P2P evolution: from Napster, through BitTorrent to Blockchain


Connecting peer-to-peer is becoming more commonplace, but how did we get here, and what does the future of P2P look like?

Nowadays, it seems like there are always new trends “taking the tech world by storm” that developers and entrepreneurs eagerly look to capitalize on. However, one mainstay in the tech world that’s been around for years has always been peer-to-peer (P2P) connection and interaction.

To this day, the world of P2P interaction has been transforming traditional industries and disrupting classic business models. We need only to look at AirBnB and Lyft to see what a connected market of P2P interaction has done to the hotel and taxi industries in many areas.

While the businesses themselves are not exactly P2P, the idea behind them and the service they provide is, and the future of P2P is likely to shape such businesses looking ahead. Why did P2P gain so much attention, how has it evolved in the tech world, and where is the future of the P2P movement heading? Let’s take a closer look.

Early P2P connections

netster p2p

While there are multiple examples of early P2P projects, including ARPANET and USENET in the 1960s and 1970s, perhaps the most well-known example of a consumer P2P service was Napster. The Napster of today is very different from its original self (as most readers are likely well-aware) that first started in 1999.

Though the original Napster lasted only a short period of time before being taken to court in 2001, one can make the case that the company played a crucial role in giving P2P networks exposure to the public. Unlike the modern Napster’s subscription-based model of music streaming (not really “sharing”) that’s much more akin to Spotify or Google Play Music, the original Napster enabled users to become a member of a vast P2P network of individuals sharing their audio with others.

Users were able to interact with a large network of peers and access the MP3 files of others while also sharing MP3s of their own. It seemed like just as quickly as the file-sharing platform had risen to fame, so too had it consequently crumbled. Users, however, had been exposed to effective P2P interaction and the desire was not going away because of Napster’s demise.

(“Napster” is currently still around today, though as a shell of its former self following a series of buy-outs, acquisitions, and other deals.)



After the fall of Napster, users and tech enthusiasts had not given up on the idea of furthering the P2P movement. In fact, the P2P trend continued to expand at full speed. While Napster played an important role getting users introduced to a P2P world, the platform was not truly decentralized and relied on a central index server and authority that would direct clients where to look and what clients to talk to.

Improving upon the shortcomings of Napster, BitTorrent, the protocol created by Bram Cohen, came on the scene in 2001. The new protocol allowed peers on a P2P network to connect with each other directly, rather than using a central index server. In addition, users were able to download from a distributed network of peers who had the information needed.

Rather than downloading a large file from a single source, peers using BitTorrent connect with other peers and download smaller amounts from each peer. The result was not only a distributed system that made P2P sharing and interactions easier but also significantly reduced the amount of bandwidth that would have been used if each peer downloaded the complete file from the original source.

BitTorrent protocol and its usage is still alive and well to this day. Besides the official BitTorrent client created by Cohen, various other clients are available and these distributed networks have proven incredibly difficult for centralized authorities to control or shut down.

Blockchain and the future of P2P

Blockchain Technology

An entirely new technological shift is being added to the paradigm and it’s a perfect fit for the P2P movement: blockchain technology.

Rising to prominence with the advent of Bitcoin in 2009, blockchain technology takes everything learned from previous P2P iterations and improves on it (distributed network, no central authority, completely P2P). Bitcoin took the most crucial part of the markets, money, and brought it to the P2P world by creating a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” With bitcoin, there is no Federal Reserve, no monetary policy, and no central authority: an entirely P2P network for storing and transferring value.

Following Bitcoin is the spark of the blockchain movement. Now there are a variety of other blockchain-based projects similar to Bitcoin in nature, but implementing blockchain in entirely new ways in the new so-called “sharing economy.”

With the rise of blockchain technology, services that are part of the sharing economy can be structured in a decentralized way. If developments in the sharing economy and P2P networks are any indication, the future of P2P is with blockchain.

Blockchain-based projects like Tatau, Sia, and ShareRing are all examples of this shift in P2P connections. Now, not only are peers able to access information from a P2P network but with blockchain, they can also pay for services or items from peers.

