Category Archives: Fintech

DeFi

DeFi : The Future of Finance

The application of blockchain technology in the world of finance has created a new landscape called DeFi or decentralized finance. DeFi has manifested an astonishing growth in the year 2021 and it is still burgeoning. It has unleashed a wave of innovation.

What exactly is DeFi?

There is no standard definition for Decentralized Finance. Some say it is an alternative financial infrastructure, some say it is an umbrella term for peer-to-peer financial systems, some say it is a competitive marketplace of decentralized financial applications, and so on.

Decentralized Finance is an ecosystem of financial applications and protocols that runs on blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is inherently decentralized in nature. DeFi financial applications leverage this aspect and run without relying on intermediaries like banks, brokers or exchanges. Moreover, the backbone of all DeFi protocols and applications is smart contracts.

What problems does DeFi solve?

The biggest and the fundamental problem that DeFi solves is the removal of intermediaries in the financial system. Harvey et al. in their book Defi and the Future of Finance describe that DeFi solves five key problems of the current financial system: centralized control, limited access, inefficiency, lack of interoperability, and opacity.

Harvey et al. in their book Defi and the Future of Finance describe that DeFi solves five key problems of the current financial system: centralized control, limited access, inefficiency, lack of interoperability, and opacity.

The DeFi Market:

DeFi has manifested tremendous growth in the year of 2021. As of January 15, 2022, the total value locked in the DeFi space was approx $237 billion, growing by a staggering 1,266% from the January 1, 2021 figure of $18.71 billion.

Figure 1: Total value locked (TVL) in DeFi as of Jan 15, 2022 (Source DeFi Llama)

How can DeFi solve your problems?

DeFi solves the problem of lack of transparency in the traditional finance system through the open and contractual nature of agreements. Smart contracts helps to encode the agreements. Anyone can read the smart contracts codes thereby ensuring transparency. Moreover, all transactions are publicly visible.

Traditional financial system is trust based and dependent on centralized institutions. DeFi replaces some of these trust requirements with smart contracts. The decentralized blockchain network stores the smart contracts.

Before we delve into each problem, let’s look at the different layers of the DeFi stack.

Figure 2: DeFi Stack

The settlement layer (Layer 1) consists of the native protocol of the blockchain network (e.g., ETH, BTC, MATIC). These native tokens are specific to their blockchain network, i.e, ETH is on Ethereum network, BTC is on Bitcoin network, and so on.

The asset layer (Layer 2) consists of all the assets issued on top of the settlement layer. These assets are usually referred to as tokens (e.g., ERC-20 based DAI token in Ethereum). Developing smart contracts that follow EIP standards like ERC-20, ERC721, ERC1155 helps to create tokens.

The protocol layer (Layer 3) contains the smart contract-based protocol implementation for different use cases such as decentralized exchanges (DEX), lending, derivatives, on-chain asset management, and so forth.

The application layer (Layer 4) consists of end-user applications which are accessible via web browsers or mobile apps.

Layer 5 is the aggregation layer that combines several protocols and applications and provides services like rate comparison, trading strategies, and so forth (e.g., 1inch, Zapper, Zerion).

DeFi solves the problem of limited access by allowing the creation of an open and accessible financial system. It enables direct access to financial services for the globally unbanked population. As a result,  it allows access to all users irrespective of their wealth or geographic location.

DeFi in the current world:

Trading today is extremely centralized in the traditional finance world. Five exchanges control 50% of the volume of all stocks. In a traditional exchange like the New York Stock Exchange buyers and sellers offer up different prices until they come to an agreement on a sale price. Only a small subset of the traditional finance world has access to the full order book of prices, limiting price discovery for everyday users. However, there is a limit on the liquidity for certain securities. DeFi solves these problems with an innovation called automated market makers (AMM).

Decentralized Exchanges use an automated market maker (AMM) for automated trading. AMMs is essentially an exchange which helps to swap one cryptocurrency for another. The liquidity pool maintains a particular exchange rate, for example 10 ETH to 1 BTC. This is a pool with a variable exchange rate between two currencies. The AMM facilitates a price for transactions based on the supply, demand and liquidity in a pool. The investors in the pool put money into it to earn a yield. Some of the popular decentralized exchanges are Curve Finance, Uniswap, PancakeSwap, and SushiSwap.

