What Is Cryptocurrency? A Beginner’s Guide

A Guide into Cryptocurrency - Beginner Level

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The last few years have seen a flurry of activity and interest in cryptocurrencies.  But, for many otherwise tech-savvy individuals, and the public at large, answering the question, “What is cryptocurrency?” is not a simple proposition.  It is a complex topic, which blends finance, emerging technologies, and a lot of highly-specialized jargon.  This can make it fairly inaccessible and confusing to beginners.  But, at the same time, cryptocurrencies continue to grow more popular and are being more and more accepted around the world.  So, it’s important to understand the basics of cryptocurrencies, how they work, and why there’s so much hype around them.

Introduction

In this guide, we hope to help our readers get a handle on the basics of cryptocurrencies.  There are many topics in this category, and we won’t go into extreme detail here.  Rather, we want to provide an overview of the topic, which covers the basic points.  This will likely lead to further, more specific articles in the future, for those interested in learning even more about the technology and intricacies of cryptocurrencies.

For now, we’re going to explore basic concepts such as, “What is cryptocurrency?”, blockchain technology, the different types or purposes of cryptocurrencies, and how cryptocurrencies work (in a very simplified manner).  We’ll highlight some of the biggest players in the cryptocurrency world.  Then, we’ll talk a bit about cryptocurrency mining.  We also want to define some important terms that you’re likely to come across in your reading about cryptocurrencies.

We’ll also provide some context and comparison between cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies.  Further, we’ll give you practical information about buying, trading, and using cryptocurrencies.  Briefly, we’ll touch on the legality and risks associated with cryptocurrencies.  Finally, we’ll offer some projections about the future potential of this nascent technology.

Disclaimer

It’s important to note from the start that this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only.  The authors are not financial advisers.  Please do not misconstrue anything in this guide or related materials on our website as financial advice.  We actively encourage our readers to seek financial advice from certified professionals before making any investment decisions.  All investments and transactions present varying degrees of risk.  You should evaluate your own risk tolerance and financial situation prior to making any investment.

What is Cryptocurrency?

In broad terms, cryptocurrency is a type of electronic or digital currency, that can be used like a real-world currency.  That is, it can be purchased, traded, redeemed for goods and services, or sold.  There are several different types of cryptocurrencies.  Some of these act like traditional currencies.  Still, others are meant as stable stores of value.  And, some are more akin to tokens or casino chips, allowing for means of internal transactions and accounting without getting money directly involved.  We’ll cover all of these types a bit later in this guide.

This deceptively simple explanation, though, only scratches the surface of, “What is cryptocurrency?”, and why it is so different.  For a start, cryptocurrency exists outside of the control of a bank or a single government.  It is decentralized and distributed across the computers that make up the particular cryptocurrency’s network.  For another, cryptocurrency doesn’t have a physical currency element associated with it.  You don’t get actual coins or bills, it’s all managed digitally.  There are many other aspects of cryptocurrency that differ from traditional currencies, as well as several ways in which they are similar.  We’ll explore these in greater detail throughout this article.

Why all the Hype?

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like this is so revolutionary as to justify all the hype.  It doesn’t explain the mad rush to get in on the cryptocurrency market.  Of course, with any new investment opportunity, if people think they can make a quick buck, then there’s an appeal.  And, in terms of speculative investment in cryptocurrencies, this has definitely fueled a lot of the hype and volatility in the market.  But really, aside from speculative investors, there are still plenty of reasons why cryptocurrencies have generated such interest.  There actually is a great deal about cryptocurrency that is new and novel.  Much of this tech holds potential to cause major shifts in the financial systems of the future.

It comes back to the question, “What is cryptocurrency?”  By definition, cryptocurrencies have to have some element of cryptography involved.  Otherwise, the “crypto” portion of the name wouldn’t make sense, right?  This is, in fact, true, and the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies consists of something called blockchain technology.  This tech utilizes various cryptographic algorithms as the underpinnings of transaction verification, account verification, and even generating new coins.

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology

Blockchain Basics

Cryptocurrencies rely on blockchain technology to function.  Blockchain technology was first developed and described by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.  To this day, his real identity remains a mystery.  Without getting highly technical, blockchain technology is basically a distributed transaction ledger, which manages account balances and transactions.  Each block is a record entry in the ledger, and they are chained together in chronological order.  They are processed and maintained using an agreed-upon peer-to-peer protocol.  This means the records exist in thousands of places at once.

