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TECH NEWS

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What is Cryptocurrency? Understanding Bitcoin and Beyond

At some point, you’ve probably heard the terms “cryptocurrency” or “Bitcoin”, but just what is cryptocurrency and why should you care? There’s no denying that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are the future. The term cryptocurrency is defined simply as “decentralized digital money”. According to crypto-expert and author Ray King, there are six distinct features that a cryptocurrency must have: Digital It is purely digital and exists only on computers. There are no buildings, banks or physical notes or coins involved. Decentralized They shouldn’t have a central computer or server. In fact, they are typically distributed across a number of computers. These are called Decentralized Networks. Peer-to-Peer Users deal with each other directly. There are no banks or trusted third parties such as Pay-Pal. The cryptocurrency is passed from one person to the other online. Pseudonymous This simply means that you don’t have to give out any of your personal information. Absolutely anyone can own or use cryptocurrency. Encrypted This is the basis of cryptocurrency. Every user has a special code that stops their information being stolen by other users. It’s called cryptography and is almo st impossible to hack because the data is encrypted. Trust-less Since there are no trusted third parties like banks involved, users always in complete control of their information and money thanks to the system, which doesn’t rely on a centralised database or “ledger” to track all transactions. Global The final feature of a cryptocurrency is that it is available in any part of the globe. Cryptocurrency can be bought and sold or transferred anywhere in the world. They literally have no borders. The Rise of Cryptocurrencies People have been trying to create cryptocurrencies since the early nineties, but it wasn’t until 2009 that someone got it right. Satoshi Nakamoto created the wor ld’s first fully decentralized digital cash system - Bitcoin, which uses blockchain technology. To prove just how private and anonymous cryptocurrency really is, nobody actually knows the true identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto – it could be a man, a woman or even a group of people. Bitcoin quickly became popular amongst users who saw its potential. In April 2011, a Bitcoin (BTC) was worth just $1(USD). By the end of 2017, at its peak, a single Bitcoin was worth more than $20,000. However, since then it has dropped to around $7,500. Apart from Bitcoin, there are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies around and all of them want to change the world. Some examples of these are Litecoin and Ethereum. The la tter has quickly skyrocketed in value since its inception in 2015. It’s officially the second most valuable cryptocurrency available and was used by UNICEF to raise money for children in Syria. Trading cryptocurrencies has also become a popular business for online platforms like Binance, Bitstamp and Coinbase. Even celebrities are getting in on the action. Rapper 50 Cent, also known as Curtis Jackson, accepted Bitcoin as payment for his 2014 album and collected 700BTC. By January 2018, he confirmed that he made nearly $8 Million dollars according to celebrity website TMZ. Cryptocurrencies are seen as the future. They help to stomp out corruption and also provides users with much needed security. You stay in control of your money and your information instead of giving those out to third parties like the banks who hold your personal information and your money. Here’s to the future of cryptocurrency.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro – Rumours, Specs and Release Date

Following the success of the Huawei Mate X and Mate 20 Pro, the Chinese tech giant is gearing up for the release of the latest devices in their Mate series – the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro. There have been a few leaks surrounding the upcoming Mate 30 Pro recently, but nothing has been officially confirmed. The device was expected to be released in mid-October this year, but it seems more likely that the Mate 30 devices will drop in September 2019. Let’s take a look at what could potentially be in store for the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. Operating System A few months back, Huawei were hit with a trade ban in the United States. Thankfully the ban has been l ifted, so Huawei fans can rest assured that their new Mate 30 devices will ship with Google’s Android operating system, most likely Android Q. Although Huawei recently unveiled their Harmony Operating System, also known as Hongmeng, there doesn’t seem to be plans for their latest devices to run this OS just yet. Internal Hardware One thing is certain - the Huawei Mate 30 Pro will get a significant upgrade to its processor and is rumoured to run the Kirin 985 along with a Balong 5000 5G modem. Cameras The Mate 30 Pro’s predecessor, the Mate 20 Pro, housed its cameras in a square cut-out at the rear, but the word among techies is that the Mate 30 Pro may house a rectangular or even a circular cut-out to accommodate more cameras, possibly five lenses at the back of the phone or four lenses with a space for the camera flash. It will boast a 5x optical zoom and a 50x digital zoom. The set up could be similar to the recent P30 Pro, hosting wide, ultrawide and telephoto lenses. It’s unclear whether the front facing camera will be placed in a hole punch, a notch or under the screen. Additional Features & Pricing The Mate 30 Pro is rumoured to have a 4200 mAh battery with 55W fast charging support, and will reportedly be available in Black, Red, Gold White, Blue, Chrome White, Classic Blue, and Classic Red. No official pricing has been released yet, but it is likely to be in the same ballpark as current flagship devices from Samsung, Huawei and Apple, which hover around the R20 000 mark. We’ll keep you updated as more information rolls in.

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Android Q What to Expect from Google’s New OS

The latest software update for Google’s Android operating system (OS) is around the corner. Known as Android Q, the updated OS promises to be packed with a ton of cool new features. Google have already released both a developer and a public version of the software as part of its beta testing. In fact, the fifth beta version was released on the 10th of July this year and is available on 20 phones across 12 different manufacturers. Here are some of the hot new features you can expect: No more Back Button The back button has always been a part of Android, but the time has come for it to go. Following up on Android Pie, which had both the back button and gesture-based navigation, the new Android Q will be totally reliant on gestures. Swiping up takes you to the home screen, a swipe up and hold reveals the multitasking menu, and a swipe from the left or right edge of your screen takes you back. Reduce eye strain with Dark Mode Frequent exposure to the blue light that smartphones emit could potentially harm your eyes. This is why a lot of apps have been introducing a Dark Mode, and Android Q will take it a step further by offering a system-wide Dark Mode that can be switched on or off at any time via the Quick Settings toggle. New Themes This new version of Android will allow you to change the colour of the entire user interface. Instead of the default blue, users will be able to choose from Black, Green, Purple, Cinnamon, Ocean, Space and Orchid. Live Captions Closed captions (CC) are often used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It helps them to understand the content of a video, podcast or movie and is critical for them to understand what is happening on screen. Android Q will offer a feature called Live Caption. It allows for the provision of real-time captions for almost anything on your phone where speech is involved. The great thing is that it happens locally on the device and no internet connection is required. Permissions Security is always a concern for smartphone users and Android Q will provide an extra layer with permissions. The user will have more control over what data apps can access. You get to decide if you would like to grant location access to an app all the time, only when using the app, or even not at all. Foldable Phones This year was said to be the year that foldable phones make their grand debut, so Google has optimized Android Q with foldable-specific features and experiences. So, if you decide to venture into purchasing a foldable smartphone, you will still have access to Google’s latest OS. Android Q is expected to be ready near the end of September

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