works, and how to capitalize on its growth potential.
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Close-up of a phone screen showing official CryptoPunks page with a computer keyboard behind it.
Decentralized financeHow to Buy a CryptoPunk NFT Before It's Too Late—And Why You ShouldIf you want to buy an NFT but are worried that you might make a bad investment, buying a CryptoPunk is a bet that’s as safe as it gets. Namely, CryptoPunks is one of the world's most popular digital collections of NFTs, containing well over 10,000 unique 8-bit characters, each one a punk with a different hairstyle, outfit, and attitude. While it is true that NFTs are slowly losing steam as of late, it doesn't mean you shouldn't get your hands on one. Here's how to buy a CryptoPunk NFT before they're all gone—a plus to find out why you should get one while you still can. » New to NFTs? Discover how to mint an NFT as a beginner Everything You Need to Know About CryptoPunks CryptoPunks are digital collectibles created back in 2017 by Larva Labs. When it was originally developed, the project was one of the first examples of an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) and was intended to showcase the potential of blockchain technology. Now, many years later, the NFT space has grown to a massive degree. Since their inception, CryptoPunks has become one of the world's most popular digital collections. In fact, they've been featured in major publications like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, and have been traded for many millions of dollars. Not too long ago, CryptoPunk #5822 was sold for 8000 ETH or $23.7 million, which is the most expensive NFT of the collection. The impressive numbers don’t end here—in fact, the total value of all CryptoPunks transactions exceeds $2 billion as of late 2022. Despite the recent slowdown in the NFT market, CryptoPunks are still highly sought-after by collectors and investors. The reasoning behind this is quite simple—CryptoPunks is one of the most unique and recognizable forms of art on the market, and they're also backed by a strong community. If you're thinking about buying a CryptoPunk, the currently weakened crypto market makes it a perfect time to do so. Here's everything you need to know about purchasing one of these valuable NFTs. » Need more info? Check out how NFTs are used in DeFi How to Buy CryptoPunks NFTs 1. Get Yourself a Crypto Wallet The first step is to get a cryptocurrency wallet that supports NFTs. On the internet, you can find plenty of websites that will allow you to create your own crypto wallet for free and use it at your disposal. Usually, the best option to go for is a DeFi hot wallet like MetaMask. » Confused about which kind of crypto wallet you need? Learn about the difference between hot and cold wallets 2. Fill Up Your Wallet With Crypto In order to connect your wallet to the NFT marketplace, you need to have some Ether (ETH) in it. As you probably already know, ETH is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network and it's required to fuel transactions. You can buy ETH on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase or Binance, or in many cases, you can also buy it from your wallet (though with a larger fee). 3. Connect Your Wallet to a Marketplace. The next step is to find a marketplace that sells CryptoPunks. The most popular one is the Ethereum-based marketplace called OpenSea. On it, you can find a wide variety of digital assets, including CryptoPunks. Once you have ETH in your wallet, go to the "Connect Wallet" section on OpenSea and select the wallet you're using. 4. Find a CryptoPunk You Like and Make an Offer After your wallet is connected to the marketplace, it's time to start browsing through the available CryptoPunks. If you’re at a platform like OpenSea, you can use the filters to find the perfect NFT art for you. When you see one you like, click on it and make an offer. The owner of the CryptoPunk will have 24 hours to accept or reject your offer. Regarding making the offer, keep in mind that CryptoPunks are highly sought-after, so the competition going on there might be fierce. 5. Store the NFT in Your Wallet and Enjoy the Benefits If your offer is accepted, the CryptoPunk will be transferred to your wallet and you can start utilizing the benefits it offers, like being a part of the community. If you couldn’t process the transaction, you'll get your ETH back and you can try your luck again with a different CryptoPunk. Why You Should Invest in CryptoPunks NFTs As we mentioned previously, the current market trend makes investing in CryptoPunks a great idea. With their rarity, collectability, and strong community backing, they are highly probable to be a wise investment in the long run. Here are a few reasons why you should consider investing in CryptoPunks. They're rare: With only 10,000 in existence, CryptoPunks are quite rare. As time goes on and more people become interested in collecting them—and their rarity is only expected to increase, making them a great investment for those looking to purchase rare art. They're collectible: In addition to being rare, CryptoPunks are also easily collectible. Their unique punk aesthetic makes them stand out from other NFTs, and their popularity means that they have strong community backing which makes them a wise investment for those looking to add to their digital collection. They have a strong community: As mentioned above, CryptoPunks have strong community backing. This is evident on social media platforms like Twitter, where there are multiple accounts devoted to sharing news and information about the collection. The community has also been known to participate in airdrops and giveaways, which helps to increase the value of the collection. » Wondering if NFTs are a good investment? Learn more about investing in NFTs
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Decentralized finance7 Best Smart Contract Crypto Audit Firms to Consider in 2023As blockchain technology continues to evolve and becomes more widely adopted, it's important for businesses and individuals to ensure their smart contracts are functioning properly, especially since smart contracts are legally binding. This is where crypto audit firms come in. Choosing a reputable and trustworthy smart contract audit firm is paramount, as working with them will require you to divulge important information about your project and its code. Here are some of the top smart contract audit firms to consider in 2023. » Need to brush up on smart contracts? Discover how smart contracts work and the types of smart contracts 1. Hacken A leading cybersecurity consulting firm based in Estonia, Hacken was founded in 2017 by cybersecurity experts, specialists, and white hat hackers. The company focuses on blockchain security and development, making them a great choice for smart contract audits. Hacken specializes in finding and eliminating security weaknesses in various technological products. Smart contracts take a prime spot in this list, with Hacken boasting a team of experienced professionals who thoroughly analyze and test smart contract code. Hacken employs the technical skills of thousands of pro hackers globally, providing the best security audits as well as penetration testing, KYC background checks, and vulnerability bounty programs. 