Tether (USDT) is a cryptocurrency with a value meant to mirror the value of the U.S. dollar. The idea was to create a stable cryptocurrency that can be used like digital dollars. Coins that serve this purpose of being a stable dollar substitute are called “stable coins.” Tether is the most popular stable coin and even acts as a dollar replacement on many popular exchanges! According to their site, Tether converts cash into digital currency, to anchor or “tether” the value of the coin to the price of national currencies like the US dollar, the Euro, and the Yen. Like other cryptos it uses blockchain. Unlike other cryptos, it is [according to the official Tether site] “100% backed by USD” (USD is held in reserve). The primary use of Tether is that it offers some stability to the otherwise volatile crypto space and offers liquidity to exchanges who can’t deal in dollars and with banks (for example to the sometimes controversial but leading exchange Bitfinex). The digital coins are issued by a company called Tether Limited that is governed by the laws of the British Virgin Islands, according to the legal part of its website. It is incorporated in Hong Kong. It has emerged that Jan Ludovicus van der Velde is the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, which has been accused of being involved in the price manipulation of bitcoin, as well as tether. Many people trading on exchanges, including Bitfinex, will use tether to buy other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Tether Limited argues that using this method to buy virtual currencies allows users to move fiat in and out of an exchange more quickly and cheaply. Also, exchanges typically have rocky relationships with banks, and using Tether is a way to circumvent that. USDT is fairly simple to use. Once on exchanges like Poloniex or Bittrex, it can be used to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It can be easily transferred from an exchange to any Omni Layer enabled wallet. Tether has no transaction fees, although external wallets and exchanges may charge one. In order to convert USDT to USD and vise versa through the Tether.to Platform, users must pay a small fee. Buying and selling Tether for Bitcoin can be done through a variety of exchanges like the ones mentioned previously or through the Tether.to platform, which also allows the conversion between USD to and from your bank account.
Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform similar in concept to Dropbox and other centralized storage provider where instead of renting storage space from a centralized entity, clients rent storage space from other peers. The only difference is Sia uses blockchain to facilitate transactions Nodes provide storage to clients using the Sia blockchain as contracts. Before storing the data, the data is encrypted into many pieces and uploaded to different hosts. Siacoin is created by David Vorick and Luke Champine of Nebulous Inc. As the traditional storage platforms are higher in cost, more expensive and data is not well protected. Siacoin promises to offer secured storage transactions with smart contracts which is more affordable and reliable. Moreover, it is completely open source which means many individuals have contributed to Siacoin’s software hence there will be an active community building innovative applications on top if the Sia API. In 2018, Siacoin aims to introduce file sharing and be the go-to cloud storage platform for companies. Their goal is divided into 3 time frames which are short-term, medium-term and long-term development. Short-term development focuses on file sharing between Sia users. This allows Sia users to share files in the platform without having to take it off the cloud while increasing network utilization. Medium-term development’s goal is to enhance partnerships. This means reaching out to large companies like Netflix and Dropbox to hopefully be able to be their storage and distribution framework. Lastly, long-term development aims to expand its horizon to share files with non-Sia users and support mobile wallets.