Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

A while ago we have introduced the Brave Payments Feature Powered by Bitcoin as a means for users to support their favorite websites by using the Brave browser and tipping them with Bitcoin. Now it is time to go through the Publisher side of things, guiding you through the steps required from website owners to claim any funds their users have sent them. This is an alternative way for users to support the websites they follow and like with their ads blocked by the Brave browser, because after all ads are usually the main revenue stream for most websites that do not sell products or services, but instead provide information.

Lets get started with what you need to go through in order to start using Brave Payments for your own website and be able to get supported by your readers through Bitcoin tips. You need to start by opening the Brave Publishers Dashboard to initiate the signup process and versification of your ownership of the website you want to register. Just click on the Start Verification button to initiate the website ownership confirmation process…

The first step is to enter your website URL and your contact details, after submitting that information you will receive an email to the address you have entered with a confirmation link. You need to click on that link in order to confirm you are the owner of the email address that you have entered in the contact information form.

The next step is to confirm your actual ownership of the website you are registering in the Publisher program of Brave, there are two options here – wait a couple of days to be contacted by a Brave Publisher Partner to complete the process or add a DNS record to the domain of the website in order to automatically complete the verification process in a couple of minutes. The second option is preferred if you have access to the DNS records of your domain and can add an extra TXT record to finish the confirmation process, otherwise you will just have to wait to be contacted.

Finishing the website ownership confirmation will show you if you actually have some fund pending that users may already sent your way and it also requires you to go through some more additional steps like entering your Bitcoin address where any funds you receive will be transferred on a monthly basis.

After entering your Bitcoin address you will also need to Declare IRS tax status by filling in the respective electronic tax form and submitting the information to Brave depending if you are US or Non-US based individual or a company.

That is it you are ready to get supported with Bitcoin tips by your readers if they are using the Brave browser’s Brave Payments feature and you should now focus on better content than thinking about getting advertisers. Also if you still haven’t tied the Brave browser now is probably a great time to download it and give it a try, the browser is available for Windows, Linux and Mac as well as Android and iOS mobile platforms.

When looking for the best settings for GPUs that will be used for crypto currency mining it is often considered a good practice to optimize them for better efficiency and not for maximum performance. Going for the maximum performance often results is overclocking and thus higher power usage for the extra few hashes, not to mention the additional heat and as a result the overall efficiency may not be as good. If you are looking for the optimal efficiency you will most likely try to reduce the power usage of the GPU to decrease the power usage and heat output and not sacrifice any or at the cost of just a little performance drop. This is exactly what we are going to be doing now with the recently announced Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition video card, trying to find the sweet spot in terms of efficient (best hashrate per Watt of power used)…

For the purpose of our tests we are using the latest NiceHash Excavator v1.1.4a miner running on the Equihash algorithm used by Zcash (ZEC). Do note that other algorithms may need different settings for reaching better efficiency than the one tested here. Currently the Equihash algorithm is among the most profitable to mine on Nvidia CUDA GPUs, so we are focusing on it. Since all recent GPUs from Nvidia have both a base operating frequency and a boost operating frequency and the video card is managing the optimal one based on factors such as TDP and temperature it is easy to look for better efficiency just by lowering the TDP limit. This will essentially result in lowering the maximum boost frequency of the GPU and is an easy and very good thing to start from, if you wan to dig deeper you may also try to lower the operating voltage of the GPU in order to further improve the efficiency by lowering the power usage.

In the table above we start with the GTX 1080 Ti running at the maximum TDP level that is allowed with the +20% increase of the Power Limit meaning 250W default TDP + 50W increase or a total of 300W allowed. At this maximum allowed level you cannot expect to be anywhere near the optimum efficiency, not to mention that the GPU may not be able to reach that power usage anyway without further overclocking. We are however going to stay at the default settings and not overclock, playing only with the boost frequency of the GPU by lowering the TDP. The final result showed that the optimum efficiency in terms of hashrate per Watt is with around 60% TDP or about 150W for the GTX 1080 Ti… that is for the Equihash algorithm used by Zcash (ZEC). With that setting the operating frequency of the GPU stays at just a bit shy of 1500 MHz, or to be more precise at the 1480 MHz base operating frequency. What essentially this means is that while the extra Boost frequency may rise the performance you get, the more it scales up, the less efficient the GPU becomes in terms of performance per Watt of power used. No wonder Nvidia has chosen this particular operating frequency as the base one for the GTX 1080 Ti, and the GPU manages to keep it up with a TDP of just 150W for mining the Equihash algorithm. Do note however that other mining algorithms, especially more GPU dependent, may need more power for their efficiency sweet spot on the GTX 1080 Ti.

The AKASHA project is dubbed a next-generation social media network powered by the Ethereum (ETH) world computer and embedded into the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS). It is a project that we’ve been keeping an eye on along with a few similar projects for crypto powered social media platforms and today we got an invitation to check out the latest Alpha version of the AKASHA. It seems however that the alpha has been out for a while already and it seems to be open for everyone interested to check it out, so the email we got was more a kind of reminder that we need to check the status of the project. It seems that the project already has a couple of thousand users and posts with more joining in to give it a try all the time…

We need to start with the fact that AKASHA does not work in your browser, like the similar in concept project Steem for example, instead you need to download and run an application to get access to the network. There are versions available for Linux, Mac and Windows users available, so all major software platforms are pretty much already covered. If you are interested in giving AKASHA a try you might want to head on to their GitHub page where you can download the latest alpha release. There are two separate versions available for each platform, one with an installed and one that is in a Zip archive that you can extract and run directly.