The relationship of the blocks to one another is managed through cryptographic algorithms.  Each new block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, along with a timestamp and transaction data.  In this way, the data is secure, despite being open and public.  This is because earlier blocks can’t be altered without altering every subsequent block.  Changes like that can only be done by consensus, meaning a majority of systems on the network need to agree to the change.  As a result, it is virtually impossible for a lone individual or even a group of people to alter the blockchain.  This means you can’t compromise balances, insert false transactions, or similar.  It’s an implementation of the concept of strength in numbers, alongside powerful mathematical cryptographic algorithms.  This forms the basis of the technical answer to, “What is cryptocurrency?”

Blockchain Underpins Cryptocurrency

Blockchain technology was first successfully deployed for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, which is really the pioneer in the cryptocurrency space.  As the original iteration of this technology, it should come as no surprise that Bitcoin is one of the most popular and capitalized cryptocurrencies around today.  Many cryptocurrencies that have come after Bitcoin have further refined this technology.  They use different algorithms and rules in order to solve some of the problems or address shortcomings in the earliest iterations.

At the same time, cryptographic algorithms and blockchain technology are the basis for many currencies that support cryptocurrency mining.  We’ll discuss this in greater detail later on in this guide.  The important thing to know is that cryptocurrency mining, much like the overall functioning of the blockchain, relies on cryptographic algorithms and the ledger.  The distributed, consensus-required nature of the blockchain offers security and integrity of the system.  This eliminates the need for a centralized (and therefore vulnerable) control point, such as a bank or banking system in traditional currency.  It also solves the classing double-spending problem (where a single piece of currency could be copied, spent multiple times, or otherwise used fraudulently, without a central, responsible authority managing the database or records of account).

Types of Cryptocurrency

There are many different types of cryptocurrencies around today.  However, the vast majority of the big, well-known ones fall into one of three categories.  These categories are roughly based on their use characteristics.  They are traditional cryptocurrencies, stable coins, and utility tokens/coins.  Each makes up a part of the answer to, “What is cryptocurrency?”

Traditional Cryptocurrencies

Traditional cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are volatile digital currencies.  They are designed to be purchased with other real-world fiat currencies.  Then, they can be used and transacted for services, traded, and sold, or held in a digital wallet long-term at the user’s discretion.  They are, however, very open to speculative investment, which results in the radical price fluctuations that have characterized many of these coins in the last year or two.  This is the most basic and typical form of cryptocurrency, and what people think of in answer to, “What is cryptocurrency?”

Stable Coins

Stable coins seek to overcome the problems of traditional cryptocurrencies, by various means.  Some tie the value of the coin to real-world fiat currencies.  Others use complex mathematical computations to constantly adjust the value based on supply and demand.  In both cases, the goal is keeping the value at or near a certain defined reference value.  The purpose of stable coins is to eliminate the volatility problem inherent with cryptocurrencies.  This is essential for cryptocurrencies to be used as a currency and stores of value.

One of the reasons why most large economic currencies in the real world, such as the US dollar, Euro, etc., are so widely used is because their value is inherently very stable.  No one who wants to invest in cryptocurrencies to use as a currency wants volatility.  Spending $100 USD equivalent on coins today, and having $10 in USD equivalent in coins tomorrow, all based on the change in market value, is really not desirable.  It makes it impossible to price goods and services, or gain widespread adoption as a currency.

Stable coins seek to make stable and widespread adoption a reality.  They mean to sidestep a lot of the speculative investment and price fluctuations that can be found in traditional cryptocurrencies.  After all, no one is going to speculatively invest, hoping the value will go up or down significantly, if the stated mechanisms of control on the coin’s value are to always keep it at a set level.  This makes stable coins one of the most promising cryptocurrency types as we move into the future.

Utility Tokens/Coins

Utility tokens or utility coins are an interesting version of cryptocurrencies.  They can be compared to arcade tokens or casino chips.  They don’t directly link to a real-world value but are purchased with real-world currency (or other traditional cryptocurrencies or stable coins, for that matter).  Many incarnations of utility token schemes use tokens for transactions in a particular marketplace or system.  This has been proposed as a means for purchasing and transacting internet advertising, for instance.   It also is the foundation of many so-called smart contract tokens, which use the Ethereum blockchain technology’s smart contracts functionality to allow for transactions of digital goods, such as the purchase of items in digital games.  There’s a lot more to it, of course, but discussing utility tokens or utility coins could fill an entire guide on its own.

