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Humans help the Andalites... Again. Ch.1

The war against the Yeerks was over, both the Andalites and Humans races enjoyed a time of blossoming peace, trade, and prosperity. The Humans faired well in the aftermath of the war, Earth being spared mass commitment or damage, and little loss of life. The Andalites were advanced, but weakened, from the long war against the now defeated and subjugated parasitic slug-like race of Yeerks. The part deer, part scorpion, part human looking Andalite race was slowly recovering from the war and wearily exploring new opportunities for trade with its new "friend", the Humans.
The Andalites are a powerful race, with some of the best technology in their explored corner of the galaxy. A warrior species at heart, Andalites are well developed for combat, with 4 eyes, 2 of those eyes on bendable stalks, 4 strong legs, a deadly fast tail with a scorpion blade, and a bright mind. Though fairly gentle hearted by nature, the Andalite's 100 million or so members nonetheless appreciate the role of the warrior more than almost anything, other than maybe family, being that they live in close knitted groups in their outdoor homes called "scoops".
The Andalites were fairly proud race, and some may call them arrogant about their abilities, technology and their species. They did not think all that much of the Human race and what they could bring to the table, and were naturally suspicious due to the Yeerks betrayal of the Andalites in the past. The Humans, however, proved themselves to be very able at waging war, with a paltry 5 human teenagers and 1 Andalites cadet managing to topple the powerful Yeerk empire with well-timed guerrilla attacks and smart thinking, combined with illegally gifted Andalite morphing technology from the war-price Andalite hero Elfangor.
The Human race lost approximately 90,000 souls from the Yeerk infiltration of Earth. The slug-like Yeerks, who takes over their host's brains and bodies, can perfectly mimic a person and use their memories and brains to help them do so. Thousands of people were killed by their controlling Yeerks who rathered go out fighting then be starved to death from lack of their precious Kandrona rays generators. While few Humans were killed during the actual "war", there were some deaths from the Animorphs guerrilla fighters vs infested humans and free Human vs Yeerk forces. Tens of thousands of civilians were also killed during suicidal bombing attacks on Yeerk infestation centers by the small teenaged Human guerrilla force and their Andalite companion.
The Humans proved themselves to be tenacious, determined, adaptive, quick learning, and good in a fight. Surprising everyone, the Human race managed to beat back an invasion from a species most Humans had no idea existed. Humans did not just beat back the invasion, they managed to take over a pool ship, and transferred its command codes to the Andalite, allowing them to snap up a major yeerk fleet and the Yeerks top ranking general. With the Yeerk high command in turmoil, their top generals all dead or captured due to Humans, and in some cases civil-war between other yeerks, the Andalites were able to use the stolen Yeerk command data and a promise of morphing out of their bodies to subdue the Yeerks and blockade their homeworlds.
Humans were new to the galactic scene, but already were making waves, Human body morph permissions and foodcourt establishments on the Andalite homeworld promised Humans a big bargaining chip in trade with the Andalites. The Andalites did not have mouths themselves but could morph to human to experience taste, and it was becoming a booming trade, helping secure technology transfer deals to the Humans benefit. The technology transfers were coming somewhat slowly, but, Humans were already making giant leaps and their first faster than light spaceship was already under construction. Humans also reversed engineered some captured yeerk technology, circumventing the Andalites refusal to trade weapons tech.
The Andilites were somewhat wary of the Humans, while most Andalite civilians loved that Humans and Andalite cooperate well together and wanted good relations, Andalite command was less warm to the upstart and primitive race of humans. Andalites viewed human technology to be laughable, with every piece of human tech shocking Andalites with how old school it is, how dangerous it is, or how Humans even managed to get that far yet. Andalites high command viewed Humans as unpredictable, self-serving, primitive, and very weak looking creatures. Humans only had 2 legs, and 2 eyes, and looked as if they could barely stand up, lacking any tail! Humans were helplessly weak and had no real advantage to their bodies, the only reason yereks even wanted Humans was that they were too weak to resist, had fairly good senses and hands to handles technology, and had a supermassive 6 billion hosts bodies available. The one thing Andalite command hated the most about Humans, however, was that they could be competition.
Humans, as stated before, are in a laughably primitive state compared to Andalites or any other spare fairing civilization, such as the Skirt-Naa or the Leer. Most Andalites would be surprised to learn that a Human even knew about black holes. Most Andalite would be surprised that Humans invented books before the computer, as if the idea of powerless instantly accessible data was simple to think of. Most Andalites would be surprised to learn that Humans went from their first flight, to their moon, in just 60 years, 3 times faster than the Andalites. And most Andalites would be a bit nervous, more so than surprised, to find out that Humans went from having a man walk on their moon to discovering and inventing a Zero-space faster than light communication device in 50 years, right around the middle of the invasion of Earth by the yeerks.
