Crypto Guides

Beginners Guide To Atomic Swaps


One of the features of cryptocurrencies is that they are decentralized. However, in reality, it is not completely decentralized. For the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies, the most popular option is to use a centralized exchange. Hence, adding an element of centralization in them.

Though this seems to be the best way to exchange cryptocurrencies, there are other better ways as well. This is because centralized exchanges sometimes possess big problems. There have cases where new exchanges have been hacked, which has caused losses for exchange and their clients. Moreover, the common issue with all exchanges is high withdrawal and trade fees. So, trading cryptos turns out to be expensive for clients with small capital.

Thus, the irony here is that cryptos that are known to be a peer-to-peer payment system requires users to go to a third party to exchange the coins. However, crypto analysts have taken this concern as a priority and have been able to come with something called “Atomic Swap.”

What is an Atomic Swap?

Atomic swaps are a solution to the above-discussed problem. Atomic Swap is a peer-to-peer exchange of cryptocurrency without the involvement of a middleman. If you are wondering what “atomic” means, it is a terminology used in computer science, meaning something would either completely happen or completely not.

Understanding Atomic Swaps

The main goal is to send someone cryptocurrency without the involvement of a third party. Let’s understand how the atomic swap makes this possible, with an example.

Assume Ron wants to send 1 Ether in exchange for 0.02 Bitcoins from Lisa. In atomic swap terms, we say that Ron has 1 ETH and wants to swap with Lisa for 0.02 BTC.

The key ingredient here is to create a smart contract called a hashlock. You may relate this to a container where the money is placed and is locked with a secret password.

How is the Hashlock made?

The hashlock, which is a smart contract that remains locked until the key is revealed, is made by Ron.

The hashlock is made using the following steps:

  1. A big random number is picked. It is called the primate. This is nothing but a secret password.
  2. This number is used to create another number called the A smart contract is created to send Lisa 1 ETH, locked with a hashlock created by him. This coin is accessible only when Lisa is able to figure out the preimage to the hash.

Note that calculating the hash from the preimage is easy, but determining the preimage from the hash is extremely challenging. In other words, Lisa cannot unlock the coins until she gets the preimage from Ron himself.

Role of Lisa

Now Lisa checks if she has received coins from Ron. This can be easily verified by checking on the public blockchain. After verification, Lisa creates a smart contract for 0.02 BTC with the same hash used by Ron.

Unlocking the coins

Now when Ron goes on to unlock the coins sent by Lisa, he uses the preimage he had created. But, in doing so, the preimage is recorded on the blockchain and becomes public information. Hence, Lisa can now use that preimage to unlock the coins sent by Ron.

Therefore, this completes the transaction without the involvement of a middleman.

This is a solution to the problem that exists in crypto exchanges. Since most users are still into exchanges, the idea of atomic swaps must be inculcated into exchanges and make them truly decentralized.

Crypto Daily Topic

Why is Bitcoin’s hashrate on the rise? 

Bitcoin’s hash rate has reached an all-time high of almost 120 exahash per second. The crypto reached this milestone two days shy of its birthday – on January 1st. (January 3rd is Bitcoin’s birthday, being the day the first block of Bitcoins was mined.) On new year’s eve, Jameson Lopp, CTO of CASA, the multisig wallet company, tweeted that “Bitcoin’s network hash rate increased by 162% during 2019, from 38 to 100 exahash per second.”

To put this in perspective, bear in mind that Bitcoiners were celebrating when the hash rate went over six exahashes in 2017. 

Also, consider the fact that this year’s surge in hash rate is despite 2018’s rather bearish market, followed by the subdued market sentiment in 2019. 

What’s A Hash Rate?

For the nontechnical crowd, the hash rate is simply the speed at which a mining computer operates. In the case of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that rely on mining to release new coins into existence, the hash rate is the efficiency and performance of a mining machine. It refers to the speed of mining hardware (specialized computers designed to handle the intensive computational power of crypto mining) when trying to solve or “compute” a block.

A higher hash rate is advantageous because it means a miner has an increased chance of finding the next block and receiving a reward.

What Does This Mean For Price? 

Many crypto enthusiasts take a high hash rate to mean a higher price for Bitcoin. But this is still a contested fact. Other people believe that a high hash rate has the opposite effect. 