This area of cryptocurrency holds a great deal of potential as well.  There are many new token ecosystems under consideration and development.  They offer far more versatility in accounting and tracking transactions than, say, buying credits or tokens with an existing company.  This is because that traditional model means you can only use your tokens on their site or marketplace.  Cryptocurrency utility token systems hope to become ubiquitous and cross-platform.  Of course, the ultimate usefulness will depend on the degree of adoption of these kinds of utility tokens or coins.

Largest Cryptocurrency Players by Crypto Market Capitalization

At present, there are some 1500+ different cryptocurrencies available to the public.  Each has varying degrees of market capitalization, adoption, interest, and potential.  There are a number of large coin exchanges, where cryptocurrencies can be bought, traded, and sold.  These are very similar to a stock exchange.  Not every cryptocurrency that exists is public, nor is every cryptocurrency able to get listed on an exchange.  There are, however, many large players (as measured by crypto market capitalization – the outstanding value of all coins in that system).  The biggest are also some of the most well-known and widely-adopted cryptocurrencies today.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the biggest players in cryptocurrencies, based on their market capitalization as of August 29, 2018.  The data comes from the excellent resource site CoinMarketCap (www.coinmarketcap.com).  Where possible, we’ve also tried to categorize these cryptocurrencies based on the type breakdown from our previous section.

Top 8 Cryptocurrencies by Market Cap

  • Bitcoin (BTC), the first widespread use of blockchain and cryptocurrency, retains the top spot. It is a traditional cryptocurrency, with around $120 billion market capitalization.
  • Ethereum (ETH) is another traditional cryptocurrency, with a market capitalization of around $29 billion.
  • Ripple (XRP) is also quite popular, and is usually considered one of the “big three” of current traditional cryptocurrencies.  It sits at the number 3 spot in terms of market capitalization, with around $14 billion.
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is a derivative from a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain.  It has quite a complex history as to why it came about, which is beyond the scope of this article. It is a traditional cryptocurrency that has only been around for a little over a year.  Currently, it has a market cap of just shy of $10 billion.
  • EOS IO (EOS) is a utility token currency, serving as a buy-in to the ESO IO software development system.  This platform seeks to build blockchain-based decentralized applications. The current market capitalization is $5.5 billion.
  • Stellar (XLM) is a traditional cryptocurrency that has positioned itself as a bridge between traditional banking networks, mobile payments, and the blockchain. It currently has a market cap of around $4.2 billion.
  • Litecoin (LTC) is another traditional cryptocurrency that has gained popularity and is accepted in many of the same places as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. It currently has a market capitalization of $3.5 billion.
  • Tether (USDT) is a stable coin. In this case, it is tied, or tethered, to real-world USD fiat currency.  Therefore, it makes an exceptional store of value, as well as a reliable, non-volatile means of making digital transactions on the blockchain.  This is ideal for people who don’t want to worry about coins losing value.  It currently has a market capitalization of around $2.7 billion.

How Big is the Crypto Market?

Collectively, the coins listed on CoinMarketCap total a market capitalization of $229 billion.  This represents approximately 0.19% of the estimated $118 trillion in global capital investments.  Put another way, it represents 0.8% of the total global wealth, currently pegged at $280 trillion.  Compared to, say, the sum total of companies listed on the NY Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of around $20 trillion, this is a drop in the bucket.  However, it’s still quite a bit of money.  That $229 billion is more than the annual GDP of the bottom 70% (147) of countries in the world.  It’s also greater than the annual GDP of the bottom 34% (71) of countries COMBINED.

How Cryptocurrency Works

Equally as important as, “What is cryptocurrency?” is, “How does cryptocurrency work?”  Traditional cryptocurrencies and stable coins both work in a similar manner to any other currency.  They can be purchased (or exchanged) with existing fiat currencies or even other cryptocurrencies.  Once owned, they can be held in a digital wallet, traded or sold, or used to purchase goods or services from merchants or other individuals.  And of course, they can be sold for other cryptocurrencies, or fiat currencies, to convert back into “real” money.

The biggest difference is, unlike in fiat currency systems in the real world, there is no central authority or financial institution managing balances and transactions.  Everything is handled on a blockchain ledger, as described earlier in this guide.  This helps to free cryptocurrencies from many of the restrictions that are in place between nations, currency types, etc. in the real world.  It also, in theory, adds to the security and anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions.  Further, it helps keep fees and overhead low as well.