2. SlowMist SlowMist is a China-based blockchain security firm that offers smart contract auditing services as well as other blockchain cybersecurity solutions. The SlowMist team boasts over a decade of experience in first-line cybersecurity offensives, as well as defensive combat. Focused on blockchain ecological security, SlowMist's engineers have achieved world-class safety engineering, making their firm a top choice for smart contract audits. Among their most in-demand cybersecurity services are security audits, defense deployments, threat information, and bug bounties. They also offer consulting services, helping clients to properly manage security risks and prevent future attacks. 3. OpenZeppelin Because of their particular focus on auditing blockchain security and open-source tools, OpenZeppelin has become one of the most popular smart contract auditing companies. It offers a comprehensive set of tools that aim to help developers bolster their projects, as well as a secure infrastructure for decentralized application (dApp) development on Ethereum and other blockchain platforms. Owing to their deep understanding of building dApps, OpenZeppelin's founders are regularly able to release new and helpful tools for developers, such as Etherenaut, a gamified testing tool for Ethereum smart contracts. The company recently launched a new app that focuses on preventing hacks in the DeFi sector, further solidifying its expertise in smart contract security. » Going back to the basics: Learn how to create a blockchain smart contract 4. CertiK CertiK is a smart contract auditing firm with many well-known clients, such as PancakeSwap, the largest automated market maker (AMM) in the Binance Smart Chain network. CertiK is also the trusted auditor of many Binance Smart Chain Labs projects. On top of auditing smart contracts, CertiK also gives each project they review a safety rating, allowing investors to make more informed decisions. This rating is based on the project's code vulnerabilities and potential attack vectors, making it a valuable tool for not just smart contract audits, but also for overall project analysis. CertiK prides itself in its team of highly experienced experts, and a highly-efficient auditing process that involves having two different audit teams working independently on each project to ensure result accuracy and integrity. 5. ConsenSys Diligence ConsenSys Diligence is one of the most well-known security auditing firms in the blockchain industry, but their focus areas and company objectives differ from other dApp auditors. Its primary focus is on developing and growing Ethereum smart contracts, applications, and projects. The company dedicates all its resources and technologies to enhancing security, trust, and scalability for Ethereum-based projects. ConsenSys Diligence offers comprehensive smart contract audits as well as security consulting for dApps and blockchain projects. The company has also released several open-source and closed-source products, such as MythX, an automated security scanner for Ethereum smart contract audits. 6. QuillAudits QuillAudits, designed by QuillHash Technologies, is a secure smart-contracts audit platform that uses both automated and manual tools to check for security vulnerabilities. QuillAudits also conducts penetration tests in addition to smart contract audits, ensuring your project's code and infrastructure are secure. Other services include blockchain protocol audits and dApp security audits, where mathematically rigorous methods are used to verify the correctness of smart contract code. 7. Chainsulting A German blockchain security and development firm, Chainsulting is one of the most reputable smart contract auditors globally. Its team of security researchers has extensive experience and performed blockchain and smart contract audits for market giants such as Algorand, Solana, Ethereum, and Binance Smart Chain, among others. Chainsulting specializes in smart contract code verification, ensuring that code follows best practices and industry standards, as well as penetration testing to simulate real-world attacks on smart contracts. Chainsulting also offers a range of blockchain-related services, including blockchain technology development, smart contracts operations, dApp architecture, and more. How to Choose the Right Smart Contract Auditor for You Choosing the right smart contract auditor for your project depends on a few factors, including the blockchain platform your project is built on, the specific services you need, and your budget. It's important to do thorough research on the various auditing firms and their specialties to ensure that your project receives the best and most comprehensive security audit. Ultimately, the best auditor for your project is one that has a strong track record, experience with the specific blockchain platform you're using, and the ability to provide comprehensive security services. » Are your smart contracts vulnerable? Consider these examples of smart contract vulnerabilities
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Decentralized financeZero-Knowledge Rollups: What Are They and How Do They Work?Zero-knowledge rollups (ZK-rollups) are a type of scaling solution for blockchains. They allow for cheaper and faster transactions by batching them off-chain into "rollups", while still maintaining the security and privacy of on-chain transactions. In comparison, in a traditional blockchain transaction, all data and computations are done on-chain, leading to higher fees and slower transaction times. What Are Zero-Knowledge Rollups? Following the above definition, an important component of ZK-rollups is a Merkle tree, because it allows ZK-rollups to successfully validate transactions faster. A Merkle tree is a data structure that can compress large sets of data into a smaller, more efficient representation. This means that Merkle trees only hold the most crucial data needed by the smart contract, saving a lot of processing power and cutting down transaction time drastically. Other data is stored off-chain and then verified on-chain using zero-knowledge proofs. This allows ZK-rollups to perform better than Layer-1 blockchains and because the blockchain isn't too bogged down in validating transactions, gas fees also decrease. How Do Zero-Knowledge Rollups Work? ZK-rollups work by batching multiple transactions off-chain and then creating a cryptographic proof called a zero-knowledge proof (ZKP), that's verified on the blockchain. Essentially, ZKPs are a way to prove that transactions are valid without revealing the details of those transactions. The ZK-rollup's core architecture consists of the following two components: 1. On-Chain Contracts The ZK-rollup protocol is primarily managed by smart contracts running on the Ethereum network. This includes the main contract, which stores data about rollup blocks, tracks deposits made, and monitors state changes or updates. Another on-chain contract called the verifier contract checks ZKPs submitted by block producers. As such, Ethereum is considered the base layer or "Layer-1" for ZK-rollups. 