The Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin — Part 2

The Ultimate guide to bitcoin — Part 2

https://blog.unocoin.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-bitcoin-part-1-3eb08949e5d7

The bitcoin protocol and the reference software client works on any computer or smartphone. It’s been extremely scalable so far, and has managed to support billions of devices using its blockchain simultaneously. Oh and while it is at it, it also functions as an extremely valuable currency, helping people make payments anonymously, and even solves the double spending problem.

Bitcoin as we know it today was introduced in 2008 by a pseudonymous inventor known as Satoshi Nakamoto. He was the one who mined the first block of bitcoin — called the ‘genesis block’ — the beginning of the blockchain as we know it today. His real identity is never disclosed and still remains unidentified despite numerous attempts by hundreds of people to locate him. Today, Bitcoin protocol development is being controlled by numerous developers all over the world and no-one really shares pure ownership.

In a previous post, we explained the very basics of bitcoin — how bitcoin works, the underlying blockchain technology and its promise. Let us now move onto understanding the essential part for a currency — how to transact in bitcoin.

Transacting Bitcoins

Bitcoin is a currency. So it needs to change hands. So what are the available options for exchanging bitcoin today?

Person To Person Exchange

This option is basically similar to money/gold/commodity exchange. Two people decide on a price for one bitcoin token and trade (you can always go to bitcoinaverage.com to find out current average market price). The buyer sends their wallet address or their public key. The seller sends the bitcoin, collects cash from the buyer and both are good to go. In essence, it’s a one buyer-one seller trade. However, you’re likely to use this method when you’re less educated about the subject at hand, and chances are you’ll end up overpaying.

Public Exchanges

Just like a stock exchange, virtual marketplaces for bitcoins exist too, with people looking to buy and sell bitcoins at an agreed market price. Current market value per bitcoin is discovered based on supply and demand of bitcoin.

A public bitcoin exchange provides a much efficient environment for people to buy and sell cryptocurrency securely. You are advised to sign up only on exchanges which follow strong verification & security measures, especially when you are linking a bank account and moving fiat currency.

Acquiring Bitcoins

We’ve thus far established the multiple ways of exchanging bitcoins. Now of course, exchanging bitcoins involve sellers who have acquired some in first place. Let’s begin with acquisition and figure out how you can get your hands on some of this digital gold.

Bitcoin Mining

Mining

As we noted earlier, mining is a process of record-keeping or validating the transactions over the network. There is a cap of 21 million bitcoins that could ever be created through a rewarding process called mining. The rate of creation halves (reduced by an order of two) every four years until the cap is reached. Due to a very limited supply with a growing demand has pushed up the competition amongst miners. Mining has already become pretty tough and infeasible for a regular user, and is no longer an efficient way to acquire bitcoin for an individual.

Why? Because you’re likely to spend more on electricity costs by running your machine to mine than the value you may earn by mining coins. It’s very inefficient (ofcourse this equation varies according to region)!

Selling goods and services for bitcoin

A pretty obvious way to acquire bitcoin (for the fact, anything else!) and rather easy way to acquire to sell goods & services by accepting bitcoin for payments. This is easy and more suitable for the already running businesses or self employed individuals.

Trusted Exchange Services

Simply head onto one of the most trusted bitcoin exchange (like Unocoin), signup yourself, and you’ll be provided with a ready made bitcoin wallet without having to set an offline one up and dealing with its hassles. You can then proceed to buy bitcoin from the exchanger using your bank account, credit/debit cards or one of the many other means.

Public Exchanges

You could even buy bitcoin directly from other real-world people without the need to trust by joining a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange.

Once you’ve acquired bitcoins, you can either spend them or even sell them for a profit (with the price appreciation). With a consistent meteoric rise, it is hard to imagine why you shouldn’t be interested in acquiring bitcoin for yourself.

Selling Bitcoins

Trusted Exchanges

Third party exchanges act as intermediaries who can facilitate trade between multiple users without a need for trust. You place a ‘sell order’ (just as you would place a buy order) stating the volume (amount), type of currency you wish to sell (bitcoin in this case) and the price per unit you wish to sell for. Liquidity problems or issues with banks may exist with exchanges often. Therefore, careful research of exchanges is the key. Mind checking out Unocoin?

Peer-to-peer Trade

Certain platforms help to bring together two groups of people together with complementary and specific needs. The first group of individuals are who want to use bitcoin for buying goods from websites which do not accept digital currencies yet. The second set of users are those looking to buy bitcoin with either a credit/debit card. The marketplace brings together these individuals with matching requirements to effectively enable bitcoin spending for one and provide an easy method to buy bitcoin for another.

