You may have read about the ransomware attack on England’s National Health Service, as well as tens of thousands of other computers in more than 100 countries. Hackers locked computers with encryption until a payment of $300 of Bitcoin was made through the ransomware software, which provided customer service so victims could figure out how to make the payment. The malicious attack reportedly prevented the NHS from accepting patients, painting Bitcoin in a negative light and shifting attention from its economic potential.
Answering the question, “What is Bitcoin?” is difficult, even for people in the tech world. It questions the philosophical basis of currency and value, forcing people to rethink what constitutes money itself. A mysterious programmer (or group of programmers) named Satoshi Nakamoto wondered the same thing, leading them to develop an open-source payment protocol with an accompanying digital currency. The “cryptocurrency” works on technology called the blockchain, a publicly distributed ledger of all transactions made on the network. This means everyone using the software works together to verify transactions and to ensure the numbers are correct.
The beauty of this system is its decentralized nature. Previously, our conception of money was of fiat money, currency issued by a centralized bank based in a nation-state, only to have value because its issuer has the authority to say it has value. Bitcoin has no centralized issuer. Satoshi Nakamoto wrote the protocol to contain a total of 21 million Bitcoins, released on a fixed schedule until sometime between 2110–2140. New Bitcoins are awarded to “miners” who verify transactions, package them into a “block” and add it to the blockchain ledger.
Now, the beauty of this system is also its downfall. Although Bitcoin is decentralized, several mining pools with access to large amounts of computing power and electricity own a large portion of the protocol, affecting decisions about how Bitcoin will operate in the future. The mining world is currently in the midst of a civil war, deciding how to scale the protocol for faster transaction times as more people join the action.
While this was an extremely shorthand explanation of how it works, what’s far more interesting is its real-world application. People can now send money to each other without banks, money transfers or currency exchanges getting in the way, but the decentralization and fixed supply of the cryptocurrency also means there’s no one to stabilize its value. The investing world is quickly buying into Bitcoin and a variety of other “altcoins” as a speculative asset, though prices are extremely volatile due to the unprecedented technology.
If you’re interested in using Bitcoin, more and more vendors accept it as a form of payment, and cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase make it easy to buy without knowing how the technology works.
— Akhil Kalepu, digital contributor and technology columnist
Travelers interested in the trend of forest bathing have a new resource at their disposal. Forest Bathing Finder is an all-in-one website that connects forest bathing walkers with trained guides. Forest bathing guides list qualifications and venues, routes, walks and payment requirements for browsing forest bathers to then peruse.
Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Take a visual journey through Japan with us.
THERE’S NO DOUBT 2020 HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED year for the travel industry. As borders begin to reopen and destinations, hotels and airlines around the world prepare to welcome travelers once again, we’re celebrating travel and looking to the future as we congratulate the winners of our eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. This annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines and cruises.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Best Western Hotels & Resorts opened its third Aiden by Best Western. The Aiden brand is designed to give travelers boutique, modern, stylish and locally inspired stay experiences. The new property is situated in Warm Springs, Georgia, adjacent to the Warm Springs Hotel and Event Center.
Paul Gauguin Cruises offers savings up to $3,050 per person on select voyages when booked by July 8. Round-trip airfare between Los Angeles (LAX) and Papeete (PPT), Tahiti, is included. Deposits for the select sailings have been reduced to $250 per person.
Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Through Sept. 7, guests at M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas can enjoy the No Resort Fee Summer promotion. The resort will waive daily resort fees on all reservations, and guests can also take advantage of summer rates beginning as low as $75 per night. Book online or by calling 877 673 7678.