Now that hopefully your wallets are set up there are a million things we want to introduce you to but first, there is a somewhat necessary detail we must cover. Namely, transacting on the blockchain. There is a rich, deep technological construct behind transacting that can get quite technical so feel free to geek out learning all of that if you like. We sure did! Here however, we are going to try to keep it fairly simple while still offering a few technical details we think might help you understand what is happening. Our main goal for this article is that you gain enough familiarity to feel comfortable using your wallet and transacting on-chain.
In an effort to not go too deep in the weeds, simply put the blockchain is a public ledger that exists on every node (aka mining participant computers) on the network. Since all of those computers have the same information and update with additional ‘blocks’ of information (i.e transactions) regularly there is a powerful consensus from which the chain derives its security, authority, and immutability.
Let's set that aside for a second though and just talk about a type of transaction you are familiar with. Let’s say you want to buy a book and the price is $10. You take a ten dollar bill out and hand it to me. Now your wallet or purse has ten less dollars and mine has been credited with ten more dollars than it had before the transaction. Simple right?
So how might that same type of exchange be done digitally? That’s actually a really complicated problem to solve. Until the creation of BitCoin in 2009 the only way that we would be able to transact digitally is to have a centralized service like a bank or a credit company who would maintain a centralized, private ledger. This is what makes it possible to swipe your card or venmo an individual to purchase the book. When we take into account how much we rely on those powerful financial institutions with the lion’s share of our monetary resources, it becomes clear that we must place a lot of trust in those institutions. They are necessary to guarantee that you don’t double spend the same dollar twice. The genius and revolutionary innovation of public ledgers on a blockchain actually decentralize that job into a publicly owned and operated utility which has opened up a world of possibilities. There will be plenty of articles to come to explore those possibilities so let's just focus here on a simple transaction.
So this time, let's say that you want to send us 1 eth. (we’d really appreciate that BTW 😉)
Let’s look at how that might work.
In the Metamask wallet above you will see an abbreviated address with a little copy icon next to it in the center of the top section. This makes it very easy to copy and paste your address to send to someone for payment. There is also a QR code version that you can use if you like. Explore Metamask a bit to see where everything is.
So let’s pretend this is your wallet, and let's also pretend you actually have funds in it. This is a great app to transact with, send from, and even swap on, but it is not where you want to purchase your crypto. (We would recommend buying those on an exchange like Coinbase and then sending them to your wallet address rather than purchasing through the services that Metamask has baked into it.)
Ok so lets transact!
An Ethereum transaction consists of:
- The recipient address (ours is 0xa1f184E6740D654AF2FcB575cB94b8982f283A86)
- The sender’s signature (you will be asked to sign with your wallet to actually execute the transaction)
- The transaction amount (in this example we are sending 1 eth)
- The gas price – the network/blockspace demand determines how much the sender pays to compute the transaction (Those computers are doing what is referred to as mining BTW. They are doing what computation that makes all of this possible)
First you will click ‘send’ in metamask. Then you will see this screen:
Simply paste the address you want to send to here. After you put in the address it will populate a place to select the currency/asset and then enter the amount you would like to send. (you will notice we used .1 for the example here as putting in more than you own [in this case 1 eth] will pop up a bunch of red stuff telling you that you can’t do that.)
Hit next and you will then see the gas price for the transaction.
Notice that to execute this transaction will cost an estimated .0039 eth which, at this point in time is equal to $10.55. Below that you will see ‘Max fee:’ which tells you the amount that the transaction cannot charge over. Depending on the networks traffic and the type of transaction you are doing this number will fluctuate and at times is very high so be sure to pay attention to these numbers.
If everything is in order and the transaction fees are doable then you can simply hit confirm and the transaction will begin its journey to the blockchain! (Be patient here as it takes a little time and can be a little nerve racking the first few times you do it)
The Life Cycle of a Transaction
- A transaction is created.
- The transaction creator gets a transaction hash (also known as Transaction ID or txhash) that they or anyone can use to look for the transaction on a block explorer.
- The transaction gets broadcasted to the network and then waits for a miner to pick it up and verify it.
- The waiting time depends on the network's current traffic and the gas fee set for the transaction.
- The transaction is completed and considered as a success once it has been picked up and verified by a miner.
- If the transaction has failed, please refer here.
By the way, if you have not emailed us your wallet address to claim last weeks POAP, there are still a few left. Email your wallet address to Tampa@WordontheStreets.xyz to claim.
Also, we have another for your collection. Again limited to 50 and only available through the end of the month. Will you be able to boast that you hold the the entire collection as the series goes on? We have a feeling that this may mean more than bragging rights as this journey unfolds! Again, email Tampa@wordonthestreets.xyz (or just reply to our newsletter) and tell us about your first experience transacting on the blockchain, OR if you haven't yet, what you most appreciate (or found confusing) about this issue.