Purse is one such platform to engage in peer-to-peer trades.

Selling in person

You can always resort a last priority to trade your bitcoin with an unknown user in person without the requirement of any third party or platforms using mobile devices and accepting cash or any mode of payment suitable. There is a high risk associated with this method in term of privacy loss and criminal activity association.

Storing and keeping your bitcoins safe

To transact in bitcoin, you are required to store them somewhere safe. And like any other currency, giving anyone the access to your bitcoin wallet would expose you to theft and fraud. How should you then go about securing your digital gold?

Offline wallets (for large volumes of bitcoins)

Using online wallets such as those on Unocoin are very convenient and secure. However, it is a better idea to move them to an offline wallet that you hold yourself if you’re storing large amounts of bitcoin. You can always liquidate/sell them back on platforms like Unocoin whenever you need to. They’re only one transaction away!

Use 2-factor authentication

Enable 2 factor authentication on your online wallets to reduce the chances of a hack or any other malicious attempt to access your bitcoins. Enabling 2FA should keep you protected for the most part.

The Future of Bitcoins

(Source: Zerohedge)

If you’d purchased Rs 1,000 worth of bitcoins in 2011, your bitcoin stash would be worth Rs 44 lakhs right now. Let that sink in for a moment.

When you’re done regretting — consider if it makes sense for you to invest in bitcoins now. Does it?

Of course. The supply of bitcoins is limited — fixed at 21 million over the next 100 years. But the demand shall continue to rise as more and more people join the currency. Result? Prices will head-in only one direction — UP!

Any time is a good time to join the bitcoin bandwagon. In fact, you could get started right now on Unocoin!

The Ultimate guide to bitcoin — part 1

The Ultimate guide to bitcoin — part 1

Trade · Ownership · Trust

Let’s analyse the technological advancement that fundamentally challenges your conceptual understanding of the above, and influences the way our economy, governance systems and businesses function.

Money exists to facilitate trade. Through the centuries, trade has become incredibly complex, especially in the context of globalisation. Trade is generally recorded in bookkeeping and this information is often isolated, and closed to the public. For this reason, we use third parties and intermediaries we trust, to facilitate and improve our trust. Governments, banks, accountants, notaries are these trusted third parties. But these parties ultimately control the value of your money, don’t they? Central banks influence rates of inflation and the value of your currency, often on instructions from the government.

In such a scenario, is your money truly yours? Trust is the fundamental currency of commerce. And lately, we’d lost it until a truly decentralisation currency emerged — Bitcoin.


Bitcoin Demystified for Novices

Technically, Bitcoin is open-source software. It enables a network of computers to maintain collective bookkeeping via the internet, involving digital tokens called bitcoins. It is also a cryptocurrency — a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange, using cryptography to secure the transactions. Cryptography mainly encompasses algorithms for key generation, and encryption and decryption of data using the key. Think of it as a substitute for the currency you currently use. Today it’s being accepted by multiple major brands worldwide, and is accepted as legitimate payment for anything from coffee and pizza to even real estate!

Bitcoin is a masterpiece project because it solves multiple problems. It allows for anonymous transactions, which, prior to it, were never possible. All electronic transactions could be linked to you — while cash payments required your presence.

A famous issue with digital currencies is the double spending problem — how does a receiver get his money while the sender debits it from his account? Can a hacker not send fake money and keep his own hoard too? He can then spend this money twice. Bitcoin solves this by having a decentralized mechanism of validation, authentication and also bring in immutability referred as Blockchain.


The Blockchain is bitcoin’s most impactful innovation

The Blockchain

Bitcoin’s bookkeeping is neither closed, nor in control of one party. It is public and available on a common digital ledger, fully distributed across the network. This is called the blockchain. And it’s what makes bitcoin ‘decentralised’.

The blockchain is perhaps the most impactful and far reaching innovation to come out from bitcoin. It is a public ledger — a record of every transaction in history of bitcoin — including information on the date, time, participants, and amount of every single transaction. Each node (i.e a person connected to the bitcoin network) owns a full copy of the block chain.

Imagine this: With hypothetical digital currencies thought of before Bitcoin — you could do a private transaction, which would involve you sending money to a receiver. The receiver would then send you a confirmation that he has received the money, and you would debit your balance. A hacker could manipulate this and refuse to receive confirmation of your receipt. He would then get to keep his money, while you received it too. New money would be created this way.