Over-Simplified Technology Explanation

From a technical standpoint, how cryptocurrency works is far more complicated.  Without getting super deep into the topic, any given cryptocurrency and blockchain system has entry points for coins to be created.  They almost always have a finite number of coins that can ever exist.  Typically, they also have a means of allowing people to purchase, mine, or otherwise obtain coins.

Within the system, all of the transactions are handled by the network and blockchain.  Users who purchase coins store them in a digital wallet or hardware wallet.  This wallet has an associated address, allowing them to receive coins from others or send coins to another’s address for payment.  There are also usually other systems that are built-in.  These may include governance, smart contracts, and various related features.  If someone wishes to sell their coins, they can do so.  Usually, they can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies on one of the many exchanges that exist for that purpose.

It really is just like any other currency-based economy.  The key difference here is it’s distributed and decentralized, with the account records fully visible to the entire network.  The transactions are agreed upon and appended to the network ledger, rather than handled in private with a central bank or authority.  There are ways to transfer value into the system, participate in the system, and transfer value out of the system.  They can be used for purchases or exchanged for goods and services.  Or, they can be directly sold into other currencies.  This encompasses all of the hallmarks of any usable currency system.

Cryptocurrency Mining

We briefly touched on cryptocurrency mining earlier.  But, since it’s a very popular topic associated with queries like, “What is cryptocurrency?” and “How does cryptocurrency work?”, we thought it deserved a bit more detail.  Cryptocurrency mining is one of the ways in which new coins are generated, in a number of different cryptocurrency systems.  Not all cryptocurrencies support mining, however.

So how does cryptocurrency mining work?  In essence, mining allows the network to exist and thrive, with users loaning out their computer’s processing power to verify network transactions.  In exchange, they receive a fraction of a coin as a reward.  This is a gross over-simplification of the process, of course, but it serves our purposes.

Pretty much every cryptocurrency has a closed system – that is, a set number of coins that can ever possibly exist.  Various portions of that total are not in circulation.  They can only be generated or “discovered” after a certain amount of work is performed.  This is, essentially, what mining is all about.  Users work towards unearthing those new coins through sufficient computational work.  At the same time, that work is necessary to allow transactions to occur and be verified on the network.  Over time, the rewards for mining decrease more and more.  At the same time, the complexity and work required for an equal amount of reward increases.  This, coupled with the closed system, helps to control potential inflation in cryptocurrency systems.

How is Cryptocurrency Mining Accomplished?

Cryptocurrency mining is usually done with computer graphics cards, rather than main computer processors.  This is due to the fact that GPUs are more efficient at the kinds of calculations that the cryptographic algorithms require.  Several companies have developed specialized devices just for cryptocurrency mining, ASICs, and FPGAs.  Dedicated miners run small fleets arrayed together to provide a large amount of computing power.  In many cases, for mature currencies, mining is not worth the effort or cost for the average person.  This is because the coin reward is worth less than the cost of electricity to mine it.

Likewise, many currencies do not offer mining as an option, for a variety of reasons.  Instead, these systems use minting.  In minting, the controlling company or consortium behind a technology provides coin rewards to users who offer up their processing power to the network as a node.  The overall goal is the same – to reward participants for having their computing power used to verify network transactions, thus ensuring the health of the system.  But, this is done in a way that is more fair and less biased towards those with large sums of money to spend on mining equipment.

Nodes, ICOs, Altcoins – Common Terms You’ll Encounter, Defined

The cryptocurrency world contains lots of industry jargon and specialized terms.  In fact, we’ve used a number already throughout this article.  While not an exhaustive list, the below offers definitions of some key terms you’ll likely encounter.

  • Altcoin – a term for coins OTHER than Bitcoin, since Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency. It’s a mash-up derivation of “alternative” and “Bitcoin.”
  • Exchange – a marketplace where various coins or currencies can be bought and sold.  This is comparable to a stock exchange in traditional finance.
  • Fiat currency – regular, real-world currency whose value is not backed by assets.  Rather, it comes from the full faith and credit of its issuing government.  Examples include the US dollar, Euro, etc.
  • Fork – a copy and break from an existing blockchain, often used to create new or derived currencies with different management, goals, and principles.
  • ICO – initial coin offering, usually when coins of a given currency first are available for purchase.  This is similar to an IPO for traditional stocks.
  • Wallet – a software or sometimes hardware-based means of storing your cryptocurrency coins in a secure way.  It also allows you to send and receive coins with others on the same system.

