Cryptocurrency – Meaning and Definition
Cryptocurrency, sometimes called crypto-currency or crypto, is any form of currency that is digital or virtual and uses cryptography to secure transactions. Instead of using a decentralized system to record transactions and issue new units, cryptocurrencies have no central issuing or controlling authority.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that does not rely on banks to verify transactions. It is a peer-to-peer system that enables anyone to send and receive payments anywhere. Rather than moving and exchanging physical money in the real world, cryptocurrency payments are more like digital entries in online databases detailing specific transactions. When you transfer cryptocurrency funds, the transaction is recorded in a public ledger. Cryptocurrencies are stored in digital wallets. Cryptocurrency gets its name because it uses encryption to verify transactions. This means that sophisticated coding is involved in storing and transmitting cryptographic data between wallets and public ledgers. The purpose of encryption is to provide security and protection. The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which was founded in 2009 and is still the most popular today. Much of the interest in cryptocurrency is trading for profit, with speculators driving prices sky high at times.
How does cryptocurrency work?
Cryptocurrency runs on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, which is a record of all transactions updated and kept by currency holders.
Cryptocurrency units are created through a process called mining, which involves using computer power to solve complex mathematical problems that produce coins. Users can also buy currencies from brokers, then store and spend them using cryptographic wallets.
If you own cryptocurrency, you own nothing. You have a key that allows you to transfer a record or unit of measurement from person to person without a trusted third party.
Although Bitcoin has been around since 2009, applications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are still emerging in the financial context and more uses are expected in the future. Transactions including bonds, stocks and other financial assets will eventually be traded using the technology.
Cryptocurrency is an example
There are thousands of cryptocurrencies. Some of the most popular ones are:
Founded in 2009, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and is still the most traded. The currency was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto – widely regarded as a pseudonym for a person or group of people whose precise identity is unknown.
Developed in 2015, Ethereum is a blockchain platform with its own cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH) or Ethereum. It is the most popular cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.
The currency is similar to Bitcoin, but has evolved more rapidly to develop new innovations, including a process that allows for faster payments and more transactions.
Ripple is a distributed ledger system founded in 2012. Waves can be used to track many types of transactions other than cryptocurrencies. Behind this the company has worked with various banks and financial institutions.
Non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies are collectively referred to as “altcoins” to distinguish them from the original.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency
You may be wondering how to buy cryptocurrency safely. It usually consists of three stages. These are:
Step 1: Choosing a Platform
The first step is to decide which platform to use. In general, you can choose between a traditional broker or a dedicated cryptocurrency exchange:
A traditional broker. These are online brokers that offer ways to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, as well as other financial assets such as stocks, bonds and ETFs. These platforms offer lower trading costs but less crypto features.
Cryptocurrency exchange. There are many cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from, each offering different cryptocurrencies, wallet storage, interest-bearing account options, and more. Most exchanges charge asset-based fees.
When comparing different platforms, consider which cryptocurrencies are on offer, what fees they charge, their security features, storage and withdrawal options, and any educational resources.
Step 2: Fund your account
Once you’ve chosen your platform, the next step is to fund your account so you can start trading. Most crypto exchanges allow users to buy crypto using fiat (i.e. government-issued) currencies such as the US dollar, British pound or euro using their debit or credit cards – but this varies by platform.
Crypto purchases with credit cards are considered risky and some exchanges do not support them. Some credit card companies don’t even allow crypto transactions. This is because cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and the risk of borrowing certain assets or paying high credit card transaction fees is not justified.
Some platforms also accept ACH transfers and wire transfers. Accepted payment methods and time taken for deposits or withdrawals vary from platform to platform. Similarly, the time taken to clear deposits varies depending on the payment method.
An important factor to consider is the fee. These include potential deposit and withdrawal transaction fees and trading fees. Fees vary by payment method and platform, which is something to research initially.
Step 3: Ordering
You can place orders through your broker or exchange’s web or mobile platform. If you plan to purchase cryptocurrency, you may do so by selecting “Buy,” selecting an order type, entering the amount of cryptocurrency you wish to purchase, and confirming the order. The same process applies to “sell” orders.
There are other ways to invest in crypto. These include payment services such as PayPal, Cash App and Venmo that allow users to buy, sell or hold cryptocurrencies. In addition, the following investment instruments:
Bitcoin Trust: You can buy Bitcoin Trust shares with a regular brokerage account. These vehicles give retail investors exposure to crypto through the stock market.
Bitcoin Mutual Funds: There are Bitcoin ETFs and Bitcoin Mutual Funds to choose from.
Blockchain Stocks or ETFs: You can invest in crypto indirectly through blockchain companies that specialize in crypto and the technology behind crypto transactions. Alternatively, you can buy stocks or ETFs from companies that use blockchain technology.
The best option for you depends on your investment objectives and risk appetite.