The Human race works well with Andalites, both feeling a kindred with one another easily. Even before the invasion of Earth, a pair of teenage Humans would frequently surprise the to-be War price Elfangor when he was a cadet. Elfangor would be constantly surprised at how the soft, weak, and unsteady looking human body could take an amazing amount of punishment and still recover. and could be surprisingly strong and capable with their powerful and well-adapted arms and hands. Even the Humans unstable-looking 2 legs could be rather effective in giving the Human mobility in terms of running, jumping, and dodging. The young Elfangor found that both of his Human charges, kidnapped from their home planet, were rather determined. In fact, both of them had a key part to play in setting the stage for the eventual invasion of Earth. One for good, and one for evil. Truth be told, chances are the yeerks would have come either way, but, even 2 Human teenagers can have a huge impact on the galaxy many years down the road.
Peace now reigned, but it was to be short-lived, the Kelbrid bordered Andalite space, and may have killed an Andalite prince and former Animorph. Prince Aximilli, Elfangors younger brother, had survived the war on earth as a cadet and sole Andalite on the Animorphs team, and sole Andalite on earth, in general, most of the time. As a new prince and war hero, "Ax" was given the task of hunting down a rouge Yeerk force in a powerful "blade-ship" class cruiser. Ax's Andalites cruiser broke a treaty to stay out of each others space that was brokered with the Kelbrid, and after entering Kelbrid space Ax's cruiser was inspecting a craft it found via boarding party when the ship opened fire on Ax's vessel. Ax's ship had no choice but to run, and was subject to further attack, with only 1 survivor saved to tell the tale of Ax's capture on the strange ship they encountered during the search for the Blade ship.
The Andalite could not risk a war by entering Keldbrid space, even though they knew their hero was likely captured on a potentially Kelbrid ship. With 1 primary Animorph in addition to all the handicapped child auxiliary Animorphs killed, due to various suicide attacks at the end of the Yeerk war, 3 out of the 4 remaining Animorphs go on a mission to save their friend Ax, and all of them, the 3 rescuers and Ax, are killed in a suicide attack by the would-be rescuers, after learning their friend Ax was twisted into an abomination of a new sort, and that they were outclassed and under-prepared. The last known transmission from the Animorphs leader on the rescue mission was, "Ram the blade ship." There is only one confirmed Animorph left alive from the over 20 prime and auxiliary Animorphs during the war with the Yeerks, the intuitive tree hugger, Cassie. All known Animorph deaths have occurred due to suicide attacks, with the exception of one, and the possible exception of a second, (depending on if a suicide wish was granted to ease an evil traitor Animorphs pain of being stuck in rat morph to his arch-rival Animorphs who hovered on the edge of good and going too far down the path of becoming a monster herself. Nobody knows if she granted his death wish.)
With all known Animorphs dead, save for 1, and the Andalite war prince Ax believed dead, tensions rise in the command rooms for both Andalites and Humans, especially for the Andalites, who territorial space bordered the Kelbrid. The mission to rescue Aximilli lost Humanity its best heroes, and the Andalites lost their greatest war hero for good this time, the little brother of war-prince Elfangor was dead, as was almost the entire Animorphs team. Even Arborn, a fellow cadet and friend of Elfangor who was trapped in Taxxon morph, was dead, shot by a poacher on earth, after the war with the Yeerks ended. All the heroes who beat back the Yeerk invastion of the galaxy, with the exception of the tree hugger Cassie, were now dead, and not even the powerful time warping Ellimist would be able to bring them back this time, not being allowed in his comic game of chess to do them any other favors. The Andalites now had to worry about the fallout of the incursions into Kelbrid space, and both races would have to explain their Heros mysterious disappearances to its people using lies and tall tales.
As the Andalites desperately tried to predict what the Keldbrid race would do next, Humans continued to advance into making the transition to a galactic civilization. The moon was colonized with bases, thousands of humans now lived there in science and military outposts. Humanity continued to advance, the first "Zero Space" was launched, a second and third launched a few months later. With new each ship made, Humans modified, optimized, and resigned them to be better, faster, and more spaceworthy. Weapons on human spacecraft were still unheard of, but Human leadership was planning on adding those soon, the Human-modified dracon beams taken from the defeated yeerks being renamed "phasers" and given better damage and longer burst rates thanks to Human ingenuity. As the Andalites became to scan their borders fervently, Humans began to learn the art of weaponizing their space-ships with laser weaponry and began exploring captured shield tech and learning how it worked.