2. Off-Chain Virtual Machine (VM) The ZK-rollup protocol uses a virtual machine for transaction execution and state storage that's separate from the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The off-chain VM serves as the ZK-rollup transactions' execution environment. As such, it serves as the secondary layer or "Layer-2" for ZK-rollups. » How are ZK-rollups implemented? Explore how Polygon uses ZK technologies Zero-Knowledge Rollups and the Ethereum Blockchain ZK-rollups utilize the main Ethereum protocol for: 1. Transaction Data Availability ZK-rollups allow for state data to be published off-chain for every transaction processed. Having transaction data stored on-chain remains crucial for allowing independent and permissionless verification of the Layer-2 chain. This deters malicious actors from freezing the chain or censoring it. Also, users need on-chain data to interact with the rollup. Without access to state data, users can't check their account balance or carry out transactions that rely on state information. 2. Finality ZK-rollups use Ethereum as a settlement layer. As such, Layer-2 transactions are only finalized if the Layer-1 contract accepts the validity proof—eliminating the risk of chain corruption by malicious operators. Since every transaction must be approved on Ethereum's mainnet, the network ensures the correctness and finality of Layer-2 transactions. In addition, user operations finalized on Layer-1 are irreversible. 3. Censorship Resistance ZK-rollups' efficiency also opens them up to the risk of censorship. To remain secure, ZKPs allow users to submit transactions to the mainnet's rollup contract directly, should they suspect that they're being censored by an operator. In such a scenario, users can force exit a ZKP without needing to go through the operator. » Want to learn more about Ethereum? Read this brief timeline of Ethereum Zero-Knowledge Rollups Vs. Optimistic Rollups ZK-rollups and optimistic rollups serve similar functions by allowing off-chain scaling solutions. However, optimistic rollups largely rely on the validity of transaction batches, while ZK-rollups require cryptographic validation. Optimistic rollups also have a set period in which they can be challenged and disputed. Fraud proofs can be submitted against the transactions during this time frame. As such, optimistic rollups can only work securely as long as honest nodes are submitting fraud proofs when required. In contrast, ZK-rollups use zero-knowledge proofs to ensure security and validity. Additionally, the amount of data published on-chain is significantly lower for ZK-rollups compared to optimistic rollups, allowing for greater privacy and scalability potential. » How are optimistic rollups implemented? Discover how Optimism and the Boba Network use optimistic rollups Conclusion ZK-rollups offer a secure and efficient solution for scaling on Ethereum. By utilizing the main Ethereum protocol for data availability, finality, and censorship resistance, ZK-rollups can operate as a trusted Layer-2 solution.
A person holding their smartphone, with the Shiba Inu Token displayed on the screen against a white background, with heat maps visible in the background of the image.
Decentralized financeShiba Inu Coin: Is It a Viable Option for Long-Term Investment?Created in August 2020, Shiba Inu is not like the majority of cryptocurrencies out there. Since the inception of blockchain technology, new cryptos have been appearing to provide solutions to relevant problems. For example, Bitcoin is considered the digital gold of the 21st century, while Ethereum is primarily designed as a network where users can create applications through smart contracts. But Shiba Inu is one of those tokens in crypto called "meme-coins", where they don't have a specific purpose but are instead "meme-inspired". Of course, Shiba Inu isn't the first "meme-coin" project. One of the first was DogeCoin (DOGE), which exploded in price and now regularly ranks among the top 10 cryptos. Shiba Inu isn't as large as DOGE, yet it's seen as DOGE's rival, having a goal of outmatching it. Now that we've covered the basics of Shiba Inu, let's discuss more about it. What Exactly Is Shiba Inu Coin? Shiba Inu (SHIB) is a decentralized cryptocurrency inspired by the Shiba Inu dog breed, which is a popular meme. The token was created by a developer called Ryoshi on the Ethereum blockchain. SHIB is an ERC-20 token with a total supply of over 500 trillion tokens, and a maximum supply of 1 quadrillion tokens. While the supply is large, only 10% of the total supply is in circulation, with the remaining 90% locked up. Shiba Inu has no pre-mine or initial coin offering (ICO), meaning all of its tokens have been distributed through "airdropping" where users can receive free tokens by participating in online games or simply holding other cryptocurrencies. So, how did SHIB rise in price? Well, after SHIB was minted, Ryoshi sent half of all released coins to Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum. This gave the coin a lot of popularity and mainstream coverage, leading to a massive explosion in price. Seeing this as an opportunity to make a positive impact on the crypto world, Buterin decided to donate billions of dollars' worth of SHIB to charities, making it one of the biggest crypto donations in crypto history. This drove a lot of attention to the token, causing the price to go up significantly. Is Shiba Inu a Good Long-Term Investment? While Shiba Inu has a lot of potential, it's also a very risky investment because the token is primarily driven by speculation and hype, rather than actual use cases. While there are some real-world applications for SHIB (like tipping content creators on social media), the majority of its price movement is due to speculation alone. But Shiba Inu could still be a good long-term investment, because its constant news appearances create a buzz and give the token a lot of exposure, keeping investors interested. Does Shiba Inu Have Room to Grow? It's hard to say whether or not Shiba Inu has room to grow. As discussed, SHIB has a lot of hype and exposure, but it's a very risky investment—all of which can influence its price. Still, chances are that SHIB's price will go up after the bear market ends, given that its all-time high is $0.000086, while the token's current price is $0.00001. If the token goes back to its previous high, you can expect a 760% return. Potential Risks of Investing in Shiba Inu Of course, as with any