The blockchain solves this problem by letting the entire network see your transaction. You can’t lie about a transaction if you’re doing it front of a crowded room with everyone watching, can you? That’s what the blockchain is — every node on the network acknowledging and confirming everyone else’s transactions.

On the basis of complicated mathematical principles, the transactions are verified by other people on the network — who we call ‘Bitcoin miners’, who maintain this ledger. The mathematical principles also ensure that these people (or nodes) automatically and continuously agree about the current state of the ledger and every transaction in it. If corruption of a transaction is attempted (like in the hacker example we just noted), the nodes do not arrive at a consensus, and hence refuse to incorporate the transaction in the blockchain. Every transaction is public and thousands of nodes unanimously agree that a transaction has occurred on date X and time Y.


Bitcoin ‘mining’ rewards miners with bitcoins

Bitcoin mining

Why would all the other nodes want to remain on the network though? There’s got to be incentive for them, and there is. The blockchain is ‘hashed’ — that is, it is cryptographcially encrypted, and nodes must spend their computing power trying to decrypt it. The reward? 12.5 bitcoins (currently) for every hashed block of transactions they validate meeting specific criteria. This act is what we call ‘Bitcoin mining’ — lots of nodes spending their computing power to help validate transactions, and getting lucky with bitcoins in the process. You’re literally paid for your service.

It’s a perfect system — one that covers all possible loopholes, and allows for an economy to thrive globally.

Of course, with millions joining bitcoin, and the reward per mine remaining the same, mining has gotten exponentially tougher. The efforts are high, the rewards are low, and there are too many nodes to share the bounty with. In fact, it probably does not make economical sense for an individual to mine coins anymore. But more on that, in a separate post.

Bitcoin Wallets: How Bitcoin Payments Work

Since we’re dealing with a currency here, it is obviously important to know how payments would work. Heading back to the example we discussed above — a transaction originates when your bitcoin wallet broadcasts it to the network — letting everyone know that it would like to send some coins to a person you’ve chosen. Once this transaction is verified by miners on the blockchain, it is complete and the coins are transferred. A bitcoin wallet is a piece of software that is used to store and manage your coins.

Getting a Bitcoin Wallet

How can you get your hands on a wallet though? There are plenty available online that you can choose from the official website. Setting one up on your computer involves downloading the client (the node), and setting a password to it. Remember to store this password in a safe place, as you’re unlikely to recov
er your wallet if you lose your password.

It’s much easier to set up your wallet on exchanges like Unocoin, of course. It also offers the added benefit of being able to buy and receive coins from others, via Unocoin, without having to go through the technical hassles of an offline wallet. Bitcoin exchanges however, are a world of their own we should dedicate a separate post to.

More

Of course there’s a lot more to bitcoin. But again — this fascinating currency is going to need dedicated posts for all its sub-concepts. In the next post, we’ll discuss the inventor of bitcoins, how you can buy and sell (or store) bitcoins, how you should keep them safe, what the future holds in store for the currency! Stay tuned, and perhaps sign up on Unocoin while you wait? 😉

Recommended read:

Curious about Bitcoin? — Link

Curious about Bitcoin?

The introduction of bitcoin has disrupted the traditional concept and understanding of money. With Bitcoin, we today have access to money that is not minted in a traditional ways but is mined. Furthermore, as a form of currency, bitcoin facilitates an exchange of transactions and money, without requiring any assistance or sanction of a third party, including banks, credit cards and others. As disruptive that the concept sounds, over the years it has also garnered immense mainstream attention from various frontiers, including users, investors, entrepreneurs, media and the government bodies.

Getting acquainted with the Backend Bitcoin Technology

As mentioned above, bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency which enables users to anonymously spend money and is not under the stipulation of an external authority, such as the Government or the banks. Bitcoin is only mined by users digitally and can otherwise be bought at various bitcoin exchanges. The backend technology enabling all these superlative transactions is known as the Blockchain technology.

Think of blockchain as an online ledger that operates in the backend and simplifies transactions with the help of data structures. The blockchain technology is distributed and signed cryptographically. Hence, while every bitcoin transaction can be tracked or verified, it is still not restricted via a centralized authority.

This ledger is maintained by computers performing several computations that eventually also result in mining or generating more bitcoins. Furthermore, unlike banking ledgers the blockchain technology is completely anonymous, hence can be used for safeguarding the identity of the users.