Tatau is creating a way for users to purchase spare computing power for rent to tackle any number of projects, Sia is enabling peers to rent out space on their hard drive for storage, and ShareRing is enabling a decentralized alternative for sharing goods and services.

As P2P continues to evolve over time, it’s likely to continue finding complimenting technologies and movements that enable peers to connect with each other. At a time when the sharing economy is running at full speed and innovators are constantly looking to improve on distributed networks, blockchain may just be the key to large-scale P2P integration.

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Best Programming Languages for Blockchain Programmers


Blockchain development has revolutionized various aspects of technology. It has a wide range of applications especially the ones that involve data storage and manipulation. Currently, blockchain is one of the most-sought technology. Everyone is looking to incorporate it into their products. Just like most technologies, the root of blockchain development is programming languages.

A programming language must be used to design, configure and develop the functionality of this technology. So, which programming languages are necessary for this technology? If you have the desires of getting into blockchain programming, try to master the following programming languages.

1. C++

Every tech enthusiast knows about C++ programming language. It is one of the oldest programming languages that has managed to maintain its relevance up to today. C++ is basically a high-level compiler language that can be used to develop complex applications without straining the memory or performance of the device. These are the two main aspects of blockchain technology.

Due to the efficiency of memory management and performance, C++ allows different end-points to interact simultaneously. This is the main concept of blockchain technology whereby users in a network are able to interact simultaneously. The effectiveness of C++ can be seen on some of the most popular blockchain applications. Bitcoin and Ethereum are written in the C++ programming language.

Also, Read: Top 5 career options for Blockchain developers

2. Java

Java has been a major force to reckon with since 1995. It is an object-oriented programming language that is owned by Oracle. One of the main factors behind the massive its massive popularity is independence. Java-based applications can run on any computer as long as it has a Java runtime environment (JRE).

For years, Java has been used to develop web-based applications. This functionality makes it a perfect candidate for blockchain technology. It is capable of operating in a network while at the same time maintain the independence of its architecture. Different devices in a blockchain network can remain autonomous even while accessing the network.

Also, Read: 5 Best Programming Courses For Aspiring Java Programmers

3. Python

The history of Python programming language dates back to 1991 when it was created by Guidi van Rossum, a Dutch programmer. Today, Python is one of the most loved programming languages. Programmers love it because of its simplicity and also uses minimal resources. There is also a robust community of Python programmers. This makes it easy for one to access resources and even get the necessary help

When it comes to blockchain programming, Python has proven itself to be highly reliable. Given that it is used for creating both standalone and web-based application, Python can easily fit in blockchain development.

4. Simplicity

Simplicity programming language was created by Russel O’Connor. He describes it as a simple programming language that can be used to create smart contracts in the blockchain development. From an overview, Simplicity is an improved version of two popular methods for blockchain development. These are Ethereum Virtual Machine and Bitcoin Script.

This programming language uses Static Analysis algorithm to make predictions and analyze the cost of running an application. Although more research is still done on this language, many people predict that Simplicity will be an alternative to most programming languages that are used for creating smart contracts.

5. Solidity

Solidity is a programming language that was invented by Ethereum’s team. It is an object-oriented programming language that is used to create smart contracts. Many people see it as an improved version of the Ethereum Virtual Machine. This is because it utilizes the strengths of EVM and improves on the weak areas.

Solidity is a statically typed programming language. This simply means that the language checks for errors during the coding stage and not at the compiling stage. Currently, it is the most preferred programming language for creating smart contracts. Experts predict that the trend is going to remain the same for some years. The good news is that there are lots of courses and tutorials that have been created for this programming language.

As you can see, there several different languages for blockchain programming. You simply need to choose one that suits you and pursue it to the fullest.

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Does Rebloc hold the key to revolutionize real estate data?


As with most blockchain startups, the story begins with a real-world problem. This problem centres on the global real estate industry, whereby access to reliable, secure and readily available data can be a somewhat daunting task. In terms of availability, data is often monopolized by a handful of industry leaders, making it difficult for external stakeholders to get a look in.

Moreover, with no incentives in place to share such data, organizations are motivated to control the information they possess. Real estate data that is available within the public domain is often dispersed across multiple independent channels, with no mechanisms in place to verify the accuracy of the provided material.