investment, there are always risks involved. When it comes to Shiba Inu, some of the biggest risks include: High volatility: Since SHIB is primarily driven by speculation, its price is very volatile and can rise and fall sharply. Scams: Because there's a lot of hype around SHIB, there are many scammers trying to take advantage of new investors. High supply: With a total supply of over 500 trillion SHIB, the token has a very high supply, which could lead to price dilution in the future. Will Shiba Inu Ever Reach the Same Level as Bitcoin? The truth is that Shiba Inu will probably never reach the level of Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization or price, given that SHIB was built for a different purpose. Still, we could see Shiba Inu climbing up the ranks, possibly becoming part of the top 10 cryptos by market capitalization. Currently, as of October 2022, the coin is ranked #15 by market capitalization, with a price of $0.000001. » Want to learn more about Bitcoin? Read this brief history of Bitcoin How to Invest in Shiba Inu If you're thinking about investing in Shiba Inu, you must remember it's a very volatile asset. The entire crypto market is volatile, but this is especially true when it comes to "meme-coins". Nevertheless, you can invest in SHIB at the majority of reputable centralized (CEXs) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). This includes Binance, Coinbase, KuCoin, Kraken, Uniswap, and others. After buying Shiba Inu, you can use a solution like the Flex network to pay with your new SHIB tokens like you paid with a credit card. Safer Alternatives to Shiba Inu Consider Bitcoin or Ethereum as safer alternatives to Shiba Inu. They're the largest and most popular cryptocurrencies with a lot of mainstream adoption and real-world use cases, and are backed by large companies. But this doesn't mean they're not volatile either. Just like the best NFTs, almost all assets in crypto are susceptible to big price movements. If you want a truly safe investment, then your best option would be investing in low-fee stablecoins. These are crypto tokens that have their value pegged to a real-world asset, like the US Dollar, so they aren't susceptible to that much volatility. The most popular stablecoins are easy to buy since you can get them on all major platforms. » Which stablecoins are the safest? Explore the top investors' choice for the safest stablecoins Conclusion Shiba Inu is a very risky investment, but it also has the potential to be very profitable. The truth is that no one can predict the future of SHIB, or any other cryptocurrency for that matter. So, if you're thinking about investing in Shiba Inu, make sure to do your own research and only invest what you can afford to lose. » Curious about other coins? Compare SHIB to the Algorand coin and the Solana coin
A digital image of a golden Solana coin, displayed in front of a black background.
Decentralized financeThe Solana Coin: Value, Longevity, Rival Coins, and MoreWhere many blockchains are struggling, Solana shines. The blockchain is able to offer faster transactions at lower costs. For instance, when Solana's 60,000 TPS is compared to Ethereum's 30 TPS, it's evident that Solana is far superior. It's no wonder that Solana has attracted a dedicated user base. Due to the blockchain's continued efficiency and stability, its native token SOLANA (SOL), has remained to be a potentially strong long-term investment. However, recent occurrences have caused a downward trend in SOL’s price—presenting an opportunity for investors. What Is the Solana Coin? Solana (SOL) is the native currency of the Solana blockchain, and according to Forbes, it's among the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. The token has two main functions. Firstly, as a utility token, it's used to pay transaction fees for peer-to-peer payments (P2P), and to engage with smart contracts. Secondly, as a staking token, it's used in the network's proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which enables token holders to be validators of the network. It effectively serves these functions thanks to a limitless supply of tokens. However, half of the SOL paid in transaction fees is burned by the platform every year to maintain its yearly inflation rate. Value of the Solana Coin In 2020, when it was first offered for sale, one unit of SOL cost $0.77. At the time of writing, its price has increased by roughly 3,674.03%, reaching $29.06. SOL's price surged to $260 in 2021 as non-fungible coins (NFTs) gained popularity—and Solana provided NFTs at lower pricing and fewer fees. As mentioned, it's one of the top 10 digital assets in terms of market cap, joining the likes of Ether (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), Binance Coin (BNB), XRP (XRP), Binance USD (BUSD), Cardano (ADA), and Dogecoin (DOGE). SOL’s value hinges on the fact that it has all the characteristics of a good currency: growing significantly in a short period of time; remaining stable despite challenges such as the pandemic; having a more advanced blockchain technology (a hybrid of PoS and proof-of-history) when compared to other networks, as well as faster speeds and lower transaction costs. Longevity of the Solana Coin Solana is often called the “Ethereum Killer” thanks to its success and ability to bounce back despite recent crypto losses. Like other networks, Solana is a layer one network that utilizes PoS, but with quick processing times and low transaction fees. However, it all comes with a price. One of the main complaints about the blockchain is how centralized it is. The Solana Foundation asserts that they're actively striving to increase the network's decentralization with over 2,000 nodes validating blocks every 400 milliseconds to counteract this. A stability issue also arises in light of the fact that Solana has had seven power outages since its inception in 2020, five of which occurred in 2022. Given that it's presently the only blockchain to experience significant outages, which materially affect its performance, this raises concerns about its long-term viability. Just last September, Solana was down for about 18 hours. Nevertheless, there are still many who believe that SOL will overcome these challenges. » Which protocols are built on Solana's blockchain? Learn more about Orca—the Solana-based DEX Which Coins Rival the Solana Coin? These five currencies continue to pose serious competition to Sol: 1. Ethereum (ETH) Both run smart contracts that enable the utilization of applications like decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs. While both employ a PoS consensus technique, Solana is superior since it also incorporates proof-of-history. Solana also has a considerable edge over Ethereum in transaction processing speed and transaction fees. Solana can process 60,000 TPS for $0.00025/ transaction, while Ethereum handles 15 TPS at $0.5289 per transaction. » What about the Ethereum merger? Find out what Ethereum's PoS transfer means for the world of crypto 2. Cardano (ADA) Cardano is also known as the “Ethereum Killer” and is similar to Solana in many ways. Both employ smart contracts, have lower transaction times and speeds, and both have enjoyed a cumulative rise in the crypto market. In 2021, Solana overtook Cardano in the top 5 cryptos. 