Comparison of Crypto to Traditional Currencies

One of the reasons that the crypto market is so appealing is due to the many benefits over traditional currencies.  Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology behind them offer a distinctly different experience.  The stated goal of many cryptocurrencies is to make converting funds and transferring them beyond borders as easy, quick, and low-fee as possible.  It’s a great convenience for many people to be able to do this without banks and brokers.  This is especially true in an ever-increasing digital and globalized world.

Security and Anonymity

The security and anonymity of cryptocurrencies are both additional aspects of the appeal over traditional currencies.  Because the ledger is decentralized and distributed, the level of security against altering transactions and balances is extremely high.  With a peer-to-peer network around the world, there’s no geographic vulnerability.  Nor is there vulnerability to a particular country or government and their policies.  Likewise, the anonymity is fairly high.  Most externally visible elements of transactions are merely wallet addresses.  This runs in contrast to the real world currency systems.  Indeed, foreign transactions over a certain dollar amount involve quite a lot of paperwork and identity disclosures.  This is not the case with cryptocurrencies.

Governance

Governance is another important aspect of many top cryptocurrencies.  A lot of currencies allow holders to have proportional voting on policies, processes, and other changes related to the currency.  This is in stark contrast to most traditional, real-world currencies.  Even in democracies, there is little ability for the average citizen to have a direct say in monetary policy or how the banking system works.

Downsides

Of course, there are downsides to all of these benefits, too.  The fact that there is no central bank or government behind the currency is one.  It means the system is subject to collapse or abandonment if the consortium behind it decides to disappear.  In practice, that’s unlikely to happen, though.  The technology is so distributed and available that it could be picked up very easily by others and continued.

The anonymity of cryptocurrencies has also tarnished its reputation somewhat.  Criminals have gravitated towards cryptocurrencies, as their currency of choice.  Most users of cryptocurrencies are not criminals, though.  And the fact that criminals may prefer a certain currency should not reflect negatively on that currency.

Further, the wild price fluctuations from speculation have been a consistent problem.  They have made many of the traditional cryptocurrencies a bad choice as an actual currency vehicle, since the value is so unstable.

As the technology is relatively new, there are a relatively small number of merchants who accept cryptocurrency payments right now.  This is especially true compared to credit cards or Paypal, for example.  Of course, this limits their utility as a payment method for goods and services.  The good news is that the list of online merchants who accept cryptocurrencies is always increasing.

Lastly, as with any new technology, there is a lot of misunderstanding, misinformation, and dismissal of cryptocurrencies as a passing fad.  Established financial institutions have a vested interest in seeing them fail, of course.  And it’s a complex topic that not many understand.  Though with our guide, “What is cryptocurrency?”, perhaps we’ll all be a bit more crypto-literate.

Buying, Trading, and Using Cryptocurrencies

For those interested in buying, trading, and using cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, it’s relatively easy to get started.  You can head over to a major exchange, and create an account.  We recommend CoinBase (www.coinbase.com) since they offer USD to Bitcoin and Ethereum transactions.  And, these are the two most popular cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

There, you can link a bank account, credit card, or other payment methods to your account.  Then, you can purchase coins or fractions of a coin of your choosing.  You can put these coins into your wallet (most exchanges and sites explain in detail how to set up a digital wallet).  Then, you can use them to pay for goods or services on sites that accept the currency.  You can also use them to pay other individuals, by transferring money from your wallet to theirs.

Not a Cryptocurrency Trading Guide

We should point out that this is NOT a guide to cryptocurrency trading.  If you want to invest in cryptocurrencies, though, it’s fairly easy.  You can buy coins just as if you were going to use them.  However, you then hold on to the coins you buy in your wallet, until such time as the value increases sufficiently for you to sell them.  Then you unload them, cashing out back to USD or other fiat currency.

This, of course, is a very risky proposition with most traditional cryptocurrencies.  Even the top coins have seen values fluctuate several thousand percent in the last few years alone.  We would recommend beginners avoid this use of cryptocurrencies or only invest very small amounts of their available funds.  It is entirely possible they will lose all value in the short or long-term.  In fact, it’s much more likely than a traditional investment like a stock or bond.

Legality and Risk

Many who are new to cryptocurrencies worry about the legality and associated risks.  In this section, we want to be clear, we’re talking about the risk of buying cryptocurrency and using it as a payment method, and not the investment risk of speculative investment in cryptocurrency products.