How to store cryptocurrency
After you buy cryptocurrency, you need to store it safely to protect it from hacks or theft. Typically, cryptocurrency is stored in crypto wallets, which are physical devices or online software used to securely store the private keys of your cryptocurrency. Some exchanges offer wallet services that make it easy to store them directly through the platform. However, not all exchanges or brokers will automatically provide you with wallet services. There are various wallet providers to choose from. The terms “hot wallet” and “cold wallet” are used for:
Hot Wallet Storage: “Hot wallet” refers to crypto storage that uses online software to protect the private keys of your assets.
Cold Wallet Storage: Unlike hot wallets, cold wallets (also known as hardware wallets) rely on offline electronic devices to securely store your private keys.
Generally, cold wallets are charged while hot wallets are not.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency
What can you buy with cryptocurrency?
When it was first launched, Bitcoin was intended as a medium for everyday transactions, making it possible to buy everything from a cup of coffee to big-ticket items like computers or real estate. It is not fully implemented, and although the number of organizations accepting cryptocurrencies is increasing, large transactions are rare. However, it is possible to buy a wide variety of products from e-commerce websites using crypto. These are some examples:
Technology and e-commerce sites:
Many companies that sell technology products accept crypto on their websites, such as newegg.com, AT&T, and Microsoft. Overstock, an e-commerce platform, was one of the first sites to accept Bitcoin. Shopify, Rakuten and Home Depot also accept it.
Luxury goods: Some luxury retailers accept crypto as a form of payment. For example, online luxury retailer BitDeals offers Rolex, Patek Philippe and other high-end watches for Bitcoin.
Cars: Some car dealers – from mass-market brands to high-end luxury dealers – are already accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.
Insurance: In April 2021, Swiss insurer AXA announced that it would begin accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for all of its insurance lines except life insurance (due to regulatory issues). Premier Shield Insurance, which sells home and auto insurance policies in the US, also accepts Bitcoin for premium payments.
If you want to spend at a retailer that doesn’t accept cryptocurrency directly, you can use a cryptocurrency debit card like Bitpay in the US.
Cryptocurrency fraud and cryptocurrency scams
Unfortunately, cryptocurrency crimes are on the rise. Cryptocurrency scams include:
- Fake Websites: Fake sites with fake testimonials and crypto jargon promise huge guaranteed returns if you keep investing.
- Virtual Ponzi Schemes: Cryptocurrency criminals promote non-existent opportunities to invest in digital currencies and generate huge returns by paying old investors with money from new investors. The BitClub network, a scam operation, collected more than $700 million in December 2019 before its perpetrators were convicted.
- “Celebrity” ads: Scammers pretending to be billionaires or famous names online promise to grow your investment into one forms
Crypto words you need to learn.
Blockchain: A blockchain is a type of database in which digital transaction records of cryptocurrencies are stored in groups or blocks. New blocks are continuously created as extensions of previous blocks, forming a chain. This blockchain builds on the database itself, storing an ever-increasing amount of information about specific cryptocurrency transactions.
Decentralized: In the context of cryptocurrency, the term decentralized means that the currency is not backed by a central bank or other financial institution.
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT): Decentralized digital record. Unlike normal databases, there is no central authority; Records are stored simultaneously in multiple locations and once a transaction is recorded, it is permanent. Blockchain is a form of DLT, but the technology can offer many benefits beyond cryptocurrency trading.
Bitcoin: The first cryptocurrency and still the most popular today.
Altcoins: Any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. Some of the popular altcoins today include Ethereum, Dogecoin and Litecoin. Each of these altcoins has different features and benefits.
Exchange: A marketplace where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
Wallet: A place to store your cryptocurrency holdings. Many exchanges offer digital wallets.
The future of cryptocurrency
Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in value in recent years. Bitcoin has more than doubled in value in 2021 and Ethereum has quadrupled in value this year. But the question remains whether that growth is sustainable and what it means in the long run. Executive Director of Foundation for the Study of Cycle Dr. “People’s interest in this crypto, blockchain technology right now is driven by a kind of speculative fever,” said Richard Smith. A non-profit organization devoted to the study of recurring patterns in economies and cultures. However, a large number of powerful players are attesting to the potential of crypto and it is slowly being adopted by large, powerful corporations. Crypto is also growing in popularity and acceptance. Ultimately, the future of cryptocurrencies – their value, security and staying power – is still in doubt. However, regardless of your interest or motivation, experts stress the importance of making sure you understand the unique volatility and risk factors of cryptocurrencies before investing.
Is it safe to invest in crypto?
The main reason behind the rapid growth of crypto is anonymity and security. Due to the nature of the decentralized – and public – distributed ledger technology and the encryption process of each transaction, the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies is inherently secure.
However, Bitcoin’s rapid rise and fall in price has prompted many to part with their savings. At the same time, as interest in cryptocurrency has increased, scammers have become more active, which is why experts recommend caution to newcomers, urging budding traders not to lose hope.
According to famous crypto expert Hameed Rehman, who runs a TikTok account and makes YouTube videos to spread awareness about crypto, Bitcoin holders need not worry about the depreciation of their assets as Bitcoin will rise again. “Major players have not yet entered the crypto market. It has a lot of potential and is yet to reach its true peak. My advice to those who are desperate is to not worry about taking advantage of the time as it is not too late and with proper guidance and training They can still enter and make a lot of money”, he added.