Years past, Andalite and Humans are rarely found in each other territory anymore. The Andalites have become recluse, nobody knows why, but they claim its to protect their species identity in these news times of species to species contact. The Humans and Andalites were working together on various business and governmental endeavors when suddenly, the Andalite high command issued orders to cease most contact with Humans, citing cultural identity concerns and the need to slow down and take more time to build trust. Humans were confused, the Andalite military folks could be a bit arrogant, but, Andalites and Humans got on pretty well, and Humans did not understand the sudden pullback in Andalite policy. Secretly, despite all the talk about "trust", Humans began to spy. They wanted to know what exactly was going on with the Andalites, and it did not help for Human leadership to secretly know that Andalite high command was planning on glassing planet Earth in a scorched earth policy during the war to stop the yeerks, and only reluctantly change gears after the Animorphs handed them a whole Yeerk fleet and the top general of the Yeerks.
The Andalites grew more distant, and Humanity watched from afar, using their secret Z-space telescopes to spy on Andalites planets and military movements. The Andalites were not an expansive race, having little desire to conquer new land, they only had 3 planets under their control. 20 years after the war with the yeerks, Humans were in the middle of terraforming Mars, and the moon was a full-fledged base of Humanity, with over 100,000 souls living there in domes and enclosed buildings. Humans had no real military space force, but the moon did contain powerful plasma turrets on its surface, with enough fire-power in its somewhat primitive model to surprise the Andalites, had they bothered to keep tabs anymore. The Andalites knew about the plasma turrets of course, but they did not care too much to check them out, and assumed humans had no real ability other than fighting wars limited to their own planet, and only shadow-based wars at that, believing humans to be unable to stand up to an advanced force of any kind with real numbers supporting them. The Andalites were occupied with something... Else... And Human leadership wanted to know what.
Andalite fleet movement had been detected by Human Z-space spy telescopes, lots of it, and Human leadership knew what it must be... War. They were not sure who the Andalites were gearing up to fight, but, Human leadership suspected it was the Kelbrid, knowing of the secret missions Andalites had taking place in their territory. The Kelbrid were considered to be advanced, powerful, and savage, but were known to keep their agreements, they would likely be very angry about their borders being intruded by Andalites after the agreement they made to stay out of each other's way. The Human leadership know what the signs pointed to, Humans had spent its whole existence fighting and killing, and it knew a fight brewing when it saw one. Humans made upgrades to their z-space spy scopes to take a better look at Andalite territory, what they found, was scary, if not surprising. The Andalites were indeed at war, and losing, badly.
The Andalites were in a panic, one of their worlds was burning, millions of Andalites dead, and the whole system it resided in was lost. The Andalites lost nearly half their fleet in trying to save their third planet and newest acquisition. After downsizing their military only 20 years ago, the newest generation of Andalites was tapped for war and hundreds of new ships were built at a frantic pace. The Andalite cadets knew what was expected of them.
Humans watched the development with great interest, they saw the third planet of the Andalites, Teeassic, burn. None seemed to be left alive, and the fleet around its orbit was devested. Humans watched as the Andalites pulled back to their remaining 2 planets, and build new more defense platforms to ring them. The Kelbrid were clearly a powerful foe, their ships massive in size, though old, and having massive firepower and defense shielding on their ships. Even the mighty Andalites dome ships, with shedder lasers that could punch a hole in a moon, were hard-pressed to stop even 1 Kelbrid battlecruiser. Humans watched as the Kelbrid matched the Andalites with 1 capital ship for every 3 of the Andalites own. The Andalites, while powerful, had clearly met their match, the Kelbrid was stronger than the yeerks and could push the Andalites back with their fierceness. Andalites, however, are brave to the point of ridiculousness, much like Humans, and the Andalites did not hesitate to self-sacrifice to attempt to win the war. Out of honor for their people, the Andalites forces again and again committed themselves to suicide attacks, fights that led to the self-destruction of the vessel they resided on, and just generally INSANE acts of heroism to try to stop the Kelbrid. But it was not enough, and the Andalites found themselves pushed out of open space and huddled around their 2 remaining planets.
All this time, the Andalites pretended nothing was wrong to the Humans. Civilian contact was cut off years ago, and Andalite military command, that acted as the species overall government more often than not, would send less frequent ambassadors, who nonetheless insisted everything was "fine" and the Andalite just wanted to take things slowly with Humans. For a time, Human leadership, consisting of the semi-centralized new earth government, took them at face value but grew less and less accepting of the excuses over time. The Humans did not want to admit to spying, but, it was a non-invasive long-range visual observation method, using holes in space-time, so they did not feel too ashamed of themselves for admitting it. Besides, the Andalites were losing and clearly needed help, badly. After witnessing a failed but close contested attack on the Andalites second planet, Luaminoa, Humans knew the Andalites were risking destruction and felt compelled to do something and say something.