Traditional finance institutions tend to work in silos and maintain their own ledgers. Hence one financial service may not be interoperable with another. DeFi is built on public blockchains and open standards. This allows for interoperability across different decentralized apps (or dapps). However, there is a limit on the interoperability to the same blockchain network. As a result, there are lots of initiatives in progress that focus on enabling cross-chain communication across different blockchain networks.

Final Thoughts:

FinTech has been trending over the past few years. Many FinTech startups have been harnessing innovation and using technology to improve the delivery of financial services. Fintech companies use technology to create better financial services to customers and other businesses. They include big data, AI/ML, automated CRM, robo advising, personal finance, insuretech, payments, lending platforms, and so on. However, one main difference between FinTech and DeFi is that most of the FinTech solutions are centralized; however all DeFi platforms are decentralized.

Defi not only addresses the drawbacks of the centralized finance systems but also has paved the way to many innovative financial instruments such as atomic swaps, autonomous liquidity pools, decentralized stablecoins, flash loans, among others. In short, DeFi has a lot of potential and can play a pivotal role in the future of finance.

Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in Financial Services industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Fintech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done. Click here to know more:

Case study on e-Wallet mobile application.

Test automation of digital payments.

Case study on Brokerage management system.

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Cloud first

Cloud first strategy: Driving innovation for credit unions

Cloud first strategy – The essentials:

Cloud services have transformed the way businesses operate across different sectors. This holds true, especially for the financial sector, where more and more financial service providers are making the transition. As per a recent survey by Celent, over 50% of the global financial institutions say that they expect their system to completely transition to the cloud within 5 years. Post the Covid 19 pandemic, cloud has paved the way for more remote operations within the financial industry, making its adoption more likely in the future.

As the name suggests, ‘Cloud first strategy’ is all about considering cloud-based technology solutions before any other. It allows businesses to save money on software and hardware infrastructure by subscribing to a service provider who can provide the same services at a cheaper cost, and at a premium quality.

As most people might know it, there are three kinds of cloud:

  1. Private cloud – operated solely for a credit union
  2. Public cloud – shared by several organizations and available to any paying customer
  3. Hybrid cloud – combining your private and public cloud functionality to find packages that best suit one’s needs.

IBM has referred to the public cloud phenomenon as “one of the most important shifts in the history of enterprise computing”. It is still a growing sector, as more organizations are becoming familiar with its increasing benefits.

Similarly, while there are credit unions who vouch for the benefits of the public cloud, others are unsure to bring about a complete cloud migration. CSI’s 2021 Banking Priorities Executive Report cites that over 60% bankers did not have the prerequisite information prior to investing in the public cloud. The next section talks in brief about some of the misconceptions associated with public cloud and how credit unions can benefit from the transition.

Misconceptions:

  1. The pace of transition: A popular misnomer about the public cloud is that the entire transition has to be made at once. Credit unions are creating a hybrid environment where some of the infrastructure remains on-premise.
  2. The fear of ‘all or nothing’ approach: Most bankings services are fearful of making the transition to putting everything on the cloud. The truth is most of their operations such as Office 365 and dropbox are already there.
  3. Security breaches: News of security breaches are often making the headlines nowadays. Many credit unions feel that being on the public cloud will make them vulnerable to data breaches. While such breaches do occur, they can be mitigated with proper security configurations.

With an increase in inclination towards adopting a cloud strategy by credit unions, it is important that proper security considerations are kept in mind while partnering with cloud providers. By carefully working with the right provider, businesses can look into the secure configuration of their environments. They can also maximise the cloud’s security and privacy benefits.