Bitcoin as the Plausible Investment

With the wave of digitalization sweeping across the country, we are witnessing an upsurge in the popularity and utility of bitcoins. In fact, following the demonetization drive of last year, Bitcoin emerged as one amongst the most plausible alternatives from an investment standpoint. Compared to 2013, the Google search volume for ‘bitcoin’ has increased four times.

In addition, within a single year, the value of Bitcoin experienced an unprecedented increase of 300 per cent in its valuation. Hence, while the early adopters of bitcoins are today relishing handsome passive income and perhaps the coveted millionaire status, bitcoin has also caught the fancy of a lot of young and risk-taking users of today. However, before going ahead with the investment in bitcoin, it is advisable to be aware of the possible risks.

Risks in Bitcoin Investment & Future Perspective

It is often tempting to be driven away with the surging numbers and take an impulsive investment decision; especially when the investment opportunity sounds as cool and disruptive as bitcoin, offering a steadily growing valuation and popularity. However, the prevailing good sense would suggest against the same, especially when it comes to investing in bitcoins. Prior to taking a call, it is imperative that we are aware of the possible risks in the investment.

Like most of the rest of the world, one of the red flags in Bitcoin investment in India seems to be uncertain legal environment around the same. Users were warned against transacting in bitcoins by the Minister of State of Finance, Arjun Ram Meghwal. The minister expressed his inhibitions around the utilization of bitcoin against anti-money laundering. Bitcoin works as a decentralized cryptography in the backdrop and enables anonymous transactions, making it an option of payment for illicit activities online. RBI had also been voicing concerns against the increasing popularity of crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin.

In addition, the value of Bitcoin is rather volatile and prone to massive swings. The value of Bitcoin isn’t always going to increase. There have been reports of the plummeting value of bitcoin by 23 per cent against Dollar, consecutively in January and March. However, other alternatives of investments are also subject to such market volatilities. As a practice, investors have developed a keen eye for buying a particular stock whenever there is a dip in the value and sell the same during an upswing. Hence, in nature and practice, the bitcoin investment isn’t much different from other popular alternatives, such as mutual funds etc.

It is worth noting the security risks associated as well. As the bitcoin and bitcoin transactions exist online, security of computers or servers safe guarding the bitcoin are always prone to attacks and vulnerability exploitation. As the entire eco system of bitcoin works on the open source software, any failure in the protocol could lead to bitcoin becoming completely worthless and none have the responsibility of valuing the bitcoin or buying them back at any price.

Lastly, a word needs to go out to mention the growing ecosystem around bitcoin at a global level. For instance, several business conglomerates in Japan have started accepting payments in bitcoin. This includes Bic Camera, the biggest electronics retailers in Japan. Even in India, given the lack of regulatory framework around Bitcoin has led to the creation of DABFI — Digital Assets and Blockchain Foundation of India.

The foundation is coming up with a self-regulatory system that would be implemented across bitcoin exchanges in India and is set to bring about uniformity in the utilization of bitcoin. As the ecosystem further comes of age, several risks and challenges in Bitcoin investment would be weeded out, hence making bitcoin one of the most plausible investment options for present day users.

Unocoin Embracing SegWit (aka “Segregated Witness”) for bitcoin

An 80 percent majority of mining pool operators have signaled their intent to follow the New York Agreement (NYA), ensuring the continued growth of Bitcoin as a currency investment and payment network. A hard limit of 1MB for block size will no longer threaten to curtail the utility of Bitcoin, which was beginning to show signs of technical stress due to the popularity of the currency.

This software upgrade optimizes Bitcoin code, establishing a safe path for scaling through a consensus among the international community. A new, backward compatible architecture of transaction blocks called segregated witness (SegWit) will help scale base blocks and block size up to 2MB, increasing capacity for transaction volume while maintaining security for Bitcoin assets.

Despite at least four out of five mining pool operators signaling intent for the SegWit2x path, there’s no guarantee that all Bitcoin business and operators will follow suit. Some within the industry, most notably Bitcoin Core, were not part of the extensive NYA discussions. This has created some uncertainty, and the potential for multiple pathways for the inevitable SegWit upgrade.

Segregated Witness Technical Advantages

The segregated witness upgrade will separate witness data — also called the Sender’s Signature data — into a block extension by limiting block weight instead of block size. This increases the bandwidth of data transmission for Bitcoin currency transactions, allowing for the expansion of economic development and activity.

A larger volume of potential transactions allows businesses to expand a growing ecosystem of products and services for the community. Mining fees and confirmation time for transactions will trend towards user benefit, also growing the overall application of Bitcoin for investment and transactions.