Planet: Earth Year: 2022 Ambassador to the Andalites office, Washington D.C.
An old, haggard-looking Andalite of 160 years walks through the tall and wide door to the Ambassador's office, finding their species could not properly sit down like humans, a comfortable carpet would make due instead of a chair for the Andalite ambassador. The Andalite faces a middle-aged human of 40 years old, the blue-furred Andalite looks at the Human man standing before him, a man with bright blue clears eyes and a smile but sad smile on his face.
"Hello ambassador Theor-Getil-Illii", says the Human, using the Andalites full name rather then the shortened version. The Human did not shake the Andalites hand, knowing they are more fragile appendages than the ones Humans have. , said the Andalite telepathically, with a modest bow of its stalk-eyed head and human-like torso. , asked the Andalite. The small smiled faded off the Human ambassador's face, and in its wake was just sadness. "Theor", using the Andalites shorten named, "What is happening to your people?" The Andalite paused for a moment, seemed slightly taken aback, and responded. "Yes you do", the Human ambassador responded. "Your people are at war, and you are losing". The Andalites 4 eyes, trained on the Human, got big and his body tensed. The Human, not waiting for a response, continued. "We know you are down to 2 of your planets and are in a defensive position around their orbits, and we know about the Kelbrid and what is going on." The Andalite looked at ambassador Paul, and after a moment, asked,
the Andalite asked incredulously. "Well..." said the Human. "They really are more like micro cameras that look through micro holes in Z-space.", the Human explained. "Using just a tiny amount of energy, we can create a high-speed tunnel through Z-space, with nothing in the tunnel but a simple stream of quarks. The force of those quark streams keeps a small rift open that we peak inside of using a tiny camera that picks up on photons that enter the Z-space hole created as the quarks squeeze out of it.", the Human lectured. "This allows us to send tiny mass through Z-space at extremely high speeds, allowing for near-instant observation at the end of the tunnel created by the mass exiting Z-space at the target observation area." Shocked, Theor-Getil-Illii simply started at the Human, for a long time. The Human waited, and after a time, the Andalite seemed to find his thought-speak voice. , the Andalite babbled. , said the Andalite, trying to sound calm.
The old Andalite ambassador read Aximillis report, but could hardly believe it, let alone allow its impact to truly wash over him. However, the truth of Human now started to dawn him, and his body grew cold as his smart mind did the calculations and he thought to himself. The Andalite looked again at the Human, , the Andalite said slowly and half-mindedly> The Human nooded, understanding how the Andalite must feel, "Yes, we know we are the type to advance quickly compared to the most races we have learned of, it's just in our nature.", the Human said slightly sadly, "We just hope for the best", Paul said. Looking at the quite Andalite, Paul said, "Now, have you considered asking us for help? We would be willing to aid you, freely." Theor took a moment to think about that statement, before responding, Theor-Getil-Illii replied, borrowing the Human phrase to express a problem.
, Theor asked while taking a deep breath. "Certainly", said Paul. Theor started. Theor continued. Theor finished off. Theor said in thought-speak. Theor bristled. , ended the Andalite firmly. The Human ambassador looked on, knowing this would be a tough job, but one he would have to do.
"What if we offered you a million soldiers right now?" Paul asked. "Well trained, and we could even provide weaponry and supplies for them." Paul looked at the old Andalite. "We could even give you 3 million soldiers, armed and with some armored support, within 3 months time," Paul said. "China has already agreed to give a million soldiers today on the spot, and the United States and its alliances can provide 2 million after we formalize things a bit," Paul explained. "You could station them on Luaminoa, to use in defense in case of a troop based invasion.", Paul finished. The old Andalite stared, thought briefly, and said, Ambassador Paul nodded, but countered, "But you could still use the help when they try to take the planet as their own by troop invasion.", he said plainly. The Andalite ambassador countered, "Your people would all die." Ambassador Paul looked Theor in his 2 main eyes on his head, and said, "Yes, we know, but we are willing to do it to help you anyway. Out of friendship between the kin we know we have between our races.
The Andalite ambassador stood there that night, attempting to fall asleep in the middle of a moon-lit grass field, isolated and protected by security agents from the worlds cooperative governments for official Andalite guests to sleep in. No deal with struck today, just talk, the Andalite asked for an early recess to think and contact Andalite command. Theor-Getil-Illii would have preferred a tree to sleep by, in the half-asleep trance manner his forest and plains based species were accustomed to. The open field would have to do, however, not that his mind was letting him sleep. <3 million soldiers, in less than 3 months time?", he wondered to himself. The entire Andalite military force consisted of about 18 million Andalites, and that is even after the addition of female soldiers and higher than normal recruiting. A huge portion of the Andalite population was involved in the military in some way. It was like that in the time of the Yeerks, but now even more so, as the Kelbrid was a terrible enemy, and were using the entrance of 2 ships of Andalite belonging as a reason to continue to ignore any peace treaty and keep on the attack. Andalites understood their anger but believed this war to be a vast overreaction on the part of the Kelbrid.