Benefits:

  1. Compliance – A strong cloud strategy provider ensures compliance with tight security measures, making audits much easier than ever before. Partnering with a public cloud provider entails outsourcing of important compliance related responsibilities. This allows credit unions to utilize a provider’s established framework. Many financial institutions have made large investments in cloud based compliance frameworks. These would have otherwise been highly unaffordable and unsustainable in an onsite infrastructure.
  2. Scalability – Physical servers are not compatible with scale. Credit unions therefore must take into account future needs and industry demands. By migrating to the cloud, institutions can bring about greater flexibility, agility and affordability. Migration to the cloud means more resources can be added to their environment while enjoying cost benefits from the process.
  3. Cost efficiencies – It is possible to buy only as much physical infrastructure. This leads to wastage and inadequate utilization. With the public cloud, a credit union can customise its purchases and expand its infrastructure only when needed. This leads to potential cost savings and allows credit unions to enjoy the benefits of a managed IT environment.
  4. Availability – The public cloud ensures a credit union with a resilient IT environment. It ensures a safety net during server malfunctions resulting in a smooth sailing of operations. It improves the overall day to day experience of both employees and customers, engaged in working with credit unions.
  5. Access – In the 21st century and especially in the post pandemic world, timely access to services is everything. Via cloud, credit unions can manage a remote workforce, use an increasing range of high-speed connectivity options, interact with a diverse range of modern cloud based resources and so on. With proper systems, the cloud strategy can transform financial institutions and their private networks.

Final thoughts:

The credit union industry has been slow on the uptake to adopt a cloud strategy due to analysis paralysis. With industry leaders paving the way, more and more people are opting for digital transformation through a secure cloud strategy.

With infrastructure reaching the end of its life, tech inventory mapping becoming challenging. Physical IT infrastructure becomes difficult to build, manage and maintain. With the increasing need to adopt resilient platforms such as Data Recovery, a cloud first strategy is imperative for credit unions.

A cloud strategy can bring down an organization’s costs by 30-50%, primarily by reducing dependency on infrastructure. It also offers an economy of scale by collaborating with cloud providers like AWS on security, compliance and new opportunities. This paves way for credit union IT systems to focus on forging new partnerships and boosting new applications, which they previously did not have the time to do.

Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in Financial Services industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Fintech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done. Click here to know more:

Case study on e-Wallet mobile application.

Test automation of digital payments.

Case study on Smart card for pocket money.

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
API

Capitalize on advances of API in Open Banking

Introduction:

While big data and its associated algorithms and analytics are a powerful step to gaining insight, a more fundamental building block for the data market is access. Most industries have started leveraging an easier access to data through API. The financial services industry considers it to be a priority too. Some of the global steps that have been taken to adopt data for public sector transparency and integrity include the G20’s Anti-Corruption Working Group and the European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

Data sharing can be seamlessly accomplished through API or more popularly known as application programming interface. According to a Mckinsey report, API is an intelligent conduit that allows for data flow between systems in a controlled yet seamless fashion. APIs are in use in banking systems for years now. However, with the breakthroughs in advanced analytics and the positive market response to numerous non-banking fintech companies, APIs are once again in the limelight. Experts believe it has the potential to enhance the delivery of financial services across sectors, including retail and business.

Open banking with its benefits to consumers, banks and non-banks is expected to usher in a new financial services ecosystem where the roles of banks may undergo a marked shift. It also raises issues around compliance and data privacy. This is the reason why global markets have been leaning more towards increasing governance. There is a global momentum towards open banking models, leading to an overhaul in the blueprint based on which these systems have been previously operational. This requires banks and fintechs to position for success in a new environment while anticipating what its impact on customers could potentially be.

What is open banking?

As per the same McKinsey report, open banking is a collaborative model in which banking data is shared through APIs between two or more unaffiliated parties to deliver enhanced capabilities to the marketplace. API has been popularly adopted for decades, particularly in the US. This helps to foster the growth of personal financial management software, show billing details on bank websites and connect platform developers to payment networks like Visa and Mastercard. However, API was primarily used to share information rather than to facilitate the transfer of monetary balances.

Benefits of open banking:

The benefits of open banking are substantial. They include improved customer experience, new and increased revenue streams and a service model that can cater to traditionally unexplored markets. Examples include Mint, Lending Club in the US to Lenddo in the Philippines.