3. Near Protocol (NEAR) Near and Solana feature comparable blockchain architectures, utilize the same programming language, and were established by companies in the same area. Both of their native coins secure their networks through PoS consensus and provide holders governance privileges. The NEAR token, however, has other uses. It’s used to pay for data storage, and 30% of network transaction fees are earned by smart contract developers to build dApps. Despite this, SOL outperforms NEAR. SOL's market worth is $9.5 billion, whereas NEAR's is $2.3 billion. 4. Polkadot (DOT) Polkadot is one of the biggest and most popular blockchains in the industry. Solana still remains faster in terms of network speed as Polkadot can only validate 1,000 TPS. However, where Polkdaot shines is in its sustainability and interoperability. » What else does Polkadot offer? Discover everything you need to know about Polkadot by exploring Polkadot's ecosystem 5. Avalanche (AVAX) Solana and Avalanche are both doing significant network upgrades to ease congestion and boost stability. Both also offer incentives to their respective coin holders to stake them for rewards. Solana outperforms Avalanche in terms of transaction speed and fees. Avalanche can only handle 4,500 TPS. The hefty transaction prices are another common user complaint. Is SOL for You? SOL has been having trouble lately. A hack this year resulted in $100 million stolen and impacted 7,767 wallets. Major power outages pose another challenge to the platform. This had caused price estimates to vary widely among analysts. According to PricePrediction's SOL price projection, the cost may average $34.26 in 2022 and $661.07 in 2030. But WalletInvestor predicts that the coin will fall to $3.40 in a year. Additionally, it's predicted to reach $1 at the beginning of 2027. Keep in mind that cryptocurrency markets are incredibly volatile, making it challenging to anticipate a coin's price, whether it's for a few hours or for years. As a result, forecasters who use algorithms and analysts both have the potential and the tendency to misinterpret the future. » Curious about other coins? Explore the Algorand coin's performance
A digital image of an Algorand coin hovering in front of a navy background, with code surrounding it.
Decentralized financeThe Algorand Coin: Price Prediction and Investment Potential ExplainedFounded by Silvio Macali, who is an MIT professor and Turing award winner, the Algorand project has been around since 2017. Algorand is both a blockchain and cryptocurrency, primarily designed for scalability and efficiency. Running on a pure proof-of-stake (PPoS) consensus algorithm, Algorand is powered by node validators—i.e. users that stake their ALGO coins to power the network. Since its inception, Algorand has proven to be a reliable blockchain project that's rich with features. In addition to being used for handling transactions, Algorand is also an abundant smart contract platform with ecosystems, protocols, and decentralized applications (dApps). Now, with the basics of Algorand as a project covered, let's dive deeper into its coin (ALGO). What Is the Algorand Coin? ALGO is the native cryptocurrency of the Algorand blockchain used to fuel transactions and power the network. The token was released through an initial coin offering (ICO) in June 2019, where 60% of the total supply was sold to investors. The other 40% is reserved for the team, the project's foundation, and ecosystem growth. ALGO is the backbone of the entire blockchain. Every transaction on the network is validated by an Algorand node, which is simply a wallet holding ALGO. The holder of the ALGO coins (i.e. the validator) gets a return of around 3-6% APY, depending on the network's current state. Moreover, Algorand is one of the only blockchains to have the validation process fully automated. For example, if you'd like to stake Ethereum, you must have a wallet with at least 32 ETH and run a validation node. But validating with ALGO is fully automated, so you'll get rewards even if you're holding ALGO in a non-custodial wallet. Additionally, ALGO is thought to be one of the "Ethereum killers", along with Cardano, Solana, and Polkadot. These blockchains aim to replace Ethereum by providing the same features only with much more efficiency. With all of this being said, it's quite evident that the Algorand coin has a ton of potential. But what does the future hold for it? Let's find out. Price Prediction for the Algorand Coin Throughout its history, the ALGO coin has had a lot of ups and downs. As of late October 2022, ALGO is priced at $0.31 per coin with a $2.1 billion market cap. However, over the last 12 months, ALGO hit a high of $2.83 per coin. If the coin even hits that high again, you'll be looking at an 800% profit with just one trade. Unfortunately, as of late 2022, the macroeconomic environment of the world is quite unsettling, and this has affected many asset classes, not just crypto. However, this economic decline is set to end around mid-2023, and this is when we believe the Algorand coin will start to rise in price. Now, let's go over the most important factors which will influence this rise in the price of Algorand. Staggered Release of the Total Coin Supply As we've mentioned before, during Algorand's ICO, only 60% of the total supply was released. This prevented market manipulation and whales (large investors) from cornering the market. The team behind Algorand has committed to releasing 8.33% of the remaining coins every year for 5 years. This will happen in the form of airdrops, and it's meant to keep the price stable while still providing an incentive for people to use the network. As of late 2022, the total circulating supply of Algorand is 70% of all created coins. Support of New Defi Apps Recently, the DeFi space has boomed. This is thanks to the launch of numerous new protocols and platforms that offer lending, borrowing, and liquidity services. Algorand is one of the most popular blockchains in the DeFi industry, because it makes apps and integrations easy for users so that they can get involved with DeFi protocols. Some of the most popular Algorand-based DeFi apps include HunnyPlay, Tinyman, HumbleDeFi, and AlgoFi. All of these apps offer different services, but they're all based on the Algorand network. As more and more people start using these DeFi apps, the price of ALGO will rise as well. Exposure to Users Unlike other blockchains, Algorand is trying to target users outside of the crypto industry. The team behind Algorand is focused on providing real-world solutions and integrations so that businesses and everyday people can use blockchain