Before the NYA was established, Bitcoin was stuck in terms of volume. Technological constraints restricted the system to process only 1MB of transactions every 10 minutes or so, creating a bottleneck during times of heavy network activity. These high-volume periods cause transactions to slow, inflating the normal approval time.

Stagnant network volume created an environment where miners could raise costs on transactions fees, leveraging limited supply and rising demand. Opening a larger bandwidth for transactions via SegWit increases the supply of available transactions, which should lower fees. Despite lower fees and greater storage cost for larger block sizes, miners will have the opportunity to increase profits through higher quantities of transactions and upcoming innovation enabled by the software upgrade.

SegWit2x Enjoys Majority Support Worldwide

The worldwide support for SegWit2x lessens the atmosphere of uncertainty for the future of Bitcoin, ensuring that the currency will scale as envisioned. Mining operators, investors, established businesses and startups have overwhelmingly agreed on a path that establishes an environment of economic growth and innovation.

Those against the scaling of Bitcoin, and the implementation of SegWit, tend to view changes as a threat to idealistic views of the currency as a bulwark against centralized economies. Bitcoin Core software developers have been the most notable members of the anti-scaling faction. The SegWit2x software upgrade was created against this opposition, adding SegWit to the original version of the open source system.

Some ex-Bitcoin Core developers and maintainers decided to work within the NYA framework, contributing key adjustments to the new version of the open source software, which has since been approved by the community. Now that the segregated witness upgrade has begun, the only question remaining is the fork in the road ahead.

Multiple Roadmaps For Bitcoin Upgrade

This historic moment for Bitcoin could play out through multiple means, depending on the actions of mining operators over the upcoming months. Most agree that two outcomes remain possible: a soft fork and a hard fork. When 80% of miners signaled their support for SegWit2x, the potential for a hard fork dramatically increased. Nonetheless, a user activated soft fork (UASF) could still occur.

Part of the challenge revolves around a tight implementation schedule. A timelock of August 1st, 2017 exists for the BIP141 protocol, which supports SegWit through a user-centric code upgrade. At least 95% of miners must upgrade to prevent any possibility of a minority chain, which would operate under old software standards.

The existence of a minority chain greatly increases the chances of a permanent UASF, creating a split. Those running the SegWit upgrade would become part of the majority Bitcoin chain. Both chains would operate independently, with the minority chain sharing history with the original source code.

SegWit is an inevitability now that at least 80% of miners have signaled their intent to upgrade. By August 1st, most miners will have adopted BIP141, and by November 1st, the signaling for a 2MB hard fork will take place. Any operators who avoid SegWit2x will fall off the majority chain.

A majority of 95% of SegWit2x miners should be enough to avoid any network split, with the rest risking loss of value by not converting. If too many mining operators choose to stick with the original software, a split will occur through a UASF.

Unocoin Contingency Plan And Support

Unfortunately, a UASF opens the road to replay attacks and the potential for other issues. Unocoin planned for contingencies through consistent support of the upcoming SegWit upgrade.

Unocoin joined a consensus with 58 companies in 22 countries, all of which agreed to segregated witness and a 2MB hard fork. This represents 83% of worldwide hashing power, $5.1 billion USD in monthly transactions, and 20.5 million bitcoin wallets.

During the upcoming months, software upgrades will occur according to schedule, and customers will be successfully guided throughout the process. Users should protect the value of their Bitcoin through a paper, hardware or software wallets, with a private key in your possession. Selling or converting Bitcoin represents another option, and users have access to technical support and advice through Unocoin services.

Unocoin pledges to follow the majority chain which implements the SegWit upgrade and the 2MB hard fork, regardless of the existence of a UASF. Any shorter or weaker chains created over the upcoming months will not receive support. This ensures that Unocoin customers will benefit from Bitcoin scaling along with the rest of the industry, while safeguarding the value of current Bitcoin holdings.

Inevitable upgrade of Segregated Witness. What you need to know?


Scenario (Why do we need an upgrade?)

Growing interest in Bitcoin as a rational payment system or a safe and secure investment started to challenge the capacity of Bitcoin network about a year ago. Bitcoin’s use as a currency/payment network would soon become less viable with the current 1MB of hard limit on block sizes.

While we have seen multiple proposals/roadmaps emerge out of the never ending scaling debates for Bitcoin, there has not been a clear majority in supporting any of these propositions.

