A Beginner´s Guide to Buying, Selling, Using, and Mining Emercoin:
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Bitcoin may be the most well-known cryptocurrency, but it is by no means the only cryptocurrency. In fact, according to data from CoinMarketCap, there are nearly 300 individual cryptocurrencies with a $10+ million market cap. Each coin is unique in its features and functions, and some have enjoyed returns similar to those of Bitcoin.
A growing number of coins are aiming to accomplish more than simply operating as a new medium of transaction. Some are incorporating blockchain technology into proprietary platforms in hopes of revolutionizing mainstream industries. Others are using their blockchains to serve as foundations for multiple services. One example of this is Emercoin, which had its first public release in December 2013.
Fundamentally, Emercoin is a blockchain. A blockchain is a distributed database or ledger that keeps a history of all transactions that take place on the network. The blockchain, by its very design, is decentralized, which means that no central entity controls its use—whether banks, governments, or corporations. Each participant has the ability to view and audit the ledger.
Emercoin is one of the older cryptocurrencies, so a wide range of educational materials can be found online. One of the best places to start is Emercoin’s reddit page, where users can find all sorts of discussions, definitions, and FAQs. Additionally, the Emercoin team posts news updates to this page, so it's a great place to find the most recently published information.
Users who transact in U.S. dollars or Euros can buy Emercoins directly through certain exchanges. In this case, all one has to do is create an account with an exchange and fund the account with cash or with a credit card. Once the account is funded, the user can purchase Emercoins.
If a user doesn’t have easy access to USD or Euros, they can purchase another coin like Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then exchange these cryptocurrencies for Emercoins. It is a simple extra step that takes very little time.
If a user wants to cash out of their Emercoins, all they have to do is transfer the funds from their crypto wallet to their bank account. For those that use USD or Euros, it is a direct conversion. For those that operate in any other fiat currency, Emercoins must first be converted to Bitcoin or Ethereum, then exchanged for a fiat currency. Once the funds have been transferred to a bank account, they can be withdrawn from an ATM.
Emercoin’s most popular use is as an investment vehicle. Investors can purchase a stake in Emercoin and hold their position in their crypto wallet, hoping to realize capital gains after the coin has appreciated in value. Others choose a more active approach, trading in and out of the coin on a more frequent basis with the hopes of correctly timing market moves.
One benefit of investing in cryptocurrencies like Emercoin is that their value isn’t tied to a central bank like other currencies. Because Emercoin is free from the monetary policy of central bankers, its exchange rate isn’t affected by rising or falling interest rates like traditional fiat currencies are.
The Emercoin blockchain itself can be used as the basic infrastructure for a wide variety of distributed services. Businesses and individuals can use Emercoin to establish SSL based passwordless authentication web portals. They can also use it to create digital proof-of-ownership solutions for goods and services, or use it for decentralized pay-per-click network advertising.
Mining is the process of grouping and verifying the transactions that occur on a blockchain’s network. Miners, the individuals or groups (called mining pools) that complete this process, gather transactions together in bundles called blocks. Then, the blocks are mined according to the blockchain’s protocol. Emercoin is one of the more unique cryptocurrencies in that it implements both proof-of-work and proof-of-stake mining protocols.
Proof-of-work (PoW) mining requires high amounts of computing power and specialized mining software. This is because PoW mining utilizes complex mathematical algorithms to solve blocks. Mining software creates high volumes of functions in hopes of satisfying the block’s problem. There isn’t actually any math involved—the software and algorithm simply spam the block until the correct solution is proposed. Miners that solve the block first are rewarded with coins. They can also use mining calculators to determine how feasible a given block is.
In contrast, proof-of-stake (PoS) mining requires much less computing power and is much more energy efficient. PoS mining is based on coin ownership rather than raw computing power. In PoS mining, users verify transactions and secure the network based on the number of Emercoins they hold. This is their stake. In a lottery-like process, the miner of a new block is chosen at random. Once a miner is chosen, the coin is mined automatically as a function of the network.
Another unique aspect of Emercoin is that on February 2017 the platform switched over to merged mining. This means that now all users can earn both Emercoins and Bitcoins through the mining process, using the SHA-256 Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm. In their June 2016 announcement, the team noted that the switch to merged mining will grow network stability by increasing the blockchain’s complexity and thereby decreasing the likelihood and effectiveness of network attacks. Emercoin will greatly benefit from the mining power directed to the Bitcoin network. Now, miners can make money in two digital currencies while using the same equipment.
To mine Emercoin through the PoW protocol, users must verify that they have enough processing power, then download the appropriate mining software. Once this is done, they can join a mining pool and run the software to begin mining.
In a PoS mining setup, all users have to do is encrypt their Emercoin wallet and unlock the wallet in “mint only mode”. Then, they can leave their wallet as is, and PoS mining will automatically take place. The earnings from PoS mining are about 6% per year. The actual number of coins minted will depend on the size of the miner’s stake.
How will Emercoin Scale?
The scalability issue has been a sore subject for cryptocurrencies since their inception. However, at the beginning of 2016, Emercoin implemented a Transaction Optimizer to help reduce blockchain size and decrease the size of all transactions, thereby streamlining the transaction verification process and increasing efficiency. According to Emercoin CTO Oleg Khovayko, the optimizer “saves memory for blockchain. We estimated, BC memory saving about 5-10%. Not so much, but it is free. And, of course, this will save network traffic, too.”
As Emercoin’s price chart shows, there has been a large increase in volume, so the Transaction Optimizer is certainly being put to work. Though the optimizer doesn’t completely solve the problem of blockchain scalability, it is a step in the right direction.