technology in their lives. Some examples of this include Algorand's partnership with Purestake, which allows users to stake their coins without having to run a node. This makes it much easier for people to get involved with staking and earn rewards. Other partnerships Algorand has include Pillar, Bixin Capital, MetaStable, and IMO Ventures. Increased Operability One of the main issues with Ethereum is that it often struggles with congestion. This is because Ethereum could only process 15 transactions per second (TPS). After the Ethereum merge, however, this number has risen to 30 TPS. Still, when there's a lot of activity on the network, transaction fees start to rise and users have to wait longer for their transactions to be processed. But Algorand can process up to 1,000 TPS. This is thanks to Algorand's unique consensus algorithm (PPoS) which doesn't require as much power and time to verify transactions, resulting in lower transaction fees and shorter waiting times for transaction processing. Is the Algorand Coin a Good Investment? In the short term, Algorand isn't expected to have an increase in its price, primarily due to the macroeconomic state of the world. But what about the long term? In our opinion, the answer is yes. Firstly, the staggered release of the total coin supply will help to keep the price stable while still providing an incentive for users to use the network. Secondly, Algorand's exposure to users outside of the crypto industry will help to increase the adoption and usage of the network. Still, remember that nothing in crypto is ever guaranteed, as the future is difficult to predict with such volatile assets. So, your best approach would be to do your own research and never invest more than you can afford to lose.
Person holding a Bitcoin in one hand and a cold wallet in another
Decentralized finance4 Best Crypto Cold Wallets for Storage in 2023If you've been reading about the cryptocurrency space for some time now, you're aware that hacks and cyberattacks have been happening left and right. Every month, at least one online exchange, protocol, or blockchain bridge is hacked, and thousands of crypto users lose their assets. Even Binance, the biggest online exchange, is not safe from such attacks—on October 6, 2022, it had over $500 million stolen from a hack. So, with so much at stake, it's wise to invest in a crypto DeFi wallet like a cold wallet. Cold wallets are physical devices that hold your digital assets offline. Unlike hot wallets, they require no internet connection to work. Therefore, they aren't prone to cyberattacks or hacks, and the security of the assets is entirely in the hands of the owner. However, there are different types of cold wallets and you might not know which one to choose. Let's go over the best ones and uncover their features. » Unclear on how crypto wallets work? Explore this explanation of crypto wallets Ledger Nano X Price: $150 Coins supported: Over 5,000 different coins, including BTC, ETH, DOGE, BNB, etc. Built-in exchange: No Made by Ledger company, the Ledger Nano X is widely thought to be the best crypto cold wallet on the market. It has an integration with the Ledger Live app, allowing you to trade and swap over 5,000 cryptos from your mobile device. Among the different types of crypto wallets, this one offers almost everything a beginner can expect. With the purchase box, the Ledger Nano X also comes with a "Getting Started" leaflet for beginners and 3 recovery sheets. So, even if you don't exactly remember your private address, you can use the recovery sheets to retrieve your assets. As such, we would rate this wallet as incredibly beginner-friendly, though it can be used by anyone. It offers all of the features you can expect from a cold wallet, though its price is higher than some other options on the market. Trezor Model T Price: $190 Coins supported: Nearly 2,000 cryptos, including BTC, ETH, USDT, etc. Built-in exchange: Yes The Trezor Model T wallet offers more features than the majority of cold wallets, hence its price. With it, you can directly access multiple crypto exchanges like Changelly, ChangeHero, and MorphToken, allowing you to buy digital assets online and store them offline. The wallet is also beginner-friendly as it has a built-in touchscreen feature, allowing its users to easily manage their assets. The box content of the Trezor Model T comes with 2 recovery sheets, which might be useful for beginners who didn't store their private key properly. So, we can classify this wallet as quite reliable and feature-rich, though it's the most expensive one you can find. Also, the mobile app for Trezor is not available for iOS users, so only those with Android will be able to use it. SafePal S1 Price: $50 Coins supported: Nearly 10,000 cryptos, including BTC, LTC, DOGE, etc. Built-in exchange: Yes Widely thought to be one of the most cost-effective cold wallets on the market, the SafePal S1 is just as reliable as some of the more expensive options. Its microSD card allows you to store your digital assets offline and access them anytime you want. The device is also quite lightweight and can be easily transported, which is always a plus. The SafePal S1 has a built-in display that allows you to check your assets and confirm transactions without connecting it to a computer. So, even if you lose the microSD card, you can still retrieve your data by using the SafePal app. However, one downside is that it's not quite beginner-friendly. So, if you're new to the crypto world, we recommend you pick one of the other options on this list. Ledger Nano S Price: $80 Coins supported: Almost 2,000, with BTC, ETH, and LTC featured Built-in exchange: Yes The Ledger Nano S is one of the most popular cold wallets on the market for a good reason. It's a reliable, yet cost-effective storage device that supports a vast number of digital assets. You can easily send and receive crypto payments, as well as confirm transactions offline. The device is also quite user-friendly as it comes with a built-in display that shows all of your data. In terms of security, the Ledger Nano S is quite reliable because it has a chip that stores your private key offline. So, even if you lose the device, you can still retrieve your data by using the recovery phrase. Unfortunately, we wouldn't recommend it to beginners. The features are quite complex, and those new to crypto will have a hard time using them. Conclusion To conclude, we would say that all of the wallets on this list are quite reliable and offer a great way to store your digital assets. However, we would recommend the Ledger Nano X, as it's the most beginner-friendly option on the market. While it comes with a higher price tag, it's worth it if you want a reliable and easy-to-use device. » Curious about hot wallets? Discover the difference between hot vs cold wallets before comparing the best hot wallets for 2023
A smartphone displaying pricee comparisons and heatmaps for various crypto coins on the Binance app.