Legality

As yet, most countries don’t have firm laws on the books that regulate cryptocurrency in any way.  Some countries, notably China, have passed laws banning cryptocurrencies.  However, most experts agree that banning or prohibiting cryptocurrencies is unlikely in most places.  Of course, it will probably be necessary to institute some regulations as time goes on, and adoption grows.  But, at least at present, cryptocurrencies are not illegal – nor should they be, in the opinion of many.

There is nothing inherently wrong with cryptocurrencies, nothing criminal or nefarious – they are simply an alternative currency.  Of course, the fact that they are outside of government and financial institution control means that it is unlikely they will go unchecked forever.  Some proactive financial institutions have partnered with some of the most promising cryptocurrencies, in order to work together to add value to each other’s operations, rather than exist as adversaries.

Risk

In terms of risk, cryptocurrencies are generally regarded as more secure in their functioning than many banks and financial institutions.  This is especially true in rougher or more turbulent parts of the world.  That said, in stable, democratic, developed nations, purchasing and using cryptocurrency is slightly riskier than traditional credit cards, PayPal, or other digital payment methods.  This is simply because of the lack of regulation, the vagaries of technology, and so forth.

The underlying security is strong with the distributed ledger, and hacking or other related incidents are minimal.  But, you have less protection if something does go wrong.  With a credit card, there are laws about how much you are liable for, and a company with customer service whom you can go to.  This is usually not the case with most cryptocurrencies, as the ledger and the transaction consensus rules the day, period.  So, there is a degree of risk, but for most people, conducting routine, low-value transactions, it’s probably only slightly higher than that of using a credit card or other online payment method.

Future Potential

Cryptocurrencies hold a great deal of promise and potential for the future.  The underlying blockchain technology concept has quite a bit of growing and expanding to explore.  In fact, new uses and applications for this technology are virtually limitless.  Ultimately, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will reach some kind of critical mass, on one end or the other.  Either they will have to be accepted and popular enough to become widespread and somewhat regulated, or they will fizzle out as a fad.  Given the dollar value currently invested in the collective cryptocurrency economy, along with the very real problems that cryptocurrencies seek to solve, and the overall democratic and government-free aspects of cryptocurrency, it is unlikely that it will fizzle.

Most experts project that cryptocurrencies will continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.  New iterations of the technology will likely be better at solving some of the lingering problems of volatility, transaction speed, fees, and similar.  Some currencies will surely disappear and fail, and others will continue to flourish.  Over time, it is likely that we will see winners and losers emerge.  And, it seems certain that some kind of regulations will be required – especially if cryptocurrencies are to become a truly mainstream.  At the same time, the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies means that, even if outlawed per se, they would be very hard to squash in most jurisdictions.  That resilience and the spirit which rests behind many cryptocurrencies is infectious, and a driving force behind innovation.

Concluding Thoughts

No one knows what the future will hold, and those who are certain cryptocurrency values will go up, down, or stay the same are no better than guessing.  What is clear is that cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies hold great potential to reshape the way we think of currency and digital payments as we move into the next iteration of our digital economy.

We hope this guide has provided you with a basic answer to the question, “What is cryptocurrency?”  If you enjoyed it, and would like more detailed information on this topic in the future, we’ll be happy to put together more articles in this series.  Just leave a comment below – your feedback guides our efforts and focus.

Cryptocurrency Reading and Accessories

Cryptocurrency: Five Expert Secrets for Beginners

This excellent guide by author Anthony Tu is a perfect accompaniment to our beginner’s guide article.  Inside, you’ll find 90 pages of information, secrets, and things to consider about cryptocurrencies.  Mr. Tu is a Harvard-educated computer scientist, and does an excellent job explaining the complex concepts behind cryptocurrency and economics in a way that is easy for all of us to understand.

Ledger Nano S Limited Edition Hardware Cryptocurrency Wallet

Ledger has made a name for itself in the hardware cryptocurrency wallet space.  This plug-in device works with both mobile phones and computers to add an additional layer of protection for your cryptocurrency funds, above and beyond what’s available in a digital (software) wallet.  It’s easy to use and supports dozens of popular cryptocurrencies, two-factor authentication suites, and more.

We hope you enjoyed this article!  Please feel free to comment with suggestions for new content and follow us so you’ll never miss another post.

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