However, we are now seeing a vast majority of the Bitcoin community supporting to incorporate a new architecture of transaction blocks called “Segregated Witness” initially formulated by Dr. Peter Wuille, Bitcoin Core developer and Co-Founder of Blockstream.

Technical advantages of Segregated Witness

This section is too technical and you can skip this if you are not interested. The new architecture of Segregated Witness will provide the ability to separate ‘Witness data’ (aka Sender’s Signature data) of transactions into a block extension (new additional data structure of the transaction Merkle tree mirroring with the signature Merkle Tree) by providing a hard limit on “block weight” rather than “block size”.

With a hard limit of 4MB on the block weight [Block Weight = (tx size with witness data stripped) * 3 + (tx size)], we can potentially push for higher transaction throughput on the Bitcoin blockchain in-turn affecting the miner fees and confirmation times benefitting users.

Unpredictable Roadmap for the upgrade

It is essential to understand that the absence of a majority in specific code support to update the network poses a potential risk of network split which would result in two different tokens of bitcoin.

Two major code implementations for Segwit available right now are Segwit2x & BIP148:

  • Segwit2x (Activated with the Majority of Hash power/Miner support of 80%) – is the implementation in support of enacting the long proposed Segregated Witness along with a hardcoded timeline to implement 2MB block size upgrade via hardfork as compared to the 1MB block sizes now.
  • BIP148 (Activated with a Time lock on 1st August, 2017) – is a user (running full node) centric code upgrade putting an obligation on the miners to update their clients after the activation to support BIP141 (aka segwit signalling). It also has a provision of “segsignal” helping the miners to shift onto the chain with majority support for who are not able to decide upon their stance on BIP141 (aka segwit).

In the light of a miner activated hardfork (aka Segwit2x activation), a chain split is a very unlikely outcome.

While there exists a good majority of miner support for Segwit2x, there is a very tight implementation schedule planned for the activation of code, which would increase the chances of UASF kicking in. This would require a high majority of mining nodes (95%) to support BIP141 (aka segwit signalling), failing which there could be a permanent minority chain resulting in a network split altogether.

There is also a good amount of risk associated with a successful UASF (User Activated Soft Fork), as there is a possibility of transaction wipe out (of the transactions occurred on the minority chain at the time of upgradation) after minority chain merges with majority chain.

Unocoin’s contingency plan

In the midst of all the serious network upgradation roadmap, we would like to inform that Unocoin is equipped with a proper contingency plan either in the event of ‘UASF’, ‘Segwit2x upgrade’ or a ‘network split’ by supporting the chain with majority which likely is segwit enabled. However, Unocoin has not planned or equipped to support other shorter and weaker chains if they pop up.

We would be sharing a detailed maintenance schedule of our website for July 30th – 4th August to avoid any loss of customer’s coins via replay attacks and to choose the longer and safer chain to go with. We may have to extend this maintenance if the need be. User’s are always recommended to hold their coins with themselves for complete authority/choice of chain over the network split instead of holding them in their Unocoin wallets.

Recommendation for the users to safeguard the value of their coins during this upgradation:

Send your bitcoin holdings into a paper/hardware/software wallet which is in your possession and you control their private keys. You may also consider selling the bitcoin or converting them into alt coins which are comparatively safer at this point in time using Unocoin services or any other third party services you may choose if you are not technically capable of handling private keys yourselves.

References

BIP – Bitcoin Improvement Proposal

UASF – User Activated Soft Fork

BIP08 – Signalling resembling BIP09

BIP09 – Signalling using “bit 1”

BIP91 – Retrofitting BIP148 with support to Segwit2x by adopting “bit 4” signalling for activation and rejecting non “bit 1” nodes after activation

BIP141 – Bitcoin Core implementation including ‘Segregated Witness’ using BIP09 signalling (requires 95% of miner support for activation)

BIP148 – A User Activated Soft Fork which puts an obligation onto the miners to upgrade their clients after (1st August 2017). Also have a provision of “segsignal” for miners who wants to support the majority chain. (Starts rejecting the non “bit 1” blocks after activation)

BIP149 – Similar to BIP148, with a long range activation date (approx. July 2018) using BIP08 signalling protocol

Segwit2x – Also known as New York Agreement (or “Silbert Accord”), enforces Implementation of Segregated Witness along with a hardcoded consensus on upgrading the block size to 2MB in the next six months. (Requires 80% of the miner support for activation).

Bitmain’s UAHF contingency plan – User Activated Hard Fork to mine the legacy version of blockchain to avoid unseen implications of the newly created ‘segwit ready chain’