However, these advances are not as easy as they sound. Research says that with the emergence of integrated digital ecosystems, these ecosystems collide threatening operating models and preventing business innovation. Additionally, most of the breakthroughs have happened outside the realm of financial services. This makes rich data and their associated data flows look more like a threat than an opportunity. The non-banking sector has demonstrated a more serious market traction so far. Hence, open banking is a model still in its nascent stages.

However for the banking sector, there are inherent risks in sharing data flows. This makes data security and matters of compliance and governance of utmost importance.  The real API value proposition lies in streamlining systems integration for data access. The aforementioned issues of privacy and security makes it a monumental infrastructure challenge.

Facilitation of a futuristic collaboration:

Open banking models can facilitate a series of services for all stakeholders in the financial services. For example -Wechat has enabled e-commerce through their platforms. This model can evolve into a one-stop-shop platform integrated with personalized experiences and commerce centered apps. Other services like Trustly provide credit extensions at checkouts, where a purchase decision can be influenced.

Open banking also ensures financial inclusion. This helps banks and financial networks arrive at a more precise risk and credit analysis of members who have been potentially excluded from the financial system. For example – Angaza in Africa. This is a unique way of introducing and including more consumers to the formal financial system.  This has the possibility of expanding market opportunities in a particular geography. Incubators and venture capitalists from around the world have shown particular interest in newbies who are aspiring to incorporate nonfinancial data with transactions based on data insights.

While it is true that open banking will reduce control in traditional banks, the banking ecosystem will however gain from larger profit pools. It can also position itself to play a leading role in combining artificial intelligence and predictive analysis. This in turn will improve integration of banking services for customers and the enhancement of business offerings.

Challenges:

The challenges vary by geography, demographics and the ecosystem development in that particular country. Banks with larger global footprints expect to face challenges in the future regarding regulations and standards. By 2023-24, banks should leverage their incumbent advantages by doing the following:

1. Be a game changer by staying ahead of the curve, exploring data sharing with fintech and non-financial services.

2. Explore the value of APIs and how they can benefit the bank’s service model.

3. Fully understand data privacy mandates and determine if their institution has the appetite for a less conventional approach. Also examine how API could facilitate future customer messaging without incurring any damage.

Final thoughts:

Open banking and API banking are two terms that are becoming universally popular. They have the potential of radically transforming customer experiences and making banking experience a more personalised and less time-consuming process. It is important that banks, fintechs, investment houses and other payment service providers look into its potential and explore opportunities around it.

Change is rarely comfortable, but with the market evolving across countries, it is slowly coming across as inevitable. It will be better if banks start defining the trend rather than waging a futile battle to repel it.

Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in Financial Services industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Fintech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done with API in Fintech industry. Click here to know more:

Case study on Student loan approval system.

Case study on Smart card for pocket money.

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
CREDIT UNIONS

Reimagining member experience for Credit Unions and Microfinance Banks

Introduction:

Consumers today are more inclined to turn to credit unions due to competitive product pricings and personalized services. Building on these strengths and showing commitment to local communities, is a strong way for credit unions and microfinance organizations to attract and sustain loyal members.

To reimagine member experiences for these organizations, it is important to build on member engagement, technology and personalization. An important part of attracting new members and retaining the existing ones is by knowing who they are and what they want. This information can be utilized to provide data that can be managed, assessed and analysed to exceed the member’s expectations.

What areas should credit unions focus on:

Personalization:

Having one-on-one and personal interactions with your members is an important part of increasing members. Adding a personalised and human touch in the times of digital connectivity makes an interesting experience to begin with. Some of the ways in which credit unions and microfinance banks can add a human touch to their experiences are by following the strategies below:

1. Creating a culture when members can speak and feel heard

2. Customer engagement through surveys and feedback taking processes.

3. Share member feedback with other office members and management, including staff meetings

4. Acceptance of constructive criticism.

5. Matching staff experts to member needs because a tele-caller or a customer service executive might not be the best person to solve all needs

6. Hassle-free contact and communication experience for the member.

For example – if someone has a question about buying a home, they should be paired with a home loan or mortgage expert. This helps quicker problem solving and a smoother transition for both the interested customer and the bank. Various softwares are available to manage bookings between members and staff. Without a doubt, technology plays a big role in streamlining affairs for both parties.