Since AKASHA is based on Ethereum when you first run it and install it you need to wait a bit for it to synchronize, no do not worry it does not need to download the complete Ethereum blockchain from the start or something, though you may still need to wait a couple of minutes while you connect to some peers and get things moving forward.

Once you synchronize AKASHA you will need to create a new identity or essentially a profile on the network. You need to enter a First Name, Akasha ID and a Passphrase as a requirement, the Last Name field is optional and you have some more optional details that you can enter as well is you want to like an short about you or extra links, you can also set an Avatar and a Background image to use. Later on you will be able to edit your Profile details, only the username and password are not available to be changed and there is no password recovery, so make sure you don’t forget your password, even though we are not sure if identities from the Alpha will be available for the launch of the network.

This is the window that welcomes you as soon as you finish with the registration and long in with your profile and is essentially your user interface for accessing the AKASHA network. You may need some time and a bit of tinkering to explore the currently available functionality, even though we are going to show you some of the most basic stuff here anyway. Do note that since this is still an Alpha version of the project not all features are available and working and the whole thing is also running on the testnet for the moment. By default you are being shown the latest posts tagged with the akasha tag, if you want to see the latest publications just switch to the Latest Entries.

The menu is on the left side, starting with a link to your profile page and a number showing the amount of tokens you have available. This is another important part of the whole project, it not only runs on the Ethereum blockchain, but also uses Ethereum tokens to reward users that post content on the network. Since it is still in Alpha the project uses AETH or the so called AKASHA ETH tokens instead of actual ETH tokens and you apparently start up with 5 AETH. As a test token it does not have any value outside the purpose of testing AKASHA, so feel free to spend it voting for posts while you explore the functionality of social network.

Posting content on the AKSAHA social network is one of the key aspects just like with any other social network, as well as reading and voting for content posted by other users of the network. The idea here however is that you get rewarded for your contribution if other users decide to support you with their votes, unlike with traditional social networks where you don’t get rewarded. Posting something is really easy, you start by writing a title of your posts and a content that can be composed of text and images and you can save for later it as a draft or publish it directly.

Before your post appears on AKASHA there are a few more details that you need to add some relevant tags to make your post easier to be found for a certain topic that it covers as well as choose a License for the post. Now, here is the interesting part, on AKASHA you get to choose what type of licensing you want for the content you post… it can be All rights reserved, or Some rights reserved as well as No rights reserved where you get to decide if it is under CC or Public Domain license. Retaining copyright over all your posts or some of them or having everything published and available under Creative Commons license, it is all up to you. The idea is that once you publish something it is not like it you waive all copyright over the content by default, you get to decide and that also gets stored along with your post.

Do note that actually publishing a post on the network does require you to spend some gas for the transaction on the network, so you will essentially be spending some AETH now to do that (ETH in the future). So it is not only earning up, but also spending some tokens to actually use the AKASHA network and “expenses” like these are intended to stimulate users to focus on interesting and useful “good quality” content and not post just about anything they think of. Not sure how many of you actually remember that originally ETH was intended as a crypto token to be spend for executing transactions on the Ethereum network and not to work in the same sense like a more traditional crypto coin such as Bitcoin does for example.

When your post is up you can vote for it as other users can also vote for your post. You can of course also vote for other users posts and you get to decide how much your vote will be worth… the more worth the more AETH you will spend and the more the respective users will get. There is also the option not only to Upvote, but also to Downvote content, however once you vote Up or Down you are not able to retract your vote for that post or change your decision.

You can browse posts by tags, look at the latest publications, or search for posts (cannot yet search for people on the network). You can browse among the users of the network and look for the ones to Follow or see who is Following you, there is a functionality to just tip users directly as well instead of just giving them votes should you decide that you want to do that. There is even a built-in chat in AKASHA, though at the moment there is just a single official channel for the Alpha release. You can of course create your own channel as well, but it will be available for 24 hours and after that all the messages inside it will disappear.

This is pretty much the basic functionality you have available in the current Alpha version of AKASHA, there are more features and functionality on the way as not everything is already implemented. The basic functionality is already there and it works pretty well in our opinion and with some more extra features and improvements this project will have some nice potential. What you will probably notice however is that some things related to posting or reading data may take a bit of time before they finish, this is something that needs some more work is well as nobody likes to wait.

This is an Alpha version of the project and you should remember that should you decide to give it a try at its current state, so things should get better for the final release. The fact that you need to use software that you download and run on your computer to access the AKASHA network might be a bit of inconvenience as compared to other similar projects that you can access directly from your Internet Browser. Aside from slower early adoption this should not prove to be such a problem later on if the project catches on and attracts a lot of user attention and one of the most attractive points here are the rewards for the users of the AKASHA network.

One more thing that needs addressing at the moment is regarding rewards for users that may not have that great and interesting things to post and get a lot of votes for their content or that actually want to contribute in ways different than posting themselves. Getting rewards for good comments or just for voting for interesting content has shown to work well with other similar projects, but here this is not being rewarded. Attracting users initially is one thing, but keeping them on the long run is completely different and for that to happen you need to engage them in different aspects of contributing and communicating with each other, as well as rewarding them for that, especially when the rewards play a key role in the project’s idea.

If you are interested in more details you should just check out the Alpha of AKASHA here…