Sometimes the correlation is the other way round. An increase in Bitcoin price causes the hash rate to surge, as was the case around the period of May to June 2019, when, according to BitInfoChart, hashing power leapfrogged in response to the price uptrend. This trend continued until Bitcoin’s hash rate reached an all-time high of 108.8 m terahashes per second. (100 m TH/s = 1 exahash.)

While the relationship between hash rate and price is still a point of debate, it’s worth noting that the increase in hash rate is happening just as we are entering the year of the next halvening. As we count down to 20 May 2020, the date when Bitcoin halving will take place, prices will almost unquestionably have a bullish run. What effect will this have on the hash rate? We can only wait and see. 

Hash Rate Doesn’t Mean Everything

An increased hash rate translates into stronger network security. That’s pretty much agreed upon. What it does not mean, though, is more miners are joining the network, or decentralization has been strengthened even more. For instance, the vast majority of miners are located in China, as opposed to a proportionate global distribution the way Satoshi Nakamoto envisioned. As such, the hash rate is not close to a holistic dimension of network health. To its credit, however, the network has so far proven resilient against attacks and censorship, which is quite impressive. 


Eleven years since its inception, Bitcoin is presenting with an unprecedented hash rate. This fact only spells good tidings for the network – and its cryptocurrency. The world’s first cryptocurrency is getting stronger, and this is good news for investors, crypto enthusiasts, and even blockchain fans. Let’s see which way the hash rate goes as we advance towards the next halvening, and especially after it.

Crypto Guides

Blockchain Technology – The Fundamental Aspect Of Most Of The Cryptocurrencies


In this crypto guide, we have seen various articles about cryptocurrencies so far. In this article, let us examine the underlying technology, which essentially enables the working of these cryptocurrencies. It is none other than the revolutionary blockchain technology. Bitcoin and blockchain terminologies have been synonymous for a long time, but not anymore. The true potential of blockchain is realized in the past decade, and its applications are being widespread in many industries currently. The adoption is still in its nascent stage, like any other new technology in its initial days. The industries which have adopted the technology are reaping benefits in millions if not in billions already. So, it is important for us to understand what this technology is all about.

What is blockchain?

Blockchains are open global distributed ledgers, which are necessarily a chain of blocks. These blocks contain transactions or records bundled together with encryption techniques called cryptographic hash functions to form a blockchain. This is the simple definition of blockchain. The concept is as simple as it sounds, but it revolutionized the way the records are maintained in any industry.

Blockchain platforms are peer-to-peer networks. Making the ledger open and distributed; this means everyone involved in the system will have a copy of the ledger. The transactions being committed in the network are validated using a consensus algorithm. Say a block has a capacity of 1 MB of transactions, these transactions are verified and sealed in a block. This new block is linked to its previous block using cryptographic techniques. Once the block is linked in the blockchain to the last block, the contents of this block can never be changed. This property is called ‘immutability,’ a significant feature of blockchain.

What are these cryptographic hash functions?

Cryptographic hash functions are standard algorithms designed by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the USA. Any information can be sent through this algorithm, and the output we get is the hash of the input, and it is a unique value. Every block in the blockchain is linked to its previous block using the hash value of the last block. This hash value of a block is generated by all the transactions of a block plus the hash of the previous block. Thus, if we make any change in a block that is mined already, the hash value of that block is changed. All the blocks before that block would be disturbed. Thus, the property of immutability comes into the picture. This is the basics of how blockchain technology works in general.

Different blockchain platforms:

Since realizing the true potential of blockchain, different blockchain platforms are developed for various industrial use cases.

Hyperledger platforms: These platforms are developed for cross-industry applications. It is an umbrella of open source platforms like Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Iroha, and so on, designed for each industrial use.

Ethereum: Ethereum is, again, a platform developed to deploy self-executed contracts known as smart contracts. Also, a platform to create decentralized apps (Dapps) to use the blockchain functionalities in everyday apps we use.

R3 Corda: This is a consortium of around 300 different firms working together in the financial background to nurture and develop the technology to revolutionize the financial sector.

These are only some of the various platforms in use today.

Bottom line

Blockchain, as a technology, has a vast potential to revolutionize many industries. Blockchain developers will be required on a massive scale in the coming future to bridge the gap and to fulfill the requirements. The world where privacy is at stake at the moment, blockchain is a savior to ensure our privacy and security of digital information.