In times of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to focus on targeted communication to build member loyalty. Periodic newsletters from experts in your company to members can help bridge the gap in times of uncertainty. This is a small way in which members can feel confident and included post the pandemic.

Relationship Building:

Across a spectrum of consumers, credit unions and microfinance banks have a core set of interests. As per a 2019 study by Accenture, most consumers said the following:

1. They expressed interest in a one-stop-shop for checking accounts and all the different loans.

2. 1 out of 2 customers said that they preferred customized services based on their spending habits.

3. They were comfortable with sharing data as long as they saw benefits in it and customer experience improved.

4. Integration of physical and online channels for a more integrated experience.

The report additionally found that consumers generally fell into one out of the four categories of pioneers, pragmatists, skeptics and traditionalists. This information helps to pay closer attention to each audience type along with the background and the demographic they represent. Credit unions and banks need to therefore ensure that they are meeting customer expectations.  Also, they can come up with a range of products and services, revamped for the post Covid-19 era and beyond.

Positive employee engagement:

Having a happy employee might not appear as an overt advantage, but an employee who is more comfortable at his workplace is bound to be more productive and build greater assets for the company. Flexibility in work schedules, a warm workplace and potential for growth are some of the parameters for employee well being.

The benefits of a positive employee experience include lower staff turnover, improved staff productivity, higher sales and better customer service. As per a latest study by MIT, company profitability can increase by 25% with high levels of employee experience. .

Thus, taking a proactive approach in recruitment, training and advancing staff skills means a better utilization of human resources who will be well equipped to local communities and a growing consumer base.

Technology Trends:

Majority of consumers prefer a superior digital experience over competitive rates and fees. While banks are investing billions to improve their mobile banking and overall digital experiences, credit unions and microfinance banks do not have the capital bandwidth to make that level of investment. But making some small changes can yield a huge impact for this sector. An easily navigable website for instance helps customers organize their time and queries better while avoiding long queues. It will also be helpful in guiding both potential and existing clients to find what they are looking for.

As per the 2020 Credit Union Innovation Index, only 11% of credit unions have innovated their data analytics in the past 3 years. Having 24/7 access to the credit union or microfinance bank through online chats is the easiest way to adopt digitization to ensure members feel supported and communicated with. Going digital is the best method of creating positive and accessible experiences for one and all. While digital strategies are associated with tech giants and industry leaders such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft, smaller organizations can adopt inexpensive and accessible strategies to improve overall customer experience.

How can Credit unions benefit from these trends:

There are online tools and digital channels that can not only prove to be an improved sales and marketing experience but useful for a personalized experience with your banking organization. This includes capturing big data to have a complete understanding of each community, geography and member.

One way in which one-on-one connections can be enhanced is by using appointment-setting software. Also, Dynamic queuing system can provide a quick and efficient way to cut to the chase for the customer.

CRM is also another important piece of the data analysis, an inexpensive medium to help track important members’ information such as birthdays and anniversaries. This can also help for further personalization efforts, spoken earlier in the article.

Credit unions and microfinances can improve their member experience by creating a data and digital driven strategy to strengthen employee engagement, embrace simple yet effective technology innovations and create a personalised experience for every member. Hence, CUs and microfinances can explore easy methods to drive member engagement.

In today’s tech dominated world, digital transformation cannot be overlooked by credit unions and microfinance banks. Attracting the younger, tech-savvy and smarter generations, will involve smarter products and services along with a higher trust quotient. This will in turn allow these institutions to be differentiated from the banking industry and not get lost amidst the growing competition of the post pandemic world.

Final thoughts:

Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in Financial Services industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Fintech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done. Click here to know more:

Case study on e-Wallet mobile application.

Test automation of digital payments.

Case study on Smart card for pocket money.

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

How Bitcoin Solves the Double-Spending Problem?