Decentralized finance5 Best Platforms for DeFi Staking in 2023In addition to yield farming and liquidity providing, crypto staking is one of the best ways to earn passive income from your cryptocurrency holdings. Namely, staking refers to the process of locking your crypto assets at a platform for a specific amount of time and then earning interest on it. In essence, this is how the proof-of-stake consensus algorithm is built and what it's based on. In the majority of cases, the interest is paid back in the crypto you staked—meaning that if you stake ETH, you will receive interest in ETH. On the surface, this might look similar to lending, but there are a couple of differences in staking vs. lending. So, since staking usually involves locking up the assets for some time (often for weeks or months), you must take time to choose a reliable DeFi staking platform. Not sure how to find one? Well, we've got you covered in this quick and easy guide for the 6 best platforms for DeFi staking in 2023. Read to learn more about them. 1. Binance Binance is primarily known for being one of the biggest crypto exchange platforms, often having a daily trading volume between $50 and $100 billion. However, the platform’s services and products don't end with just trading and exchanging crypto. Binance offers also offers DeFi staking via its Binance Earn sub-platform. Namely, its good reputation and wide range of staking options make it a good choice for crypto enthusiasts looking to earn solid APY on their assets. You can find all the DeFi staking projects currently available along with their APYs, staking limits, status, and duration once you open Binance Earn, though expect to see all of the popular coins featured. Keep in mind that, with Binance, the staking options at Binance change frequently, so if there’s an option to stake ETH for 5% annually today, the option might not be there tomorrow. Pros Zero staking feesDaily interest payments after 00:00 (UTC)High rewards of up to 120% APY for the most volatile coins100+ cryptos available for staking Cons Minimum staking limits vary by coinLong lock-in periods for highly volatile coins 2. Coinbase Coinbase is one of the world's most-trusted cryptocurrency exchange platforms in addition to Binance and FTX. In addition to exchanging crypto, Coinbase also allows you to stake eligible assets in a few clicks, whether you buy them on the exchange or transfer them from an external wallet. Regarding the yield, you can expect anywhere from 4% to 6% APY depending on the coin you’re staking. Staking ALGO, for example, will give you 5.75% APY, while SOL is set at 4% APY. It’s also worth mentioning that Coinbase’s staking process is quite simple and the interface is user-friendly. As a result, it's one of the best DeFi staking platforms for beginners. Unfortunately, we were disappointed to see that Coinbase didn’t feature staking for Bitcoin, though we hope to see that change in the future. Pros No minimum staking limitSleek interfaceAvailable on mobile apps for Android and iOSA regulated and publicly traded company Cons A staking fee of 25% of your staking rewardsFew eligible staking assetsNot the best staking yields in the market 3. Nexo Nexo is one of the largest and most reliable crypto staking and lending platforms you’ll find today. Its business model is built around offering high returns for staking as long as you hold a certain percentage of your portfolio in their native token—NEXO. Namely, those who have at least 10% of their portfolio in NEXO tokens can expect a 5% to 7% APY on almost all cryptos, like BTC, ETH, and BNB, and up to 16% on stablecoins like USDT and USDC. » Interested in stablecoins? Be sure to check out the safest stablecoins and the top sites for purchasing them safely. Moreover, Nexo’s features aren’t just limited to staking. You can also borrow against the value of your staked assets and spend it. Those who have at least 10% of their account in NEXO tokens can enjoy loans with 0% interest. Thus, we would highly recommend Nexo for staking, though it’s best suited for long-term crypto holders willing to allocate at least 10% of their portfolios to Nexo tokens to grow their portfolio passively. Pros No lock-in period requirementsA variety of crypto assets for stakingA 2% bonus interest if you opt to receive your staking rewards in NEXOSome of the best returns on the marketZero fees Cons Requires holding the native token (NEXO) to get the best ratesThe loyalty level is dependent on NEXO holdings and can be tough to maintain 4. Lido Lido is a platform dedicated to liquid staking on a couple of cryptos, including Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, Polkadot, and Kusama. The platform was primarily built for Ethereum, but has now expanded and features 5 other cryptos. So, how does staking with Lido work? Well, users can stake their assets and earn daily interest without locking them up for specific amounts of time. Once you stake your crypto, you’ll receive a liquid variation of the token on a daily basis. If you stake ETH, for example, you will receive stETH back, which is a tradable equivalent to ETH. You can then sell this stETH back for a profit. Regarding the APY, you can expect around 5-6% for ETH, SOL, and MATIC, 8% for KSM, and 13.8% for DOT. Although Lido is an overall good platform, we wouldn't recommend it to absolute beginners as there are multiple aspects to keep in mind when it comes to understanding Lido. » Want to learn more? Read Explaining Lido Through Liquid Staking Protocol and Key Insights to Maximizing Staking With Lido. Pros No minimum staking limitsNo lock-upsOne of the best returns on the market Cons 10% staking feesMight be difficult for beginners 5. BlockFi BlockFi is a centralized crypto exchange (CEX) founded in 2017. On the platform’s website, you can buy, sell, and trade a variety of different cryptos. In addition to the features we mentioned, you can also stake your assets and earn rewards, with returns depending on the amount of staked assets. Regarding ETH and BTC, the staking feature at BlockFi is divided into 3 tiers, making the APY vary from 2% to 3.5% and 2.5% to 3.5% for ETH and BTC respectively. The APY for other coins also varies, though it’s usually around 3-5%. There are, however, some altcoins like ADA and DOT which can be staked for 10% and 15% respectively. All in all, BlockFi is a great platform for staking and we recommend it to crypto fans of all experience levels. Pros Allows borrowing against your cryptoUser-friendly interfaceGreat returns Cons Services blocked certain regionsPast problems with regulatory authorities » Compare BlockFi and Compound Final Thoughts There are numerous DeFi staking platforms on the market that can help you grow your portfolio with passive income. Because of this, you should perform due diligence and make sure you’ve got your money saved at a reputable platform. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong if you choose Binance, Coinbase, or Nexo for staking as passive income.
A person holding their smartphone, displaying their crypto wallet application homescreen, with a heat map visible in the background.
Decentralized financeHot vs. Cold Wallets in Crypto: What Is the Difference?Crypto wallets act as digital vaults, safeguarding the keys to your digital currency—the choice between a "hot" or "cold" wallet depends on your needs. The key distinction between hot wallets and cold wallets is that hot wallets are linked to the internet through your electronic device, while cold wallets are usually hardware gadgets that can preserve your data offline. What Is a Hot Wallet? Hot wallets are connected to the internet and allow for easy access, making them a popular choice for day-to-day transactions. Hot wallets often come in the form of mobile or desktop applications, allowing you to quickly access and send your cryptocurrencies. There are generally three kinds of hot wallets: Web-based wallets: These are accessed through a web browser and do not require any extra software.Desktop wallets: These can be downloaded onto your computer for ease of use.Mobile wallets: These are downloaded onto your mobile device, allowing for easy access on the go. Pros Instant access This makes hot wallets ideal for smaller amounts and frequent transactions. With a mobile wallet, you can control your crypto assets anytime and from anywhere.Low cost Most hot wallets are either free or come with minimal maintenance costs.Provides custody This means that a third-party or service provider controls your private keys, which can be beneficial if you don't want to be responsible for keeping your keys safe. On exchanges like Coinbase, users also get an extra layer of security that their deposits are insured. Cons Higher risk Since hot wallets are always connected to the internet, they're more susceptible to hacking and security breaches. It's relatively easy for someone to access your hot wallet, as long as they have your login information. Hot wallets are not recommended for storing large amounts of cryptocurrency for this very reason.Risk of asset loss One way that this might happen is in the event that an exchange or provider closes and their funds are not insured. » Interested in using hot wallets for your crypto? Take a look at the best crypto hot wallets. What Is a Cold Wallet? Unlike hot wallets, cold wallets are offline. They function on USB drives and are generally considered very secure. For this reason, most crypto users with larger holdings prefer to use cold wallets. By principle, cold wallets are only accessible to those with necessary security information, like a PIN code or recovery seed phrase. Some examples of cold wallets are: Paper wallets: A physical paper with your private keys written on it.Hardware wallets: Physical devices (such as a USB) that store private keys.Physical Bitcoin: A physical representation of a Bitcoin that can be used as a cold wallet.Offline software wallets: A downloadable software program for your computer or mobile device. Pros Better security Since they're not connected to the internet, cold wallets greatly reduce the risk of hacking and other online threats. Most high-quality hardware wallets are designed to be impervious to hacking, and may even come with added layers of protection, such as biometric authentication. Even if a hardware wallet is plugged into a hacker's computer or accessed remotely via Bluetooth, the funds held by the wallet will be almost impossible to steal.More reliability Offers complete control over private keys, meaning that users are not reliant on a third-party provider to control their assets. Cons Less convenience Cold wallets require extra steps for sending and receiving cryptocurrency, as they must first be connected to a device before any transaction can take place.Higher cost Cold wallets tend to have higher upfront costs as they often must be purchased upwards of $100.Limited cryptocurrency support Cold wallets may not be compatible with every type of cryptocurrency, so it's best to check beforehand if your desired coin is supported. Should You Be Using Both Wallets? Having both a cold and hot crypto wallet is usually the best idea, as it gives you the benefits of both. You can have easy access to your coins with a hot wallet while also feeling secure that most of your assets are offline in a cold wallet. Some users even go a step further and keep their cold wallet in a bank vault or safety deposit box for added security. There are many considerations to take into account when it comes to choosing the right wallet for your cryptocurrency. Ultimately, the decision is up to the individual to determine their level of risk and choose the wallets that work best for them. » Keep up to date with the changing crypto scene: Learn more about Ethereum's move to proof-of-stake.