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30 Apr 2018
Cryptocurrency Safety

Cryptocurrency Safety

Cryptocurrency Safety

Safety is important in all walks of life, but no more so than in finance. When it comes to our money we have to take precautions to ensure its security. In the world of Fiat (Euro, Dollar), that usually means entrusting it with a central bank; which is not necessarily the most secure method; as the bank can prevent you accessing your account or stop you at any moment accessing your funds for whatever reason. Credit Cards offer some form of security, but if someone has access to your pin or card details, it could become very costly.

Unfortunately we live in a world where everyone is trying to steal something from you, whether that be your identity or your money. You cannot even open an email without wondering if this is a legitimate one. We are bombarded everyday with junk mail and targeted online ads, that we wonder; how did they know I was interested in that? With the increasing popularity of Cryptocurrencies, it is no wonder Hackers and Scammers have taken to this new fintech with glee.

Scams

Because this area is relatively new and increasing in popularity on a daily basis, mainly due to the positive impact it can have on our daily lives, it does open the door to abuse by dishonest individuals. We need to be aware and vigilante to these daily scams and not rush into actions that could give away all your funds. With Cryptocurrency, you are the bank and solely responsible for the security of your assets.

So what methods do scammers use?

There are many and most pray on the new comer into Cryptocurrency, who are not aware of the measures we can take for Cryptocurrency Safety. We have all heard of the saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The same applies here. If it looks too good then it generally is.

Scam [1] which is more prevalent on Twitter, is the “I’m giving away 5 ETH or 5 BTC, all you have to do is send 0.5 and I will return 5 into your wallet”. It is amazing how people still fall for this. Probably because they see a Twitter account from a respected person in the field such as @officialmcafee or @cz_binance and think its a legit giveaway. But please study their address carefully. Their account has been impersonated and the address has a letter of space altered. 

Scam [2] The Hard Fork – This is a classic case of people praying on those hoping to get some free money after a particular coin has gone through a Hard Fork on the Blockchain to create a whole new currency. If you were a holder of the original coin at a particular block size timestamp on the network, you will usually be awarded the same amount in the new coin. The problem here is, we do not know if the new coin is a legitimate coin. They will always ask you to download their wallet from their website and enter your private key as proof of original ownership to get your new coins. The problem is that once you provide your Private Keys to a third party, they immediately have access to your funds and can steal them at anytime. The advice here is: NEVER GIVE AWAY YOUR PRIVATE KEYS. Always think Cryptocurrency Safety!

Scam [3] Upgrade – Again another method to get at your private keys. You will get an email saying you need to upgrade your wallet or verify your wallet or transaction. This is usually followed by a claim that your balance is at risk. This is complete nonsense.

Scam [4] Phishing Sites – Hackers have now taken to impersonating websites that we use as wallets such as https://www.myetherwallet.com or trading sites like https://www.binance.com, which have been known to have two dots on the “i”. So what can be done here? You can either Bookmark the links to your favourite site or even download extensions that help spot phishing sites. These people are trying to access your funds and they know that in some cases you will need to enter your private key to log in, if you do not have a hardware wallet.

Scam [5] Fake Apps – Beware when downloading an App from Google Store or the Apple Store. They may not always be genuine, so always double check before downloading or using them. All they want is your funds.

Scam [6] The other too good to be true; Pyramid schemes or Ponzi Schemes such as Bitconnect. Lending schemes are an absolute no no. They promised you huge returns. Users were able loan their cryptocurrency to the company in exchange for oversized returns depending on the length of the initial loan.

Apart from Scam Six, where there is really nothing you can do if you fall for these schemes, Scammers are after your Private Keys. With these they can access your money/assets and like a bank they own your account. With online wallets or mobile wallets you sometimes need to enter your Private Keys to gain access; this is a weak point. There is never a 100% way to be secure, but the general consensus in the field is to buy a Hardware Wallet. The Private Keys are stored inside the wallet itself, so there is no way for you give it away accidentally or voluntarily. Cryptocurrency Safety is the key.

Useful Links:

Purchase Hardware wallet
Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

10 Jan 2018
Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain, the future is here! It has been for a while in fact, going back to 2009. Like many technologies it does take time for adoption, but only about 1% of the world is currently using Cryptocurrencies on a daily basis. So if you think; am I too late to start? Then think again. How can I get involved and what is Blockchain technology?

 

Cryptocurrencies

There are many types of Cryptocurrencies, but the one that everyone would have heard of is Bitcoin. This has to be by far the largest Market Capitalisation of any of the coins and is helping to drive this market to close to a $1 Trillion market cap. Bitcoin is a digital currency that helps with instant transactions, cutting out the middleman; i.e the Banks. This makes Cryptocurrencies decentralised, putting you in charge of your own financial future. These coins sometimes referred to as Alt Coins (anything that isn’t Bitcoin) or tokens are transacted over a network that is called the Blockchain. This is a kind of operating system for a better description, but the uses are vast and not just for transferring money.

Using digital cryptocurrencies is the only way that we can empower people from all walks of life, no matter where in the world they are from, to be in control of their own money. This is the greatest opportunity to finally lift those out of financial poverty who cannot open bank accounts because they are too poor. With Cryptocurrencies, as long as you have access to the internet you are up and running. The founding father of Bitcoin is a mysterious figure who goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. He/She or they understood what the root of all evil was.

The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts.

Satoshi Nakamoto

Fiat is issued without limit by a central bank. (Legal Tender of the currency in your country i.e Pound Sterling).

 

What Is The Blockchain?

In simplistic terms the blockchain is a limitless chain containing many blocks. These blocks on the chain are where the data is contained. The data that is stored in these blocks is the valid verification of each transaction. So for every transaction that gets approved, it will be added to a new block. This block is sealed once the transaction is complete and the data within cannot ever be removed or altered. It is a permanent record of everything; kind of like a ledger.

You might ask who approves or validates these transactions? Miners. There are others on the network that are rewarded in Bitcoin or other Crypto; depending on which Blockchain, for their assistance in validating these transactions. These miners have computers that complete complex algorithm’s to validate each transaction where there has to be at least 6 separate validations before being approved on the blockchain. This means that nobody can cheat the system. A truly democratic decentralised world.

Other potential uses for the Blockchain technology is storing Medical Records, Legal Documents and be used for more democratic voting systems to prevent fraud.

One of the other exciting uses is Smart contacts, which are especially of interest to companies such as Green Phoenix. Smart Contracts facilitate digitally, negotiate and verify a contact between individuals or companies. These Smart Contacts allow enforceable, trackable and irreversible transactions without the need of third parties; Banks, Lawyers…

 

How Do I Get Started?

So, after reading all of the above, it is evident that we must embrace the future and be part of this decentralised network. That is why Green Phoenix will start to accept Cryptocurrency as an alternative to Fiat currencies.

Below are some useful links to help you get started. If you want to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin, then please use the link to Coinbase below; you will receive free £7 worth of Bitcoin as an introduction once you buy £74 worth. Remember, you do not have to buy a whole coin, only a bit. The smallest decimal of a Bitcoin is called a Satoshi after its founder.

Once you have bought your coins and you have bought a significant amount, I would recommend purchasing a Hardware Wallet to transfer them to. A significant amount would be deemed to be when the cost of the Hardware Wallet is at least one tenth of your total Cryptocurrency holding. So if the Hardware Wallet costs £74, then anything over £74 would mean a Hardware Wallet is definitely recommended. Unfortunately in this day and age I would not recommend keeping any of my Crypto assets online. The Ledger Nano S is the best and highly recommended in the industry.

Also, feel free to get in touch to discuss anything on this exciting subject.

 

Useful Links:

Purchase Bitcoin
https://www.coinbase.com/join/59cb5bf819c8d001f2b1a6d2

Cloud Mining


HashFlare

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trading
https://www.binance.com/?ref=11332176

Hardware wallet
Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

06 Jun 2017
Newspaper Tariff Degression

RHI tariff degression

On 1st June 2017 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that a tariff degression had been passed for biomass, for both the Domestic and Non-Domestic RHI. This will effect all new applications from the 1st July 2017. Only the Non-Domestic Small, Medium Biomass Tariffs will be reduced as indicated on the 1st July 2017.

Below are the new tariffs for the Domestic RHI and Non Domestic RHI:

DOMESTIC

Domestic RHI Tariff

 

NON-DOMESTIC 

Non Domestic Tariff

01 Jun 2016
Newspaper Tariff Degression

Ideal Partnership – Solar Thermal and Biomass

Biomass and Solar Thermal make for a perfect heating combination. Whether domestic or commercial, these two heating sources are by far the best two technologies when used in partnership, helping to bring down those energy costs.

The Biomass Boiler has to be used as the primary heating source, as it is better placed to deal with the demand for heat. The fuel, be it Logs or Pellets will be cheaper if sourced locally or even free in some cases. Biomass systems are often used in buildings that have a relatively high space heating requirement that is quite hard to reduce even once energy saving measures have been take into consideration; such as insulating.

The Solar Thermal Panels would be the second heating source. The number of collectors are calculated not only by the available roof space, but also by the heating demand. The collectors would supply free hot water all year round, working at their most efficient from the months of April to late September. This would mean less work for the primary heat source the Biomass Boiler; so not only are you burning less fuel, but also increasing the working life of the boiler.

The most efficient use of these two heating sources is to link them to a Thermal Store. This store is well insulated and can hold large volumes of hot water for long periods of time without great heat loss, providing heat and hot water for the property as when required. Using a thermal store is the only way of combining these two technologies, as a thermal store is the only form of stored hot water that can efficiently use the energy generated by an uncontrolled heat source, such as a biomass boiler (Basic model).

When the water inside the thermal store reaches an adequate temperature to supply the central heating, the thermostat on the store will tell the boiler to shut down and will supply the heat to your radiators via a central heating pump. At this point there will be some heat loss occurring in the Thermal Store as the hot water is circulating around the central heating system. This is when the Solar Collectors capturing free energy would maintain the temperature so that the biomass boiler wouldn’t be required.

Unfortunately recent legislation means that Solar Thermal cannot contribute to the heating circuit, requiring the Biomass boiler be installed with a Buffer Tank, which can prefeed a twin coil cylinder that has the Solar Thermal connected to it. This is actually a preferred method of installation, as it will mean the Solar Array can be smaller and the Biomass Boiler will not be needed as much as the Solar only has to heat a smaller volume of water.

In simple terms it is in the winter months when there is less sun and a greater demand for heat that the Biomass boiler will be the primary heat source and in the summer months when the heat demand is low but hot water may be required in the same quantities that the Solar Thermal panels will be the primary heat source.

The working partnership of the Solar Thermal and Biomass is just one of the benefits of the two technologies, but with RHI payments available for them both, there is also a financial reward to be deemed as well.

With the Non Domestic RHI, payback could be anywhere from 2- 5 Years’, leading to profitability for the remainder of the scheme (20 Yrs).

To find out more about the advantages of Biomass and Solar Thermal or what it could offer you, contact Green Phoenix. 01225 580 840

22 Oct 2015

Biomass Suppliers List

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched in October 2015 the new sustainable criteria required for the Biomass industry. The Biomass Suppliers List was introduced, ensuring RHI applicants for households, businesses and other organisations use only good quality sustainable fuel. This also applies to existing claimants of the RHI, not just new ones. Under this new legislation, fuels must meet the sustainability criteria set out ensuring that all biomass heating systems run as efficiently as possible.

READ MORE

20 Oct 2015

The Impact of the 2015 Elections for Renewables

No doubt many of us are already worried or wondering what the future holds for Renewables, perhaps more specifically the RHI. How will the elections effect my business or will it effect the industry as a whole? Perhaps it is only the larger subsidised sectors such as Wind and Solar PV that need worry.

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