Many of us probably already have heard of Bitcoin. We know what innovation it has brought into this world – the blockchain technology. As of this writing, it has been almost a decade since its inception and it has long thrived without any central control over the network.

Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, has inspired many other projects and can be seen as a pioneer of the underpinning blockchain technology. That said, it would be worth exploring how Bitcoin solves the double-spending problem. Instead of delving into theoretical exposition we will experience a transaction process in this pioneering innovation. We will be making a transaction on a real network and analyzing what a Bitcoin transaction looks like. A transaction in the Bitcoin network is a bit complex than a conventional digital transaction.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Comparison with Fiat Currency Transaction

In a transaction that involves currency notes, we can easily envisage two parties exchanging some goods or services in exchange for the money. One party receives the goods/services and the party pays in currency notes. Let us say the transaction was costing $50 and the payer has $100 currency note. The payer would pay $100 and would receive in change $50 (as shown below). Both the currency notes are legal tender that is supplied by a central bank. A Bitcoin transaction also involves paying and may too involve receiving back change and in this respect is quite similar to our day-to-day transaction.


Comparison with Conventional Digital Transaction

A conventional digital transaction, say the online transfer of money, involves two parties and a mediator (the bank). So, there is a “From address” (A/C No.), a “To address” (A/C No.) and the amount (value transfer). There is no concept of change in a conventional digital transaction. If you want to transfer $1050 then you can transfer the exact amount and this is a mere process of debiting from sender’s account and crediting to the receiver’s account with the help of the mediator who validates the transaction. However, a Bitcoin transaction may involve multiple From addresses and multiple To addresses without any mediator. We will explore how this is possible.

As it is with any traditional transaction, ours will have the following attributes: a “From entity”, a “To entity” and the value to transfer. Let us send an amount of 0.1 BTC to a Bitcoin user as follows:

From: n2FSwa6DsMsbJgNknB64ThR3pHPUQ79bxL
To: msqdPeF7KeEqcWUNAFMm8JQijVB3cnLi4N

Amount: 0.1 BTC

The transaction has been done and the transaction details can be seen here

Bitcoin Transaction

Now, what looks legitimate is the From address (left) and the one of the To addresses with 0.1 BTC sent. However, two things look contradictory. Firstly, we sent 0.1 BTC but it says 1.0 BTC being transferred. Secondly, there is one more To address to which some amount has been sent.

Is something wrong with this transaction? Not really! You can check the above transaction in block explorer and verify yourself that it is indeed the same transaction. But this is the way Bitcoin works. Let us explore.

What is a Bitcoin Transaction made up of?

A transaction in Bitcoin consists of inputs and outputs. The input is like a “From address” which is in Bitcoin terms an unspent transaction output. When you want to make a transaction you will always spend an unspent transaction output as a whole. That said, you end up paying the entire amount. However, you receive the remaining amount in a different address called change address. This change address is your own address where you collect the change, which in turn is an unspent transaction output. This is quite common in Bitcoin transactions. For instance, someone sent you 1.0 BTC. Now you want to send 0.5 BTC to your friend. You cannot break the 1.0 BTC but you will spend the entire 1.0 BTC in a transaction and get the change in your change address.

Transaction Fee

Back to our transaction. Now, let us verify that the amount in input and outputs are balanced. So, 1 BTC – (0.1 BTC + 0.89432145 BTC) should be 0. But it turns out to be 0.00567855. So, where did this amount go?

Well, this is the transaction fee that is paid to the miner who helped you in validating the transaction, adding it into a block, mining the block, and broadcasting to the network. The miner is given this amount as a mining fee for the work he has done.

The mining fee is charged in satoshi per byte. Our transaction has a size of 225 bytes and we were charged 2523.8 satoshi per byte. So, 2523.8 x 225 = 0.00567855 BTC.

The Concept of UTXO

Note that the two outputs here are mentioned as “unspent”. This is how bitcoin keeps track of balances. The sum of all unspent transaction outputs is what constitutes your balance. Bitcoin network does not have any database or global state of balance amount rather it uses the concept of UTXO.