So where does this leave us in a data industry that is worth close to $25 billion? According to the team at Rebloc – the solution lies in robust data integrity and coverage, alongside privacy validation and incentivization – all of which can be achieved by democratizing real estate data on to the blockchain.


Who are Rebloc?

At an organizational level, the Rebloc project is a dual venture between two industry leaders from the real estate data and technology sectors. By combining forces, the project has installed talent with a proven track record. Responsible for driving the Rebloc project forward, Gary Yeoman has enjoyed a plethora of success in multiple real estate ventures. This includes Altus Group, where he served as CEO. The project also benefits from a strong board of advisors – including Elie Galam, Chief Investment Officer at Eastmore Group.

The venture is further bolstered by iLOOKABOUT veteran Jeff Young. ILA specializes in visual and data analytics, with a direct focus on supplying technological solutions for the real estate and property assessment markets.


Although the project is looking build their network on top of the blockchain protocol and as such, tokenize their in-house economy, the team have opted against going down the initial coin offering (ICO) route. This is the process of raising capital in the form of major cryptocurrencies and subsequently providing investors with a proprietary utility token.

On the contrary, the model centres on contribution. In other words, if you become part of the Rebloc democracy by collaborating in the sharing of accurate and readily available data, then you have the chance to monetize in the form of the Rebloc token.

The network will be built on top of the Enigma protocol, meaning that stakeholders can purchase, sell or exchange data through the utilization of smart contract technology. Moreover, this can be achieved in a safe and secure eco-system, whilst fully protecting the privacy of those involved.

rebloc real estate data

How will Rebloc achieve its goals?

As per the information outlined in the Rebloc whitepaper, there are a number of angels that the team are looking to cover. First and foremost -to enable the ReBlock network to operate in an autonomous manner, when the end-user attempts to buy real estate data, the smart contract will extract this information from the relevant provider.

However, prior to the data transitioning over to the consumer, it must first go through a validation process whereby the smart contract will aim to reach consensus on the accuracy of the information. If this can be achieved, the consumer receives the data and the provider is subsequently remunerated for their contribution.

On the other hand, if the blockchain cannot reach consensus on the reliability of the data, the consumer is not charged. If this is the case, the data provider in question receives a proportionate penalty.

The reason for this is that it not only motivates stakeholders to ensure that the data they contribute is accurate – but it also ensures that the ReBlock network preserves its integrity.

A second angel that the ReBlock team are looking to revolutionize is the availability of data in real-time. The project aims to achieve this by utilizing an indexing strategy that is fully supported by the underlying technology of the blockchain protocol.

Essentially, indexing maintains a stringent database of information that can be shared without needing the validator to independently involve themselves in the transaction. By removing the centralized role of the provider, data can be extracted in a seamless manner without comprising on security.

Ultimately, for the project to achieve success in both the short and long-term, it requires a collaborative approach between all parties involved. What this means is that for the real estate data sector to flourish in a collective manner, the contribution of accurate, seamless and relevant data must be rewarded in a fair and transparent eco-system – which is something that ReBlock claim to be able to facilitate in the form of utility tokenization.

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A Reliable Crypto Exchange – Myth or Reality?


Let’s suppose that you are a newbie investor willing to try a hand in cryptocurrency. You have learned a lot about Bitcoin and altcoins, explored the reasons affecting their prices, and weighed all the pros and cons of investing in crypto. But where should you start? How to find a reliable platform to buy your first Bitcoin from?

What you need to understand is that the majority of exchanges support Bitcoin as it is the most popular cryptocurrency at the moment – and its market capitalization says it all. There is a vast choice of crypto platforms now, and therefore it is essential to pick the best Bitcoin exchange for your particular needs.

Bitcoin… But There Are Lots of Other Cryptos

First of all, Bitcoin is a crypto that is the most widespread. That means that you still cannot buy stuff for XRP or ZEC, but there are many retailers (both online and offline) that accept Bitcoin. In other words, Bitcoin is likely to be the first crypto to be accepted everywhere, and it is also currently the most established and recognized one.

Sure, it has certain downsides – transactions are sometimes too slow and the fees may be a bit high. However, if you want to play it safe, go for Bitcoin.

What to Look for in a Crypto Exchange?

Exchanges differ in many ways. The first thing is the number of currencies and types of trades they offer. For example, some exchanges may allow you to trade crypto for crypto, but there will be no fiat accepted. Others will allow using fiat but may not allow for various types of trading (margin trading, for example.) Finally, there are platforms that charge huge fees but have excellent service and vice versa.

For the newcomers, there are two most important factors to look for– safety and user-friendliness.

How to Find the Exchange I Can Trust?

One of the exchanges that will encourage every new Bitcoin buyer is definitely CEX.IO. It has a great user-friendly interface and trading there is made simple. Furthermore, you can rest assured that there will be no hurdles when you buy Bitcoin at the platform. Once you go through registration and verification, trading and buying will be a child’s play.

We would also recommend checking out Kucoin, a relatively innovative new platform with some interesting features.

Is It Difficult to Register on CEX.IO?

Registering on CEX.IO is not a complicated process. You only need to take the following steps in order to create an account and start buying Bitcoin:

  1. Click the ‘Register’ button;
  2. Fill out the form with all the required details;
  3. Turn on two-factor authentication for further security;
  4. Verify your account via your email.

There are additional requests that you may get depending on your country of residence. For example, the CEX.IO team may ask you to provide an official document along with your selfie with it. This photo is then processed by the face recognition technology where the software determines whether your document is indeed yours.

How Can I Pay for Bitcoin?

Once the registration process has been completed and CEX.IO has verified your user account, you need to choose the most appropriate method that you will use for purchasing your Bitcoin. Now, there are three ways to pay for your crypto:

  1. Wire Transfer;
  2. Payment Card (Debit/Credit);
  3. Other cryptos.

Of course, if you’ve ever made a payment online, you know that cards are a much faster and reliable option than bank transfers that sometimes may take days to be processed.

What Does It Take to Purchase Bitcoin Here?

First of all, go to the Buy/Sell tab to navigate to the instant-buy page. There you will find the offers for different cryptos against various fiat currencies – pick the one that suits you most and click ‘Buy’ under it.

There is also an option to buy a customized amount of Bitcoins. Just fill in the amount you are willing to buy and you will get an instant offer which is automatically calculated according to the latest price of BTC within the platform.

How Much Do They Charge?

Naturally, CEX.IO charges fees for transactions, which is something most of the websites do. Luckily for you, it is one of the most affordable online exchanges. The instant-buy option that we discussed earlier will cost you no less than a 7% fee charged from the amount of fiat currency. Keep in mind that every exchange of this type will also have deposit and withdrawal fees for fiat. So, if you are not familiar with how fees work, you can check out the fee schedule on their website for more information.

There is also a so-called Maker-and-Taker fee. In essence, these fees are imposed on the trading activity and are usually lower than those for the instant-buy option. Trading involves someone (the Maker) creating an offer, and someone (the Taker) accepting that offer. The fees for this type of activity are calculated on the basis of your 30-day trade volume; they vary from 0.1% to 0.25% for takers, and from 0% to 0.16% for makers.


Now that you have an idea on how to make an account and buy your first Bitcoins, you can proceed and actually do that on CEX.IO. However, make sure not to buy a huge amount right away – try to buy small first until you get the hang of things.

It is important to know that the journey doesn’t end here. In fact, this is just a start, and it is the perfect time to get informed about the crypto economy and other coins that exist.

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What Smart Contracts Need to Achieve Mainstream Adoption by Businesses

What Smart Contracts Need to Achieve Mainstream Adoption by Businesses

The concept of smart contracts was first introduced by Nick Szabo all the way back in 1994. Since the development of Ethereum, the term has become more commonplace. Amid discussions of lawyers ultimately being redundant, the term “smart contract” has also become much misunderstood.

Even though there have been striding developments in blockchain since Szabo wrote his paper, his vending machine analogy to explain smart contracts is still fitting. The money goes in, and triggers the automatic release of a product, with the correct amount of change. This analogy also provides a starting point for explaining how the term “smart contract” has become misunderstood.

The Missing Link in Smart Contracts

In the example of a vending machine, the rules exist before anyone inserts money. There is no need to agree with the machine that you will get a soda in return for your coin—it just executes that agreement. The smart contract scenario is similar to a vending machine in that the terms must already be agreed upon for it to run.

In a real-life contract, the terms are drawn up between two parties, usually by a lawyer, before they are executed according to the agreement. So, the critical point here is that the smart contract itself is not the agreement of terms, it is the execution of the agreement of terms. The execution still requires the underlying terms to be agreed upon beforehand.

A large number of blockchain projects are already using smart contracts. However, many are still in the developmental stage and have not yet been deployed with mass adoption. Additionally, their use is generally confined to “if-this-then-that” scenarios.

For mainstream businesses, the agreement of terms remains the missing link in smart contracts. This goes some way to explaining why smart contracts are not yet being embraced by the mainstream, and also why lawyers have not yet been laid off in droves.

smart contract

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Barriers to Practical Application

This is not a mere technicality. The law dictates that businesses must have a written legal agreement for most transactions. Therefore, implementing smart contracts requires a further step—translation of the agreed written terms into code.

Given that business contracts are subject to audits, smart contracts are not currently fit for purpose as they cannot be read by human auditors. For this reason, some tech companies such as Quantstamp are building protocols specifically for conducting smart contract auditing services.

Furthermore, real-life agreements often change after the first set of terms have been agreed due to unforeseen circumstances or other reasons. In this case, written legal contracts can be easily amended, providing both parties agree. Smart contracts are not currently set up to be so flexible.

SciDex is a blockchain company that recognizes these challenges around smart contract adoption and is developing a protocol to effectively resolve these issues. At the core of the SciDex protocol is a concept that has been around a long time, but has not yet been fully exploited within distributed ledgers. The concept is known as the Ricardian Contract.

The Future is Ricardian

A Ricardian Contract is a contract that has two forms: one that is in plain text and another that is a digital contract. The former can be read like a standard document while the latter can be written in a programming language. They both reflect the same terms, just in formats that can be read by either humans or machines.

The Ricardian Contract was first proposed by Ian Grigg, a financial cryptographer who came up with the idea in the 1990’s. Around the same time that Ethereum was about to launch in 2015, Grigg developed his idea further, outlining the concept of the Ricardian Smart Contract.

This construct assembles the Ricardian contract which forms the legal agreement and its digital counterpart, together with the smart contract that can automatically transact the terms in the agreement.

The Ricardian Smart Contract goes some way to a solution for implementing smart contracts in companies. BOScoin is a cryptocurrency platform developing a similar solution using human- and machine-readable contracts.

However, there is still a further issue to overcome to enable business adoption—the requirement for adaptability. This is the final problem that SciDex aims to resolve, by way of its RASC protocol.

Enter Ricardian Adaptive Smart Contracts

SciDex has developed an Ethereum-powered protocol that introduces the element of adaptability to the Ricardian Smart Contract. Therefore, this protocol is known as the Ricardian Adaptive Smart Contract or the RASC protocol.

It is designed to meet all of the requirements for smart contracts to be implemented in real-life businesses. There is a legal agreement—readable by humans—also encoded into digital form and a smart contract that will execute the terms, in such a way as to be flexible in case something changes at the agreement of the parties. Contracts are digitally signed, and the outcomes are recorded on the blockchain.

Part of the flexibility of using the RASC protocol comes from the input of oracles. Oracles are nodes that validate external sources of truth, which determine specific elements of the outcome of the agreement. For example, a particular stock price fluctuation may influence the amount paid—this data would be taken from a trusted source by an oracle.

Mainstream Adoption of Smart Contracts in the Future

The adoption of new technologies is often a chicken-and-egg scenario, especially in business. Companies can be reluctant to test technology as a first-mover. But without such early adopters, the technology will never get off the ground.

Therefore, innovations like the RASC protocol represent an important development in encouraging first-movers and eventually, mainstream adoption.

Additionally, their use is generally confined to “if-this-then-that” scenarios.

For mainstream businesses, the agreement of terms remains the missing link in smart contracts. This goes some way to explaining why smart contracts are not yet being embraced by the mainstream, and also why lawyers have not yet been laid off in droves.

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