3 million soldiers, the Andalite ambassador thought to himself, as he drifted off to sleep. It would be enough to nearly double the ground forces on their second world. It was a tempting offer, if the reports of humans being good ground-based soldiers were true. Allegedly Humans were tenacious ground-based combatants, who would not give up a fight easily and would use strategy and tactics as well as a wide variety of primitive but effective weaponry. Theor did the math, <3 million soldiers, out of over 6 billion people. That leaves them with 5 billion 997 million left, bare minimum.> Theor let the shock of that information wash over him. 3 million soldiers is a lot to Andalites sensibilities, and since yeerks were dependent on host bodies to do anything, it was a lot to the yeerks also. But to Humans, 3 million soldiers was a drop in the bucket, as Humans say it. It barely took a scratch out of their numbers. , the old Andalite thought to himself as he fell asleep. Humans had a vast population, and could make for very effective military use, should they be able to use weapons and have good mobility and senses. And they were primitive, vastly outmatched by all the other races in terms of technology, and bodies that could little to no damage to most creatures as well. And yet, somehow, Human minors, with the ability to morph from the Andalite Elfangor, were able to adapt and engineer the defeat of the Yeerks through guerrilla warfare. Theor-Getil-Illii slept while still pondering what to do about the Humans offer of soldiers and aid...
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Blockchain Wallets

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What a Blockchain Wallet is? What is its purpose?
Find the answer after reading this article.
Public/Private Key
The public key is the digital code you give to someone that wants to transfer ownership of a unit of cryptocurrency to you; and a private key is what you need to be able to unlock your own wallet to transfer a unit of a cryptocurrency to someone else. The encoding of information within a wallet is done by the private and public keys. That is the main component of the encryption that maintains the security of the wallet. Both keys function in simultaneous encryption systems called symmetric and asymmetric encryption. The former, alternatively known as private key encryption, makes use of the same key for encryption and decryption. The latter, asymmetric encryption, utilizes two keys, the public and private key, wherein a message-sender encrypts the message with the public key, and the recipient decodes it with their private key. The public key uses asymmetric algorithms that convert messages into an unreadable format. A person who possesses a public key can encrypt the message for a specific receiver.
Accessing wallets
Methods of wallet access vary depending on the type of wallet being used. Various types of currency wallets on an exchange will normally be accessed via the exchange’s entrance portal, normally involving a combination of a username/password and optionally, 2FA (Two factor authentication, which we explain in more detail later). Whereas hardware wallets need to be connected to an internet enabled device, and then have a pin code entered manually by the user in possession of the hardware wallet in order for access to be gained. Phone wallets are accessed through the device on which the wallet application has been downloaded. Ordinarily, a passcode and/or security pattern must be entered before entry is granted, in addition to 2FA for withdrawals.
Satoshi Nakamoto built the Satoshi client which evolved into Bitcoin in 2009. This software allowed users to create wallets and send money to other addresses. However, it proved to be a nightmarish user experience, with many transactions being sent to incorrect addresses and private keys being lost. The MtGox (Magic the Gathering Online exchange, named after the original intended use of the exchange) incident, which will be covered in greater detail later, serves as a reminder of the dangers present in the cryptosphere regarding security, and the need to constantly upgrade your defenses against all potential hacks. The resulting loss of 850k BTC is a still unresolved problem, weighing heavily on the victims and the markets at large. This caused a huge push for a constantly evolving and improving focus on security. Exchanges that developed later, and are thus considered more legitimate and secure, such as Gemini and Coinbase, put a much greater emphasis on vigilance as a direct result of the MtGox hacking incident. We also saw the evolution of wallet security into the physical realm with the creation of hardware wallets, most notable among them the Ledger and Trezor wallets.
Types of Wallets & Storage Methods
The simplest way to sift through the dozens of cryptocurrency storage methods available today, is to divide them up into digital and non-digital, software and hardware wallets. There are also less commonly used methods of storage of private keys, like paper wallets and brain wallets. We will examine them all at least briefly, because in the course of your interaction with cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology, it is essential to master all the different types of hardware and software wallets. Another distinction must be made between hot wallets and cold wallets. A hot wallet is one that is connected to the internet, and a cold wallet is one that is not. Fun fact: The level below cold storage, deep cold storage has just recently been implemented by the Regal RA DMCC, a subsidiary of an internationally renowned gold trading company licensed in the Middle East. After having been granted a crypto trading license, Regal RA launched their “deep cold” storage solution for traders and investors, which offers the ability to store crypto assets in vaults deep below the Almas Tower in Dubai. This storage method is so secure that at no point is the vault connected to a network or the internet; meaning the owners of the assets can be sure that the private keys are known only to the rightful owners.
Lets take a quick look at specific features and functionality of varieties of crypto wallets. Software wallets: wallet applications installed on a laptop, desktop, phone or tablet. Web Wallets: A hot wallet by definition. Web Wallets are accessible through the web browser on your phone or computer. The most important feature to recognize about any kind of web wallet, is that the private keys are held and managed by a trusted third party. MyEtherWallet is the most commonly used non-exchange web wallet, but it can only be used to store Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.
Though the avenue of access to MEW is through the web, it is not strictly speaking a web wallet, though this label will suffice for the time being. The MEW site gives you the ability to create a new wallet so you can store your ETH yourself. All the data is created and stored on your CPU rather than their servers. This makes MEW a hybrid kind of web wallet and desktop wallet. Exchange Wallets: A form of Web Wallet contained within an exchange. An exchange will hold a wallet for each individual variety of cryptocurrency you hold on that exchange. Desktop Wallets: A software program downloaded onto your computer or tablet hard drive that usually holds only one kind of cryptocurrency. The Nano Wallet (Formerly Raiwallet) and Neon wallet for storage of NEO and NEP-5 tokens are notable examples of desktop wallets Phone Wallets: These are apps downloaded onto a mobile phone that function in the same manner as a desktop wallet, but actually can hold many different kinds of cryptocurrency. The Eidoo Wallet for storing Ethereum and its associated tokens and Blockchain Wallet which currently is configured to hold BTC, ETH and Bitcoin Cash, are some of the most widely used examples.
Hardware wallets — LedgeTrezoAlternatives
Hardware wallets are basically physical pathways and keys to the unique location of your crypto assets on the Blockchain. These are thought to be more secure than any variety of web wallet because the private key is stored within your own hard wallet, an actual physical device. This forcibly removes the risk your online wallet, or your exchange counter party, might be hacked in the same manner as MtGox. In hardware wallet transactions, the wallet’s API creates the transaction when a user requests a payment. An API is a set of functions that facilitates the creation of applications that interact and access features or data of an operating system. The hardware then signs the transaction, and produces a public key, which is given to the network. This means the signing keys never leave the hardware wallet. The user must both enter a personal identification number and physically press buttons on the hardware wallet in order to gain access to their Blockchain wallet address through this method, and do the same to initiate transfers.
Paper Wallets
Possibly the safest form of cryptocurrency storage in terms of avoiding hacking, Paper Wallets are an offline form of crypto storage that is free to set up, and probably the most secure way for users, from beginners to experts, to hold on to their crypto assets. To say it simply, paper wallets are an offline cold storage method of storing cryptocurrency. This includes actually printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper, which you then store and save in a secure place. The keys are printed in the form of QR codes which you can scan in the future for all your transactions. The reason why it is so safe is that it gives complete control to you, the user. You do not need to worry about the security or condition of a piece of hardware, nor do you have to worry about hackers on the net, or any other piece of malware. You just need to take care of one piece of paper!
Real World Historical Examples of Different Wallet Types
Web Wallet: Blockchain.info Brief mechanism & Security Blockchain.info is both a cryptocurrency wallet, supporting Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin cash, and also a block explorer service. The wallet service provided by blockchain.info has both a Web Wallet, and mobile phone application wallet, both of which involve signing up with an email address, and both have downloadable private keys. Two Factor Authentication is enabled for transfers from the web and mobile wallets, as well as email confirmation (as with most withdrawals from exchanges). Phone Wallet: Eidoo The Eidoo wallet is a multi-currency mobile phone app wallet for storage of Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. The security level is the standard phone wallet level of email registration, confirmation, password login, and 2 factor authentication used in all transfers out. You may find small volumes of different varieties of cryptocurrencies randomly turning up in your Eidoo wallet address. Certain projects have deals with individual wallets to allow for “airdrops” to take place of a particular token into the wallet, without the consent of the wallet holder. There is no need to be alarmed, and the security of the wallet is not in any way compromised by these airdrops.
Neon Wallet
The NEON wallet sets the standard for web wallets in terms of security and user-friendly functionality. This wallet is only designed for storing NEO, Gas, and NEP-5 tokens (Ontology, Deep Brain Chain, RPX etc.). As with all single-currency wallets, be forewarned, if you send the wrong cryptocurrency type to a wallet for which it is not designed, you will probably lose your tokens or coins. MyEtherWallet My Ether Wallet, often referred to as MEW, is the most widely used and highly regarded wallet for Ethereum and its related ERC-20 tokens. You can access your MEW account with a hardware wallet, or a different program. Or you can also get access by typing or copying in your private key. However, you should understand this method is the least safe way possible,and therefore is the most likely to result in a hack. Hardware: TrezoLedger Brief History Mechanism and Security A hardware wallet is a physical key to your on-chain wallet location, with the private keys contained within a secure sector of the device. Your private key never leaves your hardware wallet. This is one of the safest possible methods of access to your crypto assets. Many people feel like the hardware wallet strikes the right balance between security, peace of mind, and convenience. Paper Wallet Paper wallets can be generated at various websites, such as https://bitcoinpaperwallet.com/ and https://walletgenerator.net/. They enable wallet holders to store their private keys totally offline, in as secure a manner as is possible.
Real World Example — Poor Practices
MtGox Hack history effects and security considerations MtGox was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world before it was hacked in 2014. They were handling over 70% of BTC transactions before they were forced to liquidate their business. The biggest theft of cryptocurrency in history began when the private keys for the hot wallets were stolen in 2011 from a wallet.dat file, possibly by hacking, possibly by a rogue employee. Over the course of the next 3 years the hot wallets were emptied of approximately 650000 BTC. The hacker only needed wallet.dat file to access and make transfers from the hot wallet, as wallet encryption was only in operation from the time of the Bitcoin 0.4.0 release on Sept 23rd 2011. Even as the wallets were being emptied, the employees at Mt Gox were apparently oblivious to what was taking place. It seems that Mt Gox workers were interpreting these withdrawals as large transfers being made to more secure wallets. The former CEO of the exchange, Mark Karpeles, is currently on trial for embezzlement and faces up to 5 years in prison if found guilty. The Mt Gox hack precipitated the acceleration of security improvements on other exchanges, for wallets, and the architecture of bitcoin itself. As a rule of thumb, no small-to-medium scale crypto holders should use exchange wallets as a long-term storage solution. Investors and experienced traders may do this to take advantage of market fluctuations, but exchange wallets are perhaps the most prone to hacking, and storing assets on exchanges for an extended time is one of the riskiest ways to hold your assets.
In a case strikingly similar to the MtGox of 2011–2014, the operators of the BitGrail exchange “discovered” that approximately 17 million XRB ($195 million worth in early 2018) were missing. The operators of the exchange were inexplicably still accepting deposits, long after they knew about the hack. Then they proceeded to block withdrawals from non-EU users. And then they even requested a hard fork of the code to restore the funds. This would have meant the entire XRB Blockchain would have had to accept all transactions from their first “invalid” transaction that were invalid, and rollback the ledger. The BitGrailexchange attempted to open operations in May 2018 but was immediately forced to close by order of the Italian courts. BitGrail did not institute mandatory KYC (Know your customer) procedures for their clients until after the theft had been reported, and allegedly months after the hack was visible. They also did not have 2 factor authentication mandatory for withdrawals. All big, and very costly mistakes.
Case Study: Good Practice Binance, the Attempted Hack
During the 2017 bull run, China-based exchange Binance quickly rose to the status of biggest altcoin exchange in the world, boasting daily volumes that surged to over $4 billion per day in late December. Unfortunately, this success attracted the attention of some crafty hackers. These hackers purchased domain names that were confusingly similar to “binance.com”. And then they created sufficiently convincing replica websites so they could phish traders for their login information. After obtaining this vital info, the scammers created API keys to place large buy orders for VIAcoin, an obscure, low volume digital currency. Those large buy orders spiked VIA’s price. Within minutes they traded the artificially high-priced VIA for BTC. Then they immediately made withdrawal requests from the hacked BTC wallets to wallets outside of the exchange. Almost a perfect fait accompli! But, Binance’s “automating risk management system” kicked in, as it should, and all withdrawals were temporarily suspended, resulting in a foiled hacking attempt.
Software Wallets Web/Desktop/Phone/Exchange Advantages and Limitations
As we said before, it is inadvisable to store crypto assets in exchange wallets, and, to a lesser extent, Web Wallets. The specific reason we say that is because you need to deliver your private keys into the hands of another party, and rely on that website or exchange to keep your private key, and thus your assets, safe. The advantages of the less-secure exchange or web wallets, are the speed at which you can transfer assets into another currency, or into another exchange for sale or for arbitrage purposes. Despite the convenience factor, all software wallets will at some point have been connected to the internet or a network. So, you can never be 100% sure that your system has not been infected with malware, or some kind of keylogging software, that will allow a third party to record your passwords or private keys. How well the type of storage method limits your contact with such hazards is a good way to rate the security of said variety of wallet. Of all the software wallets, desktop and mobile wallets are the most secure because you download and store your own private key, preferably on a different system. By taking the responsibility of private key storage you can be sure that only one person has possession of it, and that is you! Thereby greatly increasing the security of your crypto assets. By having their assets in a desktop wallet, traders can guard their private key and enjoy the associated heightened security levels, as well keep their assets just one swift transfer away from an exchange.
Hardware Wallets Advantages and Limitations
We briefly touched on the features and operation of the two most popular hardware wallets currently on the market, the Ledger and Trezor wallets. Now it will be helpful to take a closer look into the pros and cons of the hardware wallet storage method. With hardware wallets, the private keys are stored within a protected area of the microcontroller, and they are prevented from being exported out of the device in plain text. They are fortified with state-of-the-art cryptography that makes them immune to computer viruses and malware. And much of the time, the software is open source, which allows user validation of the entire performance of the device. The advantages of a hardware wallet over the perhaps more secure paper wallet method of crypto storage is the interactive user experience, and also the fact that the private key must at some stage be downloaded in order to use the paper wallet. The main disadvantage of a hardware wallet is the time-consuming extra steps needed to transfer funds out of this mode of storage to an exchange, which could conceivably result in some traders missing out on profits. But with security being the main concern of the vast majority of holders, investors and traders too, this slight drawback is largely inconsequential in most situations.
Paper Wallets Advantages and Limitations
Paper wallets are thought by some to be the safest way to store your crypto assets, or more specifically, the best method of guarding the pathways to your assets on the Blockchain. By printing out your private key information, the route to your assets on the Blockchain is stored 100% offline (apart from the act of printing the private key out, the entire process is totally offline). This means that you will not run the risk of being infected with malware or become the victim of keylogging scams. The main drawback of using paper wallets is that you are in effect putting all your eggs in one basket, and if the physical document is destroyed, you will lose access to your crypto assets forever.
Key things to keep in mind about your Wallet Security: Recovery Phrases/Private Key Storage/2FA/Email Security
Recovery phrases are used to recover the on-chain location for your wallet with your assets for hardware wallets like ledgers and Trezors that have been lost. When you purchase a new ledger for example, you just have to set it up again by entering the recovery phrase into the display and the lost wallets will appear with your assets intact. Private key storage is of paramount importance to maintain the safety of your on-chain assets! This should be done in paper wallet form, or stored offline on a different computer, or USB device, from the one you would typically use to connect to the 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) sometimes known as “two step authentication”. This feature offers an extra security layer when withdrawing funds from cryptocurrency wallets. A specialized app, most commonly Google Authenticator, is synced up to the exchange to provide a constantly changing code. This code must be entered within a short time window to initiate transfers, or to log into an exchange, if it has also been enabled for that purpose.
You must always consider the level of fees, or the amount of Gas, that will be needed to carry out the transaction. In times of high network activity Gas prices can be quite high. In fact, in December 2017 network fees became so high that some Bitcoin transactions became absolutely unfeasible. But that was basically due to the anomalous network congestion caused by frantic trading of Bitcoin as it was skyrocketing in value. When copying wallet addresses, double check and triple check that they are correct. If you make a mistake and enter an incorrect address, it is most likely your funds will be irretrievably lost; you will never see those particular assets again. Also check that you haven’t input the address of another one of your wallets that is designed to hold a different variety of cryptocurrency. You would similarly run the very great risk of losing your funds forever. Or, at the very least, if you have sent the wrong crypto to a large exchange wallet, for example on Coinbase, maybe you could eventually get those funds back, but it would still entail a long and unenjoyable wait.
How to Monitor Funds
There are two ways to monitor you funds and your wallets. The first is by searching for individual wallet addresses on websites specifically designed to let you view all the transactions on a particular Blockchain. The other is to store a copy of your wallet contents on an application that tracks the prices of all cryptocurrencies. Blockchain.info is the block explorer for Bitcoin, and it allows you to track all wallet movements so you can view your holdings and all the historical transactions within the wallet. The Ethereum blockchain’s block explorer is called Ether scanner, and it functions in the same way. There is a rival to Ether scanner produced by the Jibrel Network, called JSearch which will be released soon. JSearch will aim to offer a more streamlined and faster search method for Ethereum blockchain transactions. There are many different kinds of block explorer for each individual crypto currency, including nanoexplorer.io for Nano (formerly Rai Blocks) and Neotracker for NEO. If you simply want to view the value of your portfolio, the Delta and Blockfolio apps allow you to easily do that. But they are not actually linked to your specific wallet address, they just show price movements and total value of the coins you want to monitor.
That’s not all! You can learn how to transfer and monitor the funds in and out of your wallet by clicking on the link.
To be continued!
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