So, how is a UTXO represented in the bitcoin protocol? Perhaps in the bitcoin protocol, there is no concept of “From address”. Yes, there is no concept of From address in Bitcoin. The Bitcoin addresses are used to receive payments. A transaction in Bitcoin never encodes a From address but only has a reference to a previous unspent transaction output. That said, the input of a Bitcoin address is actually a previous unspent output. Bitcoin refers to a previous unspent transaction output using a combination of transaction ID (or transaction hash) and an index. Once an unspent transaction is spent you cannot spend it again and thus prevent the double spending.

A Transaction with Multiple Inputs

So, how will a Bitcoin user transact an amount for which he has no unspent transaction output equal to or above that value? Say, a user wants to transfer 5 bitcoins but none of his unspent transaction output has that much amount although the user has multiple unspent transactions that add up to a value greater than 5.  Bitcoin allows you to combine unspent transaction outputs. A transaction with multiple inputs would sound new to a person doing a conventional digital transaction. This is because a conventional digital transaction always has only one sender (or From address). Let us analyze a bitcoin transaction with multiple inputs. In this case, the Bitcoin user wants to send 1.02 bitcoins but he has no unspent transaction outputs of that value. So, the user combines two inputs and then transacts (see below).

Bitcoin Transaction

The above transaction (ac194c19201a20cdd26bbb8d696588370c06261148fd20a96b3330b0bcb03207 ) has two inputs and two outputs and it is absolutely a valid transaction in Bitcoin. The total amount of BTC of these two inputs, which is 1.04997424 BTC, is sufficient to send a transaction of 1.02 BTC. And the remaining value has been collected in a change address with 0.02997013 BTC.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

How are transactions validated in Bitcoin?

Let us take an example of a transaction that involves one input and one output (as below). Here,  the input is a reference to a previous unspent transaction at index 0. The previous transaction is referred by a transaction hash: f5d8ee39a430901c91a5917b9f2dc19d6d1a0e9cea205b009ca73dd04470b9a6
The output sends 50 bitcoins to a bitcoin address. When the recipient wants to spend this 50 bitcoin he will reference output 0 of this transaction as an input of his own transaction.

Input:

Previous tx: f5d8ee39a430901c91a5917b9f2dc19d6d1a0e9cea205b009ca73dd04470b9a6
Index: 0
scriptSig: 304502206e21798a42fae0e854281abd38bacd1aeed3ee3738d9e1446618c4571d10

90db022100e2ac980643b0b82c0e88ffdfec6b64e3e6ba35e7ba5fdd7d5d6cc8d25c6b241501

Output:

Value: 5000000000

scriptPubKey: OP_DUP OP_HASH160 404371705fa9bd789a2fcd52d2c580b65d35549d

OP_EQUALVERIFY OP_CHECKSIG

Bitcoin uses a scripting system to verify a transaction. There are two script components that can be seen in the above transaction: scriptPubKey and scriptSig. So, the scriptSig refers to the sender’s signature and the public key. The scriptPubKey is the script that will be evaluated using bitcoin protocol and if the execution of the script returns true then the transaction is valid.

scriptSig: <sig> <pubKey>
scriptPubKey: OP_DUP OP_HASH160 <pubKeyHash> OP_EQUALVERIFY OP_CHECKSIG

Let us see how this script is executed on the stack:

Step 1: Combine scriptSig and scriptPubKey in that order
Step 2: Push <sig> and <pubKey> to stack
Step 3: Execute the operation OP_DUP which will duplicate top item, which is <pubKey>
Step 4: Execute the operation OP_HASH160 which will create hash of the <pubKey> and this hash will be pushed to the stack.
Step 5: Execute the operation OP_EQUALVERIFY to ensure the hash generated matches with the <pubKeyHash>
Step 6: Execute the operation OP_CHECKSIG for the two hashes on the stack.

In summary, a Bitcoin transaction involves one or more inputs and one or more outputs, has no concept of From addresses in its protocol, uses a concept of unspent transaction output, and verifies the transaction using a scripting architecture.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. To know more about our company, please click on Mindfire Solutions. 

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •